Posts Tagged ‘Steve Aaron’

Birchez names Advisory Board to Guide New Foundation

Friday, March 11th, 2016

KINGSTON, N.Y. (March 11, 2016) – Birchez Associates, LLC, Founder and Managing Partner Steven L. Aaron has named an advisory board that will help the company choose recipients and determine the allocations of grant money for the Birchez Foundation.

The advisory board members are:

  • Maurice Hinchey – Maurice Hinchey’s 38 years of public service has earned him a reputation as “the environmental hero of the Hudson Valley,” and as a tireless advocate for working people everywhere. He is a pioneering voice in the environmental and human rights movements, author of many of the first state and national laws protecting our water, air, land and food, and was an early advocate for family farms. Born in New York City’s Greenwich Village and raised in Saugerties, he is known as an ardent supporter of affordable housing and aging in place communities, a champion of the middle class, and a dedicated fighter for women’s rights, renewable energy sources and economic fairness.

A progressive Democrat who attracted equal numbers of Republican and Independent supporters, Maurice represented New York’s 22nd Congressional District, which spans eight counties from the Hudson Valley to the Finger Lakes region.

Serving in the New York State Assembly for 18 years, including 14 years as Chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee, Maurice first became known for his landmark investigative work on Love Canal, and for his tireless work against the dumping of toxic waste by organized crime. Former Gov. Cuomo has called him the “environmental conscience of New York State.”

While in the Assembly, Maurice developed a wide reputation for his extensive, local constituent work, believing his office should do all it could to help community members successfully navigate state agencies, and assist with government-related problems. He continued the unprecedented effort through his Congressional years. His office’s constituent services program continues to be a model for elected officials.

Early in his first year in the U.S. House of Representatives, Maurice initiated and led the successful effort to preserve Sterling Forest, the last significant area of open space in the New York metropolitan region and an important watershed for southeastern New York and northern New Jersey. He was the author of legislation that created the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, the first federal action formally recognizing the fundamentally significant role the people of the Hudson Valley played in the early development of America. Coupled with his earlier success in enacting the Hudson River Greenway, Maurice remains an active advocate for the Hudson River and surrounding communities.

  • Al Spada – The former Ulster County clerk who has the distinction of being the longest serving county clerk in Ulster County since George Clinton held the position in the late 18th Century.  Spada received numerous honors over the years including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York State Association of County Clerks and the Man of the Year Award from the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He served on the boards of Benedictine and Kingston hospitals, the New York State Advisory Board of Public Works and the Kingston Housing Authority (also served as chairman). Spada also served on the Heritage Advisory Committee, the New York State Sports Authority and Ulster County United Way. In 2015, Congregation Agudas Achim synagogue awarded him its Humanitarian Award.
  • Barbara Gutzler – Independent retail business manager; former Town of Wappingers Falls supervisor 2011-2016; Dutchess County legislator; West Park Union Free School District special education teacher. As supervisor, she was known for her ability to keep taxes down without cutting services and was a lead player in negotiating a deal that brought water from New York City to parts of the town that had not previously had it. She also served as president of the Dutchess County Association of Supervisors and Mayors.
  • John V. Forman – Dutchess County legislator 2002-2005, 2008-2013, 2015-present; Fire Districts of New York Mutual Insurance Company marketing representative. He has spent many years volunteering in local organizations that include: a 25-year member with the W.H. Mase Hook & Ladder Fire Company, an honorary-life member with the Lewis Tompkins Hose Fire Company, a former director of the city of Beacon Little League, a member of the Knights of Columbus and a former board vice president for the Beacon Housing Authority.
  • Marlow Dunham – Pastor, Change Point Church, Poughkeepsie, for nearly three decades, first under the banner of the Hopewell Christian Center and then later as The River Church. He has led a multitude of successful outreach projects to people of all walks of life and is especially known for his visionary skills and his ability to accept, embrace and meet the spiritual and temporal needs of people from all walks of life.
  • Larry Kithcart – Ulster County Community Action Commission (UCCAC) executive director 1982-2012 (and currently UCCAC interim executive director), former Ulster County legislator 1969-1988. A pillar of the Kingston and Ulster County communities, he continues to help those in need. In his role with UCCAC he managed programs like Head Start, to help disadvantaged children, and heating/weatherization programs for the poor. During his legislative tenure he served on many county committees, including Budget and Operations, Labor Relations and Programs for the Aging. His work helped produce “spin off” organizations such as Resource Center for Accessible Living.
  • Leslie Price – The Village of Schoharie clerk/treasurer since 2005, who is also the owner of the J. Lacy Unisex Salon, which has been in business in the village since 1979. Price took great care to ensure village offices never closed after they were destroyed by Hurricane Irene in 2011.  She oversaw the offices’ relocation two times before their current move into the town hall.

“Birchez Associates is honored to have these outstanding community leaders join the Birchez Foundation Advisory Board,” Aaron said. “Their collective insight and outreach into the region will be beneficial to senior citizens, U.S. military veterans, students furthering their education and the environment.”

The Birchez Foundation, created in 2014, awards grants to further assist organizations that provide services to assist senior citizens and U.S. military veterans, or support educational programming and preserve or improve the environment.

Birchez Associates has often supported many worthy community causes and events in the communities that it serves, such as providing educational scholarships; distributing turkeys, toys and clothing during the holidays; and improving the lives of their residents. The Foundation’s goals are consistent in keeping with the history of generosity of Steve, Judy and Josh Aaron.

“The establishment of the foundation now formalizes Birchez ongoing, extensive commitment to the areas our Birches communities serve,” Aaron said.


Birchez Associates, LLC, was founded by Steven L. Aaron in 2002 to develop and construct quality affordable housing for senior citizens, frail elderly, working families, veterans and single parents. Birchez Associates, LLC has since sponsored hundreds of affordable housing units in the Hudson Valley, generating over $60 million of development and construction in the region with well over $100 million coming in the near future.

For further information on Birchez Associates, LLC, please visit or call 845-331-2097. For information about the Foundation, email

Release by Focus Media

Congressman Chris Gibson chooses the Birches at Chambers to announce important senior legislation

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson is introduced by Birchez Associate’s Steve Aaron at a press conference by Gibson introducing legislation that would re-authorize the Older American Act (OAA). Congressman Gibson says he chose the site because the Birchez Senior communities are a great example of how to care for our nation’s senior citizens by offering high quality, affordable housing that truly meets the needs of the areas senior population.

Keeping Affordable Housing Affordable

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Senior affordable housing is a major benefit to retirees living on fixed incomes, but the public-private partnerships required to sustain such housing often bring about vigorous discussions over property taxes, specifically payments-in-lieu-of-taxes. In this Point of View, Steve Aaron sets out the steps that led to Birchez’ request to amend the original PILOT agreement.

The following article appears in the Saugerties Times, Oct. 16, 2012. (Reprinted with permission)

Point of View: Agreement will keep Birches at Saugerties rents down

By Steven L. Aaron

A lot has been said recently about The Birches at Saugerties’ amended payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement [PILOT]. The issue can be easily misunderstood. I’d like to walk you through it to put the matter in perspective. First, The Birches at Saugerties exists to meet the affordable-housing needs of an important segment of our local residents — seniors on fixed incomes.

Ask anyone who lives in this or any other Birchez community and you’ll immediately sense the pride and security they feel in having award-winning housing that’s clean, safe and affordable in their home community.

Second, it’s vital to these residents and to the entire town of Saugerties that we keep the rents affordable. (more…)

Beyond The Sunbelt

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

From Low-Cost to Luxury, Retirement Living Has Never Looked Better

By Lynn Woods   for Generation Monthly September 2012

Once, retirement meant moving to warmer climates and trading in work for rounds of golf, often until frailty and advanced age led to a nursing home. Today, for many, that option has become passé. They made 40 the new 30, they caused a new-paradigm-spawning social revolution, and now baby boomers are retiring differently from their parents.

They don’t want to be so far from their kids. And there’s the weather: global warming is linked to the droughts that are devastating a large part of the Sunbelt. Some are not retiring at all, instead moving on to new careers. Plus, simple economic necessity is causing many seniors to stay put. All of these factors are increasing the Hudson Valley’s geographical appeal.  (more…)

The Birches at Fishkill

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

The Birches at Fishkill is the latest concept from Bichez Associates, an award-winning developer of affordable housing in the Hudson Valley. The plan calls for 72 elegant affordable senior-housing apartments situated on the beautiful Elant at Fishkill nursing home campus.

The Birches at Fishkill is dedicated to the concept of an enriched community lifestyle, enabling people to age in place with dignity and, when needed, providing the comfort of first-class medical resources from the staff of the adjacent Elant, one of the most respected providers of healthcare services in the  region.


Birchez Associates’ Steve Aaron Take Time Off to Tee Off

Monday, September 24th, 2012

At the Ulster-Greene ARC  2012 Roy A. Gonyea Jr., Fall Golf Classic Tournament

While a beautiful day of golf on Kingston’s Wiltwyck Golf Club doesn’t sound like a day of work, for the Ulster-Greene ARC Foundation, Birchez Associates and other corporate sponsors and golfers, The 2012 Roy A. Gonyea Jr., Fall Golf Classic Tournament on Monday, September 10, 2012 offered the opportunity to come together in the spirit of community and to support an important cause.

Steve Aaron, founder and managing partner of Birchez Associates, along with several staff members and Birchez’ four foursomes pictured below, were part of the day’s events.  Ulster-Greene ARC will be a partner agency with Birchez  in The Birches at Cooperage, an affordable senior community that Birchez plans to construct in Kingston.

IMAGE LEFT: Ulster Greene ARC’s Executive Director, Laurie A. Kelley (left) and Board of Director’s President Todd McNutt (right) with Birchez Associates Founder and Managing Partner Steven Aaron.


The Birches at Saugerties’ Memorial Day Party

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Residents of the Birches at Saugerties

were all smiles on Friday  as they enjoyed a barbeque feast,

prepared by Paul Watzka and Al Teetsel,

in honor of Memorial Day. 


A Sweet Treat

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

February 13, 2012
Residents of The Birches at Esopus celebrated Valentine’s Day in style with a delectable brunch of homemade treats, plenty of smiling faces and friendly hugs from a special guest. The Community Room was decked out in style for the event, which was organized by the residents of this premier affordable senior housing community which overlooks the Hudson River.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey & Fortunée Bennett.

Congressma Maurice Hinchey, who the residents lauded for his longtime support of and fight for seniors’ rights, dined with the residents, listened to their concerns and clearly enjoyed the delicious fare. He’s shown to the left enjoying a laugh with resident Fortunee Bennett.

Steve and Judy Aaron, who are responsible for this Birchez Associates community, praised those responsible for organizing the event, while delighting in the diversity of the scrumptious spread.

Bill & MaryAnn Banks

Longtime Valentines Bill and MaryAnn Banks, happily married for 35 years, spoke lovingly about the changes in their lifestyle since joining the Birches community and of the many activities and amenities offered at the facility. One of MaryAnn’s choices is the bus that comes to the door and takes her for excursions at the Mall (especially when Bill’s working or watching a game!).

Residents Eileen McGuire & Shirley Shumate

Spry and chic, the 91 year-young Shirley Shumate looked positively captivating in her red Valentine dress. For some seniors keeping in shape comes naturally, but many take advantage of the Fitness Studio, complete with instructor at no charge, at The Birches at Esopus.

Eileen McGuire, pictured with Shirley in the picture to the left, is president of the Residents Club at this award-winning facility.

Roseann Harominek spoke glowingly of her new life at the Birches at Esopus – as shown in the picture below, her smile speaks volumes. Many who attended were in their late 80s and 90s, fitting tribute to the aging in place philosophy of The Birches at Esopus and other Birchez Associates communities in the Hudson Valley.

Roseann Harominek

Seniors’ New Year’s Eve Ball

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Kingston, December 31, 2011:

Thanks to the generosity of community supporters, Kingston NY area seniors danced the night away waiting for the 2012 ball to drop. The annual  New Year’s Eve event was held at The Hillside Manor, a leading fine dining and events facility. Host Denni Demosthenes managed to get all guests to the table despite the many attendees who arrived up to an hour early! Over 350 seniors attended and enjoyed a full dinner and dessert, dancing to both live and DJ’d music, a champagne toast and, of course, New Year’s hats and noisemakers. The music makers mixed it up with the predictable old favorites and many contemporary hits that got everyone on the floor rocking.

For the third year, the main sponsors were Birchez Associates, the Bruderhof, and the Demonthenes family which owns The Hillside Manor. Other local purveyors also helped out. For example, Adams Fair Acres Farms donated beautifully prepared (and delicious) cookie platters for each table, Deisings Bakery provided the  dinner rolls.

The smiles of the seniors were evident at the festively set tables in both the full rear ballroom and the restaurants front function room. Not to be outdone by the decor, many of the ladies were “dressed to the nines.” As one quipped, “Where else am I going to get the opportunity to get so dressed up. I love it!” Join the festivities via video (only a minute and a half in length) in which Birchez principals Steve and Judy Aaron welcome one and all.

Several political leaders stopped by to lend their support, most notably Congressman Maurice Hinchey who greeted many by name. Outgoing legislator Walter Frey and encumbent councilman Jimmy Bruno traveled from Saugerties. Majority Leader for the Kingston Common Council Tom Hoffay was in early attendance. Newly elected Alderperson Deb Brown, 9th ward Kingston, shared her thoughts on the video.

Seniors who attended and who would like to comment on the evening can contact us at We’d love to share your thoughts as we enter 2012!

Holiday Party Has Seniors Rocking to the Beat

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Holidays can be lonely for seniors living on their own. But at the Birchez Associates communities, you’ll find many ways to celebrate the holidays. In addition to cosponsoring the Kingston area senior New Year’s Eve party (to watch video, click here), Birchez owners Steve and Judy Aaron also hosted a holiday party for all their senior residents and staff.

At The Hillside Manor, a popular dining and events destination in Kingston, Birchez took over . A decorated Christmas tree welcomed guests in the foyer, with holiday decoration throughout. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres started the event in the front ballroom. Then festivities moved to the full back ballroom (complete with its own Christmas tree and Menorah) for dinner and dancing.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey pictured with Birches at Chambers Resident June Diamond (left) and Hostess Judy Aaron

Special guests included Congressman Maurice Hinchey who spun at least one senior on the dancefloor. County Treasurer Eliott Auerbach and his lovely wife Judy, County Clerk Nina Postupak, County Legislators Peter Loughran, Hector Rodriguez and Walter Frey, as well as Town of Esopus Council members Kyle Barnett, Gloria VanVliet and Donna McAuley also joined the party.

The band leader of “Outside the Box” thought he was doing the right thing when he mentioned a 92 year old resident was on the dance floor, only to have other dancers raise their hands to say “I’m in my nineties too!”  From the salad course through desert, the dance floor was in motion. Whether a classic melody or a cover of a contemporary song from Lady GaGa or Adele, guests were up and dancing. Chambers Court Resident and Centenarian Bill McDonough didn’t dance but had a front row table to watch others do so.

Host Steve Aaron (right) greets Centennarian Bill McDonough as Chambers Court Resident Dorothea Schwenk looks on.

Pointsetta centerpieces obtained through the local Boys & Girls Club were given to those residents who found a lucky penny underneath their place setting. In addition to peach melba for desert, plates of cookies from local Deising’s Bakery provided some extra energy for seniors to keep the dance floor full.

And for residents who no longer drive, A.N.N. Transportation provided a handicapped bus and van to get everyone to the event. After four hours of partying, there was even some grumbling when the announcement was made that the bus and van were ready for loading to take residents home. “Already?” some were heard to exclaim!

For additional pictures, see Holiday Party album on Facebook