All posts by William Dendis

It’s Michelle Hinchey versus Rich Amedure for State Senate seat

It’s Michelle Hinchey versus Rich Amedure for State Senate seat

State Senate District 46, which stretches from northern Ulster County to the Capital Region, is up for grabs. Democrats, who already have a decisive majority, are hoping 32-year-old Michelle Hinchey, daughter of the late U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, can turn the district blue and achieve a veto-proof supermajority. She supports a slate of progressive legislation, including expanded healthcare, marijuana legalization, and new taxes on the wealthy. On the GOP side, retired state trooper Richard Amedure of Rensselaerville hopes to hold the line. Amedure pledges to advocate for small businesses and family farms, and criticizes the state’s bail-reform and discovery-reform laws as “devastating” to “our communities and law enforcement.”

Ulster exec’s budget includes no tax increase or layoffs

Ulster exec’s budget includes no tax increase or layoffs

Ryan’s 45-minute speech on the 2021 budget contained no single mention of two elements by which the county’s financial projections will sink or swim: the necessity of substantial federal aid to cash-strapped local governments, and how this particular local government will manage its budget in case the on-going pandemic delivers a second lethal hit to local; sales-tax revenues in the coming months. Instead, Ryan touted the hold-the-line, no-layoffs budget under the banner of a “people-first” approach to county governance.

Ryan: Ulster has turned the corner on COVID-19

Ryan: Ulster has turned the corner on COVID-19

“We are not through it yet, but we have absolutely turned the corner and that’s all thanks to everyone that has done their part to follow the PAUSE order, to do social distancing, to wear masks, all the things that we’ve asked, so thank you,” said the Ulster County executive. “We still have a lot of work ahead but I’m more optimistic than I’ve been in awhile.”

Hudson Valley tenants and landlords cope with loss of income, housing uncertainty

Hudson Valley tenants and landlords cope with loss of income, housing uncertainty

More than 26 million Americans and 1.2 million New Yorkers have filed for unemployment since the Coronavirus lockdowns took effect last month. The effect on rentals was almost immediate: One estimate concluded 1/3 of tenants didn’t pay their April rent when it was due. Evictions are on hold in New York State until June 19, sparing renters the immediate fear of homelessness. Beyond that, things are uncertain for tenants, who face anxiety over their shelter, and landlords, who could take a financial bath without more government help.

Ulster COVID-19 update: Enough beds and ventilators for now; parks being patrolled for social-distance violations

Ulster COVID-19 update: Enough beds and ventilators for now; parks being patrolled for social-distance violations

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan was joined by County Sheriff Juan Figueroa this afternoon for a Facebook town hall. The mood was noticeably more upbeat than a week ago, when Ryan was warning the county was about to run out of ICU beds and ventilators after experiencing a 50 percent increase in hospitalizations the previous weekend. That message was heard loud and clear, and supplies and staff were provided by the state and local hospitals over the week. Today, Ryan reported the county was all set for ICU beds and ventilators, and projected to be set through the end of April for ICU beds.

To close or not to close? The debate over parks in a pandemic

To close or not to close? The debate over parks in a pandemic

With nearly every business closed, parks, nature preserves and rail trails across the Hudson Valley are seeing more use than ever before. For those who use them, the fresh air and exercise are a welcome reprieve from lockdown-induced cabin fever. For others, the sight of full parking lots (especially with out-of-state plates) and groups of people are cause for alarm; they could be spreading the virus.

Bottoms up: New service lets you help out-of-work servers with a “virtual tip” while wining and dining at home

Bottoms up: New service lets you help out-of-work servers with a “virtual tip” while wining and dining at home

A new venture called Service Industry Tips allows you to tip out-of-work local servers while partaking in meals and drinks at home that you would normally be enjoying at local businesses. “The idea behind this is not tipping to pay someone’s rent but more to make them smile and help out in small ways,” said Raquel Carrion, admin for the New Paltz/Gardiner/Rosendale group.