All posts by Frances Marion Platt

Clearwater lays off half of staff; could face closure

Clearwater lays off half of staff; could face closure

Among the many entities hard-hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic are small regional not-for-profit organizations, which tend to operate on lean budgets even in the best of times. For some, the blow from the economy’s screeching to a halt may prove to be one from which the group simply cannot recover. Teetering on the brink of such disaster right now is the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the organization founded by Pete Seeger in the late 1960s to raise public awareness about the ecosystems of the Hudson estuary and the pollution threatening them, by means of building a replica of a historic sailing vessel.

The Lo Farm gears up to take over CSA at Taliaferro’s

The Lo Farm gears up to take over CSA at Taliaferro’s

For more than 20 years, a 32-acre tract of alluvial land on the banks of the Wallkill River on Plains Road in New Paltz was maintained as a CSA by Sylvester (“Pete”) and Robin Taliaferro. Despite all their years of hard work, the Taliaferros never quite recovered from the financial setbacks caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. By 2018, the handwriting was on the wall: It was time to find a new tenant to lease the farm and retire. That search has now ended.

How the Hudson River Chain slowed British domination during the Revolutionary War

How the Hudson River Chain slowed British domination during the Revolutionary War

The Great Chain could be dismantled and pulled ashore in winter, when the Hudson wasn’t navigable anyway, to protect it from being smashed apart by tide-tossed icebergs. Its placement in the river could also be adjusted using a pulley system. Just downriver, a second barrier of wooden booms was floated, making it nearly impossible for a ship to get up enough momentum to break through the chain – although the notorious traitor Benedict Arnold had advised the British that they could, when he handed over the plans to the fortification at West Point. They never tried.

SUNY institute offers training to cope with coronavirus stress and disruption

SUNY institute offers training to cope with coronavirus stress and disruption

Six weeks ago we profiled Dr. Amy Nitza, director of the Institute for Disaster Mental Health at SUNY New Paltz. At the time, the psychotherapist was about to head off to Puerto Rico to “train the trainers” to help local people deal with the emotional stress precipitated by an earthquake, following the previous devastation of Hurricane Maria. Now Dr. Nitza must attend to a disaster that’s hitting right at home: the COVID-19 pandemic.

Campground fees updated in Gardiner

Campground fees updated in Gardiner

At the March 10 meeting, the Gardiner Town Board passed a resolution designating annual fees for campground operators. Each campground will now have to pay the town an administration fee of $150 plus $20 per campsite, with a site being defined as space for one recreational vehicle plus one tent.

New York is waiving fees at all state parks

New York is waiving fees at all state parks

Here’s one happy truth that may help us all: Being on “lockdown” when the adversary is a microorganism that inhabits human hosts does not necessarily mean staying indoors all the time. We can take walks, so long as we stay more than six feet away from other people and avoid touching surfaces that get touched a lot. We can celebrate the upcoming Vernal Equinox, Arbor Day and Earth Day by hugging a tree; it won’t get sick.