Amidst 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
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:
Photos from the event
Are you a user of Verizon “High Speed Internet” DSL Service?
We have been experiencing very annoying problems with our Verizon DSL internet service on lower Warren St. since early March 2013.1
Do you have troubles:
- connecting to a TIVO box?
- using Netflix on a Roku box?
- uploading files using FTP whether embedded in a software package like Dreamweaver or an FTP utility like Fetch?
- other strange service problems?
If you do or have other troubles with your Verizon DSL service I would like to hear from you. Contact me at: “mark at markorton.com”. Or use the form on the Contact page
- We have no complaints about speed or ping. We very reliably get 6.5 MB/S download and 0.6 MB/S upload with a ping of less than 100 milliseconds – we never said that about Mid-Hudson Cable [↩]
The 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
The Register Star featured an article today about internet service in the county, “County dials up broadband efforts: Working with local providers and developing a map of who can’t get high-speed Internet access among officials’ goals” By Nathan Mayberg.
Counting the Number without Access Is Not Enough
It is good that our government officials are concerned with improving Internet access across the county. It is painfully obvious that Internet access is more important in our time than even rural electrification and telephone service was to earlier generations. Without Internet access people are increasingly cut off from an array of opportunities. They cannot participate fully in our culture and economy.
I want to focus on the quality of Internet access. Even in Hudson, the most densely populated part of the county, we barely have broadband service. Mid-Hudson Cable provides download speeds that are only marginally broadband. Despite their advertising campaigns proclaiming “blazing speeds” up to 5 MB/s (or for $5 extra per month – 10 MB/s) the actual service I have experienced, tested with easily available test sites on the Web, has averaged 3.7 MB/s over the last 2 years. Worse, the quality of this service is so bad that it has frequently made it difficult for me to conduct my business conferences over the Web. And, because cable Internet service is provided through a party line, when lots of people are online at the same time, the service becomes even slower and less responsive.
Some have said, “You live in Hudson, Get Verizon DSL.” Recently I have done just this. Now I get 5.2 MB/s download speeds and the service quality consistently allows for good video-conferencing. But this is as good as this service will ever get. DSL has its technical limitations. To be competitive in broadband access we need to reach for 20 MB/s and higher.
Use Next Contract to Leverage Services from Mid-Hudson Cable
What to do in the short term?
The contract between the city and Mid-Hudson is coming up for renewal next year. Our local government officials need to get involved.
- Any new contract with Mid-Hudson must contain service level standards that are enforced by monetary means.
- We should expect Mid-Hudson to come to the table with a plan for enhancing Internet service in the future and this plan should be made part of the enforceable language of the contract.
- And, the contract should address a real economic barrier to access in Hudson. We need a three tier system. It might look like this: basic Internet with 5MB/s service for $20 per month; better Internet access with 10MB/s service for $35 per month and world class service with 20MB/s service for $60 per month. In all cases the service level agreement would guarantee that Mid-Hudson actually deliver these speeds not just their current “blazing speeds”.
Hudson Takes the Lead – County Benefits
If Hudson takes the lead on this, everyone in the Mid-Hudson Cable service area will benefit. We have the density and economic power to get Mid-Hudson to improve Internet access and service. Once we set the standard other communities in the county with less economic power can tag along.
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.
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?).
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
A 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?)
This morning’s jog took me down to the South Bay, then along the Holcim roadway to 3rd St. From there I ran along the back side of LB Furniture to The Basilica. On passing the Basilica, I saw this aluminum step van rigged out with a chimney.
A well placed rumormonger informs (can a rumor be information?) that this is a wood-fired organic pizza truck. The black soot around the chimney suggests that it must have been fired up and tested out. From the outside, everything seems ready to go excepting the absent front bumper.
Where and when with the pizza??
BTW – watch out for the criminally high speed bumps along the LB Furniture building. I am sure that low riders like my Corolla will loose their oil pans on those things.