Diversity needed in Congress
The number one goal for many people who are currently not represented in the 19th Congressional District is to unseat Rep. Faso. He continues to insult his constituents by refusing to meet with them. His actions are totally disrespectful to our democratic principles.
I am pleased to see the current interest in running for Faso’s seat by several potential candidates. However, on a very personal note, I am looking toward Antonio Delgado and Sue Sullivan who offer much-needed diversity to our government.
I can hardly stand to see any more old white men making decisions about women’s health care and other issues that effect millions of families in America. These isolated — and out-of-touch — elected officials continue to fail our country especially the middle class and those who face economic and other challenges.
In this up-coming election, please weigh diversity as key along with solid character and intellect to make the serious changes we need.
Jo Galante Cicale
If your readers want to see young people at their very best they should visit the Saugerties
skateboard park off Washington Ave., on the far end of Cantine field. What I admire most when I visit there is how the older and more experienced kids shepherd the younger new guys and gals who venture, after much practice, to bravely plunge down the smooth concrete bowl and maybe wind up splayed out at the bottom.
Little kids brought over by their parents are often left in the safe company of the older kids because the skate park has unwritten rules that make it important to keep beginners safe and assisted when they’re ready to learn new moves. It’s one of the few sports that make kids agile and brave and where diligence and repetition are the only way to improve.
The skate park is one of Saugerties’s gems. It’s a marvel of concrete engineering and in my opinion should really have been constructed in the center of the sports complex instead of being relegated to the outer zones.
What dismays me, on the other hand, is the neglect of the environment by the park keepers who usually maintain the entire complex in A1 condition. When I was there the other day the shade canopy hadn’t been installed, there wasn’t any running water, wind blown detritus had accumulated at the perimeter of the fence, the grass was uncut and the wobbly fence itself looked more like a little truant’s compound. In contrast to the rest of the complex, it was an eyesore. I hope the grounds department reads this letter and will include the skate park environs in their beautiful grooming routine and not let it degrade.
For the love of country
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the USS Yorktown and t he Hall for Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Story after story in this inspiring and well curated exhibit reveals the acts of countless brave Americans who demonstrated genuine courage, literally risking life and limb to preserve the ideals and values that made this nation great. They gave wholly and completely of themselves, defending our entire Constitution, not just the parts they liked or agreed with. They did not make those sacrifices or take those risks for power, glory, or to score points for one political camp or another. They put love of country above all else, not to be heroes, but because they believed in serving something greater than themselves.
Too many members of Congress have lost sight of their duty to put country before party. They are intoxicated by massive infusions of cash from the Koch brothers, special interest groups, and others, eagerly doing their bidding and drinking the Kool-Aid that comes in packets labeled “Americans for Prosperity” and “Heritage Foundation.” Too many members of Congress, many of whom are millionaires themselves, have become simpering sycophants, kowtowing to corporate interests and giving tax breaks to the already-too-wealthy instead of listening and responding to the needs of their constituents, instead of putting country before party.
Visiting the exhibit of the Congressional Medal of Honor recipients moved me deeply; it filled me with love and gratitude for each one of those truly great Americans. Maybe our members of Congress should take a trip to that humbling, awe inspiring exhibit and reacquaint themselves with the meaning of service to one’s country.
Deidre J. Byrne
Faso: Vote no on H.R. 38
At the tele-Town Hall in Troy in April, Congressman Faso replied to a questioner that he supports H.R. 38. This bill, introduced in early January, would allow reciprocity between New York and all other states in which concealed carry of a firearm is legal.
New York, however, has a higher standard than most states for concealed carry. Passage of the bill would grant concealed carry to persons from out of state who never met the NY standard. Our state ought to allow reciprocity only to the few states that share its more rigorous review policy. Readers should demand that Rep Faso vote No on H.R. 38.
Verizon Goat Hill Road tower
Greetings fellow citizens, I’m here to inform you that Verizon is attempting to fast track a cell tower construction off of Goat Hill road. This tower is virtually on the Woodstock Saugerties town line though technically in Saugerties. Therefore the Saugerties Planning Board is the deciding body concerning this matter even though the majority of citizens who will be negatively impacted live in Woodstock. Verizon is so arrogant and confident that the Saugerties Planning Board will rubber stamp their application that they have already almost completed running the fiber optic cable from the Centerville tower site to the new tower site on Goat Hill road. When I spoke to the foreman of the crew running the cable from Centerville, he told me that the job was almost finished and that his contract specified that it be completed by the end of May. The foreman relayed this information to me on May 12, which is very interesting and disturbing since the planning board meeting, where the attorney for Verizon made his preliminary presentation, was held on May 16. The public was not allowed to speak at this meeting. The public meeting will be held on June 20. Let’s hope the planning board takes note of this gross arrogance on the part of Verizon and performs a thorough job when considering this matter. Contact info and more information next week.
Drugged driving danger
Drugged driving is becoming as prevalent as drunk driving. In 2015 more drivers tested positive for drugs than those who tested above the legal limit for alcohol in fatal auto accidents.
Forty five percent of New York State’s High School seniors report that they have tried an illicit drug, 27% report that they are currently using drugs. In Ulster County the average is about 10 points higher than the State in both categories (NYS Youth Survey).
In 1996 President Clinton proposed that teenagers be required to pass a drug test before receiving a drivers license. The idea failed to get traction because testing at that time could only detect drug use for a couple of days. Today’s tests, using hair analysis, can determine the presence of drugs for three months or more.
One of the highest priorities for teenagers in rural and suburban areas is getting a drivers license. If drug screening was required for a learners permit it would substantially reduce teen drug use. It may be time to revisit Clinton’s proposal.
For parents it would serve as an early warning that their teen might be using should he or she delay applying for a learner’s permit. It would also act to counter any peer pressure to experiment with drugs as most teens would favor driving over drugging.
A less restrictive approach could be available if the auto insurance industry would offer reduced rates for young drivers that undergo drug screening. For them it would lower the accident rate for young drivers and parents would similarly be alerted should their teen show any reluctance to apply for it.
Rail Trail is fine for cyclists
I grew up in the Catskills and now co-own Overlook Bicycles in the Town of Woodstock.
I’ll naturally point out that riding bikes is smile inducing, healthy-living fun that helps so many know joy and connect with community and the landscape at large. We at Overlook certainly work to encourage and share the joy of riding bikes — exploring, feeling the wind through one’s hair, the subtle thrills of it all…
I can’t tell you how many thousands of people ask us where to ride with their children, or as beginner cyclists, away from vehicle traffic but also not too steep and technical like the bulk of Catskill Mountain trails are. I suggest they do as I sometimes do with my seven-year-old daughter and head to the rail trails in the region. But many folks are discouraged by the logistics of transporting multiple bikes for a 20- or 30-minute drive to access safe and approachable riding conditions of any length. Many folks opt to do something else, often something more sedentary. I too admit that the effort is somewhat inconvenient considering the vast swaths of open space we here in the mid-Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain region have right out our doors.
We need and deserve safe, approachable and accessible infrastructure that ensures riding bikes and walking for leisure, sport and other purposes is readily available to all. The growing shared-use rail trail network is a welcome and long overdue start!
The Salt Water Challenge
Today, there are 6300 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons; this number includes 300 children and 500 administrative detainees (those imprisoned without charge or trial).
Since April 17, Palestinian Prisoners Day, more than 1500 of these political prisoners have engaged in an open-ended hunger strike. Today is Day #37. These prisoners have refused to eat food, only consuming salt water to maintain their health, until the Israeli government meets their demands for basic human rights as stipulated by the Geneva Convention. Freedom and dignity are universal rights inherent in humanity — to be enjoyed by all human beings.
The demands of these hunger strikers include:
• An end to administrative detention .
• An end to solitary confinement.
• An end to the denial of family visits.
• Access to proper medical care and treatment, and
• The right to access distance higher education
On Monday, May 22, we stood with Jews Say NO! and the Granny Peace Brigade to join a growing, worldwide, social media campaign — #SaltWaterChallenge — to draw attention to the plight of Palestinian political prisoners. As supporters of these hunger-strikers, we drank salt water to stand in solidarity with those who refuse a life of humiliation.
Now, we challenge you to do the same.
Helaine Meisler, Nic Abramson
Mental Health Month
Since 1949, the Mental Health America Organization has designated the month of May as being the month within which society should recognize, practice and examine mental health awareness. According to the World Health Organization, good or optimal mental health can be described as “a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder.” Within the premises behind optimum or good mental health, individuals would possess an ability to “enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Mental health can also be defined as an expression of emotions, and as signifying a successful adaptation to a range of demands.” (See Mental Health America Organization.) Furthermore, the World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make contributions to his or her community.” In addition, the World Health Organization points out that “cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories” all influence how the conceptualization of mental health is constructed. Individual instances of mental health episodes can frequently manifest themselves in the form of emotional health disorders like depression or in the form of less
prevalent disorders such as: Social Anxiety Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Sociopathic disorders or Schizophrenia. Quite often, many of these disorders can be controlled through continual medical supervision and the administration of prescription medications. Psychological counseling is also therapeutically beneficial in many cases. When properly treated, many people afflicted with mental health disorders can live productive lives that are filled with enjoyment.
The main intent behind Menial Health Awareness Month is to clear up misperceptions about mental health and mental health disorders and to relay how many of those impacted by mental health issues can receive the proper treatment towards living more productive and fulfilled lives.
I have been wearing a green pin in honor of metal health awareness during the entire month of May. In addition, I want to thanks everyone who participated in the Cancer Relay for Life event that was held last Saturday at the Kiwanis Ice Arena Parking Lot. It was my honor to present this year’s Pride of Ulster County Award to Jen Saracino who was the cancer survivor who served as the Grand Marshall for the 2017 Saugerties Relay for Life.
My family lost my father to Prostate Cancer and Bone Cancer in 2013, so I know full well of the negative impact that cancer can have on the lives of individuals and their loved ones.
Chris Allen, Ulster County Legislator