Letters to the editor: Jan. 10, 2013

lttesquarePastors: Ban fracking

New York is debating the possibility hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), a method of natural gas exploration and extraction.

Recognizing that this issue is heavy with disputed studies, emotional issues, and economic aspirations, we, the undersigned, active and retired pastors of the Hudson Conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, stand with those who oppose fracking in our state.

Our opposition is based upon our church’s 1993 social statement “Caring for Creation” which states: “Human behavior may change through economic incentive, guilt about the past, or fear about the future. But as people of biblical faith, who live together in trust and hope, our primary motivation is the call to be God’s caregivers and to do justice.”


Convinced that water supplies, industrial safety, public health, and the people of neighboring states as well as New York are endangered by fracking, we firmly oppose it and call upon our elected officials to ban it in our state.

The Rev. Albert Ahlstrom

The Rev. Tobias Anderson

The Rev. Paul Britton

The Rev. Deborah DeWinter

The Rev. Betsy Diver

The Rev. Sonja Maclary

The Rev. Richard Mueller

The Rev. Dennis O’Rourke

The Rev. James Rowe

The Rev. Edward Schrieber

The Rev. Paul Walley

The Rev. Daniel Ward

Yoko Ono on fracking

In case you missed it, on Dec. 16, The New York Times ran an editorial extolling the potential economic gold rush, of the U.S. exporting oil, based on enormous extraction of shale gas, available due to new technologies.
Imagine this! The U.S., for decades has been despoiling the land, air and water of third world nations, so that we can use their mineral, and oil resources to power our economy and cars. In this new, nightmare economy of shale gas, we may now despoil our own land, water, and air so that we can provide oil to growing third-world nations.
We become the third-world country, degrading our land, air and water, to enable a growing middle class of Chinese and Indian citizens buy and drive more cars. These millions of new cars will, of course, be putting more carbon into the atmosphere.
What will be left of our country, as we squeeze the last drops of oil from Mother Earth?
The argument of the shale gas economists is that regulation can make fracking safe.
Yoko Ono, in her Dec. 26 Letter to the Times refutes this argument saying :
“There is no amount of regulation that can make fracking safe… “Cement in wells many thousands of feet under the earth cracks and leaks under the great pressure and temperature changes. No one can be sent thousands of feet under the earth to make repairs once this happens…” “Industry documents show that six percent leak immediately, and that 60 percent leak over time, poisoning water and putting powerful greenhouse gas methane into our atmosphere…” and “We need to develop truly clean energy, not dirty water created by fracking.”
We must send this message to our state, and federal officials, as well as to our media.
Mel Sadownick
West Hurley

WPA show in Albany

Until Jan. 20, a wonderful exhibit of paintings from the 1934 Public Works of Art Project of the WPA is worth seeing at the State Museum at Albany. I was thrilled to see so many beautiful representational paintings covering nature, people and industry. A number of Woodstock artists are included in the exhibit: Karl Fortess’s “Island Dock Yard at Kingston Point,” Harry Gottlieb’s “Filling the Icehouse,” Martha Levy’s “Winter Scene,” and Austen Mecklam’s “Engine House and Bunkers at Rondout.” It really is a stunning exhibit. I only wish all the proposals for ‘stimulus’ would include such a fine art project in our times. All the paintings were held by the Department of Labor, I assume for exhibit in public buildings, and transferred to the Smithsonian in the 1960s. It is wonderful to have them seen together here.

An amazingly talented group of our young theater artists is presenting an encore production of “Hair” at The Colony Cafe on Rock City Road in Woodstock on Friday January 11 and Saturday January 12 at 8 p.m. If you missed their November production, don’t miss this encore! The Castaway Players Theater Company, based in Saugerties and led by Sean Matthew Whiteford, will blow you away. Disclosure: my daughter Juda Leah is a member of the cast and stands out as the pregnant Jeanne. Seeing her in costume was quite a surprise to me. People still talk about her performance as Adelaide in “Guys & Dolls’, when she was 12. Now, at 25, she is awesome…but don’t take my word for it, see the show! Ticket prices are $20 for adults and $15 for children and seniors.
One final note, after reading the scathing review in last week’s Almanac of Les Miserables, I saw the film and the audience erupted in applause at the end. I never read such a long nit-picking complaining review. Anne Hathaway’s performance was heartbreaking. As for Hyde Park on the Hudson … I knew Daisy Suckley, she served me tea and cookies when I was making a big painting on her veranda at Wilderstein in 1982. I was disappointed that there were no Hudson River Valley scenes, and that Daisy was depicted as timid … she was not!
Happy New Year!
Robert Selkowitz

(Editor’s note: As a Hyde Park person and someone who likes movies, Hyde Park on the Hudson deeply pissed me off. It was a story sloppily told and full of out-and-out lies, unsubstantiated allegations trotted out as truth and numerous other cinematic and artistic sins. It was an insult and a slander to my hometown, our region and two of the greatest Americans who ever lived. Seeing it would not only be a waste of your time and money, it would be borderline immoral. All copies should be yanked from theaters immediately and shipped back to Britain, along with a giant crate of dung as a symbol of protest.)