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.
RadioRotary hosts a discussion of Rotary in the Hudson Valley featuring District Governor (DG) 2014-15 Penny Byron (Patterson Rotary), Past District Governor (PDG) 2009-10 David Green (New Windsor-Cornwall Rotary), and District Governor Elect (DGE) 2015-16 Nick Constantino (Walkill East Rotary). DGE Constantino had just returned from training for his post in San Diego along with 531 other District-Governors-Elect. DG Byron tells that she has completed an obligatory visit to each of the 62 Rotary Clubs in District 7210, the district covering the Mid-Hudson Valley, including its E-Club, which has international membership. PDG Green tells of his plans for the District Convention in April. All three describe some of the ways Rotary International fulfills its mission of “doing good in the world.”