Letters (May 10 – May 17)

Yes on school budget

I am voting yes for the proposed school budget vote on Tuesday, May 15. I am voting yes for my kids and for all of Saugerties’ kids, for the teachers who work hard every day, for the support staff, for the custodial staff and administrators. I am voting yes because the additional $600,000-plus in cuts that would have to be made if this budget should go down are too deep. I am voting yes, knowing that taxes are high and that the School Board and administration are working with a system that they did not create. I am voting yes and I am writing my representatives. I am writing the governor because this is a crisis and we need strong schools and strong communities that support them. We do not need communities that are divided and start to resent schools and teachers due to an unsustainable tax system.

I am voting yes because my vote has an impact.

Beth Humphrey



Education at stake

We need to see a resurgence of that spirit from 2009/2010 when our district went into a financial crisis.


Remember the days of SLAM when we gathered together at Opus 40 and celebrated music? And when our sports program was in jeopardy – we rallied. Thanks to our community, sports, music, art and library did not become a memory. Times were harsh but we did what was right; organized and supported our programs in our schools. It’s what we value.

Well, it’s that time of year again when the fate of our four elementary schools and junior/senior high rests in our hands – literally.

What’s at stake in 2012? Four teaching positions of an already-reduced staff, five teacher’s assistants, equipment, some sports, advanced placement — just the usual — the education of our children! $400,000 – $600,000 will be cut if the budget is voted down.

We came together to build playgrounds and gardens. Let’s come together to maintain our children’s education. It’s what we value.

On May 15 we need to come out and support our schools. Please vote YES!

Katie Cokinos

Jennifer Mangione



Protect historic streetscape

The recently enlarged diner on Main Street has trespassed on a village street and state highway by destroying the tree lawn and eliminating the stone curb. While not as bad as the conditions on Partition Street adjacent to Smith Hardware, Dallas Hot Wieners and the Village Hall itself, this is a continuation of the same erosion of our unique village character. This character is defined by the historic stone sidewalks, tree lawns, street shade trees and stone curbs. When all of this is buried under asphalt we not only lose curbside parking spaces and safe places for people, including children and seniors, to walk in the shade, but we lose what makes the village so attractive for residents, shoppers and people doing business there. The Village Board must act now to make sure that we not only have effective laws and regulations in place, but that they are enforced. After all, asphalting over a public tree lawn is no different than asphalting your neighbor’s front lawn.

Barry Benepe



Nice homecoming

I would like to thank everyone who helped make my visit back to Saugerties agreeable. It was interesting to see new buildings but comforting to see that the essential look of the community remains the same. I noticed some physical changes in my friends and family which seemed to have kept pace with my own.

I would like to thank the Saugerties Public Library for allowing me to do a reading in their beautiful, new facility and Tina for her help in getting ready. I would also like to thank the Inquiring Mind Book Store and Cafe for allowing me to read from my book plus sell and autograph copies in their comfy store. Thank you Christine for all your efforts in making sure the event went off well. I would like to thank Sharyn Flanagan and the Saugerties Times for the well-written article about my book and the two events.

If anyone could not make either event and would like to obtain the book, I left three signed copies at the book store and when those are gone, their staff can help anyone order one from the publisher.

If someone missed the publicity and the events and would like to know more about my book, they may do so by going to my website at www.richrockwood.com.

So nice to see so many friends again.

Rich Rockwood



Lyme disease education effort

I write as chairman of the Ulster County Health Department and the Lyme Disease Advisory Committee. We know that Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. Lyme has become a highly charged medical debate in terms of manifestation, types and term of treatment, and primary and secondary modes of transmission, but to date no human studies have been conducted to challenge or debate these important medical questions.

As in any or most diseases, the primary and underlying mode of prevention is through education of the public. What is beginning to take shape is the same need to have physicians unite to evaluate the feasibility of creating a national uniform reporting system including required reporting by laboratories in each state.

Such activities would include the provision and promotion of access to a comprehensive up-to-date clearinghouse of peer-reviewed information about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Our committee hopes to develop community-based education programs from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to include expansion of information access points to the public. Importantly as such, the creation of a physician education program that includes the full spectrum of scientific research, as well as additional alternative treatments related to Lyme.

We would also like to see the development of sensitive and more accurate diagnostic tools and tests, including a direct detection test for Lyme disease capable of distinguishing active infection from past infection. We are currently developing a Lyme disease electronic folder to provide additional information vital to the public and will soon announce where and how we can provide this information to you.

Robert Aiello

Ulster County legislator