Sneak Love-the-Environment Action
all the news on the Hudson cement-plant front is bad for opponents
of St. Lawrence Cement’s proposed new factory. At the very
least, citizens of Hudson have one positive thing to look
forward to: They can expect to get a rockin’ show out of the
On Saturday evening, the Tom Tom Club, the Hotheads and Julee
Cruise will perform at a new club in Hudson in support of
Friends of Hudson and its work to protect the environment
in and around Columbia County. Most notably, Friends of Hudson
has led the fight against St. Lawrence Cement, the Canadian-based
cement manufacturer that wants to build a sprawling, $300
million cement factory right outside the city limits. Since
the proposal first reared its head in 1998, Friends has been
working to expose its potential to be environmentally and
economically detrimental to the community—not to mention downright
Despite SLC’s claims that it will be a cleaner, more state-of-the-art
facility than other cement plants, it is estimated that the
plant will spew up to 250 tons of particulate matter into
the air, not to mention thousands of tons of carbon dioxide
and volatile compounds. Friends also contends that the cement
plant will adversely affect the city’s booming arts and antiques
market. In the past decade, a growing community of New York
City expatriates has begun to call Hudson home, and every
weekend, thousands of tourists flock to the city’s main thoroughfare,
Warren Street, to browse its dozens of art galleries and antiques
anyone point to a single example of a plant which has brought
health and prosperity to a town like ours?” wrote Friends
of Hudson vice president Peter Jung on the group’s Web site
(www.friendsofhudson.com). “Take a drive through the cement
towns on Route 9W across the Hudson River: all of them are
economically depressed and struggling.”
So on Saturday night, the group will get a little PR boost
when poet laureate John Ashbery, poet Robert Kelly, the Tom
Tom Club (featuring former Talking Heads Tina Weymouth and
Chris Frantz), the Hotheads and Julee Cruise show their support
for the cause. The show will, according to the concert organizers
at Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Mass., “provide a forum
for their efforts to enhance the quality of life in our area
by protecting our health and environment, our air and water
quality and our tremendous agricultural resources. Club Helsinki
would like to show support from across the [state] border
and applaud their hard work and passion.”
The festivities will be held at the Port of Hudson, a new
club opened in the recently renovated building that used to
house the Basilica Industry (commonly known around the city
as “the glue factory”).
For ticket prices and details about the show, you can visit
the Club Helsinki Web site at www.clubhelsinkiweb.com or see
Also Noted on page 39.
Props to Club Helsinki for organizing the show—its first event
staged in Columbia County.
Watching the Kids?
expansion of a New York state program to supervise troubled
youths is troubling those in charge of the supervising.
After an eight-month delay, the Persons in Need of Supervision
program, used to monitor the behavior of and mediate relations
between parents and incorrigible youths, expanded to include
16- and 17-year-olds on July 1. According to critics, the
expansion was not coupled with a rise in funding adequate
to support the county offices preparing to deal with the expected
growth in P.I.N.S. cases.
have some funding, but not enough,” said Gus Thompson, commissioner
of Albany County Department for Children, Youth and Families.
“One of the biggest problems is having to fulfill state mandates
without having more funds from the state.”
Thompson doesn’t think the $4.6 million allocated from the
budget is sufficient to allow New York’s 58 counties to properly
deal with an expected case increase. According to a 2001 study
by the Vera Institute of Justice, P.I.N.S. cases statewide
could increase by anywhere from 69 percent to 106 percent.
Assemblyman Stephen Kaufman (D-Bronx), the bill’s sponsor,
has another opinion on the matter.
these offices were more efficient in how they operated the
program itself, they would have the funds available,” Kaufman
said. “They’ve had time to get ready, but they’ll never be
ready because all they do is walk with their hands out.”
Kaufman said the P.I.N.S. program is too quick to place youths
in expensive foster-care facilities when that money could
be better spent ensuring that the parent-child relationship
is not broken.
Since November 2001, the initial date for the program’s expansion,
the Albany County Office of Probation and Department of Children,
Youth and Families, which dealt with 568 cases last year,
has been working to prepare for the expected influx of P.I.N.S.
cases by hiring new caseworkers and engaging current employees
in various training sessions.
are in a position where we will be able to respond to a need,
but a lot depends on the number of cases we’ll be dealing
with,” Thompson said. “We’ll certainly try to provide services,
we won’t shirk our responsibility, but it won’t be easy to