“Signs of the Times” display at Friends of Historic Kingston Museum Gallery
“Signs of the Times: The Modjeska Sign Studios,” the current exhibit at the Friends of Historic Kingston Museum Gallery, features over 140 photographs of Kingston signs and their businesses from the 1920’s into the 1980’s. A highlight of the show is a 1930 neon restaurant sign restored by Lite Brite Neon in Kingston. The gallery at the corner of Wall and Main Streets is open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the end of October. The exhibit was designed and produced with substantial support from Timely Signs in Kingston.
YWCA of Ulster County stands for reproductive freedom at SCOTUS
YWCA USA has filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which will determine the future of Roe v. Wade. YWCA Of Ulster County stands with YWCA USA in urging the Supreme Court to protect reproductive freedom for young women and young women of color in communities across America.
Since 1973, young women have been guaranteed a constitutional right to make deeply personal and sometimes difficult decisions about their futures. Pre-viability abortion bans like the one in Mississippi disproportionately harm young women and women of color, core constituencies of YWCA. Stripping away this freedom will greatly endanger the education, health, employment, economic prospects and quality of life of young women and young women of color.
“Young women would face significant harm as the first generation in half a century to enter adulthood without the fundamental right to decide whether and when to have children,” said Elisha Rhodes, interim CEO of YWCA USA. “The stakes for this decision couldn’t be higher; the right to access safe and legal abortion is essential to the pursuit of gender and racial justice. Armed with the knowledge that the right to determine their reproductive future was protected by Roe, young women have been able to invest in their education, training, vocations and careers. Reversing Roe would limit the full economic potential of young women, who could be pushed out of the workplace or forced to limit their education and careers to accommodate pregnancy or childcare. Everyone should have the freedom and power to make personal decisions about their lives, families and futures. We must stand firmly for a woman’s right to safe, affordable, accessible abortion.”
For more information on this decision and to find out how you can stand with young women at the Supreme Court, visit www.ywca.org/jackson-womens-health-organization-v-dobbs-amicus-brief.
Local dad receives special truck (from work) to support daughter
Kingston native and Saugerties-based Paraco driver Ryan Whitaker never expected to be an expert on epilepsy.
“If you don’t know what epilepsy is, you learn pretty quick when your child gets epilepsy and starts having seizures,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about epilepsy before this. After the last six years, I could probably teach you a class on epilepsy.”
Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system. The neurological condition causes abnormal brain activity, often resulting in epileptic seizures. Whitaker’s daughter Savannah had her first incident at four years old. Savannah was at preschool when she experienced her first tonic/clonic (“grand mal”) seizure, which is the type that probably jumps to mind when you think of them: Seizures include violent muscle contractions and loss of consciousness.
Now Savannah is ten, and while major events are a thing of the past, thanks to medication that controls seizures, she does still experience a type of seizure known as absence seizures. Whitaker describes these as “staring at a particular spot, item or location. It could be a building, or inside on windows, and it basically puts her in a trance.”
Many people experience seizures early in life and then grow out of them, which is what the Whitaker family hopes for Savannah.
To reflect this major part of his and his family’s life, as well as to raise awareness, Paraco Gas was proud to outfit Whitaker’s bobtail propane truck with a giant purple “Epilepsy Awareness” ribbon when he approached Paraco executive vice president Christina Armentano about the idea to raise awareness. The ribbon was added to both sides of the truck by Timely Signs of Kingston.
Many people don’t realize that there are different kinds of seizures, which is part of why having the Epilepsy Awareness ribbon on his bobtail truck means so much to Whitaker. He says, “It’s a serious illness, but with the right medication, it can be controlled.”
Savannah also has a service dog named JohnE, trained for a year-and-a-half, that Whitaker says has been an amazing addition to their family. The family traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska for 12 days to get to know the dog and bring him home from a specialty service that trains service dogs for all types of aid. JohnE is an English cream golden retriever, a breed known to make excellent service dogs. JohnE responds to over 30 commands and is trained to help in the event that Savannah has a seizure.
“If she needs something from the floor, the dog can pick it up and bring it to her. He can even open doors,” Whitaker said. “If she has a seizure, he pushes her over on her side safely, then lays next to her after he alerts. If we’re home, he rings a bell to let us know that she needs help. When Savannah gets up, JohnE gets up.”
Whitaker wants more awareness out there, which is why he feels that displaying the ribbon is so important. “I had asked a previous company to do the same thing, and they dragged their feet. I want to thank the Paraco corporation, the Armentano family and everyone involved with making this ribbon happen.”
Maritime Museum offers spooky lantern cruises
The Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston is offering local tales of legends and lore aboard Solaris on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout October. Passengers will explore the Hudson River and Rondout Creek by searchlight and listen to legends and lore of the Hudson River from the pages of Washington Irving or straight from newspaper headlines of centuries past. Guides will share stories including the tale of the serpent of the Hudson River, the terrible crime of William Salisbury and Rondout’s barge graveyard.
Ticket prices range from $20 to $25, and all proceeds support the museum’s educational programs. All boat tickets include general admission to the museum, open Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This event is one of over a dozen themed boat tours happening on the Rondout Creek and Hudson River this season. Find details and a calendar at www.solarboattours.org or call (845) 338-0071.
Ryan rejects Kia tax break
In a detailed two-page letter to Ulster County’s Industrial Development Agency (UCIDA) dated September 23, Ulster County executive Pat Ryan advised the agency that he was withholding his necessary approval for a tax break for Romeo Kia to establish a showroom and service facility on a site on Route 9W in Lake Katrine. The auto dealer fired back that it was qualified for the tax exemption and would take legal action.
Ryan’s letter cited the limited circumstances under which a retail business could qualify for the IDA exemption. Two exceptions are permitted under law: if the goods aren’t otherwise available locally, or if the move would benefit a distressed area. There are at present lots of car dealers in the area, including Romeo’s on Schwenk Drive in Kingston. Ryan noted that the statistics showed that the Kingston location was in a more economically distressed area than the proposed Ulster one. Finally, Ryan noted that none of the competitive dealerships in Lake Katrine had gotten or had asked for a tax break. It would set a bad precedent if Romeo Kia got one, Ryan wrote.
OMG Art Faire in Kingston September 30-October 3
Janet Hicks, the Director of Kingston’s One Mile Gallery, has announced that the OMG Art Faire (OMG) will begin with a VIP opening on the evening of September 30 and will remain open to the public through Sunday, October 3 at the historic Wall Street Music Hall in Kingston’s Uptown Stockade area. The fair will feature a curated selection of fine art galleries, who represent artists working in photography, painting, sculpture, mixed media, video and digital.
“As a resident of and business owner in Kingston, it’s been thrilling to see the swell of the creative community here,” said Hicks. “With so many art enthusiasts living in the area and so many visitors coming to Kingston, I thought, ‘Why shouldn’t we have our own world-class fair?’”
Between 15 and 20 galleries and artists are expected to exhibit at OMG. Galleries include the Jane Lombard Gallery, Jim Kempner Fine Art, Field Projects, One Mile Gallery, Kenise Barnes Fine Art, 11 Jane Street, Jane Deering Gallery, High Noon Gallery, Theodore Art, BK Projects, Ver Sacrum Fine Art, Cade Tompkins Projects, Soapbox Arts, the Lockwood Gallery, Rick Wester Fine Art, Calabar Gallery and Alabama artist collective Gee’s Bend Quilters. Artists Samantha French, Aaron Hauck, Kyle Meyer, Mike King, artist/filmmaker Guy Maddin will be represented at OMG as well. Artist Jim Watt will perform his multidimensional project with jazz musicians 1000W at the VIP opening night.
Artworks will be available for sale, including work from both established and emerging artists. “The fair will offer an excellent opportunity for visitors to encounter avant-garde new works, meet the artists and build their collections – all in the unique upstate environment,” added Hicks.
OMG will run in conjunction with a full weekend of cultural happenings including the annual Stockade Faire, which offers musical performances, food vendors and a local makers’ market. The 22nd annual Woodstock Film Festival will also be held during this time.
Galleries who wish to enquire about exhibiting should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (917) 715 2877.
Living history cemetery tour in Kingston
On Saturday, September 25, the Old Dutch Church cemetery in Kingston was filled with people stepping back in time and meeting characters who made Kingston roar in the 1920s. Boom Town, a living history cemetery tour produced by Theatre on the Road, introduced seven characters, including Legs Diamond, a notorious Prohibition era gangster who bootlegged beer out of the Barmann Brewery in Kingston; Jay Klock, the owner and editor of the Kingston Daily Freeman, and Sarah Leventhal, owner of Leventhal’s Furs on Wall Street. The tour will be presented every Saturday in October at 7 p.m. at the Old Dutch cemetery. For tickets go to www.livinghistoryny.com or call (845) 475-7973.
UC Italian Festival back at Kingston waterfront October 10
The Ulster County Italian American Foundation has named Bill Calderara, president and chief executive officer at Ulster Savings Bank, “Signore of the Year” and Mary Tuma, a personal trainer and former director of operations at the Ulster Performing Arts Center, “Signora of the Year.” Additional honorees include Bob Siracusano, president of Sawyer Motors, and Joe Concra, founder of the O+ Festival, for community service and Kevin and Stephanie Reginato for the Italian Pride award. All honorees will be recognized at the opening ceremony at this year’s 14th annual Italian Festival on October 10 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at T. R. Gallo Park at the foot of Broadway.
Last year’s Festival was scaled back and moved to the Town of Ulster, due to the COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. “We did our best last year with a mini-festival at Tech City, but we’re working hard to make this year’s Festival a real family and community celebration,” said Les Lombardi, president of the Foundation.
The opening ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on the main stage, followed by a full day of entertainment, children’s activities, food and craft vendors, a spaghetti-eating contest and street performers. During the festivities, the Ulster County Italian American Foundation will honor the 2021 Signore and Signora of the Year.
Musical acts scheduled to perform include vocalists Angela Bruno, Andrew Hoben and Vanessa Racci, as well as Vince Chiarelli and his band and world-famous accordion player Cory Pesaturo. The Michael Dell Orchestra will close out the day with a dance party.
Shuttle buses to the Festival will be available at Kingston Point (handicapped-accessible), Kingston Plaza and the Cornell Street municipal parking lot.
Admission to the Festival is free. For vendor and sponsor information as well as schedule updates, visit www.uciaf.org. All proceeds from the festival will go to UCIAF’s annual education awards and community grants programs. The 300-member Ulster County Italian American Foundation, established in 2015, aims to promote, preserve and celebrate Italian heritage and culture in Ulster County.
Bans Off Our Bodies: Abortion rights rally in Kingston October 2
Hudson Valley Strong-Indivisible is hosting a rally/march to defend reproductive rights on Saturday, October 2 at 11 a.m. at Academy Green Park, located at 238 Clinton Avenue in Kingston. Mask-wearing is requested. Please sign up to attend! Show up with signs and determination to let lawmakers know: Our Body, Our Choice!
To sign up, visit https://act.womensmarch.com/event/oct-2-2021-march/1770?source=map&akid=. For additional information, e-mail email@example.com or call (914) 489-7814.
City Hall tower restoration begins
Kingston mayor Steven Noble has announced that restoration of the City Hall bell tower is now underway. The project includes cleaning and masonry repointing on the tower exterior, masonry repointing on the tower interior and minor repairs to the Council Chambers.
An aerial lift has been placed near the front entrance at City Hall, and scaffolding will be erected around the tower later in the project. The City of Kingston has awarded a contract for tower cleaning and masonry restoration to PCC Contractors of Schenectady; Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson Architecture & Preservation of Albany will be overseeing the construction management. Interior tower restoration is expected to be complete by April 2022, with the exterior repairs completed by July 2022.
“City Hall plays a major role in Kingston’s storied history. This project will ensure that the building is well-maintained and remains resilient for future generations,” said Mayor Noble. “All of the interior work is expected to be completed in time for the historic 150th anniversary of City Hall, which will be celebrated in May 2022.”
Located at 420 Broadway, City Hall was built in 1872, after the towns of Kingston, Rondout and Wilbur merged together to create the City of Kingston as we now know it. In 1927, a fire destroyed the tower and severely damaged the roof. During the extensive repair process, the Council Chambers were also built.
When officials decided to move municipal offices to the Rondout area in 1972, the current City Hall sat vacant for over 20 years. In the mid-‘90s, a campaign to preserve the historic building raised $6.5 million for its restoration. In 2000, the fully restored City Hall was reopened.
The first phase of the City Hall tower project included a new roof and gutter repairs in 2019. The tower restoration is Phase 2 of that project.