Saturday, December 17, 2011


We're moving in this weekend to the top floor of our house, which will be the future rental unit. It's *almost* done, we're just waiting for the boilers to get connected and fired up. I'm upset about a few things, like the baseboard heaters being so flimsy and in installing it the crew mowed over one or two electrical outlets. If we had a bigger budget, I would have used Runtal baseboard heaters, which are much nicer with clean lines. C'est la vie pauvre. A few photos from the various stages of work:

Ugh, the worst room in the house: the bathroom. New vinyl window, new baseboard heating, but the tub is leftover from the previous cheap remodel, and the tiles are horrible. Since this photo, we've added a recycled toilet and recycled pedestal sink.

First bedroom, with refinished original floors, original base molding that needs to be fixed up, new aluminum-clad wood windows, and new baseboard heaters.

Second bedroom, refinished original floors, new baseboard heating, the original base molding, new vinyl window on the left, new aluminum clad wood window on the right, which faces the front of the house and therefore must be somewhat historic.

The living room with new vinyl windows, refinished original floors, new baseboard heating, new base trim and new matching window trim. It's not as ornate as the original, but we ran out of money. Maybe in the future we'll try to match the trim to what exists in the rest of the house.

Above is the kitchen with the new (cockeyed) baseboard heat and new bamboo floors. Since this photo, our contractor put together and installed the IKEA cabinets which look awesome. We prepped it for a washer/dryer combo on the left if the future tenant wants to buy and install their own set.

So, at least we are going to live in the house!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Major Grant opportunity for Newburgh and its Artists!!!

Kresge Foundation Invites Preliminary Applications for Arts and Community Building and Artists' Skills and Resources Grant Opportunities

Deadline: February 1, 2012(Preliminary Applications)

The Kresge Foundation's Arts and Culture Program seeks to foster the power of arts and culture to recharge and rebuild communities of all sizes in the United States.

As part of this effort, the program is accepting preliminary grant applications from nonprofit organizations for its Community Building and Artists' Skills and Resources focus areas.

The Arts and Community Building focus area is intended to help develop a systematic way to support arts and culture as a tool for revitalizing communities. To achieve this goal, the program will invest in exemplary efforts and identify and share best practices within the field. At the national level, the foundation wishes to fund exemplary organizations dedicated to integrating arts and community-building activities and identifying new methods as models for the field; commission and publish research on efforts to integrate cultural organizations and artists into community-building efforts; elevate the visibility of arts and community building, and disseminate best practices through meetings, publications, and other means as appropriate. The foundation is accepting preliminary applications from grantseekers for national-level projects.

The Artists' Skills and Resources focus area is based in the belief that community transformation would be more widespread if more communities embraced artists as important contributors to the identity, vitality, and cohesion of the places where they live. The program seeks to boost artists' skills and resources by supporting leading practitioners as well as efforts to increase the number of live-and-work spaces for artists.

Preliminary applications for both funding areas will be accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis through February 1, 2012. (After that date, the grant opportunity may be modified.) The preliminary application contains a data-entry component and several attachments, including a narrative. Applicants with promising requests will be asked to complete the second part of the application process.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Good News!

Our contractor just informed us that the building next to us - a shell - is condemned and Habitat for Humanity will build a similar looking building in its place!! It has a beautiful facade and was probably an amazing house, but it fell on some serious hard times.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Great Grant Opportunity for Newburgh Art Community

New National Arts Initiative Invites Letters of Inquiry for Art-Centered Community Development Projects

Deadline: November 15, 2011 (Letters of Inquiry)

Eleven private philanthropies have joined with the National Endowment for the Arts and a number of federal agencies to establish ArtPlace, a nationwide initiative to drive community revitalization with a new investment model that puts the arts at the center of economic development.

ArtPlace will periodically awards grants to organizations doing groundbreaking work in creative placemaking in communities across the United States. The project recently announced its first round of grants, awarding a total of $11.5 million to thirty-four projects in cities from Honolulu to Miami.

Each project supported by ArtPlace was selected for developing a new model of helping communities thrive by strategically integrating artists and arts organizations into key local efforts in transportation, housing, community development, job creation, and other areas. The program will provide a similar level of support in 2012.

ArtPlace is inviting Letters of Inquiry for its second round of funding from partnerships involving arts organizations, artists, designers, and local and national organizations working to produce a transformative impact on community vibrancy. The initiative seeks to provide seed grants for entrepreneurial projects that already enjoy strong local buy-in, that integrate with a community’s economic development and community revitalization strategy, and that have the potential to attract additional private and public support.

Award amounts are decided on a case-by-case basis. In the grant program's first year, grants ranged from $63,100 to $1 million. The average grant was $349,784 and the median grant was $275,000.

ArtPlace Request for Letters of Inquiry

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apple-Pumpkin Picking

It's been a year since we moved to Newburgh! We went apple/pumpking picking this weekend, just like last October, except this time we had Elliot with us. Requisite baby in pumpkin patch pictures:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rough Plumbing Finished!

I can't believe how awful these photos are, but I guess you'll get the idea. We just passed the first plumbing inspection!

I have no idea what I'm looking at, but apparently it's up to City of Newburgh plumbing code. And we received the Rehabilitation Grant from the City of Newburgh, finally. It was contingent on the boilers being installed and working, which I guess they are.

These last photos are the PVC pipes running from the second floor bathroom. The old houses have joists evenly spaced and don't leave much room to run waste pipes, etc. You'll see a lot of cut joists from previous plumbers trying to work the situation. We decided to sister up the joists, but that leaves the original problem of how to run the plumbing. Originally, we were going to build a pedestal for the toilet so that the pipe could snake over the joist and be close to the back wall, where we wanted it.

Now, instead of the toilet being on a pedestal, the pipes are placed so that the toilet is further away from the wall. Our contractor is building a knee-wall to make up for the space behind the toilet, and on the plus side we get to have some built-in shelves and recessed medicine cabinet.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


We finally started doing some work. It's just the first stage, demolition, but it has made a big difference in how we see our house.

This was our yard somewhere around the spring of 2010.

Here is our yard, now, with all the crap inside the house vomited out:

The floor of the extension was crappy and rotted:

Our contractor tore out the old flooring and put in the plywood subflooring:

The master bathroom before:

The master bathroom, now:

The first parlor looking into the second parlor area, separated by a wall with french doors:

The wall is gone and the two parlors are now combined:

There's a lot more getting cleaned out, but nothing too exciting. We should have the building permits soon and be able to start doing some major work.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A few belated things...

I finally uploaded pictures from my cell phone to the computer, so some of these are months old. Above is Tracer in our old apartment, enjoying life as the only small creature in our lives.

In late April, we finally excavated the old water main and replaced it. The driveway is still a pile of dirt, but the excavator promised to return and blacktop it.

Here's a photo of the fence we put up in the back about a year ago. Before that, it was an open invitation to the neighbors to use our backyard as a dumping ground.

We're finally ALMOST there with the renovation loan from Wells Fargo. If everything goes well, and it won't, we should start work in July!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Grants Grants Grants

Home Depot is giving $5,000 to community organizations that help improve the living conditions of seniors, veterans, and/or the disabled with housing repairs, weatherization and modifications.

The shoe company, Saucony, has a Run for Good program that awards up to $10,000 in cash and in-kind donations for youth running programs to encourage active and healthy lifestyles for children under 18.

KaBoom! and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group have a program, Playful City USA, that awards grants up to $30,000 to help local governments use best practices to ensure their children have the time and space they need to play and to be active and healthy.

Banfield Charitable Trust offers non-profit organizations support for keeping pets and their people together.

The Mental Health Foundation's "It's OK to talk about it" grant initiative awards up to $10,000 to support innovative programs that address the reduction of stigma, the promotion of public awareness, and education on mental health issues for the target population of young adults. These programs must entail a peer component of young adults who have personally lived with mental illness and can share their condition and stigmatization in a candid and positive manner with peers. The grant program's goal is to improve acceptance of and access to mental health services and supports. The deadline to apply is the end of this month.

Monday, April 4, 2011

More Grants

I'm back at work after three beautiful months of disability/bonding leave. I'm seeing a few grants that might be interesting for Newburghers:

Preserve New York program offers grants to municipalities and non-profit organizations for historic structure reports, historic landscape reports, and cultural resource surveys. Typical awards are between $3,000 and $10,000.

Scotts Miracle-Gro is giving community organizations up to $1,500 in money and in-kind support for gardening and community beautification projects.

Dollar General is offering up to $5,000 in Back-to-School literacy grants to assist school libraries and media centers. They are also awarding up to $3,000 to schools, public libraries and non-profit organizations for Youth Literacy programs.

M.A.C. AIDS Fund is awarding up to $25,000 for programs that provide food and nutrition to people living with HIV or AIDS.

Women Helping Others (W.H.O.) will support grass-roots programs serving the overlooked needs of women and children with grants up to $40,000.

JustFilms, an initiative from Ford Foundation, awards grants to film, video and digital works that show courageous people confronting difficult issues and actively pursuing a more just, secure and sustainable world.

Cinereach is also funding full-length fiction and non-fiction films, with up to $50,000 per project.

Let me know if you have a particular area for which you'd like to find funding.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Community Grant for Collaborations with Police

From the Foundation Directory RFP Alerts:

Applications Invited for MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards Program

Deadline: February 28, 2011

The MetLife Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation are partnering for the tenth year to recognize, sustain, and share the work of innovative partnerships between community groups and police to promote neighborhood safety and revitalization.

The MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards program invites applications from 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 will be promoted via case studies to a wide audience of practitioners, policymakers, and academics.

The program will award grants in the following two categories:

Neighborhood Revitalization Awards (six awards of $15,000 to $25,000 each): These awards celebrate exemplary collaborations between community groups and police that yield crime reduction as well as economic development outcomes such as real estate development, business attraction, and job growth.

Special Strategy Awards (five awards of $15,000 each) will be given to community and police partners who have achieved significant accomplishments in applied technology, aesthetics and greenspace improvement, diversity inclusion and integration, drug market disruption, gang prevention and youth safety, and seniors and safety.

Program information and the full Request for Proposals are available at the LISC Web site:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Straight from the oven

The baby is here!! He was born January 4, exactly on his due date.

He's already being outfitted in the season's hottest knitwear:

Both are courtesy of my friend, Toni. She hand dyes her own yarn and uses tooth picks (or something equally small and impossible) to knit.

We've been so preoccupied with the baby that the house has been sitting idle. Eddie is still working on the State and Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit applications, but it might not matter. Sadly, this past week he learned that the two City of Newburgh grants he applied for kind of fell through.

He had received a letter stating that his applications were approved and had verbal confirmation that the full amount he was asking for had been set aside, but now the loan committee will only award him a small portion of what he applied for, so it looks like the house won't be fixed up anytime soon and he'll be one of those vacant property landlords that we have been railing against. It's sad, but part of the reality of Newburgh, I guess. I just wish he hadn't wasted so much time on it (since April, 2010).

In the meantime, we're learning a lot about local politics and trying to enjoy Newburgh. One of the best things we've come across is this bbq restaurant, Christine's, on Broadway. The smoked ribs, fried chicken, brisket and smoked chicken are AMAZING, as well as the collard greens, baked mac 'n cheese, coleslaw, potato salad, and sweet potato fries. We've ordered take out three times in the past two weeks.