Letters (Feb. 13-20)

mailKarl Krause: Bridgebuilder

I have long known Karl Krause as a vital member of our community as well as a terrifically talented chocolatier. I also l met him a few years back as a neighbor when, venturing in the woods one day I saw him on an extraordinary bridge he had built single handedly over the Plattekill Creek which divides us. He was now uniting us.

His letter published in the Jan. 30 edition of Saugerties Times should be discussed in every history and civic course in our schools. It lays out a defense for owning assault weapons as a first amendment right, not only as a right, but as a necessity for preservation of our democratic freedoms, us against our government.

The cat is out of the bag. It is no longer just about killing wild animals, but killing people. With deep emotion Karl alludes to the ghosts of his relatives “in the mass graves of Nazi Germany.” Hitler, who was enthusiastically and democratically elected before he became dictator and mass executioner, picked his enemies incrementally, assuming correctly that the German people would support him with their own pet hatreds. First it was the Communists, then the gypsies, homosexuals, religious zealots and finally the Jews along with many other Germans and intellectuals who treasured their freedoms. The question remains: If all of these had been provided and trained with automatic rifles, machine guns, bazookas, grenade launchers and other weapons, would Germany have survived as a democracy?


If we arm ourselves to preserve our democracy through violence could we end up like Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan or Chechnya? Have we learned nothing from the vast suffering of our own Civil War? Does democracy require a periodic blood purging? Many people share these beliefs that guns are needed to protect our freedoms. I do not share those beliefs, but they should be discussed in the classroom. As crude, ineffective and prejudiced as democracy can be, I prefer ballots to bullets.

Barry Benepe


All pharmacies should ban tobacco sale

I commend CVS Corporation for the decision to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in its pharmacies later this year. As an early supporter of clean indoor air legislation (before it was popular) and Ulster County’s anti-tobacco education efforts, I applaud this courageous decision. Municipalities across the nation are passing laws to prevent the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. I urge Ulster County to look into adopting similar legislation.

CVS’s decision is significant because scientific studies show that reducing the availability of cigarettes lowers smoking rates. This is especially important because the rate of decline in smoking in young people has stagnated in recent years. Each day, 3,200 children under 18 will try a cigarette and 700 will go on to become smokers. This means 5.6 million children alive today will die prematurely from diseases related to smoking.

Recently, several health advocacy groups called on all levels of government to reduce smoking rates to under 10 percent in the next decade (it’s 18 percent now) and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke within five years. I encourage Ulster County to adopt these goals as a matter of policy. The efforts we make now to prevent/eliminate smoking will pay off in saved lives and tax dollars in the future.

Joe Roberti Jr.

The writer was Ulster County Legislator from 1996-2009 and is currently the chairman of the town’s Republican Party


Nowhere man

Republican committeeman and village Trustee Don Hackett’s attempt at saving the taxpayers’ money with his consolidated water plan is the same old story only this plan puts Hackett on a “magical mystery tour.” Hackett wants to take the idea to third graders? Quite simply, Republican committeeman and village Trustee Hackett simply shifts the burden of consolidation to the Glasco Water District. Hackett said he could do this by raising prices to the Glasco Water District residents while saving money for the Village Water District. Like the Beatles song, he’s a “Real Nowhere Man.”

Robert Aiello


Kudos to Highway Department

I would like to offer kudos and gratitude to the Town of Saugerties Highway road crew for their kind response during last week’s snowstorm.

After having a private plow come and plow my main road and driveway, the Saugerties plow came to do the road and inadvertently pushed snow back up to my driveway, blocking it. I called the Highway Department, and they were extremely polite and responsive, and within 30 minutes they came back, and unblocked the driveway.

I just wanted to say how much I appreciated this, and wanted to thank the Highway Department for their dedication and caring.

Pauline Delson


Nostalgic parade

I want to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Saugerties Mayor Bill Murphy, Police Chief Joseph A. Sinagra, and members of the Saugerties Police Department and Fire Department for their invaluable assistance in letting me parade the reborn Gumby and Pokey figures in the village during the past First Friday evening on Feb. 7.

Despite the short notice, the village officials extended their time and effort to make the event happen. It was very special that Main St. and Partition St. were closed, which gave the event a unique perspective to see the figures moving through the streets unobstructed and without traffic. It was also a delight to see the smiles and grins of the older folks and to touch their childhood memories of Gumby and Pokey and to share those memories in the company of their own children.

It was great to see Saugerties once again show its free spirit and openness to arts and culture. Thanks to all.

Ze’ev Willy Neumann