Letters (April 14-21)

mail-letter-sqThat won’t fly

In regards to Christopher Jones’ letter, “Secure borders out of love,” (March 31 Saugerties Times), I’m so happy Mr. Jones’ “ancestors came here for a better life.” Not like those pesky Muslims who just want to “impose their way of life on us.” I can hear the native Americans laughing about that. And that “mountain of debt left us by the incompetence of Barack Obama” surely had nothing to do with the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq that Bush and his cronies lied us into. The one that created ISIS, and has us in an eternal war against terrorism. But, just because you brought it up, let’s talk about the horrible performance of the Obama Administration. Since he took office, there has been an increase of over 8 million jobs, the unemployment rate has decreased by 5.1 percent, business startups have increased by 19 percent, the S&P is up 147 percent and exports have grown by 33 percent. But you’re probably not interested in facts; that’s why you resort to name-calling. Associating Sanders with Hitler and Castro might play out with your buddies, but won’t fly when you examine the life and platform of Bernie Sanders.

Ralph Childers
Saugerties

 

Pass the tax-credit bill

I was pleased to see a strong turnout at the screening of Saugerties Filmmaker Katie Cokinos’ film I Dream Too Much at the Saugerties High School Auditorium last Friday evening. Proceeds from the screening are going towards funding various programs within the libraries of the Saugerties School District, and this show of support demonstrates how the Saugerties Community supports academics within our school district.

Having already seen I Dream Too Much at the Woodstock Film Festival last fall, I enjoyed watching it again, as I was able to have picked up on several nuances of the screenplay which I missed the first time around.

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With much of I Dream Too Much being shot on location around the Village of Saugerties and the remainder of the film being shot in Stone Ridge, Cokinos’ project demonstrates how the film industry can be a vital component of the overall economy around Ulster County! Unfortunately; however, Ulster County is not one of the upstate New York counties that receives a higher level of tax-credits from the State of New York for filmmaking within the state. Currently, Ulster County, Greene County, Columbia County and five other upstate counties are listed in a bill that is being introduced into the New York State Assembly that would make Ulster County and these seven other counties part of the filmmaking tax-credit program that allows for projects with budgets over $500,000 to receive an additional tax-credit for labor costs. With the local economies struggling around upstate New York, the inclusion of these eight counties into this tax-credit program will encourage filmmakers to utilize the splendor and beauty that is prevalent throughout Ulster County and these other seven counties! This would facilitate the growth of jobs in the filmmaking industry around Ulster County and stimulate spending within the county while such projects are being shot and produced within the area. Numerous actors, actresses and musicians already call Ulster County home, and with I Dream Too Much featuring the music of locally-based bands The Big Takeover and 3, future projects will open up more opportunities for locally-based talent to be showcased in such films. Hopefully, the New York State Senate and Assembly will do the right thing and pass this bill!

Chris Allen
Ulster County legislator
Saugerties and Malden

 

Voting in the primary?

Read this or your vote may not count. As I try to understand what I never understood before, my is heart breaking, but it is necessary. Primaries are crucial in this election more than ever before, due to its misunderstood method of picking a candidate, not by counting the votes that they get from us, but from the votes they get from our “delegates.”

I still cannot simply explain here how the counting of our votes and the counting of our delgates works. However, I will tell you that their votes count more than ours do. I don’t understand why they can’t just add up our votes, but since the primary date is only a few days from now I want my neighbors to know who they are voting for, not just in the column for President Clinton or President Sanders, but in the column for Democratic delegates.

So, here is the list of delegates that will vote for Bernie Sanders in Ulster County:

Sheri N. Bauer-Mayorga; Leon F. Shelhamer; Kelleigh A. McKenzie; Roger Mills; Mira J. Bowin.

If you have any other questions about this, you can call the Board of Elections at (845) 334 5470. I’ve heard that they are very helpful and considerate.

To inform you of why I feel quite passionate about having Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate, it is because he is the only candidate in both parties, that has convinced me that he believes that climate change is a crucial matter, and since his money comes from us, he owes nothing to the industries that profit by increasing the toxins that are now in our air and water. Thanks for voting.

Jill Paperno
Glenford

 

In solidarity

This Sunday, April 17, the weather is going to be spring-like here in the Hudson Valley — a sunny day with temperatures in the 70s! April 17 — a perfect day. No clouds in the sky. But this beautiful day holds a darkness that needs to be acknowledged. April 17 marks the International Day of Solidarity for Palestinian prisoners. Over 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in Israeli jails; more than 600 in administrative detention without charge, without trial. Palestinian prisoners face military courts that convict over 99 percent of those who appear before them. Over 400 Palestinian children as young as 12 are unjustifiably detained. Torture is common. The Palestinian prisoners’ movement calls on organizations and people of conscience around the world to express solidarity with and call for freedom for Palestinian  prisoners and their families who have been subjected to military rule — with no regard for their humanity — throughout their lives. Let us stand in silent vigil on this day, Sunday, April 17. 12 noon. Woodstock Village Green.

Jane Toby
Catskill

 

Very thankful

A big thank you to everyone who came to the screening of I Dream Too Much in support of the Saugerties Central School libraries. We raised $1,200 at the event, and Inquiring Minds Bookstore generously matched 25 percent of that amount, bringing the total to $1,500. All the money will go to purchasing books for Cahill, Mount Marion, Riccardi, Morse, and the Junior and Senior high schools.

Also a big thank you to Sue Sachar who organized the event, and of course all our amazing librarians — Patricia Manfrates, (Cahill and Mount Marion) Jennifer Zicot (Riccardi and Morse) Linda Miligan (Junior High) and Sari Grandstaff (Senior High).

It’s not too late to support our school libraries; each librarian now has a wish list of books at Inquiring Minds. Everyone is encouraged to “Adopt a Book” for the school of their choice. Supporting our students and shopping local — what’s not to like?

Now some backstory to our troubled libraries, for those who don’t know: Back in 2010, because of the dire financial state our district, the school board cut the number of our elementary school librarians in half. Since that time we have had just two librarians covering four schools! Now, six years later and finances improved, it is my strong opinion that these librarian positions should be restored.

New education standards expect our kids to be reading in kindergarten, yet we can’t afford to have a librarian in the school? This is nonsense. A library without a librarian is a dead place; librarians support the curriculum. We care for our kids in the Saugerties community and expect our schools to foster them into well-rounded adults. But if we don’t get our kids hooked on books at a young age, it’s challenging at best to get them later. It pains me that my son, Niko, a fifth-grader at Cahill, only visits the library once every six days.

Katie Cokinos
Saugerties

 

A new era for rail and trail

As calls come in from railroad supporters to undermine or undo the hard-wrought but unanimously accepted policy for trail and rail activities in the Ulster & Delaware Corridor, we would like to remind everyone that Ulster County has issued a request for proposals designed to attract financially-sound, carefully designed, concrete proposals for future rail use in the corridor, over more distance than the existing tourist train operator has ever been able to utilize at one time. Rather than seek lease extensions and other special favors, the existing operator should direct all its energies to preparing a solid proposal and putting itself in a strong position to qualify as a future operator, should its proposal prove competitive.

Requests for qualifications have also gone out for the design of significant sections of trail in and near the corridor, including 11.5 miles along the Ashokan Reservoir, a less than one mile section in Midtown Kingston and 1.8 miles between Kingston and the O&W (Hurley) Rail Trail along Route 209. Design of these sections will begin this spring. Increased trail access is expected to bring health, recreation, quality of life and economic gains.

Active outdoor recreation in the Catskill Park and New York City watershed lands already brings in close to 2 million people per year, while the Hurley Rail Trail serves an additional 80,000 users per year and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail and Walkway Over the Hudson approximately another million. Use of new trails in the U&D corridor has been modeled at approximately 140,000 people per year, not including sections in the City of Kingston, which together create opportunities for both non-motorized transportation and year-round healthy recreation to be enjoyed freely by a broad public.

We look forward to a new era of cooperation and professionalism from both trail and rail groups seeking access to Ulster County’s unused and underused rail corridors.

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Kathleen Nolan, MD, MSL,
Catskill Mountainkeeper

Kevin Smith,
Woodstock Land Conservancy

Co-chairs,
Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail

 

Our environmental candidate

First of all, I’d like to educate your readers about the facts surrounding last week’s “not qualified” arguments between the Democratic candidates for president of the United States.

On April 6, the Washington Post reported in its headline and lead article that Hillary Clinton questioned whether Bernie Sanders “is qualified to be president.”

Bernie Sanders correctly responded to Hillary Clinton’s attack. All readers can simply Google the April 6 Washington Post article.

Getting back to the issues, which is what Bernie Sanders is attempting to do, Bernie Sanders is our environmental candidate for president.

According to Mother Jones magazine, Bernie Sanders announced last year his support for a bill called the “Keep It in the Ground Act.” This bill would ban all new fossil fuel development on U.S. federal lands. It would also ban offshore drilling for oil in the Arctic and the Atlantic and would stop new leases for offshore drilling in the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico.

Senator Sanders joined Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) when the announcement was made.  According to Merkley’s office, the legislation was designed to keep “over 90 percent of the potential carbon emissions from oil, gas, and coal on our federal lands and federal waters underground forever.”

Along with Sen. Sanders, the bill was co-sponsored by senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Kerstin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Hillary Clinton supports hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, which we fought extremely hard to ban in our beautiful state of New York.

Lisa Jobson
Woodstock