Geddy Sveikauskas reflects on a tumultuous year.
The Covid 19 pandemic is putting the Hudson Valley healthcare system under unprecedented pressure. As the number of infected people inevitably rises, more deaths will be reported. More protective masks and a greater supply of protective equipment will help only to a limited degree. It is more than possible that a spike in the number of people requiring machine help in order to breathe will overwhelm the limited capacities of an already strained system.
Locally, it all started with a couple of public officials doing a fist bump instead of a handshake, and before you know it practically every meeting, celebration or parade in Ulster County worth its salt was being postponed or cancelled. Ditto events, conferences and reunions. Young people at every educational level are being sent home from school, allowed to stay at colleges only if they have nowhere else to go.
At a panel discussion celebrating the opening of its newly renovated 8800-square-foot workspace at The Fuller Building on Pine Grove Avenue in midtown Kingston, Exago CEO Mike Brody said last Friday afternoon that he expected his company to add another 26 jobs this year for a total of 90. In 2021, he said, 50 additional jobs were planned. In 2022, another 35 positions would be added, for a total of 175.
With the walls of opprobrium from governmental agencies at all levels closing in on him, how did Alan Ginsberg, the embattled long-time owner of TechCity, the former IBM site in the Town of Ulster, respond? A four-page December 31 letter from the Albany law firm of Young/Sommer LLC to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional counsel seemed to indicate that the Ginsberg interests were throwing in the towel – but only on their own terms.
Exago moved last week to The Fuller Building from its office location at the corner of Wall and John streets in Kingston’s Stockade neighborhood. On Monday morning, about 20 people, some sitting and others standing, were working on their large computer screens in the middle of the space. A row of 21 windows on the structure’s parking-lot side flooded the room with light.
How’s Pat Ryan going to do what he said he would?
The overall increase in real estate sales lifted some Ulster County property prices more the others, and in some localities more than others. In Kingston, the median sold price of residential properties in 2019 was $191,750, up almost 20 percent over the previous year’s median price. In Woodstock, the median sold price was $420,000 in 2019, a hefty sum by most Ulster County standards but a gain of only four percent over the previous year.
Sales tax makes up the largest share of county revenue, but it can vary from year to year, making accurate forecasting important.
How green is my Hudson Valley? Getting greener all the time, but pesky problems, most of which are universal to human societies, remain unresolved. For instance, how does a sustainable economy deal with the piles of waste it keeps accumulating? How can it learn to convert waste into waste products with a value above zero?