Letters, 4/12 – 4/18

Thank You Victoria

The Good Neighbor Food Pantry held its first Food for All Forum at the Community Center this last Friday. Victoria Langling was the emcee and facilitator and the event was really a wonderful success because of her efforts and involvement.

Victoria is living proof that the board of the Good Neighbor Food Pantry is a mystical, magical place. Over and over, when a job needs to be done, the correct person steps up to the plate, swings the bat, and hits a homer. I’ve worked on boards for years and I’ve never seen anything like it. Our board is made up of people whose talents are varied enough to enable us to do what we need to do to achieve success. This time it was Victoria’s turn and the job she did was spectacular.

As a result of Victoria’s expertise and efforts, we are now beginning the second step of a long journey aimed at meeting the needs of our community from now into the future. We have the food. What we need now is the means to continue to make the abundance that is in this country available to those who will continue to need it.


We are working on a strategic plan as well as various fund raising projects aimed at bringing in the resources necessary to move us forward toward this goal.

Would you like to be a part of this exciting time in the Good Neighbor Food Pantry?  You can. There are several ways to participate. Call 845-417-5535, or 845-901-3910 and volunteer for one of the fun projects we have planned. Donate money to help us meet our needs by sending a check made out to the Good Neighbor Food Pantry, P. O. Box 619, Woodstock, NY, 12498. To donate using your credit card, access the Internet and process your donation at: https://www.nycharities.org/donate/charitydonate.asp?ID=3419.

And, finally, you can assure our existence in the future by including The Good Neighbor Food Pantry in your will. Whichever way you choose, we thank you for your generosity.

Peace and food for all.

Thurman Greco



In Praise of Kevin Sweeney

Kevin Sweeney was a important person in Woodstock for a good number of decades. He held several Federal patents related to his long time Woodstock business, Simulaids, which manufactured manikins utilized in the training of rescue workers, firefighters, and first responders. Kevin had a sharp wit, and served both as a Town Board member and as Woodstock Town Justice. His mind was often focused on the good of the community, such as when he helped found the Rescue Squad. He was very active politically and many times donated the use of the Simulaids yard for Democratic lawn sales.

For eight years my wife Miriam and I published a biweekly newspaper, The Woodstock Journal, and, during our formative months, Kevin Sweeney allowed us to have our offices rent free in the old Simulaids house in Bearsville. He told me he’d always wanted to run a small town newspaper. We were always grateful for Kevin’s generosity.

He was a keen collector of Woodstock art, and often donated examples of his collection for fundraisers. For instance, Kevin provided excellent several early Woodstock pieces to a recent auction for the Woodstock Land Conservancy at the Fletcher Gallery.

And now Kevin Sweeney is gone. We shall miss his smiling face and often humorous remarks on varied subjects on the many occasions we encountered him at the post office or at public events such as political caucuses or art openings.

Ah, Kevin!

Ed Sanders



Physician Of The People

There are all kinds of bad doctors: those that infantilize patients, rush them out of the office, retaliate if they request second opinions, treat them like dehumanized “cases,” become irate when they ask questions; delegate interaction to technicians and nurses, refuse to see them in emergencies, and under-medicate their pain.

Unfortunately, few such doctors will ever lose their licenses or have charges brought against them. And yet this is happening to one who acts as a shining example of what medical practice can be.

Patient testimonials indicate that Dr. Longmore is affordable, available, dedicated, compassionate, competent, and respectful of clients’ uniqueness. No doubt he represents a “model doctor” from a patient’s point of view, or a “ Physician of the People.” Why, then, is he being removed from practice? I believe this issue affects much more than Dr. Longmore, his devoted clientele, or the town of Woodstock. His arrest and prosecution reflect the growing stigmatization, disempowerment and (yes, I will say it) terrorization of medical doctors who truly care about their patients. Why else would a dentist supportive of Longmore insist that his name not be printed in the paper? Why else the deafening silence from other doctors who watch one of their own being symbolically stripped and flogged at the modern pillory? Are they crouching in fear, whimpering “Thank God it isn’t me?”

Some physicians view patients as “the enemy” to be managed as efficiently as their diseases; as a result, impersonal and perfunctory (under) treatment has become acceptable. What is unacceptable is going too far to help patients, such as adapting fees to their pocketbooks or treating them at odd hours. Oh, yes — dare I forget? — and prescribing medicine when the client appears to need it, erring on the side of kindness rather than cruelty for pain-related diagnoses. (After all, research shows that pain causes additional medical conditions when untreated, disturbing not only the psyche but the corpus.)

A doctor like Longmore challenges the self- protective and profit-motivated paradigm of “care” we see too often today. Indeed, when his practice was halted the first time, he was forced to raise his fees as part of his “rehabilitation.” Yet he has consistently put his patients’ interests above his own. As a result he’s become a sacrificial lamb — an example to physicians near and far that true client-centered care will be dealt with firmly and swiftly. Any client who misused his compassion to get high will simply find another way; the majority of his patients, however, will be set adrift in the dark sea of “medicine as usual” to fend for themselves (or drown, if uninsured.) This is a disgrace — for all of us, patients and physicians alike.

Karen Rich



Pass No Brine Law

I urge the Ulster County Legislature to demonstrate strong opposition to the dangerous and ill-advised process known as “hydrofracking” in Ulster County and New York State by overwhelmingly, if not unanimously, approving Local Law No. 1 of 2012, known as the “Hydraulic Fracturing Brine Prohibition Act.” We residents of the Empire State need to send a muscular and coordinated message to the oil and gas industries, clearly stating that protection of our natural resources trumps their corporate greed. Until the oil and gas producers allow open scrutiny and enforceable regulation of their questionable methods and “proprietary” chemical solutions, they will remain unwelcome in Ulster County and New York State.

Gary Maurer