photo by Sonny Abesamis

Two friends meet and one asks the other: “How are you?” The other says: “My life is all stripes — black stripes followed by white ones.”

“So which one is it now?” “Now I’m in the black one.”

Another six months pass, they meet again: “How’s life? I know it’s all stripes, but which one is it now?” “It’s black now.”

“But it was black last time!” “Looks like it was white last time.”

— Transcript of ‘old joke’

told by Vladimir Putin, December 17

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Photo by Flickr user PT Money/used under Creative Commons license

Four in every ten state dollars awarded to Ulster County entities in last week’s distribution of economic and community funding went to two projects in Kingston and one in New Paltz. The largest single amount, $1,750,000, was awarded to the proposed $80-million Wildberry Lodge project next to the New Paltz Thruway exit. Because he still must secure numerous governmental approvals and line up considerable capital, developer Steve Turk is unlikely to break ground on Wildberry Lodge in the near future. The waterpark, resort hotel and conference center has not yet submitted its full application for IDA tax-free financing or its final proposed site plan to New Paltz town government.

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As the holiday season approaches, the Hudson Valley Mall (HVM) in the Town of Ulster, once the epicenter of retail commerce in Ulster County, seemed to be bustling. Appearances can be deceiving.

At two o’clock in the afternoon of Black Friday, about 90 per cent of the parking spaces in front of the Target anchor store were filled. Customers bustled through the entrance, and many came back out carrying white plastic bags with the familiar red Target bullseye logo. Stores like H&M and Best Buy were crowded with inquiring shoppers, and many people of all ages strolled up and down the hallways of the enclosed mall, built by the Pyramid Company in 1981. The tables in the food court were crowded with the groups of teenagers referred to, sometimes disparagingly and sometimes affectionately, as the “mall rats.” Private security officers and janitorial staff were strategically placed.

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From the inside of the large tent next to the Catskills Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper last Friday afternoon, it sounded at first like the noise of a single distant power mower was cutting the late-October air. For the next couple of minutes the sound grew closer and louder until it could be clearly identified as coming from a bunch of Harleys coming up Route 28. Governor Andrew Cuomo, riding on one of them, was coming to town.

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commuting 144

Here’s a nasty little secret about the job situation in Ulster County. County residents are increasingly commuting elsewhere for employment. The number of residents of Ulster County who make most of their earnings outside the county continues to increase, according to the latest federal figures for 2013.

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It isn’t true that a thousand of the 11,140,800 people in the country employed as of September 2015 in food service and drinking places work in uptown Kingston, but it sometimes feels that way. And several hundred actually are working here, with, it appears, more soon to come.

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When it comes to banking, there are two New Yorks. One is New York County, the major world capital of finance that is closing in on a trillion dollars in deposits. The other is New York State minus New York County, which altogether boasts less than half that amount in deposits. Over the past decade, New York County’s share of all the bank deposits in the state has increased from 54.69 percent at the end of June 2005 to 66.61 percent at the end of June this year.

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