Signage along local trails
If you’re out and about enjoying our local trails, there are some new friendly reminders along the way to keep a distance and to wear a mask or cover your face, particularly when encountering others sharing the trail. You’ll see these along the Wallkill Valley rail-trail, the River to Ridge Trail and at Millbrook Preserve.
Many are to be thanked for their contribution to this effort, but a special big thanks to PDQ Printing for their great fast work, to the New Paltz Community Foundation which paid for the signs along the town and village legs of the rail-trail, and to fellow village trustee Michele Zipp for the wonderful graphic design that conveys the message perfectly for our community.
Now get out there and get some fresh air and exercise, but let’s do it responsibly for all of us!
Trustee, Village of New Paltz
Share your heritage
In this age of ever-changing technology, the written word remains a continuous recording of our past. As families remain homebound, they have the opportunity of sharing stories of their grandparents.
Let each family member write their stories, which can be preserved for younger and future members to enjoy the love and laughter of their heritage. Staples can make copies and bind the pages as “a treasure of family.”
Paul Jankiewicz, Ph. D.
Where have all the flowers gone?
Where have all the 20 million people who celebrated Earth Day 50 years ago gone? Where has all the biodiversity in Ulster County gone?
Wilderness state lands have been downgraded to forever wild to appease recreationists. Steel and pre-cast cement industry seeks permits from DEC to disturb and discharge into streams and wetlands in the Catskill Park. Dogs run rampant & trample the understory of land conservancies. Scenic Hudson with well-written intentions are properties strewn with doggie waste bags, compacted soils and proliferating poison ivy. Not so scenic, is it?
Preserves are no longer delineated from parks. The official buzz word is “park preserve.” Local municipal “green spaces” are auctioned off to recreationalists. Biodiversity becomes a space only identified by Hudsonia. What was once a true sanctuary in Esopus (an Ulster County treasure) will now sponsor a 5K run as John Burroughs rolls over in his grave.
Where have all the flowers gone? Gone to graveyards, every one. When will they ever learn? When will we ever learn?
Town of Ulster
Just hang in there
What day is it? They seem to just run into one another.
We need a rodeo clown to bar the refrigerator door. A former generation lived through world wars, a stock-market crash, Great Depression, and the Holocaust. Currently we’ve experienced recession, ISIS, Hurricane Sandy, and the Taliban. Now we’re in a deadly whirlpool, possibly from the Communist Chinese, who have found a way to mortally wound the rest of the world.
Contradictions, misinformation, and finger-pointing everywhere, politically and otherwise, 24/7, confuse us all.
The back-and-forth between a political administration and the medical community has the people in the middle. Whom to believe and follow?
If we all do what we’re supposed to do and just hang in there, eventually things will let up, the economy will surely come back, and we can regain our outside freedoms. Our world may be a little different, but we will adjust and make sure we have learned our painful lesson.
Human rights for children
It is time that our congressional representative, Antonio Delgado, became a cosponsor of H.R. 2407. This bill would promote justice, equality and human rights for children globally by prohibiting U.S. foreign-aid dollars from contributing to “the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill treatment of children in violation of international humanitarian law.”
The bill sets a clear statement of policy declaring, “It is the policy of the United States to promote human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation and to declare Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children as a practice that results in widespread and systematic human-rights abuses amounting to gross violations of human rights inconsistent with international humanitarian law and the laws of the United States.”
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Every year Israel arrests almost 1000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13.”
Of course, children under 18 are abused in many places around the world, including in our own criminal justice system as well as in our immigration detention centers. Hopefully, this bill will bring to light the need to protect all children from inhumane treatment during arrest and incarceration.
If you live in District 19, please sign this open letter to congressman Delgado at https://mideastcrisis.org
Support vote by mail
Fairminded people of both political parties acknowledge that as Covid 19 bears down upon us we must plan alternatives to in-person voting in November’s elections. A repeat of Wisconsin’s debacle, with dedicated masked citizens risking their health to exercise their most fundamental right, has been likened to the courage of Americans who risked personal safety to protest racial discrimination in the 1960s. Many will be willing to take that kind of risk in November. But we can do more and better, at least in New York.
State senator Jen Metzger has submitted a bill, S8120, that calls for immediate planning to provide Vote by Mail (VBM) to New Yorkers in November (it’s too late to implement for June 23 primary elections). VBM eliminates the cumbersome process tied to absentee ballots, in which one must request an absentee ballot application, which is returned by the board of elections. The completed application is returned to the BOE; the BOE sends an absentee ballot; once voters receive it, they complete and return to the BOE.
With VBM, the BOE sends a ballot to all registered voters; they fill out the ballot and return it to the BOE for counting. Done. Voting at polling sites will still be an option.
Yes, there are challenges. Security measures must be in place. Funding must be available to pay for new workers and post office charges. States that have implemented VBM have offered careful advice about how to proceed.
Perhaps above all, a massive public education effort is needed, starting now. Whether VBM or “temporary illness” absentee voting is ultimately implemented, voters need to know what to expect, long in advance of November. That effort will require money, staffing, and the use of all available tools for outreach.
We shouldn’t have to be heroes to vote. Heroism will come from institutional support for our democratic system.
What my father once said
How long will we have to wait before what we remember as normal will be allowed to return? Most of us have never had our daily routines and patterns so abruptly stopped. We may find ourselves like hungry children, crying to be fed, or bored kids complaining to go outside to play. Some of us at times may regress back to our childhoods, even while knowing that death may wait outside our doors.
Some say death has always waited, not just outside the door. Of course this is true. But when someone you trust tells you death was seen outside your door, the game begins to change.
Like when your father pulled the car off to the side of the highway and pointed out the window and said, “That dead dog Charlie is our neighbors’. He got hit playing in the street. Next time I tell you to stop playing ball in the street, remember Charlie.”
We as Americans have been fed since birth on individualism, independence, and a frontier spirit. John Wayne the actor mouthed the last whisper of what once looked like our frontier, but in reality it was the backyard of millions of Native Americans. Whoever continues to use the saying “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” hasn’t noticed that there are fewer people wearing boots, and most of those don’t have straps.
We are an interrelated nation, with many races and cultures. The only common denominator is that we are all human. Wealth and power have concentrated to the point that they’ve made a fertile culture for a communicable virus.
Politicians, sponsored by the wealthy, determine to whom and how treatment shall occur. While our trillions of pooled taxes get dispersed back to the wealthy, the American public watches those of color, the poor, the elderly and the uninsured die as vast resources are being spent on military weapons.
Like my father, I am going to pull off to the side of the road and point out the window, “Look at those dead folks stacked up in that nursing-home morgue. They are there because they trusted they’d be taken care of when they became elderly. They voted for politicians they thought would take care of them. Now you know what I am talking about when I say buying more weapons, kills more of us who need food, need jobs, need elder care and health care then they will kill our enemy.”
The irony of making billions of dollars worth of weapons is that the war is in our grocery stores, on the handles in the subway, on our doorknobs, and on our hands and faces. As our stockpile of drones, planes, and bombs rusts, our sick soldiers will need ventilators and a vaccine before they can fly them.
Neighbors show compassion
As has been reported previously, the New Paltz Community Foundation, Inc. (“NPCF”) has established through donations and is implementing a project known as Help Your Neighbors 2020 to provide meal vouchers ($20 for an individual and $50 for a family) to those in need. To date, 120 vouchers have been issued.
The details of how the program works can be found on the NPCF’s website: newpaltzfoundation.org, on the NPCF Facebook page or by calling me at 256-1945. Referring community partners include Family of New Paltz, William Murray’s Neighbor to Neighbor program in New Paltz, the Town of Gardiner, and the churches in New Paltz and Gardiner. The NPCF website lists the community partners and their contact information. These partners will advise potential recipients as to where they can pick up a voucher and receive a list of the more than 30 local restaurants/delis from which recipients can chose to place their order.
As the Covid 19 crisis rages on, it is gratifying to see people in the community step forward to exhibit kindness and compassion. While many of these helping hands will go unnoticed, we should recognize those acts of kindness we are aware of. The NPCF has benefited from unsolicited generosity for our project.
Help Your Neighbors 2020 will be operating for as long as the crisis creates the need and there are sufficient donations to sustain it. The Board of NPCF is thankful that even in these difficult financial times, donations (large and small) continue to be received. If funds donated to this project remain once the crisis is over, they will be retained by NPCF in an Emergency Preparedness Fund to be immediately available as a resource to deal with any future community emergency need.
NPCF is thankful to be part of such a giving community. We can make it through this stressful time if we all continue to work together.
Eileen Gulbrandsen Glenn
Support food justice
Food justice, the belief that all people deserve healthy nutritious food, is central to the mission of the Phillies Bridge Farm Project. We deliver thousands of pounds of fresh produce to families in need every year. But this year the need is great, and we are asking you to help us to help others.
We are expanding our usual efforts to provide support to those in need during this time of crisis. We want to increase the produce donations that we make to local food pantries, where fresh, nutritious foods are often in short supply. And we are increasing the subsidized shares in our community supported agriculture (CSA) program, so that those experiencing hardship can access the fresh sustainably grown food.
Many of us are or will be receiving federal subsidy checks. This will be of great use to so many who are in need. But if you are among the fortunate who have not been severely impacted financially, we encourage you to consider donating the windfall to those who are in need of help. Your contributions to the Farm to Families program at philliesbridge.org will go directly toward providing healthy food to local families suffering the financial fallout from the pandemic.
Times of crisis such as this are trying. But they can also draw us together as a community. Global problems can feel overwhelming and beyond our control. But there is much that we can do to help one another through this right here at home. Phillies Bridge Farm is here to help. Thank you for your support.
Co-presidents, Phillies Bridge Farm Project
As a blind person, I have learned just how important touch is to me, and to be able to elegantly and gracefully navigate my world. I have skillfully developed a soft and sensitive touch, and use my hands when walking with my cane, or on the shoulder of a friend. I get around my house and other visited places by touching walls, tables, doors and basically anything that will help me smoothly transition from one place to another.
Now, with the threat of the coronavirus looming everywhere, I’ve been strongly encouraged to wear a mask, use gloves when I can, and wash my hands often. Well, on some level it’s no problem doing those things to protect my body as best I can from the virus. But in a couple of weeks my partner and I are flying back to New York, and I am feeling a little nervous about all the close encounters with people, as well as all the new places I will be dealing with on my journey home.
Yesterday I overheard a friend tell my partner to be as neurotic as necessary during the trip. I laughed at first, but then realized that it might be good advice. I mean, this is my life, and I do not want to get the dreaded virus, even if I probably would recover from it.
But probably is not good enough for me. I honestly don’t want anything to do with it, if I can help it. So, at least for the day of travel, I will proudly embrace the attitude of a neurotic, and do my best to stay hyper-vigilant, until I am safely back in my own sweet home.
And now you get to seriously consider embracing that neurotic attitude also, without feeling embarrassed. Why? Because your life is that important to you. With the virus lurking all over the place, this is no time to be Mister Cool!
Marie Antoinette for our times
Let them eat bleach!
(Queen Marie likely did not say it, BTW. But you know who did?)
David Brower, that famed environmentalist of the Wilderness Society, wrote back in 1962 that ever since Henry Thoreau penned his famous words, “In wildness is the preservation of the world,” we have proven that the natural world and Mankind must live together or perish separately. David Brower also wrote, “There is no science and no art of greater importance than what teaches seeing, which builds sensitivity and respect for the natural world.”
Environmental philosophers like Henry Thoreau, David Brower. Rachel Carson and Aldo Leopold, the father of the American ecology movement and the pioneer of the land ethic would, all agree that we have received this message from Mother Earth. We must learn to coexist with her, or else we will become just another extinct species which failed to adapt and live cooperatively with the planet that gave it birth.
There are untold millions of species which failed to meet the biological and ecological requirements over the last 3.6 billion years and through five major extinction events. These failures prove these ecological points of Thoreau and the other environmentalists of the past two centuries. The fact that we are creating another extinction event-The Sixth Extinction,-imperiling all life on earth-is a lesson we are learning the hard way as we enter this new era of The Anthropocene.
Wrote Aldo Leopold, author of A Sand County Almanac, “Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact called civilization.” Leopold also wrote that no “living man” will ever see again the long grass prairie, the pine forests of the Great Lake States or the flatwoods of the coastal plain. Only in Canada, Alaska and the Quetico-Superior Wilderness in Minnesota are there still areas of virgin country yet untouched by man.
We humans, as a product of the evolutionary primeval, no longer have the privileged luxury of walking the woods alone, where no man has trod. Leopold wrote that wilderness is a “resource” that can never grow but only shrink in size as we squeeze the last breath out of a living world that made us human.
As the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day passes into the collective memories of just another day lost,-remember also what Aldo Leopold said, “The most important characteristic of an organism is that capacity for internal self-renewal known as health.” The tonic of wilderness is a necessary medicine to remedy the ills of this sick society.
“Your health is your wealth” may be just a trite aphorism to some, but as the planet disintegrates into pandemics in the world frying pan of global warming on the runaway locomotive that is called mankind, we must fight to keep that necessary elixir forever in our hands.
Victor C. Capelli
Town of Ulster
With the arrival of May, it is time to break some of the chains that bind us.
We live in a rural area that should accommodate our social distancing when we need to protect ourselves. We may want to get tested for the Covid virus if we are experiencing symptoms of the disease or if we live with someone who has a weakened immunity system.
We have learned to wash our hands, not touch our face, and to disinfect areas that we suspect may have been infected. We know to wear protective face masks when we are coming near people we do not know. Many of these things we have learned should remain with us especially when the next flu season surfaces its ugly head.
With this awakening, comes time for change. We need to replace government control with personal common sense. If you have a weakened immunity system, continue to shelter at home and allow for your family or the support of your neighbors to help you maintain a good quality of life at home until the Covid risk is over. It will end shortly as the warmer weather approaches.
We need to get back to business and be smart as we do so. People who work outside such as construction contractors should be able to work providing safe practices like social distancing and using masks when needed. Restaurants should be allowed to have inside and outside dining providing safe spacing between tables. Retail units should all be operational providing for control of the number of shoppers allowed in the store at one time. If you are a medical provider, a barber, hairdresser or someone who has physical contact with the public, both the service provider and the customer should wear a protective mask, and all customers should have their temperatures check to make sure they are not febrile and more likely to have the virus.
Getting back to business little by little will help us kickstart the economy and help us get back on the right track. This virus will be gone, and with common sense and maintaining good practices we will all be okay.