Don’t change a thing
I would like to thank last week’s reader (Letter, “Get Real”) for clearly pointing out all of the reasons why I read the Saugerties Times every week.
I like reading that the people from Saugerties are “more talented” and “better at sports” than people from other towns. I believe this to be absolutely true. Saugerties is superior to all other places and people who proclaim this should be rewarded. Saugerties is a cool place to live and visit.
Yes, it is true that Saugerties contains the full spectrum of humanity. I welcome that in all of its manifestations – good and bad. Yes, there are drugs, gangs, prostitution, corruption and enough small-town secrets to fill 1000 Saugerties Times issues. And I would read all of those issues! We are a well-rounded town and village in the Hudson Valley/Catskill Region of the great state of New York.
Please continue to tell me of the grand opening of a silly unnecessary store. I will be there and I will frequent that local store as well. Continue to write about the mediocre life story of a random chump whose sole accomplishment is probably living next door to a granola munching reporter. I want to know all about that person.
Saugerties Times, you make me happy. Thursday is a true day of excitement for me because when I come home from work, I make the time to read this paper front to back, word for word every week since we moved here in December 2004. I even read the advertisements that appear without fail each issue. Don’t change a thing.
Mideast group silent on Syria
Where or where are letters to the editor by the members of the Middle East Crisis Response groupies? The Syrians are dying in their quest for freedom from dictator President Bashar Assad. No less a personage than U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has demanded that President Assad “stop killing his people.”
You would think that our local mouthpiece for justice, human rights and “an end to the US’s aggressive policies in the Middle East” would be vocal about the “immense amount of suffering and injustice” happening in Syria. But no, it seems that because it is happening in Syria, the organization cannot find any use for its screeds against Israel, so they remain quiet.
I guess they justify their silence with the rationale that they are a one topic focus group, and if they cannot rant about Israel, they just can’t be bothered to lend their voice to a true horror occurring in the Middle East.
So much for their moniker Middle East Crisis Response!
I write this letter with overwhelming gratitude to the people in our community for their magnificent response to our holiday drive. private individuals, businesses and their staffs, flooded The Washbourne House and Family Domestic Violence Services with an abundance of gifts, toys, food, and monetary donations. My staff and I feel so encouraged and revitalized knowing we are supported in our work by a close knit community of caring and generous individuals.
As Vince Lombardi once said: “Individual commitment to a group effort is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
On behalf of all the women and children who participate in our programs, we thank you for sharing with them the wonder of the season. We wish you joy and prosperity for the New Year.
Fracking just isn’t safe
Last Wednesday, fifty local NY residents attended an impromptu press conference and rally in front of the DEC Region #3 in New Paltz. On this very cold work day people showed up. They spoke of how their lives could be adversely affected by hydro-fracking, from health problems to job losses. One of the most poignant was from a young organic farmer who asked the question: Where will I go if I cannot farm in this state?
Do you hear us now?
As you know, last Wednesday was also the deadline to submit comments on the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Study (dSEGIS), which would form the basis for hydro-fracking regulations in New York State. There were 40,000 letters and emails sent through U.S.Mail and on DEC’s online form.
The gas and oil industry also responded expressing concern that these guidelines to frack are already too prohibitive to follow: they want them less restrictive. However, many believe that these guidelines are not strong enough.
A large majority of the comments you receive assert that fracking CANNOT be done safely despite all the regulations and oversight that Commissioner Martens plans. In addition, the DEC will never have enough staff to adequately ensure public safety.
The only way to solve this dilemma is to ban High Volume Horizontal Fracturing (HVHF) until the industry can come up with a safe way to extract the gas. Or better yet, offer renewable energy alternatives.
Do you hear us now?
Fracking will spoil our water forever
I’d like to share my comments to the DEC re: high pressure horizontal fracking here in New York. Thousands of others have commented, and I am hoping many more will send their thoughts in opposition to this grossly violent process to the governor, or call him at: 518-474-8390. Also, we can contact the President, Congressman Hinchey, and our Senators asking them to enforce the Clean Water Act, to reverse what Dick Cheney did during the Bush Administration. The White House phone number is 202-456-1111, and the House and Senate phone number is: 202-224-3121. Interested people can go to esopuscreekconvervancy.org, or frackfreecatskills.org, or foodandwaterwatch.org for info. Or watch the movie, Gasland. Or call: Esopus Creek Conservancy at 845-246-0664 if you do not have internet access.
Dear DEC: Regarding the dangers to life and our environment, (water is the basis of our life, along with the air and the soil) as well as the most basic and most profound, even sacred quality of life issues we are contemplating putting at risk, clearly, all the FACTS, and all the UNKNOWNS involved with high pressure horizontal hydraulic fracturing for natural gas will lead reasonable people to assess the risk as too high, by far, for the POTENTIAL benefits.
Re: costs and benefits, the people, including our official protectors of the environment, the DEC, have no reason to trust the gas and oil industries because in the recent past they have lied in order to do what they wanted in the way of destructive drilling. They have lied about their abilities to clean up a disaster, and they have lied about the actual safety of their operations. In the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere this resulted in disaster brought about by short-sighted business interests, supposedly doing what was good for us. It was clear, after it was TOO LATE that the people running those operations had no interest in the public good. They also lied about the amount of energy they would provide with their very high risk operations which resulted in so much destruction and death, including eleven workers killed at the site. And yet we are given information by that industry, supposedly how much shale there is, how much money it’s worth, how many jobs it will provide, and how independent it will make us from foreign providers of energy. The problem is these industry sources of information, which have perpetrated so much propaganda for so many months and years, have been allowed to fabricate the benefits and downplay the risks of this violent activity. Of course all they care about is their company profits, not the people, not the land/air/water, not our homes and our sacred values!
The one cost I wish to address is the simple, most basic fact that our water in New York, and in the Northeastern U.S., generally, is a precious resource. To poison our pristine water sources with known toxic chemicals, by the millions and billions of gallons is just not a reasonable or even a sane proposition. We the people, and you, at the DEC, representing us, must not allow this very violent, destructive, very controversial process to move forward in New York, and it should be banned from our entire nation, on the basis of the Clean Water Act. Of course, that essential law was conveniently and corruptly disengaged from this fracking process by Vice President Richard Cheney during his secret energy talks and the resulting policy in 2001 and forward. That must not stand. In New York, we must not let that stand.
How can the Clean Water Act be turned “off” with the most dangerous process we have ever actually contemplated for our pristine water resources? The answer is obvious: corruption and abuse of power, because of big money industries buying our elected leaders. As the special interests see it, the public interest, and the promotion of anything good, including jobs and energy and safety be damned as long as they get what they want. It is inexplicable and utterly irresponsible on a human level, but this is the way they behave.
There are a hundred reasons to reject (not to regulate, but to REJECT) this preposterous, violent proposal, but the only one I will address is the first and foremost, because it is the only one necessary to reject this sick plan, even if the media and some politicians seem to tell us it’s coming whether we like it or not. They may NOT poison our water and transform it into toxic waste.
Our energy can come from many sources, including clean sources like the sun and wind, and geothermal perhaps, and many others. But, we cannot replace our water, we cannot regain our health after it is destroyed by toxins and known carcinogens, we cannot replace the beauty of our natural world when it is ravaged and made into a nightmare landscape by polluting, conscienceless industries. To destroy New York and New Yorkers and our wildlife and air and water and soil would be truly unforgiveable and it would be final.
Thanks, Steve Aaron
In these hard economic times and because it is the beginning of a new year, I wanted to do something that many people do not bring to mind often enough: to count our blessings.
I am a “baby boomer” and like the tens of millions of “baby boomers” that will retire in the next few years, we will need safe, affordable housing where we can “age in place” and do so within our means. There is an epidemic shortage of senior housing with wait lists of one to two years! We seniors need somewhere to live besides our children’s homes or, God forbid, a nursing home!
Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones with a beautiful apartment at the Birches of Saugerties. I would like to commend Steve Aaron for having the foresight to build and continue to build these communities for our senior citizens. Job well done, Mr. Aaron!
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