Letters (May 26-June 2)

mail-letter-sqGive Bernie His Due

As Bernie supporters continue to register voters, canvass neighborhoods for supporters, and telephone into states still holding primaries to get out the vote, Bernie is working to persuade the Democratic Party National Committee to give him a role at the Convention worthy of his campaign’s accomplishments. If he cannot win the nomination, which his supporters do not concede, the success of the Democrat Party depends upon it embracing the millions of people who have given him their time and money.

The national Convention has two key Standing Committees: Rules, and the Platform Drafting Committees. Based upon Bernie’s success in winning a substantial portion of the delegates, approaching 50%, and possibly exceeding 50% before this is all over, he is entitled to substantial representation on both of these Committees. Instead, as contained in a May 6 letter to Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz he wrote that “I was so disappointed to learn that of the 40 people our campaign submitted at your request you chose to select only three of my recommendations…and did not assign even one of my people…to the very important Rules Committee…”

This response by the Democratic National Committee helps explain why Bernie is continuing his campaign to secure as many delegates as he can muster to persuade the DNC that it must respect what he has accomplished if it wants to keep the Democratic Party united.

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Lanny Walter, Chair
Saugerties Democratic Committee

 

Harmonious Development

It’s unacceptable that advertising was done and bookings in June accepted for a wedding facility at the new “Saugerties Steamboat Company” at the old Lynch’s Marina long before this use had received approval. A restaurant would have been most welcome and a charming addition to the waterfront, but this plan is being deferred or possibly abandoned.

It’s dismaying to imagine the noise of amplified wedding music spreading out over what has been a peaceful waterfront neighborhood. I have already had the unpleasant experience of spending entire afternoons in my garden, forced to listen to the noise of mediocre wedding singers emanating from The Diamond Mills. Now we’ll be getting this noise from both sides, and apparently it will be allowed to continue until 11 p.m.!

It’s distressing to think of an influx of traffic on the little, winding streets of this modest and quiet neighborhood.

We can’t stop time; we can’t stop change. We can’t bring back Connie Lynch or the working waterfront or the old trees that have been cut down. But I hope we can exert some control to make this new development harmonious with the scale and history of its surroundings, and respectful of the people who will be most affected.

I’ll be at the meeting(s) at which this proposal will be considered, and hope that the Board will not be pressured into approving a project that could destroy the quality of life in a unique part of our town and village.

I hope we can expect that the Waterfront Advisory Board and the Historic Review Board will have input into this process.

To quote from the mural that many of us see daily: Let Saugerties Grow Gracefully!

Susan J. Murphy
Saugerties

 

Affordable Solar for All of Ulster County

For a limited time (through June 30) Solarize Saugerties is helping homeowners throughout Ulster County install affordable solar electric panels and save on their electric bills. Sustainable Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountainkeeper manage this community group discount program by working with vetted contractors under the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) NY-Sun Program.

In addition to a Solarize group-purchasing discount, NYSERDA provides discounts based on the size of a solar system (currently $.40/ watt or $3,200 off an 8 kW system for example). Households with incomes under 80% of the county median income qualify for NYSERDA’s Affordable Solar Program, which doubles the current incentives! For example, qualifying incomes include: a family of two earning under $48,160, a family of three under $56,704, or a family of four under $67,504.

RUPCO also recommends that homeowners get a free home energy assessment through NYSERDA to “reduce then produce” home energy. The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use! Similar significant income-based incentives for installing energy efficiency measures are also available through NYSERDA’s Home Performance with Energy Star Program.

To see if solar is right for you, contact Solarize for a free solar site assessment at 1-866-205-2999 or go online to https://solarize-hudsonvalley.org/. For a free home energy efficiency assessment, call RUPCO at 845-331-2140 x260 or go online to www.SaveEnergyHudsonValley.org. Be sure to tell your friends and neighbors as these discounts are only available for a limited time!

Michael Courtney, Outreach Coordinator,  RUPCO Green Jobs
Saugerties

 

Softball And the Manorville Fund

Saturday, May 21, was a perfect day for softball. The 3rd annual Manorville Mill softball tournament at Cantine field that day proved it. Eight teams of men and women from the area competed for fun, fellowship and to benefit the “Manorville Fund.” Congratulations to Augustine Landscaping for taking home the championship trophy bat, Keith Hoyt who won MVP honors, and Charlie O’s for taking the runner up bat.

The Manorville Fund has supported members of the community who have faced personal and financial adversity since 1999. To date, we have raised and distributed over $55,000 including three $1000 gifts to deserving graduating seniors since 2008. The fund has been created to share the spirit of giving and the power of community at a “grassroots” level.

Like any fundraiser, the participants make the day as well as the unsung volunteers who all carry the “Manorville Spirit” by donating their resources and time to make this day a success. The short list includes, Rich Mayr who cooked 8 hours straight to feed the players, Tim, Amy and little man Vanwagenen along with Corlista Doland who ran the concessions, our sponsors who donated food and services, Sam’s Club, Emmanuel’s market place in Stone Ridge, Hannaford in Red Hook, Price Chopper in Saugerties, Ed’s Budget truck Rental in Kingston, and Smokin’ Pony in Saugerties. A special thanks to Greg Chorvas and his crew for giving us two beautiful ball fields to play on, the SAA for donating the balls and last but certainly not least, the umpires. Brian Young, John Lowe, Jr., Mikey Cheng, Jared Mayr, Tom Sickler, Kat Bowens, Kelly Blume, Cody Coons, Jason Brink, Kyle Overbaugh, Jordan Garrett, Justin Stracuzzi, Mike Merecka, Dell Simmons and Joe Defino who all kept the games running fairly and smoothly. I would like to offer my deepest thanks to my co-conspirator in this endeavor, Bryan VanWagenen who tirelessly coordinated the schedule, umpires, volunteers and food donations — all this, despite getting married in two weeks. He is already planning for next year’s event to be bigger and better.

Our next event which we are involved in takes place on June 17 and 18. The Morse Rocks Music and Arts Festival will be held at Smokin’ Pony BBQ and features over 60 of the best artists and musicians from the Catskill and Green Mountains. Though not a fundraiser for the Manorville Fund specifically, it is to benefit the Dennis Jones Performing Arts Amphitheater Project.

After that our next event will be the 27th annual Manorville Open golf tournament at Blackhead Mt. Country Club on August 21.

For more information on participating or contributing in these Manorville activities and to share in the “Manorville Spirit”, check us out on Facebook or contact myself or Joe Defino.

Again thanks to all who participated. Hope to see you at our next event.

Steve Bogert
Manorville Founder

 

Music needs to be indoors in neighborhood

I am writing about The Saugerties Steamboat Company. Would that it were! It would be great fun to have a steamboat or paddleboat company here. And having a waterfront restaurant makes great sense. However we have learned that the restaurant is to happen…eventually.

I was stunned to hear that a Wedding Party venue with amplified sound is currently planned. Loud noise in an area where sound ricochets all over the place. And sound travels along the water. We don’t want to deter people, residents and tourists, from enjoying the waterfront. Loud wedding music does not tend to be a tourist attraction. And, along with traffic that would be part of having 300 guests, certainly does not improve the neighborhood.

What can be done proactively to avoid complaints from residents? Here are some possibilities: We support the recommendation of Ayal Saad, the Code Enforcement Official — Music needs to be indoors. And perhaps explicitly stated: not outside, not in a tent. If that is agreed to, many issues will never crop up.

We have heard that events are scheduled for June of 2016. We cannot imagine that anyone would put the Board under this kind of pressure, and hope the Board would not allow themselves to rush through this, as it is so important to be done right.

We understand that the plan is to give permission to move this forward at the upcoming meeting: Tuesday, May 31, 6 p.m. Saugerties Village Hall or the adjacent Fire House.

The Board is working on behalf of all of us in Saugerties. We need to know that you, members of the Board, will protect our neighborhood. I have lived in this neighborhood since 1996. Quite a while. I have never had an issue to cause me to write to the newspaper until now. But this is a quality of life question.

It is not about having a nice restaurant. It is concern about having noisy weekends going until 11 p.m.

The Board members are volunteers and need time to work through the process and come up with a plan that is as close to a win-win as possible. This would include: Reviews of any issues, sound/traffic every three or six months. People can generally wait that long if they know their concerns will be taken seriously and remediated. Knowing who would enforce issues of noise or traffic if they do come up.

If we in fact do not have a noise level ordinance, we need one. Then it is a simpler, clearer matter. Noise level is checked, if it is ok, it is ok. If not, it can be addressed.

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RJ Hirsch
Saugerties

 

Repeal Common Core, pay the regents

Since Common Core began being used as an evaluative method of student testing/ assessment and as an evaluative measure of rating teacher proficiency and the successes of school principals throughout 44 states and the District of Columbia, much controversy has surrounded its application. In 2014, Pearson publishing, the British-based educational publishing company that sells and distributes Common Core testing materials to schools throughout the world had $8.2 Billion Dollars in global sales, and half of these sales revenues were generated from the United States and Canada. In New York State, students, parents, teachers, principals and the teachers unions have objected to the application of Common Core and the methodologies through which students, teachers and principals are evaluated from students’ test scores on Common Core. Currently, New York State Assembly Bill A09182 calls for the suspension of Common Core testing throughout New York State and a revision of the evaluative system for teachers and principals that is based upon Common Core. Assembly Bill A09182 calls for a new evaluative system to be based upon the collaborative input from educational experts, school administrators, parents and teachers.

After the successful passage of Assembly Bill A09182, such changes to these Common Core-based evaluative procedures would be made by the New York State Department of Education. After a repeal of Common Core and these associative assessment and evaluative procedures in New York State’s educational system, a new curriculum and testing-based evaluative system needs to be implemented. In my opinion, such curriculum, testing methodologies and evaluative systems should be formulated in-house by the New York State Board of Regents and Department of Education.

There are several problems associated with the successful application of my idea; however, as the New York State Board of Regents is comprised of 17 members, one coming from each of New York State’s 13 Judicial Districts with an additional  four at-large members none of whom are compensated for their services. Consequently, members on the Board of Regents are only compensated for travel expenses and other expenditures that are incurred in the line of duty.

In order for the New York State Department of Education and the Board of Regents to be chiefly responsible for the design of curriculum, pedagogy, testing methodologies and associative assessments of students, teachers and principals, the members of the New York State Board of Regents should be paid for their services in order for these positions to be like full -time jobs rather than volunteer positions! With Board of Regents members being compensated for their services, more time could be invested into the actual design of curriculum and testing methodologies that would be used as the replacement for Common Core after it is repealed.

On the New York State Board of Regents website it states that “the Regents are responsible for the general supervision of all educational activities within the State presiding over the University (SUNY) and the New York State Educational Department.” Paying the Board will actually assist in accomplishing that goal and save taxpayers money!

Chris Allen
Ulster County Legislature

 

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