Saugerties Times letters (7/19-25)

Mercer stealth attack

Concerned citizens in Ulster County need to be aware of an organization calling itself Reclaim New York. If you have seen their website or e-mail, they seem to be an innocent-enough effort to help New Yorkers avoid high taxes. In reality, Reclaim New York is a propaganda arm of Robert Mercer, wealthy supporter of Trump and other right-wing atrocities. One of Reclaim New York’s current aims is to infiltrate the Ulster County Legislature and disfranchise voters through a term limit initiative. If you can, please attend the next legislative session, Legislative Chambers, 244 Fair St, Kingston. Oppose this incursion into our local legislative process. If that isn’t possible, please contact your County Legislator to express your opposition. This is a stealth attack on our local democracy and we need to dig in our heals to fend it off.

Sarah Gardner

The problem with Hugh Reynolds

Kudos to the writer of the July 5th Woodstock Times letter calling out columnist Hugh Reynolds as the biased journalist which he surely is.

I have researched Reynolds’ writings, and noticed that he regularly smears Democrats, while leaving Republicans such as Trump and Rep. John Faso unchallenged. Reynolds has been eerily quiet about Trunp’s despicable family separation policy, and instead used his column to sully the Democratic primary candidates, dismissing them with his headline: “The Circus Leaves Town” (July 5 Woodstock Times).  Note to Hugh Reynolds — the Democratic primary promoted a rich exchange of ideas and discussions within the voting community. We call that democracy. It was disgraceful for Reynolds to smear it as a “circus.”  


In the same column, Reynolds printed a dubious statement by Faso that 160 million Americans would not be willing to give up employer-provided health coverage in exchange for a Medicare for All program. This statement is simply false. Corporations no longer seek to provide good insurance as a benefit. The coverage numbers are dropping. Corporations outsource jobs, hire contractors and pursue part-time workers so that they need not offer health coverage. The 160 million figure offered by Faso is wrong (see, yet Reynolds had no inclination to challenge or fact-check Faso’s fallacious assertion.

Reynolds created his latest smear in the July 12 Woodstock Times, where he imagined Democratic candidate Antonio Delgado hypothetically on the side of “environmental militants” with a “bullhorn.” It was a total fiction, purposed to smear Delgado. How low can Hugh Reynolds go?

In summary, in Hugh Reynolds’ world, the Republicans can do no wrong, and Democrats are always to be smeared. If the facts don’t support a smear, then Reynolds creates an imagined scenario to smear them with.

Do we really need Hugh Reynolds? Our community deserves better.

Jerry Cohen

Socially conscious rap

I am writing to express my concern about Faso’s criticism of the prior hip-hop lyrics of his opponent, Antonio Delgado. Delgado is correct that Faso’s comments “feed into racial biases.” These lyrics should be interpreted in their full contest and entirety which, as Delgado says, are “part of a long tradition of politically and socially conscious rap and were intended to promote civil awareness and engagement among hip-hop fans.” The substance of  Faso’s criticism is false and misleading, and his method of contacting the Post, without first reaching out to Delgado for context and clarification, is reprehensible.

Elizabeth J. Shafer

Solar installation is an industrial use

In her letter in the July 12 issue of Saugerties Times, Joan Monastero brings up the essential issue regarding solar collector arrays. Like oil and coal fired generators, wind turbines, and hydroelectric, solar is simply another form of generating electricity. As such, it is clearly an industrial use and belongs in an industrial district where it is permitted under local zoning law. In fact such a use is already in place along Old King’s Highway in the National Guard site opposite Solite Industries where it belongs. The industrial district there has extensive vacant sites where hundreds, if not thousands, of collectors could be appropriately placed. Additional vacant industrial sites lay along Malden Turnpike.

Too many pretty pictures by such organizations such as Scenic Hudson have been circulated showing pretty flowers in the foreground but overrunning pasture land and hayfields, displacing farmland. No attention has been paid to the impacts on soil microbiology, insect life, wildlife, landscape, especially the unique historic landscapes such as Asbury, where a solar developer recently withdrew a proposal to despoil such a landscape there. Moreover, these arrays which threaten hundreds of acres of our town, can grow by the thousands without any limits yet imposed by the Town Board.

As we move forward with massive or discrete solar installations, we should do it carefully and intelligently with a view of the potentially irretrievable negative impacts on our unique historic landscape. For the time being at least, they should be permitted in Industrial Districts, any where on rooftops and over parking lots. This will be enough to power our foreseeable electricity needs.

Barry Benepe

Barry Benepe is vice-chair of the Town of Saugerties Comprehensive Planning Committee and a member of the Town of Saugerties Historic Preservation Commisson.

FHS mourns Putman, cancels gathering

The Steering Committee for the Friends of Historic Saugerties mourns the loss of our friend and fellow historian Myles Putman who died from a tragic accident on June 5th.   Myles was a founding member of the FHS initiative. He was held in high regard by our steering committee and the community for his expertise as a careful and precise contributor and an always reliable and instant resource for detailed information on roads, maps, plats, plans, laws, codes, and dates. Myles was a self-admitted and self-labeled “road-geek,” who has been studying and investigating roads, particularly the early state highways of New York and the county road systems in Ulster County, for many years. In addition to Friends of Historic Saugerties, Myles was a valued member of the Town of Saugerties Historic Preservation Commission and Vice-President of Ars Choralis. He also owned MLPC, a planning and zoning consulting firm.

An  innovative producer of several of the FHS talks, Myles gave two presentations himself, the last one in June of 2017 entitled “Unearthing the Hidden History of Modern Highways: Research adventures on the road less travelled.” Myles was working on a presentation about the 100-year history of 9W and Ulster Ave. for our August 4th Friends of Historic Saugerties lecture. We do not wish to replace Myles and in his memory have decided to cancel our August FHS gathering.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, September 8th when our guest presenter will be Valerie Balint who will give a talk entitled: “A Living Artistic Masterwork: Frederic Church’s Olana.”  We hope you will join us then.

Susan Davis,
for the FHS Steering Committee

Kelp/seaweed farming good for the planet

When the term “Green Jobs” is referenced most people conjure up images of solar panels being installed on roofs or in mass qualities on solar farms, but a newly emerging form of green farming has been scientifically shown to have a beneficial effect on the reduction of carbon dioxide deposits within the world’s oceans. 

Recent studies have shown that deposits of carbon dioxide are increasing at a rapid rate within the world’s oceanic areas, and this has been linked to nutritional deficiencies within various aquatic species that causes their skeletal vertebrae and frames to mature at a diminished rate. Much of these increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been linked to commercialized farming of crops and cattle, and this contributes to global warming. An increased presence of seaweed/kelp across oceanic areas, however, has been scientifically shown to diminish levels of carbon dioxide within these oceanic areas. Consequently, an increased presence of seaweed/kelp has a beneficial effect on the ecosystem that affects aquatic species and a beneficial effect on global warming through a reduction of carbon dioxide. 

Commercialized kelp farming is rapidly becoming a new form of green agriculture, and it is often cultivated in conjunction with other aquatic-based food products such as mussels.  As kelp/seaweed is increasingly becoming a culinary choice for consumers of food round the world, it is also contributing to a reduction in dangerous greenhouse gases, an improvement in the health of the ecosystem within the world’s waterways and a stimulus to the aquatic-based agricultural industry and the overall economy. Commercialized kelp/seaweed farming is a form of the ever-emerging Green Economy that is a win-win for the world no matter how one looks at it!

Chris Allen