Wednesday, December 8, 2010
(Photos via One Mile Gallery website.)
Monday, November 29, 2010
On the plus side, they don't have a 20% copay on their medical insurance, so they won't be in debt immediately after giving birth.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Project Orange Thumb
Sponsored by Fiskars, 10 winners will receive $5,000 in cash and tools to support neighborhood beautification through community gardening, and one winner will receive a complete community garden makeover. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2010.
IBM Smart Cities Challenge
The application for the Smarter Cities Challenge must be signed by an executive officer of a municipality or local government, whose title varies by location – for example, s/he may be the mayor, city manager, chief administrative officer, county manager, county executive, etc. The most successful proposals will:
- Describe 1-3 potential problems or opportunities to address with the grant
- Provide clear, compelling evidence that the city is well positioned to utilize the resources offered in the Smarter Cities Challenge
- Outline how a grant of IBM talent and technology has the potential to substantially enhance the city's capacity to act on key issues
- Highlight recent efforts to develop innovative solutions to public problems, including any initiatives to implement new technologies or open data policies
- Demonstrate the city is ready to match IBM's investment with its own commitment of time and talent, including access to the city agencies and personnel relevant to the project
The bank supports non-profits in communities where there is a Chase presence, and Newburgh definitely fits. You have to root around on the website a little to get the full scope of what they will support, but briefly, they support green initiatives (green building, green jobs, sustainable development), employment training, affordable housing, education, and arts and culture. I've included wording directly from their website:
Targeting Challenged Neighborhoods
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation directs the majority of its time, attention and investment toward specific neighborhoods in cities where we have major operations. These neighborhoods are typically among the most challenged areas of major urban centers, defined by unacceptably high rates of poverty and historic disinvestment. JPMorgan Chase works to lead a renaissance in the neighborhood, by engaging the most qualified non-profit organizations, neighborhood residents, and other sources of public and private advocacy and funding.
The firm's philanthropic investment in these targeted neighborhoods is predominantly focused in three centers of excellence:
Our strategic focus is to work with community-based partners to address issues related to poverty and social exclusion by building economic infrastructure, promoting self-sufficiency, and supporting efforts to narrow social inequities.
What we support:
- Resident-focused programming that addresses: workforce development; asset building, and financial literacy:
- Continuing Education Courses
- Adult Literacy Outreach
- Job Training
- Money Management Basics
- Credit Repair
- EITC Workshops
- Homeownership / Homebuyer Workshops
- Foreclosure Prevention
- Community-focused programming that addresses: economic development and affordable housing:
- Economic Planning
- Small Business Technical Assistance & Financing
- Job Creation
- Affordable Housing Development & Preservation
Our strategic focus is to ensure that all children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, have access to high quality educational opportunities with a particular focus on K-12 public schools that help them acquire the knowledge and skills needed to be productive, engaged students.
What we support:
- Development of instructional leaders
- Implementation of innovative curricula
- Deepen teacher content knowledge
- Strengthening of instructional strategies
- Strengthening district capacity to support innovation
- Extending learning opportunities
- College access initiatives
- Dissemination of best practices
Arts & Culture
Our strategic focus is to increase community access to rich cultural resources that foster creativity, promote self-expression, celebrate diversity, and strengthen our environment.
What we support:
- Arts programs in schools and after school
- Build capacity of community-based arts institutions
- Broaden access to artistic excellence and diversity by partnering with major arts and culture groups
Monday, November 1, 2010
Fall! The scenery is gorgeous right now, and we enjoyed it on a leisurely drive through Cornwall-on-Hudson/Storm King/West Point following Route 218. It was so hard to motivate ourselves to work on the house, but we finally did.
First, we scraped a paint sample from the side of the house, and matched it at Home Depot. Then we set to work covering the graffiti on the three sides of the house.
The last square:
Then we decided to plant some shrubs in the front yard. We planted two limelight hydrangeas, two asters, and two...shrubs.
Admittedly, I didn't do much since gardening is backbreaking work! ...and the whole congenital toxoplasmosis thing. Sometime soon, we'll get a grinder and remove the iron fence. We'd love to save it, but it's too far gone.
And finally, Halloween! We didn't get ANY trick-or-treaters, so the only person Eddie could scare was me.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
M&T Bank makes community improvement grants through their regional offices.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation and MetLife Foundation give an annual award to recognize, sustain and share the work of innovative partnerships between community groups and police to promote neighborhood safety and revitalization. Through the MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards, MetLife Foundation and LISC identify and honor partnerships that exhibit tangible accomplishments in their efforts to advance the process, outcome, and evaluation of potent police-community collaborations.
Eligible applicants must be member organizations of partnerships that include, but need not be limited to, community organizations and police. Awardees receive a monetary grant and their work is promoted via case studies to a wide audience of practitioners, policymakers, and academics. For questions or for those interested in being notified of future funding opportunities, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The website if very informative and relevant to Newburgh, so I suggest checking it out even if you're not interested in the award opportunity.
The Dyson Foundation has a Management Assistance Program (MAP) to help nonprofits in the Mid-Hudson Valley strengthen their organizations and find greater efficiencies in administration, operations, resource development and programming. Nonprofits can better focus on their core missions and serve their community when they are well managed and fiscally sound, have engaged boards and good governance, and rely on sound planning for strategic results.
Mid-Hudson Valley-based nonprofits can apply for these grants to improve operations, administration, and management. There are two major funding areas: the Mini-Grant Program and the Strategic Restructuring Initiative.
The Lander Street community center that the Newburgh Heights Association is interested in saving would be a prime candidate!
The Norman Foundation support efforts that strengthen the ability of communities to determine their own economic, environmental and social well-being, and that help people control those forces that affect their lives. These efforts may:
- promote economic justice and development through community organizing, coalition building and policy reform efforts;
- work to prevent the disposal of toxics in communities, and to link environmental issues with economic and social justice;
- link community-based economic and environmental justice organizing to national and international reform efforts.
They will consider the following in evaluating grant proposals:
- Does the project arise from the hopes and efforts of those whose survival, well-being and liberation are directly at stake?
- Does it further ethnic, gender and other forms of equity?
- Is it rooted in organized, practical undertakings?
- Is it likely to achieve systemic change?
In pursuing systemic change, they would hope that:
- the proposed action may serve as a model;
- the spread of the model may create institutions that can survive on their own;
- their establishment and success may generate beneficial adaptations by other political, social and economic institutions and structures.
The Foundation provides grants for general support, projects, and collaborative efforts. They also welcome innovative proposals designed to build the capacity of social change organizations working in our areas of interest. Priority is given to organizations with annual budgets of under $1 million.
Eddie's trying to make the argument that the combination of his own money, his own efforts and the city grants would allow him to fix the building and make it habitable. It's an uphill battle, though, and although the city officials seemed to be helpful at first, they have not returned his subsequent phone calls or emails. Sigh.
Anyway, it's a shame because the house is on a crucial corner and its occupancy could change the whole outlook of the neighborhood it's in. We attended the Newburgh Heights Association meeting last week, even though we don't live in the Heights, and they echoed the same sentiment that Eddie voiced to the City of Newburgh in an appeal letter - that every house makes a difference. Each abandoned or boarded-up property devalues the surrounding area and only perpetuates the cycle of crime, lowered neighborhood pride, and lower rates of owner-occupied housing.
It would be great to start up a Montgomery-Grand-Liberty Association, where there are lots of beautiful historic homes that need to be remembered and advocated for. And there are a lot of people already in the neighborhood who take care of their own properties, who I imagine wouldn't be opposed to expending energy on making sure other properties are taken care of.
Since we haven't done anything with the house in a while, we were shamed into taking some action...so, maybe this weekend we'll do some landscaping in the front yard.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
To be more positive, I have been thinking it's a good opportunity to rebuild my life, to anticipate the baby and to live with less. Plus, Newburgh is only 30 minutes away from Ananda Ashram, a great place to meditate.
The neighbors at the next house over brought us a welcome basket the first weekend. Everything was homemade and delicious. The tomatoes, cucumbers and dill she used were grown in the yard. We also found mushrooms growing up through the gravel in the driveway. I picked a handful but haven't done the research to see if they're edible.
We had a barbecue last weekend and were so happy to see all our friends. It really made the apartment feel like a home.
I was in charge of the vegan portions: grilled vegetable sandwiches, dill beer bread, and vegetarian chili. Eddie made the Kansas City BBQ ribs and chicken.
Monday, September 20, 2010
For every step forward, though, there's always two (or three) steps back. The fence we put up in the spring had a section busted down, and people resumed throwing trash in our side yard, including two mattresses, a dresser, and five computer monitors/television sets. The basement entrance and kitchen entrance were broken into as well. Luckily, we didn't have much in the house, so the burglar(s) stole some tools and flashlights but courteously left the chifferobes alone.
I had also just finished reading "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" by Shirley Jackson (I honestly only bought it because of Penguin's new book cover design) and felt this immediate, visceral connection to the characters' struggle to protect their home. It opened up the reality of home ownership to me and how much you depend on the social contract once you own property. I'm more fired up for local politics than ever!
Monday, September 13, 2010
The front of the house. Notice the one piece of furniture we moved in over the weekend:
Right in front of our apartment door:
That one piece of furniture in the process of being moved in. There's a whole other section that may have to go in the bedroom.
The kitchen. We're putting in our own refrigerator and stove:
View from the bedroom. The windows are curved!
I can't wait to move the rest of our stuff in! And tomorrow night Eddie has a meeting with the ARC to discuss the facade work we plan on doing for our house (which is only a couple blocks away). If all goes well, we'll be starting work in October.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
And a bigger one from the Upper West Side for $120. It's a little busted, but just the right size for a guest bedroom.
I'm thinking of painting them, but Eddie wants to just give them a cleaning and nice finish. I guess I could always paint it later on, when we're moved into our house.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
This weekend we went up to New Paltz on Saturday and stayed at the cute hostel on Main Street. Only $60 a night! Unfortunately, it was also the weekend SUNY New Paltz students came back to school, so there was some mighty traffic.
We did a short hike to Splitting Rock swimming hole in the Shawangunk Mountains but didn't swim because it was freezing cold water (picture above).
Sunday, we drove half an hour to Newburgh, had an awesome breakfast (thanks Anna and Evan!), and viewed one-bedroom apartments we found on Craigslist and with Chris, our realtor who should be on retainer. We're still trying to decide which apartment to rent, but it looks like we'll be in Newburgh on September 15!!!
And, since the City Council voted to return the title of the house to us, we'll be able to start work as soon as we get that matching grant and ARC approval. Hopefully.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
The Goldsmith Denniston House breakfast. Nancy, the owner, was so wonderful and she knew a lot about Newburgh and renovating old houses. She gave us a list of good resources.
We're going back up this weekend and exploring New Paltz, which is only 29 minutes away. Our friends hiked around Minnewaska Park last weekend and their dog chased a baby bear up a tree. Luckily, they got away before the baby's family came looking.
We just hope that we'll reach the top of wherever we go, and maybe find a swimming hole. Split Rock Hole in Coxing Kill sounds adventurous - there's also a nude area. Also, we will probably go to the Antique Sale at the Crawford House in Newburgh on Sunday!
Friday, August 13, 2010
We'll probably visit the Captain David Crawford House in Newburgh, and then take a tour of Bannerman Castle on Sunday. Maybe go to DIA: Beacon, too, if there's enough time. Oh, and there's a Corn Festival on Sunday in Beacon as well! Even if we don't have a house, we can still pretend we live there!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Anyway, we received some pretty awful news on Friday. The City of Newburgh informed Eddie that he doesn't actually OWN the house we bought. The explanation from our lawyer-in-law:
“The title co, your insurer, is working on fixing the problem. The problem took place during a gap between the closing and the last search that was done by the title company before the closing. During that gap, the city foreclosed the tax lien for all those back unpaid taxes. Because it took place during the gap, the title co wasn't aware of it. Notwithstanding, you are insured for not only what you paid, but for the fair market value of the property. I had spoken with Eddie about this months ago, when we discovered the problem when the title co tried to file the deed taking you out of title AND you brought to our attention that you were unable to pay the taxes. The title company is "on it". In the meantime, do not spend any more money on this house until this is worked out.”
Crazy, right?? So everything is on hold - the grant application, the ARC approval for facade work, the historic preservation tax credit application....
Anyway, it wouldn't be an adventure without a few Fire Swamps and Pits of Despair.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Anyway, since we're refocusing, we're going to go to Zaborski's Emporium this Saturday! In Kingston, NY. We'll be on the look out for bathroom fixtures and maybe some wrought-iron fences. If we don't find what we're looking for there, we might go to New York Old Iron, under the F train in Brooklyn. It's only open from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays, but it always looks packed with amazing stuff.
So, maybe there will be more updates after this weekend!
Monday, June 7, 2010
This photo is from October 2008. Look how gorgeous our house was, and the street it's on, before the foreclosure! The house next door is not just a shell!
Two weekends ago, we cleaned up some garbage and the neighbors five houses down were generous enough to lend us their wheelbarrow and weed whacker (which we then broke...eek!). We cut the overgrown weeds out front and hauled 900 pounds of garbage to the dump.
There's still about a ton of garbage we have to dispose of that we stored in our carriage house. Maybe during the week when the dump is open past noon and we can make more than one trip.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
First, we didn't get the Mount Saint Mary/St. Luke's Hospital Grant. After going through the trouble of taking the Pathstone first-time homebuyer's course and sending in the application last year, Pathstone dropped the ball and forgot about us. They were waiting for the grant to be available to non-employees of Mount Saint Mary and St. Luke's Hospital. When that happened at the end of the summer, they didn't tell us. I spoke with the community liason/grant administrator at Mount Saint Mary and she said she never received our application. Now that we've closed on the house, we're no longer eligible.
Second, it turns out that we have serious plumbing problems. The water main is cracked and we have to hire an excavator to repair it before we can run pipes into the house.
Third, the City of Newburgh cited us two violations which had existed for the two years that the house was on the market and owned by the bank, but they never cited the bank for it.
Fourth, in our first weekend back there was a pitbull chained to the house and a stolen ATV in our driveway. Oh, and a shrine to someone who died (was killed?) right next door.
A few good things have happened, too:
Our next door homeowner helped us when we had to build a fence between our two properties. He provided barrels of water for the cement.
A wonderful Newburghian and his partner donated solid Victorian doors to us from their collection.
Community members have been introducing themselves (many from NCAC) and offering help, services, and information.
We found the best BBQ place - Brothers BBQ in Greater Newburgh/ New Windsor. The chopped bbq and ribs were crazy good, as well as the collard greens.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Updated: Apartment Therapy has an article about the origin of this chair. Its original design was to protect porters from cold draughts as they sat in the hallway and kept watch over the front entrance of a home.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
If you want to be married in Hawaii, I now have a highly recommended minister. Who is a deep
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Things are coming along...we met with an electrician, a plumber, a...heating guy (HVAC guy?), and our realtor, on Saturday. They are all awesome and it was a non-stop hyuk-fest for two hours. We're getting the power turned on this week, and hopefully the plumber can check out the water main to see if any work needs to be done there. If not, we'll be moving forward pretty quickly with fixing up the electrical wiring, installing a tankless water heater and an old boiler on the third floor.
The tricky part is we're also applying for tax exemptions and incentives. Newburgh has two tax exemptions - the Real Property Tax Exemption for First-Time Homebuyers of Newly Constructed Homes, and the School TAx Relief Exemption (STAR). The Real Property Tax Exemption also applies to non-newly constructed homes if there is a renovation or remodeling of an existing home. The renovation or remodeling cost "must exceed $3,000 and the contract for the work must be contracted for within 90 days from the date of purchase."
We need to make sure the work is completed by March 7, in order to qualify, and the deadline to apply is the taxable status date, or March 1. The exemption lasts for five years, "beginning at fifty percent the first year and declining to ten percent in the fifth and final year." Eligibility also depends on the household income and the purchase price of the home. It follows the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) guidelines.
To receive the STAR exemption, the owner must be at least 65 years old, and/or the income of all owners and owners' spouses be $73,000 or less. The deadline is also March 1, the taxable status date.
The tricky part is coordinating the tax exemption with the Historic Preservation Tax Incentives (HPTI) Program. To receive the HPTI, all work that we want to claim the benefit for must be approved by the Technical Preservation Services Department of the National Park Service. The paperwork is long and tedious, with lots of photo documentation. There's no way we'll get the work approved before the tax exemption deadline, so...we'll see?
Friday, February 12, 2010
We're also going to try and fix the wood fence. Our first project!
Friday, January 29, 2010
4pm Arrive at the Plantation House. Dinner at the house.
Sunday, April 4th
6pm Dinner at Cafe VIII 1/2, my uncle's restaurant in Honolulu.
1067 Alakea Street, Honolulu, HI 96813
Monday, April 5th to Thursday, April 8th
Rush Hour Traffic: tips to avoid it!
Beware of JELLYFISH!!! this is a tentative arrival schedule for April
Don't go into the water if you see them.
Some ideas for activities:
Fun in the Sun: North Shore beaches and Lanikai beach in Kailua
Hiking Maunawili Falls OR Manoa Falls, depending on the weather.
Valley of the Temples - there's a beautiful Buddhist temple
Horseback Riding at Kahuku Kai if they are operating
Ahupua‘a O Kahana State Park for some Hawaiian History
Snorkeling at Waikiki, North Shore or Hanauma Bay
Shopping at Ala Moana
(Cheap to Moderate)
Jong Ga - cheap Korean lunch near Ala Moana
Sweet Home Cafe - Taiwanese Hot Pot
Genki Sushi - cheap sushi!
Irifune - Japanese home cooking
Eggs 'N Things - get the Ahi and Eggs with pancakes - ask for the salsa
Ono Hawaiian Foods - Pork Lau Lau!
Zippy's - it's a local favorite, but getting pricier and pricier
Hukilau Cafe - in the movie 50 First Dates
Kaka'ako Kitchen - gourmet local food in take-out containers
Kua'Aina Burgers - Ward Center and North Shore
Waiola Shave Ice - if you're in Honolulu
Matsumoto Shave Ice - if you're in the North Shore
Bubbies Ice Cream - there are two locations, I prefer the one on University Ave.
City Cafe - Taiwanese Shave Ice (pick mochi, red bean, taro, and tapioca toppings!)
(Moderate to Expensive)
Legend Seafood - amazing dim sum
Indigo - located in Chinatown; great atmosphere
Alan Wong's - best food ever. Just ask Barry.
Sushi Sasabune - if you go, you must sit at the bar for the complete experience!
Sansei Sushi - crab ramen with truffle broth!
This is just a starting point. There's so much good food in Hawaii!!
Friday, April 9th
12pm Lunch at the Plantation House!
6pm Wedding Ceremony on the beach
Saturday, April 10th
11am Check out of Plantation House
12pm Brunch at Haleiwa Joe's in Kaneohe
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
All the flowers for the wedding/reception are going to be from my aunt's yard. She has the bird of paradise, already, and I gave her the cockscomb seeds to plant. Now, I just have to convince her to add the torch ginger into her repertoire.
Other flowers I wanted, like the Sarah Bernhardt peony, purple anemones, and various ranunculuses, aren't readily available in Hawaii.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
- LEMON WASABI EDAMAME PUREE WITH RICE CRACKERS
- VIETNAMESE EGGPLANT DIP WITH TARO CHIPS
- PURPLE AND ORANGE SWEET POTATO VOLCANO
- LAULAU WITH SEASONAL HAWAIIAN FISH ON A BED OF CARAMELIZED SHALLOT, SPINACH, LEMONGRASS, KAFIR LIME AND GINGER.
- CUMIN AND CORIANDER GRILLED LAMB WITH GUAVA BBQ DRIZZLE
- VEGETARIAN PUMPKIN, BREADFRUIT, AND BANANA GREEN CURRY
- TOFU, CUCUMBER, WATERCRESS, TOMATO SALAD WITH THAI BASIL
- SHRIMP AND WATERMELON SALAD WITH CHILE, LIME, AND CILANTRO
- JICAMA PINEAPPLE MINT SALAD
- INDIAN SPICED BASMATI WEDDING RICE
- SRI LANKAN LOVE CAKE WITH PASSION CURD
Ka'a'awa Plantation! Some photos of the house we're renting for the wedding...
There's 10 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms. So, almost everyone will get their own bathrooms. Did I mention, if you RSVP yes, you HAVE TO stay here with everyone! It's just easier, since the house is located in an out-of-the-way town.