This week’s letters (May 26-June 2)


Fuzzy math

I wonder how many of the 1300-plus voters who supported the school budget in the recent election were as confused as Alex Rappoport when he stated “But how many of the no voters realize that this year’s proposed budget was actually lower than the austerity budget? That’s right, by voting “no” on the budget we have just given ourselves a tax increase.”

Well I can understand how he got this wrong, the so called informational newsletter sent by the school district on page one touts in bold letters “ Proposed Budget is Below State Contingency Level.” When the truth is buried on the last page which compares the proposed 2011-2012 budget to the contingency budget for 2011-2012 if the budget is defeated.

Unfortunately there is not much of a difference in the tax levy increase, 6.9 percent vs. a contingency budget increase of 6.69 percent.


Remember going forward voters, the contingency budget must always be lower than any defeated proposed budget. Next time just throw that “informational” newsletter in the trash and read the budget for yourself online.

As I’ve stated to each board member via email, I will continue to vote no on any budget that contains a tax-levy increase. I work in private industry and pay raises are few and far between, I can’t keep pace with these tax increases year after year.

Gregory Kleen



Thanks from BOE candidate

I would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their support during my recent campaign for a seat on the Saugerties School Board: Jennifer Mangione, Katie Cokinos, Alex Rappoport, Amy Dicesare, Heidi Whittaker, Beth Humphrey, Karen Humphrey, Lisa Machione, Lisa Preston, Jean Graber, Joseph Torrisi, Gina Thomann, Seth Thomann, Sarah Thomann, Sue Sacher, Vic Sacher, Elizabeth Stegmeyer, Lisa Elerby, Katie Emerson-Hoss, Becky Mulford, Elise Hunt, Steve Wykoff, Steve Haun, Eric Schneider, Slam, SSP, Melanie Cossio Avalone, Lisa Ellerby, Ryan Scott and Rod Walshe. Together you made a difference! I am grateful.

Bob Thomann


Take the power back

The year was 1913. The Sixteenth Amendment became law: “The Congress shall have power to levy and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

That Congressional action was the greatest transfer of power from the individual citizen to the government in our country’s history.

It would have been inconceivable to our founders. They made it absolutely illegal to directly take the fruit of a citizen’s labor from them. From 1913 on, the people began to work, not for themselves and their families alone, but to one degree or another for the federal government. Then, as time passed, the plague of income taxation gradually became more and more infectious. The government, the politicians, took more and more, and in the 1940s even took a person’s money directly out of paychecks before they had it to spend. The citizen lost dominion over that for which he or she labored. The insidious growth of the income tax system is now manifested in a tax code of over 67,000 pages of inconsistent, unfathomable regulations that burden every taxpaying citizen throughout every year and is engrained, without awareness, in almost every financial transaction.

There is so much talk about tax reform, but the best reform, the Fair Tax, is not popular with politicians, because it would be the greatest transfer of power from the government back to the people since Declaration of Independence. Our whole economy would be revitalized. Business would flourish. Unemployment would be minimized. Our quality of life would be elevated.

The Fair Tax (Congressional Bill HR 25 sponsored by over 60 Members) would eliminate all taxes on income, do away with the IRS, and painlessly supply the national treasury with just as much, if not more than it receives today.

If you’re curious, go to Check out the info and the video. It’s much better than reading a letter to the editor. Any questions! Email me at As Al Michaels once said, “Do you believe in miracles? YES!”

Doug Wilson



Successful prom

On Friday, June 6, 2011, Saugerties High School held its 2011 Junior Prom at the Hillside Manor in Kingston. One hundred ninety-four juniors and their guests had a very fun and enjoyable evening of music, dancing and dining. The prom king (Ethan Stanley) and prom queen (Kelsey Wickham) were crowned and everyone danced until 11 p.m. We would like to thank the Hillside Manor for their warm, positive and accommodating reception of our students and our faculty, staff and family members who chaperoned this event and help to insure a safe evening for all involved.

Later this same evening, the same 200 students attended their junior post-prom event, held and the Saugerties Bowler’s Club in Saugerties. Mr. Houtman, who owns the club, was once again both kind and gracious in opening his facility to our students from 11:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. the next morning – without charge! Every activity in the bowling alley, including bowling, pinball machines, pool tables, etc. was available to our students for their enjoyment. Our Parent Teacher Student Association (P.T.S.A.) in conjunction with Saugerties High School raised over $1,400.00 to provide financial support and prizes to our juniors. The P.T.S.A. also arranged for a karaoke machine and D.J. to be present, which the kids used all evening. We would like to offer a big round of thanks to Mr. Houtman for his generous donation of the use of his bowling alley, Sue’s Pizza for their donation of pizzas, DIG for their financial support, Party Express for supplying a D.J., and parental financial support. Many parents were kind enough to provide their time as chaperones to insure our juniors had a fun filled event.

It is certainly a very rewarding experience to be able to witness all the time, effort, donations and energy that go into both planning and actually making these events happen, by so many individuals, all for the sake and safety of our children. We thank everyone involved, and if we inadvertently missed anyone, we certainly do apologize.

Saugerties, you really do have a lot to be very proud of – your children and all those in our community to provide the caring and support that help our children to achieve all that they do.

Sue Whitaker, PTSA parent volunteer

Fred Hirsch, assistant principal


Community activist hospitalized

I want to inform you that community activist, Paul G. Fowler, of Saugerties, (The Fowler Advocacy) was hospitalized in serious condition, after he had a seizure, around 3 pm on Saturday, May 21. The Kingston Hospital is trying to regulate his heart. It has been out of control since the seizure. Apparently, he had a chemical reaction when he took two prescribed medications — Trazadone (for sleep) and Lexipro (for anxiety) simultaneously, a top of the current medical conditions he has been experiencing. Paul later underwent tests and an Angio.

I believe that many people of the community need to know about this information.

I contacted 911 after trying to aid him in his time of crisis. I want to thank the 911 operator who stayed on the phone with me until paramedics arrived. I want to thank the paramedics that came and took over the situation with speed and care. Mostly, I want to thank the chief of Saugerties Police and his officers for arriving at our home in a speedy fashion. They all showed compassion, understanding, and dedication to their service all in a timely manner. For it not be for the services of all these folks, I may have lost Paul forever.

As you well know, Paul has done many good things for the community, including but not limited to aiding the Ulster County SPCA in donation promotion (including hundreds of pounds of food to the animals), Reduction in the methadone take-homes (prevention of more children dying from drugs), identity theft prevention (actions to prevent this), and a willingness to proceed in making a difference for a better community around us. I would like those that know him and those who have yet to meet him to say a prayer. I know he would be honored to know so many are thinking of him and wishing him a speedy recovery.

Thank You Everyone.

Gail S. Ferris



Willy’s message

Come and celebrate with me and the Woodstock Little League on Thursday, June 2 at 6 p.m. and see the installation of my latest sculpture “Here Comes Summer,” courtesy of the Woodstock Little League.


The celebration will be in front of the TD Bank in Woodstock on 68 Mill Hill Rd.

If you own a copy of the book “The Cat in the Hat,” please bring it.

Hope to see you there!

Also, Happy 200th Anniversary Saugerties!

With a big thanks to the local supporters: John Mullen, Smith Hardware, Hudson Vally Desert Co ., The Center of Health, Saugerties Lumber Company and Bill & Danna Mayer (of McDonald’s).

Ze’ev Willy Neumann



Fracking nightmare

Many of us hold fond memories of the Nevele Hotel near Ellenville. Perhaps of childhood visits with grandparents or weekend breaks from our own kids. Soon it may be a source of our nightmares.

County court records show that one of the largest mining companies in China,

Xinjaing Daming, is interested in buying the Nevele if the DEC begins licensing

horizontal hydro-fracking for gas in NY. The property would support

several gas wells and each one would require 3-8 million gallons of fresh water

combined with thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals. Each would be loudly fracked with high pressure compressors emitting volatile organic compounds day and night. Each would mean up to a thousand tank truck trips on our country roads. Then, pipelines that the companies need to move the gas through our land was recently awarded eminent domain status by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

It would be a sad future for this formerly grand Catskill resort to be transformed into a landscape resembling the Jersey Turnpike at Elizabeth. This would also be a dangerous future for our public health as the Chinese company pumps toxic chemicals through our fragile water table. How ironic, since clean water and clean air is our most valuable local resource. How deceptive, since the gas commercials claim “domestic energy independence.”

Joan Walker-Wasylyk



Who is running this country?

Robert Bea is an engineer and former rig worker who has studied systems failures and is most familiar with drilling disasters. In an article in the July 3, 2010, issue of Science News he reviews categories of high-consequence accidents. He explains “I’ve worked on an Indonesian deepwater development, 10,000 feet deep. That operator, after two years of intense study of the risk involved, said that the reserve remains underdeveloped today because the technology is not there to prevent failures or to mitigate them.”

We are aware of the environmental hazards that accompany drilling options such as deepwater exploration and horizontal hydraulic fracturing. In spite of their risks the powerful oil and gas industry charges forward without concern for the environment or public health. What about a Congressional bill such as H.R. 1229: Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act or H.R. 1231: Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act? Don’t even ask about H.R. 1230.

Exactly who is running this country? The powerful oil and gas industry with their lobbyists, the politicians or us? It’s definitely not us. The only way to prevent being fracked is by creatively using our strong and informed voices to take back our power. Remember democracy is not a spectator sport. Become part of the growing environmental movement.

Rosalyn Cherry

New Paltz