Posts Tagged ‘Town of Ulster’

Alzheimer’s Association Presentation

Monday, November 7th, 2016


Janet Syvertsen from the Alzheimer’s Association Hudson Valley Chapter gave a wonderful and informative presentation today to our residents about knowing the 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s.The ten signs and symptoms:

  1. Memory loss,
  2. challenges in planning or solving problems,
  3. difficulty completing familiar tasks,
  4. confusion with time or place,
  5. trouble understanding visual images,
  6. new problems with words or speaking,
  7.  misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps,
  8. decreased or poor judgement,
  9. withdrawal from work or social activities, and
  10. changes in mood and personality.

For more information about the ten signs visit

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Chambers Elementary Students Serenade Neighboring Seniors

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

By KYLE WIND, Freeman staff, December 20, 2011

TOWN OF ULSTER — The Chambers Elementary School chorus on Monday spread some holiday cheer to its little corner of the world when students caroled and performed songs from their latest concert for residents of The Birches at Chambers and the Chambers Court senior communities.

Traditional holiday hymns 51 fourth- and fifth-grade students performed for their neighbors at the apartment complex, which is a short walk from the school, included “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Silent Night,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

“It was wonderful,” said 80-year-old Fran Gillis, one of the 25 residents who watched the performance. “It means very much to me, and the kids are really great.” (To see the accompanying video, click here.

Chorus Director Mona Stovall said the carolling is part of a longstanding Chambers tradition she started in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Students have caroled in different places around town over the years ranging from the Golden Hill Health Care Center to Barnes & Noble.

Fifth-grader Kiera Gallo, who was excited for the chance to perform her solo in “The Holly and the Ivy,” described the visit as “a chance to spread cheer through The Birches and Chambers Court.”

“The children get great joy out of it, and so do I,” said Stovall, who said she began the tradition because she believes in community service.

Stovall said the experience often exposes students to elderly people with disabilities, and some of her former students went on to become special education teachers, perhaps being put on that path as the result of their early carolling rounds.

Going Strong at 100

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Recent projections on seniors living longer are certainly borne out at The Birches communities. Just last week members of the Residents Club for The Birches at Chambers and Chambers Court met to fete William McDonough on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

Bill was born November 23, 1911, and he considers himself “just an ordinary guy.” Bill didn’t know why people would make such a fuss. So he was surprised at the turnout that included residents, owners Steve and Judy Aaron, and staff of Birchez Associates and Rondout Properties. Or that we would want to interview him.

Earlier this year, Bill was honored as a centenarian by the Ulster County Office for the Aging. On the left, pictured before the luncheon began at the Hillside Manor, is Bill with his loyal helper Dorothea Schwenk, a resident of Chambers Court since 2004.

Since the County’s celebration, it’s been about six months of birthday acknowledgments. He brought one to the party this week, a birthday card from the President and First Lady (click on the photo so you can read it!). This was in addition to the number of declarations and proclamations from many local politicians and dignitaries including State Senator John Bonacic, Assemblymember Kevin Cahill, and Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.

Bill lived in the area for 25 years before moving to Chambers Court early in 2008. He values living in a safe senior community. Bill says he’s found a really nice place and values the new friends he’s made.

Bill served as a conductor for the New York Central Railroad for many years. His “route” was Grand Central to Buffalo on the 20th Century Limited. At the time it was the fastest train out there. Today Bill wonders why people want to go much faster. “When I think of some of these tiny cars speeding down the highway at 70 miles per hour, I don’t think it’s safe. Why is everyone in such a hurry?”

Bill is, at the moment, the only centenarian living at one of the Birches Communities but there are a number of residents close behind. Currently there are 43 residents aged 85 and over, with 14 of those 90 or over. In the picture to the right taken at the Residents’ celebration, Bill is pictured with Tess Glassman, a Birches at Chambers resident who turned 90 on November 20th. Between them is Steve Aaron, founder and managing member of Birchez Associates which developed and manages four senior communities in Ulster County.

Steve Aaron spoke about aging in place in independent living communities. “Bill’s a great example of why I believe so in the aging-in-place concept. It’s a better quality of life and much more economical for society than nursing homes or alternate level of care facilities.” Most units at The Birches Communities are handicapped ready if not fully ADA handicapped accessible. Home care and personal care aides from a number of local agencies can help provide assistance with daily living tasks which allows many seniors to spend their time “at home.”

Steve went on to say, “Annecdotally, we’re hearing that our residents, when they do have to be hospitalized or spend time in a rehab setting, are coming home sooner because the apartments’ features encourage that. They don’t have to wait for a ramp to be built or a bedroom created on the first floor or even the necessity to move from their home.”

– K.J. McIntyre, Director of Marketing, Birchez Associates

Alice Tipp Appreciation Day

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

August 22, 2011, Town of Ulster: It’s not easy surprising Alice Tipp, the Senior Advocate for Birchez Associates, but the Birchez staff and the residents of The Birches at Chambers and Chambers Court managed to do just that. Today it was Alice Tipp Appreciation Day!

Alice has served in her position for the last six years. And as Steve Aaron, Founder and Managing Director of Birchez Associates, often says, “Alice works five days a week and is the first one in every morning.”

Alice has plenty of experience showing up and being on time having served thirty years in the Ulster County Legislature before accepting her position as Senior Advocate. Alice’s experience is invaluable as she matches resources to the needs of the residents in the four Birchez communities she services.

Appreciation was apparent in the applause, warmth and laughter expressed in the room of fifty or so. Among the attendees were several surprise guests including her son Tippy (Walter Scott Tipp II), her daughter Cheryl and son-in-law James McTague.

The residents presented Alice with a candle and candle holder to express the sentiment: “You Light up Our Lives.”

Steve and Judy Aaron presented Alice with a pearl necklace, and the staff gave her a basket of goodies and flowers. Ice cream cakes and pound cake rounded out her luncheon. Alice even read the sentiments of the many cards aloud and admired the stealth with which her friends had operated to pull off her surprise party.

The crown from Senior Property Manager Judy Fitzpatrick was just the right touch for a lady who deserves to be queen every day.

Green, Greener, Greenest!

Friday, July 15th, 2011

THE SENIOR GAZETTE, Serving the Senior Community in the Hudson Valley

Friday, July 15, 2011

The  Green label is applied to many products, services and buildings, yet what do these labels really mean? The Birches at Chambers, Birchez Associates latest Senior Community in Ulster County, supplies one concrete answer – what it means to be the greenest. This 62 apartment unit building has been certified as LEED Platinum, the highest recognition provided through the US Green Building Council. The Birches at Chambers is now the largest low-rise multifamily affordable building to earn Platinum on the East Coast. (Meantime, the community’s cottage and caretaker’s home both received LEED Gold, no mean accomplishment.)

A rigorous scoring procedure by third parties looks at criteria including site selection, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.  What does that mean to the Senior Residents at The Birches? Reduced energy costs are achieved through solar thermal and photovoltaic panels on the roof, super insulation, and state of the art ventilation systems. Quality of life is improved through radiant heat in many first floor units, an evenness of temperature, healthier air quality, and the knowledge that grandchildren may inherit a cleaner planet.

LEED certification is an ongoing commitment through energy audits, a vigorous recycling program and education. Nor is this a one time thing for the Birchez organization. It’s Founder and Managing Member Steve Aaron has a strong personal commitment to sustainability. “I remember the first Earth Day forty-one years ago. As I look back, I am painfully aware that we have not done enough.” As Mr. Aaron puts it, “You’re never too old to go Green.”

Hear Us Live, talking about LEED Platinum

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Kingston, NY. MyKCR hosts Fred Wadnola (Chairman of the Ulster County Legislature) and Fred Teetsel (Former Alderman, City of Kingston) welcomed Steve Aaron, Founder & Managing Member of Birchez Associates LLC and K.J. McIntyre, Director of Marketing. Fred Wadnola, who was a guest at the presentation of the LEED Platinum award to The Birches at Chambers on Monday, opened the program with his comments on how impressed he was that this certification, the only multifamily in the Hudson Valley, had come to Ulster County.

Steve Aaron and K.J. McIntyre spelled out what it took to achieve LEED Platinum and how few affordable communities have received it.  To hear the radio broadcast, click here and hit listen. The broadcast starts about 5 minutes in and lasts for a little more than 20 minutes and we suggest you turn up your sound especially in the beginning. MyKCR (Kingston Community Radio) broadcasts from 7am to 9am each weekday on WGHQ 920AM.

Maurice Hinchey salutes Hudson Valley LEED Platinum award winner

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Kingston, NY, 7-11-2011  At a panel on “Green Housing & The Baby Boomers,” U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY 22nd District) spoke of the significance of healthy green buildings, especially so when it is provided at the affordable senior housing level. At the presentation held at The Birches at Chambers, Hinchey spoke with pride that his district now has a LEED Platinum award winner in the multifamily category, the only one in the Hudson Valley.

Hinchey is shown here with Steven L. Aaron, the Founder and Managing Member of Birchez Associates LLC, the developer and management company for The Birches at Chambers. Hinchey addressed an audience of elected officials, business and civic leaders during the presentation at Birchez’ latest senior community in the town of Ulster.

The event, “Green Housing & The Baby Boomers” covered issues of health and dignity for seniors, especially with the start of the  impact of the burgeoning Baby Boomer wave upon the country and the county. Hinchey honed in on how important LEED Platinum is to The Birches at Chambers, a 66-unit community adjacent to Chambers Court, the 72-unit original Birchez’ senior housing community completed just seven years ago.

The Birches at Chambers is now in an elite international group that has achieved LEED Platinum, developed by the US Green Building Council. The largest East Coast affordable low-rise multi-family housing project, this is the third largest in the US or Canada to earn this certification. Additionally, The Birches at Chambers is:

  • One of only five multi-family Platinum projects in the state of NY.
  • Third largest affordable project in the state of NY.
  • Ninth largest low or mid rise multi-family (including custom and market rate) in the US and Canada.
  • Only multifamily project in the Hudson Valley to achieve LEED Platinum.

In addition to using local workers on the construction, Aaron pointed out the local sourcing of the solar panels which both helps the local economy and decreases the use of fossil fuels in transporting materials.

Other panelists were Greg Watson, Assistant Commissioner for Regional Affairs, NYS Homes and Community Renewal (NYS HCR), William C.  ”Willie” Janeway, Region III Director, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Michael Hein, Ulster County Executive Officer, LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Director of Public and Mental Health for Ulster County, Joseph Malcarne, LEED AP, member of the US Green Building Council and President of Malcarne Contracting, and the host of the event, Steven L. Aaron, Founder and Managing Member of Birchez Associates.

Following the panelists remarks and the presentation of the LEED Platinum award to Steve Aaron and his wife Judy who contributed to design work (both interior and exterior), attendees were treated to tours of the building including mechanical rooms to see how the solar thermal  and photovoltaic panels, high efficiency condensing boilers and state of the art circulating pumps all came together to help towards the LEED Platinum designation.

The tours of the building included the fitness studio with a specially trained senior fitness instructor, crafts room, library/game room, computer lab, and much appreciated on a hot day, the state of the art theater which cooled visitors after spending time in the warmth of the mechanical room. To the left is a partial view of the array of solar thermal and photovoltaic panels on the roof of the main 62-unit building which received the award. (LEED Gold was attained for the cottage units and caretaker’s home.)

‘Green’ senior housing receives praise

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

KINGSTON, 7/12/2011 – As Ulster County’s population ages and energy resources grow scarcer and more expensive, there will also be a need for more affordable housing, especially for those on a fixed income, and the working public.

The Birches at Chambers, in the Town of Ulster, is a 62-unit senior affordable housing complex, and it’s the first multi-unit facility in the Hudson Valley to be given a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) award for its green building technology.

Willie Janeway, regional DEC director, said as housing remains in demand for baby boomers and the workforce, this housing fits the bill.

“The state is encouraging and doing all it can to support housing such as the housing we are celebrating today that is affordable for seniors and is also built ;green’, Leadership in Energy and Environmental design (LEED), which is the gold standard for environmental green building,” he said. “It makes it more sustainable and in the long term it will save money.”

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-Hurley) said the project could serve as a model around the nation.

Steve Aaron, founder and managing partner of Birchez Associates, thanked Hinchey and other local officials like Ulster County Executive Michael Hein for helping to create a climate that’s conducive to go green on a mass scale.

Hein praised Aaron’s efforts to combine some future pressing needs to build more affordable housing that will have less impact the environment.

“It’s an enormous undertaking that you’re meeting the highest standards of building (technology),” said Hein. “We have to make sure places like this exist, so people can live with dignity regardless of their financial means.”

Centenarian William McDonough Honored

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Chambers Court resident William McDonough’s 100th birthday won’t be until November 23, 2011, but the celebration has already begun. Bill was honored at the Ulster County Centenarian luncheon organized by the Office for the Aging on Friday, May 6th, 2011, held at the Hillside Manor, sponsored in part by Birchez Associates.

County Executive Mike Hein presented Bill and 16 other centenarians with a proclamation; each birthday “boy or girl” also received certificates from State Senator John Bonacic and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. The photo to the left shows Mike Hein handing Bill his own proclamation.

Ann Cardinale, head of Ulster County’s Office for the Aging, remarked on the growing number of centenarians country wide and that this year’s recognition represented the largest class ever. The oldest recognized this year is 106 years young.

Ms. Cardinale also presented some of the qualities that lead to such longevity including a positive attitude. This certainly characterizes Bill McDonough, a gentleman who continues to live on his own with the assistance of his loyal caretaker Dorothea Schwenk (also a Chambers Court resident and pictured with Bill in the photo to the left). Bill still votes in person; although he said maybe this year he’d consider an absentee ballot he’d prefer to go to the polls.

Birchez Associates salutes Bill and looks forward to celebrating with him throughout his 100th year. Chambers Court, the first of Birchez Associates affordable senior communities, opened in the town of Ulster in 2004/. As with all of the company’s communities, it is designed to help seniors live successful, independent lives of quality as they age in place. Adjacent to the company’s latest community, The Birches at Chambers, Chambers Court residents now enjoy all the amenities of the latest community, including a fitness studio with trainer who specializes in senior exercise, a media room — a small state of the art theater, library/game room, crafts room and more, all at no cost to the residents.

Universal Design is Key to Easy Living

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Kingston, 11/10 by Gina Marinelli

No one can predict the future, but one can prepare for it by creating a safe home environment to “age in place.”

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), aging in place is the ability to live in one’s home regardless of age or ability. However, Active Adult Communities (AACs) throughout the Hudson Valley and tri-state area have made it possible to age in place in a community that is not only accessible, but beautiful as well.

Malcarne Contracting, under the ownership of Joseph Malcarne, is one of the key contractors responsible for the construction of The Birches at Chambers, an affordable senior housing community in Ulster. “The first thing that would be surprising is just how beautiful the place is,” Malcarne says of the landscaping and architecture. It was important to meet the full spectrum of needs of the seniors, Malcarne says, while still remaining user-friendly to those without special needs.

“If you are a fully independent and active senior today, you don’t really have to take advantage of the ADA (Americans with Disability Act) appliances and features,” says K.J. McIntyre, director of marketing of Birchez Associates, LLC, which represents The Birches at Chambers as well as many other AACs. “But let’s say you fall and break a hip, you don’t have to move to accommodate that.”

All units are either handicapped accessible or handicapped ready if a resident’s needs change, says McIntyre. With wider doorways and extra studs in the bathroom walls to accommodate grab bars, the units can be retrofitted in stages, she says. For instance, in the kitchen, the island can be adjusted to provide moving space, and the central drain can be switched to a side drain so that tenants in wheelchairs can have easy access. In the bathrooms, McIntyre continues, roll in showers are already in place and fold down shower seats can be installed and additional grab bars can be added, as necessary.”This is especially helpful if there is a couple living in the unit,” she says.

In the case of The Birches at Chambers, Malcarne wanted to “create senior living that is going to provide  healthy and quality indoor air and be very energy efficient.” Slated for a LEED Platinum certification, The Birches at Chambers is a state-of-the-art building, says Malcarne, which features energy recovery ventilators and air exchangers that recovers heat and humidity in the air. In addition, the units are extremely airtight, the attic features cellulose insulation made of recycled newspapers, and there are solar panels on the roof, which will provide a large portion of the energy to supply heat, hot water, and electricity to the community.

“Finding affordable housing at this level of universal design with the aging-in-place concept is very unusual,” says McIntyre. The Birches senior living communities, which also have locations in Esopus and Saugerties, offers EMS quick responses, fitness centers and trainers, movie theatres, libraries, game rooms, fully equipped computer rooms, among other amenities for a complete and convenient living experience. Birchez Associates will soon break ground in Fishkill, giving residents access to the nursing services of the Elant campus on which the facility will be built. . .

Excerpted from the full article, Multi-Generational Design: Universal Design is Key to Easy Living, in the Boomer’s Guide to Living 2010 published by Schein Media (Kingston, NY)

The publication is currently available by clicking here.