A Magazine About Food, Art & Exchange In Midtown Kingston, Published By The Hudson Valley Current.

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Amazon Comes To The Hudson?

    Everyone’s been following the hoopla around Amazon’s search for a new headquarters. We’ve heard great pitches for Detroit and Pittsburgh, and even old manufacturing centers in the Northeast. Now we’ve learned that New York is putting forth several options, and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently issued a letter to Amazon Founder, Chairman & CEO Jeff Bezos highlighting four submissions: Buffalo/Rochester; Syracuse/Utica/Mohawk Valley; Albany/Capital Region; and New York City/Long Island/Mid-Hudson. Each submission is supported by a full complement of state incentives, including Excelsior tax credits tied to potential job creation and other assistance with the development of office space, workforce development, educational programming and research collaborations.  “As New Yorkers, we believe that economic progress and social progress go hand in hand.  We’ve led the nation in passing marriage equality, paid family leave, and $15 minimum wage,” Cuomo noted. “This year we announced the Excelsior Scholarship, the first-in-the-nation program to make college education 100% tuition-free for thousands of students from working-class and middle-class families.  From our K-12 tech education initiatives to the Excelsior Scholarship program, the Empire State is building the workforce talent pipeline of tomorrow.”

 Even More Filmmaking Opportunities Rising

    In a program announced last month by Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, four local banks will pool $8 million that will be available in the coming year in the form of cash advances on contracts with top-tier distributors; bridge financing on approved state credits for bonded productions; local bank accounts and debit cards for production companies; and favorable loans for property, equipment, capital improvements and leases for post-production facilities in Ulster County. The goal of the program is to grow the film-TV sector in Ulster County and create more local opportunities for careers in the industry. The financial institutions participating in the program, known as the Ulster County Film Finance Program, are the Bank of Greene County, Catskill Hudson Bank, Ulster Savings Bank and Wallkill Valley Federal Savings and Loan. The program is the latest effort by the county to draw more film and TV production to the county, following in the footsteps of an expansion of the state’s additional 10 percent tax credit for production-related costs to a number of Mid-Hudson counties, including Ulster. The county has seen a significant uptick in film and TV productions since the additional tax credit was extended to Ulster County, Hein has said, including the development of the old MetLife building in Kingston into Metro to house, among other businesses, the nonprofit TV and film production company Stockade Works, led by actress/director Mary Stuart Masterson. That is expected to bring new training opportunities and TV/film industry work to the area. The funding announcement was made at BCDF Productions in Kerhonkson.

GWI Presents Climate Change Salon Series At Bard

    Lyme and Other Tick-borne Diseases is the title for the upcoming Climate Change Salon at Bard taking place from 2:30 to 5:30pm on Sunday, November 19 at the Dutchess County college’s new Montgomery Place facilities. It’s part of a new series of discussions being co-presented by Bard College and the Good Work Institute over four Sundays this autumn to provide a clear and honest assessment of the local risks and challenges that come with changing climate. Each afternoon includes discussion and an outdoors activity. Also coming up will be a November 5 session on farming with Gidon Eshel of Bard and Elizabeth Ryan of Stone Ridge Orchards, and a November 12 session on forests and what’s challenging them in our region with Cathy Collins of Bard, Gary Lovett of the Cary Institute and John Thompson of the Catskill Center. The sessions started in late October with a session on the river featuring documentarian Jon Bowermaster, which included a kayak trip in the Hudson. Leading the tick session will be Bard’s Felicia Keesing and Richard Ostfeld of the Cary Institute. The series is made possible with support from Dandelion and Hudson Solar. Admission is a ‘pay what you wish’ donation. For more information, please contact matt@goodworkinstitute.org or go to climateseries.splashthat.com/.

Join Together For Community Solar

    A new, first of its kind, community solar Solarize campaign from RenewableNY has started up to push support and expand the number of solar farms that deliver energy to owners or subscribers throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley. “While not everyone is able to put solar panels on their roofs, there are options for everyone to reduce their carbon footprint, save money and go solar today. “Community solar, sometimes known as ‘shared solar,’ is a great way to expand access to solar energy for all,” said Katherine Nadeau, RenewableNY’s program director. “This model allows an entire community to benefit from a solar farm. You just need to have an electric bill, and a desire to save.” Local nonprofit organizations, solar experts and shared solar developers, alongside your volunteer neighbors, will lead educational workshops in each participating county under the direction of RenewableNY. RenewableNY is a nonprofit partnership funded by NYSERDA for three years of Solarize programming being led by Catskill Mountainkeeper in partnership with several county Cornell Cooperative Extensions and Sustainable Hudson Valley. Together they serve 15 counties in the Mid-Hudson and Southern Tier Regions of New York. Participation in a Community Solar project is available to all Central Hudson and Orange and Rockland rate payers, for whom Solarize Hudson Valley is offering subscriptions to a pair of Community Shared Solar facilities being developed by NextAmp, a respected Boston company just moving into the Hudson Valley, for savings up to 10% off your current electric bill. Find out more at solarize-hudsonvalley.org.

New Growth For State’s Farm-to-School Program

    $1 million in new funding is available for eligible school districts to support the growth of Farm-to-School Programs across New York State. The program helps Kindergarten through Grade 12 schools connect with local farmers, increase the use of locally grown food on school menus, improve student health, and educate young people about agriculture. Since launched in 2015, $850,000 has been invested so far to support 13 Farm-to-School projects that benefit 108 school districts across the state, including several in the Hudson Valley. Applicants eligible for Round 3 of the Farm-to-School Program include Kindergarten through Grade 12 school food authorities, public schools, charter schools, not-for-profit schools, and other entities participating in the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, or the Summer Food Service Program. The state is seeking proposals that will increase the capacity of schools to procure and serve locally produced food items in school meal programs. Projects eligible for grant funding across New York’s school districts may include: employment of a local or regional farm to school coordinator; training programs for food service staff to increase knowledge of local procurement and preparation of locally produced food; purchase of equipment needed to increase capacity of school kitchen and food service staff to prepare and serve locally produced food; and capital improvements to support the transport and/or storage of locally produced food. For more information, contact: Meg McCabe at meg.mccabe@agriculture.ny.gov.

Catskill Conversations At The Ashokan Center

    The Ashokan Center is continuing its new Catskill Conversations series this month with a 2pm, November 19 session on “Ulster County & the Civil War” with Rosemary Nichols, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason. The actual day is also known as Remembrance Day, the anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and author and historian Nichols will talk with musical accompaniment by Ungar and Mason, widely known for their role Grammy Award Winning score to Ken Burns PBS series The Civil War. Also coming up on November 1 is a combined salute to Jay & Molly and Celebration of 50 Years of Outdoor Education at what used to be known as the Ashokan Field Campus, from 6 to 8pm at 250 Mercer Street in New York City. The evening will include great food from noted chefs John Novi and Bill Warnes, plus tributes to the local musicians from a host of noted persons. Visit www.ashokancenter.org immediately for tickets to either event.

Craft Beer Week Across The Region!

    New York State’s first-ever Taste NY Craft Beverage Week will be held November 5 through 11 in New York City and elsewhere to boost the exposure of the state’s world-class wine, beer, spirits, and ciders, and help to increase sales and drive economic growth. “The craft beverage industry in New York has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years and as a result, has become a critical driver of regional economies in every corner of this state,” noted Governor Andrew Cuomo at a recent kickoff event. “Craft Beverage Week gives local producers a chance to partner with restaurants across New York to showcase their top-notch products, and I encourage craft beverage enthusiasts from near and far to come out and experience the very best our wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries have to offer.” Events and promotions will include meet the brewer dinners, sommelier-led tastings, dinner pairings, tap takeovers, happy hour specials, New York craft cocktail specials, and informational seminars. Among the local breweries present at a recent Manhattan kick-off event for the coming week were Angry Orchard, Dennings Point Distillery of Beacon, Doc’s Draft Hard Cider, Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider from Staatsburg, Rip Van Winkle Brewing, and Stoutridge Vineyard of Marlboro. Drink up to our future!

Making Sense Of Medicare Sign-Ups

    Confused by the Medicare Plan alphabet soup?  Eleanor Minsky of the Ulster County Office for the Aging Medicare Outreach Coordinator, a retired attorney, will present about the complex choices available in the Medicare system. This free presentation will be held on Thursday November 2, from 5:30–6:15pm at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County (CCEUC), 232 Plaza Road (Kingston Plaza) in Kingston. You will learn about saving money when purchasing prescription drugs, and a little known federal program that refunds Medicare premiums to financially eligible seniors. RSVP to Maria Cecilia Deferrari, Relatives as Parents Program Outreach Coordinator, mcd242@cornell.edu or 845-340-3990 x347.

New Funds For Tree Plantings & Urban Forestry

     The state recently announced grant awards totaling $2.3 million for urban forestry projects in communities across New York as part of  the state’s ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change and environmental justice. Grants are being made available to municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian Nations. Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Tree inventories and community forestry management plans have no match. Tree planting and maintenance projects have a 25 percent match. To date, the awarded projects target local environmental needs that can truly benefit a community and the environment, including watershed protection. Projects include reforestation in areas to restore forest canopy lost to invasive species such as the Emerald Ash Borer. The 51 project winners for the 2017 grants were selected from 147 applications scored competitively. In our area they include, to date, $50,000 for a Kingston Tree Inventory, a little over $80,000 to the Village of New Paltz for a tree inventory and forestry management plan, and $48,241 for Saugerties street tree maintenance. For more information on this program, including an updated calendar of events, visit www.dec.ny.gov/lands/4957.html.

Mid Hudson Valley Leadership Day

    Ulster BOCES, Community Playthings and Family of Woodstock are co-sponsors of Mid-Hudson Valley Leadership Day, a daylong event to take place from 8am to 3:30pm on November 9 that’s dedicated to both educating and rejuvenating experienced early childhood professionals, including directors, owners, and administrators of daycare centers. Sherry Cleary, executive director of the New York City Early Childhood Professional Development Institute will deliver the keynote address titled, “The Life of a Leader: If Everything is Under Control…” and the conference will also feature the President of the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children (NYSAEYC) Deborah Fitzgerald, and its Executive Director Kristen Kerr. There will be training sessions, networking, vendors, and giveaways. It all takes place at the Chateau in Kingston with proceeds going to charities that serve children and families through Family of Woodstock.

Let The State Know About Sick Deer

    As hunting season steps into view later this month, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally, as well as any deer that appear to have died from unknown causes (not killed by a vehicle). Report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. To locate your nearest DEC office, visit www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html.