As reported in the Woodstock Times on December 21, 2013, Ulster County legislators are backing a state law that would allow utility customers to opt out of having so-called “smart meters” installed on their homes. It’s a good move that should go farther. These meters are not a step toward building the “smart grid” that will one day help us save energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. More sophisticated technology is needed for this, technology that will allow each household to control its own energy use, feed solar or wind or geothermal energy back into the grid, and use its electrical storage capacity to help balance the overall system load. This technology, still under development, does not need to be wireless, and the data will stop at the door. All the current “smart meters” do is put meter-readers out of work, threaten our health, and allow private companies to intrude on our privacy. They ought to be rejected altogether.
Susan H. Gillespie, Citizens for Local Power
According to the American Cancer Society tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in New York State, taking more than 25,000 lives prematurely every year. Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer, contributing to 80 percent of lung cancer deaths in women and 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in men. Quitting smoking is the single most important step you can take to reduce your risk of cancer. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases and those who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely to die from smoking-related illness. Research done by the National Cancer Institute has shown that quitting by age 30 reduces a person’s risk of dying due to a smoking-related disease by more than 90 percent and quitting by age 50 reduces a person’s risk of dying prematurely by 50 percent. If you smoke, do something special for yourself and your family. Quit today! For help in quitting talk to your doctor and call the New York State Smoker’s Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit their website at www.nysmokefree.com
A happy and healthy 2014 to all!
Theresa Miller, Director
Tri-County Cessation Center
They Will Take Your Guns
Are gun owners paranoid? Evidently not. The latest outrage to be forced upon the law abiding gun owners of New York City: A letter has been sent to gun owners who registered firearms in New York City, stating that any rifle or shotgun which can hold more than five rounds has to be surrendered, or modified. A copy of such a letter was posted online listing two .22 rimfire bolt action rifles which fall under this new law, including one Olympic Biathlon Training rifle. These are low powered rifles that are usually used for short range target shooting, or squirrel hunting, not “assault rifles.” This gun owner complied with the registration requirement years ago, and now the idiots in the New York City Council decided that maybe gangbangers do drive-by shootings with .22 rimfire target rifles, and need to be stopped. Really? I believe that the Biathlon course of fire is 10 timed shots at 50 meters with a non-semiauto rifle, so any Olympic shooters training in New York City are now law breakers. And these are not highpower “assault” rifles; these are $1000+ highly tuned target rifles, the same caliber the Boy Scouts shoot.
So what’s the lesson to be learned from this? It appears to be that no matter what the anti-gun politicians tell you, registration will sooner or later lead to confiscation. All they have to do is change the permitted types of rifles or shotguns, on any whim of the legislature, and you are a law breaker. No matter that no criminal would stoop so low as to use a .22 rifle for gang shootings, and no matter that you complied with the law by registering the weapons in the first place, they will sooner or later take your guns. Convicted felons, by the way, cannot be prosecuted for not registering their guns, under a court ruling, because a defense attorney has successfully argued that that would be self-incrimination
You can file the claim “we’re not going to take away your guns” in the same circular file that has “you can keep your insurance plan and doctor” claim. Total BS! If you are a gun owner, you should be petitioning for repeal of the NY SAFE act, as well as the new New York City regulations. Speak up now! Remember, these gun laws never work on criminals, so they keep on passing tighter ones!
Farm Deal Presents Opportunities
The December 20th announcement of the $13 million purchase of the 1,255-acre Gill Farm by the NoVo Foundation through the Local Economies Project (LEP) to create the largest agricultural incubator in the US offers exciting environmental and economic possibilities to promote sustainable agriculture in the Mid-Hudson Region and beyond. The planned “Farm Hub,” which will be coordinated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County (CCE) and Green Acres, LLC, is also like to attract additional investment into the area for the incubator and for related activities.
Besides growing some of the best sweet corn and other produce in the region, Jack Gill has been a staunch supporter of the Rosendale Farmers’ Market, for which we are very grateful. We are glad to learn that the Farm Stand on Route 209 will remain open, and hope that CCE and LEP will continue to support Rosendale and other area Farmers’ Markets.
The sale of the Gill Farm for this initiative highlights both the threats farmers face (which are driving more and more of them to sell their farms), and the vital importance of supporting new models and methods of sustainable local agriculture. Many area farms and orchards, which were devastated by tropical storms and hurricanes, Irene, Lee and Sandy, are still having a hard time recovering. In addition to promoting economic viability and environmental stewardship, the project will need to help develop resiliency plans for area farms, orchards and vineyards — and ultimately promote national farm insurance for such disasters.
This project also presents important opportunities to help preserve and strengthen existing agriculture — something we can all do by buying local. Our farms, which provide food security and beautiful landscapes, which promote ecotourism, are vital to our local economy and are all moving toward increasingly sustainable practices over time. An important example in the Rondout Valley is the Stone Ridge Orchard, a 117-acre legacy orchard, located only a few miles from Gill Farm, whose goal is to become a model fruit farm and cidery — showcasing not just agriculture, including beekeeping, but also solar energy and in the respect and caring they have for their farm workers. Educational and cultural activities and events will serve the community while further promoting public awareness.
Apple farming has long been a staple of mid-Hudson Valley agriculture. The region’s increasing prominence as a leading place for sustainable agriculture should be expanded to include successful small-scale fruit-growing. Orchard owner, Elizabeth Ryan is a well-known and respected area grower, whose history of involvement in forward-looking agricultural enterprise includes having been a co-founder of the New York Greenmarkets. Elizabeth has been closely consulted on the development of the Gill Farms project.
Finally, I hope the new Farm Hub Incubator will partner cooperatively with the Rondout Valley and other Growers Associations and with the Glynwood Center agricultural incubator located at Brook Farm on Mohonk Preserve, and that the Brook Farm CSA will have a welcome place in this constellation promoting sustainable agriculture in our region.
Manna Jo Greene, Ulster County Legislator-Elect
To the 911 operator who got all the information right, despite the fact that I was slightly hysterical.
To all the volunteer firemen, with a special shout-out to the guy who arrived with a fire extinguisher scant seconds after I got out of the house, and put out the fire in my water heater instantly. (I am definitely going to get a working fire extinguisher!)
To the fire trucks, EMTs and police who backed him up barely a minute later.
To all my friends and neighbors who came running and offered their showers for the duration.
As wonderful a place as Woodstock is to live in the good times, it truly shines when things go south — even on Christmas Eve.
Thank you all!
Just because one thinks they know what they are doing does not mean what they are doing is being done correctly.
These days (if not from the beginning?) fame and ‘beauty’ are very ugly and very deadly; and money kills anything that moves way before a neutron-bomb applies the finishing touches. Just look at what happened to Woodstock, the pace of decomposition quickening like a morbid nightmare after Ralph Whitehead and aesthetic dreamers of his ilk started scouring the hills for prime real-estate…