Apathy has raised its ugly head again in Saugerties. Only a little over 2,000 people could be bothered to vote for the school budget and school board members again! That’s less than 10 percent of our population. The single greatest cost for our residents, school taxes, and almost nobody cared. The single greatest benefit to our community, great schools, and almost nobody cared. Oh well! Those that voted deserve what they get. Those that didn’t vote get what they deserve.
Teachers, district employees give back
The Saugerties Teachers’ Association (STA) and Saugerties Educational Support Association (SESA) have collaborated and collected throughout the school year to raise money for local families and organizations in our community. Through various collections and donations, our units have been able to assist local families and support organizations in Ulster County, which have a direct impact among our families.
September: $832 donated to a Cahill family to assist with a child’s medical bills.
October: $921 donated to a Breast Cancer group at Benedictine to provide mammograms for local women.
November: $572 donated to Council of Churches for local children to receive Christmas presents.
December: $781 donated to a former student who is living with ALS.
January: $676 donated to a family in the Grant D. Morse area who lost their home in a fire.
February: $1,715 to assist a Morse family whose parent suddenly passed away.
March: $629 donated to a Morse family member to assist with medical bills.
April: $607 donated to a former student (whose children are in the district) to help with medical expenses. $500 donated to The Saugerties Public Library to help fund their summer reading program.
May: We are now collecting for the Summer Recreation program to enable Saugerties students in need of money to attend summer field trips.
In the fall and spring all schools held a tailgate food drive the morning following parent teacher conference night with donations going to the local food pantry as well as Council of Churches. When asked what we do for a living, we make a difference not only in our classrooms but our community as well.
On Saturday, May 9, volunteers came out to clean up the shoreline of the lower Esopus Creek from the dam out to Hudson and parts of the Saugerties Bay by kayak. Over 600 pounds of garbage was retrieved and brought back to Tina Chorvas Park by towing kayaks full of garbage from these inaccessible shores. Catch of the day — 11 large bags of garbage, lots of blue marine Styrofoam, numerous large pieces of metal, a sink, two bikes, half a television and a car bumper. The water entrance into our Saugerties Community is looking good once again!
Thanks to the Saugerties Power Boat Association and the folks at Cantine Island for access to their grounds. Thanks to the village of Saugerties for allowing us to use Tina Chorvas Park and for picking up our bounty of trash. Thank you Saugerties Times for publishing our request for volunteers and a big thanks to the volunteers who donated their time, expertise and equipment to make a difference in the health and beauty of our waterways. Our Saugerties/I Paddle New York contingent was part of a team of over 2,000 volunteers at over 100 events from Manhattan to Albany that removed over 40 tons of garbage from the shorelines of the Hudson River and its tributaries for Riverkeeper Sweep 2015.
I Paddle New York
Thoughts on economic development
After the recent coverage in Saugerties Times about the closure of JC Penny and other stores within the Hudson Valley Mall, a discussion about economic development in Saugerties and elsewhere in Ulster County is warranted. As a member of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee within the Ulster County Legislature, I see some trends that have developed in the specific types of economic development which have emerged in Ulster County. And through the absence of others types of economic development which have not proliferated within Saugerties and Ulster County, a void needs to be filled in order to improve the jobs market within our area.
In the wake of IBM’s closure in 1994, the Ulster County economy has become heavily reliant on the strip mall-based economy which has flourished in the town of Ulster and elsewhere in Ulster County. In addition to nearly 9,000 jobs being lost from IBM’s closure, other manufacturing jobs have also left the area since the early 1990s. In the last decade, we have witnessed a large increase in the expansion of the tourism industry throughout Saugerties, and while this industry does provide jobs which generally pay more than the minimum wage, we need to see a corresponding increase in technology, manufacturing and service sector jobs that also pay well.
In 2007, the Ulster County Legislature passed a one-half million dollar bond which brought water and sewer onto the Kings Highway Corridor in Saugerties which was supposed to facilitate “shovel ready” projects that would bring quality jobs into Saugerties. Unfortunately, nothing has come into Saugerties since that bonding measure was passed other than the Army Reserve Center, a new restaurant and the American Candle Factory which received a PILOT Tax break before going out of business the following year after it had opened. Despite getting burned by the candle factory, some recent developments have emerged in Saugerties which have made more infrastructural improvements available to the Kings Highway Corridor. After the Saugerties appointee to the Ulster County Industrial Development Board informed the board and others that there was a need for more natural gas line hook-ups along Kings Highway, Central Hudson responded, and they have planned for more hook-ups South of Route 212. This is where the prime parcels of commercial real estate are, and although there are 2-3 perspective businesses which may come into the area, it would greatly benefit Saugerties if more manufacturing-based jobs came into the corridor. There is one specific industry which still places manufacturing facilities throughout rural areas, and I have contacted one company within this industry (which has a track record of doing so within the Northeast) about coming onto Kings Highway. Ideally, we can have a company like this and others come into Saugerties along Kings Highway in order to balance out the continued growth of tourism. Both types of economic development are desperately needed in order to fill the void that IBM’s plant closure created over 20 years ago, and both types of economic development are beneficial to the area.
Ulster County Legislature
Having read and pictured yesterday the origin and plans for an all-encompassing, U.S. war memorial fronting the county office building,
(1) I wonder: one-hundred years from now will this memorial have joined its grimy, sore-thumb, all-but forgotten, politically-relegated to the past, WWI equivalent, but mounted front and center upon Kingston’s City Hall lawn…in embarrassingly-stark view of impressionable high-schoolers? Who, sadly, however, if questioned, might ask, “WHAT ‘memorial’?”
(2) I wonder: how anyone might invoke a simple mnemonic as an assist to tomorrow’s caretakers Never to forget !… to maintain this memorial’s pristine posture?
I, for one, shall patiently present to youngsters a four-color print of a photographer’s “sky-hook” image. If unnoticed, I’ll ask, “Does this photo give you any idea of the time of day she shot her photo?” I’ll not suggest a telephone call to the source. But I may, reveal a solution.
(3) I wonder: about the design’s uncanny likeness to Chrysler Corporation’s logo. And, its implications, if any.
(4) I wonder: after the fact, whether the county executive will regret all these years having barricaded himself from the electorate and media (Why? The non-marketing-minded, might read between the lines of my coda).
(5) I wondered: about the agonizing decision made, ostensibly, to direct the Chrysler-like pentagon outward, toward Fair Street… (“intentionally”) away from the seat of county power.
Yeah, I wondered: until I wondered which of Mike’s minions the executive enshrined in his Lifetime Hall of Fame for having revealed to him an historic truth:
“Although all roads may have led to Rome, only one, the most significant ‘arrow’ of the memorial’s pentagonal five, directs an observer’s eye, unerringly, yet supremely-poilitically-subtly straight to the exec’s sixth floor corner office.”