This week’s letters (July 21-28)

Ignored by sheriff’s department

I had an incident this past Wednesday, 7-13-11, at my house in Saugerties between myself and the person renting my house where I needed the assistance of police. I called the Saugerties police and they told me that I need to call the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department , civil division. I called at 12:35 p.m. and got an automated phone answering service. I left a message on the secretary’s voicemail and the assistant sheriff’s voicemail.

The problem at my residence escalated so I called the sheriff’s department again, this time the criminal division. Once again, no one answered. I called the Saugerties police again, this time responding very quickly, sending a patrol car out to my house. Officer Croft arrived and handled the situation without incident. He was very professional and kind.

I had to call the Saugerties police back in the 1990s and they were just as responsive and caring as they are now. I want to thank the Saugerties Police Department for always being there when needed, responding in such a timely manner, and doing a fantastic job. However, four days after the incident, I am still waiting to hear from the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department! If someone from there is reading this, let everyone know I am OK and thanks for nothing. You should be ashamed of yourselves for not being there when needed and not even caring enough to return a call to make sure no one was hurt, or worse yet, dead. I can’t wait until it’s time to vote for a new sheriff because I sure won’t be voting for Sheriff PJ Van Blarcum. The safety of Ulster County residents doesn’t seem to be his priority.


Beckie Dershaw



Honest to a fault

It was so refreshing to read about Thomas E. Engel in the local daily paper last week. Engle is a private practice trial lawyer working in New York City. He says he has defended people and corporations accused of white collar crimes and Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement matters. He is experienced in civil litigation, like whistle-blower cases. I can only assume he is not defending the whistle-blowers!

Mr. Engel is thinking about running for Maurice Hinchey’s seat in the next election. He does come out and tell the public what he stands for, and what he wants to do if elected. This was very unusual for a politician. Engel said his philosophy on promoting job growth is less government, and he wants to scale back burdensome regulations and taxes. This will probably be more of the Clean Air and Water Act. This was already changed by Dick Cheney in, I think , 2005. After him saying all this, I would say that if this man gets into office, our water supplies will be in danger. Just an off the wall guess! He also went on to say that in Pennsylvania, the natural gas industry employs 141,000 people. Did not say if these people were all from the state of Pennsylvania or brought there by these gas companies. He also neglected to mention anything about the water supplies being contaminated from this fracking process. At least he did tell us exactly what he is for and how he would go about doing it, if he were elected. Maybe the Republican Party should not let this guy run. He is too honest to be a politician.

Barbara Terwilliger Ambrosano



Time for a change

Saugerties residents are relieved that the Town Board abandoned its plan to acquire Opus 40. Supervisor Helsmoortel issued a statement (on official town letterhead) that the decision wasn’t “political.” He abandons his unpopular plan, opposed by his Republican opponent, Kelly Myers, just a few months before Election Day and expects us to believe it’s not political?

Earlier this year, Helsmoortel spent $12,000 of town funds on Opus 40 without a Town Board vote. He later said this money was taken from his “discretionary fund” which, according to multiple town officials, doesn’t exist. This yet another example of the closed, secretive nature of Helsmoortel’s administration.

Saugerties is in serious need of change. When Helsmoortel took office over a decade ago, the town property tax levy (excluding special districts) was $3.9 million. Now, it’s $8 million. During his tenure, the average annual property tax increase is four times the rate of inflation! The town’s financial condition has worsened, as evidenced by a lower credit rating. Unfair property assessments have many Saugerties residents struggling to stay in their homes.

Kelly Myers has the experience and record of accomplishment to lead Saugerties in these difficult times. I’m confident that by Election Day, Saugerties residents will agree and elect Kelly as our next supervisor.

Joe Roberti

Chairman, Town of Saugerties Republican Committee


Adult-ed in Saugerties

I am writing to share with your readers some information about an innovative organization called Lifespring. For those of us who subscribe to the wise old saying, “Bloom where you are planted,” this group of smart, creative, and thoughtful people is like a good dose of Miracle-Gro!

Although there are many activities available here in the Hudson Valley for people who are retired, Lifespring, an adult learning community, provides a unique opportunity to engage with others while taking courses of substance: academic, artistic and personal. Classes meet on Tuesdays for six weeks in the fall and again in the spring—no grades, no homework—just an opportunity to learn about topics of interest in a supportive environment.

The offerings for the fall semester look very interesting….I’m going to register for hot topics in science, the history of jazz and a course on our atmospheric environment…or maybe I’ll start with T’ai Chi Chih, move on to dreams and end the day with a local history selection!

In addition, there are special presentations during the winter months and a film series to be held on Wednesdays. Thanks go to the town of Saugerties for its support, to Susan Puretz, Arzi McKeown, members of the board for their leadership and to all the volunteers who make this truly a member-driven organization. Registration for the fall term which starts on September 13 will end on Aug. 2. The membership fee is $60 for the year and people from the whole area are invited to become new members. For more information, list of fall classes, registration and membership information: People without internet access may request a catalog by calling (845) 246-2800 ext. 452.

Susan Davis



Successful meeting

Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel asked that the following letter from G. Jeffery Haber, executive director of the Association of Towns of New York State:

The 2011 Association of Towns/Office of the State Comptroller’s Local Government Finance Schools were, by all accounts, a success. Many attendees have taken the time to compliment us on the meeting. Simply stated, your willingness to volunteer your time and share your knowledge and expertise mad these training sessions more effective.

On behalf of the staff of the Association and its membership, I extend to you our sincerest thanks for helping us present these highly valued training sessions.As you well know, the issues related to local government finances are complex and dynamic. Without your assistance, it would be impossible to provide the necessary education and training that our Town officials need in order to provide quality governmental services to their constituents.

Thank you very much for your participation. I hope we have the opportunity to work together again to enrich the knowledge of our members.G.

Jeffery Haber

Executive Director


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There is one comment


    In response to BK complaint about the Sheriffs Dept, it has been my understanding that if someone needs the assistance of the police for any reason, we are to call 911. Then the closest police in the area will respond (town, sheriff or state).

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