Letters to the Editor – 9/22 to 9/28

Help Cats Get Home

I have seen around town an abundance of lost cat notices in recent weeks. Some of the disappearances are related to Hurricane Irene, others not. Our cat Lilian has been gone for more than a month.

Woodstockers are wonderful caretakers of stray cats and will often leave out food or informally adopt them. If you are taking care of a cat that isn’t yours, be aware that many cats have microchips in them that allow vets and shelters to locate their owners. Please take the trouble to take the cat to a vet to see if he or she has a microchip and the family can be identified. Also consider putting an ad in the paper, and certainly take the trouble to look through the lost pet classifieds.

My heart goes out to families who, like ours, have lost pets. I thank those who care for stray animals in need. Just please take a bit of extra effort to get them back home!


Lisa Phillips Mead



Gem Show Success

The 42nd annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show happened at the Dutchess Fairgrounds this past weekend. About 1800 attended what was one of the better shows presented by the rock club I belong to, the MHVGMS which meets monthly in Poughkeepsie. The fossil exhibits were outstanding and on a par with really big gem shows around the globe.

Education is one of the main purposes of our not for profit club. Many of the members are geologists and professors and often give lectures at monthly meetings. One of the things I learned from this show was that New York State is very rich in ancient fossils and there was ample and impressive evidence being exhibited. The NYS Natural History

Museum presented fine examples from its collections.

The $5 adult admission pays the fair gounds and helps the club pay its rent for the year. It’s one of the best deals going for family fun and learning. I worked the gate and heard many say they come every year and also heard them rave about the show as they left, treasures in hand.

John Jordan



Trying To Fix Radio

I have read all the comments here about the lack of radio information during hurricane Irene with a sense of irony and frustration. Since 2007 Birds of a Feather Media, boafm.org, has applied to the FCC for an all volunteer Non-Commercial Educational FM Radio License to serve this area. The first time we applied the FCC gave that license to Bard College in 2009. Bard still hasn’t started broadcasting. BOAFM applied again in 2010 for 102.5 FM and this time we were successful. We hope to begin broadcasting late spring of 2012 with a signal from Wappinger’s Falls to north of Saugerties, from a tower in Esopus. The station will be located in Woodstock.

One of BOAFM’s prime missions is to broadcast emergency information during blackouts, floods or other natural or man made disasters. During such times of community need, BOAFM pledges to suspend programming and will seek out local officials or authorities to provide the public of the mid Hudson Valley and eastern Catskills the information and live companionship we need, deserve and demand. Our radio station will have state of the art backup power and solid land lines to reach the authorities and take listener calls. We’ll even have backup two way radios if things get worse.

BOAFM has existed since 2002 for this purpose, but the FCC made no licenses available until 2007 and 2010. We wish we had been able to help the public during this time of need. Jerry Gillman, who started WDST, waited almost ten years to get his license as well. As for WDST today, it did broadcast emergency announcements instead of its concert announcements. If Gary Chetkof wants to play his John Mayer of Dido and legacy rock in a disaster area, the I guess it really is Radio Woodstock. WDST plays its rock in the middle of a mudslide, just like the real won in Bethel in 1969. And the 1996 telecom act makes it legal. If a broadcaster had the sensibility and resources to do emergency radio, they would have done so during Irene, as many of our area stations did. We can’t force our sense of responsibility on those who believe in trying to maintain a sense of normality. Let WDST be what it is and let’s hope that we never have another disaster like Irene and that our next emergency isn’t until long after BOAFM gets our community radio station on the air to serve this need.

Randi Steele, CEO, BOAFM



Jackie Earley Not For Town Clerk

In late June 2010 I called Jackie Earley about a marriage license. She insisted both of us be present. My husband was so ill he could not stand up. He went anyway.

Mrs. Early rejected my husband’s birth certificate because it didn’t list his parents’ names. They had been dead for close to 50 years. My husband was 70 and I was 67.

I explained he was dying. She coldly suggested we go elsewhere, Kingston or Shandaken or apply for a new Birth certificate with all names. I pleaded with her that there was no time. “She said ‘I can’t help you,’ and walked away. I admit I yelled at her. There was a witness sitting near the counter. She looked mortified at Mrs. Earley’s callousness. The next morning my husband was rushed to Kingston hospital. We obtained a Marriage License at Kingston City Hall using the exact same birth certificate. Kingston City employees Mimi and Pat were compassionate, understanding. Pat went to my husband’s hospital room for his signature. They helped us find a minister who married us in the hospital, easing the pain caused by Mrs. Earley just days before.

I haven’t found anything in State, County or Town law that mandates parents’ names must appear on a Birth Certificate. Many Town Clerks, routinely go to a house or hospital when there is a physical incapacity. Requirements in this county should be uniform.

Mrs. Earley treated us with gross disrespect and total lack of courtesy and disregard for human compassion. She represents the “face” of Woodstock whose job entails dealing with the public every day. Since Woodstock is known as the town of “Peace and Love” cordiality and compassion should emanate from Town Hall. I am not the only person who has come up against Jackie Earley’s “bad” side. My husband lived in Woodstock over 35 years, paying taxes for the salaries, benefits and services of Town employees. I wish there were other candidates on the ballot because I do not feel Mrs. Earley is suited to this office. And competition encourages excellence.

Please vote against the initiative on the ballot to extend the town clerk’s term to four years from the current two. Term limits provide more opportunity to find candidates who have the right personality, know who pays their salaries and benefits and what “Civil Servant” means — be “Civil” and “Serve.” Perhaps next year the Democrats and the Republicans will find more candidates so there is real choice available to those of us who live and pay taxes here.

Karen Altschul-Kingsley