Letters to the Editor – 12/15 to 12/21

Pantry Is Here For Us All

A place where people come together, select a 3-day supply of food, and join together with others in community. It’s the mission of the pantry to offer food to all who enter our pantry. As more and more of us join in volunteering at the pantry, we realize that we truly are all one and that none of us can go it alone.

Often the food supply in the pantry is precarious…there have been days when we felt like we didn’t even have enough food to make it through the day. At the end of a month recently, we had three banana boxes of food left. Whew!

The Good Neighbor Food Pantry is not alone in this struggle. Pantries everywhere are seeing more and more people each month. Food banks are being stretched beyond their limits.


We can’t give up. Not as long as hungry people come to our doors. So far, our pantry has been able to provide a three-day supply of food to everyone because of volunteers who drive to Latham weekly and return with their vehicles packed with fresh produce. Without the dedication of these people, we would have been in real trouble over this last year.

In the beginning, we offered the fresh produce because we were encouraged to by the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program nutritionists and other members of the food bank. Now, we offer the fresh produce because we know that the quality of the food is excellent and it is the best, least expensive way to feed a large number of people weekly.

Where would we be without the Castaldos, the Bakers, and the Foxes?  We would be in big trouble, that’s what. I ask you to offer these volunteers your kind wishes, prayers, and loving support. If you would like to send a check to the Good Neighbor Food Pantry to help defray costs, please mail it to P. O. Box 619, Woodstock, NY, 12498. Your tax deductible donation is greatly appreciated.

Peace and food for all

Thurman Greco



Responsible Onteora Solution

The Onteora Board of Education, along with its new Superintendent, needs to approve a plan that addresses the District’s pressing issues fairly and thoughtfully. The Princeton “bookend” plan does not. Closing one of the three elementary schools is now mandatory since it would create a significant fiscal improvement. Turning one of the two remaining elementary schools into a K-3 and the other into a 4-6 could be a viable plan if the transportation issues were resolved, something which may be impossible in a district with our geographical sprawl. Keeping both remaining elementary schools as K-6 is also workable and probably the easiest plan to implement right away.

The bookend plan should be rejected immediately. It appears to have been created for the sole purpose of keeping Phoenicia Elementary School open, regardless of the cost. It is abundantly clear that our district no longer has the enrollment to support three elementary schools. To force taxpayers, most of who do not even have children attending school, to pay for the luxury of a neighborhood school is a waste of money — a lot of money. In these difficult economic times, when people are having trouble putting food on the table or meeting their mortgage payments, the unnecessary expense of a third elementary school is irresponsible and self-serving. The School Board maintains that it could rent out the vacant school space and generate income to offset these costs. But, to expose our young children daily to security risks is disturbing, at best.

In the end, we should be working together towards a goal of a consolidated single K-5, a 6-8 Middle School and 9-12 High School — all on a single, centralized campus. We should be doing this in a way that minimizes the disruptions for all of the children, rather than putting a short-sighted solution in place for the next year or two and then subjecting our children to major upheavals and uncertainty all over again.

The Board and Superintendent need to weigh these problems carefully because of their far-reaching consequences and not rush rapidly to a bad decision. The informational meetings about the bookend plan began right before Thanksgiving. New options were only laid out after the long weekend and specific financial and logistical information that was requested has not even been released. The “public be heard” feels more like a “public be silent,” having been timed to coincide with all the holidays. Creating “forums” that are only a half-hour long prior to a Board meeting does not promote real discussion.   Reaching a thoughtful decision by mid-January, a deadline artificially created by the Board and Superintendent, does not seem feasible given the numerous unanswered questions put forward by the community. A more thoughtful, well-planned and fiscally responsible solution is necessary.

Wendy Wolfenson

West Shokan


Deal Breaker

So what just flew past our window from the three boys in Albany? What did they do to warrant all this back slapping, “bi-partisan” victory lap around the media boasting about changing life as we know it with a big deal tax package?

Okay, just think about that time at the beach when the big guy walked past your blanket looking like he had a really big package in that brief bathing suit. And it wasn’t until later — in the room — that you found out it was really a sock in his Speedo. Not that size is always the determinant, how you use what you have is always a factor. Well the “three boys in a room” have failed to provide a satisfactory climax yet again. Puny package and even lousier delivery.

The earth did not move, your life remains the same, your family finances are still in the toilet and the rich are still having multiple orgasms. The much-hyped Cuomo tax package gives you a couple of hundred — if you’re lucky — and won’t stop your property taxes from taking away a couple of thousand more. But I’ll give good odds that the increase from those making the biggest bucks will end up in corporate welfare and go to the CEO’s so they’ll get it all back again.

Like with the Godfather, if you want to know the supposed liberal pols and consultants who are bought and paid for by the mega rich, they’ll be the ones telling you they scored this deal for you. Sure they did. And it sucks.

Gioia Shebar



Fracking Fluid On The Roads

Perhaps the most egregious of human rights violations in the DEC’s hydrofracking agreement with the gas industry is their dSGEIS announcement to allow used hydrofracking flowback fluid as a cheap de-icer by New York towns and counties. Like the nuclear power industry, the waste produced needs a disposal solution. Many towns in New York already use this, presently Pennsylvanian, product for de-icing and dust control. See map and documents at this site: toxicstargeting.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/foil-hl-110718.pdf

Also at this site (doc#24) is a chemical analysis of the flow back fluid de-icer which reveals benzene and arsenic. It is contracted to local haulers and innocuously called “Brine.” The chemicals used to frack a horizontal well are labeled “hazardous” when they arrive at the site and yet magically labeled “industrial waste” when they flow back up the well bore The deep injection adds an extra treat, radium, many times more radioactive than ‘background’ radiation.

Jay Wenk has presented the Woodstock Town Board with a well designed resolution to prohibit the use of this material on Woodstock’s roads. After passed by the Woodstock Town Board, it can be a model for other towns and counties. Road use is still one of the few Home Rule municipal rights which have not been pre-empted by the State. This resolution, as they say, is a no brainer.

Joan Walker-Wasylyk



For more letters, see print edition.