mail icon 2Where Are The Stars?

Imagine living in a futuristic world, shiny and metallic, no wild woods, no deer in the back yard. We all feel the impending losses, threats to water and air and living species. One major complete loss we now live with is the night sky as known by pre-industrial people everywhere. Now there are very few places on this planet where all the stars within visible range can actually be seen. This visible night sky is a wonder of spangling stars, far more than we in this beautiful Catskill region can even imagine; a road map to the ancient navigators. In a world consumed by virtual experience, there comes a decline in sensitivity to nature. As evidenced by climate change denial, it seems people are able to operate without thinking much about the natural environment.

I write this in response to our Bearsville neighbor’s letter to the editor of October 3, which brought to our attention the over-illumination of the new bank building on Mill Hill Road. While this is happening on a corporate level, there are many more cases of this unconstrained lighting even in our residential neighborhoods: interior lights blaring all night through large windows into neighbor’s yards, porch, driveway and property entrance lamps radiating in all directions, all veiling the night sky. For security? How about motion activated lights; and indoors, soft night lights through the sleeping hours.

I was glad to find an ally in this cause as I’ve been very concerned and have been aware of the Dark Sky initiative for a long time. Anyone else?


Roberta Sickler



Leftovers should not be kept in a refrigerator for an extended period of time since they may degrade and lose their value and quality; therefore, it would make sense to remove them and replace them with fresh commodities.

Howard Harris


Dark, Macabre Images

Happy Holidays to all those offended by Columbus or autumn. But isn’t it strange that the perpetually offended have no problem with Halloween? Doesn’t it make one wonder while Christmas and Easter have been banned from the public schools that the number one and indeed sole surviving holiday, or rather unholiday should be Halloween? “Peace on Earth,” replaced with “Boo!” Not that in its most innocent of expressions I have an innate problem with children dressing up as superheroes or fireman. But Halloween has never been simply an innocent affair. It has always had its darker side. Even as a young teen when we were too old to go trick-or-treating there was dough bags, toilet paper, eggs, and shaving cream. No street corner bells of charity, no caroling, no images of shepherds watching their sheep by night. Instead these have been replaced by dark, macabre images which seem to get darker and more graphic every year. Isn’t it strange that the mere presence of a star can intimidate our children yet we are expected to believe that these ghastly images are harmless and benign?

No matter how harmless Halloween is portrayed, its message, its symbols, it represents areas best not entered into and no pseudo-Christian façade or Fall Festival substitution can justify any participation in it. But unlike the intolerant politically correct police, I prefer these decisions be made by a reasonable appeal to the individual conscience and not banned by a maniacal band of government oligarchs. They’ve already done enough damage.

Jeffrey Mahoney
Hyde Park