NEW PALTZ — The Hudson Valley Study Center has awarded Rikki Asher, David Jaffee, Jo Margaret Mano, and Simin Mozayeni, all faculty members at the State University of New York at New Paltz, with research grants intended to advance the development of new study of the region’s multi-faceted cultural and natural heritage.

Rikki Asher, a faculty member in the College’s art department, was awarded $1,206 toward the completion of the Sojourner Truth Mural, a class project in which students researched the life and local connections of Sojourner Truth. Their individual impressions were brought together in a single cohesive sketch, which was then painted on four large canvases and installed in the College’s Sojourner Truth Library.

David Jaffee, a faculty member in the sociology department, was awarded $1,074 for the creation of a database containing economic, social, labor market and demographic information of the region. The data will be used by local and regional policymakers as they chart critical changes in the Hudson Valley and develop proposals for future development.

Jo Margaret Mano, a faculty member in the geography department, was awarded $1,844 for a project on the study of rare maps and archival sources related to Hudson Valley cartography from 1776-1800. The focus of the project will be the exceptional Robert Erskine-Simeon DeWitt collection of Revolutionary War field sketches and finished maps.

Also included in the study will be early township maps commissioned by Simeon DeWitt, New York Surveyor General during the first state effort to make a statewide map. This research will provide illustrations for teaching courses in maps and graphics, and basic cartography.

Simin Mozayeni, a faculty member in the economics department, was awarded $2,000 to develop an economic database based on information collected between 1970 and 1995 for 167 municipalities in seven counties. The counties studied will be Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester. The documentation will be utilized to evaluate the economic environment of the region and identify regional growth strategies based on the actual responsiveness of businesses to government economic policies.

The purpose of the Hudson Valley Study Center, founded in 1994, is to promote the scholarly exploration and preservation of the Hudson Valley, to foster an understanding of the many forces that affect its present and its future, and to encourage a sense of regional beauty. Neil Larson is its director. (257-2966)