All posts by Sharyn Flanagan

Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival takes flight this weekend at Dutchess Fairgrounds

Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival takes flight this weekend at Dutchess Fairgrounds

Friday, July 12-Sunday, July 14: Want to take a flight in a hot-air balloon, or go aloft on a tethered ride? No problem. A helicopter ride more your speed? Yeah, you can do that, too. Or do you just want to take in the spectacle of more than 100 hot-air balloons launching throughout the weekend? Or view the Illumination Moon Glow on Friday and Saturday evenings: a stationary display of hot-air balloons with their burners fired up, glowing against the night sky? A greater number than ever of the eyecatching “shape balloons” are expected this year – which have included lighthouses, cartoon animals and even a tuxedo balloon – and the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome will get into the act, too, with an antique airplane display and flyovers (wind and weather permitting, as is true of all flight activities over the weekend).

What’s it like to fly over the Hudson Valley in a hot-air balloon?

What’s it like to fly over the Hudson Valley in a hot-air balloon?

“The beauty of ballooning here is the topography,” says Chris Healy, a balloonist with 33 years experience. “It’s just a beautiful place to fly. I’ve flown most places in the country, and if you’re flying in California, or Arizona, out toward the desert, you’ve really got to like brown. And if you’re going to fly down South, you’ve got to like flat. But here we’ve got the Shawangunk Ridge to the north, we’ve got the valley carved out by a glacier and the Hudson River. Rolling green hills, farmland, lakes and streams: This really is one of the best areas in the whole country to fly in.”

New Paltz teachers claim job transfers made in retaliation for speaking out, decry district’s lack of face-to-face communication

New Paltz teachers claim job transfers made in retaliation for speaking out, decry district’s lack of face-to-face communication

The teachers were angry and frustrated with the district over several employment situations. They were not happy about the elimination of the four sys-ops positions in the coming school year; the systems operation specialists who work as technology assistants to the teachers at each of the schools, helping students navigate complicated software. But their particular focus was what they characterized as unwarranted, unwanted transfers of longtime teachers to assignments elsewhere in the district, far removed from their field of expertise.

New Paltz rallies against hate in its schools & beyond

New Paltz rallies against hate in its schools & beyond

A gathering of some 50-60 people in front of Elting Library as the “Rise Against Hate” rally began on Saturday, June 8, soon swelled to a crowd of nearly 200 like-minded souls, who came out on a sunny afternoon to stand in solidarity against recent incidents of racism and anti-Semitism in New Paltz schools.