Taking the Energy Journey Together

In the last six years, homeowners – with the help of our Green Jobs | Green New York Program — have saved energy, LOTS of energy, and lived in a more comfortable-safer home. Together, we figure we’ve conserved the equivalent of driving 40,644,873 miles in an average car – just by working with you, Mid-Hudson Valley residents! Thank you for your eagerness to lower your utility costs, save energy, and make a positive impact on our planet.

The First GJGNY Team

Under contract to NYSERDA since 2011, RUPCO has promoted energy efficiency and sustainability through the Green Jobs Green NY program (GJGNY) in the Mid-Hudson Valley Region. Unfortunately, as of November 27, 2017, our NYSERDA contract and the GJGNY program ends. We’re honored to have worked with homeowners, financial providers and the most professional NYSERSDA Home Performance, Building Performance Institute certified contractors in the Mid-Hudson Valley Region! We also want to give credit and thanks to NYSERDA for allowing us to serve the region. We hope that the RUPCO GJGNY team provided you with the professional level of service you expected. Because of you, our program was by far the most successful Community-based Organization in the state.

In the Beginning

Our first NYSERDA team training took place over six years ago — November 30, 2011 — in Albany. It was very clear that we had a lot of work to do. With a robust outreach plan, we began connecting with you: potential partners, homeowners in need, and contractors willing to take on the task of weatherization and energy efficiency.

By February 2012, we officially launched RUPCO’s GJGNY Outreach Program. Over 170 people received that announcement, that we were ready to get down to energy-saving business. Our first presentation was, rightly so, before the RUPCO staff of 33. During these first months, we generated 325 referrals and held or attended 6 meetings and 8 public events.

Fast-forward to today and here’s a snapshot of how we’ve worked together since then:

  • Referred over 7600 people into the program
  • Facilitated over 2650 energy audits
  • Orchestrated over 670 retrofits, referred 355 to the EmPower program
  • Answered your questions at 1,343 public meetings, events, and presentations
  • Offered concrete answers that inspired you to participate
  • Provided access to solutions, grants and expertise to get you started with energy conservation and production

Translating our combined impact into Kilowatt hours (Kwh) and Metric Megaton BTU (MMbtu) reductions, we can honestly say we’ve helped local residents save A LOT of money and energy.

  • Total Kilowatt Hours saved = 4,818,737 Kwh
  • Carbon Dioxide Equivalent = 3,733 tons (as of 12/9/16)
  • Total Therms of natural gas saved = 2,538,637
  • Natural Gas Carbon Dioxide Equivalent = 14,837 tons (as of 12/9/16)

Together we’ve saved 40-million+ car-driving miles of energy collectively – impressive!

Helping Shape Future Programs

Homeowners were just one part of the solution. Our RUPCO GJGNY team collaborated with various NYSERDA working groups and advisory councils. Together, we helped shape, create and design the next iteration of energy-efficiency community outreach – CEEP, Community Energy Engagement Program. Although the GJGNY Team was not awarded the new contract, and we’ll be stepping out of the sustainability arena for now, we know the Mid-Hudson Region is in good energy-saving hands. Sustainability and energy-efficiency remain prominent features of RUPCO’s strategic plan and long-term vision. We are committed to helping homeowners and renters keep housing costs affordable, particularly when it comes to energy use.

As we close down our website and Facebook Page this week, we invite you to Stay Engaged with Energy-efficiency by taking one of four actions:

If you are a customer of NYSERDA or are interested in NYSERDA programs, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, or EmPower New York please contact NYSERDA directly at:

Matthew Houle  hpwes@nyserda.ny.gov
 518-862-1090 Ext: 3286 | 1-877-NYSMART | Fax: 518-862-1091
17 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY 12203-6399

We’re honored to have been a part of your energy journey and hope you will remain committed to the groundwork we’ve laid down together.

Most sincerely,

The GJGNY Team – Michael, Mike, Hugo, Nick, and Guy

Thanksgiving Comes Early to Tongore Pines

Property managers deliver Thanksgiving fruit-filled, goodie baskets to two Tongore Pines resident ladiesResidents at Tongore Pines got a surprise visit last Tuesday from Property Managers Lindsey Wygant and Tasyka DeRosalia. The two delivered Thanksgiving fruit-filled goodie baskets, compliments of the Tongore Pines Board of Directors. “We missed holding our annual August picnic this year. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to let our residents know how much we appreciate them,” noted one board member.

Tongore Pines offers 19 one-bedroom apartments in a discreet supportive housing setting in Olivebridge.  The complex is dedicated to seniors 62 and over with annual earnings in the lowest Social Security incomes.

Community Partner Award: Madeline Fletcher

Every year at Community Lunch, RUPCO honors a community partner doing great work in our neighborhoods. This year, we honored Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director at Newburgh Community Land Bank for her collaborative spirit in transforming Newburgh’s historic East End. Her ability to gather partners and facilitate change has been transformative.

ACCESS to Home Veteran Program

ACCESS to Home Veterans ProgramVeterans with a service-related disability may qualify for accessibility modifications in their homes or apartments through the Access to Home Veteran Program. RUPCO and the Ulster County Veteran Service Agency are ready to assist a minimum of 8 veteran households with this work. Accessibility modifications include:

  • Visual alarm systems for the hearing impaired
  • Roll-in showers with grab bars
  • High-rise toilets with grab bars
  • Roll-under countertops & sinks
  • Wheel chair ramps& vertical lifts
  • Interior& exteriorstair lifts
  • Automatic door openers
  • Front knob appliances
  • Automated faucets
  • Reclining liftchairs
  • Other accessibility needs

Call today for more information, RUPCO (845) 331-9860 or UCVSA (845) 340-3190.

Harold Renzo, Stuyvesant Resident Receives Community Inspiration Award

Harold Renzo, long-time resident at The Stuyvesant, has been a supportive neighbor, voice for those unable to speak, and a community icon known for his friendliness and determination. RUPCO honored Harold at Community Lunch on November 9, 2017 for his courage, inspiration and indomitable spirit with our first-ever Community Inspiration Award.

The Metro Hosts Made in Kingston on December 7

Made in Kingston invitationLocal arts businesses, makers, artists, and creators gather Thursday, December 7 for an expo of all things made in Kingston, at a new space under development in Midtown, the city’s up-and-coming arts district. The fifth annual Made In Kingston is co-sponsored by the City of Kingston, Kingston Midtown Arts District, Arts Mid Hudson, Business Alliance of Kingston, and RUPCO. 

This year’s event will be held at The Metro, the former MetLife Hall of Records building, at 2 South Prospect Street (on the corner of Greenkill Avenue, opposite the Boys and Girls Club). RUPCO closed on the 70,000-square-foot underutilized, near-vacant factory/warehouse earlier this year and is donating the space for this special event. RUPCO is proposing The Metro as a film and technology hub to include maker spaces and other creative uses.

“We are thrilled to host Made in Kingston for the second time in one of our buildings,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Operating Officer at RUPCO. “This time, the event foretells what The Metro is all about. In addition to enjoying and purchasing goods from all the makers, we hope this gives attendees the opportunity to see the vision for The Metro, a center for film, TV, technology and makers alike. This building is about the local economy based in creative production with the overarching goal of providing job training and pathways to equity where people make sustainable livings from their creativity. The Metro brings community vitality forward in a space long vacant of any activity or inspiration.”

Made in Kingston opens its doors to the public at 4 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. In addition to more than four dozen local artists, the evening will feature local food, beverages and musical entertainment. For artists’ online registration click here.

“We couldn’t be prouder to support such a homegrown event that continues to expand every year, showcasing the diverse offerings made in Kingston and by ‘Kingstonians’,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “The event has transformed office buildings and warehouses into pop-up boutiques overflowing with locally made products sought after by visitors from throughout the region and beyond. Kingston’s economy is growing stronger every day and it is thanks to the unwavering commitment and investment in our community by our local business owners and entrepreneurs. I look forward to supporting each of them at this exciting event.”

“Over the last few years, we have come to realize just how great the resources are that we have here in Kingston,” added Richard Frumess, a co-founder of the Arts District. “Chief among them is the unique wealth of art manufacturing and crafts industry that is showcased by the annual Made in Kingston event. With our City officials, we are working hard to realize the creative potential the District represents for revitalizing the City.”

For further information, call 845-331-2238 or visit www.madeinkingstonNY.com and www.facebook.com/Made In Kingston

Artwork Inspired by Social Justice Issues focus of Lace Mill Art Exhibit

Lanette Hughes painting abstractOctober is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and coincides with artwork focused on human rights, domestic violence, and world hunger. This is Lanette Hughes’s social activism movement in the form of an art show. This exhibit will take place in all three Lace Mill galleries, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston on October 7 from 3-8 p.m.

Hughes will show 30+ paintings reflecting social issues; all of which, upon their sale, will benefit local organizations that deal with human rights issues. Local nonprofits slated to receive artwork sales include Family of Woodstock, New Paltz, Kingston, Ellenville; the Darmstadt Shelter; Caring Hands Soup Kitchen; Clinton Avenue Methodist Church; MyKingstonKids; O+ Festival; Safe Harbors; and RUPCO. Global organizations include Women in Black and The Haitian People’s Project.

Hughes’ pieces directly relate to real life events. Her abstracts convey deeper messages without being overly explicit. Many pieces depict victims physically harmed, though the paintings don’t graphically portray clear wounds or detailed damage. Each portrayal speaks volumes about issues that are underneath the surface of so many lives — including her own — and nobody would know just by quick observation.

For example, “Human Beings are Not Created for Target Practice” has military undertones. The message conveys a simple thought: if military personnel were stripped of their uniforms, would enemies still shoot them? “Women Running” features women fleeing from human trafficking groups, a worldwide issue that defies ethnicity, gender, and age. Another piece portrays children affected by nerve gassing bundled in blankets; only their faces show, their bodies eerily shrouded mummification-style.

“My hope is that more artists will contribute (to the larger conversation), to include in their work social awareness for change,” says Hughes. “I’d like to see a whole day, week, or month, when artists everywhere do a whole show on a particular social issue.” She also hopes this art show stirs local activism by providing curiosity about what goes on behind the scenes in lives of our acquaintances, co-workers, family, and friends.

Throughout the exhibit’s run, speakers will talk about relevant issues that affect communities. Guy Kempe, Vice President of Community Development at RUPCO, will speak on “Housing, Creative Placemaking, & Community Development” on October 7 at 4:30 p.m. “Aligned with social justice, ‘creative placemaking’ is the proposition that arts and cultural expression, joined with housing, helps to energize community and revitalize disinvested places for minority and disenfranchised populations,” Kempe says. Poet Nancy Smith follows at 6 p.m. with readings from her works that concern human rights.

Filmmaker and veteran Marty Klein will talk about veterans’ issues on October 14, showing his film entitled, “Why Can’t We Serve.”

All artworks are for sale, with 75% of the proceeds donated to organizations that support social justice efforts. The artist retains 25% to cover material expenses associated with making the artwork. Painting prices are negotiable, with no reasonable offer refused. For more information, contact Lace Mill artist-resident Lanette Hughes at (845) 532-3538 or visit her Facebook page LK Hughes.

Call for Homeowner Letter of Interest: New Paltz Housing Rehabilitation Program

Kingston home solar system array install 2016The Town of New Paltz has the opportunity to apply for $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding from the New York State Office of Housing and Community Renewal to assist a minimum of (10) owner occupied homeowners with housing rehabilitation within the Town or Village New Paltz. This program will focus on energy-efficiency upgrades including residential solar system arrays. RUPCO will administer the program.

In addition to the installation of solar system arrays, eligible repairs may include: failing roofs, window replacement, mechanical systems, water systems, electrical systems, energy efficiency upgrades, structural or foundation repairs, flooring and building safety and code violations.

Interested homeowners should contact RUPCO by e-mail (sdolan@rupco.org) or call the HomeOwnership Center at (845) 331-9860. Letters of Interest can also be obtained at the New Paltz Town Hall.

Letters of Interest are accepted ona rrolling basis. Please apply ASAP.

The Letter of Interest below does not commit you to participation. However, RUPCO will contact you if funding is allocated to this program. If funding becomes available, RUPCO will invite you to an informational meeting outlining program details.

Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must own and occupy the home as their primary residence (homes in parks are not eligible). The property must be up to date with all taxes, mortgage payments, and homeowners Insurance.

Applicants must meet the gross annual income guidelines below by household size.

Area Median Income for elgible New Paltz homeowners for this grant

Letter of Interest New Paltz Housing Rehabilitation Program

Owner(s)/Name on Deed:_________________________________________

Property Address:________________________________________________

Mailing Address if Different:  ______________________________________

Township:  Town of New Paltz     OR     Village of New Paltz

Phone:____________________________________________

E-mail:____________________________________________

Household Size: _________       Bedroom Size: _________

Gross Household Income: $__________________________

Interested in Solar:  Yes___   No___

Home Repair Needs:_________________________________

Derby Duo Build Soapbox Cars at Lace Mill

Are you ready to rumble? Maybe not in a horse-powered car, but the Kingston Soapbox Derby will have your heart racing as all-star soapbox cars whiz down the Rondout hill. Kingston’s annual Soapbox Derby is a celebration of artists spanning the spectrum of expression, bringing out the most vibrant and lucid creations from young and old. With new mechanical machines cruising down Rondout Hill, a piece of history replays itself and comes back fresh in ingenuity and cultural awareness, ready for 21st century acknowledgment and a new critical lens.

Felix Olivieri, Lace Mill artist resident and soapbox contestant, gears up for this event weeks in advance. His commitment to soapbox dates back to its inception 22 years ago. He’s proudly raced cars reminiscent of DeLorean from “Back to the Future,” a “Futurama” ship, and his own version of a hot rod that “shot confetti from the back.” Though his past creations were anything but ordinary, this year, he wanted to do something extra special, honoring this year’s theme “Tributes.”

“One of the things I noticed is there is a lot of people from the City up here…so I thought, ‘let me do a subway train.’ The joke behind it: everyone from the City commutes and eventually comes up here.”

RUPCO graffitti subway car by Felix Olivieri

Photo: Joan Horton

While the NYC commute stirs something—maybe a headache—in many, a deeper connection circles back to the art world in local Kingston. Olivieri grew up in the Bronx. He remembers the incredible images sprayed onto sides of buildings and on trains rushing past his line of vision when he would venture out to see new artistry work. “For me, that would have been my first gallery show—the subway trains—passing by and seeing the different styles people do.”

Most of the graffiti he saw “would only last a day or two because at the time, the mayor in office would demand cleaning up all the subways and trains. And there was this whole big thing about what is art, and to us—to younger people— it was urban art, but to them, it was destroying NYC.”

As a former art store owner, Olivieri sought to keep the spirit of urban artists alive. Oddly, it wasn’t the younger generations that would ask so much about the store’s graffiti section. Instead, people in their 50’s and 60’s wanted to take graffiti classes and learn the street art techniques. Though the classes never ran, Olivieri was struck by the fascination that older generations had for a commonly youth-stigmatized art form.

Graffiti has gained a following and is more acceptable across business and political districts now. Kingston may be a leader in graffiti experimentation, since a stroll around the city lends a viewing of dynamic modern art visuals. “Kingston has become very open to the idea of the graffiti style and it being used as ‘beautification’ rather than destroying artwork the next day. Many of those old-style graffiti artists are part of the community and they don’t have create it in secrecy.”

Illicit graffiti entails legal issues, and therefore acceptance of it is hard-won. On Olivieri’s soapbox this year, Lace Mill residents help promote awareness of artistic expression by signing their names on his soapbox subway car in graffiti-like fashion, paying tribute to the oft-stereotyped craft. Broadway Arts is giving a hand in creating some alternate styles of graffiti on the sides of his soapbox, mixing in their vision with others, too. Click here for a Facebook video of Felix strutting down Broadway with the K Train (video courtesy of Leonie Grande).

Frank Waters, fellow Lace Mill artist-resident, helped Olivieri by dabbling in the painting process. Inspired to start a soapbox for My Kingston Kids, he pulled together supplies and pieced together one in which young hands decorated. Ultimately, the “Pirates of Kingston” boat will make an encore appearance in Kingston’s Halloween Fest. (This year’s Halloween theme is “Pirates of Kingston.”) My Kingston Kids is a youth program that focuses on “children’s events and activities to encourage children to enjoy themselves through fun and educating ways,” says Waters.

When Derby Day arrived, kids cheered on soapbox contestants, the younger crowd making up a large part of the 2000+ audience that usually attends The Kingston Soapbox Derby every year. Some  soapboxes rolled in laughs and catered to young imaginations. Others were made for alternative competitions. Wackier pieces from previous years include a giant toaster, two girls seated playing cards on two toilets, and a giant metal dragon made of wrenches welded together shot that fire.

This year’s Soapbox Derby – held on Sunday, August 20, 2017 – recognized the following creations with awards:

  • People’s Choice award went to: A Tribute to Gene Wilder & Willy Wonka by Possibility Studios; built by Martin Elting, Julia Pierce, Tom Harvey, Cole Elting, Tom Henning, and Kathy Hughe.
  • Kids First Place went to: Police Truck by Alexander and Mom’s.
  • Tributes award went to Horticultural Horrors by Kevin Muth and Marker Snyder.

Congrats to all ~ we hope to see you next year!

Senior Resident Finds Peace of Mind At Theater Workplace

Ever go to the Rosendale Theater to watch the latest film? In the booth, the projectionist is a humble man dedicated to his work. Anthony Cacchio, a Park Heights resident at RUPCO’s senior housing campus in Rosendale, NY, casts glimmers of life through his own lens. He’s glad to be serving the community, and intends to keep working as long as he is able.

For over 40 years, Cacchio has been working in the theater business to ensure the sound and video quality are up to company standards. He works closely with an engineer who shows him how to operate the equipment, and if there is a technical issue, he can bank on the engineer to fix the problem in a jiffy—even from home. Indeed, growing up without lightning speed electronics that send signals in milliseconds makes living in this era a bit foreign, but he manages to learn new skills and train every once in a while to keep up with the ever-changing technological advancements.

Growing up in a much different period of film and TV, Cacchio remembers his favorite shows from the 1930s, at the beginnings of the film industry. He laments that he does not watch recordings of them because they remind him of young celebrities who embodied vigor and have since passed away or have consummated their years of acting. So Cacchio gets his drama fill from working night shifts six to seven days a week, and prefers his home life to be quiet and serene.

He has been living at Park Heights for 5 years now, “and was lucky to get in right away.” Cacchio describes the home-finding experience as an easy process. “RUPCO gave me a nice comfortable place, in a nice area, and I am content here.”

Back when he was living at his parent’s home, he was also content with the peace that large plots of land could afford. Cacchio remembers his father used to cut the grass with a John Deere tractor. Every once in a while, neighborhood grandchildren would visit and provide noise that the day-to-day environment lacked. When his parents passed away, he and his brother inherited their childhood home. But, he explained, it just wasn’t suitable for happy living; the reminders of his parents were just too much when he walked past their room. Apart from the constant emotional tug, Cacchio decided that one person doesn’t belong in a six-room house, when a family could easily enjoy the space. Selling the property, he ventured on to rent an apartment at Park Heights, where he lives close by ladies who are familiar faces in his daily routines. “We treat everybody as buddies,” he says; if the ladies don’t see him for a day or two, they worry.

Anthony Cacchio, senior resident at Park HeightsLuckily, 85-year-old Cacchio has good genes. His father lived until he was 91; his mother, 90. He has clear intentions to keep on working, and “to make the best I can out of it.” Perhaps his hard work ethic is the family trait that keeps them so young; Cacchio used to assist his father in the tile and marble industry, working for other businesses to provide construction work.

With years of experience behind him, Cacchio continues to play an important role in the community, including being a happy parent to his cat, “Princess.” She lets him know what foods she does and doesn’t like, and insists that he stay in the room until she finishes eating. Her melodramatic personality entwined with a need for attention lends unique companionship, and Cacchio appreciates her taking center stage in their Park Heights home while he works behind-the-scenes.