This week’s letters (9/1-9/8)

Show what it means to be an Independent

I am pleased that Mike Harkavy, who is running for the Ulster County legislature in District 1, has forced a primary for the Independence party ballot line. He has already received the nominations of both the Democratic party and the Working Families party. It is about time that rank and file members have a voice in the selection of nominees for the Independence party.

The Independence party in Ulster County differs from both the Democratic and Republican party in the way nominees are chosen. The Independence party bosses select the nominees. There is no caucus where enrolled party members can hear candidates and make up their own minds. There is no county convention where candidates for the legislature and countywide offices can offer their qualifications and allow the party faithful to make a choice. Apparently those bosses are afraid to allow Independence party members a choice.

Harkavy has collected enough Independence Party members’ signatures to force a primary. He is bypassing the party bosses and giving rank and file Independence party members the choice they have been denied. Democracy is about being able to make a choice.


The primary election is on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Polls are open from 12 to 9 p.m. If you are a member of the Independence party, you can vote for Mike by writing Michael Harkavy in space 1E on the ballot. If you can’t get to the polls you can request an absentee ballot from the Ulster County Board of Elections at 334-5470 or Once received, write Michael Harkavy in space 1E and mail in the ballot. If you want to know more about Mike and what he stands for, take a look at his website:

While you are at it, write in Gregory Helsmoortel’s name for Supervisor and Darren Chuld for Highway Superintendent. Then mark the ballot for Leeanne Thornton and Fred Costello, Jr. for Town Council.

Voting in this primary is more than just selecting a candidate; it is about showing the Independence party bosses what independence is really about.

Donn Avallone



Truth or consequences

Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, is quoted in a June 6 article in the Hudson Valley Business Journal about hydrofracking the Marcellus Shale in New York: “The state must not continue to squander this once-in-a-generation opportunity by pandering to those who twist the facts, exaggerate the problems and scare the public into thinking that natural gas exploration is new or unsafe.”

Let’s simplify this. Mr. Gill is a fracker who believes that horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HHF) can be done safely with regulations and oversight. I am an anti-fracker who believes because HHF cannot be done safely even with regulations and oversight, it should be banned in New York State. We each have our own truth. We can each accuse the other of twisting the facts, exaggerating the problems and scaring the public.

Here is a perfect example. By a 47 to 42 percent margin, New York State voters like the economic benefits of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale more than they fear possible environmental concerns, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released August 11th. The frackers would be happy with these results which correspond to their truth. I am not happy and must ask why those polled do not understand the economic benefits being overrated and the environmental concerns being understated? Did they only hear the lies and half-truths of the frackers?

What does each side gain from having a version of the truth? The bottom line for the frackers representing the corporations is the profit for their shareholders. Regardless of the reality of the current correlations between HHF and water contamination (leading to illnesses of people, pets and farm animals), having regulations and oversight is enough to justify their moving forward to frack the Marcellus Shale.

The main concern of the anti-frackers is the risks to people, the environment and global warming. Long-time problems associated with HHF such as major spills including from pipelines or what to do with radioactive and toxic waste water from a fracked well have not been rectified. Regulations and oversight are not the answer. A ban on HHF would be the best deterrent for the disasters that accompany this form of drilling. There are overinflated expectations of jobs, which are usually short-term, low paying and part-time. Most communities experience a “boom and bust” cycle. There are no benefits to drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.

There is not enough space here to further explore the lies and half-truths of the frackers or the truth of the anti-frackers. Do your own research and look at both sides. Please note who sponsors a web site or paid for the research when there is scientific data to back up the information you find.

We are in a dangerous quandary. Two sets of facts. Unless the true facts as expressed by the anti-frackers take hold the consequences for the future of our environment, communities and public health will be catastrophic.

Rosalyn Cherry

New Paltz


Successful lighthouse festival

On behalf of the Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy, I would like to send out my warmest thanks for the generosity of the many great people who made our Between the Tides Festival a success. I am speaking of the restaurant owners who supplied us with the wonderful food, the musicians who entertained us all day, and the volunteers who, with their hard work, enabled us to see the day through smoothly.

Thank you: Arm-of-the-Sea, Cafe Mezzaluna, Cafe Tamayo, Emiliani’s, Fez, Formasano’s, Hudson Valley Dessert Co., Land & Sea, Lucky Chocolates, McDonald’s, Miss Lucy’s, Mother Earth, New World Home Cooking, Partition Street Wine Shop, Pizza Star, Stella’s Station, Stewart’s, Sue’s Pizza, Story Farms, Two Brothers Pizza, Danielle DeBellis and Friends, Rodger Henninger, Hillbilly Drifters, Paul Luke Band, Sasha Pearl, Josh Tyler, Zach Swart, and Saugerties Marina.

I would also like to express my appreciation to everyone who came out despite the rainy forecast. The storms may have moved in and around our path, but were surpassed by the good energy from all those who attended. Thank you.

Andrea Scheffel


Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy


Neighbors to the rescue

We want to say a huge thank you to all our neighbors on Hommelville Road for the spontaneous and amazing help we received when a 80-foot oak tree flattened our front porch during the tail end of the hurricane on Sunday evening. At 8 a.m. the following morning we had six neighbors with chainsaws buzzing and a dozen more neighbors pulling the limbs and branches out of our driveway.
We are so fortunate that we have the most generous and caring neighbors, who came to our aid without being asked. They barely hung around long enough to be thanked!
Please remember that your kindness will live forever in our hearts and be the good part of the story of Hurricane Irene. My road rocks!

Fiona Cottrell


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