HALLIE Arnold, the Ulster County tourism director and a former Freeman reporter who had a passion for writing about the less fortunate, the local film scene and Ulster County politics, died Saturday morning, August 5, 2006, at St. Peter's Hospice in Albany. She was 40.
Hallie, who lived in the village of Saugerties, was diagnosed with lung cancer in June.
She was hired as a staff reporter at the Freeman in November 1999 after working as a freelance correspondent for the newspaper. She became head of the Ulster County Tourism Department in January.
Hallie's beat at the Freeman was the Ulster County Legislature, but she frequently was assigned to other areas as a general assignment reporter, from the annual Woodstock Film Festival to last year's shooting spree at Hudson Valley Mall.
While her reporting often focused on such mundane topics as sales tax agreements and government budgets, she also wrote of local sensations: same-sex weddings in New Paltz, a county legislator who led a double life and a Kingston murder-suicide case that won her an award for investigative reporting.
Hallie's reporting was no-nonsense but sensitive, particularly when she wrote about the homeless, returning war veterans or programs that helped low-income families buy a home.
Her work at the Freeman earned her awards from the Journal Register Co., which owns the newspaper, in 2003; from the Associated Press in 2004-05; and the New York State Publishers Association in 2000-01.
It was the annual coverage of the Woodstock Film Festival that Arnold relished most, exhaustively reporting the happenings at the weeklong celebration of independent filmmakers and interviewing such notables as actors Woody Harrelson, Kevin Bacon, Steve Buscemi and Aidan Quinn, and musician Peter Gabriel. She reported on the festival every year since it began in 2000.
Hallie also was called on to cover local people who wound up being featured on national television shows - such as 'Married in America,' 'Joe Millionaire' and 'Trading Spaces' - and was sent to regional locations where Hollywood movies were being shot.
Her versatile skills also made Arnold a newsroom go-to reporter on breaking news events, including the death of Kingston Mayor T.R. Gallo in January 2002, the mall shooting in February 2005 and the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
An animal lover and dog owner, she frequently wrote about efforts to find homes for abandoned or abused animals.
And she was cited for her writing about the Ulster County Tobacco Free Action Coalition's anti-smoking campaign. She also was active with the American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life.
Hallie also was an avid quilter who belonged to the Wiltwyck Quilters Guild. Last year, she donated a quilt to the Relay for Life fund-raising effort.
She also loved music, both as a listener and singer.
Hallie Arnold was born Feb. 11, 1966, in Bethel, Pa., and was raised in Grandview-on-Hudson, N.Y. She was the daughter of Robert Arnold and the late Barbara Prokosch and the adoptive daughter of Deborah Arnold.
She graduated from Tappan Zee High School in Rockland County and SUNY New Paltz, where she majored in music theory and composition.
Before becoming a reporter, Arnold was the marketing director for Woodstock-based clothing and graphics company Not Fade Away.
Surviving are her fiance Wayne F. Swarthout of Saugerties; her father and his wife Robert Arnold and Charna Macfie of Vancouver Island, Canada; her adoptive mother and her husband Deborah Arnold and Toivo Roht of Ottawa, Canada, her sisters Thea Arnold of Johnson City and Kim Prokosch of Burlington, VT.
There will be a gathering of family and friends on Saturday, August 12th from 2:00 – 5:00 at Simpson – Gaus Funeral Home, 411 Albany Ave.
Contributions in Hallie’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society “Relay for Life”, 95 Schwenk Dr., Kingston, NY 12401.