News Briefs

Poughkeepsie contemplates new arts district

An arts district may come out of the upcoming zoning renovation of the city of Poughkeepsie. Home to The Chance Theater, the Barrett Art Center, the Bardavon Opera House and the Lehman Loeb Art Center, Poughkeepsie already has a thriving art community. Mayor John Tkazyik believes this community could benefit from a new art district. The zone would give a focus to the arts contributions to the city, especially that of downtown Poughkeepsie. Tkazyik told the Poughkeepsie Journal, “Such a focus could capitalize on existing foot traffic and provide for artist studios and lofts where artists could live and work” (“City of Poughkeepsie may create arts district,” 2.10.13).

City officials have enlisted help from leaders of Poughkeepsie arts organizations. Linda Martson-Reid is President of the Dutchess County Arts Council, a nonprofit arts service organization. She, along with Tkazyik, believes the district will strengthen the arts community and culturally enrich Poughkeepsie.  Martson-Reid explained, “We can say ‘an arts district,’ but it’s got to be a coordinated effort with all these people together.”(Poughkeepsie Journal).

In addition to a district, there are also plans to build an art center in Poughkeepsie. The Mark Walhimer Exhibition Design of New York City has proposed building the center that would be comprised of the Dutchess County Arts Council, several other nonprofits, as well as a lending museum. Vassar has already allocated several works from its collection to be given to the museum, should it be built (Poughkeepsie Journal).

An arts center, and district in general, has the potential to benefit Poughkeepsie economically as well as culturally.  In 2011, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations generated $264,480 in local government revenue and $327,953 in state government revenue. These organizations employ 221 people full-time.(Poughkeepsie Journal).

Steps are being put into motion to make the arts district a reality. According to Martson-Reid, a focus group concerning the arts district has been created. Moreover, The Dutchess County Arts Council hired a consultant using a grant from the Dyson Foundation. Mayor Tkazyik hopes the zoning update, including the arts district, will be completed by the end of this year (Poughkeepsie Journal).

– Anna Iovine, Guest Reporter


Meteor strikes central Russia injuring over 1000

Early in the morning on Friday Feb. 15, a meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere above Alaska. At approximately 9:20 a.m. it streaked across the Siberian sky, creating a tremendous shock wave that injured approximately 1,200 people. Fortunately, there were no fatalities. The shock wave resulted both when the meteor entered the Earth’s lower atmosphere and from the energy it released upon slowing down. The meteor was calculated to be about 50 feet in diameter and weighed about 7,000 tons.

The city of Chelyabinsk in central Russia, inhabited by one million peoples, was most affected by the meteor. Shattering of glass from the explosion caused most of the injuries. Glassware was fragmented in buildings where windows were not broken. Furthermore, the roof of a brick and steel factory caved in. The meteor injured more people than previous meteors have. Additionally, neighbors suffered varying amounts of damage. This is due to the fact that infrasound waves can move in an unusual manner, impacting some surfaces more strongly than others.

A collision of a meteor of this size with Earth is rare; it is expected to occur approximately once a century. Every day, smaller entities of a diameter of 30 or so inches impact the Earth and are burned when they come into contact with the atmosphere. This translates to 80 tons of celestial matter falling to Earth every day. Nevertheless, none of it bears any danger.

At present, there is no funding for scientific research to investigate threats from falling celestial objects. Such a project would be able to alert people of danger from meteors like the one that hit Russia. Scientist Clark R. Chapman of the South West Research Institute claims that space research programs would be able to prevent such a hazard if they were aware of it a few years ahead of time.

The Russian government is currently undergoing research at four sites to understand the meteor that struck on Friday. One of the sites is Lake Chebarkul, where a twenty-foot hole in the layer of ice was discovered. It is likely that the hole resulted from a piece of the meteor, which broke off in the celestial sphere above Russia.

– Lena Josephs, Guest Reporter

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