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

 

Our Stranger and Stranger Mayor

IMG_1197.JPGMayor Hallenbeck continues to give evidence of a certain strangeness of mind. Dogs, drug testing, and now a sense of time that might be suited to Star Trek:

From the 8/19/14 Register Star article, “Two years on, still no sign or stone for Staley B. Keith” concerning a missing stone in Keith’s honor:

Hallenbeck said via telephone that, although it’s been two years since Staley Keith died, there have only been four or five months each summer to place the stone, since it couldn’t have gone in in the late fall or winter.

“We’re talking 10 months, not 24,” he said. “Everything we’ve had to consider, the logistics, the liability, making sure wherever it’s placed we’re not liable for an accident out there. I take full responsibility for it not being there.”

Really. Does planning and decision making stop in late fall and commence again in the spring?

Isn’t two years two years in our galaxy?

Hudson and Its People: immigration in 19th & 20th centuries by Sally Naramore

Warren St Hudson NY at dusk looking up townThe Greenport Historical Society hosted a lecture by Sally Naramore on Wednesday evening 4/18/2013 at the Greenport Town Hall. Her presentation which included visuals not included here, focused on immigration to Hudson in the 19th and 20th centuries.

If you know Hudson, especially the churches, you should be able to follow her descriptions of where people settled within Hudson. Ms. Naramore is the Department Chair and Teach of Social Studies at Hudson High School. She was Executive Director of the Columbia County Historical Society from 1983-1990 (biographical information from the historical society’s flyer). Continue reading

Not to Be Missed – Sam Pratt on FOIL

The omnipresent and frequently useful Sam Pratt has a great introduction to our New York state Freedom of Information Law. Don’t miss it it on his eponymous blog

I am going to try it out to get the current contract between the city and Mid-Hudson Cable. Got to get a head start on rousing people to the barricades before the city gives away the store again when the contract comes up for renewal.

Ramp Fest Hudson NY – 05/05/2012

Ramp Fest Hudson NY may 5, 2012Karen, with friends Esther and Rose Hanig, went off to Ramp Fest Saturday. I stayed behind to mind the store.

They gave the food and the ambiance rave reviews. They ate enough so I barely had to make dinner.

 

Here are a few photos taken by Karen.

Ramp Fest Hudson NY Basilica

Ramp Fest Hudson NY - Jeff Loshinsky

Jeff Gimmel - one of the prime ramp movers

 

Ramp Fest Hudson NY - picture takingRamp Fest Hudson Ny - Truck Pizza - Sam Starr

Sam Starr's Truck Pizza got in on the action

Karen got carded - "Drinking Age Verified"

Hudson Sidewalks – more about Prospect Ave. and code enforcement

no curbs on new sidewalk on Prospect Ave. Hudson NYA couple of weeks ago I came on a new sidewalk on Prospect Ave. that seemed to be out of compliance with local ordinances. At the time I wrote a bit about this, “Sidewalks in Hudson – Dangerous for Lack of Code Enforcement and Common Sense“.

Yesterday, my walk took me up Prospect again.

Now we seem to be seeing the finished product. Not only is it not as wide by 16 inches as the ordinance calls for, there is no curb.

Perhaps our Code Enforcement Officer Mr.Wurster could shed some light on this state of affairs?  Or perhaps it is to the Superintendent of Public Works Mr. Perry that we should address a question. It is not clear in the city Code  about who is responsible for overseeing sidewalk construction. 

Sidewalks in Hudson – Dangerous for Lack of Code Enforcement and Common Sense

sidewalk under construction Prospect Ave Hudson NY

My earlier posting, “New Sidewalk, Short on Common Sense and Oversight, a Disaster for Pedestrians“, about the new sidewalk in front of Wunderbar brought a number of comments and some interesting dialogue about what is really going on with sidewalks in Hudson. As wunderbar commented about that posting, “Stay your gavel and break out your ruler”. In fact, this sidewalk was built to the city’s code requirements.

With Carole Osterink pointing me the way to the applicable city codes (Chapter A330. CURB, SIDEWALK AND STREET REQUIREMENTS and Chapter 266. STREETS AND SIDEWALKS) where the requirements are spelled out in considerable detail, I now see a bit deeper into this problem. 

BTW – Carole has a different take on sidewalks in a recent posting, “Where the Sidewalk Ends”. Her words speak one story, the photos seem uniformly to support the assertion that our sidewalks are a hazardous mess.

The city has ordinances that are not being enforced. And, based on the evidence of a new sidewalk just up the block from the Wunderbar sidewalk as you turn the corner onto Prospect Ave., not being administered with consistency. The code calls for the width of a sidewalk to be 5 feet. 44 inches is a bit shy.

It seems that perhaps the deeper issue revolves around a reluctance by the city to enforce its own codes to get property owners to rebuild sidewalks. In some places, like lower Allen St. near Front St., the sidewalk has simply disappeared. We need an injection of pride of place. Hudson is such a compact walkable place, with many charms. But, one hesitates to walk almost anywhere without gazing fixedly downward for fear of  treachery by sidewalk. 

Clearly this problem cannot be solved without some action by the elected officialsThis might include developing a multi-year city wide project and perhaps the city asking for bids from contractors for large volume sidewalk construction so that the cost of the construction can be driven down. This could also facilitate whole blocks being rebuilt at once so that the finished product is a flat, safe surface for pedestrians.

Another area of enforcement that would appear to be flagging is the attention to the details spelled out in the ordinances for the materials and tamping of subsoils before concrete is poured. Everywhere in the city there are examples of subsidence of the sidewalk relative to the curbing of one and more inches. This can only be the result of poor construction techniques.

sidewalk width Prospect Ave Hudson NY

Finally, wheelchair ramps. Laws, regulations, and general social consent that disabled people should have fair access to social spaces have been in place for decades. Somehow, our sidewalks are exempt. There are innumerable intersections where there are no curb ramps. As part of a rebuilding of sidewalks we should put these ramps into place.

I do still stand by my comments that the sidewalk constructed in front of Wunderbar defies common sense. Practical people solve problems in a way that is workable and durable. This abrupt transition between the two sidewalks is not workable nor safe. The city code enforcement and the contractor should have come up with a solution that resolved this. Lacking some vigorous action by city officials or the shame of the owner of the building adjacent, this sidewalk mess will be with us for years (decades?).

New Sidewalk, Short on Common Sense and Oversight, a Disaster for Pedestrians

Graffiti an Eradicable Problem

Articles in The Gossips of Rivertown and Register Star about the marking of fresh concrete sidewalks in front of WunderBar and the forthcoming The Crimson Sparrow with graffiti inspired considerable comment.

Can’t Erase This with a Trowel

04/15/2012 bad sidewalks in Hudson NYA recent walk up the street revealed a problem with this sidewalk work that can not be eradicated with a trowel. There is a mismatch in elevation of roughly three inches as you walk up Warren and another at the end of the new section of an inch or more, an obvious hazard to pedestrians, an insurmountable barrier to wheelchairs.

Common sense dictates that sidewalks be flat, regular surfaces without such hazards. Doubtless design standards for sidewalks say more.

What does this say about the owners of these buildings? What does it say about the workmanship of the contractor, a local one at that, to build something like this? And, where is the oversight of the city? Can one simple jack hammer a sidewalk and put down anything you want? 

By way of prediction, this ramp of concrete that the contractor put it to mask this travesty will not survive more than a winter of two before it begins to disintegrate. Good old mother nature, here through the freeze-thaw cycles of our winters, will reduce this to rubble.

Bad Construction and Poor Oversight Persist  for Years (Decades?)

Mid-Hudson Cable Continues To Be a Rip Off

Mid-Hudson Cable continues to provide substandard internet services here. I have written of this earlier. Last summer I suckered up for the “up to 10 MB/sec” service for an extra $5 per month. Recently I updated my test results over this time span. The average download speed (all results based on 130 tests from August 2011 through today) is 5.9 MB/sec; the average upload speed is .43 MB/sec. The ping time average is 160 milliseconds.

So, in the strange world of Mid-Hudson Cable 5.9 equals “up to 10 MB/sec”. One does not need a calculator to see that there is a 40% shortfall here.

You can download the spreadsheet here to check out the data