Rural businesses: Cluster and prosper

Julia Reischel in the Watershed Post:

National rural-issues website The Daily Yonder ran an article yesterday exhorting rural businesses to form “clusters” if they want to thrive. The thrust of the story is counter-intuitive — the author, Stuart Rosenfeld, argues that rather than competing for customers, similar small businesses operating near each other seem to attract more business for all. He cites Vermont’s booming sustainable agriculture economy as an example:

Though the second smallest state in population, Vermont stands head and shoulders above every other state based on its per capita concentrations of local farms, CSAs (community supported agriculture), organic farms, and farmers markets. This is important because groups of related businesses — clusters — are now thought to be essential for economic growth. Businesses are more efficient when they are clustered. Workers generally earn more. Related business clusters can feed off each other.

The last section of the article has tips for how to build a cluster. Food for thought for the Catskills, perhaps?

Agriculture is no longer just crops and animals in Vermont. Except for the largest dairy farms, economic survival and growth depend on rural families finding ways to supplement their income from the food they produce though other innovative market opportunities. They may offer weekend farm stays, start catering services, process their own foods, direct sales to local markets, create artisan products and brands or produce renewable energy by selling biomass, wind power, or operating methane digesters.

Read the entire story at Watershed Post.

Catskill Farmer’s Market

$200K grant to target small businesses in Greene County

From The Business Review (Albany):

A $200,000 state grant will enable Greene County to help small businesses. The grant from the New York State Office of Community Renewal will be funneled into the county’s Microenterprise Assistance Program, which provides grants to small businesses. The county will also offer training classes for small businesses. Start-up companies and existing businesses with five or fewer employees are eligible for grants of up to $25,000 to create jobs or expand their business. Applications can be submitted to the Greene County Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Planning. For more information, go to http://greenebusiness.com/economic-development/loans-incentives. Reservations are also being accepted for the Spring 2010 Microenterprise Assistance Program training class, a free, two-day intensive session that covers the basics of business planning, accounting and marketing. The class will be held June 18-19 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Greene County Emergency Operations and Training Center, One Volunteer Drive in Cairo. To reserve a seat, call the county at 518-719-3290. Reservations should be requested by June 14 at 4:30 p.m.

Crandall Theater close to sold

Chatham resident Judy Grunberg, owner of the Blue Plate restaurant and the founder of the PS/21 arts center, is among a group of investors close to finalizing a deal to buy Chatham’s Crandall Theater, The Columbia Paper, and other papers, report today after the “For Sale” sign came down Thursday. When owner Tony Quirino died in January, he had been working to sell the theater to the Chatham Film Club, though the Club now is among two bidding groups that apparently lost to the Grunberg group. The Grunberg group is reportedly talking with the film club about extending the theater’s previous collaborations.

Audio recording of Lafarge DEC hearing last night in Ravena

WGXC’s Sam Sebren made it out to record the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation legislative hearing for renewal and modification of the existing Lafarge Title V Air Permit application last night at 6 p.m. at the Ravena-Coeymans Selkirk High School Auditorium.

Click here to listen to mp3 audio recording of the hearing, or paste the following url into your computer’s media player:

Review the complete LaFarge application documents at this link: http://www.dec.ny.gov/dardata/boss/afs/draft_atv_l.html. The DEC will be accepting written comments until May 21. Please mail or email your comments & include the application number so your comments aren’t lost.
Mail to:
Sarah H. Evans
NYSDEC Region 4 Headquarters
1130 North Westcott Rd.
Schenectady, NY 12306
518-357-2069
r4dep@gw.dec.state.ny.us
Application ID# : 4-0124-00001/00112

Catskill farmer’s market will close a portion of Main Street on Saturday mornings this summer

Instead of completely closing down Main St., or putting stalls in parking spaces, the Village of Catskill will close one block of Main St. between Thompson Street and the entrance to the municipal parking lot at Willard Alley from 7:30 a.m. to at least 2 p.m., for the Catskill Regional Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market Saturdays from June 19 to Oct. 30, Susan Campriello in The Daily Mail reports. The farmer’s market had been held at Dutchmen’s Landing on the Hudson River, rather than downtown, and Village President Vince Seeley is also spearheading a similar move of the town’s July 4 fireworks, both in an effort to stimulate downtown business. WGXC Radio Council member Hudson Talbott is curating the non-farmer’s booths at the market.

Catskill gives Wal-Mart tax break

This Greenport Wal-Mart is empty since the new larger store opened down the street last year.


Town, Wal-Mart settle dispute
The Daily Mail, 05.05.10

Wal-Mart in Catskill gets break on tax bill
The Daily Freeman, 05.06.10

Catskill is reducing the property tax assessment on the local Wal-Mart $1.67 million, reducing their total to $13.5 million, covering the years 2010 through 2012, effectively granting the giant corporation from Arkansas a large tax break. The Daily Mail first says Catskill is giving Wal-Mart the tax break, “avoiding a costly legal battle.” Then Supervisor Peter Markou reveals a bit more: “We’ve already spent $75,000 in assessment cases,” Markou told The Daily Mail, or said during the meeting. “That’s more than I’ve budgeted for.” Then Colin DeVries, The Daily Mail scribe writes, “The town’s 2010 budget included $40,000 for assessment litigation.” William J. Kemble in The Daily Freeman writes, “the reduction, approved at a Town Board meeting Tuesday, is a step toward settling a grievance by the retail giant. Officials said the settlement, which still requires a judge’s approval, was recommended to avoid further court expenses.” Then he quotes Markou — looks like he said it in the meeting — “This town has already spent $75,000 (since 2008) in assessment cases,” said town Supervisor Peter Markou. “That’s a lot of money. That’s way beyond the budgeted (amount) that I had in there.” Kemble’s story is a day late, but no dollars short. He spent the day following the money:

Town Assessor Nancy McCoy said Wednesday that Wal-Mart paid $530,00 in town, county and school taxes in 2009, and this year is expected to save about $62,000 with the reduced assessment. McCoy said the town has spent $10,100 since January to appraise and defend assessments against five major business. “It’s all ‘big boxes,’” Markou said. “They are all going to challenge their assessments. It’s a good year to do it. The economy is in the crapper.” Besides Wal-Mart, the following companies are also seeking assessment reductions:

• Holcim Cement Co., on U.S. Route 9W, from $10,135,700 to $1,650,00. The case was filed in 2008.

• Home Depot, on state Route 23B, from $8,995,100 to $4,060,000. The case was filed in 2009.

• Lowe’s, on state Route 23A, from $7,099,000 to $3,480,000. The case was filed in 2008.

• Rite Aid, on Route 23A, from $1.8 million to $500,000. The case was filed in 2009.

“You have to pick and choose your battles,” McCoy said. “You do the analysis to see if the assessment is supportable and then weigh the cost of supporting assessment versus the possibility of losing it; what it costs versus what you could save by not going to court and settling.”

Opening events

Recommended happenings.
FRIDAY
Sideshow clothing store opening at 7 p.m. with Bleeding Hearts belly dancers, Evan Randall, and Stephen Bluhm. 707 Warren St., Hudson.
Avondale Airforce and Battle Ave Tea Club at 9 p.m. at Market Market Cafe, Route 32 North, Rosendale. $5.
Mick Taylor Band and Voodelic at 9 p.m. at Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker St. (Rt. 212), Woodstock.
SATURDAY
Hudson’s Children’s Book Festival, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with hundreds of authors and WGXC, Hudson High.
Upstate II” opening, 6 p.m. with Melora Kuhn, Catherine Mosley, Erik Schoonebeek, and Allyson Strafella at Nicole Fiacco Gallery, Hudson. Through June 5.
Double Duos” 7 p.m. talk, 8 p.m. performance featuring Michael Benedict (vibes), Keith Pray (alto sax), Mike Lawrence (bass) and Brian Patneaude (tenor sax) at the Athens Cultural Center, 24 Second St, Athens.
RE:Vision Forward Motion Theater 8 p.m. at Hudson Opera House.
Club Helsinki in Hudson opens at 9 p.m. with Spottiswoode & His Enemies.
SUNDAY
Remember the Ladies” open house at noon at Thomas Cole House. Free.

Final Lafarge public hearing May 11

Hilary Hawke in The Daily Mail reports:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced a legislative hearing for renewal and modification of the existing Lafarge Title V Air Permit application on May 11, 6 p.m. at the Ravena-Coeymans Selkirk High School Auditorium. All New York State contaminant-emitting facilities must have either a Title V Air permit, a state facility permit or a registration certificate. Lafarge’s permit expired in 2006 and it has been running under an extension since then. The company, which manufactures Portland cement and operates a limestone quarry, has extensive plans for modernizing the plant, the kilns and for reducing emissions. Administrative Law Judge Richard A. Sherman will preside over the hearing session and will accept unsworn statements on both the Title V application and the draft permit. Any member of the public potentially affected by the proposed project is invited to attend and provide oral or written comments. DEC originally gave public notice for the project in November 2009 and provided a 30-day comment period, later extended to 68 days, which ended on January 11, 2010. Rick Georgeson, DEC Region 4 spokesman, said the agency scheduled the May 11 hearing based on 44 comments, all in written or e-mail form, received during the public comment period. He also said 32 individuals expressed interest in further hearings. Georgeson said that after the May 11 hearing, “DEC will issue a response to the public comments. Going forward DEC can either issue or deny the Lafarge permit or issue a permit with added conditions.” The final decision can take anywhere from months to years. Read the entire story in The Daily Mail.

Greene County Bancorp’s net income up 5% in 3Q

From The Business Review (Albany):

Greene County Bancorp Inc., [parent to The Bank of Greene County], reported a five percent increase in net income for its third fiscal quarter. The Catskill, N.Y.-based company had net income of $1.23 million, or 30 cents a share, for the three months ended March 31. This compares to net income of $1.15 million, or 28 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. For the nine months ended March 31, net income was $3.6 million, or 88 cents a share, up from $3 million, or 73 cents a share, a year earlier. Read the entire story in The Business Review (Albany).

Local newspaper chain buys last independent Greene County weekly

The Hudson-Catskill Newspaper Corp. — the company that runs the only daily newspapers in each county (The Daily Mail and Register-Star) as well as weekly papers in Chatham, Windham, and on the mountaintop — bought Greene County’s only remaining weekly, the Greene County Local Courier, and The Ravena News-Herald, from George McHugh, today’s issue of the Courier reports. The story names frequent contributor Melanie Lekocevic as new editor, and says H-CN plans to continue publishing both weeklies. The story does not say whether the purchased papers will now get web sites. Earlier this year The Greenville Press ceased publication.

Opus 40 for sale


The Watershed Post is reporting that Opus 40, a massive bluestone sculpture built by Harvey Fite over 37 years on an abandoned quarry, is for sale for $3.5 million. The Saugerties property includes a house with 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,860 square feet of living space, and that world-renowned earthwork. From the story:

Since Fite’s accidental death in 1976, Opus 40 has been maintained and kept open to the public by his family. The current owner, Fite’s stepson Tad Richards, wants to sell the property so he can retire. Susan Barnett of WAMC reported today that the town of Saugerties is looking into buying Opus 40. Special projects coordinator Vernon Benjamin hinted that it might qualify for federal stimulus funds: Opus 40 is shovel ready, so to speak, for cultural and arts organization type use. That’s a bit of a shift from last week’s Daily Freeman story, which reported that the town was looking for a nonprofit to take over the site. What seems clear is that Saugerties has a stake in the future of Fite’s masterpiece–and that Opus 40 becoming a private playground would be a great loss, both for the town and for the cultural heritage of the region.

AG: New York settles with Lafarge over emissions

From Casey Seiler in Capitol Confidential:

[A] multistate settlement, just announced by the office of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, includes 11 other states and affects operations at 13 cement plants — including the Ravena facility that’s been the subject of controversy for years.

According to the Attorney General’s press release, the settlement requires LaFarge to take the following steps:

* Eliminate a total of over 9,000 tons of nitrogen oxide and 26,000 tons of sulfur dioxide each year from its plants, including those in upwind states whose pollution impacts New York.
* Either construct a new Ravena plant – as the company has proposed – or retrofit the existing facility with aggressive air pollution reduction technology. In either case, Ravena’s air pollution emissions will be cut by roughly 2,000 tons of nitrogen oxide and 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide each year – equivalent to reductions of more than 30% and 80%, respectively.
* Pay a civil penalty and provide funding for environmental benefit projects totaling $5.07 million, with $3.38 million of that amount going to the federal government and the coalition of states receiving $1.69 million. Of that amount, New York State will receive $490,000 to fund energy efficiency and pollution reduction mitigation projects in communities near the Ravena plant.

Greene County Chamber of Commerce hands out awards


(At right, “Business Idol” winner Kip Christie from Banner Hill School of Woodworking in Windham [right] with award presenter Kathleen Packard of KathodeRay Media, the Greene County Chamber of Commerce and the WGXC Radio Council. Chamber Executive Director Tracy McNally is in the background.)

The Greene County Chamber of Commerce held their annual Greene Jeans Gala at the Pine Ridge Farm in Greenville Thursday evening. The following businesses received Emerald Awards: Large Business: GNH Lumber, Inc.; Small Business: Martinez Auto Body Shop, Inc.; and Not-for-Profit Organization: Greene County Historical Society. Banner Hill School of Woodworking and Timber Framing in Windham got the “Business Idol” award.

Today’s local headlines


(Scott Murphy at his town hall meeting at The Golden Harvest Farm in Valatie Sat. Aug. 8, 2009. Photo by Tom Roe.)

Murphy speaks locally about health care
Listen to U.S. Representative Murphy’s entire town hall meeting:
Part One of Town Meeting
Part Two of Town Meeting
Murphy interview with Albany Times-Union reporter and WGXC reporter after the meeting
Several hundred local residents and others from outside the area turned up this morning at 11 a.m. at The Golden Harvest Farm in Valatie to hear U.S. Representative Scott Murphy (D-20) talk about and answer questions about the health care before Congress. While similar meetings in other Congressional districts have turned into shouting matches and even brawls, this debate was mostly civil, with just a bit of shouting, and mostly respectful questions from all sides of the political spectrum from the crowd of around 400.

There seemed to be as many people who did not want the government providing any health care at all as there were folks who favored a single-payer system, judging by Murphy’s poll of the crowd at the end. Of course, by then, after over an hour in the hot sun, the group was much smaller then at the beginning, and perhaps only folks with very passionate political positions remained. Listen to the links above to hear the entire meeting (in two parts), and an interview Murphy gave afterwards with a reporter from the Albany Times-Union and WGXC.

Judge rules against Overbaugh ballot bid
From Seeing Greene

Linda L. Overbaugh’s name will not appear on the Republican primary ballot next month for one of the four Catskill seats on the Greene County Legislature, a judge ruled Thursday. Dick May from the Seeing Greene blog scooped everyone, reporting Thursday that Supreme Court Judge Richard M. Platkin ordered the Executive Director of the Heart of Catskill Association off the ballot, after her name was listed incorrectly on petitions. She was listed as Linda H. Overbaugh, her former cousin-in-law, who also lives in Catskill. For the lawsuit, Patricia J. Ruck, who chairs the Town of Catskill’s Democratic Party Committee, adopted the Citizen Objector role, while Forest Cotten, past Catskill Democratic chairman and present candidate for re-election to the county legislature, was designated as Aggrieved Candidate. Overbaugh was expected to win a slot in the legislature, perhaps costing incumbent Cotten his seat. Overbaugh told Seeing Greene “it’s not over,” perhaps hinting she will start a write-in campaign for the September primary, where voters would have to write in “Linda L. Overbaugh” exactly. Where was The Daily Mail on this story? They were bested by The Greenville Press for a week before the ruling, and then only mentioned this story for the first time today, two days after May’s story.

Town & County magazine writes about Hudson
The September 2009 issue of Town & Country magazine (with actress Jane Krakowski on the cover) features a large story about Hudson’s antique stores called “A Hudson River Renaissance.” Hopefully, the story will help merchants there struggling during this recession — one antique store owner told me in Febraury he did not make a single sale.

Today’s local headlines

Proposal leaves DSS in Hudson
From The Register-Star

HUDSON – Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Art Baer (R-Hillsdale) and Hudson Mayor Rick Scalera stood together at a press conference Tuesday and announced a new proposal that would keep the Department of Social Services in Hudson. The county would buy the One City Centre building on the corner of State and Green streets in Hudson; departments currently in the County Office Buildings at 401 and 610 State Street would move to City Centre. The total square footage of 401 and 610 State Street is 36,000 square feet, 24,000 at 401 and 12,000 at 610 State Street. DSS would stay in its current building on Railroad Avenue for the duration of its lease, which ends in 2011; and then move to One City Centre. Baer called the proposal “a great solution for a difficult problem” and said “I’m looking forward to implementing it.” “The logistics of the planning — there’s a lot to discuss,” said Scalera. “The commitment to keep DSS in the city of Hudson is what we’ve been working for.” Baer previously opposed such a plan, but switched positions because of falling real estate values. The Register-Star says One City Centre was going for $5 million last year, but now is selling for $2 million. “This is not a done deal,” Baer said. “We are only in discussion with the bank. There are still many pieces that have to be put together in the puzzle.”

Copake Green project set to sprout again
From CCScoop

COPAKE – Large developers bring big projects to small towns in this area, and often get special treatment. Like in Copake last week, where Housing Resources Executive Director Kevin O’Neill got to re-introduce his 139-unit Copake Green project to a Copake Planning Board meeting even though he was not on the agenda. From the CCscoop story:

“Although O’Neill did not request to be put on the agenda ten days in advance of the meeting — the Planning Board requirement — [Planning Board Chairman Marcia] Becker explained that, because there was a light agenda in July and because Housing Resources owns land in the town, she believed allowing O’Neill to make his twenty-minute presentation was the right thing to do.’It caused an uproar that we let him speak. . . . So from now on we are adhering to the ten-day rule,’ Becker said.”

Medical center, bank storage get green light
From The Daily Mail

CATSKILL – The Catskill Planning Board approved site plans for the 3,000 square-foot Urgent Care facility proposed for Grandview Avenue and for a Bank of Greene County storage facility on Windsor Street after hearing brief presentations on each proposal. The medical facility used Architect Josh Pulver, a relative of planning board member Michelle Pulver. She recused herself when it came to the vote, but as an anonymous reader commented on the story, “Nothing assures the approval of a project better than hiring the relative of a judge and town planner as your architect, and paying him astronomical fees.”

Copake opts for outside budget review
From The Columbia Paper

COPAKE–The Copake Town Board hired a second accountant to make sure the first accountant’s figures of a estimated $175,000 budget shortfall are correct. “We all agree that our first course of action should be an independent audit to verify the numbers or find out if they are not correct. We have to know where we are,” Town Supervisor Reggie Crowley told the audience at the Town Board’s regular monthly meeting July 9.

Court Sides With GOP On Ravitch, Paterson Vows To Appeal
From The Daily News’ The Daily Politics

ALBANY – State Supreme Court Justice William R. LaMarca granted the Republican Party’s motion for a preliminary injunction that prevents just-appointed Lt. Govenor Richard Ravitch from “exercising any of the powers” of the LG’s office, pending a final judgment, noting there is no provision in the Constitution that allows the governor to appoint a replacement LG when a vacancy occurs in that office.

Today’s local headlines

Greene Supports Cement
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/07/16/news/doc4a5e963a75857373047517.txt

CATSKILL — Greene County lawmakers on Wednesday roundly endorsed operations of local cement manufacturers to remind state and federal officials that the industry is important to the local economy. The support was given in a unanimous vote, with one absence, during a county Legislature meeting, where officials asked that funding for modernization be considered for Holcim U.S. and Lehigh Northeast Cement Co. in Catskill as well as LaFarge North America in Ravena in Albany County.

Ulster has first swine flu death
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2009/July09/17/swineflu_UC_fatal-17Jul09.html

KINGSTON – Ulster County Thursday reported its first swine flu associated fatality. The individual was a man from Saugerties who had been hospitalized with underlying medical conditions in addition to the flu.

Hudson Valley Job Losses
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2009/July09/17/unemp-17Jul09.html

The Hudson Valley lost another 18,300 jobs year over year in June, bringing to 746,400 the number of people who have become unemployed in the last 12 months, the state Labor Department reported Thursday. Putnam is feeling the least relative pain, with a 7 percent jobless rate last month. At the bottom, Sullivan and Greene, close to 9 percent.

DOT: Portions of Route 23 to close
http://www.thedailymail.net/articles/2009/07/16/windham_journal/news/doc4a5e4e126cd25036863359.txt

ASHLAND – The Department of Transportation will be close a section of Route 23 between the towns of Ashland and Prattsville starting July 20 to address long-recognized slope stabilization problems adjacent to the old Catholic church. Both lanes will be shut down to fix the road. This is the first of three jobs, totaling $2.2 million, on Route 23, though the other two will not shut down both lanes. A detour will be set up on Route 296 in Windham and then onto Hensonville and Hunter, where they can connect with Route 23A into Prattsville, more than 20 miles out of the way.

Utility ratepayers could get stuck for millions in unfunded stimulus program
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2009/July09/17/util_rates-17Jul09.html

ALBANY – The federal stimulus package is going to providefunds for New York utilities – including Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation and Orange and Rockland Utilities – but the money would only pay for half of the cost of the $1 billion program. Smart grid utility projects proposed by the utility companies may qualify for stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The term smart grid refers to the application of various digital technologies to, among other things, modernize and automate transmission and distribution assets to anticipate and respond to system disturbances, enable greater use of variable energy sources, including renewable energy, and provide the capability for customers to control their energy consumption effectively.

Greene Lawsuit Settled
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/07/17/news/doc4a5fe6fec5bb0085621011.txt

CATSKILL — Greene County lawmakers have agreed to pay an engineering firm $35,000 to settle a lawsuit over disputed bills for services. At a Legislature meeting Wednesday, officials said the county had withheld $24,899 from Crawford and Associates Engineering for services on the county Mental Health building in Cairo and $30,368 from the firm for its alleged failure to include required electrical services in the design of the county Highway Department building in Athens. The firm had sought $95,000 in its lawsuit against the county.

Artist and musician Roger Mason moves studio into Chatham’s clock tower
http://www.registerstar.com/articles/2009/07/16/chatham_courier/news/doc4a5e0592ac5c1176339793.txt

CHATHAM – Musician Roger Mason, who has played with Bob Dylan, Itzhak Perlman, John Denver, members of The Band, the Carradine Brothers and Larry Campbell, who produced Levon Helm, is moving his studio into the third floor of the clocktower in Chatham.

Today’s local headlines

Columbia County Board of Supervisors holds its regular meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at 401 State St. in Hudson. Protesters will be back voicing opposition to the Board’s proposed moved of the Department of Social Services from Hudson to Ockawamic. “As a direct result of the public outcry and resistance, a key member of the Board of Supervisors has now reversed his position on the project,” writes Linda Mussmann, of the Bottom Line party and TSL in Hudson. “Longtime Claverack supervisor James Keegan announced his “change of heart” in the July 7 edition of the Register-Star…. The Coxsackie Village Board has joined Cairo as the second local jurisdiction with a troubling audit from the State Comptroller. Coxsackie lacked sufficient oversight between 2004 and 2008, leading to a number of “unplanned operating deficits” in its general, water and sewer funds, according to an audit, as reported in The Daily Mail…. David Deutsch’s Parks Arts Recreation Culture group will not be constructing outdoor spaces, housing, a grocery store, a year-round indoor pool, an ice-skating rink, a inter-generational center, bike paths and other improvements in Hudson, as they cannot raise money for the ambitious plan, according to The Register-Star….Twenty seven homes were sold in Columbia County in May 2009 compared to 13 sold in April 2009; this is a 107.7 percent increase. In Greene County, the number of existing single family homes sold decreased 32.1 percent, with 28 homes sold in April and 19 sold in May, The Register-Star reports. From May 2007 to May 2009, the number of homes sold in Columbia County decreased 37.2 percent, and decreased 40.6 percent in Greene County…. Common Cause is organizing a campaign to get the New York State Senate back to work instead of their continued efforts to play “pretend” Senate….Vice-President Joe Biden will speak at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the The Daily Gazette…. Elvis Costello mentions the Hudson Valley on “Sulphur to Sugarcane” from his new album, “Secret, Profane and Sugarcane” (via Nippertown!):
“The women in Poughkeepsie
Take their clothes off when they’re tipsy
But in Albany, New York,
They love the filthy way I talk
Until they gargle with the finest champagne
They can´t get the grape and the grain
It´s not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane”