Saugerties Times letters (7/25-31)

Implement the plastic bag ban

Kudos to Price Chopper for implementing the plastic bag ban instead of circumventing it by supplying heavier gauge plastic as the Dollar Store next to IXL has done.

Besides being an immense and totally unnecessary environmental problem, plastics manufacturing involves the use of petrochemicals, contributing to CO2 pollution. Exposed to sunlight plastics emit methane and ethylene, greenhouse gases even more potent than CO2.

In addition to contributing to global warming, plastic waste endangers sea life. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, studies have found, covers 600,000 square miles of ocean; it’s bigger than Texas. There are floating plastic patches on all five oceans of the world. Plastic waste is predicted to outweigh fish by 2050 if we don’t change our ways.


Our goal needs to be to get all unnecessary plastic out of our lives. Find alternatives whenever possible!

To learn more, go to this page of the Climate Smart Saugerties Task Force website or to the Plastic Free Ecochallenge,

Susan Murphy, Vivian Beatrice, Janet Asiain, Elizabeth Shafer, Ana Bergen

The Saugerties Green Team
(a subcommittee of the Climate Smart Task Force)

Schoonmaker shows up

I am writing in response to the inflammatory letters by Russell DeCicco and Silver Rose about John Schoonmaker. When I first read the ludicrous charges about John — he’s supported by anarchists and he doesn’t go to animal shelter meetings — I laughed. Then I realized if left unchallenged some readers might believe that nonsense. 

You won’t see attacks by John Schoonmaker because he can run on his record. As a Town Board member, John has had regular office hours to learn of his constituents’ concerns. During his term, Saugerties secured grants to provide interest-free loans for families to make needed home repairs, began removing invasive plants from the Esopus, and became a certified Climate Smart Community.       

John shows up — whether it’s to help stop the Karolys dumps, support a neighbor in need, or promote Saugerties’ events, such as the Garlic Festival, Hope Rocks or the Sawyer Car Show. And he attends all town meetings. John, a lifelong Saugerties resident, will bring compassion, enthusiasm and principles to the Ulster County Legislature. Let’s reject the politics of derision and insults and instead support the politics of ideas. Stand with John Schoonmaker.

Christine Dinsmore

Moon over Fel Qui

Congratulations, Joe Karolys of the Karolys and Sons C and D processing operation, for continuing to ignore the 39 State violations imposed by the D.E.C. (Dep’t of Environmental Conservation), as he continues to dump C & D materials on his two properties,33 and 44 Fel Qui Road off John Joy Road in Saugerties, New York near the Woodstock line.The neighbors have been treated to large and noisy unmarked trucks rumbling down John Joy Road lately on a fifteen minute basis  from 7 a.m.  to 3 p.m. Prior to this schedule, the dumping has been going on since 2016. The trucks stir up a lot of dust, make tremendous noise and don’t do the road much good either. The dumped material may or may not contain hazardous properties that could eventually leach into the soil,  affecting neighboring well water and deflating home values.

When the DEC came to test the materials dumped at the Fel Qui sites, Mr. Karolys pulled down his pants and mooned them in protest. Fortunately there was no personal dumping on Mr. Karolys’ part. The ineffectiveness of the Village of Saugerties officials,  their police force, attorneys, and Catskill Mountainkeepers to shut down the illegal dumping operation has most certainly been roadblocked by Mr. Karolys’ attorney, one Melvin Higgins, and the Ulster County Supreme Court Judge, Richard Mott who decreed to reverse the stop work order. His final decision should come down any year now.

Once again, thank you Joe Karolys for jeopardizing the quiet country road of John Joy as well as potentially damaging its fragile ecosystem, water supplies, and  home values by stirring up dust, making noise, ruining the road, and potentially dumping hazardous waste in the immediate area on a regular basis.

Greg Safris

Support Schoonmaker

As members of the Saugerties Democratic Executive Committee, we were disturbed by the spurious attacks on John Schoonmaker, who is running for Ulster County Legislature District 2. We’ve known John through his involvement in the social and environmental justice movement and the Democratic Party. We can attest to his character and commitment to progressive ideals. John has been an outstanding representative on the Saugerties Town Board and has served his constituents well. He has been a leader on green initiatives, championing renewable energy and other eco-friendly initiatives. John is an upstanding young man who cares deeply about our community. He will be a capable Ulster County legislator, helping to move our town and county forward. We are pleased that John is stepping up and we support him wholeheartedly. 

Nejla Liias, First Vice Chair
Barbara Boyce, Second Vice Chair
Margo McGilvreym, Treasurer
Bill Barr, Secretary

In reply to Russell Dicicco and Silver Rose — if they exist. 

On Friday, two nasty letters appeared in the Saugerties Times attacking John Schoonmaker, who is running for the County Legislature (District 2), and calling his supporters “anarchists” who had come into Saugerties from elsewhere to skew the election. As a member of a local organization that interviewed both John and Chris for possible endorsement — and voted unanimously to endorse John — I’m going to assume that I am among those “anarchists.” That’s a shabby smear.

I voted to endorse John because I agree with his progressive politics and greatly admire his energy, optimism and commitment to community. I believe he will honorably and effectively advocate for his constituents as a County Legislator, and I intend to support his campaign in every way possible.

But I still want to know who wrote those unpleasant letters. Russell DeCicco claims to have been a member of the Independence Party in Ulster County for the past 38 years, though he is not included in the Board of Election list of voters registered with any party.  Neither is Silver Rose. And I checked her claim that John skips town board meetings. He missed one in the year and a half he has been on the board. Neither Decicco or Rose has a listed phone. Neither is a county property owner.  Both claim to know Chris Allen, but do either of them actually exist?

Among the things I like most about John Schoonmaker is his positive approach to government, his collegiality, his ability to work with others, and the seriousness with which he takes his community responsibilities. He gets along with people, listens carefully to their concerns, and works hard to realize a vision of possibility. He will make a brilliant Legislator.

Penny Coleman

Schoonmaker has integrity, background

Two years ago John Schoonmaker, Saugerties raised, brought his youthful enthusiasm to the campaign for Town Board and won his race on the Democratic line. He has served the Town honorably with special concern applied to our environmental health and the success of the Animal Shelter. John was endorsed by the Working Family Party and a local political organization of which I am a member that grew out of the 2016 Bernie for President campaign, Ulster People for Justice and Democracy.

Along with members of the Saugerties Democratic Committee these groups worked with John during the primary season to help him win the Democratic Party line for County Legislature over Chris Allen. They believe he has the integrity  and background to win the County race and to bring his progressive values to the County Legislature.

Your prior edition carried a letter by Russell DeCicco supporting Chris Allen. I do not know if Mr. DeCicco wrote that letter or Chris Allen, an unrestrained letter writer, wrote it for him. One aspect of the letter is very disappointing if it came from Chris, and if it did not, I hope to see Chris reject Mr. DeCicco’s characterization of the people supporting John. Mr. DeCicco labeled these people as “anarchists.” While I believe this Trumpian term came from Chris, a former member of the Democratic Party who professed to share the values of the Party, Mr. DeCicco or Chris do not know what they are talking about.  The individuals working for John are good government advocates who believe that John is more electable, more committed to his values and better suited to represent Saugerties.  None of them are “anarchist” and Chris knows that. When November roles around, I hope Saugerties voters will support John Schoonmaker.

Lanny Walter, Chair,
Saugerties Democratic Party

Breaking the opioid cycle

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan wants to reduce opioid fatalities in Ulster County by 50 percent prior to the end of 2021. The Ulster County Department of Health will be partnering with Columbia University’s School of Social Work, which recently received a $86 Million Dollar grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Ulster County will be one of 16 counties statewide to participate in the CHASE (County-system Hub And Spoke Empowerment) program, and we will receive $2.5 million over the next three years to help prevent the abuse of opioids, treat addiction and to promote recovery. 


Ulster County will also receive a $216,000 grant over the next three years from the New York Department of Health to help connect opioid-addicted Ulster County residents with treatment centers. Through this additional funding, there will be an increase in the availability of Narcan which can bring overdosed addicts back to life and an increase in the integrated interaction with overdosed addicts who were administered Narcan.

What can also be done to enhance these efforts to combat opioid addiction is to convince local alternative healthcare practitioners to offer their services pro bono at local addiction treatment centers. Currently, there are local teachers of high intensity yoga and meditation offering their services for free to an area Methadone clinic. Breaking the addition cycle requires a strengthening of the mind and body which is quite often difficult for addicts to achieve when they are still living in the same environment and still facing with the same life problems that contributed to their addiction. The usage of opioids weakens the mind and body. Through an integration of alternative healthcare treatments like high intensity yoga, meditation, stretching and other exercise programs, addicts can strengthen their minds and bodies and learn how to follow these regiments on their own without supervision. An integration of such treatment methods can be facilitated through the Health Care and Social Services Committee within the Ulster County Legislature working in conjunction with the Ryan Administration and the Ulster County Department of Health.

Recent data from a Federal study shows that deaths are declining from overdose deaths caused by opioid pills, and that overdose deaths caused by Heroin usage has declined to a lesser degree, but that overdose deaths remain higher in certain urban areas as opposed to more suburban ones. The reality is that we still have a long way to go in battling the opioid addiction crises. The availability of Narcan, the increased usage of opioid blocking medications and less prescribing of opioid pills have all contributed to these improvements, but more work can be accomplished. An integrated approach to adding these alternative treatment approaches can go a long way towards giving addicts the internal strength they need in order to break the addition cycle!

Chris Allen

There is one comment

  1. Heather Feller

    The United States of America is not a business, it is my home.
    If someone came into your home, insulted your family, stole your money, emptied your refrigerator, invited the neighbor who had threatened you to come sit on your couch, and killed your children, what would you do?
    “You” is President Trump in this analogy. Leave my house. Leave my country alone. Do the right thing and resign.
    His hate-mongering, White Supremacist, racist rhetoric and ridiculous foreign policy puts us all in danger.
    I urge him to leave my house. He wasn’t really invited anyway. He lost the election by three million votes.
    Leave my house. Resign.

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