New Women's Volleyball League On Wednesday Nights at Rombout Middle School

This just in!

There’s a new Women’s Wednesday Night Volleyball League happening at the Rombout Middle School Gym from October 2018 through May 2019.

According to a press release from the Beacon Recreation Department, there are existing teams, and they are looking for an 8th team. New players are welcome. We have a few questions about this development, and are finding out more. When we do, we’ll post it here! So come back and refresh this article every now and then.

Day/Time: Wednesdays, 6:30pm-9pm

Questions? Email these folks: Mark Price at the Beacon Recreation Department: mprice@cityofbeacon.org or Joanna Matias jmatias8@optonline.net

The Spirit in the Spirit of Beacon Day 2018 - Pictures from the Day of "Unity in Community"

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Everyone has their first Spirit of Beacon Day experience. If you moved here recently and didn’t know about it before, you may have woken up on Sunday morning to a lot of excited commotion going on by people setting up tables and coordinating with one another on Main Street.

The Spirit of Beacon Day is one of the biggest efforts put on by the people of Beacon to strengthen the community of Beacon. If you just moved here from another place that didn’t really have a community, then this feeling will be new for you, and you will most likely love it. The spell of the community is part of what you felt when you visited Beacon for the first time, and fell so unexpectedly in love with it.

Pictures of the Spirit of Beacon Day are below, but first, a brief history for those who have newly moved here or are newly interested in Beacon (because I hear the FAQs and “what is the spirit of beacon day” is an FAQ I hear often!)

What Is The Spirit of Beacon Day?

The Spirit of Beacon Day started in Beacon in 1977 as a call to mend a broken relationship between the youth of Beacon, and the schools and surrounding community. Well documented by the Beacon Historical Society’s book titled "Celebrating Our Centennial," in the winter and early spring of 1977, "racial problems became severe" for several days and nights. City leaders decided to meet several times to discuss the issues that were causing unrest. Organizers included a representative from the FBI's Community Relations, Dutchess County Youth Bureau, then-Mayor Robert Cahill, local legislators, City Council, local churches, and representatives from youth-focused organizations like Beacon City School District, the Howland Public Library, the Beacon Community Center, and others.

It was decided that there would be a Community Day aimed at bringing the people of the City together in order to "get to know one another better, learn what each other liked, [via] conversation, feelings, entertainment, education and food." And so the Spirit of Beacon Day was born. Here are some pictures from over the years.

2018 Marked New Year for Spirit of Beacon Day

This is an event put on by the people, and not an official event from the City of Beacon. Those people usually were behind the scenes, sought very little recognition, and for the most part, the majority of Beaconites didn’t know who they were. That is, until these longtime organizers decided to retire from being the organizers in 2017 (don’t worry - they didn’t really retire).

This prompted a new group to say: “Wait! What? No! The Spirit must go on! We will help!” And so the Spirit of Beacon Day continued under new leadership with the help of the former leaders. The Spirit of Beacon Day has a new website to help get the word out, new megaphones, and new t-shirts to help people know what’s going on during the day. This year, the motto on the t-shirts was: “Without Unity There Is No Community!”

Your Spirit of Beacon Day 2018 In Pictures

There are so many photographable moments. Here are a few we found or captured. As for the schools, the PTA or PTO or PTSO is usually behind the production of designing and building it. It’s a challenging job to come back to just after summer break - to dive into a big float-making project! But they do it each year (I’ve been a part of it for the past two years for South Avenue).

South Avenue Elementary School

Representing the parade theme of “Celebrating Unity” by celebrating our differences and beauty in the the moments whenwe become one together, despite our differences. The Hudson River flows in two opposite directions, yet is one river. The fish and the life make up one ecosystem, just as we do in Beacon!

J. V. Forrestal Elementary

These cutie pies at J. V. Forrestal Elementary all got together on Family Fun Nights at the school to make an underwater world with jellyfish and flowing lace.

Photo Credit: J.V. Forrestal PTSO and Gate House Realty

Sargent Elementary

It’s Rainbows and Unicorns at Sargent Elementary! And they shared some behind the scenes photos of how those magical balloon arches get made.

Photo Credit: Sargent Elementary PTO

Glenham Elementary

The kids of Glenham Elementary drew their pictures, cut out their hand prints, and hung them together to symbolize togetherness rooted in the world.

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Walking on down Main Street after the parade, the street was alive with options. The Spirit of Beacon Day is a perfect day to get to know organizations better that you and/or your kids can get involved with.

Let’s take a look at a few of them!

 The Beacon Players, which is the theatre club of the Beacon High School.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Beacon Players, which is the theatre club of the Beacon High School. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

 The Highlands Current, a local newspaper based in Cold Spring that is devoted to covering Beacon as well. Beacon beat reporter Jeff Simms usually writes the Beacon articles and this day is representing at the table.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Highlands Current, a local newspaper based in Cold Spring that is devoted to covering Beacon as well. Beacon beat reporter Jeff Simms usually writes the Beacon articles and this day is representing at the table. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

 The Beacon Historical Society. Without them, we wouldn’t know the many iterations of what Beacon’s community has been like, as it changes through the generations as different people migrate to and from here from all parts.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Beacon Historical Society. Without them, we wouldn’t know the many iterations of what Beacon’s community has been like, as it changes through the generations as different people migrate to and from here from all parts. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

 The Beacon Fire Department.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Beacon Fire Department. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

 The Beacon Police Department.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Beacon Police Department. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

 The Beacon Elks Club. It’s that brick building on Wolcott that offers line dancing and car shows often.

The Beacon Elks Club. It’s that brick building on Wolcott that offers line dancing and car shows often.

 The Mt. Beacon Eight. A group dedicated to sharing the story of the eight veterans who died when their plane crashed into Mt. Beacon, after they had survived many war battles.  A Little Beacon Blog wrote about them here.

The Mt. Beacon Eight. A group dedicated to sharing the story of the eight veterans who died when their plane crashed into Mt. Beacon, after they had survived many war battles. A Little Beacon Blog wrote about them here.

 Animal Rescue Foundation, located along the Fishkill Creek off Wolcott as you head out of town.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Animal Rescue Foundation, located along the Fishkill Creek off Wolcott as you head out of town. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

 The Salvation Army, located near Beacon Pantry.   Photo Credit:    The Salvation Army Beacon

The Salvation Army, located near Beacon Pantry. Photo Credit: The Salvation Army Beacon

 The  Sisters of Strength S.O.S.  They are an outreach ministry affiliated with the Springfield Baptist Church, making a difference for other organizations like the Salvation Army Beacon and others.

The Sisters of Strength S.O.S. They are an outreach ministry affiliated with the Springfield Baptist Church, making a difference for other organizations like the Salvation Army Beacon and others.

   Photo Credit:    Humans of Beacon

Photo Credit: Humans of Beacon

 Kids playing music in Rompatom, from Compass Arts.   Photo Credit:    Screenshot from video from Angela Helland.

Kids playing music in Rompatom, from Compass Arts. Photo Credit: Screenshot from video from Angela Helland.

Yanarella School of Dance performance. Photo Credit: Yanarella School of Dance

Watch the video below produced by the City of Beacon:

SEEKING STATEMENTS FOR ARTICLE: Float Themes for Spirit of Beacon Day Parade

If you are an organizer of a float or presentation that is participating in the Spirit of Beacon Day Parade, we would like to hear from you about the meaning of your float in keeping with this year's theme. If you would like to provide a statement about how your organization is showing how it is "Celebrating Unity," please email your statement to editorial@alittlebeaconblog.com.

Thank you!

Places to Vote in Beacon for Primaries and Elections

Wondering where to go vote in the primaries this September? Did you toss your yellow card by accident? Primary election day is coming right up, on Thursday, September 13, 2018. Below, we’re listing the locations of where to cast your ballot for where you live. Polls are open from 6 am to 9 pm, according to the Dutchess County Board of Elections.

We confirmed these locations before they were published onto the Dutchess County Board of Elections website with Kelly Floyd, Senior Election Specialist, Dutchess County Board of Elections, and this is what she sent via email (it has since been uploaded on the county’s site). For your reference, this tool at the New York State Voter Registration page has been the best one to use:

ADDRESSES

Lewis Tompkins Hose Company
Route 9D Entrance, 13 South Ave.
Beacon, NY 12508

Rombout Middle School
84 Matteawan Road
Beacon, NY 12508

James V. Forrestal Elementary School
125 Liberty St.
Beacon, NY 12508

First Presbyterian Church
50 Liberty St.
Beacon, NY 12508

LOCATIONS

Ward 1, District 1:
Lewis Tompkins Hose Company
Ward 1, District 2: Rombout Middle School
Ward 2, All Districts: Lewis Tompkins Hose Company
Ward 3, District 1: Rombout Middle School
Ward 3, Districts 2 and 3: James V. Forrestal Elementary
Ward 4, All Districts: First Presbyterian Church


District - Which District in Which Ward?

Voters can determine what District they’re in either by looking at the yellow voter card that arrived by mail, or by looking at the map on this website: http://dutchesselections.com/pdf/2014townmaps/CityofBeacon.pdf.

Or, you can find what District you are at this VoterLookUp web page from New York State's Register to Vote page. The VoterLookUp tool will tell you what District you are in, as well as which Ward, Senate District, County Legislative District, Assembly District, and Congressional District apply to you.

Can I Vote?

Two answers to this:

  • You’ll need to be registered in Beacon if you’re not already. You only need to do this once for each move. If you got the little yellow card in the mail telling you where to vote, you’re good. Otherwise, look yourself up at this VoterLookUp web page.

  • You’ll need to be registered in a party if you want to vote in the primaries. If you’re registered to vote, but didn’t officially declare a party on your registration, then you can’t vote in the primaries for your party. You also can’t sign name collection forms from politicians looking to get onto the ballot, BTW. You would need to be registered in their party. You will, however, have gotten a little yellow card in the mail, even if you haven’t officially affiliated with a party.

Where Can I Register to Vote?

If you just moved to Beacon and haven’t registered to vote here yet - or if you haven’t registered at all - then you’re out of luck to vote in this Thursday’s primary vote. However, the time is now to register to vote in the rest of the year’s elections - for the midterm elections and beyond.

Here’s how to register to vote in Beacon:

You could click here to do it via this website, and please note: You’ll need to snail-mail it in.

Or, you can register to vote with friendly people around town who have set up registration stations. Some that we know of:

  • The Howland Public Library

  • The Spirit of Beacon Day Parade. Look for a table from “We All Vote”

  • The annual Sukkah that happens each fall down at Polhill Park (the park across from Bank Square and Beacon Creamery where the Visitors Center is)

There is a deadline - you’ll want to be all buttoned up by Sunday, September 30, if you’re doing it via the folks above. They are physically driving the registration forms to their destination in Poughkeepsie. “We are driving them to Poughkeepsie so we don’t give people stamps. There are lots of rules about this,” says Ronna Litchtenberg, a volunteer with When We All Vote. Or, people can take the form home and mail it in themselves. “But we’re making it easy on you,” says Kelly Ellenwood, another volunteer. “We’ll hand-deliver it to Poughkeepsie to make sure it gets there.”

But don’t let it slide by again. In a small city town, your vote really does make a difference. "One vote matters, especially in Beacon where elections have been decided on by as few as 10 votes,” says Ronna.

$400K Grant Awarded for Music and World Language Programs for Beacon City School District

  Photo Credit:    Beacon City School District's    Website. Photograph by    Dawn Sela   .

Photo Credit: Beacon City School District's Website. Photograph by Dawn Sela.

The Beacon City School District was busy this summer. According to Beacon's Superintendent Matthew Landahl, the Beacon City School District was awarded a $400,000 grant from the New York State Education Department to "expand the instrumental music program and to offer an additional world language program at the secondary level" said Dr. Landahl. Parent involvment influenced the results of this grant. “Both aspects of this grant were deeply influenced by community input through either surveys or community conversations that took place last year,” confirmed Dr. Landahl.

The grant money will be implemented over the next two school years, and will pay for:

  • instructional staff salaries

  • materials and supplies

  • professional development to both expand the instrumental music program and to begin an additional world language program.

Music Program Expanded for 4th Graders

Third grade students receive a special musical experience called The Calico Ball, courtesy of the Beacon Arts and Education Fund (BAEF) which was innitiated by Pete Seeger years ago. This dance residency is for every 3rd grader in the Beacon City Public School District. After weeks of practice, a performance happens in the Beacon High School at the end of the school year.

This newest grant provides an easier continuation of music to the 4th grade. According to Dr. Landahl: “The music portion of the grant will allow us to expand our instrumental music program into the 4th grade this year. We are working on hiring the teacher and the 4th grade program will be in place later this fall. The grant pays for the teacher's salary for a year and all of the materials, supplies, and most important instruments to get the program going.”

Mandarin Might Be Coming To Beacon Schools

Beacon currently offers Spanish as a world language that is taught in school. This grant will bring Mandarin closer to the classroom. “The grant is for us to offer Mandarin in the 2019-2020 school year. A key part of the grant is that it allows us to explore the best ways to do this for a year before we implement the following year. If we are not able to offer Mandarin, we will explore offering a different language. The grant pays for a year of a teacher's salary and all of the materials and supplies to get the new program going.”

Dr. Landahl gave a special thanks to Assistant Superintendent Cecilia Dansereau-Rumley for "heading up the effort," according to his article on the Beacon City School District's website.

The grant was part of a larger one totaling $28.5 million, awarded to 38 school districts across New York State as part of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment federal grant program. Read more about that here.

Beacon Team Wins Battle of the Books - A Multi-County High School Reading Competition

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The finals at this year's High School Battle of the Books on Saturday, August 18, 2018, culminated in a tight battle between kids from Beacon and teens representing neighboring libraries: Cold Spring and Wappingers. "The three-round final ended with Cold Spring and Beacon in a tie. Everyone was on the edge of their seats when the two teams met for the tie-breaking round," according to the press release from the Howland Public Library. Beacon answered the tie-breaking question correctly to become the 2018 Mid-Hudson Library System's third annual High School Battle of the Books champion.

Battle of the Books is a national summer reading program for middle- and high-school students in the five-county region of the Mid-Hudson Library System. The program began in 2005 as a way to encourage middle school students to read during the summer. In 2016, the program was extended to reach high school students as well. Congratulations to Butterfield Library's team, The Evil Latin Teachers, who were the second-place winners, and to Grinnell Green Grapes, who took home third place.    

Beacon Team Is Two-Time Champions, Five-Time Winners!

This is the Beacon team's second championship at the high school level, and their fifth win overall since the competition began in 2005. This year, 13 public libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System's five counties (Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Ulster, and Greene) competed in this nationally recognized literature contest in which teens answer trivia questions based on books they read over the summer.

Individual library teams worked through the summer with their coaches to prepare for this final regional battle. Mini-battles were played throughout the summer to practice for the big event. Over 60 students in grades 9-12 participated, while coaches, family, and friends cheered them on. "The teams all proved to be winners when it came to knowledge, team spirit, and good sportsmanship," according the Howland Library's press release.

Join Next Year’s Battle of the Books Team

To find out when the Howland Public Library is recruiting for next year’s time for both Middle and High School age kids, subscribe to their newsletter and to A Little Beacon Blog’s newsletter. We usually put information like that in our Kids Classes Guide, as a helpful reminder of signup dates.

Special Thank You from The Howland Public Library

A message from the Howland Public Library:

A big thank you to the host venue, SUNY Ulster and Matt Pavloff, HS BOB chairperson. Congratulations to all of the volunteers and families who came out to support the teams, and the coaches and librarians who worked so hard throughout the year to make this special event possible.

The Howland Public Library team would like to give a special shout out to Harry Thorne for his help coaching the team and the Friends of the Howland Public Library who generously sponsor the Beacon team every year. Last but not least, many thanks to Pizza and Stuff for keeping the team's hungry minds fed all summer.

New Sidewalks for Blackburn Avenue Near Ron's Ice Cream

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The road leading into town from Ron's Ice Cream near Memorial Park is about to get a new sidewalk on one side, thanks to a federal grant awarded to Dutchess County, as first reported by the Highlands Current.

According to the article, Beacon received $170,728 to build a new sidewalk along the southeastern side of Blackburn Avenue from Herbert Street to Fishkill Avenue. This side of the street currently has no sidewalk at all, making it unsafe to walk down after getting ice cream or after a trip to the park.

This fall, walking around Beacon is getting a little easier and smoother. Other sidewalks are getting constructed, like the one on the way to South Avenue Elementary School.

South Avenue Sidewalks By Elementary School To Get Reconstructed

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Kids are about to get an easier commute to South Avenue School as the crumbling slate sidewalks are set to get reconstructed by the City of Beacon. Not even a rugged three-wheel jogging stroller can make it down these sidewalks without threatening to tip over. "The intention is to go from Main Street to the school," said Beacon's City Administrator, Anthony J. Ruggiero. A timeline has not been set in stone (pun intended), but a contractor has been hired.

Usually homeowners pay privately to have their sidewalks done. But not in this case. "This is a traveled area to the school. It was viewed as safety for the kids," said Anthony when we reached out to inquire about specifics on the financing. "We received some funding from Dutchess County. There is no cost to homeowners, however, they are responsible for maintenance and upkeep."

So - yay!

Community Created Post-It Note Art at Library for Windows on Main - Needs You!

 Photo Credit: Howland Public Library, used to give an idea of how the wall could look. Pictured is a Giant Robot Post-it Note Art Wall for illustration purposes.

Photo Credit: Howland Public Library, used to give an idea of how the wall could look. Pictured is a Giant Robot Post-it Note Art Wall for illustration purposes.

Do drop into the Howland Public Library most anytime, now through Saturday, August 11, to make your piece of Post-It Note Art for the library's Post-It Note Community Art Wall. The Community Art Wall is part of this year's Windows on Main Street public art installation, in which the Howland Public Library is participating. People of all ages are invited to create a Post-It Note sized creation for the Community Art Wall.

Windows on Main Street is an annual exhibition that pairs artists with storefronts along Beacon's Main Street. This year, 26 Main Street businesses are participating, and for the library's exhibit, you're invited to be one of the contributing artists. The exhibit will be up for one month.

A rainbow of sticky notes and a ton of art supplies will be available at the library to inspire you. This is a great impromptu summer activity as you're looking for free things to do in Beacon on Main Street. Please note, the Post-it Note art maker station may not be open during some programs at the library.

The library is located in the middle of Beacon's downtown at 313 Main St., near Glazed Over Donuts.

The River Pool at Beacon IN The Hudson River Opens for 2018!

 The left side of The Beacon River Pool - eye level.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The left side of The Beacon River Pool - eye level.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

As you play at Riverfront Park, known since 2014 as Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park, you may have experienced the extreme desire to swim in the Hudson River to cool off. Well, now you can - because The River Pool at Beacon is open again this year! Starting in 2007, five years after submitting construction plans to New York State, the pool opened to the public for the first time. The river pool idea was originally proposed by the pool's co-founder, Pete Seeger, according to the pool's History page.

What's a River Pool?

The river pool is netted and shallow, with a net bottom designed by Meta Brunzema Architect P.C., a New York City-based design firm. You could crawl on it, with a child on your back, pretending you are an alligator gliding just under the water surface. Or you could sit or stand in the shallow water, enjoying the breeze off the water and gazing up or down the river, thankful you aren't in the traffic moving (or not moving) on the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge. Or, you could simply sit on the colorful plastic seats and bask in the sun, slipping further into the water as you're ready.

River pools aren't unique to this spot - they have been around since at least 1830, up and down the Hudson River - but they were removed after 1930 due to water pollution. Pete Seeger was a major advocate for cleanup of the Hudson River. Thanks to his efforts as well as many other organizations including Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper, the river has improved since then, and many groups and people continue to advocate in this direction.

Can Anyone Use the River Pool?

It's a free pool for all, thanks to support from individual donations, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Durst Organization, the Abrons Foundation, the Hudson River Foundation. The pool's organizers actually want to increase its size. They're working with another architecture firm to design a bigger pool, and they're talking with cities and towns to find the right location that offers agreeable environmental considerations.

What's It Like Swimming in the River Pool?

 The changing room at The Beacon River Pool.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The changing room at The Beacon River Pool.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

So fun. So relaxing. You're IN the river, just sitting there protected from the currents by the anchored netting. The pool is small, so you'll be near others as they dip in and out of the pool. The pool is also very shallow: An adult is up to their waist or thighs. The River Pool is fully staffed by lifeguards, and even has a changing room!

If thunder rolls in and you need to leave the pool and wait 30 thunder-free minutes to go back in, you could always shoot baskets at the park's basketball court, or play on the playgrounds. Or have a picnic on the grass (watch out for alllll of the goose poop).

An additional perk: Riverfront Park is very breezy, so you'll be cooled off quickly down by the river no matter what.

Is Swimming in the Hudson River Safe?

The Hudson River was contaminated by companies who dumped pollutants into it for many years. An ongoing effort to clean up the Hudson River has spanned several decades. As of today, it has reached cleaner levels, but is closely monitored by The River Pool at Beacon. Says a representative from The River Pool this year: "The quality in Beacon Harbor is definitely of concern. Beacon Harbor had a long run of low numbers. We hope this is a temporary situation. That said, the pool is off the north shore of Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park. The water is tested every week by the county health department. We would not open if the water was not considered safe for swimming."

Swim For The Pool - From Beacon To Newburgh!

Fundraising continues for the pool with regular donations that you can make at any time, and during the 15th Annual Newburgh to Beacon Hudson River Swim, where you can sponsor a swimmer - or be a swimmer that people sponsor! See the Beacon to Newburgh Swim page for details.

Make a donation here to keep this all going, but don't worry if you can't. It was designed for all to be able to access and experience the Hudson River. See you at the pool!