Free for the taking
The newly-varnished box by Elting Library’s front door in New Paltz has been stocked with puzzles, games, magazines, papers, videotape, biographies, and history books, all free for the taking during one’s solitary walks, for those craving non-electronic pastimes.
Velcro is fake thistle.
Saugerties food pantry open
Atonement Lutheran Church’s Food Pantry is still open (since 1988) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 to 11:45 a.m. for Saugerties town residents. We are following safe guidelines for Covid 19 precautions. We are located across from the Saugerties post office on Market Street.
We wish to thank our many sponsors besides the Regional Food Bank of North Eastern NY. These include: Adams Fairacre Farms, Bread Alone, Blue Kats, Boy Scouts, Hannaford, Kiwanis Club, Lions’ Club, Markertek, Mother Earth health food store, Price Chopper, Sam’s Club, Ulster Corps, Ulster Glean team, our local churches and any other organizations we may have temporarily forgotten.
There are many volunteers and individual donors who also contribute, you know who you are and we thank you all.
Stay safe, we’ll get through this together.
Calming your kids
Parenting always has its challenges. This is even more true in a time of high anxiety.
Children may miss predictable routines, seeing friends and grandparents and other aspects of life before the current pandemic. They may worry about people they love getting sick.
Their anxiety may show in unexpected ways. For example, they may cling to you, have nightmares, throw tantrums, or wet the bed. If you’re unsure how best to help your child, you are not alone.
Here are some possibilities. All are available without you or your child leaving the safety of your home.
1) Reach out to someone you know and trust. This could be a religious leader, a pediatrician, a teacher or a psychotherapist. You may be surprised by their willingness to listen and by how much they can offer remotely, either online or by phone.
2) Buy How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, a trusted guide to parenting for many years. How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk is newer. Both books are by Adele Faber/Elaine Mazlish (www.fabermazlish.com). Libraries may be closed, but booksellers are open.
3) Contact Astor Services for Children and Families (www.astorservices.org). Astor works with children ages 2–21 years old and the children’s families. If you leave a message on their 24-hour hotline (866-278-6701), expect a call back within one business day. Once the pandemic began, Astor quickly switched from using their eight clinics to telehealth services.
4) Call the Mental Health Association of Ulster County (339-9090) and ask for a wellness resource coordinator. Expect a call back within three business days. The wellness resource coordinator will listen to your concerns and, if needed, connect you with other services.
5) Call or text 845-679-2485 to reach Family of Woodstock’s 24-hour crisis hotline. If you call, a well-trained non-professional will answer the phone. If you text, you’ll get a text back. I was told that the hotline deals with “every problem under the sun.”
I hope that the foregoing information enables you to help your child during this difficult time. If you know someone else looking for answers, please pass this information on.
The monarchy stops now
First it was the end of April. Then it was May 15. Now, Governor Cuomo has pushed the opening date to June 13. Wake up, people! What’s it going to take to realize this has nothing to do with the coronavirus? While the Javits Center and USNS Comfort ship sat empty, Cuomo sent recovering patients to nursing homes, exposing thousands of our most vulnerable to COVID-19. People need to feed their families and now they’re going on three months of unemployment. Cuomo found this the perfect time to give himself and everyone in Albany a raise. Enough is enough, Governor Cuomo. Let us go back to work. The monarchy stops now.
Precious and vulnerable
If there has ever been a time that our country, and the whole world for that matter, needed the combined intelligence of many scientists, it is right now. The Corona virus Pandemic has humbled us, and has reduced our population to wearing protective masks and gloves, and basically being paranoid of all other human beings. It is a very scary time. Social distancing, although awkward at best, has proven useful, simply because we have no idea of who is contagious with the dreaded virus and who is safe. Any human-to-human contact could be the moment the virus invades an innocent body, and that contact could cause that unsuspecting person to become very sick, and possibly die.
In spite of this terrifying situation for our country, there still is a noisy group of people who choose to be in denial about the virus and its devastating effects. Over 90,000 citizens of our country have died already, yet those in denial defiantly act like it’s no big deal. Well, it is a big deal and those who are in denial are a big part of the problem. If you are a denier, please wake up to our current reality. We need your help.
In addition, history has been so appreciative of the brilliant scientists who have spent their lives in search of cures that could help our civilization live more safely. Many of those discovered vaccines and medicines have made a huge difference in the lives of literally millions. We can feel deep gratitude for those heroes and heroines. But in spite of the clear information of their contribution to society, there is a blind resistance to trusting intelligent scientists. Anti-intellectualism appears to be just a distorted knee-jerk reaction and can only damage us as a thriving and diverse community of good people doing their best to live in harmony.
My wish is that we all work toward embracing the qualities of compassion, humility and gratitude, toward all our brothers and sisters — no matter how different — and we move away from any behavior that tends to divide us. Each one of us must do some soul-searching to reach past any old habit of prejudice toward any group. We are too precious as a society and we are also too vulnerable.
For the record
The May 14 article in Hudson Valley One, “Local school districts face big budgetary headaches this year” misreports that the Kingston Board of Education adopted a budget with a tax-levy increase of 3.66%. Our tax-levy increase limit is 1.73%. The board held a special meeting on Friday, May 15 and adopted a budget with an increase in appropriations of 3.65% and a tax-levy increase of 1.73%.
James F. Shaughnessy Jr.
President, Kingston City Schools
Board of Education
Mother Gaia is ill
The first true astronauts were the ancient Greeks who imagined the earth as Mother Gaia. The world is one living organism. That historical moment of insight passed into oblivion when wealth was made by mining holes in the earth, clearcutting trees and selling animals.
After that, the idea that we are all connected became merely rhetoric. By the 1960s, when our astronauts actually saw the world from space and named it Gaia, the concept we are all connected was fading as fast as the animals on the extinction list.
Looking through today’s political window, I see a parasitic insurance-driven healthcare system self-selecting only the wealthiest. So when I hear the word “pandemic,” I am reminded of the Black Death in the 1400s, the Spanish Flu in the 1900s, HIV Aids in 1959, Ebola in 1976, SARS in 2002 and Covid 19 in 2020, all challenging our medical science and leaving a trail of dead in its wake.
There is one constant theme seen in all these pandemics — no matter how much money folks piled up around themselves they are still vulnerable. This is never more apparent than today — the baker where you buy your rolls, the street cleaner who rings your door bell, your mailmen and mailwomen, your banker whose opiate-addicted child brings it home — it will find a way into your biosystem.
Animals, plants, insects, people and viruses are interdependent. Some politicians appear to be culturing the virus in their pockets by not making healthcare treatment for all. I mean the entire world.
The most vulnerable in America are the uninsured and they are the ones where Covid 19 will not be tested. Now, even those reaching for their thick wallets are finding no amount of cash can buy a ventilator or find healthcare workers that are not sick or spent.
Human beings have a moral obligation to feed, house and provide health to all who live on our mother Gaia. Payback for shirking that obligation is death, as has never been more apparent. The true vaccine has “take responsibility” written on the prescription pad. The pain of the needle in our arm will amplify a thousand times if we don’t awaken to how sick mother Gaia really is.
Not bad, Mr. McKenna, but how long did it take and at what cost to us taxpayers? In 2016, the town received a grant to buy and install two electric vehicles charging stations. And now, $4000 wasted taxpayer dollars later, from the 5/12/2020 town-board meeting agenda: “Be it resolved, to authorize the supervisor to take the necessary steps to initiate a $2 per hour fee at the car charging stations.”
Additionally, in 2015, the late Jay Wenk proposed charging for parking at the Mountain View parking lot. McKenna was quoted back then as saying, “We do have until next May to come up with and implement a plan to make .… [Mountain View] a paid lot.” How many Mays have passed since then? Why continue to wait to do this, especially since, as I pointed out earlier, way before the tourist season ended last year, the parking spots were painted, the handicap parking spots were marked and blacktopped, the fences were installed, and the shrubbery was planted in the parking lot?
And do not even think about how long it has taken to develop a reed bed at the water-reatment plant, which is going to save those in the water/sewer district thousands of dollars.
This isn’t business as normal
Like many Kingston commercial propertyowners I have just had a large increase in my property tax assessment. In my case, my assessment increased by 45%. Banks have deferred mortgages, rents have been cancelled or deferred in many cases , tenants and homeowners have lost their jobs and can’t pay rent, along with business owners with no business. Even insurance companies, credit cards and auto lenders are working with borrowers to get through.
Nearly everything has been deferred or cancelled in response to Covid 19. We’re all in this together — now is not the time to be raising taxes. This is not business as normal.
People should not be further burdened with an increase in assessments or fear of a raise in their property taxes during a global pandemic. The compassionate thing for the City of Kingston to do is to suspend all increases in assessments until Covid 19 is behind us and the economy is stable.
Out-of-control military budget
In the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic and an unprecedented economic collapse, we have lost sight of one of the biggest obstacles to our recovery as a nation — our out-of-control military budget and interventionist foreign policy.
There is no such thing as a progressive who does not oppose our government’s commitment to endless war and to arming allies who violate the norms of human rights. So I am asking our 19th Congressional District representative, Anthony Delgado, to take a small step in the direction of a progressive foreign policy by becoming a co-sponsor of HR 2407 — known as the No Way to Treat A Child Act. This bill, which has 24 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, would bar the use of American military aid to abuse the human rights of children.
The U.S. has, in the past, withheld military aid for human-rights abuses, but it has never challenged Israel’s abuse of Palestinian children. Israel is by far the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, and has a consistent record of abusing Palestinian children. They are frequently arrested in the middle of the night, almost always interrogated without the presence of their parents, more than occasionally tortured, forced to sign confessions in Hebrew — a language which they do not understand — and imprisoned under terrible conditions.
Please, congressman Delgado, represent the progressives who worked so hard for your election. Co-sponsor HR 2407.
Imagine if you reimagined
Governor [Andrew] Cuomo has asked us to “Reimagine New York” in the wake of Covid 19. Given the serious public-health flaws that the pandemic has unraveled, what specific horror story do we reimagine? That of the emergency room phlebotomist who doesn’t have enough PPE to protect herself from spreading the virus to family and friends? Or we reimagine her patient being able have the insulin she didn’t take because she didn’t have enough money to buy the daily dosage required?
Are we to reimagine our senior citizen who is choosing between paying for food or paying for his cardiac medication or imagine a public healthcare system that provides prescription drugs at no cost and is accessible? Do we reimagine a father who rushes his asthmatic daughter to an emergency room because the cost of the trip to the family practitioner pushes the family closer to bankruptcy? Do we reimagine that the current $28,000 average annual medical cost of healthcare is not paid equally by the $40,000 earner as the $150,000 incomer?
We don’t reimagine. We don’t imagine. We resolve; we commit and we demand that you and our state legislative leaders use the solution that every other country with better health outcomes than ours has done. They resolved to implement a government-sanctioned, publicly coordinated and funded single payer healthcare program.
In New York State, we have that in the New York Health Act (A.5248/S.357), a reimagined Medicare/Medicaid for All piece of state legislation currently sitting in the state legislature which would save 2000 lives annually, deaths that result from lack of healthcare.
Racial and income-based health disparities could be significantly reduced and more emulate the outcomes of the eleven developed countries with better health outcomes than ours (i.e. Germany, Canada, England, Norway, Spain, etc,). It would end our for-profit system driven by insurance companies and for-profit, private health and hospital corporations. It would stop exorbitant amounts to CEO salaries, costly advertising and reduce the huge amount of paperwork and administrative costs from 20% of each dollar to 2%.
We must resolve to push to become a fiscal conservative with health insurers and for-profit health and hospital corporations instead of squeezing private health providers, Medicaid and every public hospital from Long Island to Buffalo and Plattsburg. If we are to reimagine, let us reimagine a change in the status quo that the New York Health Act is designed to do. Let us be resolute in the conviction that New York State can lead the nation with health outcomes resulting from our own version of Medicare for All. Governor Cuomo, if we are to reimagine, we must also resolve the health issues addressed by the NY Health Act, issues that your leadership can resolve as you “reimagine.”
Cournoyer runs for school board
My name is Brian Cournoyer, and I am running for a seat on the New Paltz school board. I live in Esopus with my wife, Karen, and our two children. My stepdaughter is a junior at New Paltz High School, and my son is a senior at Arlington High School. I’ve lived in the Hudson Valley most of my life. My family moved to Newburgh when I was seven. For the past 17 years, I’ve been employed at Dutchess Beer Distributors, a local family-owned business.
I have previously served two consecutive terms on the board (2012-2018), including two years as president. I also chaired the district’s policy committee for five years, and was a member of the audit and legislative action committees. During that time, I had the privilege of serving with more than a dozen diverse and hardworking board members. Together, we conceived, passed and implemented a $52-million capital improvement project. We stood up for our students and teachers with our 2013 high-stakes testing resolution — renewed in 2018 — and the 2014 Resolution to Support Public Education. We stood up for our community by helping defeat a plan to site a sewage-treatment plant next to our high school and helped protect taxpayers with our position statement on housing PILOTs and supporting local review of IDA Programs in 2015.
In my second term, we reaffirmed our commitment to all students, regardless of immigration status, opposed the construction of the Pilgrim Pipeline near school land and established Indigenous Peoples Day. We also created the Racial Equity Initiative Advisory Committee (REIAC) to uncover and combat systemic racism and policies that negatively impact minorities and marginalized students and faculty in our schools.
Recent events have prompted me to run again. I believe my ability to serve as a level-headed collaborator with administrators and board members of all stripes, along with my strategic and reflective approach to solving problems, would be particularly helpful right now. And since I would be coming in with six years of experience, I would be able to jump right in and help immediately. I also think active listening will be incredibly important as we work together to overcome challenges. When working with others, I always like to listen first and speak only when I feel I have something to add that would be of value.
In the months ahead, the district will be facing many unprecedented challenges, most importantly, having a cohesive, solutions-oriented plan for students and teachers to return to the classroom when that can be done safely. With looming cuts to state aid, we face a balancing act. We must be mindful of the financial impact of the crisis on our friends and neighbors in the community, while still delivering the best possible school experience to students.
Clearly, safety will have to be the top board priority in the near term. Determining how we keep everyone safe will require input from many stakeholders, creativity and patience. I’d like to be a key part of developing the process to navigate the path forward. Ultimately, remote learning is no substitute for what happens between teachers and students, in real life, in our four buildings.
I also want to ensure we don’t lose sight of the other important work the board has begun. The racial equity Initiative, in particular, must not be allowed to founder. I played a significant role in the REIAC’s creation and it is one of the accomplishments of which I am most proud. I remain fully committed to bringing racial equity to our district, and I believe the committee should play a critical role in moving forward toward that goal.
It is also important to support this year’s budget. I believe the budget the BOE presented is the best possible outcome that preserves our programs while being sensitive to what the community is facing right now. Please vote Yes on the budget. Voting will be entirely by mail-in ballots this year. Your ballot must be received by 5 p.m. on June 9, so mail it in as quickly as possible.
I hope you’ll allow me the opportunity to serve you again.
Missing the Woodstock Times
One of my pleasures used to be heading out Thursday afternoons to see if the Woodstock Times was on the shelves yet. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the town news and especially the letters to the editor.
We now have an online amalgam covering towns in the area. I’m glad to have it, but it’s no longer our town newspaper.
The COVID shutdown has given us time to reflect, to enjoy quieter times and to let the earth breath better. I hope we can make some changes to protect our world.
I do worry that local stores, restaurants and venues may not rebound. These are the places that make Woodstock unique. I worry that we may lose our Woodstock Times. I hope not, it is too good to lose.
Sixty-six million years ago, a meteor struck the earth and killed all the dinosaurs. As they say, “stuff happens.” All the preventative measures will not provide that we will be safe. There are no guarantees in life. There are no real experts in dealing with this pandemic. The U.S. Constitution provides for basic rights that cannot be abrogated. Despite that, there are politicians with a “Savior” complex who believe they can use their police power to bully us at whim. This nonsense must stop, and we need to be free to use our common sense to return to normal and save our economy, our communities and our families before it’s too late
And, Right Reverend Governor Andrew Cuomo quoted the bible during one of his press conferences last week. He offered, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” What a hypocrite! This COVID-19 virus has shown that there is nothing new in politics and that both parties are just as divided on this issue, and our governor is one of the dividers. He’s setting the rules on when we can regain our freedom. In Ulster County, half of the deaths attributed to the COVID-19 virus have been in nursing homes and it was his directive to have COVID-19 infected patients placed in the nursing homes and causing these unnecessary deaths.
Another thing, the Kingston Freeman reported on May 16 in their headline that “WAMC radio raises $1 million for Capital Region community.” In the article, they offer, “The donations will benefit homeless families and those who lack consistent access to food…” What the article doesn’t report is that Charity Navigator advises that for every dollar WAMC raises, 30% goes to fund-raising expenses, 13% for administrative expenses with only 57% going to the actual charity. The top three executives for WAMC are paid $425,000 with a salary of $191,000 going to their president Alan Chartock. Why donate one dollar to WAMC with only 57 cents going to the charity. Why not donate to the charities directly?