A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Positive News Briefs

Research shows that we start to become what we focus on in life.

Check out the wonderful things our neighbors are up to.

New Citizens Welcomed

    Approximately 52 new citizens took their Oaths of Allegiance to become Americans in a naturalization ceremony at the Ulster County Courthouse last month. Participating were the Kingston Post #150 American Legion and VFW Joyce-Schirick Post #1386 color guards, the Wiltwyck Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the New Paltz VFW Auxiliary, the Ulster Literacy Association, the Woodcrest School Choir, the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region, Congressman John Faso, Senator William J. Larkin, Jr., Senator George Amedore, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach, Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum, and Ulster County Legislative Chairman Kenneth J. Ronk, Jr. Presiding over everything was the Honorable Christopher E. Cahill, Justice of the Supreme Court, Ulster County, who also served as keynote speaker. Welcome, all.

O+: The Medicine of Art
Support O+ now through Saturday, April 14 by bidding online for extraordinary artwork, wellness experiences, tours and concerts, and certificates to local small businesses and restaurants. Register for remote bidding at opositivefestival.org/gala. Bidding concludes at the April 14 O+ Spring Gala Auction at The Beverly in Kingston.
All proceeds benefit O+, a Kingston-based nonprofit that supports underinsured artists and musicians through the exchange of the art of medicine for the medicine of art, and produces its signature festivals in towns and cities, nationwide.

Tools For The Opioid Fight

    The state’s battle against opioid addiction will become more accessible with the funding of a new program to supply nine treatment centers statewide with more than 20 vehicles for transportation and outreach needs. The vehicles include mobile clinics, mini-mobile clinics, which are mobile clinics without a full exam room, and vehicles providing transportation for either staff to deliver services or to transport patients to clinics. A full list of providers who have purchased vehicles through this initiative includes Twin Counties in Greene County, where one van will be outfitted as a mobile clinic, with plans to buy two additional vehicles to be outfitted as mobile clinics; and Catholic Charities of Sullivan and Ulster Counties, who will be getting four vehicles to be used for transport.

Eldering Through Relational Wisdom

    The Lifebridge Sanctuary is hosting a three day conference retreat on elder issues in tandem with Wild Earth, Good Work Institute, and the Conscious Eldering Network at their space in Rosendale starting April 26. The idea is simple: explore the experience of the elder and wisdom passed throughout all generations while discussing the many opportunities available throughout life, ideas about elderhood from various cultures and traditions, and the role of younger people in wisdom reciprocity and learning exchange across generations. The retreat design is a fluid formation of large and small circle dialogue, group work specific to each generation, plus opportunities for movement, time on the land, music, poetry, and engagement in universal ritual practices. For further information visit lifebridge.org.

Kingston Food Exchange Changes?

    Kingston Food Exchange, previously planned for the old Woolworth’s site on Wall Street in the Ulster County seat, recently saw the building it plans to occupy change hands. BBG Ventures, the endeavor’s management company which has received several major state grants to achieve its dream of a food preparation and packaging center, with retail operation, is saying they’re still hopeful progress will continue over the coming term, albeit with “significant delays,” despite their holding a longterm lease. The buyer, a New York City-based development firm, has also been involved in the purchase of another building on Wall Street, next door to where the Food Exchange would be, plus the former Kingston School District administrative building on Crown Street, for refurbishing as a hotel. Look for big changes in Uptown.

Jobs A-Plenty In The Region

    Another rise in employment in the Mid-Hudson Valley and Catskills was reported by the state Department of Labor for the 12-month period ending January 31st.  The Dutchess-Putnam Metropolitan Division gained 1,800 nonfarm jobs, a 1.3 percent increase in the January – January span, totaling 145,100. Ulster County’s total was unchanged, standing at 60,300. Greene Countyjobs increased 3.3 percent, gaining 500 nonfarm jobs in the 12-month period to reach a total of 15,700. Columbia County now sits at 21,100 jobs after adding 300 nonfarm jobs, a 1.4 percent increase. Elsewhere in the region Sullivan County increase by 1.6 percent, gaining 400 nonfarm jobs for a total of 26,000. The Orange-Rockland-Westchester Metropolitan Division added less than a tenth of 1 percent, or 200 nonfarm jobs, ending the year with 697,700. Delaware County’s nonfarm job total sat untouched at 14,600. Shifts in the private sector exclusively, during the past 12 months, included a rise of 200 jobs, or 0.4 percent in Ulster County, 1.9 percent, or 2,200 jobs in the Dutchess-Putnam Metropolitan Division, a drop of 0.2 percent in The Orange-Rockland-Westchester Metropolitan Division, or 1,200 jobs. The statewide unemployment rate in January 2018 was 4.7 percent, the same as last year at this time.  

Learn To Preserve Your Own Food

    Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County is hosting a Master Food Preserver training at the Old Dutch Church, 272 Wall Street in Kingston starting May 1, with pre-registration necessary by April 24. The training teaches the scientific basis of home food preservation and provides hands-on experience with boiling water and pressure canning, making jams and jellies, and pickling. It also includes demonstrations of freezing, drying and fermentation, as well as a discussion of other methods of preservation. The idea behind the classes is totally locavore, and geared towards a new sustainable economy: Knowledge shared on preserving food helps to protect the health of residents by teaching safe preservation, and encourages support of local agriculture. There’s a cost for the training, which takes place from 8:30am to 4:30pm May 1 through 3. To register visit the CCEUC events webpage at ulster.cce.cornell.edu/events.

The DRAW Fosters Teen Creativity

    Want to know where some true creativity’s underway in our area? Looking to get your kids interested in more than their online gaming? The DRAW, in Kingston, stands for The Dept. of Regional Art Workers and started as an offshoot of the Pop-up Gallery Group (P.U.G.G), an after-school arts-based work/study program in midtown Kingston, originally funded through a partnership with the City of Kingston and the Kingston City School District, that’s been working to transform empty storefronts into temporary gallery spaces and provide Kingston High School artist alumni opportunities to exhibit their work. Now The DRAW has started a series of youth programs, working out of the Kingston YMCA and looking to expand the arts programming started by PUGG. “Our goal is to provide space for local artists to teach and work, sharing their expertise with the community through workshops and collaborations.” For more information visit drawkingston.org.

Everyone’s Riding Bikes In Our Valley!

    Bikes are big and getting bigger in the Hudson Valley. And the YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County is at the vanguard of the movement with a series of key classes, programs and events geared towards riding the big changes that are making the entire region not only healthier but less carbon-reliant. Among these are a Spring 2018 Learn To Ride bicycling program for ages 16 and up with sessions on April 10, 18 and 26, ongoing Adult Bicycle Education classes, a Bike It! Youth Bicycle Education Program for kids aged 10-15 set for eight Saturday morning sessions starting April 7, work with various local after-school programs, and the upcoming 13th Annual Tour De Kingston and Ulster on June 24 and a Mountain Bike Camp for 12-15 year olds in July and August. The YMCA’s Bicycle Education Program is directed by Tom Polk; email him at tpolk@ymcaulster.org for more information.

A Busy Month At The Chamber

    The Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce is hosting two somewhat different programs in April that are perfect for budding businesspeople. On April 18, the Chamber Foundation and SUNY Ulster Darlene Pfeiffer Entrepreneurship Center will host a Speed Mentoring & Networking “Mentor Ulster!” event in two afternoon sessions on the SUNY Ulster Stone Ridge Campus in Stone Ridge, and on April 24 their monthly Chamber Breakfast will focus on “How to Promote Your Business in a Digital Marketing Economy,” as usual at the Best Western Plus in Kingston, with presenters from Dragon 360 and Ellenbogen Group. Visit UlsterChamber,org to register for each.

Supporting The Best Local Volunteerism

    The 9th Annual UlsterCorps Service Summit is taking registrations for its April 26 morning session at The Terrace at SUNY New Paltz, co-sponsored by the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz. Free to participants, the summit is part of the on-going work of UlsterCorps to deepen the knowledge about volunteerism and to find ways to strengthen a culture of service and collaboration in Ulster County. A locally-sourced, healthy breakfast will be available. Visit UlsterCorps.org for full information.

Fruition Chocolate Set For Growth

    Fruition Chocolate of Olive, based in  the Catskills, recently was approved for funding from the Catskill Watershed Corporation to allow the acclaimed chocolatier to expand and improve its production and sales facility in Shokan. The CWC will provide a low-interest loan of $260,000 to purchase equipment and renovate an additional 1600 square feet of space at its Route 28 location. Ulster County Economic Development will also support the project. Company owner Bryan Graham was named one of the top ten chocolatiers in North America in 2013. Fruition also has a retail shop in Woodstock.

New Energy For Everyone   

ONE (Our New Energy) Fair: Connect and Get Inspired is the name of a new event being put on in tandem with Sustainable Hudson Valley at Basilica Hudson the weekend of April 7 and 8 as a marketplace for products, services, technologies and ideas that promote sustainability, growth and harmony with the planet. ONE Fair’s principals are Virago Futures and the solar-powered Basilica Hudson; the event will include a marketplace, workshops, a hack space, and a performance stage. Fore more information visit viragofutures.com.

Celebrating The Rosendale Library

   You want to know what’s special in our greater community? Our libraries. This year, the Rosendale Library is celebrating 60 years since its formal chartering 18 years after it started as an informal lending shelf in the town clerk’s office. Among upcoming events will be a storytelling event on April 14, an April 25 session for parents on how to encourage children to become readers and writers, and later film screenings and other items still in the works. Best of all — get by the beautiful library, or whichever one is close to you. And remember, each one has its own specialties, from art and film to, well, good old books.

New Cinema For The Valley!

    A three-screen movie theater is coming soon to Hudson, complete with a bar and top-end food offerings. Just don’t expect to bring kids, cell phones, or talk during the screenings. “We want to give the mature movie lover the experience of watching a movie the way it was meant to be,” said Terrell Braly, CEO of Cosmic Cinemas, in a prepared statement. “We want to provide the very best in an exceptional dinner and movie experience without the distractions.” Braly — the former CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas — brought together $5000,000 in funding to purchase the former Fairview Cinemas to create a movie theater with a bar/restaurant that offers fresh, made-to-order appetizers, entrées, beer and wine and mixed drinks before and during the showing of first-run films. Adults must accompany children under 17 to the theater and the owners are lining up celebrity appearances, premieres, and themed festivals. They’re planning to open in May.

What’s With These Opportunity Zones?

    The new federal tax cuts include a new program designed to spur investment in poor urban neighborhoods and rural areas by providing tax incentives to investors, creating so-called Opportunity Zones in low-income census tracts nominated by state governors. Investors, such as banks or hedge funds, will create Opportunity Funds to start or expand businesses or develop real estate in the areas, and those investors, in turn, can save on capital gains taxes. Locally, there are eligible tracts in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, the Ellenville area, much of the Catskills, Red Hook in Dutchess County, much of Greene County, and Hudson. Gov. Andrew Cuomo will make final nominations by an April 20 deadline based on research and analysis done by Empire State Development, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and the Regional Economic Development Councils. Stay tuned.

Empowering Local Youth Communities

    One key thing this year: our kids are marching. They’re speaking to authority. They’ve become more active about shaping their futures than many recent generations. On the afternoon of April 28, local author and activist Patrina Torres has pulled together a community outreach and youth empowerment conference in honor of National Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Prevention month at J.Watson Bailey Middle School in the Kingston School District. “It is our hope for participants to feel restored, refreshed and ready to hit the RESET button on unrealized dreams,” she writes of the open forum’s goals. “We believe students will be motivated to move forward with a sense of NEW purpose, power and passion.” The conference will feature inspirational music, recording artists, inspirational speakers, a nutritious luncheon, and heart to talk between generations. For additional info call Torres at (845) 853-3884.

Working Towards A Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

    The New York Public Interest Research Group recently delivered a letter to Governor Cuomo and state legislative leaders urging them to take action to address the statewide plastic bag crisis after blocking implementation of a law passed in New York City last year. With growing support from communities across the state, and action in municipalities throughout the Hudson Valley, the NYPIRG letter stated that New York State must enact policies that are consistent with those of California which has two major components: (1) a statewide ban on thin plastic bags (under 2.25 mils)—the ones most often distributed by supermarkets (those with handles, not the ones used to wrap foodstuffs); and (2) a minimum 10-cent fee for paper & reusable, thicker plastic bags. Keep up the action!