Celebrating Justice Through The Arts with George Floyd mural artists
As part of its (virtual) annual meeting on January 28, the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers honored the artists who created the George Floyd mural in Minneapolis. Former Ulster County chief public defender and local criminal defense attorney Andy Kossover presented the Association’s Justice through the Arts Award to five artists: Cadex Herrera, Xena Goldman, Greta McLain, Simone Alexa and Tachianna Charpenter.
Kossover, who serves on the County Legislature’s Criminal Justice Reform Task Force and is a past president of the Association, states that the artists collectively used their artistic voices to give the national criminal justice and police reform movement an inspiring image and “hopeful” alternative to the horrifying video of George Floyd’s final eight minutes. “With one mural, they heightened consciousness and helped write an American story; an American reckoning, if you will.”
Past recipients of the award include documentary filmmakers Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon for their film on the Central Park 5; Emily and Sarah Kunstler for their documentary film about their father, attorney William Kunstler, titled Disturbing the Universe; and New Paltz dance instructor, artist and columnist Susan Slotnick, for her years of teaching modern dance to residents of local state correctional facilities as part of the Rehabilitation through the Arts program.
Kossover was also responsible for presenting attorney Ben Crump, whose cases include George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Breonna Taylor, with the Association’s Outstanding Practitioner Award at the January 28 event.
Ulster County Legislator Brian Cahill announces re-election bid
Ulster County Legislator Brian Cahill (District #4 Towns of Kingston and Ulster) has announced his intention to seek re-election to the Ulster County Legislature. Cahill is completing his third nonconsecutive term.
Cahill is chairman of the Economic Development, Tourism, Housing, Planning & Transit Committee. “During the first year of the current term, we were immediately faced with the tragic onset of Covid-19 that impacted each of our lives, some in the most devastating of ways,” said Cahill. “The Ulster County Legislature worked closely with the County Executive to ensure the county could do everything possible to stem the spread of this virus without interruption to our county government duties. I will continue to emphasize the importance of economic development especially the Enterprise West complex, as well as the ongoing housing crisis in Ulster County as we recover in the months ahead. It is a privilege and an honor to represent the residents of District 4. I look forward to continuing to work on their behalf, and as always, with their best interests at the forefront.”
More contagious UK variant of Covid-19 found in Ulster County
Ulster County executive Pat Ryan said last week that an Ulster County resident has tested positive for the UK strain of Covid-19, a more contagious variant of the virus.
“Today we were notified by the New York State Health Department that an Ulster County resident has tested positive for the UK strain of Covid-19,” said Ryan. “This is a critical reminder that, while we have made great strides in fighting this virus, we are far from out of the woods yet. I ask that all residents remain vigilant and proactive to blunt any further spread of the virus. We must continue to social distance, wear masks, avoid gatherings and take all precautions necessary. As county executive, I will continue to do everything within my power to advocate for additional vaccines and ensure that the distribution of available doses is done safely, quickly and equitably.”
According to the CDC, the variant spreads more easily than other forms of the virus, and one study found that it was also more lethal, but “more studies are needed to confirm this finding.”
Ryan also said that the apex of the Covid-19 second wave appears to be behind us, with active cases and new positivity rates falling.
Shots fired from one car at another in Kingston
On Sunday, February 7 at around 9 a.m., members of the Kingston Police Department responded to the area of Franklin Street and Prospect Street for a reported shots fired.
According to police, an individual in a black four-door Volkswagen Passat travelling down Franklin Street (from Broadway towards Prospect Street) was seen leaning out the passenger side window shooting a firearm at a blue four-door Honda Accord that was following. The Passat was last seen turning right onto Prospect Street. (The Kingston Library sits at this intersection.) The Honda was last seen going through the stop sign at Franklin Street towards Clinton Avenue.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Kingston Police Department at (845) 331-1671. Those wishing to remain anonymous can leave a message on the department’s Tipline at (845) 331-4499.
Kingston man injured in shooting at Rondout Gardens
On Saturday, February 6 at around 10 p.m., members of the Kingston Police Department responded to the Broadway Campus of the Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley (HAHV) for a subject with a gunshot wound to his leg. The victim, a 27-year-old male, had been dropped off at the emergency room by a friend. The shooting had happened elsewhere. The male was treated and later released from the hospital.
According to police, the victim would only say that the incident occurred in the area of one of the entrances to Rondout Gardens and that a green pick-up truck may have been involved. The victim would not cooperate any further, police said.
The Kingston Police Department is investigating this shooting and is asking the public’s assistance in helping identify those responsible. Anyone with information is asked to call the Kingston Police Department at (845) 331-1671. Those wishing to remain anonymous can leave a message on the department’s Tipline at (845) 331-4499.
Women’s Studio Workshop’s Chili Bowl Fest returns as a fully online bowl sale
The Women’s Studio Workshop (WSW)’s Chili Bowl Fest fundraiser returns on February 27 as a fully online bowl sale. For over two decades, this event has been a celebration of ceramics and community and has become a staple of Rosendale’s public festival schedule. To continue in this tradition while adhering to New York State’s health guidelines around the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival has been transformed into a one-day virtual sale of handmade ceramics.
Starting at 10 a.m. on February 27, over 200 bowls, handcrafted by local artists, WSW staff and interns, resident artists, students and volunteers, will be available for immediate purchase. Because so many hands contribute to this process, each vessel is one-of-a-kind and widely varied in shape, size, color, decoration and, of course, price point.
Each bowl will be double-boxed, carefully packaged with recyclable materials and mailed directly to your door for safety and ease. All proceeds from the Chili Bowl Fest support artistic programming at WSW. For additional information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saugerties Police Reform and Reinvention Committee schedules final town hall
The Saugerties Police Reform and Reinvention Committee (SPRRC) will hold its third and final town hall via Zoom on Wednesday, February 17 at 6:30 p.m. The committee will e-mail the draft of its report to all who register for the meeting. The town hall will be an opportunity for the community to comment or ask questions about each section of the report. This public comment period fulfills governor Andrew Cuomo’s directive to “promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness and legitimacy and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.”
For information about the town hall and to obtain the Zoom link, e-mail email@example.com or call (845) 328-1426.
The Village of New Paltz Affordable Housing Board meeting that was scheduled for January 26 at 6 p.m. has been rescheduled to February 23 at 6 p.m.
Ulster receives more vaccine doses, but still inadequate
County executive Pat Ryan said last week that the county has so far received 6,800 doses of Covid vaccine total: less than 10 percent of those needed to provide the first round of shots for the 70,000 Ulster residents who are eligible. “We have to continue to be patient until supply picks up from the federal government,” said Ryan.
The 1,900 doses are being distributed like so (phase/group/doses/location):
Phase 1a / healthcare and hospital workers / 800 doses / through employer
Phase 1b / other essential workers / 500 doses / county distribution sites in Kingston and Ellenville
Seniors / anyone age 65 or older / 600 doses / pharmacies
The county distribution sites are located at Kingston High School and Ellenville High School. Appointments are made online by signing up to be notified when they’re available, and scheduling a day when contacted. Ryan said that all the appointments for this week have been filled, and that next week additional categories would be added, including restaurant workers, taxi drivers and those living in developmentally disabled facilities.
Appointments at pharmacies are made by contacting the pharmacy. Ryan said that 100 doses each will be distributed at six local pharmacies: Rite Aid, 485 Broadway, Kingston; Walgreens, 316 Broadway, Kingston; Walgreens, 201 Plaza Road, Kingston; Walgreens, Simmons Plaza Road, Saugerties; Walgreens, 50 North Main Street, Ellenville; Walgreens, 3732 Route 9W, Highland.
Seniors who need help can contact the Ulster County Office of the Aging at (845) 340-3456.
As for the current state of the virus in Ulster, Ryan said that the positivity rate has been in decline consistently for a week and active cases have also fallen. “We feel increasingly confident each day that in Ulster County we think we’ve reached the apex of the second wave, and if we can all continue to do the right things, follow the precautions, that we can get this back under control,” he said.
Kindergarten registration in Highland
The kindergarten registration process for Highland Central Schools is open for the 2021/2022 school year. Parents and guardians may contact the district registrar at (845) 691-1032 with any questions or can visit Highland High School between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to sign out a registration packet. Packets must be taken home, completed and then returned to the high school.
There is a special registration packet for kindergarten that is not available on the district website. Children eligible to register for kindergarten must be five years of age on or before December 13, 2021.
The high school is located at 320 Pancake Hollow Road in Highland.
Vote on playground equipment for Kingston Point
As a part of the Kingston Point Park Infrastructure Improvements Project, a soccer field and parking lot will be constructed near Kingston Point Beach. The Kingston Point Park Infrastructure Improvements Project is funded through a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and will go to bid in March, with construction commencing in May 2021. Completion is expected by September.
With the City seeking additional funding, a playground will be added to the Kingston Point Park Infrastructure Improvements Project. The public is encouraged to vote on which playground design should be selected. As part of the poll, the City is proposing its first natural playscape for consideration.
To vote for a design, visit https://engagekingston.com/kingston-point-playground.
Want to foster a kitten? The Ulster SPCA would like to hear from you
The Ulster County SPCA is seeking volunteers to foster kittens. “If you are interested in helping our cats, but cannot commit to an adoption, please consider our foster program,” reads a release.
Foster care includes: providing daily wholesome cat food and water; providing a clean litter box for elimination; providing a warm, safe place inside your home; administering medications if any; transporting the cat to the SPCA to see a veterinarian if necessary (paid for by SPCA); transporting the cat to the SPCA for scheduled vaccinations (paid for by SPCA); and socializing the cat.
For more details or to apply, visit the organization’s website.
Pandemic Radio: How WFNP stayed on-air and reached new listeners
When Nikki Donohue, the news director for SUNY New Paltz’s radio station, WFNP, heard that the college would be moving to remote operations in March 2020, her first thought was whether the student-run campus radio station would still be able to broadcast the news. “I was texting in the group chat, asking if anyone was available to read on the air,” Donohue said. “We ended up being able to get a few people together. That turned out to be our last newscast from campus that spring.”
In the early days of the pandemic, WFNP was up against the same challenge many other teams were facing: learning to collaborate without being together in the same spaces. “I thought there was no way this was going to run without people in the studio,” Donohue said.
Overcoming that challenge meant coming up with new ways of working and new ways of reaching audiences who were increasingly in need of human connection. “During the summer we had an off period, which gave us time to plan,” said Donohue, who took over as station manager after the spring 2020 semester. “We wanted to respect people’s time and their own adjustments, but we also wanted to get stuff done.”
It started with organizing a remote recording system. Emily Nagle became the station’s first-ever virtual programming manager, tasked with building a process that would let deejays create shows, transfer playlists and collaborate with engineers from anywhere in the world. “Whether they’re in town, in their rooms on campus or someplace completely different, we wanted to make sure people had everything they needed,” Nagle said. “It takes a lot of coordination between people who can’t be together.”
The station also adopted new health and safety protocols to allow a small number of on-campus deejays and engineers to use the studio. They instituted strict occupancy limits, expanded cleaning practices and mandated use of microphone windscreens, among other practices.
The hard work paid off. WFNP was on the air continuously during the fall 2020 semester, helping preserve some semblance of normalcy for its listeners and for the students working at the station. “The radio’s kind of an escape from all the crazy stuff that’s going on in the world,” Donohue said. “It just seems normal, when nothing else really does.”
“We’re promoting the livestream on our website more and more,” said Alli Dempsey, the station’s promotions manager. “It’s making the station more accessible. I have friends and family who aren’t in the area who listen more now than they ever did.”
Even Center for Student Media director Val Turco, with her years of experience in media and broadcasting, has been surprised by how well WFNP has fared in the COVID-19 era. “The students saw this as an opportunity for the station to connect to our local community and beyond,” Turco said, “and their hard work put us in a really cool spot to provide information and comfort on a platform that will hopefully continue to grow.”
WFNP is back on the air for the spring 2021 semester. For more information on how to listen and how to get involved with the station, visit https://wfnp.org or follow on Instagram @wfnptheedge.
Student art competition and virtual exhibition
Roost Studios of New Paltz is calling for submissions of student art for its annual student art competition and virtual exhibition.
Four students participating in the show will each be given a $250 cash award.
The competition is open to SUNY New Paltz art students and New Paltz High School seniors demonstrating excellence and dedication in the arts.
The deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.
Learn more and apply, visit https://www.roostcoop.org/student-art-competition.
Mid-winter walk with Justin Wexler
Join Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) on Saturday, February 13, at 11 a.m. for a nature walk titled, “Midwinter Walk: The Earth Reawakening” with ethnoecologist Justin Wexler of Wild Hudson Valley. This is one of several seasonal walks HHS will host in 2021.
On this walk Wexler will explore the outdoors and learn about the local environment, as well as the life of the Indigenous people of the Hudson Valley over five centuries ago.
Check-in is at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center. The tour will start at the replica Esopus Munsee wigwam and will guide visitors through the Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary. Learn more and register at https://www.huguenotstreet.org/calendar-of-events/2020/12/12/the-winter-hunt-bears-stars-and-snow-with-justin-wexler-fbxcd.
Candidates sought for Gardiner offices
The Gardiner Democratic Committee (GDC) is looking for Gardiner residents interested in running for town offices this coming November and being endorsed by the GDC. The positions on the ballot include county legislator (UC District 16), town supervisor, town board member (two positions), town clerk, highways and roads superintendent and town court justice.
Residents interested should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing interest and, briefly, their reasons for possibly seeking office. A resume is also requested if available. Questions can be sent to the same address, but be sure to include a phone number for a return call. Those interested will need to complete a questionnaire that will be sent to them shortly after their initial email.
Town of New Paltz seeks volunteers
The Town of New Paltz is looking for volunteers to serve on the Bike-Ped Committee, Clean Water Open Space Preservation Commission, Environmental Conservation Board, Ethics Board, Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Board (one member and two alternates), Public Access Committee and Recreation Committee.
Interested parties may submit a letter of interest and resume to the supervisor’s office at P.O. Box 550, New Paltz, NY 12561 or email email@example.com.
Winter s’mores making party Monday, February 15
Have a little outdoor fun on February 15 from noon to 2 p.m. in the pavilion at the Field of Dreams, located at 241 Libertyville Road in New Paltz.
The Town of New Paltz will provide individualized s’mores-making kits, along with free hot chocolate, popcorn, music, outdoor activities and a campfire to toast your marshmallows.
Everything is individualized. All staff and volunteers will be following CDC protocols to ensure safety. In addition, everyone in attendance will be required to wear masks or face coverings and practice social distancing.
For additional information, call Jim Tinger at (845) 235-2593 or Phoenix Kawamoto at (845) 256-5014.