Citizen, anti-fracking activist
With regard to Saugerties, what will be an important environmental issue in the coming year?
Hydrofracking in New York State. Although we’re not likely to see wellpads in Saugerties because we’re not above a rich area of the Marcellus Shale, the effect that hydrofracking could have on our community is huge. Traffic, air, potential water impacts. So the decision about whether New York State will permit fracking is coming up now so I think more and more people are aware of the potential dangers and of the misconception that it could bring such wealth. So I think that fight against fracking is going to ramp up. The governor may make the decision to permit and if he and the DEC do make the decision, there will be an enormous amount of protest, legally, individually, in the streets, and I think that will impact our town because I think a lot of people in Saugerties care a lot about the issues of clean water, clean air, the ability to control your own community.
Are there any important dates coming up?
What’s happening now is what they call the revised regulations. There’s a comment period that was going from Dec. 13 to Jan. 17 after which they could [choose to allow fracking]. There’s a health study that the state was sort of pushed into doing – not a very comprehensive health study – and that has not been completed yet, and yet they have already issued new regulations. A little backwards. So we don’t know when, but in the next couple of months we’ll be hearing something.
Fracking was the big environmental issue in 2012. Do you think it’s possible it will be an even bigger issue in 2013?
Yeah. Either one to celebrate or one to continue to fight.
Any other environmental issues on your radar for the coming year?
Broadly, I think people in Saugerties and in small communities throughout the country are realizing the importance of looking locally at food and at other resources. The issue of global warming and climate change certainly has impacted our community with the two hurricanes we experienced, which are likely to be connected to climate change. So people are growing their own food, community gardens are starting, people are looking more and more at local farmers, and I think that’s going to happen more.
Pastor, Saugerties Reformed Church
What will be the big story of the year?
I believe one of the big stories this year will be the response that we have as a society to the adversities of this past year. In light of Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook Elementary School, will we make a concerted effort to return to our core values? Will these recent tragedies serve as watershed events that will bring us closer to each other as a people, and strengthen our relationship with God? A great deal of conjecturing has cast widespread blame for the growing amount of violence and turmoil in this country. Are we ready to take significant steps towards being a more peaceful, caring, and faithful society? I believe we are. How these steps take shape in the coming year will be, in my belief, the big story.
The Reformed Church of Saugerties will continue to open its doors offering events and opportunities for people to grow closer to each other in our community. Our worship experiences have tied recent tragedies into the call that we are all given to be a people of faith, of hope, and of strength, who lift up those in need. Our commitment to children and youth is one that is intended to help nurture strong moral values and leadership skills that will serve them as they grow older. Mission work and caring for others is something we continue to instill at an early age. Currently, the children are completing a third world humanitarian project. The church is actively looking at this time for ways in which we can tangibly address the issue of violence in our own community.
Owner, Imogen Holloway Gallery
What do you see happening with First Fridays this year? We’ve talked about how they’re getting bigger each month, and the business owners in the village plan to continue hosting them – is there anything new planned for 2013?
I think First Fridays will host more street performance-oriented, impromptu and imaginative events this year, and pop-up gallery events [in which a person or group holds an art exhibit in an unoccupied space for a limited duration of time, hosting an opening reception and selling the works displayed].
What do you think is on the horizon in 2013 for the art scene in Saugerties?
I think you’ll see more guest curating of shows, with more galleries collaborating. I’ve invited three curators to my gallery for next year – one, Julie Torres, is bringing artists up in May from Open Studios in Brooklyn to install a 10-day show of artists from all over the world who have developed a serious community on Facebook. The old model of gallery-as-store is waning, and it’s more about each gallery being a place for the community of artists, admirers, buyers and the just-plain-curious to meet up. And the work will be about quality, not hype or glitter, but skillful work, honestly made.