Monthly Archives: April 2010

Free Showing of the Film “Food, Inc” at UPAC Tomorrow Night (4/30)

Years ago, I had the privilege to work for Ev Mann of the Center for Creative Education. At that time, their headquarters were in Stone Ridge, NY.  Coming up from New York City as a musician with a background in Production Management, it was my good fortune to have seen their ad for someone like me to assist the Administrative Director, Mary Farel.

Those couple of years were two of the most fulfilling in my professional life.

Although Ev has had close ties working with the children and schools in the city of Kingston, he moved his operation from Stone Ridge into Midtown back in 2005/2006 where he continues to bring music, culture, dance and drums to the youth and families in our area.

On Friday night (4/30) The Center for Creative Education in partnership with Active Voice and Participant Media bring a FREE screening of the ever important film FOOD INC to UPAC in the city of Kingston.  Click on this LINK to see the flyer for this event.

On the ground, we are witnessing alarming numbers in childhood obesity – yet at the same time, 1 in 8 children will go hungry each and every day.

It’s critical that as a community, we work to change our daily habits. In Kingston, every one of our schools (and I believe there are 14) will have some form of garden in them. That’s a huge accomplishment that has taken place in just two years time.

Gardens are the buzz word in Kingston. Let’s continue to nurture them and encourage our children to get growing at home and at school.  Take your family and visit a local farm, and pick something fresh off the vine to taste.

There is nothing quite like it.

- Rebecca Martin


SchoolgardenreourcesinNYC

Kingston Natural Foods

Hudson Valley Seed Library

CSA’s in the Hudson Valley: From Chronogram Magazine

Infrastructure Planning Project Community Meeting this week (4/28)

With all the current infrastructure problems in the city of Kingston, I thought this informative meeting was important to post – as is.

Thanks.

- Rebecca

GI Introductory Handout – Kingston

INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING PROJECT COMMUNITY MEETING

When: Wednesday, April 28

Time: 6-7 pm

Where: Ulster County Legislative Chambers, 6th Floor Ulster County Office Building (COB), 244 Fair Street, Kingston NY 12401 (enter from parking lot in back of building)

Hi everyone this is Victor-Pierre and on behalf of Clearwater and The Hudson Valley Regional Council I would like to invite you to our Green Infrastructure (GI) Community meeting to discuss Green Infrastructure Planning. I have had the privilege of meeting most of you at recent training in Kingston on Green Jobs and at the Climate Smart Community Pledge meeting and was excited that you expressed interest in attending our GI community planning meeting. Hope to see you soon.

The Hudson Valley Regional Council (HVRC) is implementing a green infrastructure (GI) planning project in Kingston and six other communities in the Hudson Valley region in New York State. In each locale, community-based teams, guided by our community outreach leaders, will participate in site assessment training workshops, public outreach and the planning of 10 concept projects at promising sites.

Goals -

1. In Kingston we want to build the capacity of municipalities, their consultants and other local stakeholders to understand, plan for, implement, and maintain GI practices.

2. We will develop an inventory exisitng GI demonstration projects and identify the potential for expanded GI projects and sites, including at least 10 detailed conceptual plans in each of seven selected communities in the region.

Who is this meeting for?

We need a local team that can provide a variety of skills and resources:

Students and teachers · Municipal officials · Business leaders and owners · Homeowners and neighborhood groups · Scouting groups · Garden clubs and community gardeners · Design professionals · Builders, landscaping contractors, plumbers · Environmental/Conservation committees · Other interested citizens

Contacts at Clearwater for this project in the City of Kingston are:
Victor-Pierre Melendez:     victor@clearwater.org (845) 265-8080 ext. 7144

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. 724 Wolcott Ave Beacon, NY 12508

A Golden Opportunity For the City Of Kingston’s Youth

The children from the GW Montessori Program in their garden!

GW Montessori Public School gets its garden on!

Kudos to Valerie Hannum and the The George Washington Montessori School. Of all of the percolating ideas and efforts in the city of Kingston, Hannum and her program to us is in the ‘pinch me’ category. How lucky that she has landed here.

With only approximately 200 public Montessori schools in the US and Canada, to have one in our community and particularly in the heart of Midtown is no small thing. Soon, ours will accommodate grades K-5. Generally, a Montessori eductation is costly making it impossible for most families to pursue. Here, the program is covered by grant money and ultimately, as a public school by our taxes. Imagine that. Paying school tax and actually using the schools.

Of course, we realize that there are some parents who feel the program isn’t suited for their child. But the GW Montessori School is a great option to have. To force a mandated public education on every young mind is not a healthy approach.

A special thanks to Gerard Gretzinger, Robert Pritchard,  and all of the GW Supporters who recognized a good thing. Most of all, to the staff and teachers (some who have served the community as educators for decades and who come out of retirement to teach in this new way) that have taken between 1200 – 1800 hours of study to become certified Montessori teachers.

Reach out to Valerie Hannum (845/338-1978) and ask for a tour of the school to see for yourself. Perhaps one day, more of our public schools will have the same approach.

Read about the program in Today’s DAILY FREEMAN.

To get a better sense of the Montessori principals, visit this LINK

Tagged

Keeping Up With the Everett Hodge Center

Sandy Hopgood and Jeanne Edwards

The Everett Hodge Center on Franklin Street in Kingston has always been an important place to us. Almost in the heart of Midtown, it works hard to service and run programs for the children and families living in Ward 4 and beyond.

Every Friday night, Ward 4 resident Jeanne Edwards helps to organize a healthy warm meal for the children as part of the “Hodge Food For Thought/Rewards For Excellence” program.  They are always in need of healthy food donation as well as volunteers. Visitors and presentations for the children are a great gift, and always welcomed.

Visit their BLOG for weekly posts, and contact information for more on the program and how you can help.

By the way, the 5th Annual Midtown Make A Difference Day has been set for June 19th from 11am – 4pm at the Hodge Center.  If you wish to learn more, contact Megan Weiss (Kingston Cares) at 845/331-1110.

- Rebecca Martin

Meeting Agenda: Finance Economic Development Committee

Today, I received the agenda for the Finance Economic Development committee from Ward 1 Alderman Andi Turco-Levin (who also has a seat on this committee).

The meeting takes place tomorrow. The agenda link is posted below for any citizens interested in participating.

Click HERE to get to the meeting calendar on the City of Kingston’s website

financecommitteeApril10195

Volunteers Sought for Safe Routes Project

The Safe Routes to Schools and Parks Committee of the Healthy Kingston for Kids Project seeks adult and youth volunteers for a GPS mapping project that centers on conducting walkability assessments in area neighborhoods. Volunteer training workshops are set for Saturday, May 1 at the Forsyth Nature Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Friday, May 7 at Hutton Park from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The workshops are free, but registrants are expected to use the knowledge gained to conduct at least one 1/2-mile walkability audit with GPS in a Kingston City School District neighborhood.

To register for the workshops or for more information, contact Kristen Wilson at 845-340-3990 or email kew67@cornell.edu.  Click HERE to download the registration form.

2010 Healthy Kingston GPS Mapping FLYER

Kingston Celebrates Earth Day with Earth Week

There are a whole week of events scheduled in celebration of Earth Day this year, 2010. Here’s the scoop:

EARTH WEEK 2010: Kingston Celebrates Earth Day’s 40th AnniversaryGreen Streetscape Improvements on Broadway

Date: April 20, 2010

Time:     2:30pm

Location:  Adjacent to 630 Broadway (Intersection of Broadway and Oneil Street)

The City of Kingston will hold a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Broadway to signify the installation of Mr. Big Belly Solar Compactors and dozens of Bicycle Racks along the Midtown Broadway Corridor. These streetscape improvements were made possible through the NYS Main Street Program, administered through the Rural Ulster Preservation Company. This funding has allowed the City of Kingston to improve amenities along Broadway with the purchase of 4 solar powered trash compactors and recycling units. Kingston will be one of the first cities in New York to purchase and implement these unique waste handling systems. Over time, these units will decrease the number of trips necessary to empty refuse along Broadway, while working to beautify the Midtown Area.  Representatives from Direct Environmental Corporation, makers of Mr. Big Belly will be on hand to demonstrate the units and answer questions.
Funds were also use to purchase bike racks, which will be placed along Broadway this Spring to encourage more Kingstonians to bicycle to and from residences and businesses along the Broadway Corridor.

RUPCO worked closely with the City of Kingston and the Green Corridor Project, which includes representatives from Sustainable Hudson Valley, Kingston Parks and Recreation Department, Mid Hudson Energy Smart Communities, RUPCO and numerous environmental professionals and Kingston residents to make this project a success. The Green Corridor Project aims to link environmentally minded businesses and institutions along Kingston’s main thoroughfare to attract and encourage a green economy in Kingston.
For more information, contact Steve Noble, 845-481-7336 or snoble@kingston-ny.gov

Forsyth Nature Center Hosts Kingston’s Storyteller Laureate

Date: April 22, 2010

Time:     4pm

Location:  Forsyth Nature Center, Kingston, NY

The Forsyth Nature Center will celebrate a very special Earth Day this year with Karen Pillsworth, Kingston’s Storyteller Laureate. Karen’s vibrant and energetic telling of stories for the earth will inspire audiences of all ages. All participants will receive an Earth Day gift of a tree sapling donated by the Friends of Forysth Nature Center. This event is free and weather permitting. For more information, you can call 845-481-7339 or visit the Forsyth Nature Center’s website.

Kingston Clean Sweep

Date: April 24, 2010

Time:     9am-12pm

Location:  Kingston Corridor

A spring clean-up of litter lying along the newly instituted “Kingston Corridor” will take place on Saturday, April 24, 9 a.m. to noon. The Kingston Clean Sweep is being sponsored by the Friends of Historic Kingston with support from the City of Kingston and more than 20 other local business and service organizations.

The city will be divided into eight sections, each overseen by one or more of the participating organizations. Volunteers will be provided with City-supplied trash bags that will be collected by the Department of Public Works following the event.  People are asked to bring their own work gloves and a broom, if possible, to sweep dirt piles from the sidewalks.  The event will take place rain or shine.

Volunteers are still needed in several sections along the “Kingston Corridor” which runs from the Thruway Circle down to the Rondout Creek.  Anyone who wishes to volunteer can call the Friends of Historic Kingston at (845) 339-0720 or e-mail fohk@hvc.rr.com .

Queens Galley Needs Cash to Cook With Gas

KingstonCitizens.org is helping Queens Galley in their effort to raise funds for a new stove that they desperately need. Can you make a donation of $5, $10, $20 or more? Let’s help Diane to feed families in a crisis.

Click on this LINK to donate.

Diane Reeder, Executive Director of Queens Galley writes:

“The oven at the Queens Galley Soup Kitchen in Kingston has finally given up the ghost. After many MANY years of reliable service and the last few years of unreliable service and often repairs it has become unusable.

The soup kitchen served over 101,000 meals in 2009. We continue to try and meet demand the best way we know how…one meal at a time (but without an oven that is pretty difficult to do!)

If you could please help us raise the funds we need to replace our very much needed range it would be appreciated!

You can donate online  or send a check made payable to Queens Galley to 254 Washington Ave Kingston NY 12401.

If you know of a 60 inch 4-6 burner with a griddle/broiler and double oven that is available for donation or at a discount please let us know!”

Square Foot Gardening Presentation at the Kingston City Hall Garden TODAY (4/17)

Kingston High School student successfully plants the Kingston City Hall garden last season (2009)

Today at 1:00pm (4/17)  there is a square foot gardening presentation at the Kingston City Hall garden located on the Northwest side of the building.  Jesica Pascual who was once a farmer at Phillies Bridge Farm will lead the way. Though wet, it’s a really nice day to be out in the garden. I know because I just came in from mine.

You can read the press release by visiting the Kingston Victory Garden Yahoo! Group (and if you are a local home gardener you might wish to become a member of the group as well). We will also cut and paste it below.

- Rebecca

Learn Square Foot Gardening During Free Workshop at City Hall Garden

Jesica Pascual, volunteer garden manager of the City Hall Victory Garden, will lead a free workshop to on square foot gardening this Saturday, April 17 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The garden is located on the west side of City Hall, which is located on Broadway across from the Kingston High School.

The workshop is designed for anyone looking to learn square foot, or French intensive gardening, which allows gardeners to grow the maximum amount of vegetables in the minimum amount of space and is perfect for backyard (or front yard!) gardens. Square foot gardening is the method being used this year at the City Hall site as a way to encourage residents to grow their own food.

“Using this method, it is also easy to incorporate beautiful flowers and landscaping elements such as trellising and decorative borders,” Pascual said adding that she will cover the basics in setting up a garden plot, planning out the space and where to get high-quality ingredients for soil as well as seeds and transplants.

At the end of the workshop there will be a short swap and share session where fellow gardeners can swap seeds and share resources – so please bring your extra or leftover seeds.

For more information, contact the Kingston Land Trust at Kingstonlandtrust@yahoo.com.

Kingston Uptown Residents Association (KURA) Hosts “How To Appeal Your Property Assessement”

For some time, I have not only been impressed by KURA (Kingston Uptown Residents Association) but am ever so grateful to have smarts like that on the case of some very pressing issues here in the city of Kingston. They have successfully hosted meetings to expose residents to important information while tackling the complications of such topics as Kingston’s Nuisance Abatement law, the city’s budget and the confusion of our citywide reval and tax structure.

I had the great pleasure to meet and listen to Gerald and Victoria at Ward 1’s community meeting this past February (by the way, if you haven’t yet seen Ward 1 Alderman Andi Turco-Levin’s blog yet, you must.  She is doing an exceptional job at City Hall and in reaching out and listening to her constituents. I highly recommend you bookmark her BLOG.).

On Tuesday, April 20th KURA will host another public information meeting at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston (272 Wall Street) on “How To Appeal Your Property Assessment”. Guest speakers will be Ken Brett, member of the City of Kingston Board of Assessment Review and Mark Grunblatt, Real Estate Attorney in Kingston.

Of course, it must be noted that KingstonCitizens.org learned of  Karen Vetere during the now defunct homeowners tax relief group meeting back a year or more ago. Before and since then, Karen has been extremely helpful in working with residents through the maze of making sure their house values and tax increases were correct. There are many who experienced a doubling in their taxes over the course of a year, almost taxing them right out of their homes in one fell swoop.  In fact, it’s still a real possibility as things currently are.

Sometimes, the city of Kingston officials seem to work against its citizens with a lack of good planning. That’s not to say there aren’t good people working in city government. What I’m trying to get at here, is that in order for this all to work as it was intended, the citizens need to take an ongoing active role in it all.  When it doesn’t work the way it should, it’s partially due to our lack of involvement and oversight.

We need to be paying close attention now and we need to stay the course on whatever issue calls us. Constructive changes don’t occur overnight.

Thanks to those mentioned in this post, and to all of the citizen groups new and old who are working to make the city a cool place to live while trying to incorporate every single one of it’s residents in its rich and diverse community.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers