Columbia County Habitat Elects New Officers
The Columbia County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors has elected longtime Board members Peter Budelman as President and Peter Cervi as Vice President at its annual meeting. Retiring after two years as President, Sara McWilliams will remain on the Board. Hillsdale resident Bob Patterson was elected to a 3-year terms as a Director.
Budelman served as Habitat Vice President for the past two years. “Sara is a very tough act to follow,” he noted, “but we hope to build on her accomplishments and take Habitat to the next level.”
A Ghent resident, Peter Budelman owns the General Roll Leaf Company in Ghent. He has been an active Habitat supporter for seven years and says, “The real enjoyment for me is seeing working families getting good, solid, energy-efficient homes. I think Habitat offers three big plusses for Columbia County. Besides providing affordable housing, we put property back on the tax rolls and we spend money – about $200,000 a year – with local businesses.”
Peter Cervi is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania who joined the Habitat Board two years ago. Now retired, he owned and operated two different businesses in New York City before moving to Malden Bridge fulltime. He serves as the Board’s liaison with the ReStore and was very involved in the ReStore’s recent expansion and re-imagining.
Bob Patterson, a licensed CPA, is the Treasurer of Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES in Yorktown Heights. Before joining BOCES in January, he was a Senior Accountant with the Hudson firm of Sickler, Torchia, Allen and Churchill, CPA, PC for eight years. Patterson lives in Hillsdale and is a cum laude graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany.
Berkshire Bankers Help the ReStore Get Ready for Its EcoFair;
Columbia County Berkshire Bank employees regularly volunteer at Habitat’s ReStore.
Columbia County Habitat Family Selection Process Opens for Valatie Houses;
Information Meeting Set for Saturday, April 16 at Valatie Senior Center
Columbia County Habitat for Humanity has opened the family selection process for the two new Passive Townhouses it will build on Main Street in Valatie. To answer prospective applicants’ questions, Habitat has scheduled an information meeting for Saturday, April 16 from 10 to noon at the Valatie Senior Center, 3302 Williams Street. The deadline to apply is April 30th.
Habitat Executive Director Brenda Adams comments, “We’re so pleased to be back in Valatie. We’re actively seeking two qualified working families who would like to partner with us to help build and ultimately own their own homes.”
The houses to be built at 3049 Main Street in Valatie will be Habitat’s 19th and 20th homes, and the third pair of super energy-saving Passive Townhouses in the County designed for Habitat by BarlisWedlick Architects. Passive House design and construction reduces heating energy use and expense by 90% and overall household energy consumption by 70%.
The 2-story townhouses will be ADA adaptable and include a kitchen with new appliances, a living-dining area, three bedrooms, and one and a half baths. There will be fenced backyards for children, pets and gardens plus off-street parking.
To be eligible, a family’s income cannot exceed these amounts:
ColumbiaHabitatColumbiaHabitatColumbiaHabitat• $40,455 for a family of three;
ColumbiaHabitatColumbiaHabitatColumbiaHabitat• $44,900 for a family of four and
ColumbiaHabitatColumbiaHabitatColumbiaHabitat• $48,546 for a family of five.
Other criteria include a family’s willingness to partner with Habitat by investing 300 hours of sweat equity and its need for adequate housing.
Charlene Paden, chair of Habitat’s Family Selection Committee, says, “We’re very excited to be able to offer a low-interest mortgage. These are still tough economic times in Columbia County, but people need not give up their dreams of home ownership. To keep construction costs down and show their investment in the house, our partner families work with us and many other volunteers to build their homes from start to finish. There are lots of qualified families in Columbia County who would love to do the same, and we’d like to help them.”
Habitat’s 30 Homes by 2020 Campaign
The Valatie houses are the first two of Habitat’s construction campaign, 30 Homes by 2020. Habitat’s goal is to build 12 new homes by 2020, which is a major acceleration of its building and fundraising rate. In recent years, Habitat has built two homes every 18 months.
Adams adds, “We’re stepping up our pace because the need for safe, affordable housing for working families has never been greater. We’ve already received over 50 requests for applications before launching the application process. After our meeting on Saturday, we expect that number to increase substantially.”
For more information, call Columbia County Habitat at 518-828-0892 or visit www.columbiacountyhabitat.org to download an application.
Chazen Donates Survey Work to New Habitat Property in Valatie
Columbia County Habitat Executive Director Brenda Adams saluted Bruce G. Wells, the Director of Land Surveying for The Chazen Companies, for his pro bono site survey of the property at 3049 Main Street in Valatie. Habitat acquired the property in December from TCI of New York and hopes to begin construction in late spring.
“Habitat is so grateful to Bruce and The Chazen Companies for their generosity and support,” Adams said. “We are fortunate to have private sector partners like Chazen. We couldn’t build affordable, sustainable housing for lower-income working families without them.”
Founded more than 65 years ago, The Chazen Companies is an employee-owned professional services firm with an accomplished staff of 100+, including 40 licensed or certified employees and 20 LEED Accredited Professionals. Chazen serves a diverse range of clients in both the private and public sectors, including land developers, municipalities, utilities, healthcare and educational institutions, architects and state agencies from offices in the Hudson Valley, Capital District and North Country in New York State.
Columbia County Habitat volunteers build affordable, sustainable housing that is sold to partner families with low-interest mortgages. Founded in 1993, Habitat has built 18 homes and hopes to begin construction on the Valatie site in late spring. Habitat also expects to launch a new program, A Brush with Kindness, in late spring. Volunteers will make exterior repairs or improvements, like ramps, to the houses of income-eligible homeowners.
Habitat also operates the ReStore, where savvy shoppers find new and gently-used furniture, kitchen and bath cabinets, appliances, building materials and more at discounted prices. All ReStore proceeds support Habitat construction programs. Staffed almost entirely by volunteers, the ReStore is open from 10 to 6, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
ReStore’s EcoFair on Saturday, April 23: Making It Easier To Be Green
Columbia County Habitat’s ReStore will host an EcoFair on Saturday, April 23 to support National Earth Week, April 17 to 24 and Earth Day, April 22. Taking place in and outside the ReStore from 10 to 4, the Fair will feature eco-friendly vendors – local green companies and environmental organizations – with the latest and greatest ways to be green. The celebration will also include sweet treats and wonderful music all day. The ReStore is located at 829 Route 66 near the Route 9H intersection.
“We want to help make it easier for our customers to be green,’” ReStore Manager Marcia Witte says. “In support of the International Earth Day Network’s ‘Trees for the Earth’ campaign, we’ll be raffling bare root tree packs from the Columbia County Soil and Water District. The tree program’s goal is to plant 7.8 billion trees by Earth Day 2020 – one for every person on the planet.”
EcoFair participants include: the Columbia County-based businesses Minding Your Manor, whose owner, Julie Ulmer, is an expert in organizing and decluttering homes, and Certified Document Security, which will offer paper shredding. EcoFairgoers may leave up to 3 bags for free shredding. Additional bags will be accepted with a donation in any amount to Habitat.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners will share the benefits and ease of composting and the joys of using native plants. They’ll also test pH levels for visitors who bring soil samples. The Cooperative Extension’s Community and Economic Vitality representative will present “Let There Be Light,” a guide to choosing the right energy-efficient bulbs for different areas in the home. The Fair will also feature local vendors selling produce and green products, including goat’s soap and cutting boards from the Kerlie Homestead Farm in Red Hook.
Music for the event will be provided by local artists Abby Lappen, who will entertain EcoFair visitors from 10 to 1, and last year’s hit, the Sweet Life Music Collective, performing from 1 to 4.
Save the dates for Habitat!
Sunday, April 3rd:
Brunch with Ruth Reichl, acclaimed food writer, critic & memoirist, @ the Blue Plate in Chatham
Saturday, April 23rd:
Earth Day @ the ReStore
Saturday, May 14th:
Annual Gala @ the Winding Brook Country Club in Valatie
For reservations & information, call 518.828.0892 weekdays between 9:30 & 5.
Shoppers Check Out Newly Expanded & ReDesigned ReStore at Preview
Photos by Don Moore
TCI of NY Donates Valatie Property to Columbia County Habitat For Next Passive Townhouse Build
Columbia County Habitat Executive Director Brenda Adams and TCI of NY President Brian Hemlock announced today that TCI has donated its property at 3049 Main Street in Valatie to Habitat. After the existing 2-family structure is demolished, Habitat will build a high performance energy-saving home designed by BarlisWedlick Architects (BWA).
Adams said, “We are so grateful to TCI for this generous gift, which allows us to broaden our reach in Columbia County beyond Hudson, where we’ve built in recent years. There is a great need for sustainable, affordable housing for lower-income working families throughout the County, and we’re delighted to return to Valatie.”
Hemlock noted, “TCI’s guiding principles are re-use and re-cycle. We’re very pleased that this property, which was originally purchased for employee housing, will be returned to productive use for a working family. Like Habitat, we’re strong advocates of environmentally-advanced construction, which we know the Valatie Passive Townhouse will incorporate.” TCI recycles transformers and other oil-filled electrical equipment. Its operations, which are free of emissions and discharges, routinely achieve recycling rates of 99%.
Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle added, “Valatie is in the midst of a revival. The replacement of a derelict building with a new home that matches the character of the surrounding properties will be a great asset to Main Street and the village. We are thankful that Habitat is taking on this project.”
The Valatie Passive Townhouse will be the 19th home constructed by Habitat volunteers since 1993. It will also be the third of three case studies conducted by Habitat and BWA, each using different combinations of energy-saving design, technology and building materials. The goal is the development of a volunteer-friendly template for high performance affordable housing in the Northeast that both Habitat affiliates and private developers can use.
TCI’s contribution of the land for the Valatie house marks the launch of Habitat’s 30 Homes by 2020 campaign. Habitat’s goal of reaching a total of 30 homes built by 2020, which means completing 12 new houses in the next five years, calls for a dramatically accelerated building pace for the organization.
Habitat President Sara McWilliams said, “We’re exited about returning to Valatie. It’s a wonderful community and a great place to kick off 30 Homes by 2020. Our theme is “Together, we can!” This is demonstrated so well by the tremendous support we’ve received from TCI, Mayor Argyle and everyone else who’s worked with us to make this gift and this project happen.”
Frost Valley YMCA Campers Give Habitat’s ReStore a Week of Work
Columbia County Habitat’s ReStore recently hosted an outstanding group of campers from the Frost Valley YMCA Camp in Ulster County. The six high school students and two Frost Valley environmental educators volunteered at the ReStore for more than 250 hours in late July. As part of their 2-week experience with Frost Valley, they camped out at Taconic State Park for eight days and worked at the ReStore for five days.
“We were very fortunate to be the beneficiaries of Frost Valley’s community service program,” Marcia Witte, manager of the ReStore, said. “These kids were so energetic and eager to know all about the ReStore, and they were ready, willing and able to do whatever needed to be done.”
Brenda Adams, Habitat’s Executive Director, added, “It was a real treat to meet these enthusiastic young people. They asked wonderful questions, worked very hard and learned a lot while making a real contribution to the ReStore.”
The team was led by Tom Van Duyne, an environmental educator from upstate New York, and Addie Benthien, a resident of Basking Ridge, NJ and a personal trainer. The campers were Zoe Levine, 16, from Brooklyn, who attends high school in Soho; Joyce Kagan, 15, from Staten Island, who’ll be a junior at The Harbor School on Governor’s Island in New York Harbor; Tom Doddo, 16, who lives in South Orange, NJ and will be a senior at Columbia High School there; Lily Mantel, 16, from Manhattan, who’ll be a junior at Baruch College Campus High School; and the Letford sisters from Brooklyn. Afiya Leford, 17, will be a senior at Medgar Evers College Prep, and Gabrielle, 15, will be a sophomore at St. Edmund’s High School.
According to Team Leader Van Duyne, the goal of the Frost Valley program was to encourage young people to engage with their communities through volunteering. “This was a great experience for these kids. They gained practical skills and exchanged ideas with each other and the ReStore’s regular volunteers. They really loved working in the store,” he said.
Anne Quinn & Richard Koweek Join Habitat’s Board
Columbia County Habitat Executive Director Brenda Adams announced today that Columbia County residents and longtime public servants Anne Quinn and Richard Koweek have been elected to serve on Habitat’s Board of Directors.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Anne and Rich. These are very exciting as well as challenging times for Habitat, and I know they will help us make the most of the opportunities ahead,” Adams said.
Habitat President Sara McWilliams added, “Anne and Rich each bring unique skills and experience to the Board. We’re all looking forward to working with them.”
Anne Quinn and her husband, Kary Jablonka, have lived in Columbia County for 20 years. Anne has more than 30 years’ experience in clinical social work with children, adults and families dealing with a range of skills and challenges. A summa cum laude graduate of the State University at Oswego with a Master’s in Social Work from the University at Albany, Anne is currently on sabbatical from social work.
“For the time being,” she said, “I’ve left the world of 2-legged clients to work with 4-legged ones, specifically, a herd of dwarf goats that I’m raising with a friend.” Anne is also a certified Svaroopa Yoga teacher; a master quilter; a gardener; the grandmother of three boys and the mother of two adult children, two TDI-certified therapy dogs, five indoor cats and an indeterminate number of barn cats.
When asked why she has made such strong commitment to Habitat, she answered: “I believe Habitat’s work is a wonderful way to build community. I like the idea of people buying into their homes. Too often, we waste money on programs when what we really need is community. I’ve taught many 10-week parenting classes, but if those parents go back to a vacuum . . . it’s almost pointless. We need real community, which is more than family, to successfully raise our children.”
Richard Koweek is a native Hudsonian who was elected a Columbia County Judge in 2011 after serving as a judge in the Hudson City Court for 2 years. Rich practiced law in Columbia County for 32 years and was President of the Columbia County Bar Association in 2002-2003. A graduate of Hudson High School, Colgate University and Albany Law School, Rich has been very active in the community for many years. In addition to his new role at Habitat, he’s a member of the Boards of Second Show, Inc., and the Columbia Children’s Foundation, Inc. He’s also been a member of the Hudson Fire Department for more than 25 years and was very involved in Hudson City School District and Youth Department activities when his kids were in school.
Longtime Columbia County residents will remember the Koweek family’s toy store on Warren Street, The Town Fair, a favorite destination for parents and children from 1950 to 2003. Rich and his wife Toni, also an attorney, have two daughters and one son.
Rich explained his interest in Habitat this way: “Habitat has done a tremendous amount of good in this community. My wife and I have been supportive of its mission for years and this is another way to help. I am honored to have been asked to join the Board and I’m looking forward to serving.”
Thanks to Habitat’s generous Partners in our 2014-2015 Build,
The Columbia Passive Townhouses at 210-212 Columbia Street
Please click here to view the list of Partners, donors who’ve given $500 or more.
Berkshire Bankers Give a Day to Habitat’s ReStore
Three Berkshire Bank employees from different branches in Columbia County gave a day to Habitat’s ReStore in Hudson on June 11. Berkshire Bank encourages its employees to support community organizations through volunteer work, and gives staff time off to do so.
ReStore Manager Marcia Witte expressed her appreciation for the time and energy the Berkshire Bankers contributed, adding that “two of the volunteers brought their daughters, so we had a grand crew of five very hardworking women. It was a super-productive day and lots of fun, too.”
The very generous Berkshire Bank staff who volunteered were Lu Holden, from the bank’s Chatham branch, and her daughter Sarah; Jen Balacic from the Hudson office; and Sandy Charest and her daughter Kelly. Sandy works at the bank’s New Lebanon branch.
The Columbia County Habitat ReStore sells discounted new and gently-used furniture, large appliances, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, doors, windows and other household goods that have been donated by area residents and businesses. Last year, volunteers gave more than 4500 hours to the ReStore, which depends on the generosity of individuals, community organizations and companies like Berkshire Bank to operate the business. More than 10,000 savvy shoppers visit the ReStore annually. Customers find great values, as well as satisfaction in knowing that they’re supporting affordable housing and keeping re-usable material out of landfills. All of the ReStore’s proceeds support Habitat’s construction programs.
The ReStore is open for shopping on Thursdays from 2 to 6 and on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 to 5. Check the ReStore’s Facebook page at facebook.com/ReStoreHudson for the newest and latest merchandise. Donations can be made during store hours and by appointment during the week. For more information about the ReStore, including volunteer opportunities, visit Habitat’s website at columbiacountyhabitat.org or call 518.828.0892, Tuesdays through Fridays, 9:30 to 5.
Habitat’s New Passive Townhouses Receive Gift Of Window Shades From Landmark Window Fashions
Columbia County Habitat Executive Director Brenda Adams announced today that Landmark Window Fashions of Holbrook, Massachusetts, has given Levolor mini blinds for all 20 windows of the two new Columbia Passive Townhouses at 210-212 Columbia Street in Hudson.
“We are so grateful to Landmark and to Timi Bates, a great friend of Habitat’s and an accomplished interior designer, who arranged the donation,” Adams said. “In passive houses, the size and placement of windows is critical to the high energy performance of the homes. The living room windows, facing south on Columbia Street, are very large. This generous gift has given our partner families privacy as well as comfort while saving Habitat a great deal of money.”
Landmark’s New York State sales representative Carol Gould added, “We hope the new owners are enjoying their new window treatments. We’re proud to be a part of Habitat’s newest project.” Landmark Window Fashions, Inc. has been manufacturing custom blinds and shades in Holbrook since 1992. In addition to its custom work, Landmark is also a distributor for Kirsch, Levolor, Norman Shutters and roller shades for residential and commercial projects.
Timi Bates, who operates the residential and commercial design firm Interiors by Timi II in Hillsdale, has been a supporter of Columbia County Habitat for many years. “I like Habitat and what it does. It’s really important for people, particularly children, to have a safe home,” she said. In 2012, Bates organized the Designer Show House & Open House at Habitat’s Energy Star 3 townhouses at 240-242 Columbia Street, where she recruited area designers and stylists to decorate different rooms.
Sara McWilliams, Habitat President, said of the Designer Show House, “Thanks to the hard work of Timi and all the designers, the results were spectacular. And we were pleased that so many members of our community had an opportunity see the inside of a Habitat home.”
Columbia County Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1993 to build affordable housing for lower-income working families living in overcrowded, substandard rental apartments. The recently-completed Passive Townhouses at 210-212 Columbia Street are Habitat’s 17th and 18th homes and its third and fourth Passive Houses. In addition to its Hudson houses, Habitat has also built homes for working families in Chatham, Copake and Valatie.
To help support its construction programs, Habitat operates the ReStore, where consumers can find new or gently-used furniture, kitchen cabinets, windows, doors, appliances, tools, building materials and other items donated by local residents and businesses, all sold at discounted prices. The ReStore is open for shopping and donation drop-offs on Thursdays from 2 to 6 pm and on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm. Donations at other times may be made by appointment, as can merchandise pick-ups, by calling ReStore Manager Marcia Witte at 518-828-0892. The ReStore is located at 829 Route 66, alongside Habitat’s offices and adjacent to Village Dodge at the corner of Route 66 and Route 9H.
Habitat welcomes individual volunteers as well as groups from area businesses and community organizations. To volunteer at the next construction site or at the ReStore, call 518-828-0892 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Columbia County Habitat, visit columbiacountyhabitat.org.