Meet our President… Andi Turco-Levin

Andi Turco-Levin

If you don’t know and love Kingston luminary Andi Turco-Levin then you must be living under a rock. Andi is an award-winning Ulster county realtor, a local radio personality and a former alderman. She’s also a vintage car enthusiast, a dog agility competitor (with her prize-winning Westies named Lily, Spencer, Kirby and Cricket) and the President of the Kingston Land Trust’s Board of Directors. She’s pretty much amazing at everything she does and we’re lucky to have her at the helm of KLT. We recently had a chance to ask Andi about her and her work with the Kingston Land Trust.

Look for Andi on the dance floor on April 15th, 2016 in “Dancing with the Stars: Ulster Style” benefiting The United Way. Get your tix NOW!

How did you initially get involved with the Kingston Land Trust?
Back in 2010 when I was serving as 1st Ward Alderman in Kingston I met Gregg Swanzey who was talking about the conversion of the old Kingston Trolley line into a walking path as well as the development of the other abandoned railroad lines that ran through the City of Kingston. I had invited him to speak at one of my Ward meetings to share his vision about the concept so the residents knew this could be a great asset for them. I had recently been on tour with my husband (bassist Tony Levin) where we had visited San Antonio, TX with its River Walk that ran through the city. It was lovely and I could envision something like that for Kingston. I got involved with The Rail Trail Committee which is actually a project of the Kingston Land Trust. The work that the KLT was doing interested me as they were beginning to talk about urban agriculture/farming and preservation of the green spaces that exist in our urban environment. After leaving the Common Council I had mentioned to Rebecca Martin who was then the Executive Director for the KLT that I would love to be involved in their efforts. I attended a few meetings then joined the Board of Directors in 2012. I became Chairperson in January of 2014. I never realized how unique and complex the work can be but it has been an amazing journey so far and I have worked with so many talented and amazing people.

Continue reading Meet our President… Andi Turco-Levin

Complete Streets Are For Everyone!

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Have you noticed that sometimes getting around Kingston whether you are on foot, on bike, on the bus, or in your car just seems awkward, frustrating, or downright unsafe? Sometimes we like to blame that crazy driver or the crazy pedestrian for a nearly missed accident. But what if the system we are traveling in could be designed better to minimize conflicts between different travel modes? Enter the concept of Complete Streets.

Complete Streets are streets that safely accommodate all users – pedestrians, bicyclists, disabled people, transit users, and automobiles. They are safe, comfortable, and convenient for people of all abilities and using all different modes of travel. Not all Complete Streets look the same. For example Fair St. in Uptown Kingston is relatively complete. It is somewhat low traffic, the sidewalks are wide, and biking on it feels safe. On the other hand, Broadway in Kingston is not complete. Although the sidewalks are wide, it is very challenging and dangerous to cross the road, pedestrian, bike, and automobile conflicts are common, and buses are not as frequent as they could be. Shorter crossing zones, bike lanes, and better public transit accommodations are needed to make Broadway complete. Continue reading Complete Streets Are For Everyone!

Digging Up Land Trusts’ Urban Roots

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Conservation land trusts work to protect land by holding property rights for the public good.

Relying on a combination of volunteers, staff and a board of directors, these nonprofit organizations may own land outright (which may be turned into public recreation areas or reserved for conservation purposes), or place conservation easements on pieces of property (which allows the land to remain privately-owned while still protected from development). In doing so, land trusts are advocates for responsible land use so that current and future generations can enjoy the many benefits of open space: recreation, agriculture, biodiversity and climate resiliency (just to name a few).

But, while all land trusts work towards these fundamental goals, each one represents a unique community and defines its own mission. Looking across the U.S. you can find land trusts of all shapes and sizes, but no two are identical.

People often imagine land conservation as occurring on tracts of remote wilderness, along the rolling hills of a bucolic farm, or framing a National Park; and, some land trusts do work on large scale preserves. But many land trusts form when development pressure reaches a breaking point and jeopardizes some of last remaining space for communities to gather.

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The Little Farm in the City Preps for New Season

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For the 2016 urban farming season Joel Zenie and Trish Hawkins, starting their second year at the South Pine Street Farm, welcome the help of Ted Griese, aspiring young farmer and Kingston resident. Ted will be growing flowers at the farm for good crop pollination and for sale. Joel will continue to grow a wide variety of fresh produce, including lettuce, onions, kale, collards, cabbage, mustards, tomatoes, basil, parsley, beans, peas, arugula, mesclun, cucumbers, squash, and strawberries. The farm is located on South Pine Street across from Binnewater Ice Company.

Continue reading The Little Farm in the City Preps for New Season

Weekend Wanders – Kick Off!

weekend.wander.blog4/12/16 BREAKING NEWS: Mark DeDea*, naturalist from the Forsyth Nature Center, will be on hand during the hike to talk to us about the birds of spring!

Join us as we kick-off the 2016 season with the first of our new Weekend Wanders! Building on our successful Sunday hikes, we’re expanding to include new dates, new locations and new guest guides. Check out our website for more details on future hikes.

WHO: Kingston Land Trust
WHAT: Weekend Wanders
WHEN: Sun, 5/1/16, 9:30am – 12:30pm
WHERE: Kingston Wine Co:
65 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401
WHY: Hike around Kingston with local experts to talk about its exciting projects and hidden treasures right here in our backyard.

Kingston has many places to explore making it a pretty exciting place to be right now AND you won’t want to miss Mark DeDea’s birds of spring tour!

*DeDea, the caretaker at Forsyth Nature Center in Uptown, will show hikers how to identify birds that are visible, as well as decode the cryptic bird songs that echo throughout the woods. DuDea comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience having lead many walks for new birders or seasoned birders throughout the Hudson Valley for various organizations, nature centers, state parks and preserves.

Meet, Sweep, and Eat (or Drink!)

meetsweepblogMeet, Sweep, and Eat (or Drink!)

Tuesday, April 26, 6:30pm – 8pm
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran. Map it.
22 Livingston St, Kingston, NY 12401

A monthly scheduled walk along the future Kingston Point Rail Trail to conduct routine monitoring. We start at the back of the Immanuel Lutheran Church and walk down to East Strand. At the end, we’ll seek out food and drink at one of several great downtown establishments.

NOTE: Wear sturdy boots and long pants. In the event of rain or other bad weather, we’ll cancel and continue next month.

Kiwanis Kingston Classic

Kiwanis classicKiwanis Kingston Classic race presented by HITS Endurance is a great race to get you started for a fun and sporty summer. The Boston Marathon qualifier includes five distance events, reduced entrance fees and more family-friendly starting times. Click here for registration and more info. Start preparing TODAY!

WHO: HITS Endurance
WHAT: Kiwanis Kingston Classic
WHEN: Sun, 4/24/16, 7am
WHERE: Robert Dietz Memorial Stadium:
61 Crown St, Kingston, NY 12401
WHY: Boston is definitely strong but Kingston KICKS some major butt!

Events begin on Saturday with a fitness expo & athlete meeting. The race is Sunday. Run Lola Run…

Dancing with the Stars: Ulster Style

dance.starsOn April 15th, our fearless leader, Andi Turco-Levin will be hitting the dance-floor for “Dancing with the Stars: Ulster Style” benefiting The United Way. It’s gonna be a boogie-woogie good time that you won’t wanna miss. Get your tix TODAY!

WHO: The United Way
WHAT: Dancing with the Stars: Ulster Style
WHEN: Fri, 4/15/16, 7:45pm (doors open at 7pm)
WHERE: Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern:
25 South Partition Street, Saugerties, NY  12477
WHY: Watch your fave Ulster Co luminaries dance the night away for charity.

Our chairperson Andi Turco-Levin and her dance partner Hayes Clement got this in the bag! #winning