Briefly noted in New Paltz (11/24/21)

Christmas Fair at Reformed Church of New Paltz

The Reformed Church of New Paltz will host its Christmas Fair on Friday, December 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, December 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This safe, socially distanced fundraiser will feature wreaths, topiaries, handmade Christmas ornaments, poinsettias, homemade fritters, Build-a-Pet and more inside the Education Building (across the street from the Church).

The festivities will start on Friday, December 3 with shopping from 5 to 8 p.m., Soup on the Stoop and Carolers at 6 p.m., Twice Blessed will be open from 4 to 7 p.m., and a Big Blue Big Band concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. (in the church).
On Saturday, December 4, the merriment continues with AIDS Orphan Education Trust (AOET), Autumn Whimsy and Knit and Nibble. Twice Blessed will have extended hours (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Santa will be stopping by from noon to 2 p.m. and the Zeus Brewing Company will be providing food/drinks (to purchase) from noon to 2 p.m. That Duo will perform at 2 p.m. in the Church.
COVID-19 precautions for volunteers and customers will be taken at all times; this includes during prep, as well as during the event itself. Social distancing and masks are required at all times.
The Church is located at 92 Huguenot Street in New Paltz.

Chanukah celebration in New Paltz

An outdoor Chanukah celebration will be held on Sunday, November 28 from 5 to 5:30 .p.m. at Village Hall, located on Plattekill Avenue in New Paltz. A giant Menorah will be lit. Enjoy doughnuts, chocolate gelt and live entertainment. If you need a Menorah, candles, or anything else, call (845) 255-8191. Please RSVP at www.jewpaltz.com/ChanukahOutdoors.

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Repair Café at Gardiner Library

The Gardiner Library will host a Repair Café on Sunday, November 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. Repair Café is a free event where community members bring beloved-but=broken items, and together, with volunteer repair coaches, fix them. This month’s services include electrical/mechanical, computer and electronics, photo restoration, sewing/mending and jewelry repairs. For more information about Repair Café, visit www.repaircafehv.org.

Gardiner Repair Café meets at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike in Gardiner. For more information, call (845) 255-1255 or visit www.gardinerlibrary.org.

Retired men to meet December 6

Retired Men of the New Paltz Community invite retired men everywhere to the monthly breakfast meeting on Monday, December 6, 8 a.m., at the New Paltz Plaza Diner. Jaik Schubert will share reflections on his experience as a foster parent.

For additional information, contact Ed Rogers at rogersezed@gmail.com or (845) 255-7420.

“Too hard to visualize”

Former engineer Phil Leger looked for a shortcut to getting a new restaurant approved across Henry W. Dubois Drive from Stewart’s in New Paltz, asking not to have to submit a site plan at all. That didn’t sit well with Planning Board members, but they compromised: Peterson can prepare the drawings personally, rather than hiring someone with a current engineering license.

The unusual request was based on the assertion that the footprint of the building at 1-3 Henry W. Dubois Drive won’t be changed at all, nor would any of the other existing conditions. Leger explained that only the sign would be new. The problem is that there’s never been a site plan filed for that lot, meaning that board members don’t have a record of what the existing conditions happen to be. Leger sought to use a written narrative detailing the proposed use in lieu of a site plan, but as board member Denis McGee observed, “It’s too hard to visualize it.”

Even if the idea was supported in concept, there’s no waiving of a site plan under current Village code. Chair John Litton explained that instead, board members would have to waive each and every requirement about what’s supposed to be included in one.

As for the new sign, Leger will also have to provide more details on that. All of that work will have to be done ahead of December 7, as that’s when board members saw fit to schedule a hearing on this reuse.

— Terence P Ward

Next NBR approval imminent

New Paltz Village Planning Board members could approve the next large project in the neighborhood-business-residential district along North Chestnut Street as soon as December 7. The public hearing was opened on November 16, and as no one had anything to say, it was closed soon thereafter. A variance has been secured for the peaked rooftops that were a few inches above the maximum height required, and concerns about how to safely fit fire trucks onto the site were resolved in part by modifying what kinds of trees will be planted. A formal sign plan will have to be reviewed, but board members appear to be close to approving this project, a three-story building with apartments above commercial uses.

— Terence P Ward

Books & Art Series at Gardiner Library

The Gardiner Library presents its Books and Art Series on Saturday, December 4 at 11 a.m. Children ages 4 to 6 can step inside the picture book Frederick by Leo Lionni and try some of the art techniques used by this favorite author.

Preregistration is necessary and limited. For more information and registration, contact Carolyn at cthorenz@rcls.org. The Library is located at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike. Call (845) 255-1255 or visit www.gardinerlibrary.org.

Help with holiday gift-giving

For 63 years, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary to Post 8645 in New Paltz have provided holiday gifts to approximately 100 Ulster County children in care. The Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services of Ulster County assumes financial responsibility as allocated by statute for the food, clothing and medical needs of these children. However, their responsibility ends there, and the VFW Auxiliary continues to take on the project of securing a gift according to the children’s age and interests.

Each year, the Auxiliary receives the needed funds by generous donations from Ulster County businesses, organizations and individuals. If you would like to make a donation to this program, please make checks payable to: VFW Auxiliary to Post 8645 and mail to Lori Tunkel, 10 Michelle Drive, Gardiner NY 12525.

One hundred percent of your contribution goes toward buying gifts for the children. Donations are tax-deductible and a financial statement for this program is available upon request.

Frozendale at Rosendale Library

The Rosendale Library will host a holiday celebration of Frozendale on Saturday, December 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Friends of the Library have various raffle baskets and there will be handmade quilts and knitwear that were made in Rosendale. At noon there will be a special story hour with holiday stories for the children.

Here is your chance to shop locally. Handmade items created in Rosendale include knitted hats, mittens, scarves and children’s sweaters. There will also be small gift items and cookies. A handmade queen-size quilt will be for sale, made by the Tillson quilting group and donated to the Library.

On sale now are tickets for four raffle baskets: a children’s gift basket, a pet gift basket, a family fun gift basket and a “cuddle up with a good book” gift basket. The winners will be chosen at 3 p.m. on December 4.

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All proceeds will help the Library to offer engaging programs and improve the Library facilities. For additional information, call (845) 658-9013 or e-mail info@rosendalelibrary.org.

Listening about “Lunaape”

A member of the public has informed New Paltz School Board trustees that the common pronunciation of “Lenape” may be considered derogatory, and trustees are listening. The spelling “Lunaape” is preferred for capturing the original pronunciation of the tribe’s name. Rather, they plan on listening, to the chief whose view on the matter was the one expressed secondhand at the meeting on November 3. President Bianca Tanis advised that some members had arranged to meet with the chief, to learn about those concerns directly rather than through an intermediary.

This “opportunity to learn” has caused current trustees to reflect on the land acknowledgement that has been used to open the public portion of meetings for several years. It’s been taken out of service out of a concern that it is — or has become — simply “performative.” It may even be harmful, if the pronunciation of the name of the tribe of the first humans to dominate this land is actually offensive. Tanis also wondered aloud if the words are true. A similar acknowledgement is used at Village Board meetings in New Paltz; trustees there have recently taken the additional step of including links to resources in the agenda of their meetings.

— Terence P Ward

First look at more details about traffic stops

A New Paltz Police Reform recommendation that was implemented early on in the review process was to begin collecting data about the race and gender of people pulled over by police officers, to discover if the anecdotes about “driving while black” being riskier are actually true in New Paltz. While Chief Robert Lucchesi is “hesitant to draw any conclusions” based on the first few months of data collected, it doesn’t appear that the race or gender of people pulled over is different than that of the overall population.

New Paltz officers now complete an additional report for each traffic stop, documenting the observed race and gender of the individuals encountered. This approach is being used because it was felt that asking people about their race and gender could be misinterpreted and lead to escalating tensions. What Lucchesi would prefer is for state officials to step up and start embedding those data into the bar code of driver’s licenses. That would preserve a veneer of privacy around that information and also ensure that it’s collected around the state, which is statistically a more significant pool of information.

— Terence P Ward

Trans-Hudson water hearing set

A public hearing on a request to include the Trans-Hudson-owned property on North Putt Corners Road in the nearest Town of New Paltz water district will be opened on December 2. Council members may only vote on whether to pass this request on to the Village Board — as the Town water district is beholden to the wider Village water system — after that hearing is closed.

— Terence P Ward

Landfill lease signed

The idea of putting solar panels atop the decommissioned Town of New Paltz landfill was breathed new life on November 18 when Town Council members approved a lease agreement with SL New Paltz Solar LLC I. This plan is smaller and less controversial than one that was floated two years ago; that project was projected to be able to power a quarter of New Paltz homes, but at a cost of cutting down 20 acres of trees to hit that goal. It would have happened that way, too, if more than one developer didn’t pull out after investigating the conditions on the ground. This new lease calls for panels only above the landfill itself, which will generate enough electricity for about 550 homes. The extremely complex agreement includes a base rent of $57,000, which could be adjusted downward for a variety of reasons including changing tax and wage policies and is supposed to increase two percent a year regardless. The lease also lays out assurances that the site will be cleaned up and decommissioned after the 25-year term is complete.

— Terence P Ward

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