Somers's HamletHub Tue, 02 Mar 2021 21:20:18 -0500 One Year Later: The Coronavirus Pandemic in Westchester

A look back with Westchester County’s Public Health Nurses

 On March 3rd of last year, Westchester County was brought to its knees by the worst pandemic in our nation’s history – COVID-19. One of the country’s first true epicenters of the virus was in New Rochelle. Chevon Jones, Caitlin Doyle-Goldsmith and Kathy Gomez, all Westchester County Public Health Nurses, were the first three nurses to respond to the pandemic in the New Rochelle containment zone. As the County prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 in Westchester, the nurses take a look back on what the past year has been like for them, as well as share their hopes for putting the pandemic behind us.

Watch this short video, One Year Later: The Coronavirus Pandemic

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it in Westchester County. 2020 was a difficult year, and we have watched many of our loved ones suffer through this devastating illness. Now that we have access to the vaccine we can only hope for a better and a brighter future for our County, and I know that we will get there, together.”

Jones, Doyle-Goldsmith and Gomez are hopeful that Westchester County will turn the tide on the pandemic in 2021, especially with the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Health Department’s nurses and medical staff have been vaccinating upwards of 1,000 people per day.

Public Health Nurse Caitlin Doyle-Goldsmith said: “It is very rewarding, and I am very grateful that I have a job that lets me participate and help to improve things. I am sure there are a lot of people that want to help and want things to get better, and this is something tangible that I can do. It is been a really difficult time, so it is great to be in a position to be able to work towards things getting better every day.”

One Year Later Covid 19

]]> (Westchester County) Public safety Tue, 02 Mar 2021 14:04:03 -0500
Statement From Assemblyman Byrne Concerning State Guidance on Full-Time in Person Schooling.

Statement From Assemblyman Byrne Concerning State Guidance on Full-Time in Person Schooling.

Since New York first went on “Pause” in March, very few students in our state have been afforded the opportunity to participate in five-day in-person learning- something we previously had considered a basic right prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. For a number of students, this loss of in-school instruction has been damaging to their social and educational development and health. This is why leading public health advocates like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have highlighted the importance of bringing back in-person classroom education. AAP President Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP, said in a release, “Children absolutely need to return to in-school learning for their healthy development and well-being, and so safety in schools and in the community must be a priority.”

Last August, the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) & NYS Education Department (NYSED) published its initial guidance for schools regarding distancing, mask wearing, busing, and the potential need for additional physical barriers to mitigate and reduce the risk of spreading this virus.  While some schools have been able to successfully comply with these standards and offer five-day in-person education in our state, I also understand the existing state guidance has caused significant confusion among many local elected leaders and school administrators.  Several of these stakeholders have expressed that the guidance lacks the clarity desired for them to confidently transition back to a traditional in-person learning option. 

This past week, as the Ranking Minority Member of the Assembly Committee on Health, I participated in over 12 hours of questions and answers during our joint legislative health budget hearing. The importance of updating the state’s guidance on in-person education was one of the many issues raised. My colleagues and I were successful in getting the NYSDOH Commissioner to acknowledge the importance of this issue and need for the department to update its guidance. While the Commissioner’s words were welcomed, my colleagues and I are still not taking anything for granted. It is critical that NYSDOH and NYSED revise and update its guidance based on what we’ve learned about this virus since last summer, and provide local school boards and administrators the information and confidence they need to safely bring back in-person learning.

The state must also be mindful that it cannot simply place more costly unfunded mandates on school districts that could impede their ability to re-open. Additionally, the state must consider and offer updated guidance on whether or not desk barriers are necessary, including if students are less than 6 ft. apart while also wearing masks.  It should also be made clear that any and all barriers required must conform with local building department and fire protection regulations. The House of Representatives recently passed a federal aid package to address the growing cost of this pandemic. Coronavirus relief funds should be used specifically for coronavirus related expenses. I believe protecting our kids from this virus while allowing them the option to safely have in-person learning at school would be an appropriate use of those funds.

New York State must also provide clear quarantine guidelines that are safe, practical and permit in-person classrooms to thrive. In this instance, a county by county approach is less appropriate as it increases confusion among local schools and creates an environment where various county health departments may contradict each other. 

This issue is simply too important for us to delay any further. For students, parents, teachers, administrators and more, updating the state guidance to help local officials safely bring back in-person learning needs to be a top priority.

]]> (Office of Assemblyman Kevin Byrne) Politics Tue, 02 Mar 2021 13:30:32 -0500
Children’s Zoom Model Magic Art Workshop for St. Patrick's Day

Children’s Zoom Model Magic Art Workshop for St. Patrick's Day  with Wendy Podell; best for Ages 4-12

 Tuesday, March 16 from 3:30-4:30.

 *Prior registration required- register here.

A Zoom invitation will be sent prior to program start.

*Registration ends March 12;

Last day to pick up materials is March 15. 

 Call Vicki or Beth to arrange curbside pick up of the following materials supplied by the Library which you will need to pick up prior to the program by March 15: 

 * light blue paper (size 9x12)

 * green paper (6x9)

 * 1 package of model magic clay

 *. 5 yellow circle stickers

 * 5 gemstones

 * small piece of cardboard

 * 1/2 a straw

 Materials you will need to have ready from home prior to program start: 

 * Scissor

 * Glue

 * Markers

 * pencil 

* An adult will be needed to assist younger children with the workshop.

 Funding for this program is provided by Friends of Somers Library.


]]> (Somers Library) Events Tue, 02 Mar 2021 05:24:00 -0500
IRS provides guidance for employers claiming the Employee Retention Credit for 2020, including eligibility rules for PPP borrowers

The Internal Revenue Service today issued guidance for employers claiming the employee retention credit under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), as modified by the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (Relief Act), for calendar quarters in 2020. The guidance in Notice 2021-20 is similar to the information in the employee retention credit FAQs, but includes clarifications and describes retroactive changes under the new law applicable to 2020, primarily relating to expanded eligibility for the credit. 

For 2020, the employee retention credit can be claimed by employers who paid qualified wages after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021, and who experienced a full or partial suspension of their operations or a significant decline in gross receipts. The credit is equal to 50 percent of qualified wages paid, including qualified health plan expenses, for up to $10,000 per employee in 2020.  The maximum credit available for each employee is $5,000 in 2020.
A significant change for 2020 made by the Relief Act permits eligible employers that received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to claim the employee retention credit, although the same wages cannot be counted both for seeking forgiveness of the PPP loan and calculating the employee retention credit.  Notice 2021-20 explains when and how employers that received a PPP loan can claim the employee retention credit for 2020.

Notice 2021-20 also provides answers to questions such as: who are eligible employers; what constitutes full or partial suspension of trade or business operations; what is a significant decline in gross receipts; how much is the maximum amount of an eligible employer’s employee retention credit; what are qualified wages; how does an eligible employer claim the employee retention credit; and how does an eligible employer substantiate the claim for the credit.

While the Relief Act also extended and modified the employee retention credit for the first two calendar quarters in 2021, Notice 2021-20 addresses only the rules applicable to 2020.  The IRS plans to release additional guidance soon addressing the changes for 2021.

A page on is devoted to providing information to businesses on all aspects of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

]]> (Peter Carey) Life Tue, 02 Mar 2021 03:17:48 -0500
SBA Prioritizes Smallest of Small Businesses in the Paycheck Protection Program

Building on a month of strong results, the Biden-Harris Administration and the U.S. Small Business Administration are taking steps with the Paycheck Protection Program to further promote equitable relief for America’s mom-and-pop businesses. 

The latest round of Paycheck Protection Program funding opened one month ago and already the Biden Administration has succeeded in making major improvements to the program’s implementation:

  • For businesses with fewer than ten employees, the share of funding is up nearly 60%
  • For businesses in rural communities, the share of funding is up nearly 30%
  • The share of funding distributed through Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions is up more than 40%
  • “The SBA is a frontline agency working to create an inclusive economy, focused on reaching women-owned, minority-owned, low- and moderate-income, rural, and other underserved communities in meaningful ways. While reported data illustrates we have made real strides in ensuring these funds are reaching underserved communities, we believe we can still do better,” says SBA Senior Advisor Michael Roth. “The important policy changes we are announcing further ensure inclusivity and integrity by increasing access and much-needed aid to Main Street businesses that anchor our neighborhoods and help families build wealth.”  

These simple progressive steps by the Biden-Harris Administration further demonstrate the commitment to racial and gender equity, reaching low and moderate-income, rural, urban, and other underserved areas. The SBA will:

  • Establish a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees
  • Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicants
  • Eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal
  • Eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make federal student loan payments by eliminating federal student loan debt delinquency and default as disqualifiers to participating in the PPP; and
  • Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.

The 14-day exclusivity period will start on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9 a.m., while the other four changes will be implemented by the first week of March. The SBA is working on the program changes and will communicate details throughout this week.

These actions will help to lay the foundation for a robust and equitable recovery for small businesses across the country. Small businesses employ nearly half of the American workforce; they create 2 out of 3 net new private-sector jobs; they reinvest 68% of revenues to build and sustain communities. Borrowers can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program by downloading the First Draw PPP loan application or Second Draw PPP loan application and working with a participating PPP lender through the SBA Lender Match tool.

Through SBA’s nationwide district offices, the Agency will work in close partnership with the Administration to further leverage its resource partner network and expand on multilingual access and outreach about the PPP. Updated PPP information, including forms, guidance, and resources is available at and

]]> (US Small Business Administration) Life Tue, 02 Mar 2021 01:29:26 -0500
Job Opportunity at Brewster Shell

Brewster Shell has an opening for a counter person for their convenience store and Penske truck rentals
They are looking for an efficient, courteous counter person who possesses excellent customer service skills.
  • Computer literate
  • Valid driver’s license

  • Must be able to multitask. 
  • Excellent phone and people skills
Location: 1450 RT 22 BREWSTER, NY 10509
Non-smoker preferred
Salary plus commission
Mon-Fri 7:30 - 4:30 PM Full Time
Please call Bill or Barbara at 845-279-1500
About Brewster Shell:
Brewster Shell is a local auto maintenance facility and gas station that has been serving clients in the Brewster area since 1988. Our services include scheduled maintenance, extended warranty work, crucial technical repairs, and even a simple oil change service. In addition, we offer Penske Truck Rentals.
]]> (Brewster Shell) Neighbors Mon, 01 Mar 2021 16:00:28 -0500
Support Connection's Mardis Gras Bingo Postponed

Support Connection's Mardi Gras Bingo originally scheduled for this Friday has been

POSTPONED: Update details to be announced soon.

Come dressed for Mardi Gras and prepared to play Bingo! 10 games of bingo with beautiful designer bags as prizes. Once registered you’ll receive the Zoom link for the game. Bingo cards will be emailed to you; you can print them or play online. $40 per person includes 10 games, with 3 cards per game. Register online here. Questions? Contact Marlena Horton: marlena2173@gmail.comClick here to download a flyer.

SUPPORT CONNECTION, INC. is a not-for-profit organization that provides emotional, social and educational support to women, their families and friends affected by breast and ovarian cancer. Although our office is in Yorktown Heights, NY, we help people all over the country via our toll-free services.

]]> (Support Connection) Charities Mon, 01 Mar 2021 14:01:50 -0500
State Senate Passes Legislation to Improve Utility Service Inbox

New York State Senator Pete Harckham and members of the State Senate passed a package of 10 bills this week to ensure the utility services New Yorkers depend on meet added criteria for safety and regulation. Most importantly, the Public Service Corporation will be granted a stronger role in the enforcement of public utilities to improve storm planning and response.

“Protecting the rights of utility customers is essential as the increasing number of severe storms continues to cause outages across the state,” said Harckham. “These bills will provide greater oversight and accountability, while also making utility companies financially liable to customers when laggard storm responses cause spoiled food and medicines.”

The new legislation will extend the Covid-19 moratorium for utility service disconnections; hold utilities accountable for failures in restoring service; ensure that utility companies do not pass on the cost of legislative lobbying to customers; provide a voice for consumer advocacy within the Public Service Commission and strengthen the standards for utility service provider’s emergency response plans.

In addition to these measures, this package will require new gas infrastructure projects to be approved by a professional engineer and add public oversight to the pay rates of top utility executives.

The legislation passed by the Senate Majority, includes:

●       Utility Moratorium: S.1453A extends the moratorium on utility shut-offs until December 31, 2021, or when the Covid-19 state of emergency is lifted or expires.

●       Protecting Customers Lobbying Costs: S.1556 protects utility customers from unknowingly paying for lobbying activity.

●       Electricity Plan for Essential Medical Needs: S.931A identifies the specific medical equipment that qualifies for essential electricity and additional utility outreach during outages.

●       Utility Reimbursement: S.929B provides consumers with a bill discount when a contracted service provider fails to provide the agreed upon service.

●       Utility Consumer Advocacy in the Public Service Commission: S.1199 requires at least one commissioner of the public service commission to have experience in advocating in the interests of utility consumers.

●       Emergency Response Plan Requirement: S.968 establishes the criteria for the Long Island Power Authority and its service provider’s emergency response plans, and subjects them to review, approval and enforcement by the Public Service Commission.

●       Stronger Utility Storm Response: S.4960 removes restrictions on the Public Service Commission’s ability to penalize utility company violations, and enhances oversight of utilities to ensure improved storm planning and response.

●       Professional Engineer Approval Requirement: S.544 requires a professional engineer to review and approve a gas infrastructure project to prevent public utility accidents from occurring in New York.

●       Public Statements of Compensation: S.1544A requires large utility companies to publicly report the annual pay of their top employees.

●       Reimbursement for Lost Food or Medicine: S.3784A provides a customer reimbursement for lost food or medicines due to an extended power outage.

State Senator Harckham represents New York's 40th District, which includes the towns of Beekman, Pawling and the village of Pawling in Dutchess County; the towns of Carmel, Patterson and Southeast, and the village of Brewster in Putnam County; and the city of Peekskill, the towns of Cortlandt, Lewisboro, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers and Yorktown, the town/village of Mount Kisco, and the villages of Briarcliff Manor, Buchanan, Croton-on-Hudson, Pleasantville and Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County. 

]]> (Office of Senator Harckham) Life Mon, 01 Mar 2021 13:48:44 -0500
NY National Guard honors African-American Hero with mural dedication at Camp Smith

The New York National Guard's Camp Smith Training Site garrison opened a newly, modernized simulations training building on-post with a prominent dedication mural to Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant William Henry Johnson on Friday, February 26th, 2020.

Johnson distinguished himself as a member of 369th Infantry Regiment, the famous "Harlem Hellfighters," part of the 93rd Division, American Expeditionary Forces, during combat operations against the enemy on the front lines of the Western Front in France during World War I.

The mural depicts Johnson shaking hands with New York governor Al Smith upon his return to his hometown of Albany in 1919.

The Henry Johnson Mural

The painting is by Westchester artist Chris Rios who runs Rios Studios. Rios depicted Sgt. Henry Johnson meeting with New York Governor Al Smith in Albany, New York, where Johnson worked as a luggage handler at the train station depicted in the painting.

Johnson received the French Croix De Guerre in recognition of his heoric actions on May 14, 1918 when he and his colleague Pvt. Needham Roberts, fought hand-to-hand with a German raiding part of 25 Soldiers and defeated them.

The inspiration for the mural came from a PBS Documentary on Johnson that reported the welcome home event at the Albany Train Station at which Governor Smith shook hands with Johnson. Camp Smith was named for Governor Al Smith who served as governor in 1919-1920 and then again from 1923 to 1928.

Johnson went on a government supported speaking tour after the war, but when he complained about the way African-American Soldiers had been treated by the Army, the speaking engagements dried up. Johnson died in 1929 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

To learn more about the Harlem Hellfighters, click here.

]]> (New York National Guard) Places Mon, 01 Mar 2021 05:28:43 -0500
Children's Activities for March 1-5, 2021 with the Somers Library

Children's Activities for March 1-5, 2021 with the Somers Library

Read Across America Celebration!

Zoom Story Time with Vicki in honor of Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, March 2 at 3:15 pm

Pre-Registration is required for this Zoom program

no later than by 3 pm on Monday, 3/1.

Register here to receive the link to participate.


Pajama Story Time

Tuesday, March 2 at 6:30 pm

Hear stories read by Librarian Diana Cunningham.

Pre-Registration is required for this Zoom program no later than by 3 pm on Monday, 3/1.

Register here to receive the link to participate

March is Women's History Month. We have a large selection of materials celebrating women's role in history.
Vicki and Beth have many interesting and fun programs planned for March. Check our website here for the schedule and registration details of our upcoming programs.
Look for more Fun Stuff at Home on Thursday!
Funding for programs provided by Friends of the Somers Library
]]> (Somers Library) Life Mon, 01 Mar 2021 05:16:43 -0500
Troop K removes twenty-six impaired drivers from public roadways over the February 27, 2021 weekend

State Police in Troop K issued 759 vehicle and traffic law violation tickets during the February 27, 2021 weekend.  From 5:00 p.m. Friday, February 26, 2021 through 3:00 a.m. Monday, March 1, 2021 New York State Troopers in Troop K issued 354 tickets for speeding violations, 9 distracted driving violations, 7 child restraint violations, 5 move over violations, and removed 26 impaired motorists from the roadway.  Troop K includes Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess and Columbia Counties.


]]> (New York State Police) Public safety Mon, 01 Mar 2021 05:11:23 -0500
Intuitive Astrology March 2021

March of 2021 is full of the unexpected for everyone. Expect the unexpected on all forefronts. Do not act out of emotions or be impulsive. Things must be well thought out and weighed before making important decisions. There is a risk of reacting impulsively, being misunderstood, or interpreting what others want to tell us. Patience is our saving grace!

We will have a much-needed reprieve after a few months that were more conflicted and fraught.We start the month with the Sun in Pisces until March 20. Mercury will be in Aquarius, making us forward-thinking and friendly in our mental approach. We likely have an easier time than expected getting our ideas across to our friends. Venus will be in Pisces, which will make us more overly sensitive. March 4, Mars will be entering Gemini. This will take on a different feeling that we have been having recently. A whole new energy shift! Mercury will be conjunct Jupiter on March 5. It will bring in a wave of goodwill and peace amongst all.

There will be a New Moon in Pisces on March 13. This will allow everyone to start over and finally learn from their mistakes. Try not to make any hasty decisions during this time period. March 14, Venus will be conjunct Neptune. This aspect helps set the path of thinking more innovative and creatively. Venus and Neptune will be coming together, causing chaos in matters of love and passion. The Sun will be sextile Pluto on March 16. Use this time to transform and make the changes that you need to make. Terminate the things that have not been working and use this time to "Re-brand ."Venus will be then sextile Pluto on March 18. Since both planets are powerful in their way, this aspect will likely ignite passion. On March 21, we enter Aries. Great things will start happening for those born in this month!

There will be a Full Moon in Libra on March 28. The focus should be on fun and kindness towards all. There may also be an inclination to be more impulsive; calm down and rethink before you do. Venus will be sextile Saturn on March 30, and this will also bring more security to your love life on all fronts.

Overall, this month has many more good aspects than difficult ones, hopefully helping you find a place of peace.

Pisces (February 20 – March 20) —Happy birthday, Pisces! You cannot expect to get along with everyone you meet. If people or situations rub you the wrong way, it would be wise to grin and bear it and deal with it to your advantage. Simple tasks and communications may seem labored but hang in there. A change of scene would do you right; a change in an outlook is what you need. Try not to focus on the negative side of events. Notice that there are positive sides as well.

Aries (March 21-April 20) —You know that a working relationship must end, but you cannot bring yourself to an end to this matter. Let the next couple of weeks ride out. You will find that saying goodbye is much easier than you initially thought. Try to laugh more, worry less, and believe that things tend to work themselves out for the best in the end. Approach a family matter carefully. You need to regain your focus and deal with these matters appropriately.

Taurus (April 21-May 21) —A crucial decision requires your undivided attention. The current business situation involves new people. Please get to know their strengths and weaknesses. Move through your day, moment to moment, rather than by routine. Repeating a story too many times is likely to bore others. After a point, talking is no longer an acceptable substitute for doing.

Gemini (May 22- June 21) —Your words and ideas travel at light speed, leaving a strong impact wherever they pass. You have no time for limited boundaries. Spend some time with friends and go into the country. Hit the road in search of adventure and inspiration. You can do well enough on your own, but the more people you bring along multiplies your chances for a fantastic time.

Cancer (June 22 – July 22) —You may be luckier than usual over you the next few days. Reality is not all that far from your imagination today. Join forces with other dreamers to make things come alive. This will is a time when the friend of a friend comes in very handy. Whether you're hitting the road or broadening your perspective, it feels like the perfect starting point. If you play this advantage the right way, things will turn out to your satisfaction.

Leo (July 23 – August 23) —The great things you have hoped for don't occur as you had expected. Hide your disappointment. Your patience is legendary. You get your way by merely waiting for events to fall into place. Try not to let a loved one control you over this issue. Pursuing your financial goals is an important focal point.

Virgo (August 24 – September 22) —Think about going off on your own business. There may be a market for the networking skills that you usually do for fun. You can wind up helping people make new connections with their companies. With your skills, why not get paid for doing what you love to do. After all, you are a natural salesperson.

Libra (September 23 – October 22) —Unwelcome obligations crowd in on you. Even if you don't want to see your relatives, they would like your company. Make the best of your week. If you wake up in a melancholy mood, there's no reason why you have to remain that way. Treat yourself to good food and set aside some time for your favorite hobby.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21) — Have faith in someone's motives, even if their method has you shaking your head. You are more critical of yourself than others who overlook your shortcomings. Try not to micromanage those around you. Upward mobility is not a myth to those who have earned it. Changes made at this time are likely to be permanent.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 22) —You tend to be a leader, and everyone sees that. Don't let other people draw you into their dramas. Try not to waste your time. Go out more and try to meet new people. Opportunities to go out with clients or colleagues are more fun than you think and critical for you to close some business deals more quickly. All work and no play tends to be your focus. Make time to create a social life. Start planning a needed vacation.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 20) —The end of a project comes sooner than you thought. Moving on is glorious. When you do what you enjoy, you run into a prime opportunity. Singles meet singles. You may find that you meet many people that match many of your interests and talents at this moment in your life. Enjoy the choices. Just try not to be competitive with these new friends.

Aquarius (January 21 – February 19) —Do not rush a love prospect. You will be recognized at work as a superior help to light your previous achievements that helped enhance your company financially. A salary increase should follow. Try not to impose restrictions on yourself. Complete the projects that you need to do. Thus resist others influencing you against the principles that you stand for.


Francine Tesler, Psychic Medium Medical Intuitive. Psychic Medium for People that usually don't go to psychics. So what do you Really Want to Know?For more information, contact Francine at,, call 914.469.6693, or visit

For entertainment purposes only.The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of HamletHub.

]]> (Francine Tesler, Psychic Medium Medical Intuitive) Life Mon, 01 Mar 2021 03:30:15 -0500
When Ice Came From The Hudson River: Ice Harvesting in Staatsburg

Before the invention of electric refrigeration, how did food and perishables keep cold, especially during the warm summer months?  The answer is ice.  Large blocks of ice cut from a river or lake during the winter would keep food items cool all summer.  But how did the ice move from there into the home?

That feat was the work of an expansive ice harvesting industry, which was active throughout much of the northeast coast of the country (as well as inland, in northern states) between the 1830s and 1920s, and which was dominated for several decades by production on the Hudson River and nearby lakes.

Although Staatsburg in Dutchess County is a quiet hamlet today, it was once a bustling hub of the ice harvesting industry.  Ice was a very valuable natural resource, which required an impressive amount of infrastructure and investment to cut and transport to customers. The labor came from a small army of men and horses.

In the 19th century, as cities grew in size and population, the demand for ice to preserve food and cool people in warm weather grew tremendously, as urban populations did not have immediate access to frozen ponds and rivers.  Hamlets and towns along the Hudson developed a robust trade to supply the demand downriver in New York City, and export ice to other, farther-flung locations.

Another significant consumer of ice was the brewing industry, which used ice in regulating the temperature of fermentation so that beer could be made year-round rather than in a limited number of months.  As the meat-packing industry grew, it too consumed large quantities of harvested ice. 

Some households, like the affluent Gilded Age owners of what today is the Staatsburgh State Historic Site, had the luxury of filling their ice house with ice from a body of water adjacent to their property, but others did not have the same resources and had to purchase ice.

This country estate and 79-room mansion of the very wealthy Mills family frequently hosted parties of houseguests for elegant weekends, and boasted all of the era’s cutting-edge technology and luxurious amenities available, including electricity, gravity-fed plumbing and ice-cooled culinary delicacies.

With a large staff of estate and farm workers, Staatsburgh had the labor needed to cut and store a year-round supply of ice from the Hudson for its own icehouse each winter. A period photograph of the estate buildings at the river’s edge suggests the location of the now missing icehouse: a peaked roof appears behind the double-roofed boathouse complex on the water, and to the right of the powerhouse, which generated electricity for the estate.

Producing and storing ice had been practiced since ancient times in Asia and other parts of the world, by controlling evaporation, but in America, the impetus for a fast-growing ice harvesting industry, drawing on naturally-produced ice in cold weather, is credited to the “Ice King of Boston,” a man named Frederick Tudorwho between 1805 and 1836, developed technical advances that made ice harvesting and storage profitable, creating a mass market for ice. Through tireless experimentation, Tudor reduced loss from ice melt in storage from 66 to 8 percent, and created markets for shipping his product in southern states and the Caribbean.

One of Tudor’s employees, Nathaniel Wyeth, patented the horse-drawn ice cutter which was the first tool to cut even-sided, regular blocks of ice. Before his invention, ice was hacked out in irregular chunks, which led to much loss from melt and inefficient shipping and storage. Wyeth’s innovation made possible a viable ice industry.

Despite rapid expansion, the Hudson Valley ice harvesting trade was consistently outrun by increasing demand for ice, as populations grew, cities expanded, and industries to feed people increased. Complicating things further, ice harvesting was dependent on the weather, and, as a reporter on the trade in 1880 described, “…in not more than two out of three years is the crop a fair one.”  An ill-timed week of warmer temperatures or a rain storm could dramatically reduce the ice yield.  

To meet consumer demand and surmount the vagaries of weather, inventors were keenly focused on developing efficient artificial ice production and refrigeration. In its heydays — between 1840-1920, however, the Hudson Valley ice trade employed up to 20,000 men (and a thousand horses) during the intense weeks of cutting and storing the cold-dependent commodity. Ancillary industries sprung up along the river: barges and ships designed specifically for ice transport, enormous icehouses, ice tool businesses, stables, boarding houses for workers and fields to grow the insulating hay and timber for dunnage (material used to keep cargo in position in a ship’s hold). 

Another premier site for ice production in New York State was Rockland Lake approximately 30 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River’s western shore in Rockland County. Now the location of Rockland Lake State Park, beginning in 1831 ice from the frozen 256-acre lake was transported with the aid of gravity about 150 feet down to the river for shipping to the city. A steam-driven inclined railway for its transport was completed by 1860. Improved machinery to replace human and horse power continued to be developed throughout the age of ice harvesting. 

From approximately 1840 to 1920, ice was harvested from the Hudson River, particularly north of Poughkeepsie. The ice near New York City was not used because, as an estuary, it contained too much salt, which would result in ice that resisted freezing and melted more quickly than the ice from freshwater further north.    

Ice harvesting began in January and on average continued for about six to eight weeks or until the icehouses were filled. The harvesting season was very limited and ice had to be at least six inches thick to be cut, since melting would have occurred in storage and transit; conversely, blocks too large were unmanageable for workers to transport. Men accompanied by horses, and later aided by steam-driven mechanical devices, often worked ten hours a day and seven days a week harvesting and storing ice. In January 1895, the Poughkeepsie Eagle-News reported that many pack peddlers abandoned their routes to work at ice harvesting. Residents of the mid-Hudson Valley who made bricks or farmed in the warmer months, found good employment in the winter harvesting of ice, while other workers handled the shipping of stored ice to markets in the fall, summer and spring.

The process of harvesting ice from the river involved clearing snow or dirt from the surface with horse drawn plows, and sometimes planing smooth the surface.  The area was measured and then scored into a grid by a horse-drawn “marker,” resembling a plow.  Another tool (Wyeth’s ice plow, or a derivative of his invention) then cut blocks free. The long lengths of ice were then floated toward the shore in an open water channel. Once they neared the ice house on shore, a final cut was made with a 4 or 5 foot-long handheld saw.  The ice was moved into the ice house by a horse-drawn or, later, steam-powered elevator or conveyor belt. Workers used a pole to hook the floating blocks of ice and position them on the elevator.  Inside the ice house, the blocks were insulated by sawdust and hay between layers to prevent them from melting and fusing. When the demand for ice

In its heyday, Staatsburg had at least ten private commercial icehouses.  Many companies operated in New York City, but had an ice house in Staatsburg to store ice from that section of the river including the American Ice Company, the New York Ice Company, the Mutual Benefit Company and the Knickerbocker Ice Company.  According to an article in the New York Daily Herald published February 13, 1874, the Mutual Benefit Company had an ice house at Staatsburg that held 15,000 tons of ice.  The company employed 75 men, 10 boys, fivehorses, and a steam engine to fill the ice house.  The largest ice harvesting company was the Knickerbocker Ice Company, which was based in New York, but had ice houses all along the Hudson.  Their ice house in Staatsburg held 25,000 tons of ice and they employed over 10,000 men in the region. In 1896 they had a capacity for 1.8 million tons of ice, which was approximately 50 percent of the entire industry in New York.  began from March onward, barges carrying anywhere from 400 to 1000 tons of ice would ship the ice down the river to sell. 

In addition to commercial ice harvesting in Staatsburg, one of the most successful companies in the village produced tools for the trade. After J.H Bodenstein (1823-1875) emigrated from Germany, he settled in Staatsburg and started a blacksmith shop that made tools used for ice harvesting.  The business officially became the Staatsburg Ice Tool Works in 1868 and the family business continued for four generations. The family held approximately twenty patents for various ice harvesting and other tools including this one for an ice cutting tool.  A catalogue of their ice tools is found here.

The works sold their products both across the United States and abroad. The business lasted for more than a century before closing in 1984 when all of the buildings and equipment were sold by the fourth generation of the Bodenstein family.  

Once ice was cut from the river and stored in the ice house, its final destination was the ice box inside individual homes and restaurants, or businesses such as breweries and food transport. After the Civil War, ice boxes became affordable for the working class, which contributed to the growth of the ice harvesting industry.  

The end of it all came into view when the first electric refrigerator for home use was invented in 1913, but it was not until the late 1920s and several models later that the use of an electric refrigerator in the home became more common and affordable.  This rang the death knell for the ice harvesting industry.  Artificial ice was now able to keep food cold all year long and ice harvesting became a thing of the past by the 1930s.

Today the Hudson River rarely freezes long enough to produce ice of any useable thickness so ice harvesting really is a thing of the past in the Hudson Valley. 

Staatsburg's Ice Industry

]]> (NY State Parks) Todays events Fri, 26 Feb 2021 16:00:38 -0500
Latimer Honors 'Trailblazers' As Part Of Black History Month \\

 Annual event to recognize individuals who have made contributions to African American

history and culture in Westchester County 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer honored three remarkable African American citizens for their professional accomplishments and community efforts, and recognized all African American Frontline workers, at the annual Trailblazers Awards Ceremony. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Trailblazers: Preserving our Legacy” ceremony was hosted virtually as part of the County’s celebration of Black History Month. The awards recognize individuals who have made great contributions to African American history and culture throughout Westchester County.

Latimer said: “While we are not able to gather at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye as we normally would, it is more important now than ever that we recognize the prominent role African Americans have played in our County’s history. The three talented individuals we are celebrating tonight have contributed immeasurably to the African American history and culture of Westchester. Our African American frontline workers have also proven their steadfast commitment to keeping our residents safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us honor them all for their public service and the generous use of their talent, which together can ensure that the legacies of those who came before us, are never forgotten.”

Watch County Executive George Latimer’s Remarks

Chair of the African American Advisory Board Barbara Edwards said: “The annual Trailblazers Award Program provides an opportunity to focus on the narrative of Black History in Westchester County. During our observance of Black History Month, we offer citizens of all races the opportunity to celebrate with us and learn about those of African descent whom we are honoring in recognition of the time, talent and resources they have contributed to enhance the quality of life in our County.”

The Trailblazers Awards Ceremony included a highlight video featuring Larry H. Spruill, a Civil Rights Scholar and Public Historian. The piece explores the history of the African American Advisory Board, the African American Heritage Trail in Westchester County, and the historical significance of the Jay Heritage Center in Rye.  

The 2021 Trailblazer Honorees received awards in the areas of Health and Human Services, Leadership and Civic Engagement. This year’s honorees are as follows:

The Dr. Valiere Alcena Award for Health and Human Services: Dr. Glenn A. Davis

Dr. Glenn A. Davis is the Greenburgh Health Center, as he has served as Medical Director there for more than 30 years. He has cared for families and patients through multiple generations, and is the heart and soul of the Health Center. As the sole practitioner leading the Internal Medicine Department, Davis takes incredible care with each one of his patients, and even has a photographic memory that allows him to remember the most specific details about each one of them. Davis has spent most of his professional career at the Greenburgh Health Center, but also serves as Deputy Medical Director of the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Inc. He received his Diplomate in Internal Medicine from the American Board of Internal Medicine, and his Doctorate from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He has leant his medical expertise to numerous events, panels and pharmaceutical companies. Davis is married with two children. 

 Watch the video on Dr. Glenn A. Davis

The Hon. Ronald A. Blackwood Award for Leadership: Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard

Mayor Shawn Patterson-Howard is a Mount Vernon High School alumnus and esteemed graduate of Howard University School of Social Work, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Hunter College where she earned a Master’s in Public Administration and Urban/Community Development. Patterson-Howard has served as a trailblazer in the not for profit and government sectors for the past 25 years. While widely known for her groundbreaking work in HIV/AIDS, public health, criminal justice, education, housing and urban development, Patterson-Howard has developed strong relationships with government and cross-sector leaders on the local, state and national level. As a “connector,” she has always maintained a strong focus on developing systemic solutions that will address the complex social determinants that have plagued our communities for decades. She passionately works with her staff and community partners to create continuums of service and innovative public/private partnerships to serve those who have been marginalized, disenfranchised and are oftentimes voiceless. Patterson-Howard’s favorite African Proverb is, “When spider webs unite, we can tie up a lion,” or as we say in the Y, we are “Better Together.”

Watch the video on Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard

The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award for Civic Engagement: Olney Reynolds

Olney Reynolds is a lifelong Westchester County resident, and a resident of the Town of Greenburgh for 26 years. He also was known as a staple of the Westchester County Parks Department for 20 years. Reynolds became the first African American Manager of the Westchester County Center in the history of the building, holding the position of Sales and Marketing Manager. Reynolds hired the first African Americans to work in the building as ushers, ticket takers and box office staff. He was also the first to open up events such as boxing and wrestling to female employees, which were once limited to only men. Reynolds left Westchester County to become Executive Director of the Greenburgh Housing Authority, where he committed to furthering affordable housing in Greenburgh’s Fairview section. Reynolds is deeply committed to community service, spending over 25 years as a member of African American Men of Westchester, an all-volunteer nonprofit formed in 1987 to strengthen communities and improve people’s lives.

Watch the video on Olney Reynolds

The Espirit de Corps Award, Special Recognition to all African American Frontline Workers: Accepted by Philip O. Ozuah, MD, PhD

Dr. Philip O. Ozuah is the President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine, the umbrella organization for Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. A nationally recognized physician, researcher, teacher and author, Ozuah previously served as President of Montefiore Health System. He has also served as Professor and University Chairman of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Physician-in-Chief of Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM). In these roles, Dr. Ozuah expanded access for underserved communities, recruited and cultivated outstanding talent, advanced programs of excellence, fostered innovations in medical education, and improved financial and operational performance by integrating care across a rapidly growing and evolving Montefiore system, that sees over six million patient interactions a year.

Watch the video on Dr. Philip O. Ozuah, President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine

George Latimer Remarks TRAILBLAZERS

]]> (Westchester County) Life Fri, 26 Feb 2021 13:12:14 -0500
Harckham Bill to Help Track Spread of Lyme, Tick-Borne Diseases Passes in Senate

New York State Senator Pete Harckham has announced that a bill he introduced to help track the prevalence and spread of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in New York State, has been approved by the Senate. After it is approved in the Assembly, the bill will await signing by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

Harckham’s bill (S.677A) requires coroners, pathologists and medical examiners to report promptly to the local or superintending health department whether a deceased person at the time of death was afflicted with Lyme or any other tick-borne disease.

“This legislation will provide important data for medical researchers and public health officials as they battle Lyme disease and other illnesses transmitted by tick bites,” said Harckham. “These illnesses can have devastating effects on an individual’s health, so it makes sense to understand just how commonplace the infections may be.”

New York State Assemblymember Didi Barrett is the lead sponsor of the Lyme disease tracking bill in the Assembly.

In August 2017, the State Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases, in conjunction with the Senate Committee on Health, conducted a public hearing regarding the health threats posed by Lyme and tick-borne diseases in New York State. At the time, there had been several infections and deaths in New York of Powassan virus, another tick-borne malady. It was remarked at the public hearing that current statistics on Lyme and tick-borne diseases may be undercounted because these infections had exacerbated pre-existing conditions (or engendered another illness altogether) but were not listed as the precipitating cause of death.

As a result, it is important that in cases where Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses may underlie the primary cause of death that they are reported as infections to the health authorities for appropriate surveillance and statistical accounting. Around 300,000 people in the U.S. contract Lyme disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Washington Post reported last year that over 50 percent of the U.S. population lives in an area affected by tick-borne illnesses.

To see a short video of Sen. Harckham talking about the treatment equity bill on the Senate floor today, click here.

State Senator Harckham represents New York's 40th District, which includes the towns of Beekman, Pawling and the village of Pawling in Dutchess County; the towns of Carmel, Patterson and Southeast, and the village of Brewster in Putnam County; and the city of Peekskill, the towns of Cortlandt, Lewisboro, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers and Yorktown, the town/village of Mount Kisco, and the villages of Briarcliff Manor, Buchanan, Croton-on-Hudson, Pleasantville and Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County.

]]> (Office of Senator Harckham) Life Fri, 26 Feb 2021 10:31:53 -0500