Letters (March 10-17)

mail-letter-sqGood planning for parking needed

There have been many studies designed to offer guidance on specific planning topics but the guidance from government for applying planning remains missing. There is a critical need for the Town and Village administrations to take the guidance of these studies seriously. This should start by the village attacking the inefficiencies of the municipal parking lot.

Situations were created by a lack of planning when its entrance was permitted to be narrowed and exit allowed to remain unmanageably narrow. Many are still scratching their heads at the ease of accessibility of the private parking lot created off Washington Avenue. I’m thinking, if the house that was demolished to make this lot was indeed worthy of destruction, should its condemnation not have been known to the village administration and this lot earmarked for purchase to make a primary access point to the municipal parking?

Good planning would require that this now be acquired for this purpose. In addition, the underutilized acreage north of the parking should be condemned or leased and the patterns for parking extended to fill this entire area.


Good planning would also require a study of parking needs. Every business should be polled for its customer traffic. The number of parking spaces should balance that, not guesses based on expectations.

There has been political rhetoric and threats on property rights surrounding parking. The fact is that compared to Woodstock, which has been campaigning to attract visitor traffic since the 1970’s, Saugerties has an abundance of parking. Talk of needing expansion outside of the area already dedicated to parking is just avoiding the issue. The issue is there is no planning

Michael Sullivan-Smith


Stop the pipeline

I’m so glad I stayed up till midnight Sunday night to hear Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar acceptance speech. He said, “Making the Revenant was about man’s connection to the natural world. 2015, it was the hottest year on the planet. Climate change is real, it’s happening right now, it’s the most urgent threat affecting our entire species, we need to work right now and stop procrastinating.”

I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I actively oppose the proposed Pilgrim’s Pipelines project and urge you to do the same. I also support all wind, solar and other alternative energy strategies and want to see us thoroughly and mindfully make the complete switchover as soon as possible. I am aware, however, that we are psychologically addicted to fossil fuels, so giving them up will not be easy!

Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings LLC, is a corporation run by two former Koch Industries executives. They plan to construct two pipelines along the NYS Thruway between Albany and Linden New Jersey to transport volatile Bakken crude shale oil or tar sands crude for processing, then transport the refined material back up the northerly pipeline or ship it out on barges.

These crude oils will harm climate, public health and safety, and drinking water. Also, Pilgrim would lay its two proposed pipelines under or through 232 waterways, including the Hudson, the Rondout, and the Wallkill, putting all those delicate living and breathing species in harms way.

By the way, Pilgrim’s proposed pipelines would not reduce oil “bomb train” traffic along the Hudson River one bit. Those CSX oil trains are bound for the Philadelphia refinery —whereas the Pilgrim pipelines would be sending fracked shale oil to Linden, New Jersey for processing and/or export.”

Please join me in stopping this antiquated project before it even starts. Let Gov. Cuomo know that we are already making the change and don’t need or want more fossil fuels. Call him at 518-474-8390 to urge him to oppose this project and deny Pilgrim’s use of the Thruway’s right of way.

Jo Shuman


Anti-Semitism rebuttal

If only life could be as simple as coming up with definitions of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionist or a description of an “organization” by the name it chooses to call itself to represent their ideas. For example, one would have an expectation that a local group that calls itself “Middle-East Crisis Response” would be concerned, for example, with the conflagration, human rights violations, and genocide unfolding these past several years in Syria — a Middle East country. That concern with the enormity of the Syrian tragedy would then translate, at the least, into members of e.g., Middle-East Crisis Response, writing letters, bringing in speakers, demonstrating, and taking actions to make their voices heard. The same action can also address the on-going horrors in Libya, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, etc.

Unfortunately, that organization’s focus is only against Israel. Does that make the members anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist? I cannot answer that question, but it does cause me to wonder what are the underlying motives of an individual or a group when they only demonize Israel with lies and distortions while at the same time giving a pass to the truly murderous oppressive regimes in the region.

Truth be told, there is a difference between criticism (which is allowed and encouraged in our country and in Israel) and the policy of the other mid-Eastern regimes where criticism is not only not-allowed but which many times ends in incarceration or death for those who dare to challenge their nation’s policies. Yes, the U.S. has “warts” as does Israel, but by way of freedom and democracy, these flaws are correctable. It is noteworthy that Israelis have free speech despite being a country trying to survive surrounded by Palestine and other Arab nations pledged to annihilate them. That is more than can be said for those same countries and Palestine where freedom of speech, press, protest, and religion are denied.

Susan Puretz


Solarize thanks

We would like to thank people in the community who helped us make Saturday’s Solarize Saugerties kick-off event such a big success. First thank you goes to the 100+ people interested in solar energy who attended the event! Next thanks go to Supervisor Greg Helmsmoortel for welcoming everyone so warmly and Town Councilwoman Leeanne Thornton for her support. And more appreciation to Patrick Wadden, who gave us a taste of Arm of the Sea, and Elise Tucci , whose art students in grades 1-3 at both Cahill and Grant D. Morse elementary schoos created such beautiful, colorful suns to decorate the room.

Others who made the event special: Hudson Valley Dessert Company, who designed the beautiful cookies and made them available at a discount. And our appreciation also goes to Greg de Celle for stepping up at the program as a “solar ambassador” to talk about his experience as the owner of a solarized home and to Peter Poccia for his help with set-up and sign-in.

We’d also like to thank radio interviewers Gary Bischoff and Chris Acosta (Kingston Community Radio) and Doug Grunther (WDST) for making time on their programs for our volunteers to talk about the Solarize Saugerties campaign.  More thanks to the Building and Grounds Department for its cooperation in placing the banner and the solar-roof demo outside the senior center, to the town clerk’s office for assistance with room reservations, and to Lighthouse TV volunteer Bob Daly for videotaping the event to show on local community channel 23.

Finally thanks to the Chamber of Commerce, Esopus Creek Conservancy, Sustainable Saugerties Transition Town, and the Saugerties Historical Society for helping spread the word through their mailing lists.  And to Friends of the Library, the Kiwanis Club, the MondayClub, and the Fish and Game Club  for welcoming our volunteers to speak at their meetings.


We are so grateful for all this support and assistance! If you missed the event, New World Home Cooking will be hosting the next one on Saturday March 19 from 3-5 PM.

The Solarize Saugerties Volunteer Team:
Skip Arthur, Janet Asiain, Vivian Beatrice, Ray Bergen, CaraDiVito, Carole Furman, Bob Hlavaty, Susan Murphy, Mary O’Donnell, and Mark Smith


Community solar? What about us?

With all due respect for the thoughtfulness of the volunteers and of course, the financial support of New York State, it saddens us to see a community based solar campaign warped to compete against a local, community based solar company.

SOLARgeneration has been installing high quality solar electric systems in the Hudson Valley, including Saugerties, since 2006.  Our children go to school here, we live here, we volunteer here.

13% of all solar in Saugerties over the last decade has been designed, installed, and maintained by SOLARgeneration. We have built systems for two of Saugerties’ top businesses — Krause’s Chocolates and Total Tennis; the latter being the largest system in the valley at the time.

In Saugerties, we donated solar to the Day School and The Jewish Congregation. We have also donated systems to other non-profits in Woodstock, Lake Hill, Mt. Tremper, Red Hook, and a monastery in Tibet, yet we are deemed “too small” to be admitted into the current Solarize Saugerties Campaign that is intended to be community based.

For Solarize to hold a community event at a solar array that SOLARgeneration built (Total Tennis) and prevent us from participating because we are not “large enough” is unjust. For community solar to work, community based solar companies should be highlighted — their knowledge tapped.

The Solarize Saugerties Campaign is using local volunteers to promote a Houston based company that owns approximately 4,600 natural gas wells and touts on its website being ”one of the largest retail providers of electricity, natural gas, and home services in all of North America.” Is this community based?

Please help to support local businesses.

Todd Koelmel, Elizabeth Koelmel, Elizabethanne Spiotta, Morganne Montana, Steve Nelson

SOLARgeneration, inc.

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