A freaking fracking nightmare
Perhaps the most egregious aspect of our American descent into the gluttonous use of fossil fuels is the horrendous extraction of hydrofracked oil and gas from the Bakken shale deposits in North Dakota and Montana. Hydrofracking is the process by which the hydraulic use of chemical aided “Slick” water is forced under high pressure to open up oil and gas seams and pore spaces in oil bearing shale. We are literally sucking the “life blood out of our country” both in economic and environmental cost.
Have you ever wondered: what is the environmental cost of hydrofracked oil and gas, which you blithely ignore, every time you fill up your gas-guzzling F-150 truck at $2.50 a gallon? Consider, that just one average hydrofracked oil and gas well consumes between 1-8 million gallons of water a year, uses more than 40,000 gallons of chemicals of 600 types in a noxious brew called “slick water” and then stores it in outside waste pits, contaminates groundwater for miles around and expels methane gas (27 times more potent than C02 as a greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere with dozens of other kinds of highly toxic air pollutants. Consider also that there are over 150,000 gas wells in the United States and the cumulative toll on the environment is considerable. Never mind the fact, New York State is using hydrofracked gas now, despite New York’s fracking ban, with the result that New Yorkers are consuming the greedily gotten gains of earth’s exploitation-without a second thought about the environmental consequences. Hydrofracking is a lucrative and environmentally destructive process of sucking up the last drop of “ill-gotten black gold.”
Danskammer Energy in Newburgh and Cricket Valley Energy in Dover Plains are perfect examples of the egregious fossil fuel industry subterfuge, threatening the environmental health of the Hudson Valley, as they partake in burning hydrofracked gas and oil. Hydrofracking is undoing the American Dream of clean soil, clean water, clean air and making America great again. It is a freaking fracking nightmare.
Victor C. Capelli
Town of Ulster
Bring your own pen. The transfer station is not accepting corrugated cardboard at this time. The COVID-19 virus apparently lives on the cardboard for 24 hours. For the protection of transfer station employees, corrugated cardboard will be allowed after the threat of this current pandemic.
However, one must not overlook the fact that several hundred residents touch and handle the same pen used to sign their credit card authorization slips for their garbage bags, $6 for a large bag of garbage and $3 for a small. My question to transfer station management, Steven Peterson, Director of Ulster County Emergency Services and County Executive Patrick Ryan, “Why do you protect transfer station employees from touching corrugated cardboard and overlook the direct transmission from a commonly shared pen?” The transfer station attendant passes the pen to each resident, waiting on line to dump their garbage. In return, the resident signs their credit card authorization and returns the pen to the attendant. This pen is not only shared between the two parties but with the few hundred residents who roll into the transfer station.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Protect the lives of the transfer station attendants and of your neighbors. Request the transfer station to forego signing credit card authorizations, as is done in grocery stores. The life you save may be your own. Bring your own pen when requested to sign anything.
Town of Ulster
Just another smoking hole in the ground
Mitchell Zuckoff, being interviewed about his book on 9/11, said of Flight 93, the plane we’re told crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, “I spoke to the woman who witnessed the plane’s descent the longest.” And it unfortunately didn’t occur to the interviewer (whom Zuckoff naturally praised; what obvious question about 9/11 ever is?) to say:
“But wait a minute, Mitch. ‘Witnessed the plane’s descent the longest…’ Doesn’t that mean it was more a crash landing than a crash? It having a descent to witness? And if it was a crash landing — and into a field, remember — where’s the plane?? There wasn’t any plane, was there? No luggage, no fuselage — no tail section. What did that one witness say? It was a burning hole in the ground?? Mitch?? Mitch??”
Mitchell Zuckoff by then would be looking at the interviewer and his bulging eyes would tell more truth than anything that had been said to that point. “What are you doing!?! Why are you asking me this!?!”
Now we’re all being told to stay in our rooms. Deadly pandemic about —- you may not know you have the symptoms! The person you might speak to might not know he has the symptoms! And one of you might pass it along to someone who’ll never know he has the symptoms!!
And out the back door go the banks with their trillions.
Just another smoking hole in the ground.
(But the last.)
Putting things in proper perspective
Getting past the media hype on the coronavirus, let’s put things in perspective. According to covidtracking.com/data/, as of March 31, 2020 and compiled over the last three months in the US, 964,865 people who had symptoms were tested for COVID-19 disease.
163,565 tested positive, which would be 17%. Therefore 83% of people who had symptoms tested negative. Of those who tested positive 22,617 people needed hospitalization, which would be 14% or 2.3% of all people tested. Therefore 86% who tested positive did not need hospitalization or 97.7% of all people tested. 3012 people who were hospitalized died, which would be 13% or .31% of all people tested.
According to the CDC, this past flu season had 390,000 hospitalizations over six months or 185,000 over three months. Currently, COVID-19 has 22,617 hospitalizations over three months. The flu had 23,000 deaths over six months or 11,500 over three months. COVID-19 has 2,941 over three months. Currently, the flu kills ten times as many people as COVID-19 in a three-month period.
In 2017/2018, the flu killed 61,000 people in eight months and there was no lockdown and the hospitals handled the influx of 808,129 people admitted. As of now, we have 22,617 COVID-19 patients admitted. Why all the fuss at this point with overcrowding when we were able to handle 808,129 during the last flu season? Furthermore, it has been shown in a PubMed published study that Chlorine Dioxide deactivates coronavirus pathogens 100% effective. It has also been documented in a published study Oregecill (oregano oil blend) deactivates coronavirus as does high doses of Vit.-C, which the Chinese have been using successfully bringing critically ill patients to recovery. Vaccines, when used with the flu, have a 50% effectiveness rate. Why then are we not distributing Chlorine Dioxide to every American as it is very inexpensive, used to purify drinking water, has none of the many potentially serious side effects of FDA-approved drugs and the coronavirus cannot mutate around it? Instead, we have Bill Gates lurking in the shadows with his promise of vaccines and proposed microchip he wants to implant in everyone to fight off COVID-19.
Fact versus fiction
Fact: The following four people have ‘clout’ in the Republican Administration. I have listed their telephone numbers and mailing addresses.
They are: Senator Charles Grassley, 135 Hart Senate Office Bld., Washington, DC 20510; 202-224-2523/712-233-1634.
• Senator Susan Collins, 413 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510; 202-224-2523/207-622-8414.
• Senator Lindsey Graham, 290 Russell Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510; 202-224-5972/803-933-0112.
• Mitch McConnell, 317 Russell Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC, 20510; 201-224-2541.
(Note: the following two senators and one representative are NYS Democrats.)
• Senator Charles Schumer, 322 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510; 202-224-6542/803-431-4076.
• Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, 478 Russell Senate Bldg., Washington, DC 20510; 202-224-4451/518-431-0121.
• Congressman Antonio Delgado, 1007 Longworth House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510; 202-224-5614/845-443-2930.
Opinion: Get on the phone, write a letter complaining about the choice of Saul as Commissioner of Social Security and hammer away the importance of these tap-dancing politicians to leave your benefit packets alone that you have held on to for so many years and how important it is for you to have the security and peace of mind in these years — your later years — with a steady reimbursement coming in each month.
Enjoying the arrival of spring
I found myself full time in my weekend home, now occupied by my daughter and her family. Yes, we all isolated ourselves for two weeks after arriving. I moved to my friend’s when my daughter arrived. We distract ourselves from COVID-19 by taking long walks, always away from people.
This morning, Ann and I discovered that we missed the beginning of Spring 2020. It was March 19, a day that the vernal equinox never entered our minds. Today we woke to the sun, finally after so many rainy days. Nothing amazing planned for the day, but the sun feels glorious and spring is here. We are enjoying seeing spring come on day by day. Last year we saw it at week intervals, as we only came to the Catskills on weekends.
Right now the mosses are the only green with a background of rushing water and tree trunks darkened by wetness. Everything seems outlined against a brown-gray background. Little shoots are popping up among the fallen leaves that glisten with the rain. The forest is both beautiful and overwhelming in its variety. Trees fallen into other trees, old trunks sinking into the ground, mushrooms on tree trunks and piles of forest debris fallen over the brooks. No bugs yet, birds chirping more each day with an occasional turkey harem scooting out of sight. We have seen great blue herons on our state park walks, both roosting and flying. A rabbit crossed our path and robins dig grubs from the grass.
The forsythia is beginning to bloom, but slowly. Zone 5 is so late compared to Zone 3 in NYC. I think it is Zone 3, but never needed to know, being an apartment dweller. How can we not be here in the Catskills? How can we ever go back to our dual lives?
He’s at it again
At a previous Woodstock Town Board meeting, in response to Councilperson Ricci’s statement “that the Commission on Civic Design (CCD) should have a say “[regarding Walker’s design of the Comeau building addition], McKenna said, “CCD has been looking at it for months,” making it sound as if the CCD were on top of it. The truth, according to the following letter from the CCD (shown in part), is otherwise: “We [CCD] had two design reviews with Walker Architects on 6/10/19 and 9/23/19. The CCD wrote an ‘Interim D&R’ on 9/24/19 with our request there would be future design reviews because there remained serious design issues. No design reviews were held after the last one on 9/24/19.”
When will our part-time supervisor realize that what he says is “fact-checked” and no longer taken as gospel by some of us?
Our open spaces are your personal spaces.
Practicing physical distancing is vital for everyone during the pandemic.
If a parking lot or trailhead seems busy, consider it a great time to explore other sections of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. There are 22 miles of linear park to be explored and not all of it is congested.
We are asking you to follow the NYS Parks Guidance when using the open spaces we protect:
• Stay home if you are sick, or showing or feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing and/or troubled breathing;
• Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors;
• Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, or high-fives;
• Wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available; and
• Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.
Department of Environmental Conservation and State Parks also encourage visitors to State parks, State lands and other parks to:
• Stay local and keep visits short;
• Visit in small groups limited to immediate household members;
• Maintain distance from others while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads and scenic overlooks;
• Avoid games and activities that require close contact, such as basketball, football or soccer;
• Avoid playground equipment like slides and swings and other frequently touched surfaces;
• Do not share equipment, such as bicycles, helmets, balls or Frisbees;
• If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, choose a different park, a different trail or return another time/day to visit; and
• If parking lots are full, please do not park along roadsides or other undesignated areas. To protect your safety and that of others, please choose a different area to visit or return another time or day when parking is available.
If you are sick or have had contact with someone who is sick in the last 14 days:
• Stay home; and
• Spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space. Do not visit public outdoor spaces.
We all must change our activities to not only protect ourselves but others. Use the outdoors wisely.
Thank you for understanding and helping us all inform others with kindness.
on behalf of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust
Who is really blind?
The other day my partner and I were watching TV and catching up on the latest about the coronavirus. Actually, Charlotte was watching, and I was just listening since I have no sight to watch the TV. The news is so depressing every day, but we feel the need to stay abreast of the latest information.
Charlotte described a picture on the TV of hundreds of people congregating on the streets near the river in Manhattan to watch, as the big SS Comfort was arriving as a hospital ship to help with the overwhelming burden on the New York City hospitals. The commentary was pointing out how there were still so many people that were not respecting the social distancing requirements to help flatten the curve of the dreaded virus. I felt frustrated with those defiant people, as the commentary went on to express outrage for their unconscious behavior.
However, earlier in the day I heard from some friends who drove into midtown Manhattan, only to find very few people at all on the streets in the middle of a weekday. Usually there are thousands of people bustling around, but not that day. I thought that was great!
My question to all of you is: “Do you always believe everything you hear and see on TV?” Let’s understand, for once and for all, that the media chooses what they want the public to see. Most of the time we, the public, just react to what we see and that’s exactly what the media wants. Why didn’t the TV folks take pictures of the empty Manhattan streets and then talk about how great most of the New York City people were doing, as they honored the “Stay at home” and the social distancing policies? Of course those who gathered to see the big boat were wrong. But how about showing, at least, both sides of the story, instead of skewing the coverage to be focused on only the negative. I personally think there’s lots of power in focusing on what is going well in our society, instead of always pointing out what is going wrong.
Since we seem to all be addicted to the news, either from the radio, the TV or the internet, let’s be clear that we get to see and hear what the executives from those stations choose to show us. They have the power since they own those big market platforms. But our power is to stay conscious of what we are being fed by the media, and to keep thinking, instead of just passively reacting. “None are so blind as those who will not see.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she will appoint a special House Committee to investigate the response to the coronavirus epidemic. While people are dying, getting sick and millions are losing their jobs, she can’t resist playing politics. Couldn’t she wait until things were getting back to normal? I think it is entirely appropriate that the Democrats have a jackass as their party’s symbol, but of course Nancy being a female, she’ll just be an ass.
The biggest April Fool of all time is the orange one befouling and disgracing our Oval Office! In fact, he is also the biggest fool in all the other eleven months of every year! Stretching one’s imagination to the ninth degree, he was a third-rate celebrity at the best of times, capable of nothing more than yelling “You’re Fired!” He seems to be determined to sink the entire USA just as his ‘celebrity show’ sank! He excels at failures on all levels and always has failed. Some are saying this is no time to dwell on how much less of an impact COVID-19 would be had he acted immediately in very early January, but I disagree. This is an election year and no day should pass from now till November without broadcasting, in every available form, how totally inept he is and has been. How utterly incapable he is of any form of leadership, how corrupt he is and always will be. It is undeniable he is far more concerned about his investments than he is about the unbelievably staggering number of human lives lost and the ever-increasing number of new cases being reported each day. The avoidable level of catastrophe COVID-19 has rendered upon our country lies 100% on his shoulders! This country will not survive if he is elected to a second term! That holds true for every elected official that failed to remove him from office. They must all be removed if our democratic republic is to survive.
Annucci must be held accountable
While all of New York State residents were told to practice social distancing, quarantine at home and wear masks and gloves, there were 55,000 State inmates who were permitted to congregate in large groups in the yards, escorted to/from the mess hall three times a day while the correction officers supervising and keeping order were not afforded protective gear. Now correction officers have become accustomed to not getting the respect like our fellow brothers and sisters in law enforcement.
But during these times, by the inaction and total disregard of Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci, the correction officers, their families and the communities they live in were all put at risk of catching this deadly virus. For weeks, the requests by these officers to protect them, their families and their communities fell on deaf ears by a commissioner, who in my opinion, is unqualified to wear the moniker of NYSDOCS commissioner. He failed to take action like his predecessor Thomas Coughlin who I had the pleasure to deal with during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s. Commissioner Coughlin took action in coordination with the Union to provide any and all equipment and guidance to protect the health and well being of his correction officers. I must ask and I believe the New York media should also: where have you been during this pandemic, Mr. Commissioner?
Tired of politics
We are facing a world-wide war against an enemy of enormous size and strength. Our battle is with an unknown. We need to focus our efforts on the battle at hand.
Whether the feedback section of the Woodstock Times, Facebook, PBS, MSNBC, CNN or FOX, the amount of time wasted on the blame game needs to stop. For example, our President mentioned and thanked the My Pillow Company for helping in the recovery. The media outlets immediately criticized him for bringing this company’s efforts to light. How many face masks are the media outlets making to donate to assist in the recovery effort? My Pillow is making 50,000 a day. God bless them and their founder.
The Federal government and all their resources are doing a great job by creating an action plan for all the states to follow. Respecting the rights of States, the Federal government has deferred to each of the Governors to manage the response and recovery plan for their State, and most of the Governors stepped up to the plate and have been doing the right thing.
Rather than using this time for political bashing, do something to respond to the virus. In Woodstock, The Table at Woodstock is feeding the hungry. The same is being done by the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, Family of Woodstock and the Good Neighbor Food Pantry. Each of these not-for-profit organizations have websites where you can donate to get food to the needy. You may also want to contact them to see if they need any other type of support.
It is still important to reach out to your isolated neighbors, especially the elderly, to see if they need any assistance. Just a call now and then can also be a comfort to your neighbors to let them know you are there for them.
Don’t panic! Don’t hoard food and supplies. The food and supply chains are working to restock our food stores and pharmacies. Another positive act would be to take out food from the local restaurants as much as you can. They need that cash flow to stay in business.
Lastly, do your self a favor. Stop listening to the virus news all day. Anything more than an hour a day, you are wasting your time and overloading your brain with too much information to deal with to maintain a healthy attitude. Try reading, music or cleaning your closets so you can recycle the shoes and clothes you don’t need to those in need. There’s a clothing donation box at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church at 2578 Route 212 in Woodstock.
Follow all the rules about distancing and protecting your health. Stay safe! This too shall pass.
Coronialanus: Our Shakespearean drama plays out
TRUMP the King
BIDEN, Duke of Delaware
BERNIE, Duke of Vermont
ANDREW, Prince of Albany
MACDUFF, an actual character from Shakespeare
[A plague is ravaging the country. Enter the King and others.]
TRUMP THE KING:
Who steals my purse steals trash!
My sixth age has shifted
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
My youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For my shrunk shank, and my big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in my sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
TRUMP THE KING:
O, my offense is rank. It smells to heaven.
Foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes.
TRUMP THE KING:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall.
Who is the greatest of them all?
Muhammad Ali did not get it right.
’Tis I who am greatest, all day and night.
Who knows himself a braggart,
Let him fear this, for it will come to pass
That every braggart shall be found an ass.
Thrice is he arm’d that hath his quarrel just,
And he but naked, though lock’d up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
DUKES BERNIE AND BIDEN:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their entrances and their exits.
[Duke Biden exits right in a wheelchair, gracefully. Gracefully, too, Duke Bernie exits left (how else?), extending a scroll titled “Bernie on the Issues” to Prince Andrew, who is at that moment entering. The Prince’s retinue wears N95 respirators, shouldering enormous, spear-like nasal swabs and pulling wheeled tables that bear ventilators glowing green and orange.]
MACDUFF [removing respirator]
Hail, king! for so thou art: behold, where stands
The usurper’s cursed head: the time is free:
I see thee compass’d with thy kingdom’s pearl,
That speaks my salutation in their minds;
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine:
Hail, King of Scotland (and U.S. Prez)!
We shall not spend a large expense of time
Before we reckon with your several loves,
And make us even with you.
We have more to do,
Which would be planted newly with the time,
As calling home our exiled friends abroad
That fled the snares of watchful tyranny;
Producing forth the cruel ministers
Of this dethroned butcher.
What needful else
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace,
We will perform in measure, time and place
So, thanks to all at once and to each one,
Whom we invite to see us crown’d at Washingtone.