Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) Review – Rob Bujan

Dan Udell videotaped a presentation on the US healthcare system by Rob Bujan on 3/25/17. I could not attend so I watched Dan’s YouTube video – 

 The discussions towards the end of this presentation (about minute 50) concerning single-payer systems would have been more vigorous and perhaps useful with a little international context. We live in a world where every other developed country has universal healthcare and has had for decades. So, there is plenty of experience with a range of different structures to deliver healthcare to every person as a right. Continue reading

What’s Happenin’ at HAL??

A quick run down the screen on your smartphone reveals the range of activities at the Hudson Area Library. We won’t mention here all of the other groups using the Community Room for their meetings and events. Then take a look at the January ’17 E-Newsletter at the bottom.

January ’17 E-Newsletter

Open the news letter here.

BTW – you can sign up for the HAL e-newsletter here.

 

Hudson Provides a Positive Sign for Democracy

img_1849Amidst all of the hand wringing about the Presidential election, both its process and outcome,  we can note that Hudson conducted a little experiment in democratic direct action that at the local level will likely produce interesting positive results in the future. Continue reading

The Transformation of Libraries

Wilcox Public Library, Wilcox AZ

Wilcox Public Library, Wilcox AZ

For centuries private and institutional libraries have been about the storage and retrieval of information on paper. They were hushed spaces where stern librarians guarded the paper and maintained the decorum. Even public libraries bent towards this model. But, today, public libraries throughout the US, in fact around the world, have transformed themselves in the span of fifteen to twenty years. They embraced the internet, have become a key access point, and expanded into a place for engagement, learning, and creation. This transformation occurred based on the values held by libraries and their users, direct input from users, and the library staff’s guidance and experimentation.

(download a PDF version of this essay here)

Continue reading

Accessibility in New Linear Park in Hudson

Ever since the completion earlier this year of the linear park between Warren and State streets (beginning across the street from the Hudson Opera House)  I have mostly marvelled at the ungainly sight of the access ramps. Finally last night I walked from State to Warren along this park. What struck me was the walkway which is composed of raised squares roughly 4 inches on a side spaced approximately 3/4 inch apart with loose gravel between. It is hard to imagine a wheelchair making its way along this surface.

Is This ADA Accessible?image

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US quarter for scale – 1 inch diameter.

A quick search for ADA guidelines brought up this picture with the notes: “Cobblestones and other rough surfaces make wheelchair travel difficult and uncomfortable….. Avoid materials or construction methods that create bumpy and uneven surfaces in areas and along routes required to be accessible.”1image

  1. http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/guide-to-the-ada-standards/chapter-3-floor-and-ground-surfaces []

Hidden History of Columbia County – lecture at HAL

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book cover

The Hudson Area Library History Room sponsored a lecture April 2, 2015 by Allison Guertin Marchese based on her book “Hidden History of Columbia County New York” (The History Press, 2014. Available locally at The Spotty Dog Books & Ale 440 Warren St).

Ms. Marchese touched on many topics: healing waters in New Lebanon that supported a 300 room hotel, sulfur springs in Stottville, the Shakers, Electric Park, interesting people in the area, a fairly extensive comment on Edna St. Vincent Millay, the poet and finally the library’s current home at 400 State St.

(The audio is captured on an iPhone. Serviceable, but at times a bit noisy with rustles and comments)

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Allison Marchese at Hudson Area Library 04/02/2015

 

Hudson Going Dark on the Web

Hudson, Business and Government, Will Be Demoted in Web Search Results

The trend of people accessing the web predominantly on their mobile devices is so strong that Google has announced that as of April 21, 2015 websites that are not mobile ready will be downgraded in their search findings. Google offers a guide and mobile responsiveness test site so that you can test you own site. Google is taking this step because an ever increasing portion of all visits to websites are being done on smart phones (iPhones and Android predominantly). They do not want to provide search results that lead to websites that are unusable on these devices.

Businesses and other institutions in and around Hudson are not well prepared for this. Most websites are virtually unusable on smart phones like iPhones and Androids. The text is tiny and finding anything requires much pinching and scrolling.

Here are some local websites that are mobile phone ready:

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Here is a sampling of websites that will be downgraded.

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What to Do?? A Few Suggestions

If you have a WordPress site there are fairly simple steps to make most mobile responsive. You can contact me for more about that. Check out the WPTouchPro plugin.

For others, go to your web developer and ask them to fix the site.

If you are thinking about redesigning or creating a new website start your design work on the scale of mobile devices. Think about the information your customers most need to know (e.g. location, hours of operation, reservations, telephone number, etc.) and make sure that is either on the home page or very easily accessed at the top of a menu. Make telephone numbers active so that customers can just click on the number to call you.

Don’t be taken in by fancy visual design.Make sure your developer optimizes every image. Any image over 100KB is too big. Most should be 30-40KB. Otherwise your customers are staring at their phone wondering why it takes so long to load your site.

Think of your website as an extension of the sign in front of your business. Customers don’t expect the sign to tell the whole story, but they do want to know how to find the front door.

 

 

Internet Access in Hudson- another revisit

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Using the library’s internet wi-fi Sunday morning.

I attended a meeting at CGCC Thursday 3/19 where the head of the NY State Broadband Program talked about the $1 billion initiative to bring true broadband to the whole state. 100 MBS everywhere excepting 25 in some really remote rural areas by 2019. The program will try to leverage private investment on a 1:1 basis.

Mention was also made of the $2 billion Smart School Initiative that includes access for libraries and other public uses.

A positive move by state government.

Perfect Ten Goes to Washington

Our local program, Perfect Ten for teen girls held a fundraiser (Saturday 3/21/15 at Hudson Opera House) for their trip to Washington DC coming up in April.

The girls of Perfect Ten have been dreaming and working for peaceful resolutions.  They believe that if you work hard enough on the things you believe in, dreams become reality.  They want to see an end to bullying, hurtful arguing and unnecessary conflicts. As they practice peaceful resolutions they are folding 1,000 cranes for peace to bring to Washington DC.

More information and  an opportunity to donate is on their site:

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click for more info and to donate

Photos from the event

 

Internet Access in Hudson – redux

Using Hudson Area Library's wifi - 17 degrees - 25 mph winds 02152015

Using Hudson Area Library’s WiFi – 17 degrees – 25 mph winds Sunday afternoon 02/15/2015

Internet access continues to be a problem for many in Hudson and Columbia County. It is expensive and slow.

02152105-MHCable-adThere have been no substantive improvements in broadband service here in the nearly six years since we moved here. We continue to see the insulting advertising by Mid Hudson Cable. They may have the “fastest connection” in the county, but they are sadly slow by any world standard. Continue reading