Woodstock designated Clean Energy Community
The Town of Woodstock has been designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy locally. Announced by governor Andrew M. Cuomo in January 2021, the second phase of the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) initiative, the $17 million CEC Leadership Round, supports and recognizes local government leaders across the state by providing grants to eligible municipalities to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities. Achievements by Clean Energy Communities help support Governor Cuomo’s climate and clean energy goals as outlined under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
According to Woodstock town supervisor Bill McKenna, “Our community made a significant commitment to clean energy in 2007 when we pledged to become a carbon-neutral municipality within ten years. We met that goal two years early and received an Environmental Excellence Award for our achievement from the New York State Association of Conservation Commissions at their annual conference in 2017. In September 2020, we received Bronze certification from the New York State DEC through their Climate Smart Communities Program. Earning NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Community designation underscores Woodstock’s ongoing commitment to promoting clean energy, mitigating climate change and protecting the environment.”
Woodstock received this latest recognition for completing five high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative. To date, the Town of Woodstock has completed the following high-impact actions:
• Clean Fleets: In the fall of 2018, Woodstock installed two electric vehicle charging stations – one at the Rock City Road municipal parking lot and the second at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center.
• Climate Smart Communities Certification: Woodstock earned the Bronze-level certification in the fall of 2020.
• Solarize Campaign: In 2015, Woodstock launched the Woodstock/Rosendale Solarize Hudson Valley Campaign.
• LED Streetlights: Woodstock completed conversion of its municipal streetlights to LED in January 2021.
• Unified Solar Permit: In 2014, the Town of Woodstock adopted the New York State Unified Solar Permit, simplifying and streamlining the permitting of small-scale photovoltaic systems.
Doreen Harris, acting president and CEO of NYSERDA, said, “Kudos to the Town of Woodstock for building on their action as a Climate Smart Community to become a Clean Energy Community. Their leadership is delivering meaningful results by lowering carbon emissions, saving energy and creating a healthier place to live and work while helping New York State meet its climate and clean energy goals.”
For more information on Clean Energy Communities, visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec.
Spring cleanup in Village of New Paltz
The Village of New Paltz will hold its annual spring cleanup from April 12 to 23.
Collection for residents who live on streets north of Main Street will begin on April 12 and end on April 16. Waste to be picked up must be out by April 12. Collection for residents who live on streets south of Main Street will begin on April 19 and end on April 23. Waste to be picked up must be out by April 19.
Village trucks will pick up bagged yard waste in biodegradable bags only, plus brush, wood, no more than four tires per household, batteries, small appliances, metal, two mattresses per residence and furniture. Two people must be able to lift all items. Paper biodegradable bags can be purchased from the Village Hall for $2.50 per five-pack.
The Village will not pick up any closed paint cans, tar buckets, closed metal or plastic containers containing any liquids, any household trash/garbage or any electronics.
“Visions: Real & Imagined” on display at the Carrie Haddad Gallery
“Visions: Real & Imagined” will be on display at the Carrie Haddad Gallery from April 14 through June 6. The exhibit will feature the work of Mark Beard, David Konigsberg, Frank Faulkner, David Dew Bruner and photography by David Seiler.
The gallery is located at 622 Warren Street in Hudson and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Tuesday by appointment only).
View the exhibit online at www.carriehaddadgallery.com.
Brush cleanup in Town of New Paltz
The Town of New Paltz’s yearly spring cleanup is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 5. The following guidelines should be adhered to:
• All piles should be on the road’s edge, parallel with the road, without infringing upon the roadway.
• There are no restrictions on size of brush this year.
• Every road in the town will be checked and cleared of all brush left out. The town will not make return trips, so please be sure to have everything out by the start date.
For additional information, call Dawn at (845) 255-5050.
Barnes & Noble closes; still hasn’t found new location
Ulster County is now without a Barnes & Noble store. After several weeks of increasingly steep discounted sales cleared out most of the inventory, the store closed its doors at 1177 Ulster Avenue for the last time on Saturday, April 3.
According to a spokesperson, the company is still seeking another location in the Kingston area.
“We have truly enjoyed serving our customers from this location for the past 16 years and appreciate their loyalty and support,” read a statement provided by Amelia Mulinder, senior manager of corporate communications. “However, the landlord wanted to go a different direction with the space and chose not to renew the lease.”
Barnes & Noble urged its customers to visit the Poughkeepsie location while it searches for another location in Kingston.
Burlington Coat Factory, currently located about a half-mile to the north, will be taking over the space.
Breaking out of their shells
Mt. Marion Elementary School students had the opportunity to break out of their shells during a special schoolwide egg hunt that was strategically planned with pandemic restrictions in mind. Students seemed very egg-cited to participate in the event. Plastic eggs were stuffed with small candies, which were carefully placed in different sections of the school’s campus for each grade level. There was also a small number of golden eggs, which were stashed with special prizes. After the hunt, students were treated to additional gifts including bunny ears, small board games and fuzzy bunny books.
Saugerties man stole two cans of beer at gunpoint
A Saugerties man was behind bars on April 5 on a charge of felony armed robbery after police say he threatened a convenience store clerk with a realistic-looking pistol before making off with two cans of beer.
The call came into police on Sunday night, April 4 at 10:30 p.m. reporting an armed robbery at the Speedy Mart located at 317 Main Street in the Village of Saugerties. The clerk told officers that a hispanic male had entered the establishment in a visibly intoxicated state and attempted to purchase two cans of beer. The store clerk said that he refused to sell alcohol to the man because he was intoxicated, at which point the man reached into his backpack and produced a handgun and pointed it at the clerk and threatening him before running out of the store with the beer.
A Saugerties Police officer who was in the area of the store at the time of the robbery observed the male, later identified as 53-year-old Alberto Rodriquez of West Bridge Street, Saugerties. The officer quickly took Rodriquez into custody without incident.
The weapon, which Rodriquez was wearing in a holster at the time he was apprehended, turned out to be a replica of a 9mm pistol. Rodriguez was processed at Saugerties Police Headquarters and then arraigned in the Village of Saugerties Justice Court, subsequently being remanded to Ulster County Jail on no bail due to a previous felony conviction.
Holocaust remembrance program with Deborah Lipstadt
The Louis and Mildred Resnick Institute for the Study of Modern Jewish Life, the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, the Resnick Institute Lecture Series and the Robert Sillins Family Foundation will present an annual Holocaust remembrance program on Wednesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.
“Antisemitism Now: A Perfect Storm” will be presented by Deborah Lipstadt, the leading scholar/activist fighting Holocaust denial. The story of her legal victory against the David Irving (historian, leading denier) libel suit was made into a major motion picture, Denial, in 2016, starring Rachel Weisz as Deborah Lipstadt.
Join with this meeting link at https://newpaltz.webex.com/newpaltz/j.php?MTID=m1524cdca066e80db1a12c5848b0607c1.
Saugerties Ethics Committee to meet April 14
The Town of Saugerties Ethics Committee will be holding a meeting on April 14 at 6:30 p.m. via WebEx. To receive the WebEx information, call Ethics Committee chair Al Bruno at (845) 399-7288.
April 23 registration deadline to vote in May 4 Village of New Paltz election
April 23 is the last day for Village of New Paltz residents to register with the Ulster County Board of Elections to be eligible to vote in the Village election on May 4. To contact the Board of Elections, call (845) 334-5470 or go to www.ulstercountyny.gov/elections/registration.
Investor/philanthropist George Soros pledges $500M toward Bard College endowment
Bard College has announced a transformational $500 million endowment from philanthropist and longtime Bard supporter George Soros. This challenge grant – among the largest ever made to higher education in the US – will facilitate and strengthen Bard’s educational and social initiatives, establish the college’s most substantial endowment ever and set the stage for a $1 billion endowment drive. In response to Soros’ challenge grant, Bard announced it has raised an additional $250 million from supporters, including trustees, alumni/ae and friends and will raise another $250 million over the next five years.
“This is the most historic moment since the college’s founding in 1860,” said Bard College president Leon Botstein. “When this endowment drive is complete, Bard will have a $1 billion endowment, which will ensure its pioneering mission and its academic excellence for the future. Bard has played an innovative and progressive role in American education without any historical wealth; it will continue to do so with this new and highly competitive endowment, to ensure equity in financial aid, reform the relationship between higher education and secondary education, promote international education and defend the arts, the humanities and basic science as the essence of the liberal arts.”
Soros’ visionary support of Bard’s role as one of two founding partners of the new Open Society University Network, a global network of educational institutions created with the Central European University in partnership with Soros’ Open Society Foundations, has permitted the college to expand and strengthen the college’s network of domestic and international partnerships. “Bard has had an outsized impact, setting the standard in liberal arts education in prisons, in high-school-age students and in the arts and in its international work,” said Soros.
This endowment pledge from Soros, along with Bard’s matching contributions, will endow the college’s full array of student financial aid, faculty and programs; enable the college to sustain its mission and to grow its international profile; and begin its endowment drive with $750 million.
For more information about Bard College, visit www.bard.edu.
Celebrate Earth Day in Saugerties
Town of Saugerties supervisor Fred Costello has announced that Saugerties Green and Clean Days will be held on April 17, 18, 24 and 25. All Saugerties residents are invited to celebrate Earth Day by pitching in to clean up roadside litter throughout the town. The signup sheet and orange trash bags with the town logo will be available at the town clerk’s office at Town Hall, located at 4 High Street in Saugerties, at no cost to Green & Clean participants.
Pick a road and sign up your team, or go it alone. Filled orange trash bags with the town logo can be left on the roadsides and will be picked up by the Highway Department on Mondays, April 19 and 26. Become a part of the “greening” of Saugerties and help keep America beautiful.
For further information, contact the supervisor’s office at (845) 246-2800, extension 345.
Denizen Theatre commissions new Drew Larimore play
The Denizen Theatre has announced a new play commission by playwright Drew Larimore.
Larimore’s recent play Smithtown, starring Michael Urie, Constance Shulman, Ann Harada and Colby Lewis, just completed its successful streaming run in March 2021. Acknowledged around the country by The New Yorker, Theater Mania, The New York Times and LEO Weekly, as well as Today in New York among others, the play focuses on a small-town tragedy spurred by technological mishaps where four characters struggle over their shared guilt and responsibility. San Francisco’s Theatrius praised the play in saying, “Drew Larimore masterfully exposes perils of social media.”
Larimore has a working relationship with the Denizen that goes back to a workshop of his play The Cannibals of McGower County in 2019. With the support and guidance of the Denizen team, he rewrote the full-length play over the course of a week and presented it to a small audience.
“I absolutely love the Denizen, and their audience seem hungry for dynamic new work,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to return to work on a larger project for some time. The two-character play I’ve been commissioned to write is about a gay couple who move upstate in an attempt to start over. It delves into universal issues that resonate with folks all over. I can’t wait to dive in.”
Founder and producing artistic director Harry Lipstein states, “We are proud to be able to promote important new work by talented artists, especially as we ease out of this current crisis. These are relevant issues worthy of discussion.”
Larimore writes, “In a time when theatres aren’t giving many commissions, I feel deeply honored by this opportunity. I look forward to developing it with the Denizen this summer and presenting a safe reading for the community.”
Town of New Paltz seeks volunteers
The Town of New Paltz is looking for volunteers to serve on the Board of Assessment Review, Bike/Ped Committee, Clean Water/Open Space Preservation Commission, Ethics Board, Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Board (one alternate) and the Public Access Committee. Interested parties are asked to submit a letter of interest and résumé to the Town Supervisor’s Office at PO Box 550, New Paltz, NY 12561 or e-mail email@example.com.
Register for Rock & Snow Bridge-2-Bridge five-mile virtual run
Register now to participate in the Rock & Snow Bridge-2-Bridge virtual five-mile run taking place from April 10 at 11 a.m. through April 18 at 2 p.m. The race is virtual for 2021, with the option to run the actual course at the Mohonk Preserve or anywhere you choose.
Entry fee includes:
• Mohonk Preserve/Rock and Snow pint glass
• Self-time and upload your results after the run
• Bridge-2-Bridge registrants will also receive complimentary entry to Race #4 of the 49th New Paltz Summer Series.
The annual Rock and Snow Bridge-2-Bridge five-mile run is organized by the Mohonk Preserve with support from the Shawangunk Runners. All proceeds benefit the Mohonk Preserve.
Ulster County Board of Elections hosts “I Voted” art contest
Ulster County Board of Elections commissioners Ashley Dittus and John Quigley have announced a new community initiative for Ulster County students. In order to promote the voting process and give young people a platform for civic engagement, the Board of Elections is launching its first “I Voted” sticker artwork contest.
The contest is open to any Ulster County students ages 13 to 18 years. We are asking for contestants to complete a logo, which will then be used to create “I Voted” two-inch stickers and digital graphics that will be produced and used for sharing for the November 2, 2021 general election. “I Voted” must appear somewhere in the design. Artwork may be submitted between April 1 and the June 1 deadline.
“We are excited to launch this project and give a platform for young people to engage with the voting process. I am excited to see how our area students interpret the concept of voting in a creative way,” said Commissioner Dittus.
“The board has been looking for different ways to engage with the community and foster a deeper connection between our office and the voters we serve, especially for young people who are thinking of voting for the first time,” added Commissioner Quigley.
The Ulster County Board of Elections commissioners will select the top designs, and then the contest will be up for a vote on its website, www.voteulster.com, during the month of July. The winning designs will be selected from the top vote-getters and posted on September 10, with stickers being distributed during the November 2 general election.
Students should submit their artwork in either photo, PDF or JPEG form to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, contact deputy commissioner Jen Fuentes or Keri Williams at (845) 334-5470.
Saugerties names valedictorian and salutatorian
The Saugerties Central School District has announced that Olivia Staby has been named valedictorian of the Class of 2021 and Sophia Kamrass is this year’s salutatorian.
Staby, the daughter of Stephanie Serra and John Staby, both of Saugerties, earned top honors with a GPA of 100.42. During her high school career, she maintained a rigorous academic schedule, including five Advanced Placement (AP) courses and five college courses. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Student Government and Student Council. Staby has served as treasurer of the French Club every year since her sophomore year. Staby was also the first student at Saugerties High School to fulfill all of the requirements to earn the New York State Seal of Biliteracy by demonstrating a high level of proficiency in English and Spanish during her junior year.
Throughout high school, Staby has volunteered for the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce and the Teen Tech Tutoring program at the Saugerties Library. She also participates in Youth Leadership at the YWCA and works as a part-time receptionist at Sawyer Motors. This fall, Staby is planning to attend SUNY New Paltz, where she will major in International Business and Education.
Staby looks back fondly at her Saugerties education. “I learned that I must love the earth below my feet and foster a sense of gratitude toward the community that has shaped my dreams and fueled me to venture outward before I follow paths that lead me elsewhere,” she says. “And no matter where I go, I will always nurture a love for Saugerties within me.”
Salutatorian Sophia Kamrass, whose GPA is 100.22, has taken seven AP courses and four college courses over the course of her high school career. She is the daughter of Eileen and Philip Kamrass of Saugerties. Kamrass is a member of the National Honor Society and was a member of the Art Club in previous years. When she is not studying, she enjoys reading, writing and drawing. In addition, she plays the trumpet in the high school band and also takes private lessons to hone her talent further.
The 17-year-old says, “The most important thing I’ve learned over this time is to be forgiving and patient to myself and to others, because nobody remains untouched by the effects of life, let alone the monstrous, all-encompassing effects of COVID.” Kamrass will be attending either Ursinus College, Goucher College or Barnard College in the fall, where she will major in English with an emphasis in writing and foreign language.
Looking back at her high school career, Kamrass says, “Every teacher I’ve ever had has left a lasting impression on me, even if it was a simple life lesson or personal saying, or even if I didn’t agree with them. Considering many perspectives is important, and that’s a lesson you can learn in any class.”
Ease neck & shoulders class with Anneliese Mordhorst
The Gardiner Library will host a virtual class series titled “Finding Ease in the Neck and Shoulders” with Anneliese Mordhorst on Monday, April 12 and April 19 from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Each class costs $8. Preregister by 3 p.m. on the day of the class by contacting Nicole Lane at email@example.com. Take one or both classes to experience different techniques, with some overlap. All registrants will receive a recording of the classes.
Using simple, accessible techniques, the class will encourage a transformation in the body: from tension to release, from holding to ease, from discomfort to mobility. The shoulders and neck will benefit from weaving Old World practices together with contemporary Somatic Movement methods.
Classes are designed to give participants resources for self-care and for caring for their loved ones. Everyone is welcome regardless of physical ability. Bring to class an exercise band, yoga strap or long flexible belt.
Virtual teen creative writing workshop at Gardiner Library
The Gardiner Library hosts a virtual teen creative writing workshop on Monday, April 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. The club will meet the second Monday of the month. Contact Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, to register and receive the Zoom link. Build your own story and confidence and possibly get published in the next edition of the library’s young adult literary magazine, Gardiner Ink!
Kingston Reads about race & housing
The next Kingston Reads conversation will take place on Thursday, April 15 at 5 p.m. Kingstonites (folks who live and work in Kingston) are invited to invest some time thinking and reading about the intersection of housing and racism and how we can change the narrative in our community.
Books featured for Kingston Reads conversations are available for purchase at Rough Draft Bar & Books and also at local public libraries.
Town of New Paltz still seeking solar panels on closed landfill
The Town of New Paltz has recently circulated a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for a solar installation at the town’s closed landfill at Clearwater Road. The town is planning to lease space to a solar developer. The development would be limited to the closed landfill only, in contrast to the 2019 proposal which included additional land at Clearwater Road. Locating solar on the closed landfill takes advantage of municipally owned land that has limited other uses. The town would lease this space to a solar developer who would build, operate and own the solar equipment. Building a large-scale solar array at the landfill avoids use of prime agricultural land (which is often where large scale solar is proposed) and areas in the community that are more visible. Existing electrical lines with capacity to receive solar power are critical and are available near the Clearwater Road landfill location.
“A solar project at the landfill would be a win/win for New Paltz because it would generate lease revenue for the town and could be a source of clean power for residents as part of New Paltz’s Community Choice Aggregation program, providing clean energy to several hundred homes,” said Neil Bettez, New Paltz Town Supervisor.
Solar panels do not make noise, produce odors or release chemical discharges. The developer will be required to remove the panels at the end of the lease, and a bond will be required to ensure that this happens. It will be critical to use construction techniques that do not disturb the cap of the landfill – such practices are common. The town will require wildlife-friendly adjustments to fencing, use of pollinator friendly plants and other mitigation practices within the solar array.
Hurricanes, flooding, drought, and forest fires are happening with greater frequency because of climate change — these trends can only be slowed by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Using energy more efficiently and using renewable power such as solar are proven, clean and cost-effective ways of reducing fossil fuel use. New Paltz is seeking ways to help New York State meet its goal of 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030. Solar power is an important part of this initiative and New Paltz can contribute to this effort and benefit from clean, locally generated power.
Ulster Dems file petitions to get on 2021 ballot
With the close of the petition filing period for 2021 elections last week, the Ulster County Democratic Committee (UCDC) has announced that the Board of Elections deemed all petitions for its 23 endorsed candidates seeking county-level office as valid. Although the number of signatures required was reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic by executive order, UCDC committee members and volunteers nonetheless gathered more than double the number required, utilizing PPE provided by a grant from the State Democratic Party. County comptroller candidate March Gallagher collected over eight times the necessary 300 signatures for ballot access, gathering over 2,400 from every municipality in the county. The UCDC collected 1,991 Democratic signatures for cross-endorsed county clerk candidate Nina Postupack: over a thousand more signatures than submitted by the Republican Party.
“It is heartening each year to see so many enthusiastic volunteers devote themselves to supporting this initial step in the electoral process: gaining ballot access for our Democratic candidates,” UCDC chair Kelleigh McKenzie said. “But this year, in the midst of the pandemic, it was truly inspiring. We are grateful to all who stepped up to help, and are proud to be running this slate of terrific candidates, all dedicated to bringing about positive change in our communities.”
The Ulster County Board of Elections also expanded hours during the petition-filing period to accommodate social distancing and better serve candidates and constituents.
The following candidates were endorsed by the Ulster County Democratic Committee and successfully petitioned to appear on the ballot:
• March Gallagher for Ulster County comptroller
• Nina Postupack for Ulster County clerk
• Aaron Levine for Ulster County legislator, District 1 (parts of Town of Saugerties)
• John Schoonmaker for Ulster County legislator, District 2 (parts of Town of Saugerties and Village of Saugerties)
• Arick Manocha for Ulster County legislator, District 3 (parts of Town of Saugerties and Town of Ulster)
• Brian Cahill for Ulster County legislator, District 4 (Town of Kingston and parts of Town of Ulster)
• Abe Uchitelle for Ulster County legislator, District 5 (parts of City of Kingston)
• David Donaldson for Ulster County legislator, District 6 (parts of City of Kingston)
• Peter Criswell for Ulster County legislator, District 7 (parts of City of Kingston)
• Laura Petit for Ulster County legislator, District 8 (parts of Town of Esopus)
• Gary Pregno for Ulster County legislator, District 10 (parts of Town of Lloyd and parts of Town of Marlborough)
• Marisa McClinton for Ulster County legislator, District 12 (Town of Plattekill)
• Andrew Domenech for Ulster County legislator, District 13 (parts of Town of Shawangunk)
• Kelly Palinkas Greer for Ulster County legislator, District 14 (parts of Town of Wawarsing and Shawangunk)
• John Gavaris for Ulster County legislator, District 15 (parts of Town of Wawarsing and Village of Ellenville)
• Tracey Bartels for Ulster County legislator, District 16 (Town of Gardiner and parts of Town of Shawangunk)
• Theresa Paras for Ulster County legislator, District 17 (parts of Town of New Paltz and parts of Town of Esopus)
• Eric Stewart for Ulster County legislator, District 18 (parts of Town of Hurley and parts of Town of Marbletown)
• Manna Jo Greene for Ulster County legislator, District 19 (parts of Town of Marbletown and Town of Rosendale)
• Eve Walter for Ulster County legislator, District 20 (parts of Town of New Paltz and Village of New Paltz)
• Chris Hewitt for Ulster County legislator, District 21 (Town of Rochester and parts of Town of Wawarsing)
• Kathy Nolan for Ulster County legislator, District 22 (Towns of Denning, Hardenburgh, Olive and Shandaken)
• Jonathan Heppner for Ulster County legislator, District 23 (Town of Woodstock and parts of Town of Hurley)
The primary election will be held on Tuesday, June 22. The general election is on Tuesday, November 2 this year. To find out your county legislative district, visit: https://legislature.ulstercountyny.gov/legislature/find-legislator. For voting information, visit www.voteulster.com. To volunteer with Ulster County Democrats and get involved, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
“Transcend” spring art show in New Paltz through April 30
The Rhinebeck Artist Shops’ New Paltz location has announced the exhibition of its in-store spring small works art show of local artist work centered around the theme “Transcend.” The exhibition contains over 25 original artworks created and submitted by local artists in response to the open call announced in February. The call for art invited local artists to submit a 2D or 3D artwork, measuring under 9-by-12 inches, interpreting what it means to “Transcend.” To transcend is to move beyond, move forward, send off negative energy and continue strong through adversity.
“We wanted to create an opportunity for artists to express the beauty of what can emerge from challenging times and celebrate art’s power to help people transcend, whether through the act of making it or viewing it,” said Tamara DelBoccio of the Rhinebeck Artist Shop. “After a challenging year, we wanted to celebrate our customers by giving them a platform to share their creative talents with the community.”
The Rhinebeck Artist Shop invites the local community to visit the exhibit displayed both in-store and within the storefront windows at the New Paltz location until April 30. All artwork, unless noted otherwise, is for sale, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to the artist.
The shop is located at 188 Main Street in New Paltz. For additional information, visit www.hudsonvalleyartistshops.com.
Onteora names valedictorian, salutatorian and principal’s award winner
Onteora High School (OHS) has announced that Simon Rands is valedictorian, Archie Lewis-Harris is salutatorian, and Emily Peck is the principal’s award winner for the Class of 2021. OHS Principal Lance Edelman is proud of these three honorees. “They possess all of the qualities that we hope for in our students,” he said. “They are exemplary students who have positive attitudes, thrive when challenged, have optimistic perspectives and are strong student ambassadors.”
Valedictorian Simon Rands
Simon, the son of Rachel Remler and Tim Rands of Woodstock, leads his class with a weighted grade point average (GPA) of 100.45.1. He achieved this feat while maintaining a rigorous academic schedule that included eight advanced placement (AP) classes during the course of his high school career.
Outside of the classroom, Rand’s activities included volunteering with the Ulster Immigrant Defense Network. He also served as copy editor of The Talon (the High school newspaper), vice president of the National Honor Society, and captain of the varsity soccer team (since 10th grade). Rand, the recipient of a MHAL (Mid-Hudson Athletic League) Senior Scholar Athlete Award, has thoroughly enjoyed this year’s soccer season, despite the fact that the team is low on numbers and the players are all required to wear masks on the playing field. “We haven’t won yet, but it’s been fun!” he said.
Rand, who is still waiting to hear from a number of colleges and universities, is unsure about his future major, though he is particularly interested in science, environmental justice and climate change.
Rands looks back with fondness at his Onteora education. “The best thing for me about Onteora was how small the classes were,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of classes with the same kids since 10th grade. We really know each other and we feel comfortable learning from each other.”
The small class sizes also allow students to develop personal relationships with their teachers, he said, which in turn makes it easier to learn. Among his favorite teachers, he said, were math teacher Jessica Morra and chemistry teacher Bryan Keenan. “Ms. Morra makes it easy to learn and love math,” he said, “and Mr. Keenan just loves chemistry and science so much that you can’t not also like it. He makes it fun!”
Salutatorian Archie Lewis-Harris
Archie, the son of Donna Lewis-Harris and Martin Harris of Bearsville, achieved a weighted GPA of 99.968 while juggling a challenging course load (including numerous AP classes) and extracurricular activities like varsity tennis, National Honor Society, Science Olympiad and jazz band.
Lewis-Harris, who has a passion for music, also played in the pit orchestra for three OHS musicals. Among his many musical honors are being selected to perform on clarinet with the All-State Symphonic Band and the All-Eastern Concert Band. He also co-wrote a song, “Touch,” that received an Honorable Mention in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Student Songwriters Competition.
Lewis-Harris, who will be attending the Steinhardt School of Arts & Science at New York University (NYU) in the fall, plans to major in Screen Scoring. “I want to be a professional composer,” he explained.
Musically, Lewis-Harris has been busy during the past year. “I did a film score for a short film called Hurly Burly, music for a Covid-19 PSA [public service announcement] that was selected as one of the top three in NYU’s Art for Health Campaign contest, and music for a virtual production of Macbeth,” he said. He also composed a piece called “Turning Point” that explores some of the feelings that he and his friends have had during the pandemic. On two of these projects, the film and the PSA, he collaborated with filmmaker Benny Rendell, a friend who will also be attending NYU.
Lewis-Harris, who is full of praise for Onteora teachers, mentions math teacher Jessica Morra and chemistry teacher Bryan Keenan as being among his favorites. “I loved my time here at Onteora,” he said. “I am very thankful I had the opportunity to be educated in such a wonderful environment, with such amazing teachers and peers,” he said.
Principal’s award winner Emily Peck
Emily, the daughter of Kelly and Tim Peck of Boiceville, was selected by OHS Principal Lance Edelman for this year’s Principal’s Award. The annual award is given as part of a scholastic achievement awards program sponsored by the Ulster County Superintendents’ Council.
Peck, who is fourth in her class, has an affinity for history and related subjects. “I really love history and all the electives that have to do with history and social sciences,” she said. Among her favorite teachers is Alicia Curlew, who taught her AP human geography and AP United States government and politics classes, and who also served as her advisor for Harvard Model Congress.
Peck also expressed her appreciation for Paul Colevas, who taught her favorite electives (sociology, mythology, cultural anthropology and philosophy) while overseeing the school’s Philosophy Club. “It’s really fun,” she said of her participation in the club. “We debate, and talk about, a different topic every week. We may talk about our lives, for example, or the merits of a public college, or whether utilitarianism is a worthy moral philosophy.”
Peck’s other extracurricular activities include serving as class president since ninth grade and as co-editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Talon. She was also a member of the varsity tennis team.
Peck appreciates the education she received at Onteora. “I’m really glad that I went to Onteora High School,” she said. “The students here are really listened to. My experiences in student government have taught me that whenever students have a problem that needs to be addressed, there are a lot of other caring students and staff who will work hard to solve that problem.”
Peck, who is still waiting for her college acceptance letters, plans to major in International Studies or international relations and to minor in Spanish or economics. “My goal is to work in diplomacy or for a non-profit or non-governmental organization, perhaps doing something related to immigration or human rights issues,” she said.
Retired men to meet April 12
Retired Men of the New Paltz Community invite retired men everywhere to the monthly breakfast meeting on Monday, April 12, 8 a.m., at the New Paltz Plaza Diner. Dr. KT Tobin, the deputy mayor of the Village of New Paltz, will speak about problems facing New Paltz and the neighboring communities.
For further information, contact Rob Greene at firstname.lastname@example.org or (845) 256-9003.
Parkinson’s 101: What You & Your Family Should Know at Gardiner Library
The Gardiner Library will host a virtual basic overview of Parkinson’s disease on Saturday, April 10 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., presented by Dr. Katherine Amodeo and sponsored by the Parkinson’s Foundation. This program is for anyone who wants to learn more about the disease. It will cover what Parkinson’s disease is, what causes it, common symptoms, treatments and strategies for managing symptoms. Attendees will also have time to ask any questions at the end.
Halcott Mountain/Spruceton Valley excursion
Join Overlook Mountain Center and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation guides to explore the Manitou Hassannash (spirit stones), serpent and turtle effigies and other features found on public lands in Deep Clove and Spruceton Valley on Sunday, April 11.
Meet at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of the Catskill Visitors’ Center on Route 28 in Mt. Tremper, before heading up to the Halcott Mountain site and then on to Spruceton. Total hiking is less than two miles on mixed terrain – though much is off-trail on wet, uneven ground. Wear sturdy footwear, and dress for the forecast and an early spring walk in the woods. Bring water, lunch or snack.
The event lasts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Group size is limited. Call (845) 417-8384 to register. Ask about a possible camp-out option for Sunday night. For additional information, visit www.overlookmountain.org.
The event is free, but donations are welcome. Safe COVID-19 protocols will be followed (masks and six-feet social distancing).
Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center to Offer ‘Geocaching Adventures’ class
Calling all treasure hunters! Excitement awaits in the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center’s Geocaching Adventures course being offered this spring.
Geocaching is a modern, high-tech “treasure hunting” game played by adventure seekers around the world. Students will join instructor Hannah Long to learn the basic rules of the game, including how to log on and look up cache coordinates, search for caches and record findings. They will also be taught about trackable items, types of caches and search parameters before embarking with their class on a geocaching expedition to different locations throughout Ulster County.
The course will be offered twice; once on Saturday, April 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. and again on Saturday, May 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Each class will take place at the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center, located on Route 9W in Port Ewen. Students will be asked to bring a charged device with them which can have the free geocaching app downloaded to it before setting off on their adventure.
The cost of the class is $39. To learn more or to register, visit www.ulsterboces.org/adult-ed.
Results of public survey to be presented April 20 as part of Earth Week celebration
Kingston Mayor Steve Noble has announce that, as a part of the Climate Action Plan 2030 development process, the results of a public survey are now available. The Climate Action Plan 2030 will determine the next ten years of the city’s climate goals.
The survey ranked different priorities, such as clean transportation, access to energy-efficient home improvements, local food resources, land and water use, among others. With nearly 300 survey respondents, the results will actively help the Climate Action Plan development process.
Kingston-based nonprofit Citizens for Local Power, which has been assisting the city to engage community feedback, will host a virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, April 20 at 5:30 p.m. to present the responses and provide a forum for discussion and commentary. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. Live Spanish interpretation will be provided. Comments will be noted and sent anonymously to Cadmus, an environmental consultancy group that is designing Kingston’s Climate Action Plan 2030.
Following the Climate Action Plan 2030 Town Hall, there will be many ways to participate, including smaller community conversations surrounding priority topics, including transportation, green jobs, healthy housing, water and land use and access to local food resources.
“The results of the survey show the commitment of Kingston residents to creating a cleaner, greener Kingston that is healthier for all,” said Mayor Noble. “This Town Hall is a critical part of our Earth Week celebration and the more people who contribute to the discussion ensure that the final Climate Action Plan 2030 will be equitable and truly representative of the diversity of our city.”
For more information about the survey results, visit EngageKingston.com/climate-action-plan.