Saugerties Times letters: 11/30-12/6

Maurice Hinchey: A Personal Remembrance

Back in the late 1960s, I was a theater major at SUNY New Paltz. I met Maurice Hinchey when we both auditioned for an evening of two one-act plays, An October Rain Came Cold and The Hangman. Maurice won the lead role in the latter play, which (as my aging brain remembers it) was essentially a monologue by a public executioner, justifying his position in society as a necessary evil and accusing those who reviled him of hypocrisy. I was in the other play, which opened the evening, and along with the rest of the cast we watched from backstage as Maurice enacted the complex, conflicted role of the executioner. We all marveled at his impassioned command of the character and the text, and one of our company spoke for all of us when he said, “Man, this guy should go into politics!” Of course, in just a few years, he did, to the great and lasting benefit of everyone in Ulster County and New York State.

Whenever I crossed paths with Maurice in later years, which was not too infrequent, I’d remind him of his eloquence as the public executioner, and we’d have a good laugh.

Mikhail Horowitz

Bag fees should benefit parks and historic sites 

The average adult in New York State uses nearly 500 disposable shopping bags annually. They end up in landfills where it can take hundreds of years to decompose. Consumers pay for bags as part of the purchase price of goods with every cent of that cost going to the store or the manufacturer.


Reusable bags are a better option. However, even if you bring your own, the price of everyone else’s disposable bag is still included in your bill.
It doesn’t have to be that way. “Pennies For Parks” directs monies accrued from a five-cent fee on plastic bags to improve our 180 State Parks and numerous historic sites. As the crown jewels of the State and a vital part of our economic engine, the funds collected could pay for long awaited capital projects and modernization improvements and clean up our landscape.
When the State Legislature and the Governor postponed efforts by New York City to impose a fee on plastic bags, a promise was made that the State would work towards a responsible approach to this problem. A Task Force met to deliberate on the subject. “Pennies for Parks” should be part of that discussion.

By combining efforts to curb our reliance on plastic bags and the commitment to fund our parks, my “Pennies for Parks” legislation can work for all New Yorkers.

Kevin A. Cahill
Member of Assembly  

Success of Scouting for Food

Scouting For Food is an annual program of the Boy Scouts of America, started in 1985. The program is organized at the Council level, and Scout Packs and Troops are given a territory (their surrounding community) to cover. Cub Scout Pack 135 and Boy Scout Troop 135, charted by the Glasco Fire Department, are part of the Rip Van Winkle Council of Ulster and Greene Counties.  The Pack/Troop territory covers from the Kingston-Ulster Airport to the Saugerties Village line to the north, and from the Hudson River to the Saugerties Town line to the west.

We used the St. Joseph’s Church Hall in Glasco as the base for our local food drive this year. On Saturday, November 4, scouts, transported by their parents or scout leaders, put yellow plastic bags on front doors of residences in our community. The bags, donated by Shop Rite, are imprinted with information explaining what the bags are for and list suggested non-perishable food items that food pantries are in need of.

On Saturday, November 11, the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, scout leaders, their families, and members of the community helped with the second phase of the food drive. Scouts were driven to retrieve bags filled with donated food items from the territory they covered the week before.  The bags were then brought to the church hall. The collected food items were then counted, sorted, and placed in appropriately labeled boxes. The filled boxes were then driven to the Saugerties Food Pantry in the Village.

We collected 8933 items this year. While this was more than average, unfortunately we had a more than average number of expired items collected, 953 to be exact. That means that 11% of the food we collected could not be delivered to the pantry. We ask that everyone be a little more careful in checking the expiration date on the items you donate next year. This year’s “winner” — a box of Certo Food Pectin from 1982.

Many service hours are logged in preparing for and running the food drive. As always, we are grateful for everyone who donated food items, helped collect the items, helped count, sort, box, and deliver the items to the pantry, and prepared/supplied refreshments for us. We appreciate the plastic bags and the 450 boxes we used that were donated as well.

A special thank you to the Glasco Fire Department, our charter organization, and to St. Joseph’s Church in Glasco for the use of their facilities. And we are also grateful for the staff that run the Saugerties Food Pantry, seeing that many families in need will have food for the upcoming holidays and beyond.

Laura Sexton, Committee Member, Troop 135
Glasco, on behalf of Boy Scout Pack 135
and Troop 135

Maurice, a man of courage, resistance       

Maurice Hinchey played a sizable role in my family’s history in Saugerties. He has been and will be greatly missed in this age of the Trump. We moved to Saugerties in the early 1960’s when my parents bought and started to operate the Solway House, a local hotel. At the time this was a Republican town. My parents, Jack and Martha Walter, always believed that they had a responsibility to make this world a better place for the next generation. When they came to Saugerties, they met a politically inspired young man who shared many of their values. They supported Maurice whole heartedly throughout their lives.

My parents always praised the courage of this young man. Maurice did not come from streets of New York City. He was a local boy, but he shared my folks opposition to racism, and with them he supported the Civil Rights movement, supported “I Rate Consumers” to control excessive utility fees, and  supported the environmental movement for clean air and water. When other local people supported the War in Vietnam, Maurice had the courage to object, as he did to the war in Iraq.

Maurice was a man of the resistance before today’s resistance came into being. He would have stood strong against the values and practices of our current president. He would have been delighted by all the Democratic activism that opposes the dominance of corporate America and that fosters the unequal distribution of wealth in our society. He was a man of the people. We could use him now to lead and support the current resistance. Maurice was crucial in Saugerties to the building of the Democratic Party and I am sure he would be delighted by the next Town Board without one enrolled Republican.

Maurice was our ally in the fight against the Mega-dump. He smelled corruption in the formative years of the County’s effort to bring a county dump to his Town and lauded our opposition. We need him and will miss him. May he rest in peace while we continue to struggle in his name and under his banner.

On behalf of the Walter Family and the Saugerties Democratic Committee, with great appreciation,

Lanny Walter, Chair

Let’s watch the Brits

Since we seem to like breaking away from many of our former friendly countries, it will be interesting to see how our president responds to the upcoming British marriage of the “no whiter worldwide celebrity” than Prince Harry to a “not so white, or even British” Meghan Markle.
Apparently, Britain is one of the most racially tolerant countries on the planet, so I guess it will be ok with their home country, whereas Jordan and India not so much. Although the U.S.. Britain and Canada are listed as the least racist, it will be interesting to see where our present leader will stand. If he doesn’t “tweet” on this one, we will now know that his tweets are not as spontaneous as we think.
I am  now going to say farewell to our former precious representative Maurice Hinchey, whose purpose was to protect each and every one of us, and to keep our environment healthy.  My thanks and blessings to his wife Ilene Marder and his children.

Jill Paperno

Keep the individual mandate

The “Individual Mandate” is good for all of us.
The Senate tax bill includes a provision that will literally kill ObamaCare. The “individual mandate,” a critical provision of ObamaCare, prevents people from waiting until sick before buying a policy. Senate Republicans are attempting to fill the huge national deficit created by their huge tax cuts for the wealthy by eliminating the mandate.  Their main selling point is “people should have the freedom to not buy insurance if they choose.” Sounds good but it misses a major point — people without a health care policy do have coverage without having to pay for it! Hospitals are required to care for anyone who comes into the emergency room, insured or not, heart attack or flu. The cost of this inefficient, hugely expensive care is then passed on to insured patients. The uninsured get a free ride that inflates costs two ways: by reducing the size of the insurance “pool,” which according to the Congressional Budget Office will annually increase costs 10%; and by passing along the cost of their care to others.
It is essential that this provision be removed from the tax legislation while the Senate moves forward and tries to resolve its law with the House law.

Dave Minch