More public transportation needed
Thank you for that inspiring article on Cliff Burley. And let me echo his remark that the “biggest issue Saugerties has to address” is transportation for “people who don’t drive” like him — and like me. I’m 88 and eager to go some place beside the malls. This may, of course, not be Saugerties’ biggest issue, but it matters, I am sure, to lots of people. Why not some sort of culture bus or a sign-up sheet at the library of folks who want to go to Woodstock or even across the river?
Ulster bottling plant a county-wide concern
I am writing in response to the announcement that the city of Kingston is contemplating a water contract with the Niagara Water Bottling Co. to draw nearly 2 million gallons of water a day from the Kingston water source at Cooper Lake. The bottling plant will be located in the Town of Ulster. This issue of drawing millions of gallons of a precious and limited resource must be aired and discussed as a county-wide issue. It is not an issue for just the city of Kingston nor the town of Ulster. If there are water problems for the city of Kingston, then other towns will need to come to its citizens aid. The SEQRA process must take into account and address the problems that may arise if Kingston becomes water poor.
Remember, water is not limitless although we treat it as though it is. We need only look to the West Coast and now even the Midwest to see the perils of droughts. Then, if we can force ourselves to look beyond our own small boundaries, we certainly must realize that water is the new gold premium globally.
Nothing less than a county-wide review involving all stakeholders must be undertaken before this process is completed.
Jo Galante Cicale
Senate must pass non-profit tax break bill
The Senate has an opportunity to provide a powerful boost to charitable organizations such as Family of Woodstock, Inc. and Mohonk Preserve, agencies working to improve lives and strengthen communities here in the Mid-Hudson Valley and across the country.
In July, the House approved the America Gives More Act, landmark legislation that would make three major charitable giving incentives permanent and reliable for donors. Since their inception nearly a decade ago, these three provisions have spurred contributions for programs ranging from health and human services to land conservation.
Up until now, these provisions have been repeatedly extended on a short-term, often erratic basis that limits their impact, as donors cannot consistently rely on the certainty of receiving tax benefits for their contributions.
The IRA charitable rollover encourages older Americans to make gifts to charities by allowing retirees to donate up to $100,000 to a qualified public charity directly from their IRAs without incurring tax on the withdrawal. This provision has prompted hundreds of millions of dollars in giving to further the work of social service providers, conservation organizations, and other nonprofits.
The enhanced deduction for donations of food provides a strong incentive. In the last recession, we saw the demands on the food pantries increase as much as 60 percent. This expanded incentive has been vital in the years since it was established.
The enhanced deduction for donations of land conservation easements encourages land owners to permanently retire development rights to their property to protect and preserve significant natural and agricultural land resources. These easements are cost-effective, voluntary, and must meet public benefit criteria, and the enhanced deduction makes it possible for modest-income farmers, ranchers and other property owners to make such gifts.
Here in the Mid-Hudson Valley, these provisions help Family provide services including shelters, emergency food pantries, court advocates, counseling and case management services, emergency hotlines, and child care support. And through charitable contributions, Mohonk Preserve is able to permanently protect 8,000 acres of the Shawangunk Ridge for the public, providing recreational and learning opportunities in nature for over 165,000 children and adults each year and conducting programs in environmental education, conservation science and land protection and stewardship. If the Senate votes to make these giving incentives permanent, the impact on our missions—and the benefit to those we serve and to our communities—will be even greater.
Despite their popular support and significant impact in our communities, all of the important provisions in this bill are now, for the fourth time in recent years, expired because of the inability of Congress to pass a short-term extension at the end of last year. Because of the tremendous uncertainty this has caused and now continues to cause for donors, donations are now being deferred and may well be permanently lost.
The greatest impact is being felt by individuals and families in the Mid-Hudson Valley who benefit from critical services of our charitable organizations. Food donations from restaurants, farms and small retailers, for example, have dropped dramatically because it is often more cost-effective to dump their extra food in a landfill than donate it to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. The conservation easements, which currently protect thousands of acres of open space in our region, could be seriously curtailed without this charitable incentive.
Action must be taken by Congress to make these incentives permanent. Doing so would have a significant and positive impact on individuals and families in the Mid-Hudson Valley and every community who benefit from the programs and services provided by charitable organizations. We applaud U.S. representatives Chris Gibson and Sean Patrick Maloney, who voted for the America Gives More Act and urge senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to do the same.
Michael Berg and Glenn Hoagland
Executive directors of Family of Woodstock
and Mohonk Preserve
Lighthouse auction success
The Shine on Saugerties Gala was held at SPAF Saturday September 20, 2014 was a successful, fun evening. Thanks to those who attended and those who purchased the lighthouses and other auctioned items. We owe much thanks to the following volunteers: Erica Krom and the Sawyer Savings group, Gerard and Erica Price and the staff of SPAF, Todd Boyle for the music, Sue and Victor Sachar for the flower arrangements and general help, Richard Walker, Jamie Fine, the two Mikes–Harkavy and Saporito, Barbara Budik’s family, Marcia and Bruce Corwin, Michael Gill, Stella Jurofcik, Andrea Cunliffe, Sawyer Motor staff. Thanks to the following for donations: Rae Stang– Lucky Chocolates, Hazel Sherburne– Dancing Tulip, Peggy Schwartz– Town and Country Liquors, Bob Siracusano– Sawyer Motors, Barbara and Alex Kveton, Barbara Pokras and Bob Malkin–The Waterfall House and Streamside Cottege. Thanks to all the participating artists and sponsors. Thanks to Gus Pedersen for building the lighthouses. Thanks to DPW for setting up and transporting the lighthouses. Thanks all!
Shine on Saugerties Committee
Saugerties Chamber of Commerce