Our Comeau Addition
In May 2019 the Commission of Civic Design (CCD) was asked [by the Town Board] to conduct a ”courtesy review” of the Walker’s design for an addition to the existing two-story Comeau building. The CCD accepted this assignment in good faith that their reviews and recommendations would be taken seriously. It fully agreed that the Town offices are in need of improvements and upgrades. The design showed 2000 square feet of new construction, 2500 square feet of remodeling, and an 800-square foot renovation of the Supervisor’s Cottage.
The CCD had two design reviews with Walker Architects. The first review was on 6/10/19, when the CCD brought up the need to widen the narrow single-loaded hallway and to study alternative roof forms other than interior-facing shed roofs, and questioned the choice of windows, which did not relate to or complement the Comeau building.
The second review on 9/23/19 showed some changes in the design, but the submitted overall plan and form remained similar to the original, which resulted in the CCD requesting “future design reviews because there remains serious design issues.”
The CCD believes “If built [the new addition] should last 80 or more years. It’s difficult enough to convert an old house into well-planned, accessible municipal office functions, but given the challenge it’s very possible to provide new and improved office functions on that site in a manner that functions well and is architecturally compatible with the special, existing Town Office building.” We have rules in place to keep the Comeau property pristine. Why not an addition that complements the Comeau building?
My questions are: What will the Town Board members do; what will you do? Will you say something, or write something to show you are aware and care?
Christine Anderson’s Obituary
I just came back from a trip to South America and was totally surprised to hear that my name had been included, by some person by the name of David Anderson, in a paid up obituary ad (in this newspaper) for Christine Anderson, the great Pilates teacher that passed away not long ago, and whom I was so thankful for her skills that basically didn’t miss one of her classes.
I would like to distance myself from Mr. Anderson’s remarks with regards to whatever he mentions me in this obituary ad first, because I was never asked to have my name be included, and second, if asked, I would blatantly would have said no.
About Start Times At Onteora
This letter is in response to Janine Fallon Mower’s letter about Onteora start times, and the issue in general. As an Onteora student who graduated in ‘07, I feel I have some say in this.
Point 1: She argues that the change will result in the second late bus arriving at some homes at 6:15 p.m. The second late bus carries a small percentage of students who stay for certain extra-curricular activities such as marching band. An even smaller percentage have 45-minute bus rides, which she used to calculate this arrival time. Most extra-curricular activities end and leave earlier, on the first late bus.
Point 2: While the shift results in later arrival times, consider the morning. School starts at 7:40 a.m. Assuming Janine’s generous 45-minute bus ride estimate, that means the student should be at the bus stop at 6:55 a.m., or 6:50 — 5 minutes early — to make sure he/she does not miss it. Factor in a possible 10-minute walk to the bus stop: The student leaves home at 6:40. Factor in 20 minutes for breakfast (barely enough time), 20 minutes for getting up, getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc., and another 5 minutes for interaction with the family. That leaves the student waking up at 5:55 a.m. at the minimum, and probably earlier just to be safe.
I remember those mornings. “Oppressive” was the right word for it. I will never get those hours of missed sleep in the morning back. I remember the dark walks to the bus stop (literally dark as night), as if I were on some stealth mission. I would have rejoiced fervently at the prospect of 20 more minutes added to those mornings.
Point 3: Why don’t you ask the students for what they think? Oh, I know why, because they’ll all say the same thing: “We want later start times!”
It Ain’t The Common Cold
“Pandemic” isn’t just a technical public health term. It also is — or should be — a rallying cry. Trump asked if getting a flu shot would help. This after touring CDC labs and getting a complete explanation of this deadly COVID-19 virus. Trump downplays risk at every opportunity. Yes, he and his ilk are massively inept at protecting our citizenry. “The horse is outta the barn…” It’s no slow-motion nightmare but instead it has become a galloping pandemic. Trump is thoroughly dishonest as he reckons with reality from his bully pulpit. We need better.
Trump’s recent oval office address on the current public health crisis (novel coronavirus) was short on specifics and even shorter on what strategies are going to be taken to mitigate the problem. Our stable genius, botched an opportunity to display leadership when he announced, “frankly the testing is going smoothly…” Trump is not capable of staying out of the story. He can’t speak with candor, credibility, character and/or even a necessary urgency in this emergency because he’s incapable of doing so…He spreads fear with his utter mismanagement and Americans continue to witness firsthand the failure of his leadership.
Coronavirus testing and providing functional assessment kits is not going smoothly Trump! The current testing system “is a failing” according to Dr. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH. Trump is a complete “royal f-up” as he tells us, “Everything is fine” while his fingers are crossed behind his back… He’s just shuffling through the darkness with his “Magical” thinking. Trump doesn’t step up when faced with a crisis, rather he steps into an alternate reality quicksand, and sinks fast into swampy and verbal effluvium. The truth that Trump holds back will get out anyway because this WH administration has more leaks than a water bucket without a bottom.
No one ever thought it would get this bad. This is no movie. This is real. And now we’re all in it together…The virus and this muthafaker POTUS is a clear and present danger to our country…It’s a crucial time to be truthfully informed. Believe the honest journalists, the expertise of scientists, and the healthcare/medical professionals who know their stuff. Life as we know it, in this fast-changing situation, has been altered drastically. Lastly, I want to wish only good health & peacefulness t’all readers of Woodstock Times!
What is not included in the library’s $4.4 Million dollar design? These are just some of the extra expenses (more to come) and hidden costs that are not being discussed.
1. Construction Manager 2. Other fees and expenses for Construction Manager (travel, meetings, etc.) 3. Billable expenses for Tilly and staff (that are not included) — only 13 meetings prior to Construction Phase are included all others are billable 4. For reimbursable expenses a 15% fee is added to the said expense for architect and his consultants 5. Compensation for all work performed — portions of project — even if not constructed prior to construction phase 6. Termination expenses 7. Printing fees 8. Additional services after 30 months (price can go up when out of hiatus) for rates and to re-train staff 9. Additional fees if plan design changes more than once during the schematic design phase 10. Per contract, Library needs to supply: structural, mechanical and chemical tests, air and water pollution tests, and hazardous materials testing. And legal, insurance, accounting, and auditing services. 11. IT design 12. IT costs 13. IT labor 14. Furnishings and furniture design and layout 15. Costs of said furnishings and furniture 16. Labor to install said furnishings and furniture 17. Rental of said temporary space 18. labor to move some books to a temporary space 19. Cost to move those books 20. Rental of storage space 21. Labor to move books to a storage space 22. Cost to move those books 23. Landscaping design and layout 24. Landscaping labor 25. Landscaping costs 26. Hazardous materials assessor and extra expenses 27. Environmental Engineer and extra expenses 28. Labor to move debris 29. Cost to move debris 30. Dump fees 31. Geo Technical Engineer and services for: test borings, test pits, soil bearing values, perc tests, evaluation of hazardous materials, seismic evaluation, ground corrosion tests, resistivity tests, and subsoil condition evaluation. 32. LEED Certification, if used 33. Security system design and costs 34. phone system design/layout & costs
No further proof is needed to declare Trumpf’s success as a POTUS is an on-going, total and utter failure! And ever-increasing exposure to his extremely limited knowledge base is further proof. His downplaying of the horrendous threat that the COVID-19 pandemic holds for each human being on this globe defies comprehension and most assuredly demands he be removed from office because of his abject ineptitude. Our Constitution
allows for this to be done. Congress should do so without delay. His latest actions prove, without an iota of doubt, that his sole interests lie in himself, his investments and his campaigning for re-election, not his mandate to protect the citizenry of the USA. Not only is he attempting to subsidize the airlines and the oil industries but hoteliers! He is a hotelier! His hotels and resorts have gained him, respectively, 18.8 million and 1.2 million since his campaign began in 2016! Don’t overlook the fact that the airline travel ban he has just imposed excludes the U. K. He has 3 resorts in the U. K. No way does he want to limit the profits he could make from those 3 resorts! He is invested in oil and the airlines depend upon the oil industry! In addition to dramatically cutting the budget for the CDC and removing funding for three quarters of the countries included in the
international anti-pandemic program, now he is trying to insist that all meetings with epidemiologists and other scientists dealing with this viral threat be ‘classified’ so he can control, twist, spin and outright lie about the scientific facts that the entire general public needs to know in order to protect themselves, as much as is possible. The man has absolutely no sense of shame! He is contradicting all the facts and attempting to convince the public that COVID-19 is ‘no biggie’ and will soon simply ‘disappear’! His personality is so seriously warped that he feels no compassion, no sympathy, no empathy. His actions prove that he simply isn’t smart enough to comprehend what he needs to comprehend in order to fulfill his mandate to protect the citizenry. Those he has chosen to surround him were chosen solely to support his every delusional claim precisely so he could control them and never face any ‘lack of loyalty.’ They are as unfit as is Trumpf! None of them deserve anything but total contempt for their collective spinelessness! Keep your eyes open to see who he intends to ‘help’ with the 8 billion sum passed by Congress. You can jolly well bet it won’t be ‘We the People’ who rate first consideration, it will be industries and corporations, most especially those from which he will profiteer, not you or me or our loved ones. Thousands of lives are on the line because of his utter lack of competence. If he isn’t immediately removed from office for his utter lack of competency, remember this warning as you cast your ballot. Otherwise it could be the last ballot you ever cast!
Over the past few weeks our fellow citizens of Woodstock and Ulster County have been gradually, and with increasing urgency, responding to the growing concern about the corona virus and related Wall Street and Washington chaos.
For the most part, that response has been orderly and even thoughtful.
It has been startling to see store shelves cleaned out, especially at food and drug stores in and around town. Finding toilet tissue has been sporadic and difficult. Hand sanitizer was completely wiped out over a week ago. But, for the most part, they do get refilled with some frequency. Panic buying is occurring but seems moderate at least compared to reports I have been getting from friends in NYC and elsewhere.
Of course, the event cancellations and organizational and school closures leave us all wondering just how long the crisis mode will last and how we will cope. We wonder what sort of strain it will all put on our institutions and particularly on our hospitals and health care system.
Many of our stores have issued comforting messages about how to cope and how to help our least fortunate fellow townspeople such as the home bound ill and poor. To my wife and I that means the local feeding programs like those of the houses of worship and Family of Woodstock and Emily Sherry, whose Provisions restaurant and catering feeds full meals to the home bound. These groups and others will need your cash now, more than before.
My experience this weekend at Hannaford speaks volumes. At 7:30 Saturday morning I entered the store expecting to see some bare shelves and found the produce section about 90% empty and prepared foods closed for the duration. I selected what I could in the way of vegetables and fruit. It was lean pickings, at least at that hour. I saw several customers wearing masks. In the various aisles it wasn’t very different. Pasta was about 85% empty as was the canned food area. I bought what I could that was on my list, as well as a few items we had not thought of. And, frozen foods were practically wiped out. The dairy section was not too badly depleted. Paper products were being replenished while I was shopping. However, there was no toilet tissue in sight. Frankly, I was shocked by the conditions. But in several aisles I was stopped by both men and women Hannaford staff, who were stocking shelves with new goods, asking me if I was all right, how I was doing and reassuring me that things would be all right and that lots of deliveries were arriving or on the way. They seemed genuinely concerned for my well-being.
The situation at Sunflower and Sun Frost were not as depleted.
The real question is how long this status will prevail and how we will cope over a protracted period. But, given how our neighbors have been behaving so far, I’m encouraged.
Douglas I. Sheer
Last week Patience Hutty Kotorman asked some questions of the Woodstock Library Board of Trustees. I will do my best to answer them.
First a very brief primer on representative democracy, the system governing the United States and the Town of Woodstock. Because of the complexity of modern life, it is impractical to have all decisions of government made by popular vote. So we elect our representatives to make these decisions for us. Please note that the Woodstock Library Board is elected by popular vote. At the moment we have one appointed member due to a resignation, but that will be true only until the next election. Last year the town elected three new trustees, including myself, all running on a slate of building a new library.
The duly constituted Board has decided, after very long contemplation and investigation, that the Woodstock Library needs a new building. Nobody is obligated to agree with this decision but we can all respect that it was made legitimately.
Two years ago, opponents of this decision created a referendum to abolish the Public Library District as a means of preventing the decision from being carried forward. The referendum failed by a 2-1 popular vote, and it seems appropriate to regard that vote as a popular affirmation of the Board’s decision.
Replacing the Woodstock Library building has nothing to do with any movements to make any other decisions anywhere else. It was a carefully considered evaluation of a specific case, a building which no longer suits its patrons’ needs and, in the opinions of our experts, cannot be successfully renovated.
The term “teardown” is emotionally loaded. It sounds almost as if we were planning to dynamite the building with its books and patrons still inside. I don’t “teardown” my cars every decade or so. I replace them with respect and affection for the service they have given me. I honor and respect the Woodstock Library’s current building for the service it has given us, and I will greet its replacement with hope for the next century.
As to the parking situation, that is still in the works. When we know what we can arrange we will of course announce it promptly.
Comment About ‘Why I Fear Joe Biden’
I wish this letter about “fearing” Biden had included additional warnings. As a general statement, if you chose Bernie and are “scared” of Biden, go vote in the primary for Bernie.
Importantly, however, is that if Bernie does not get the nomination, please still vote in the general election to defeat our dangerous current president.
In reference to the points of the editorial, Joe and Bernie have both misspoken and been confused at times. Its called being human as we try to explain things in pressured situations. Joe has always stumbled around to communicate and we all do…Biden is not demented, but there is something alarmingly wrong with our current president’s judgment, memory, and communications.
Bernie or Joe are both moral and competent leaders. We can disagree with their policies and even past actions. Please assess them according to their current stances and obvious abilities to lead this country with morals, integrity, competency, and intelligence. We do not have that now! Despite what the right says, Biden has made many good decisions as VP and is not a criminal.
When voting we can’t always be in love with or swooningly inspired by a candidate. Biden is not as thrilling as Obama, but, I think both Bernie and Biden will protect our environment, not start wars, fight for better health coverage, and be aware of people’s needs.
Don’t let fear or closemindedness stop you from voting. If Bernie is not nominated, don’t stay home. Biden is an excellent choice too!
Please do not give Trump a second term because of not voting in the upcoming election.
In 1968, they would have shot Bernie. Now they just worry about his “viability” on MSNBC until he disappears.
Coronavirus A Black Swan Event
Yesterday is gone and with it the way we lived freely moving about with no concern for our safety. Now with the Coronavirus moving in we must be on guard where we go, and whoever we speak with.
Besides that we have to contend with the raw fact that while the greatest nation on earth had only done 11,000 CV-19 tests since January, South Korea was doing 20,000 CV-19 tests every day. Could that be because the Republican administration was previously calling the Coronavirus a hoax? Because of the lack of action by the commander in chief early on, pandemic experts have declared: “containment of coronavirus is no longer possible.” The focus is now on trying to provide care to the victims of this very real virus as our hospital systems are bracing for overload, while lacking trained personnel and respiratory equipment.
The last Black Swan event was 911 and in that situation the excuse by the Republican administration for not being able to defend our country against harm was admitted incompetence, supposedly having no idea of using planes crashing into buildings and no visible air defense. How long will we put up with this Republican circus running this country into the ground?
Its time to put people in office who have a real vision for the future that involves more than moving one lips spewing out grandiose statements extolling the greatness of this country, but instead actually implementing sound strategies to keep Americans safe. People need to realize that the Republicans are only protecting corporations and not the common people, demonstrated by giving tax breaks to the rich. Meanwhile they were cutting programs that could have lessened the impact of the CV-19 epidemic and allowing us to have a fighting chance. Because of the apparent lack of wisdom and continual chicanery we have been putting up with these past two years, we are now all sitting ducks wondering if we, or our families members, will be the next coronavirus victim.
Seeking The Positive
Since I’ve been told to be more positive in my thoughts about the coronavirus, I’ve decided to give it a try.
First and maybe most important, our president has recently accepted the fact that it exists in our country, and second he seems to be open to the fact that it may effect our markets. He also said that our country may be entering a recession.
So, if he has said that, I can finally agree with my president.
My next thoughts were how to seek optimism in our present situation. Well, our NY State government and others have decided to close our schools, at least for a few months to keep the virus from spreading. Even bigger than that, they’ve decided to delay the major league baseball and other big money making (as well as extremely dangerous) events.
The positive thing about all of that is that families will be coming together to deal with this crisis, in their own back yards. Our computers will allow kids to still get their education, but they will spend more time with their parents as well. They will also spend less time in restaurants and delay their addiction to alcohol.
As for the most positive thoughts I have about my area, I’m going to guess that our real estate prices will be going up. After all, what are the rich New Yorkers going to do? Just stay in their apartments and order in? Spring is almost here and we still have trees and open areas to go to.
According to Gov. Cuomo, this virus has made the president more open to working together with him than he had in the past.
My biggest optimistic thought is that we may all turn our attention to the health and well being of our Mother Earth, instead of watching the stock markets prices of oil and gas. Let’s come together and bring our love with us.
Eat Drink 28
It is not where I live that I breathe, it is where I breathe that I live. Cementitious dust ups from 100 daily trucks/vehicles entering and exiting Tom Auringer’s 850 Rt. 28 proposed steel and pre-cast cement plant will smother the Catskill air which we breathe, while we dine on Rte. 28. Not to mention the silicosis young men will develop while working inside these proposed fabrication plants. When air quality is compromised so will your lungs become compromised. If faced with a respiratory virus, such as COVID 19, compromised lungs will face a higher mortality rate.
We live in the land of the free and home of the brave. Citizens of the Catskill Park and Ulster County must remember: ultimately, communities grant permission!
Toxic industrial hegemony must take a back seat to communities which choose to live healthy lives. Tom Auringer take your monthly 30 Grand proposal to an industrial site. Breathe your own poison. We want to live in the land of the brave, not the land of the grave.
We want to eat, drink, 28 in peace.
Town of Ulster
Gas Prices In Woodstock
OPEC’s failure last week to agree on production levels have led to a drop in oil prices of almost 50%, yet our local Cumberland Farms has dropped its gas prices by less than 1% (a mere 2 cents per gallon). By comparison, Kingston gas stations have dropped their prices by up to 25 cents per gallon.
Because Cumberland Farms is Woodstock’s only gas station, we should regard this as an egregious abuse of their pricing power. If they don’t drop their prices now, I would suggest that we all buy our gas elsewhere.
The Tragedy Of The Commons
Garrett Hardin, famed American ecologist and social scientist wrote in his essay, The Tragedy of the Commons, in the 1968 issue of the journal Science, about the “damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment,” from the selfish use and abuse of commonly shared natural resources.
Air and water pollution, “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico, the extinction of the species every 20 minutes, deforestation and the bio-diversity degradation of the Catskill Park from too many people, dogs and bikes, have all been consequences of The Tragedy of the Commons.
DEC, the Parks and Recreation Dept., land conservancies and the Catskill Coalition, in their trail building zeal and profit driven motive are only making The Tragedy of the Commons “effect” even worse by encouraging people to come up and flood the trails with even more human generated pressures. The anthropomorphic footprint is heavy in the Catskill Park.
Mountain biking, dog walking, ATV’s, snowmobilers and unregulated hiking and camping have no place on the delicate Catskill trails, which only brings trail destruction, ecological disturbance, invasive plants, the spread of forest tree pathogens, ticks, poison ivy and garbage. Not to mention traffic problems, air pollution and crime.
Where is the “land ethic” espoused by Aldo Leopold and where is the outrage of the so-called Environmental Movement, when greedy industry (with a DEC wink and nod) invades with impunity, the Catskill Park and Preserve with a concrete plant desecrating the Bluestone Wild Forest, an environmentally protected state park?
Mitigation and cosmetic “band-aids”, such as planting trees and grass to hide mining, or buying up “wooded buffer zones” to absorb the noise of mine blasting and dump trucks-are only cheap self-serving palliatives which do nothing to heal the permanent scars on the land and only provide cover for corporate interests. The man-made wounds to the earth are substantially greater than the natural disturbances of fire, flood or storm. When you speak of human disturbance of the land, one must speak of a “permanent Holocaust” reaching far beyond the limited timeline of human existence. The Tragedy of the Commons is a pernicious result of the selfish arrogation of commonly shared natural resources, leading to the ultimate despoliation of the environment. Garret Hardin has pointed this out to us, more than 50 years ago. Isn’t it time we listen to him?
Town of Ulster