Saugerties Times letters (6/20-26)

Schoonmaker for legislature

Saugerties Town Councilman John Schoonmaker is running in the Democratic primary on June 25 to represent District 2 in the Ulster County Legislature. He has served the Town of Saugerties well. Among his many accomplishments, John is an effective liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission, Tourism Committee and the Saugerties Animal Shelter. He has worked diligently with our terrific Town Supervisor, Fred Costello, to make Saugerties a beacon for green energy, pushing for solar and other renewable energy for the town and promoting the use of electric cars by town employees. Before becoming an elected official, John fought to preserve our clean air and safe water and stop pipelines and dumps that threaten our community. John will bring that commitment and dedication to the Ulster County Legislature. 

John is about serving his constituents, not himself. As a town councilman, he has held regular office hours to allow residents to share their concerns and ideas. Noteworthy is that John is a great listener. When I see him around town, he is listening intently rather than talking over people. Being a respectful and energetic team player, John will represent us well in the Ulster County Legislature. 

Christine Dinsmore

Al Bruno for district 2 legislature

Over the past several years I have watched my husband, Al Bruno work towards the good of our community! Serving on  several  local committees as well as being very involved with his Unionatwork, (SEIU 1199). He focuses on the needs fthe people not politics! With a common sense approach and his passion, Al Bruno is a man for the people…not the politics.
Join me on Tuesday June 25th when we vote in the Independence primary to elect Al Bruno! Let us help him, bring back values and common sense to our community! Vote Al Bruno for UC Legislator District 2.


Lisa M Bruno

Ice rink renovations

The Town Board, at its meeting of June 12, 2019 voted to approve the resolution authorizing the replacement of the roof at the Kiwanis Ice Arena. Supervisor Fred Costello Jr. and town board members Mike MacIsaac, John Schoonmaker and Leeanne Thornton voted yes. Town Board member Paul Andreassen abstained, casting no vote on the project.

This was an exciting evening where children and adults involved in figure skating, ice hockey and recreational skating along with teachers, coaches and parents cheered the final vote. 

One parent, who supported the project, had concerns about the cost, but was delighted after receiving a financial report from Greg Chorvas, Department Head of Parks and Buildings indicating that the ice rink revenue sources would cover the cost of the renovation.

Investing in our ice rink not only ensures an exceptional recreational venue for our citizens, but also serves as a tourist attraction and economic driver for Saugerties.

Congratulations to all who made their voices heard.

Mike Harkavy

Voting for Allen again

I am writing this letter in strong support of Chris Allen for re-election into the Ulster County Legislature. My mom and I have voted for Chris since he first ran for office in 2013. In four years of service, Legislator Allen was very prompt and expedient in his service to the residents of his legislative district. When my mom was receiving residential rehabilitation at an area nursing home and she began to have difficulties with her insurance coverage, Legislator Allen was very helpful in providing me with guidance so that I could file an insurance appeal on behalf of my mom. I have also seen the work that Legislator Allen has done on behalf of the residents of Saugerties and Malden and particularly in my development in Barclay Heights.

On June 25, vote for Chris Allen in the Democratic Party Primary and write him in for the Independence Party and Working Families Party primaries. Chris has a proven track record of service, he is highly competent, knowledgeable and intelligent, and he is the best candidate for the job out of the three choices.

Elizabeth Shay

The last straw

At every news brief, political discussion we must be subjected to President Trump’s rude, boastful, derogatory, narcissistic, mostly untrue statements. In our face, his less than presidential tweets. I have slowly realized that a strong, unpleasant gut reaction occurs within me whenever he speaks or is even seen.

The latest demeaning, rude, gauche comments given in his explicit, blunt, back-alley-like demeanor occurred tearing apart some Democratic candidates. Biden was called useless, Warren referred to as Pocahontas. His subtle, snide, bigoted comment about gay Mayor Pete Buttigieg, implying he was less than nothing. This was the last straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

Here is a young man, who at age 38 has a Harvard degree, is a Rhodes  Scholar, war veteran,   elected  a mayor, who offers  sane, intelligent, clear, visionary plans for this country.

I will not expose  my spirit any longer to Trump’s derogatory implications and rudeness. The mute button will be used to the max. The man embarrasses me as our leader of the free world.

When President Roosevelt was leader of our great nation he told his public relations people. “Say nothing about my opponent whether good or bad. It is free publicity for him. Speak only of what good I’ve done for the country and what I plan to do for the country.” FDR had what we call, ‘class’ to which Trump’s billions have given him not one iota.

Joyce Benedict
Hyde Park

Attention: Independence Party voters

On Tuesday June 25, 2019, there will be an Independence Party Primary.

This year Paul Andreassen, Al Bruno and Mary Wawro have all been granted the Independence Party line. Nevertheless, since there are other candidates who are also seeking this line, there will be a Primary to decide which candidate will appear on the ballot in November.

There are 761 people from Saugerties who are enrolled in the Independence Party (one of whom is Paul Andreassen) and two years ago, when Paul ran for a seat on the Town Board, he got 520 votes on the Independence line. Paul is hoping to get as many votes in the Independence Party Primary on June 25th.

Paul Andreassen is a very unique person with a very impressive life’s résumé. He’s a lifelong resident of Saugerties who has championed volunteerism near and far (Saugerties, as well as other local towns and other states in this country). He has consistently demonstrated his love for his hometown and its people. Paul, a popular local, is known far and wide for his band, The Paul Luke Band, which has volunteered on so many occasions in support of worthy charity events and other local causes. He’s both a man of honor and a gentleman, and has lived up to his promise to put people over politics. Paul is hoping that the 520 people who voted for him two years ago will come out once again and support him on Primary Day.

Mary Wawro, who had been granted the Independence line, will also face a primary this year. Two years ago, Mary received 159-votes from the 287 registered voters in District 1 on the Independence Party line. She is running for re-election to the Ulster County Legislature for District 1 again this year and hopes to get as many as, if not more than, the number of votes she got last time on the Independence line. Mary has been very dedicated to all the causes of the people in her District.


Then newcomer to elected office is Al Bruno, who has a world of technical knowledge and community experience. In addition to attending more than 90% of town board meetings over the last several years, Al has also served on many town committees (assessment, ethics, transportation, conservation) and is an extremely active supporter of our troops, both sending packages worldwide while they are away and supporting them upon their return home. Al is running for County Legislator in District 2. Al has also been granted the Independence line but will face  a write-in challenger.

Paul Andreassen, Al Bruno and Mary Wawro will no doubt put the people of Saugerties first over politics. We ask that members of the Independence Party come out on Tuesday June 25 and give these fine, hard-working individuals your support. They deserve it and they will not let you down.

George Heidcamp, Saugerties Conservative Committee

Schoonmaker for legislature

John Schoonmaker serves on the Saugerties Town Board and now seeks to gain election to the Ulster County Legislature representing District 2.

Unlike so many of his generation — he’s 28 — he believes passionately in the ability of government at all levels to make a difference in our lives.

John knows we must address our changing climate locally, as well as nationally and internationally. He worked hard to help make Saugerties a Climate Smart Community. The future for our children and grandchildren depends on taking positive action..

I have been impressed with John on other issues as well. He understands why so many of his classmates from Saugerties have left the area to seek better opportunities. He looks forwards to bringing new education programs and jobs to the area. The opioid epidemic also must be addressed.

But even while discussing new initiatives, John is ever mindful of the burden of property taxes in the lives of residents. He worked with the current Town Board and Supervisor Costello to keep taxes from rising.

John now wants to put the experience he has gained to work at the level of Ulster County government. The first step in that process is winning the Democratic primary election on June 25th. I urge all Democrats to turn out and give your vote to John Schoonmaker.

Kathy Gordon

Letter of support for Paul Andreassen

I have known Paul Andreassen for many years, he is truly a man of integrity, and I am taking this quote from the internet “Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain.” Anyone who knows Paul knows this to be true. A true public servant is serving all tax payers. Paul has the experience and the wisdom to govern our town in the right direction with financial accountability and discipline. Please consider Paul on the Independence Line.  

Robert Briody

Supporting Schoonmaker 

I was eager and proud to support John Schoonmaker when he tossed his hat in the ring for Saugerties Town Board. He has not disappointed. John has proven himself to be a stalwart protector of the environment and committed to seeing  ur town grow as a leader in the green movement.

I encourage you to reach out to John and get to know him. You only need to have a conversation with John to discern his passion for the environment and the Town of Saugerties. Having conversations and sharing ideas with John couldn’t be easier.  Throughout his term as Councilman he has made himself available by holding regular office hours, encouraging his constituents to reach out with their concerns and questions. He will represent you.

Let’s let John bring his level of commitment to renewable energy and the environment to the County level. I urge you to join me in supporting John Schoonmaker for Ulster County Legislative District 2 in the upcoming Democratic and Working Families primary on June 25.

Virginia Luppino

Allen for legislature

I am writing in support of Chris Allen for re-election into the Ulster County Legislature. When I first met Chris over ten years ago, I was very impressed with his intelligence and knowledge. If you talk with Chris, he seems to know almost everything about a large number of subjects related to politics and government operations. Chris has always been informative and detailed in how he interacts with all voters. If Chris tells you something, you can be confident that his information and ideas are truthful, accurate and legitimate.

Being a registered Democrat, Chris has been very active in issues and causes that resonate with my values. Chris has attended a number of Saugerties Board of Education meetings and has written numerous letters against Common Core testing and in support of equitable funding for rural school districts. Chris has marched on the picket lines with striking union workers and has marched with the Alliance for a Quality Education in Albany for more school funding and in support of teachers. 

Chris has been active in improving upon the treatment for those afflicted with Lyme disease, and spreading awareness about Lyme. Chris is passionate about improving upon our healthcare system and tending to the needs of the elderly.

As an independent filmmaker, I am also pleased to see how Chris has been supportive of the Hudson Valley Film Commission as he was instrumental in organizing our yearly meetings in Saugerties.

On June 25, vote for Chris Allen in the Democratic Party Primary and write Chris in for the Independence Party and Working Families Party primaries. Chris is the best candidate for the job as our legislator.

Katie Cokinos

Proud Of Town Police

Rumors are insidious things in that they allow falsehoods to be spread under-the-radar, person to person, with no accountability as to ownership. One such rumor circulating in parts of our community is that Town Supervisor Fred Costello, Jr. is too “cozy” with the police department. The insinuation here is that the police department gets special favors from the Supervisor; that police officers are overpaid; and that police officers are not trained and qualified. Hogwash to all of these. Let’s take a look at the facts.

First, the town’s police officers are highly trained and highly qualified. The Town of Saugerties police is an accredited law enforcement agency, accredited by the New York State Law Enforcement Accreditation Council. They are also well trained and up-to-date on police practices, procedures and knowledge. For example, this past February Chief Sinagra, Officer David Stoutenburg and Dispatcher Vera White graduated from a special 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training Program focusing on mental health, substance abuse and behavioral health crises. And this past May Officer Jennifer Culver and her narcotics sniffing dog Romulus, who not only do their primary work in Saugerties but also assist other municipalities when needed and available, took first place in the National Certification Trials over 24 other officer/dog entrants from around the country. Saugerties police officers also often receive special county recognition such as at the April 17 Town Board meeting when two Saugerties police officers received Ulster County Certificates of Commendation for their work in reducing DWI.

Town police also receive regular training in new policing methods and the legal issues relating to defense and prosecution, as well as receiving specialized instruction at policing centers such as the hostage negotiator school, the crime scene technician school and the crime scene photography school. (See the Saugerties Police Department’s End of Year Reports.)

Finally, are our police officers overpaid? Quite the contrary. As made clear in the April 15, 2018 article “Saugerties Police Department experiencing high turnover” in HV1 (, Saugerties often loses officers to other area municipalities that offer higher pay than we do. Another tribute to the high quality and capability of our police officers, although we’d much prefer to keep them here.

So, we have a town police force of which we can and should be proud, and if this is in any way due to the Town Supervisor and the Chief of Police being on good terms with each other and being able to communicate with each other and work well with each other, then we should be happy about it; and whoever is spreading these baseless rumors about the supervisor being too “cozy” with the police should be ashamed of themselves.

David H. Smilow

Paul vs. Fred? Why?

I voted for Paul Andreassen for the town board in 2017. I am disappointed that, after only a short time into his four-year term, he is running for Town Supervisor against Fred Costello. Paul ran with Fred in 2017 and supported his platform. Fred has done great things for Saugerties as our Town Supervisor. What is the motivation for Paul running against Fred? Why doesn’t Paul roll up his sleeves, get the work done in the position he was elected to serve, and continue to help Fred make our town successful?

I don’t understand why Paul wants to challenge a supervisor who has accomplished the things he said he would, who made thoughtful decisions along the way, who sought consensus from the Board (on which Paul sits), and who saved the town money doing it!  We already have an exceptional supervisor in Fred Costello and I’m sticking with him. I’m voting for Fred to remain our supervisor and keep working on our behalf. Paul, please reconsider your run, get more experience serving our town, and finish out the term you were elected to in the first place. This is not a popularity contest. This is about the what is best for our town — now and for the future.

Nejla Liias

Costello fighting the dumps

I am supporting Saugerties Town Supervisor Fred Costello in his re-election bid. Here is why: Fred has demonstrated that he will fight for the rights of citizens against illegal dumping. He has shown over the past few months a deep commitment to defending the town laws and zoning codes against a dump operator who is ignoring laws that protect the citizens of Saugerties from toxic materials in our land and water, unsafe conditions at the dump site entrances and gigantic piles of who-knows-what that, as they currently stand, are causing a blight on the natural scenery.

Fred understands that our community is based on the acceptance of and adherence to laws and codes. He has diligently sought every legal recourse available and has applied pressure to the Department of Conservation and local and state politicians to get them involved in shutting down these dump sites. I believe that the DEC raids of the dump sites a few weeks ago were the result of Fred’s continued pressure on the agency. The entire community, Fred included, is waiting expectantly for the results of those tests and how they bear on the DEC’s ongoing investigation.

Lastly, Fred realizes how badly these dump sites could affect the economy of Saugerties. If the dump site is allowed to continue, what will stop other potential dumpers from opening their own Construction and Demolition waste sites along Route 212? And what will happen to the property values along the road then? Do any of us want to continue living next to these catastrophes? No, we don’t. So we will fight. And Fred Costello will be there fighting right along side us.

Greg Cornell

Support Paul Andreassen

I’ve known Paul since 1971. He is and always has been a man of integrity. The type of man that will always make the choice that benefits all and never for personal gain. 

Paul has been fiscally responsible in his personal and business life and I’m sure we can count on him to do the same in public service. Paul has the knowledge and wisdom to govern our town in the right direction cohesively. Paul looks at the issues vefore him doing right for all and does not take party sides. He’s a fair man. 

Please consider adding Paul to the Independence Line. 

Mark Dupre

Andreassen: Genuine, accountable, responsible

I have known Paul Luke Andreassen the entire 42 years I’ve been on this earth! I cannot think of a better candidate to represent the people of our town. Paul is genuine, accountable, responsible and has the foresight and wisdom to lead our town.

Having grown up with Paul as one of my parents closest friends, I’ve had the opportunity to see him in both personal and professional roles and he takes each and every role very seriously. When my childhood home burnt down, Paul had a benefit to support my family. When my parents divorced, Paul was there to help us make adjustments for energy efficiency and heating in our home so our bills were more manageable.

Just this month he was part of another benefit in support of my 15-year-old niece who is going through cancer treatment. My husband and I hired Paul to inspect our home prior to purchasing it knowing he had my husband, my kids and me at the forefront of his mind to be sure we were purchasing a sound and safe home.

In short, Paul Luke Andreassen is not only a lifelong resident of our little mountain town, his reputation as a loyal friend, honest businessman, thorough building inspector, responsible builder, talented musician, dedicated family man amongst many other ‘hats,’ his humble nature, professional and life experience will surely benefit our town. Please consider Paul on the Independence Party line.

Lauren Marcello Ruberg

Letter of support for Paul Andreassen

I have known Paul Andreassen for many years, he is truly a man of integrity. He is a brother, husband and  father. I am lucky to call him a friend because he always has time to offer advice/ experience on any matter. 

He offers a pragmatic realistic view of our town/village and its needs. A true public servant is serving all tax payers. Paul has the experience and the wisdom to govern our town in the right directionwith financial accountability and discipline. Please consider Paul on the Independence Line.

Matt Ruberg

Ice rink roof information was available

At our regularly scheduled June 12th Town Board meeting the board approved a long awaited roof replacement project for the ice rink. However, I was very disappointed by councilman Andreassen’s comments to the Kingston Freeman. In his comments, he suggested that a lack of information is what motivated him to abstain from voting on the ice rink project. This comment is disappointing and inaccurate. This project has been a subject of discussion for years. 

Back in January of 2018 newly elected Councilman Andreassen and recently appointed Board Liaison to Parks & Recreation and Buildings & Grounds attended the first of many meetings to discuss the failing roof at the ice rink. As consensus developed for the project, not only was the entire Town Board, including Mr. Andreassen, provided all copies of the planning documents, the bid documents and the financial documents, but those documents were also made available to anyone who wanted them. The widespread availability of the information regarding the project was apparent during public comment period at our June 12 Town Board meeting. Speakers who offer comments for the board’s consideration referenced the same information that was provided to the Town Board for its consideration of the project.

The only information that was not widely available for consideration by the Town Board or the public was the information Mr. Andreassen compiled through private communications with our consultants and vendors who were engaged by the town to offer potential solutions for the ice rink roof replacement. Summary of those conversations and emails were not shared by Mr. Andreassen with the board or the public for our benefit or consideration. The only reason I am aware that these communications even exist is, occasionally, I would be accidentally copied in on an email or a reply to Mr. Andreassen. Whatever motivated Mr. Andreassen not to participate in the voting on the Town Board’s effort to repair a failing roof on a signature town facility is unknown to me, but he cannot legitimately argue that he did not have enough information to make an informed decision on an issue that he has been actively participating in for over a year and a half.  Regardless, Mr. Andreessen’s lack of transparency does not serve the public’s interest, nor does it provide any useful information to the Town Board in our attempt to resolve a leaky roof.

Fred Costello Jr., Town of Saugerties Supervisor

I will serve with diligence and logic

During the six plus years that I have been involved in Ulster County politics, I have witnessed numerous candidates for elective office disseminate ideas that are not feasible, legal or practical. Unfortunately, nearly all of these types of candidates lack the cognitive proclivities to understand how the basic tenants of law-making and policy-setting processes are applied. 

In the structure and application of Municipal Law, there are instances where Federal and State Laws (and associative processes) supersede County and local-level Laws. In other specific cases, local municipalities have their own sovereign rights to set their own local zoning laws and other types of local Laws. In the field of government operations, this is referred to as “Home Rule Law.” 

As an experienced Legislator who holds two Graduate-level Degrees, I possess a deep understanding of how specific laws supersede one another and in what legal instances “Home Rule Law’ is applied. I fully understand what legal authorities a County Legislator possesses and what laws and policies a County Legislator is capable of making and which ones they are not. I understand that a County Legislator is not able to set policies that determine what specific environmental policies and restrictions are going to be established against fossil fuel industry development, as this is an issue where State-level agencies determine such policies that individual counties must follow. 

In the last decade, a New York State ban of hydro-fracking was passed which all counties must follow. Conversely; however, the Town of Saugerties under “Home Rule Law” is able to restrict the expansion of new gas stations being developed under their own Zoning Laws.

As an experienced legislator who voted for four budgets that reduced county property taxes, I realize that no funding from the Ulster County budget will be used to pay for a parking garage to be built in Saugerties or any other municipalities within Ulster County.

During my four years in the legislature, I wrote the Lyme Disease Awareness Policy that the Ulster County Department of Health applies, and I wrote three memorializing resolutions that called for reforms and protections in State and Federal Health Care Laws that would improve upon your ability to have control over your own healthcare records and for improvements to be made within our healthcare system.

In my third term in office, I will write several policies that will call for improvements to be made within the Office for the Aging and within the Department of Social Services. I will recommend to the County Executives’ Office that we add a position in order to further assist elderly patients of nursing homes and hospitals when they receive termination notices from their insurance plans. Fiscally, there are specific (vacant) budget-line positons that can be utilized to pay for such additional services without raising taxes. In addition, I will continue to serve with logical votes and due diligence and help those in need.

Chris Allen

There are 4 comments

  1. Just saying

    Mike H…. False!

    Councilman Andreassen stated that he abstained from voting because he didn’t have enough information and there is nothing wrong with that… Board members do that from time to time for a variety of reasons, its a fact!

    You stated that councilman Andreassen abstained, casting “no” vote on the project, fasle!

    I realize it’s election year Mike, but you of all people know the rules… When an elected official abstains from voting it is not a “yes” vote nor is it a “no” vote. It’s not a vote at all. look it up! So for you to say Paul voted no against the project is nothing more then political mumbo-jumbo rhetoric to mislead the people..


    Just to see how many board members abstained from time to time over the years I went back and reviewed all the town board minutes over the last few year and found that many board members have abstained from voting from time to time including, Fred Costello; Leanne Thornton; Paul Andreassen; Jim Bruno; Kelly Myers etc. Just saying….

  2. Jp

    Sounds like the Costello is already starting to go after Andreassen. Well, my taxes continue to go up each and every year just like the rest of you out there. Nejla, like it or not, I’m tired of them going up. With Helsmortal, along with Costello as his assistant, taxes have been going up every single year with no relief in site. I don’t personally know Andreassen, but I’m giving him a shot. Anyone who votes for Costello or Thorton can definetly count on taxes to climb, year after year. Come on people, aren’t you tired of it? Don’t vote party, vote with your wallet. Enough is enough!

  3. Just Saying....

    Offering my opinion ….. Paul vs Fred? Why?

    Why not???

    The position of Town Supervisor expires December 31, 2019. That means the position of town supervisor is up for grabs for anyone interested in running… What difference does it matter if Paul Andreassen has only been on the town board for two years, so what? Board member John Schoonmaker has only been on the town board for two years and he’s running for County Legislator, so what? It’s called free and fair elections.

    Besides, didn’t Fred Costello do the same thing to fellow board member Jim Bruno two years ago?

    As soon as Jim Bruno publicly announced he was running for town supervisor, Fred announced he was going to run against Jim Bruno… Just saying…

  4. Randy Johnson

    Mike H. – How about the 19,000+ residents who don’t use the rink? When do they get to cheer? Not when they open their tax bills!!!

Comments are closed.