Briefly noted in New Paltz (11/10/21)

Conversations with Police

The November session of Conversations with the Police in New Paltz will be held on Wednesday, November 17 at 10 a.m. at the New Paltz Police Department’s new offices, located at 59 North Putt Corners Road. Coffee will be provided. This is an informal gathering intended to bring the public and their Police Department together.

Rail Trail temporary closure 11/15-12/15

Due to an improvement project on a 3.5-mile section of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in New Paltz, there will be a temporary closure of the Rail Trail from November 15 to December 15. A small bridge, which is located between Springtown Road and Huguenot Street, needs repair. Due to its location and the equipment and materials needed, this section of the Rail Trail will be completely closed for the four-week time period. Users of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail are asked to plan their visits accordingly and detour around this section.

Funding for this improvement project is provided by the Hudson River Valley Greenway, in partnership with the Open Space Institute and the Town and Village of New Paltz. The 3.5-mile section of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is a key link in the Empire State Trail in Ulster County. The section undergoing rehabilitation runs from Cragswood Road in the Town of New Paltz, south through the Village to the Empire State Trail trailhead at Sojourner Truth Park.

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Throughout this improvement project, steps have been taken to reduce trail closures as much as possible, but the November 15 to December 15 closure is unavoidable for the safety of Wallkill Valley Rail Trail users. The entire project is set to be completed by the end of the year. For updates, visit https://wallkillvalleylt.org/construction.

Plan ahead for Holiday Hoopla Parade/Winter Carnival in New Paltz

The New Paltz Office for Community Wellness and the Ulster Prevention Council will hold their second annual Holiday Hoopla Parade and Carnival on Saturday, December 11 from noon to 3 p.m. The parade will kick off at noon from the New Paltz Middle School and proceed to Hasbrouck Park, located at 15 Mohonk Avenue, which will be the site for the Winter Carnival.

The Holiday Hoopla Parade’s purpose is to bring good cheer and lightness, raise the spirits of the community and let the community know they are cared for and not alone. The Winter Carnival will feature food, family fun and festivities for all.

If you would like to be part of the parade and/or the winter carnival, visit https://form.jotform.com/212934654615156. For additional information, e-mail pkawamoto@townofnewpaltz.org or call (845) 256-5014.

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, Environmental Conservation Board, Ethics Board, Historic Preservation Commission, Police Commission and Public Access Committee. Interested parties may submit a letter of interest and résumé to the supervisor’s office at PO Box 550, New Paltz NY 12561 or e-mail assistant@townofnewpaltz.org.

Town of Gardiner looking for volunteers

The Town of Gardiner has existing and upcoming vacancies on the following boards and committees: Assessment Review Board, Parks & Recreation, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. The Town of Gardiner is also looking for a part-time building inspector. Interested parties should send a résumé with letter of interest to Supervisor Majestic at supervisor.tog@gmail.com or mail to PO Box #1, Gardiner NY 12525.

Town of Gardiner special public input session

A public input session is scheduled for the Town of Gardiner on Tuesday, November 16 at 7 p.m. This meeting is intended for members of the community to raise their voices and concerns regarding the upcoming Comprehensive Plan update, which is on track to be adopted soon.

According to Gardiner Town supervisor Marybeth Majestic, “The Town Board seeks all input from the community about what you would like for Gardiner’s future. We have a final draft of the update to the Comprehensive Plan available on our website and encourage all members of the community to read the document and attend this special meeting on November 16 to share your feedback on how the final enacted Comprehensive Plan will best reflect the community of Gardiner.”

This meeting will be held as a hybrid meeting over Zoom and in person at the Town Hall, located at 2340 Route 44/55 in Gardiner. Join the Zoom meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88654824926?pwd=WXBuck44UTVZTkVJckdiWEJnRHlKUT09 (meeting ID: 886 5482 4926, passcode: 417014), or dial in by phone, using the meeting ID and passcode above: 1 (929) 205-6099.

The final working draft of the Comp Plan update is posted at www.townofgardiner.org/comprehensive-plan for the public to view and download. All public input is requested and will be considered for the final version of this document. The Town Board is interested in changes or additions people may wish to see reflected in the document before it is accepted and enacted by the Town.

Submit written comments to the Gardiner Town Board, PO Box 1, Gardiner NY 12525, or e-mail compplan.tog@gmail.com, or call the Town supervisor at (845) 255-9675, extension 101.

Rental registry hearing opened

Town of New Paltz officials are creating a registry of rental properties, expanding an idea that’s in effect in the Village to the remaining parts of New Paltz. They opened a public hearing on a law to accomplish this at their November 4 meeting. With a registry, town building inspectors are empowered to perform annual safety inspections of many rental units, with exclusions including for accessory apartments in owner-occupied homes.

During the hearing, resident Tammy Friedman claimed that state laws are sufficient; if there is a safety violation, a tenant can simply sue the landlord. Referencing an email Friedman had also sent, deputy supervisor Dan Torres noted that Friedman had drawn a comparison between this registry and Nazi Germany. “Your behavior is like Nazis,” Friedman clarified in response.

— Terence P Ward

Attendance rules coming for committee volunteer

Town of New Paltz committees are run by volunteers, and they run more smoothly when those volunteers show up. With the agreement of other council members, Supervisor Neil Bettez is going to have a proposed law drafted to require 75% attendance at meetings each calendar year, because it’s the votes at those meetings that are the only clear measure of that work.

— Terence P Ward

Landfill solar plans

The idea of using the old Town of New Paltz landfill property to site solar panels is still being considered, although updates have been slow in coming in part due to pandemic-related challenges. An early proposal to create a 4.6-megawatt facility by clear-cutting eight acres of trees got a strong negative reaction from some residents and council members, and although that contract was awarded, it was subsequently pulled and placed with a different vendor. There’s now a new idea that involves only putting solar panels over the capped landfill, where there are no trees. This layout would only produce three megawatts of power, but would not impact any trees, or any portion of the recycling center property or any parking areas. That’s enough to power 600-700 homes. Council members will be reviewing final details of the plan at an upcoming meeting.

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— Terence P Ward

SongClub at Gardiner Library

The Gardiner Library hosts SongClub on Sunday, November 13 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Join musician, singer, songwriter and choral director Debbie Lan for a drop-in singing experience. Fun for all ages. Come sing, as a community, original arrangements of familiar songs where the audience is the choir.

Participants will meet outdoors, weather permitting. Singers may be unmasked but socially distant. In case of inclement weather, the group meets indoors, with masks required. The cost at the door is $10 cash.

The Library is located at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike. For more information, call (845) 255-1255 or visit www.gardinerlibrary.org.

D&H Canal Historical Society unveils hogee sculpture by Annie O’Neill

The D&H Canal Historical Society is celebrating the installation of the first of its new interpretive elements at the 1797 DePuy Tavern: a sculpture of a hogee leading a mule along the towpath. The sculpture, by Hudson Valley artist Annie O’Neill, depicts a young girl leading a mule. Children as young as eight years old are known to have worked on the canal, often in unsafe circumstances.

“It was so exciting to create a piece that reflected a lost part of local history,” said O’Neill. “It was an honor to work with the museum staff and KC Fabrications on this project. I hope the D&H Canal Museum brings a new awareness of how the waterways and trails were alive with forgotten activities.”

An unveiling event is planned for Saturday, November 13 at 2 p.m. and will take place at 1315 Main Street in High Falls. At the unveiling, O’Neill will discuss her inspiration and technique for the sculpture. Music and light refreshments will provide diversion from the cold. Additionally, the Society will provide an update on the progress of renovations inside the DePuy Tavern and installation of exhibits in preparation for its Grand Opening in the spring of 2022 as the Mid-Hudson Visitor Center and D&H Canal Museum. The event is free and doesn’t require registration.

“We are proud to be able to work with a local artist to illustrate the lives and experiences of those who were most vulnerable and often forgotten when telling the history of the Canal,” said Jack Braunlein, executive director. “Annie O’Neill has designed a unique sculpture that we hope will highlight the contribution made by children to this important venture that shaped the region.”

The Mid-Hudson Visitor Center and D&H Canal Museum will highlight the current collections with new interactive exhibit elements that bring history to life and create a vibrant experience for all ages. The exhibits will include hands-on interactives, historical imagery, documents and artifacts. Coupled with multimedia elements and storytelling, the new D&H Canal Museum will answer big questions about who, where, what, when and how the environment and the Canal have shaped High Falls, the region and the nation today.

The Visitor Center will feature the Tastes, Trails, Talents and History of the region and provide a hub from which visitors can learn about its cultural, historic, artistic, scenic, culinary and recreational wonders within approximately 50 miles of High Falls. The gift shop will feature topical books and souvenirs, as well as brochures about regional attractions that will make the Visitor Center a resource for both local visitors and travelers. Additionally, a gathering area will be used for hosting presentations, community meetings or pop-up events like food-tasting and craft demonstrations.

To learn more about D&H Canal history, visit its YouTube Channel, D&H TV, at www.youtube.com/c/DHCanalHistoricalSociety.

Nature walks with Nick Martin at Gardiner Library

The Gardiner Library hosts a nature walk on Friday, November 12 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Join Nick Martin, Minnewaska Park educator, for an approximate one-mile nature walk on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and through Majestic Park. On this slow-paced walk, participants will discover whatever natural curiosities intrigue the group. Participants are encouraged to wear waterproof boots or shoes and bring binoculars.

Rain date: Friday, November 19. This program meets the second Friday of each month, and rain dates are the third Friday of the month. Meet at the Gardiner Library lower parking lot by the electric vehicle charging station.

The Library is located at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike. For more information, call (845) 255-1255 or visit www.gardinerlibrary.org.

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