RadioRotary is visited by Gabriella Scull, the community manager for Relay for Life, an affiliate of the American Cancer Society. Each year there are 5,200 Relay-for-Life events in the United State, including many in the Hudson Valley as well as events in 20 different nations. The event is an organized fundraising walk around a track. It last all night and the participants camp out, although individual participants don’t have to be there for the whole time. A principal feature of the Relay is the Luminaria Ceremony, which candles or glow sticks are lit inside of personalized bags, which are then are place around the track as tributes to those who died from cancer. The events celebrate survivors, remember those who have died, and also raises funds for the American Cancer Society.
Melissa McCoy, Chief Advancement Officer for Abilities First describes this seven-county program that serves developmentally disabled children and adults in the Hudson Valley. Staring with pre-school, Abilities First supplies educational programs that replace the regular special-education classes in twenty different facilities (one facility, in Red Hook, is in the same building as the regular school). When children reach age 21, they are transferred from the educational system to the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. From that point, Abilities First provides a sheltered workshop, job shadowing programs, and supportive or supervised housing. The focus is on helping individuals do as much for themselves as possible.
Pleasant Valley Library Director Daniela Pulice and Barbara Shapley, president of the Friends of the Pleasant Valley Library, discuss their local library, the Mid-Hudson Library System, of which it is a part, and the status of community libraries today. The Pleasant Valley Free Library is situated in a Dutchess County town of about 10,000 and is one of 21 libraries in the Mid-Hudson System. The Friends of the Library do fundraising, notably a giant book sale once or twice a year, to support such added library benefits as free tickets to the Children’s Museum, movie night, educational programs, signs, and computers. Today’s libraries are not quiet places, but instead are the central place in the community where people meet as well as where they borrow books, audio books, movies, e-book readers, and other materials and use computers, the library’s or free Wi-Fi. Circulation of all items has continued to increase in the 21st century.
Susanne O’Neill, Program and Events Manager for Walkway over the Hudson, talks about the history and coming events at the longest, highest pedestrian bridge in the world, Poughkeepsie and Highland’s Walkway over the Hudson. This former railway connection between Dutchess and Ulster counties ceased operation after a fire in 1974, but in 2009, in connection with the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic first sail up the river, the bridge, now reconstructed as a pedestrian (and bicycle and rollerblade) walkway, opened to the public. It was an instant success with 50,000 visitors in the first week, and now draws about 500,000 per year. The Walkway is 1.28 miles long from gate to gate, and in addition to level entrances from each end, it is served by a 212-foot elevator a short walk from the Poughkeepsie Train Station.