One of Judge Andreassen’s five grandchildren demonstrating social distancing.  She’s six years old and knows how to follow the rules. 
We could learn a lot from six year olds. 




Another of Judge Andreassen’s grandchildren practicing social distancing. 
An SHS graduate this year on the way to the University of New Mexico in the Fall.

Presidential primary absentee ballot application

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ulster County Board of Elections is allowing any resident to vote absentee. You should have received an absentee ballot application in the mail. Please fill it out NOW (directions below) and send it in right away.  The application needs to be postmarked by June 16.

We recommend that you send in your ballot as soon as possible to avoid possible processing delays at the U.S. Post Office. 

If you prefer to vote in person at the polls on June 23rd, we will inform you of poll locations and hours in a future email.

Here is the correct way to fill out your Absentee Ballot Application if you are voting absentee because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Check ‘temporary illness’ as your reason.


After postmarking your application, you should receive the printed ballot within a week. 
If you did not receive an absentee ballot application by mail and wish to vote absentee, email your name, address, and message to


Ulster County Prepares for Phase Two Reopening
Ulster County, as part of the Hudson Valley region, has begun preparations for Phase 2 Reopening. As of June 3, the projected date for Phase 2 reopening is Tuesday, June 9. Businesses listed below should begin preparing now so they are ready to safely reopen. Ongoing tracking of health metrics may change the actual date of reopening, but as of today, the Hudson Valley is on track to reopen on June 9.
Phase Two Industries include:

  • Offices
  • Real Estate
  • Essential and Phase 2 In-Store Retail
  • Vehicle Sales, Leases, and Rentals
  • Retail Rental, Repair, and Cleaning
  • Commercial Building Management
  • Hair Salons and Barbershops*

While many of the safety plan regulations are universal to all businesses, and include guidance on cleaning and disinfecting, certain industries are being asked to have their employees obtain COVID-19 testing prior to returning to work. These include hair salons and barbershops. Dental offices, which are now allowed to be open, are also asked to have their employees obtain COVID-19 testing.

Information and resources on Ulster County COVID testing are available at
Businesses are allowed to reopen once they read and affirm detailed guidelines and complete a business safety plan. These forms are available here.  Please note that the business safety plans DO NOT have to be submitted to New York State, but a copy must be retained on the business premise and made available upon request. If you believe you are a Phase 2 business but don’t see your specific industry listing, this tool will help you to determine the phase for your business classification. If you still need assistance determining your business classification, please email us at

Ulster County is also requiring Phase 2 businesses fill out this form to certify they have created a plan. The form also includes a short survey about Ulster County business needs.

We are listing the Phase 1 Ulster County businesses that are Open For Business on Ulster County’s COVID-19 website. We will be creating and sharing a new list for Phase 2 businesses. To ensure you’re included, fill out the form above.

For more details on how and when New York State businesses included in Phases Three and Four will reopen, please visit:
June 10th @ 11 AM: Emergency Grant Writing Webinar for Arts and Non-Profits
According to a recent survey of 215 nonprofits conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), more than half of the nonprofits in the Mid Hudson Region described their financial circumstances as so difficult they may have to make significant changes. The Ulster County Office of Economic Development is partnering with grant writing firm Choice Words, LLC, to provide an interactive workshop  that will give an overview of the current funding climate for non-profits and arts organizations, , resources to search for grant funding, local grant opportunities that are COVID-specific and more general, and where organizations can find more grant writing training or grant writers to provide assistance.

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan will provide a welcome to attendees, followed by a session led by Steve Densmore, President and Founder of Choice Words. The New Paltz-based company has successfully won more than $75 million in grant funding for local clients since 2010. Please click here to pre-register.

*This guidance applies only to hair service businesses including hair salons, barbershops, and other similar hair service businesses. This guidance does not apply to nail salons, tattoo parlors, or any other non haircutting-related personal care services or activities, including but not limited to: beard trimming, nose hair trimming, facials, manicures/pedicures, makeup application, threading, tweezing, or waxing.

Ulster County Dems,

The Board of Elections is seeking inspectors for the upcoming June 23 Presidential Primary. We have called through all of our currently trained inspectors and 40% of them have said no due to concerns about working amid the coronavirus. The result of this drop off will lead to a consolidation of poll sites if we cannot adequately staff. We will be offering training, via a web based platform (zoom or otherwise) in the beginning of June. Rate of pay is $15 per hour, work hours are 5:30am-9:30 pm. The Board will provide inspectors with personal protective equipment (PPE) in the form of masks, face shields, sanitizer, soap, distancing markers, etc.

Please reach out to me asap if you are interested in working or call Adrianne directly at 845-334-5432.

I also encourage everyone on this thread to vote via the absentee ballot process that has been dictated by the Governor’s recent executive action. Please spread that message. The more people vote via the mail the safer the polling locations will be in terms of social distancing. Absentee applications are being automatically sent to all eligible voters – aka all Democrats – with a postage paid return envelope. Voters can also request a ballot via email or telephone if they do not receive a ballot. If you have already applied or received your ballot please do not return another application as that duplicate paperwork will slow down our ability to transmit ballots to new applicants.

Early voting will be administered starting June 13 and ending on June 21. Hours are as follows:

Saturday, June 13, 2020 10:00am- 3:00pm
Sunday, June 14, 2020 10:00am- 3:00pm
Monday, June 15, 2020 9:00am- 5:00pm
Tuesday, June 16, 2020 12:00pm- 8:00pm
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 9:00am- 5:00pm
Thursday, June 18, 2020 12:00pm- 8:00pm
Friday, June 19, 2020 9:00am- 5:00pm
Saturday, June 20, 2020 10:00am- 3:00pm
Sunday, June 21, 2020 10:00am- 3:00pm


Three sites have been selected and those sites will be open to all County voters during early voting for the Primary in June. Those sites are:

Saugerties Senior Center: 207 Market St, Saugerties NY
New Paltz High School Gym: 130 S Putt Corners Rd, New Paltz NY
Ulster County Board of Elections: 284 Wall St, Kingston, NY 

– Ashley Dittus


An absentee ballot  application will be sent to every registered voter thru the mail from the Ulster County Board of Election


EPA funding opportunities, clean energy and land use options in these challenging times

Good evening,  Below find content of interest related to economic development, clean energy, and land use.  Brief description and hyperlinks are bulleted below.  If contact information is not specifically noted, it is included in the hyperlink.  Best wishes for continued health, Carla Castillo


  • US DOC Funding Opportunity:  The US Department of Commerce announces the availability of $1.5 billion in CARES Act funds to aid communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  The attached email provides additional information as well as hyperlinks to the specific funding opportunity documentation.  HVRC Executive Director Patricia Pomeroy is available to answer questions via email ( or phone (845-423-8941).
  • Wednesday, May 13 at 2pm – Preparing for the Cascade of Federal Funding:  Catch the Wave:  Cohosted by the Center for Creative Land Recycling, and APANY.  This session spotlights federal grants, loans and technical assistance to support brownfield activities throughout all stages of the redevelopment process.  Register here.
  • Thursday, May 14 at 1pm – Thinking Bigger with Asset Management:  There’s Room for Source Water Protection:  This webinar will share information about how states and water systems can benefit from including source water protection in asset management planning.  Register here.
  • Wednesday, May 20 at 3:30pm – Building HVAC Operations and COVID-19:  This EPA ENERGY STAR webinar will discuss new considerations for the management of building operations.  Register here.
  • Thursday, May 28 at 2pm – The Landscape of Food Systems Finance:  The second installment of the CDFA Food Systems Finance Webinar Series will present key initiatives and programs being used to finance local food systems, and how CDFA is continuing to prove the food system as an asset class.  Register here.
  • Wednesday, June 3 at 6pm – 5G Wireless Revolution Pointers and Pitfalls for Land Use Boards:  Hosted by the Dutchess County Planning Federation.  Speakers from the law firm Keane & Beane as well as HDR will provide guidance on processing applications for small cell wireless telecommunications facilities and FCC eligible facility requests.  Register here.
  • Efforts to Consider:
    • For those who missed the webinar on large-scale renewable energy permitting, the New York State Solar Guidebook contains materials useful to managing solar installations, such a model solar energy local law and municipal solar procurement toolkit.
    • The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Working Woodlands Program helps landowners conserve their forests while generating new revenues.  To learn about the Program, including how parcels can be aggregated, even across jurisdictional boundaries, feel free to contact TNC’s NY Forest Carbon Program Manager Gabriel Chapin via email at or phone at 914-772-4304.




Presidential Primary Election BACK ON
U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres ruled last night (5/6/20) that the New York Presidential Primary is now back on the schedule for June 23. We will begin preparing for that election event today and in the following weeks.
All registered active and inactive voters will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail with a postage paid return envelope to submit the form. Once received the Board of Elections will process the request and send the voter an absentee ballot with a postage paid return envelope. 
We will also be opening poll sites and early voting locations. Details on that are being worked out today but most if not all poll sites will be open and we will open at least 2 early voting locations.
We will be acquiring personal protective equipment and other items to ensure safety during voting and to abide by social distancing 6 feet standards. I would be lying to you if I said this will be easy, this will likely be the most logistically difficult election we have ever facilitated. That is, until we turn to November which is looking to shape up to be a similar scenario. 
The UC Board of Elections has been awarded a portion of the Federal stimulus bill to offset costs associated with administering elections in 2020 during COVID-19 outbreak. We have received $248,927.60 in that spending package.

Why “social” distancing works

Below is a statement made by an epidemiologist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center:

“As an infectious disease epidemiologist, at this point I feel morally obligated to provide some information on what we are seeing from a transmission dynamic perspective and how they apply to the social distancing measures. Like any good scientist I have noticed two things that are either not articulated or not present in the “literature” of social media.
Specifically, I want to make two aspects of these measures very clear and unambiguous.

First, we are in the very infancy of this epidemic’s trajectory. That means even with these measures we will see cases and deaths continue to rise globally, nationally, and in our own communities in the coming weeks. Our hospitals will be overwhelmed, and people will die that didn’t have to. This may lead some people to think that the social distancing measures are not working. They are. They may feel futile. They aren’t. You will feel discouraged. You should. This is normal in chaos. But this is also normal epidemic trajectory. Stay calm. This enemy that we are facing is very good at what it does; we are not failing. We need everyone to hold the line as the epidemic inevitably gets worse. This is not my opinion; this is the unforgiving math of epidemics for which I and my colleagues have dedicated our lives to understanding with great nuance, and this disease is no exception. We know what will happen; I want to help the community brace for this impact. Stay strong and with solidarity knowing with absolute certainty that what you are doing is saving lives, even as people begin getting sick and dying. You may feel like giving in. Don’t.

Second, although social distancing measures have been (at least temporarily) well-received, there is an obvious-but-overlooked phenomenon when considering groups (i.e. families) in transmission dynamics. While social distancing decreases contact with members of society, it of course increases your contacts with group (i.e. family) members. This small and obvious fact has surprisingly profound implications on disease transmission dynamics. Study after study demonstrates that even if there is only a little bit of connection between groups (i.e. social dinners, playdates/playgrounds, etc.), the epidemic trajectory isn’t much different than if there was no measure in place. The same underlying fundamentals of disease transmission apply, and the result is that the community is left
with all of the social and economic disruption but very little public health benefit. You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit; if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk. Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed. If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor, your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with. This sounds silly, it’s not. This is not a joke or a hypothetical. We as epidemiologists see it borne out in the data time and time again and no one listens. Conversely, any break in that chain breaks disease transmission along that chain.

In contrast to hand-washing and other personal measures, social distancing measures are not about individuals, they are about societies working in unison. These measures also take a long time to see the results. It is hard (even for me) to conceptualize how ‘one quick little get together’ can undermine the entire framework of a public health intervention, but it does. I promise you it does. I promise. I promise. I promise. You can’t
cheat it. People are already itching to cheat on the social distancing precautions just a “little”- a playdate, a haircut, or picking up a needless item at the store, etc. From a transmission dynamics standpoint, this very quickly recreates a highly connected social network that undermines all of the work the community has done so far.

Until we get a viable vaccine this unprecedented outbreak will not be overcome in grand, sweeping gesture, rather only by the collection of individual choices our community makes in the coming months. This virus is unforgiving to unwise choices.

My goal in writing this is to prevent communities from getting
‘sucker-punched’ by what the epidemiological community knows will happen in the coming weeks. It will be easy to be drawn to the idea that what we are doing isn’t working and become paralyzed by fear, or to ‘cheat’ a little bit in the coming weeks. By knowing what to expect, and knowing the importance of maintaining these measures, my hope is to encourage continued community spirit, strategizing, and action to persevere in this time of uncertainty.


UC Dems,
Please find below an op-ed County Executive Pat Ryan wanted us to share with you. 

Commentary: Federal coronavirus assistance must reach every county

Across the United States, and especially here in New York, counties are serving as the first line of response to the COVID-19 epidemic.   As the nation grapples with the far-reaching effects of coronavirus, local health and emergency management departments form the backbone of our response. Heroic public servants are administering life-saving care to those fighting the virus, running 24/7 emergency operations centers, testing thousands of residents, standing up medical treatment sites, and much more.

Thanks to the bipartisan efforts of our leaders in Congress, especially Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the last round of federal support — known as the CARES Act — rightly provided $150 billion in aid to states and larger municipalities. This will provide much-needed relief to many local governments on the front lines of the epidemic. However, this legislation directed support only to municipalities with populations over 500,000.

In New York, that means 53 out of 62 counties (and by extension millions of New Yorkers) received no support. As Congress works to put the finishing touches on its fourth federal aid package, it is imperative that every county receives direct support.

Annually, counties in the U.S. invest nearly $83 billion in community health systems, including leading more than 1,900 public health departments. County governments are responsible for providing critical public health assistance, emergency management and human services. In response to this pandemic, these services have become even more critical — oftentimes, making the difference between life and death.

To meet the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, counties — especially in more rural areas — have had to step up and improvise.

Although relatively small, Ulster County has continued to see our cases per capita grow at an alarming rate, and we unfortunately find ourselves among the top ten for confirmed COVID cases in the state. With a total of 140 hospital beds and 20 ICU beds to serve a population of 180,000 residents, the epidemic has put tremendous stress on our health care system.

Despite these challenges, our entire community has rallied and we took a series of proactive steps to stay ahead of the curve as much as possible — closing our schools before the rest of the state, setting up two county-led mobile testing sites, surging our public health nursing staff for community testing and case tracing, and building an overflow community care center in case our hospitals are overwhelmed.

In addition to the significant and unexpected costs of responding to COVID-19, we are also certain to experience catastrophic revenue losses due to declining sales tax revenues and anticipated reductions in state aid. In Ulster County, we are bracing for a projected decline in revenue amounting to 10 percent of our annual budget, equivalent to 47 percent of our property tax levy. Every county across the country will likely experience a similar double whammy of major revenue losses and significant emergency expenditures.

As New York state continues to be the epicenter of this pandemic, I am thankful for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s leadership advocating for New Yorkers to receive the crucial support they deserve. Given the critical role counties have played and will continue to play working 24/7 to respond to COVID-19, it is imperative that the next federal aid package provides direct support to every single county.

Pat Ryan

Link to Op-Ed Here:    Times Union Article


Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order today, 4/15/20, that all people MUST wear a mask or face covering in public in situations where social distancing is not possible.


Public Service Announcement on Covid 19 from Israel


Public Service Announcement on Covid 19 from Czech Republic


Judge Andreassen going door to door in Barclay Heights before the pandemic outbreak.


UC Dems: 

The Governor has issued the executive order he alluded to in his press briefing on April 8th.  It states:

  • Section 8-400 of the Election Law is temporarily suspended and hereby modified to provide that due to the prevalence and community spread of COVID-19, an absentee ballot can be granted based on temporary illness and shall include the potential for contraction of the COVID-19 virus for any election held on or before June 23, 2020.
  • Solely for any election held on or before June 23, 2020, Section 8-400 of the Election Law is hereby modified to allow for electronic application, with no requirement for in-person signature or appearance to be able to access an absentee ballot.
You can read the full text here:


Information on Absentee Ballots:


COVID-19 Resource Guide


COVID-19 Updates from Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan


Healthcare heroes





The Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan are two programs designed to help small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. While both programs help struggling businesses get back on their feet financially, they have slightly different goals which are suggested by the names of the two programs.

The Paycheck Protection Program business loans account is a new stimulus package designed to help companies retain workers by covering eight weeks of payroll plus some other costs of remaining in business. This loan is 100% forgivable if you follow forgiveness guidelines.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is an established program that helps small businesses overcome the loss of revenue during a declared disaster such as a hurricane, major fire, or, in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic. This loan includes a $10,000 advance (if you apply) that is automatically forgiven.1

You Can Get Both

Many small business owners do not know they can apply for both an EIDL loan and a PPP loan for the same COVID-19 disaster. There are rules, including the key requirement that you can’t use money from both loans for the same thing. For example, if you use the proceeds from a PPP loan for payroll, you can’t use an EIDL loan for payroll also.

Before you apply for a PPP loan, you may want to look more closely at the EIDL program to see if it might be a better fit or to decide if applying for both loans makes sense in your case. The table below provides a basic comparison of the two programs. Both loan programs apply to small businesses of 500 or fewer employees (more in certain industries).



A century before what they did and what was expected during the Influenza pandemic of 1919. History has a way of always repeating itself. 




Uplifting words of support for health care workers and first responders written in the skies over Redondo Beach, California.