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A Forum on Affordable Housing Solutions in the Hudson Valley

In recent months, there has been a lot of reporting—in our pages and elsewhere—and several events about the affordable housing crisis in the Hudson Valley. That problem, which predates the pandemic but has been exacerbated by it, is well-described and understood. More vexing is how to address it.

What are the most interesting ideas people have right now about housing? This conversation will cover that topic, including: legislative and policy fixes, solutions from the nonprofit sector, progressive economic development initiatives, and more. Our panelists will present what they’re working on, and there will be room for a lengthy audience Q&A at the end.


  • Christa Hines, executive director, Hudson River Housing
  • Richard Heppner, Woodstock town board member, chair of short-term rental committee
  • Neil Bettez, New Paltz town supervisor
  • Revonda Smith, board chair, Hudson Housing Authority
  • John Cappello, Jacobowitz & Gubits
  • Guy Kempe, VP, community development, RUPCO
  • Jennifer Welles, executive director, Newburgh Community Land Bank
  • Anthony Tampone, Kingston Code Reform Advocates
  • Rashida Tyler, Real Kingston Tenants Union and Ulster County Coalition for Housing Justice

Moderated by Phillip Pantuso, managing editor of The River, and Joe Czajka, senior vice president, Pattern for Progress.

Click here to register.


Future Forward: Envisioning Environmental Change in the Hudson Valley

Climate change calls for urgency—and as we saw with the global pandemic last year, big, rapid shifts really are possible. What could we do within just the next decade to make the Hudson Valley more resilient?

We’re asking local environmental leaders and activists what they envision in their areas over the next decade, and just as importantly, how we get there. From freezing produce from local farms for food pantries to ensuring that wildlife have sufficient habitat to prevent future pandemics, we’re inspired by their ideas, and ready to talk about them in-depth.

Our “Future Forward” series is a partnership between’s HV Viewfinder, which sees this region’s powerful citizen-activists building community and strengthening resilience in the face of climate change, and The River, which has a history of spotlighting the diverse activists and visionaries who dream of an ever-more-vibrant and inclusive Hudson Valley.

Our panelists:

  • Barbara Han, disease ecologist, Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies
  • Stiles Najac, food security community liaison, Orange County Cooperative Extension
  • Hugo Jule-Quintanilla, electric vehicle advocate, Sustainable Hudson Valley
  • Vic Barrett, climate activist, Our Children’s Trust

Co-moderated by Phillip Pantuso, managing editor of The River, and Hayley Carlock, director of environmental advocacy for Scenic Hudson

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About COVID—But Were Afraid to Ask

This year, we have aggregated and contextualized COVID-19 news from the federal, state, and local levels, and we’ve produced original enterprise reporting and feature writing on the myriad ways the pandemic is affecting the political, economic, and cultural life of our region.

But the situation is ever-evolving, and there are still a lot of unknowns. For this event, reporters from The River will host a virtual conversation with panel guests from the public health, local business, and community service worlds, and answer reader questions about the pandemic—from its effects to what it’s like to cover it. There will also be time for audience questions.

Our panelists:

  • Diana Mason, Senior Policy Service Professor for the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University School of Nursing and the host of “HealthCetera in the Catskills”
  • Jonathan Drapkin, President and CEO of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress
  • Marybeth Mills, owner and proprietor of Peekamoose
  • Wilfredo Morel, Director of Hispanic Health at Sun River Health
  • Lissa Harris, staff writer for The River

Moderated by Phillip Pantuso, managing editor of The River

Immigration Advocacy in the Hudson Valley

A Chronogram Conversation in partnership with Radio Kingston. Presented by The River Newsroom.

Immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, are facing perilous conditions. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is targeting all undocumented immigrants, and has recently stepped up its efforts in the Hudson Valley. As Michael Frank reported for The River and in the November issue of Chronogram, this has prompted community members to organize and fight back against what they view as unjust federal policies targeting immigrants. Groups like the Ulster Immigrant Defense Network, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, the Worker Justice Center, the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, and others are working to aid immigrants on a daily basis.

Join us on December 4 at Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church in Kingston to hear from immigration advocates on their work protecting vulnerable members of our community and learn how you can get involved and become an immigration ally.

Our panelists:

Father Frank Alagna, pastor of Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church and cofounder of the Ulster Immigrant Defense Network
Prof. Martha Tepepa, the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
Diana Lopez Martinez, Community Organizer for Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
Cecilia Cortina, Human Trafficking Specialist, Worker Justice Center of New York

Moderated by Mariel Fiori, publisher of La Voz, host of “La Voz con Mariel Fiori on Radio Kingston”