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


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.” ((

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


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:


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

Weighted Voting in Hudson – Skirting the Real Issue

Hudson NY City HallThe recent report (( accessed 09252014 4:20pm)) by law students from Hofstra that addresses in part the weighted voting system in use for the city’s Common Council has engendered considerable discussion. The Register Star’s John Mason offered up, “Report questions city’s weighted-vote system” (( accessed 09232014 8:31pm)). Our local radio station WGXC held a discussion between Victor Mendolia and Common Council President Don Moore on the topic (( accessed 09182014 8:30pm))

.Much of the discussion has focused on the somewhat abstract questions of the constitutionality of a system that appears to violate the “one person one vote” principle. The issues become crystal clear once you put numbers into play and see how this creates a pernicious environment for governing the city.

Hudson Population by Ward (2010)

First Ward: 770
Second Ward: 1,281.
Third Ward: 1,142.
Fourth Ward: 725.
Fifth Ward: 2,485

Weighted Voting Power by Alderman

President, Common Council – Don Moore – 190

Alderman, 1st Ward – David Marston – 95
Alderman, 1st Ward – Nicholas Haddad – 95

Alderman, 2nd Ward – Abdus S. Miah – 185
Alderman, 2nd Ward – Tiffany Garriga – 185

Alderman, 3rd Ward – John K. Friedman – 180
Alderman, 3rd Ward – Henry A. Haddad – 180

Alderman, 4th Ward – Alexis Keith – 95
Alderman, 4th Ward – Ohrine Stewart – 95

Alderman, 5th Ward – Robert J. Donahue, Sr. – 364
Alderman, 5th Ward – Bartholomew F. Delaney Jr. – 364

Total votes = 2,028. A simple majority is 1,015. ((The weighted voting system is arcane in the extreme. There are actually three different panels of weighted voting dependent on whether a simple, 2/3, or 3/4 majority is required to pass a motion. And there are more details about what constitutes a quorum under varying conditions. Here is the source: accessed 09252014 4:04pm))

The votes of Donahue and Delaney constitute 72% of a simple majority, yet they are only 18% of the membership of the council.

A Little Role Play

Now just imagine yourself as an Alderman sitting in the room with the ten other members of the Common Council. How much attention would you pay to the opinions of a person with 95 votes compared to a person with 185 or 364 votes knowing that you need 1,015 votes for simple majority? It is obvious that the opinions of Donahue and Delaney are far more important in the practical matter of passing legislation than Marston, Haddad, Keith, or Stewart. In fact, Delaney, Donahue, and any two of the Alderman from 2nd or 3rd Wards or the Common Council President can pass legislation. In a very real way the collective opinions of Donahue and Delaney on any matter pretty much set a boundary for what policies might get approved. ((

As an aside, applying this logic to the county, where the weighted system legitimately rules, it is obvious that the citizens of Hudson would be better served by having a single Supervisor who would have a very large block of votes rather than distributed across five Supervisors.))

This makes a mockery of the rules we presume when we enter a democratic institution. This is why one person one vote is important.

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?

“You Need a Fernco Cap” – the wisdom of buying local

So I was in the middle of one of my long-delayed projects, depressing two white plastic clean out pipes sticking up in the back yard. Seemed simple. Just dig around the pipes, cut them down and glue on new plastic caps.

Off to Herrington’s to buy the new plastic caps – I already have the glue from an earlier bathroom project.

On my return I discover that the pipe in the ground is not what I thought it to be. Back to Herringtons – I explain my error and the sales person, sorry I never got his name, said, “Oh, there is a simpler solution, you need a Fernco!”

What is a Fernco? – turns out that I had used them earlier, many years ago then forgotten this line of neoprene plumbing fittings.  I never would have thought of it. But, buy local and someone at Herringtons will remind you.Fernco 4" neoprene cap


Troubles with Verizon DSL Internet Service in Hudson

Are you a user of Verizon “High Speed Internet” DSL Service?


borrowed w/o permission

We have been experiencing very annoying problems with our Verizon DSL internet service on lower Warren St. since early March 2013. ((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))

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”. Or use the form on the Contact page