Let’s keep the momentum going
I was very proud to see the public pronouncement that both the Town and Village of New Paltz have been officially certified at the bronze level as a Climate Smart Community. I have been the volunteer Climate Smart Coordinator for the past two years and have so many people to thank — most specifically Amanda Gotto. She has worked as our volunteer project manager and has put more hours into this than anyone will ever know. We have had many people help us on the Climate Smart Task Force over the past two years and I would like to express my deep gratitude to Mark Varian, Amanda Gotto, Orelle Feher, Jim O’Dowd, Liz Elkin, Wendy Rudder, Jim Gordon, Lynn Cherry, Hope Nitza, Dan Guenther, Ann Guenther, John Wackman and our SUNY interns: Abby Haas, Seth Laxman, Eva Muir, Tia Mitsinikos, Victoria Hilton and Anna Segal. New Paltz Climate Smart could not exist without the support of our supervisor Neil Bettez, the assistant to the supervisor Kathy Preston, our mayor Tim Rogers, and the assistant to the mayor Ariana Basco. I am grateful for the support and encouragement of both the New Paltz Town Board and the Village of New Paltz Board of Trustees as well as numerous town and village employees that have responded to countless requests for documents and assistance.
While we can be proud as a community for this accomplishment, we cannot rest. This is just the beginning as there is so much more to do. Within the Climate Smart Communities process, we need to do enough actions to attain 300 points for the next level of certification — silver. There are only three municipalities in New York that have achieved this level of certification. We are in a climate crisis and must not lose our focus even in the midst of the coronavirus short-term emergency. Our committees and work groups continue to meet via online conferencing. Are you willing to help? If so, send us an email at email@example.com.
Janelle Peotter, Climate Smart Coordinator
Check on a neighbor, New Paltz
I am organizing a New Paltz community-wide effort that simply could be referred to as a neighborhood “wellness check.” With our older community members most vulnerable to the coronavirus, it’s important that their health and well being is checked on from time to time these next few weeks. I am seeking volunteers to help organize and participate in this outreach.
A phone call to our older neighbors would be appreciated and reassuring that a community cares. We may do this based on our voting districts to better map out neighborhoods for volunteer canvassing.
Please keep in mind, this effort is just beginning, but though the response so far has been encouraging. We need more healthy, enthusiastic persons to pitch in and follow the protocols for healthful interaction.
If you or someone you know is interested, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
William Murray, Trustee
Village of New Paltz
Why the hysteria?
I am even more annoyed now by the hysteria over the novel COVID-19 coronavirus (Wuhan coronavirus) outbreak. Countries locked down. Stores closed. Economies teetering on the edge of disaster.
“Novel” means a strain of coronavirus that is significantly different from existing coronaviruses. New strains of viruses occur frequently; there are four common coronaviruses and three other strains are known. Some coronaviruses cause mild respiratory infections, such as the common cold.
Viruses that make other animals sick can evolve to survive in humans, as this coronavirus appears to have done. There is nothing unique about the appearance of a new strain of coronavirus and its spread through human populations. The death rate measured in a study in South Korea appears to be similar to that of influenza. So why the hysteria?
This season’s influenza epidemic in our country has so far infected at least 34-million people and killed an estimated 20,000–52,000 people, mostly older people with serious health issues. So why are people hysterical about COVID-19?
The black plague in Europe killed 30–60% of the population. The SARS virus, a relative of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), infected 27 people in our country and killed none; the overall world death rate was 9.9 % for all age groups, some of which were much more vulnerable than others. A study in South Korea, which has had a COV-19 epidemic for a while, has determined a death rate for the Wuhan coronavirus similar to that of influenza, with most who died being older people having serious health issues.
Our State Senator Jen Metzger sent out an email with a link to the WHO (World Health Organization), which has concluded that 80% of those infected recover with mild symptoms. That means that we need to focus on the vulnerable 20% and not worry so much if we are in the low-risk category.
Visit the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for more information than you want on this flu season and the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. Also visit the WHO site.
Andi Weiss Bartczak
An open letter to Governor Cuomo
I wish to express my appreciation of your efforts to protect the people of New York State from the pandemic effects of the Coronavirus. Precautionary measures will assuredly work to mitigate all aspects of this monumental health threat. Your declaration of emergency will facilitate prevention protocols as well as response models. I fully support your efforts to promote voluntary cancellations of mass gatherings. The pandemic effects our entire lifestyle and stability. Beyond our health and economy, it also interferes with our democratic process.
As you are aware, we are in the middle of the 2020 election calendar designating petition period. The implementation of a Declaration of Emergency and the observance of avoidance of mass gatherings has had a chilling effect on the process of obtaining signatures for candidates running for political office in 2020. To that end, I respectfully request you suspend or eliminate the requirement of obtaining signatures for designating petitions and the filing of said designating petitions. I believe there is precedence for such an action. It is in the best interest of the public at large to avoid large gatherings and unnecessary contact. I appreciate your consideration of this request and all your efforts on behalf of the people.
Jack Hayes, Chairman
Ulster County Conservative Party
The state should not consider saving the lake
While vacationing in Gardiner last summer, I became aware of Tillson Lake because newspaper stories about saving it made it sound delightful. My daughter and I decided to go there for the day. What we found after considerable searching for the place (no signage to guide us there) is clearly not intended for or used by the general public. No parking, no toilets, no swimming — no amenities whatsoever. I’m sure the people with houses around the lake love having it, or folks with kayaks. But for us, it did not live up to the hype.
We are now living in the Hudson Valley. It disturbs me that the state would even consider using our tax dollars to repair the Tillson dam to “save” the lake, not to mention the many millions needed to bring it up to par.
I think that the native stream to fish and wade in, for half the cost, is a much better use of tax dollars.
“I have to tell you this: this whole thing is not about heroism. It’s about decency. It may seem a ridiculous idea, but the only way to fight the plague is with decency.”
— Albert Camus, The Plague
I was sitting down to write my thoughts about what has been happening these past few weeks and I got this Albert Camus quote from my dear friend Peter, before I typed one word.
All my conversations as of late have been infiltrated by talk of the COVID 19 virus, which has caused me to wonder if somehow there is a parallel psychological COVID 19 virus infecting our minds. Those molecular pictures of the corona crown spikes sticking into our bodies flesh are also striking fear into our medulla oblongata’s. With the internet’s hyperdrive spreading fear at warp speed, this the COVID 19 phycological virus jumps all boundaries we’ve constructed.
Back to Albert Camus’s belief, “But the only way to fight the plague is decency.” What else do we have in our brains first-aid kit that is more powerful than acts of kindness and morality? We become swept away in the undertow of fear-driven media that we forget we have a decency life preserver built in. Look in our hospitals at the nurses who take care of us and how they show up daily in the face of what frightens us to death. It’s been my experience as a patient that their kindness and willingness to see me as a suffering human and not as an illness has been the primary stimulus for my healing. We are decent human beings if we scrape away some of the over manufactured fears we have been fed. I’m not trying to play down the reality of the COVID 19’s danger. I am just trying to inch the door open to seeing that we can help each other. Food could be dropped off on door steps of the quarantined. Phone calls could be made to those isolated. Support takes a panoply of shapes that do not involve airborne sharing mucus. A recent phone call from my friend Dan said he’d cook and shop for food if we wanted him to.
Put your hands to your chest and feel for that life preserver. Just imagine how many ways you could engage decency without shaking hands.
Corona improves health in china?
Industrial areas in China are experiencing unprecedented improvement in air quality during the coronavirus epidemic. Thanks to China’s draconian measures, millions of people are not working, traveling and purchasing products. Over the last three months, these areas have caused a drop in air pollution between one-quarter and one-third, and presumably, from reduced fossil fuel emissions.
It is estimated that in China, over one-million people die each year due to air pollution (!), and millions more suffer debilitating health effects. Coronavirus has caused only 3,000 deaths thus far.
We won’t try to make the argument that the coronavirus has been healthy for China. But isn’t this a stellar moment in time when we can see the effect of choosing health over wealth? And when things return to normal, shouldn’t we all be questioning the health impacts as well as climate impacts of fossil fuel consumption?
Dan and Ann Guenther
In my opinion, we should save the stream corridor. Trying to save the stream is a worthy cause. The kill should be restored to its original wild free flowing state and the trout can have the run of the stream as nature intended. I really don’t get the argument here. The stream has been on the ridge for 10,000 years. Then a land speculator builds a dam, blocks off the stream and the trout and makes more money for “lakefront” lots. Only it’s not a natural lake, its a blocked stream, a large puddle of private interest.
The dam is falling apart fails. EVERYBODY should pay for repairs (again), using my taxes to fix it? Even if you don’t consider the situation we are now confronted with in this world, you must be kidding. Asking New York State taxpayers to save a private lake is outrageous. OUR money is better invested elsewhere.
The stream is real, but the lake is a selfish human need for those who want to have something which nature never intended. Some will say anything to get it. Gaze from porch, play in water, talk the talk, protect the environment. Not! It’s all US! Stay close to nature…..before it disappears, BUT:
Trout stream? Nah! Boat rentals!
Other peoples’ money? Hell yeah!
Politicians? Get them votes!
Save the Ridge? That was Then.T his is NOW!
Questions and answers
During the audience question-and-answer segment of the recent SUNY New Paltz sponsored Trust, truth and the future” discussion — featuring Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. and James Ottaway, Jr. — attendee, Egroeg Elivic, asked Mr. Sulzberger the following question: “Although President Trump’s reference to the New York Times as a ‘failing’ newspaper is meant in an economic sense, in light of the extreme political divisions within the country, are there any measures the New York Times is taking to ensure that they don’t ‘fail’ in the sense of practicing the sound journalistic principles of accuracy, independence and fairness?” Admitting that Trump’s criticism of the New York Times and other news outlets as being purveyors of “fake news” has caused the New York Times leadership and staff to genuinely evaluate themselves in this regard: Mr. Sulzberger, then, enumerated the steps taken to review (and rectify) any systemic practices discovered that could lead to violations of sound journalistic principles. Satisfied with the answer, Mr. Elivic presented a follow-up question to Mr. Ottaway: “Although from his comments today it is clear that Mr. Sulzberger is no fan of ‘The Donald’ as he called him, have Arthur and you ever admitted to one another that there are things you both like about POTUS Trump?” The audience listened in stunned disbelief as Ottaway admitted that they had and, then, to illustrate this admission, sang the following song “That’s What We Like About Donald Trump” (to the tune of Sinatra’s classic song “That’s Why the Lady is a Tramp”) in response to Mr. Elivic’s pointed question:
His Dad built buildings when he was a teen
He’s been our POTUS since 20…16
his base adores him the Press; thinks he’s mean
That’s what we like ‘bout Donald Trump
He’ll hold a rally..most…anywhere
He wears a red hat on…his…orange hair
his critics loathe him and don’t treat him fair
just ‘cos his name is Donald Trump
Arthur and I…may…think he’s so bad;
though we get mad…his folk…think…he’s woke!
His wife Melania has…so much class
He doesn’t care if…you…think he’s crass
Macron and Merkel think he’s a gas
He’s quite a guy that Donald Trump
He is a POTUS who’s… stable…and smart
Some who vote for him…shop…at Walmart
He is a genius who…has…a big heart
That’s what we like ‘bout Donald Trump
We mock the co-lor…of…his wild hair;
he doesn’t care; no joke…he’s woke!
He’ll make a trade deal…with any Land
he doesn’t count stars…or…grains of sand
The Rolling Stones is his favorite band
He’s really hip that Donald Trump
He’s become pro life…this makes us mad
His views on Israel don’t make us glad
But, he speaks his mind and…that’s not so bad
That makes us down with Donald Trump
Arthur and I…think…his fans are bad;
though we get mad…his folk…think…he’s woke!
You can impeach him…and…call him a name
ridicule his style…his fortune and fame
He’s always one step…ahead of the game
De Niro can’t stand Donald Trump
He likes the news when…it isn’t fake
He has no time for…Pols…on the take
He owns a Golf Course that’s near a big lake
Drives Chuck Todd crazy, Donald Trump
We mock the food…of…his dining fare;
he doesn’t care; his lips smack; for a Big Mac!
He serves our country with…all his might
He keeps Pelosi…sleepless at night
he brings a canon…to…a knife fight
What’s not to love ‘bout Donald Trump?
He chooses judges that…lean to the right
If you attack him he…knows how to fight
No one controls him…try though they might
He’s not done winning…Donald Trump
And that’s how we feel ‘bout Donald Trump.
There was a misprint in the last letter submitted by Robert LaPolt. It is Fact vs opinion, #52, not 512.