Walking along Main St. in Saugerties, a jogger glared at me and shouted “Right off the boat.” I was born in Brooklyn in 1946 to immigrant parents from Sicily and moved to Saugerties in 1974 with my husband and son. I am happy to retain the old world culture and appearance of my family of origin – strong and authentic people.
This was obviously intended to insult, but I will take it as a compliment. And I hope all new immigrants to our area will be welcomed, respected and appreciated for the many talents and gifts they bring to their adopted country. Along with Pope Francis, a beloved leader, we say “Page e Bene.”
Morse Rocks was a great festival
I want to congratulate Mr. Joseph DeFino and crew on a truly excellent Morse Rocks Music and Arts Festival during the weekend of June 19 and 20. I thank all involved for organizing and overseeing this wonderful weekend concert.
The variety and amount of talent displayed by Saugerties students and by local, regional, and national musical acts was truly amazing. There is a great wealth of performing arts talent in our town and region, as was so well demonstrated at Morse Rocks. The festival provided entertainment of the highest quality. The location at the Stone Pony/Smokin’ Pony BBQ on Old Kings Highway was perfect, as it is easily accessible and provides a spacious, comfortable, and friendly setting with excellent food and drink. The Livermore Family was very generous in hosting this event at their venue and gracious and professional in every way in accommodating the needs of both performers and audience without a hitch. The two-stage setup enabled the acts to transition smoothly, providing a flawless flow of great music and also some talented local poets in a third location.
I would certainly hope to see even more community support for this event in the future. People who did not buy tickets, which were a bargain by any standard, don’t know what they missed. For example, Waylon Speed, a band from Burlington, Vt., was as good a band as I’ve heard anywhere, combining elements of classic country and southern rock with heavy metal highlights to result in their unique sound. They are truly a national caliber band to be watched as they rise, and this is just one highlight of the weekend among many. Judging by the performances heard and seen, many of our local musicians, including some students, are going to have great performing arts careers as well.
Morse Rocks is a great service to our community. Morse Rocks fulfills the very important objective of highlighting local and regional talent and giving performing opportunities to our students and others. Being part of an event like Morse Rocks serves as a great inspiration to our young musicians. They might not otherwise have the chance to show their talents, receive recognition from their community, and share a stage with national-caliber bands and excellent, experienced performing artists from our own area.
Regarding the performers, there are too many acts to name. Each one deserves thanks and recognition for their obvious enthusiasm and professionalism, and for the grace, humor, energy, innovation, power and beauty displayed in their music and poetry. Thanks also to the art teachers and students for the vibrant and beautiful displays of student artwork .
Thank you, Mr. DeFino, for being the driving force and prime mover at the helm of this fantastic event. Thanks to your entire crew for making it happen. Commendations and congratulations on your success with Morse Rocks!
In last week’s edition of Saugerties Times, there was some press coverage on the legislative race and a specific vote that took place in the Ulster County Legislature. As a follow up, I wanted to clarify a few things that were printed but not quite accurate. In the interview, I was asked “what type of Democrat I was,” and my response was that “labels like liberal, moderate and conservative are just labels that are often put onto politicians by people who do not even know what specific types of Democrats are and how these types are defined…”, and that I was a “pragmatic” Democrat. The words practical and pragmatic may sound similar, but there are different definitions associated with each word and how each one would apply towards being an elected official. I consider myself to be a pragmatic Democrat because I always base my votes upon logic and pragmatism. Within the legislature, I avoid partaking in political games, and I strive to work with all of my colleagues towards constructing logical solutions, drafting legislation and setting policy. Sometimes, however, the games involved in politics will be associated with a particular vote and an associative series of vendettas that one group of politicians has against another. It seems sort of silly to think that these types of things go on at the county-level, but they do, and I have avoided them as much as possible.
I have concluded that the world of politics contains many ideologues who believe that a system of beliefs has all the answers to the problems that plague our government and society. Thinking like this runs counter to logical thinking. In a private conversation with a prominent Republican within the legislature, I expressed my concerns about the prevalence of ideological-based thinking that is inherent within our political system, and his response to me was that “in my opinion, logical thinking has no place in politics.” So there you have it, even if a public servant like myself who goes out of their way to foster strong working relationships with members of the other political party, the ideological-based thinking that is the default position of some politicians will ultimately become a detractor towards truly working together. This actually has not been the case with my two fellow Saugerties legislators, Dean Fabiano and Mary Wawro; we belong to different political parties, yet we have all managed to work well together on issues that affect Saugerties.
Within Hugh Reynolds’ Column last week, there were some quotes attributed to me that I did not make. My description of how there were three Resolved paragraphs in Resolution 253 was somehow incorrectly printed as “Therefore” instead of “Resolved.” And, it was stated that Resolution 253 was “confusing.” What I actually told Mr. Reynolds was that TJ Briggs, who ultimately voted yes on Resolution 253, was confused by the excesses of the 27 Whereas paragraphs so much so that he could not find where Resolution 253 stated that it was memorializing in support of State Senate Bill 511. Briggs, who changed his vote in caucus three times, was confused, not me.
Ulster County Legislature
Take action against oil trains and pipelines
Coming upon us soon from July 6–July 12 is the Stop Oil Trains Week of Action. There will be more than 100 events happening throughout the US and Canada, calling attention to the dangers of the oil trains and calling for them to be banned. According to National Geographic, “Rail incidents involving crude oil jumped nearly sixteenfold between 2010 and 2014.” One hundred forty-three incidents in 2014, up from nine in 2010. More and more oil is traveling through New York State on dilapidated railroad tracks and bridges, and we as residents have had no say in the matter. And the risks are big. July 6 is the second anniversary of the tragic Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, oil train catastrophe that killed 47 people.
When looking at the issue of fossil fuel expansion here in our area, it’s important know to recognize that all modes of crude oil transportation are dangerous; pipelines are exploding and leaking all over the country. The proposed Pilgrim Pipeline would go through our area, however the company has officially stated that if constructed, not one oil train would be taken off the tracks. Oil transport in our region goes beyond demand and need— it’s very much about greed.
On Thursday, July 9 there will be back-to-back events in Kingston. At 5 p.m. we will march from Kingston City Hall to the railroad bridge that crosses over Broadway and we will return to City Hall at 5:45 p.m. to hold a vigil for the victims of the Lac-Megantic tragedy. Then at 6:30 p.m., also at City Hall, is “Trains, Pipelines and Barges: Public Forum on Crude Oil Transport in the Hudson Valley.” Hear speakers from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, Riverkeeper, Catskill Mountainkeeper and Kingston elected officials. Please email Iheartupstateny@gmail.com if you have any questions about the events.
Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines