Letters (Aug. 21–28)

mailA matter of fact

Donna Greco (“Fact checking the fact checker,” 7/31–8/7)claims she “exposed the fact that more Democrats than Republicans are receivers of entitlement funds and continue to vote to increase taxes on the middle class to support these programs.” Does she have a source for this assertion? Let’s see it! Greco repeatedly presents her opinions as facts such as the fact that “liberals must bully and vilify any view that is not their own.”

The English language is not up for grabs; “fact” means something that can be shown to be true. Not only are Greco’s assertions not facts — she cannot provide information to substantiate her assertions — they are blatant vilifications of Democrats, liberals and the poor who benefit from entitlement programs. I take personal offense.

I don’t think it is too much to ask that such letters be edited more carefully and that the word “fact” be used either for obvious facts, such as the force of gravity, or when used, substantiated. Otherwise, it should be called “opinion” so that any foolishness, or wisdom for that matter, such as Mr. Lopez’s columns about gun shows and trains loaded with explosive materials, can be attributed to the writer.


Meyer Rothberg
Didn’t hear about noise ordinance

It has come before our attention that the Town of Saugerties is considering a town-wide sound ordinance. If this is true, then the town, village or county needs to find better ways get this information to voters. We read it in, the between the lines, in the middle of a disagreement about the proposed ordinance. We found out about this, like the water meters, a slight blurb in I believe the Times.

Well, my wife and I live and have lived in Barclay Heights for 38 years. A plan for a noise ordinance is needed placed before voters so we can better understand it. Actually, We think a noise ordinance is needed, put together properly. You just can’t fit a thousand more cookies into a bag without expecting any crumbs. Barclay Heights is a densely populated part of Saugerties. A great deal of the vote comes from our area and the village.

Our position is to hold public hearings, now you’ll tell me you already have, so that we, the voters and residents can make an intelligent decision. We already have too much traffic in Barclay Heights.

Robert and Christine Aiello


Reminiscences of Robin Williams

In the winter of 1990, our United Methodist Church parsonage in Park Slope, Brooklyn was host to the film crew of “Awakenings,” the Columbia pictures film directed by Penny Marshall and starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. My husband, Rev. Finley Schaef, the pastor of the church, and I were delighted to share our home to the crew and cast for several weeks.

The tragic events of this past week of Robin Williams untimely and tragic death bring to mind several events surrounding the filming. In between filming scenes when cast and crew are required to wait for technical adjustments or scene changes, conversations took place in the living room and in the kitchen with Robin Williams. He was always “on,” always making jokes, always making us laugh. His imitation of our cat was perfect. In the midst of the laughs, serious conversations took place as well. Our church at the time was an adamant supporter for the people of Nicaragua and the struggles of the Sandinista government at war with the US-funded Contras. The day after the “Awakenings” filming was completed in our home, my husband left for Nicaragua to participate as an international observer to the Presidential elections in Nicaragua. The crew and the cast bid him farewell and bon voyage.

A week after the filming, a crew party was held at Robert De Niro’s restaurant in SoHo to celebrate the completion of the shoot. My clearest recollection of the evening was Robin Williams walking through the front door into the party. He walked straight in my direction because he wanted to ask me about my husband’s safety. He said, “Have you heard from your husband? Is he all right? The Contras haven’t gotten him, have they?” He immediately introduced me to his wife, telling her how wonderful it was that my husband was participating in this important event and how worried he was for Finley’s safety.

These are sad days that a man who made so many of us laugh and who gave so many people joy couldn’t find enough joy in his own life to stay with us.

It was a delight to have met him and to have him in our home. Rest in Peace Robin, or as our Nicaraguan vrothers and aisters would say, Robin Williams – Presenté!

Nancy E.K. Schaef


Don’t suffer in silence

I am writing to you with great sadness over the death of Robin Williams, comedian extraordinaire.

I think that Robin Williams can teach us something very important… even though he was funny and made everyone laugh there were things going on inside him that no one could see. Depression and anxiety are not always noticeable. In society, anything that has to do with “mental health” has a stigma attached to it. Yes, the stigma is not as powerful as it has been in past years. Especially as more celebrities come forward describing their internal struggles with anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. But, the judgment of people with a mental health disability is still apparent in today’s society. I can speak from experience when I talk about being in fear of judgment if someone knows what is going on inside of me. I have worked with many agencies in Ulster County to help me and my family overcome the challenges of living day to day with some of these disorders. Because of the many different agencies and programs that my family has worked with in Ulster Co. (Ulster Co. Mental Health, Kids Together Program, DSS, Nexis, MHA), I can write this letter feeling confident that sharing my personal struggles, can help someone else, who is suffering. I am a big advocate of mental health care and reducing the stigma that goes with “mental health anything.” Please help me to continue reducing that stigma by supporting mental health agencies and being an advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves.

I wish all of you out there who suffer with depression, anxiety and other disorders, to know that you are not alone. Don’t suffer in silence. Ask for help. Your life is so worth living!

RIP Robin Williams.

Amy Russell
West Hurley


Riccardi has experience for family court

Ulster County Democrats have an opportunity to vote on Primary Day, Sept. 9 for Family Court candidate Gilda Riccardi, who is by far the most experienced candidate for this important judgeship.

She is an experienced family law attorney with more than 26 years of experience serving for the past nine years as a law clerk for the honorable Anthony McGinty in Ulster County Family Court.

Prior to her appointment as law clerk, Gilda had a private practice in Ulster County specializing in the representation of children and litigants in family court in all areas including abuse/neglect, custody/visitation, juvenile delinquency, persons in need of supervision (PINS), paternity and family offense proceedings. She also has an extensive criminal law background, and was a former Manhattan prosecutor specializing in child abuse and felony narcotics cases.

In addition, Gilda is a registered nurse, and practiced as an RN for ten years prior to attending law school. Her medical knowledge is helpful in the abuse/neglect cases brought in family court, in addition to understanding issues of substance abuse and mental illness also at times before the court.

Riccardi has been appointed to the Family Court Judges Curriculum Committee, the Third Department Appellate Division Committee on Character and Fitness, and is the immediate Past-President of the Ulster County Bar Association.


She is also known among her peers, neighbors and friends for her generous volunteer spirit throughout her community where she works everyday to make a better place to live.

Please vote for Riccardi on Primary Day, Sept. 9. She is the only candidate with such notable experience and credentials that are very relevant to the position of family court judge.

Jo Galante Cicale


The proven choice for family court

There are four candidates running for the newly created Ulster County Family Court judgeship. All are decent people and good lawyers. But three have no judicial experience and one has only had experience with his home team from the property lawyers Melbourne office.

The fourth candidate, John Beisel, has served as the Ulster County Family Court support magistrate since November of 1998. Support magistrate is a New York State judicial position. He hears and decides cases involving child support, spousal support, arrears, nonpayment of shared medical bills, sharing of college costs, etc. It’s a tough job that requires accounting and judicial knowledge as well as patience and kindness. Support Court has a difficult schedule with hearings and appearances scheduled all day long, every week day, 52 weeks a year. As the sole Support magistrate in Ulster County, John hears and resolves approximately 3, 000 cases every year.

In 1998, John was originally appointed support magistrate by a Judicial Committee, comprised of then Family Court Judge Mary Work, Judge Marianne Mizel, and others, including supervising judges. He was reappointed three more times, in 2001, 2004 and 2009. That means that our current Family Court judges, the hon. Anthony McGinty and the honorable Marianne Mizel, one a Democrat and one a Republican, as well as the Office of Court Administration, approved of his skills, decisions, procedures and substantive results. That is a high recommendation of Magistrate Beisel’s work ethic, knowledge and conduct. He is the only candidate to have that extraordinary stamp of approval.

If the best predictor of the future is the past, then John Beisel will be an excellent, fair and hard working Family Court Judge. He has proven that to thousands of litigants and attorneys for 14 years. Please vote for John Beisel in the Democratic Primary Sept. 9 and again in the General Election on Nov. 4, 2014.

Andrea Moran