The views and opinions expressed in our letters section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hudson Valley One. You can submit a letter to the editor here.
Two Woodstock heroes
Unless you’ve been asleep, we’re in a pandemic and there are few absolute necessities.
The need for food and vaccinations has produced two Woodstock heroes: Judy Fox, who has devoted herself to the Good Neighbor Food Pantry, and Neil Smoller’s successful attack on the vaccination problem.
The Good Neighbor Food Bank, a necessity for many of us, is in danger, due to exorbitant rental increases by the Woodstock Reformed Church (the big one in the center of town). What they intend to do with the $8,000 rental increase that is more important than our food pantry is unknown. They steadfastly refuse to discuss why they even have rent at all.
I implore them to rethink their decision and ask what Jesus would do. My father once told me that there are too many Christians and not enough Christs.
Back to Woodstock’s heroes: Neil Smoller, owner of Woodstock holistic pharmacy the Village Apothecary, has personally administered over a thousand coronavirus vaccinations and has coordinated mass vaccination events in Woodstock, Kingston and Saugerties. No small feat. We owe him a lot.
On Wednesday, March 3, I had the chance to offer public testimony regarding the release of turbid water by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC-DEP) from the Ashokan Reservoir into the Esopus Creek. Silt from these releases has clogged the creek, leading to debilitating levels of weed growth, particularly in the area where much of it settles in Saugerties. The fishery has been impacted, as fish suffocate and eggs and fry cannot survive. Residents and businesses that front the creek are blighted by the sight and diminished value of their properties. The NYC-DEP considers turbid water a pollutant, according to its own science, and yet has demonstrated no satisfactory resolution for the unmitigated release of this turbid water into the downstream communities.
A little history: The DEP has pushed the problem of maintaining clean water for New York City upon upstate communities since the 1980s, when the EPA informed New York City that it would need to build a filtration plant to satisfy clean water standards for its eight million residents. Instead, the DEP sought a “filtration avoidance” variance from the EPA, and the EPA granted what was supposed to be temporary filtration avoidance variance in 1992. This temporary variance is now approaching 30 years, and the strategies now employed by the DEP continue to be mere Band-Aid remedies that do little more than demonstrate disrespect for the upstate communities situated below the reservoir.
The DEP has appeased upstate over the years by developing “partnerships” such as the Watershed Agricultural Program started in the early ‘90s to benefit the farms and landowners upstream from the Ashokan Reservoir. This program does nothing for downstream communities, many of which rely on the Esopus for recreation and as a source of revenue. In 2012, in response to a threatened lawsuit by the then-county executive Mike Hein, the DEP announced it would pay $2.5 million to Ulster County for the development of the Ashokan Rail Trail. While a marvelous development that eased the DEP out of a lawsuit, the money did not address the level of environmental degradation to the Lower Esopus Creek or the impact upon the affected localities. Millions of dollars have been spent by New York City to save itself billions of dollars, but it still comes at the expense of upstate communities and the environment, and it is currently impacting Saugerties more than any other community.
To continue to allow the DEP to degrade the upstate communities that are below the Ashokan Reservoir, while avoiding the ultimate solution of a filtration plant, is derelict. Several local politicians have taken an important stand on this issue; others equivocate for fear of the power of New York City and the attendant politics. What is needed is targeted, commensurate payment for the damage that has been done, not feel-good projects that do little to mitigate the actual issues or ongoing studies that allow the DEP to continue to drag this issue out for future generations. The evidence is in front of anyone that views the creek daily.
Please visit the DEC website and consider sending comments regarding your concerns about the NYC-DEP releases into the Esopus Creek to www.dec.ny.gov/enb/122281.html.
For more context and understanding of this issue, please see the New York Times article from 2012, www.nytimes.com/…/in-ulster-county-fury-at-new.
And for even more information, you can take a look at the Riverkeeper link at www.riverkeeper.org/…/ashokan-reservoir-stop….
Woodstock Reformed Church and Good Neighbor Food Pantry
I am the minister of Woodstock Reformed Church (WRC) and wanted to address the situation of the Good Neighbor Food Pantry (GNFP)’s departure. This summer they will be relocating from their longtime location in our church.
WRC served as home base for the GNFP for over 30 years, and while the two organizations share the important goal of helping people experiencing food insecurity, there were difficulties that built up over time. These had to do with sharing space and managing utility costs.
Toward that end, the rent was raised. A counteroffer was made by GNFP that the Property Committee did not feel adequately addressed the costs. Instead of coming back to the committee with a second counteroffer, GNFP went straight to the public. We were surprised by that choice, as we thought we were still in negotiations.
It was never the church’s intention to have GNFP leave. It has long been our intention to have a better working relationship.
Like many churches in small towns in the Northeast, we are a small congregation with a small budget. Thankfully, we are financially solvent in our building and ministries. But what we don’t have is extra funds to heavily subsidize outside groups. We need them to contribute at a level that helps cover the costs they incur.
The rent for GNFP has been less than an annual $2,000 for ten years, which means the church has absorbed many additional costs of the heat, electric and cleaning of the GNFP’s expanding operation. And even though they’re a non-profit, GNFP receives donations that would allow them to cover not only food, but to contribute more to their facility operations.
We were hoping to come to an agreement on a rent cost – along with terms of sharing space – that would work for both parties. I wish we could’ve come to a different outcome together, as we believe in the work they do and are grateful for them and those they serve. We hope GNFP will find a location that works better for them.
In the meantime, we’re grateful to continue to host The Table of Woodstock, along with other community organizations still actively partnering with us. We welcome future partners who’d like to help those in need, provided we can arrive at terms of rent and space-sharing that are mutually sustainable.
It’s an honor to be located on the Village Green and we don’t take lightly the responsibility and opportunity to reflect God’s love here in tangible ways.
For any who have further questions, I invite you to come visit, or reach out respectfully to our church members or me. My hope and prayer is that we as a congregation can grow and learn from this experience – that we might better love and serve the community.
As the weather warms up and the pandemic passes, you’ll see our doors open more often. Stop by and say “Hi” or come in for a quiet place to pray.
The Reverend Cari Pattison
Pastor, Woodstock Reformed Church
Amusing thoughts concerning a letter
What’s particularly amusing about the letter “Ten old rules for revolution vs. the Ten Commandments” (March 24) is that, while its author chastises letter-writers for their “half-truths and tedious lies,” the letter is based on a no-truth tedious lie of its own. This “factual list” of hers, the notorious “10 Rules of a Communist Revolution,” has been discredited as fiction since what the author herself refers to as having been “supposedly found in 1919 Germany by Allied forces.” The document has never actually been produced, its language is inconsistent with the time (“sexy”?) and the content is so ludicrous that it wouldn’t pass muster at The Onion. Rather, its enumerations are remarkable conveniences for the right-wing agenda, where they’re not outright self-parodies.
Point Number Four, for example, calls on adherents to “divide the people into hostile groups,” the very thing that has characterized Republicanism to this day. And then there’s Number Six, “Always preach true democracy, but seize power as fast and as ruthlessly as possible,” a virtual mantra for the Trump revolution.
The author writes about upholding the sacred document, which seems to refer to some hybrid of the Constitution and the Ten Commandments (Separation of Church and State, anyone?). But Trump’s penchant for authoritarianism and self-aggrandizement is what marked his administration, as he whittled away at its provisions for the separation of powers, equal protection, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, an independent judiciary, voting rights, the Emoluments Clause, his oath not to commit treason ad nauseam. How can one forget, as this letter-writer apparently did, Trump’s continuing claims that as president he was empowered to do anything? I guess as long as he pretended to like guns and churches he was “Constitutional,” even if he never read the thing.
I wish the letter-writer good luck in preventing young people from being interested in sex, people from being distracted by athletics, workers from striking and teachers from abandoning “old moral values” like “continence,” which, as I get older, I know is becoming harder for me. Oh, and finally, that “barbed wire and added security for the Biden-Harris White House”? Rather than being some symbol of fascism, the horrible fencing was put there as protection against the so-called “patriots,” the ones bearing the swastikas, Confederate flags and cult-of-personality banners, that the letter writer is appealing to.
Alan M. Weber
Housing crisis in Ulster County, including New Paltz
Many of us who were shocked by Donald Trump’s election in 2016 were prompted into four years of activism to see him and his policies defeated. We learned the power of holding our leaders accountable and choosing the right ones to advance our own policy views. We learned that if we did not make the calls, attend the meetings, write and knock on doors, the void would surely be filled by narrow special interests.
Post-2020 election, we are again getting a quick jolt from the awareness of a surging housing crisis in Ulster County. In some ways, it’s easy to see: Look at the skyrocketing prices of homes, to a significant extent driven by a pandemic-spawned exodus of New York City residents. Think about the higher property taxes that will inevitably spread across all levels of housing. Look at rising rents, forcing families to make difficult choices with food, transportation, health care and child care. A closer examination reveals the depth of the problems that have been building for years – problems that have been exacerbated by ever-growing inequalities between the wealthy and the rest of us.
On Thursday, April 1 at the 7 p.m. joint meeting of the Village and Town of New Paltz officials, deputy county executive Evelyn Wright will present a summary of the county’s Housing Action Plan. Its recommendations will be guiding municipalities’ efforts to develop more affordable and low-income housing – homes and rentals – that serves communities’ needs.
We are in a crisis now. We need to pay attention and be sure that our leaders hear the voices of their residents. We can address the crisis if we show up, work together and act. A first step would be to attend the April 1 meeting. The Zoom link should be available on the Town of New Paltz website, www.townofnewpaltz.org.
The meadow and the STR law
Woodstockers are currently dealing with two controversial issues. Imminent increased density in the hamlet is one; the commodification of the residential districts is another.
It is sad to think that Woodstock will no longer have a funeral parlor in the person of Lasher’s, with its two-acre meadow. The successful bidders will naturally be interested in putting the commercial portion to the highest and best economic usage. The meadow will likely remain only if many Woodstockers come together to purchase it from the buyers and emplace a conservation easement.
This same corporation, like others, is purchasing homes adjacent to the commercial district, occupied until very recently by would-be long-term renters, presumably to be transformed to short-term rental properties, or STRs. This situation is made possible through Section 3, Part D, of the Local Law adopted in June 2019, which reads, in part:
“Non-owner-occupied STRs may be rented out a maximum of 180 days per calendar year, with no more than 26 weekends or parts of weekends included in that total.”
This effectively enables any personal or corporate entity to invest in residential properties throughout Woodstock and turn them to commercial purpose, which makes a mockery of residential zoning. It has accelerated the destruction of the long-term rental market and the attendant hollowing-out of our community.
While the law does limit corporations to one non-owner-occupied STR unit, this is easily circumvented through multiple corporations with a single owner. Corporate veils, once woven, are very difficult to penetrate.
The law is impractical, if not impossible, to enforce. The bureaucracy hasn’t the staff to monitor STR activity, our zoning law has no teeth, and any penalties ultimately imposed would be disproportionately minor.
If Woodstock is to preserve its middle class, owner-occupied STRs should not be rented out by any corporation or by any individual whose primary residence is not on the premises of the STR.
The Town Board, whose five current members authored this legislation, has just enough time and meeting space to craft and file an amendment with New York State by May to get the proposed modification on the ballot in this year’s November election.
I hope that those Woodstockers who believe amendment is warranted will say so to Bill, Richard, Lorin, Laura and Reggie. Otherwise, you might find yourselves saying goodbye to some friends and neighbors.
We need a voice
On February 12, 2019, all members of the Woodstock Town Council passed a resolution authorizing the supervisor to sign a proposal with Walker Architecture for the Comeau Buildings Capital Project without requesting a request for proposal (RFP). The project included renovating the current supervisor’s cottage and adding an addition to the Comeau Building (town offices). The cost agreed to, unknown to many of us taxpayers at that time, was over two million dollars, which did not include the $161,000 fee paid to the Walkers.
The RFP, although not required by the supervisor, could have been requested by the Town Board and would have given us taxpayers a choice of various designs, other ideas and at a potentially lower cost. Please remember that, no matter what you thought of the library issue, the trustees went through a process that gave us taxpayers a choice of various designs for their proposed new building.
The Capitol siege
“It’s interesting: I’ve never heard George – or any other mainstream media personality or journalist – point out that during the January 6 Capitol Building “armed insurrection,” that of the hundreds of thousands of people present, a mere 600 went to the Capitol Building” (George Civile, Gardiner).
A National Park Service spokesman said that organizers expected as many as 30,000 people at the event near the White House. The permit originally was submitted for a crowd size of 10,000, but the group had tripled its “estimate” based on responses and people already in the DC, according to the official. I will say this, “In the absence of aerial imagery, it’s almost impossible to make a reality-based estimate of the crowd size at this rally.”
The trouble with Washington, DC, is that there are several barriers to getting good overhead imagery. The Washington Monument is the only tall building that can get you a good view, but it was on the far end of the National Mall. The other barrier is DC itself: It is basically a no-fly zone. You can’t have helicopters up overhead shooting aerial imagery, as in most other cities. No drones are allowed for security reasons.
Now, let’s talk about being a propagandist, Mr. Civile. The estimated size of the crowd at the Trump Insurrection Rally (hundreds of thousands of people present), which you pitched, is a concocted number and sort of “vastly” larger than reality. Where did your cockamamie number come from? What was the (faux fact) source? Hmm, Fox Noise? Or maybe, an online QAnon conspiratorial information hub? And then only “a mere 600” went to the Capitol Building? Yeah, right, sure, there goes “our lying eyes” once again; will I ever see clearly?
Reality check: What’s a good way to estimate crowd size? The first thing is knowing the area that the crowd is in – that is, the actual area in square feet or square meters. The second thing you need to know is a reasonable estimate of the density of the crowd. In other words, on average, how many square feet is each person taking up? How about using real analysis, without partisanship, Mr. Civile?
From some of the pictures and live coverage which I saw of the crowd at the Capitol, it was certainly a denser crowd than just a “mere 600” seditionists; people were really compressed around the building. Yet you claim otherwise; how interesting. Michael Sherwin, a federal prosecutor who had been leading the criminal investigation until last Friday, said, “We’re over 400 criminal cases.” Plus, the government at this time has also identified over 300 additional suspects in the January 6 rioting, which ended with five people dead, including a US Capitol Police officer, as well as more than 140 injured by these traitors.
I’m perfectly prepared to believe there were thousands upon thousands of people there, even 30,000 maybe. But when you start pushing that up to 100,000 and so on, that’s not going to be true. So please, sir, don’t arbitrarily throw numbers up to support your argument – thank you. Bogus claims made, incorrect or possibly dishonest information presented, only delegitimize your entire letter of last week.
Floatovoltaics on the Ashokan Reservoir
For those like myself who find the pumped-storage proposal from the California company (https://town.olive.ny.us/news) wrongheaded and damaging to our environment in this area, I hope that we can keep our focus on the environmental and social hazards to this area and not get tangled up with the legitimate debate going on in the US over the merits of pumped storage in general. There are clearly valuable aspects to such projects in proper settings.
And for those who are actually interested in how this area can contribute to the coming age of non-carbon energy, perhaps we can investigate floating solar panels on the reservoirs of the DEP system itself. Just fighting against destructive proposals is not all that satisfying even if we prevail, unless we find ways to channel this excitement in a way to contribute a positive step to this fundamental societal evolution. This positive step can be just as exciting and satisfying.
For those who are new to this idea of “floatovoltaics,” please check out https://chesterenergyandpolicy.com/2019/09/19/floatovoltaics-clever-innovation-or-solution-in-search-of-a-problem and www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/floating-solar-farms-how-floatovoltaics-could-provide-power-without-taking-ncna969091, and then consider how we might influence DEP to set up such a project to both conserve our precious Catskill waters that are sent not just to the Big Apple, but to many of our fellow communities and neighbors much closer to home, but also to contribute to solar energy development in our part of the country in ways that do not seriously negatively impact our physical or social environment.
It is far easier to be against something that is damaging than to really get behind something that contributes to positive change. But the latter is often much more satisfying in the long run.
Some information about HR 1
The For the People Act was approved in the House and is now in the Senate. Joe Biden says that it must be passed to protect people’s right to vote. There is already the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For the People removes states’ rights to regulate voting in their states, as stated in the Constitution (Article 1, section 4), and federalizes our voting system. The Congress may make laws to alter the state regulations, but For the People interferes with states being able to ensure legitimate elections. The 1965 Act eliminated barriers to voting such as literacy tests and poll taxes.
Here’s what’s in the For the People Act:
It prevents states from having voter ID laws. The voter can fill out a form saying they are who they say they are. This prevents states from confirming who the voter is. The claim is that a government ID is harder for minorities to obtain. So, minorities aren’t smart enough or something to get a government ID? I would call that a bigoted belief. I need ID to go to the doctor, get a hotel room or buy a gun. Minorities capably complete these activities, too.
This act also forces states to allow same-day registration. Perfect storm: No ID and same-day registration. Vote on Election Day and vote often.
This act severely restricts states’ ability to clean up voter rolls. That is to remove dead people and people who moved. Reminds me of the cartoon of the woman crying, saying her father never voted Democrat until after he died. My college-student niece has moved several times and is on voter rolls in several states.
Using inaccurate voter rolls, states would be required to send absentee ballot applications to everyone on those rolls. What could go wrong? Harvesting would be unlimited.
Registration is automatic when applying for a driver’s license and other interactions with government. Since a number of states allow non-citizens to get driver’s licenses, they would be registered to vote.
The IRS, directed by the White House, can investigate any group applying for non-profit tax-exempt status that the administration does not like. What does this have to do with voting rights? I see more corruption like Lois Lerner blocking tax-exempt status for conservative groups in the Obama administration.
It places regulations on free speech by groups, individuals and others. It also forces disclosure of membership rolls of member organizations. This would violate privacy and allow members to be targeted and harassed.
It provides funding for congressional campaigns. I don’t want a penny of my taxpayer dollars going to about half of Congress whom I would never vote for.
States will be required to restore voting rights to felons as soon as they get out of prison. This is smart since about 70 percent of felons identify as Democrat.
I hope this gives you an idea what’s in the act. It takes all the bad practices that made the 2020 election the most disputed in history and makes them law. I like the proposal of using biometrics and allowing electronic voting. Something must be done to restore confidence in our voting system, but HR 1 is not it. It is a play by Pelosi to assure one-party rule.
Hope springs eternal
Last night I started hearing the sweet sounds of the peepers. It’s such an exciting time. It’s springtime! The birds are coming back with their beautiful and diverse birdsongs. The buds are popping out on the trees. The sun is getting higher in the sky each day. The occasional warm days are a tease, but soon we’ll be full into the warmer weather with windows opened and an abundance of fresh air circulating throughout our homes. It’s a special time of renewal. I love the way nature shows us the lesson of letting go of the past cold and dark winter and embracing this amazing present time.
Many of us are also feeling optimistic about the Biden administration, the positive effects of the vaccinations and the help promised from the stimulus package. We can all see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s incredibly exciting!
But wouldn’t it be great if Amazon’s Jeff Bezos could embrace the workers in Bessemer, Alabama who are working hard to form a labor union? Wouldn’t it be great if he could be supportive of their efforts toward raising their standard of living? Does he really need more money? And does he really need to fight any attempt to have workers organize?
Wouldn’t it be great if our Congress could find it in their hearts to legislate for universal background checks and to ban semi-automatic weapons? Wouldn’t it be great if they could support what the vast majority of the people in the country want so desperately?
And wouldn’t it be great if the government of Israel could find it in their hearts to spend the money toward helping all Palestinians get the vaccinations, and not just give vaccinations to the 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel? There are only 4.5 million Palestinians, and the good will would go so far. It would be a minor expense for Israel, but the benefits could be huge. But is that too optimistic an idea?
I am an eternal optimist, and this is my time of year to be filled with optimism. I’ll enjoy the peepers, the birds, the buds on the trees and the blessings of renewal in the air. But I’ll also pray for our country, our planet and the possibility of a more rational sharing of the wealth in the world.
It’s springtime and it feels like anything is possible.
Thank you Susan Slotnick
I want to thank Susan Slotnick for her well-reasoned and level-headed opinion piece about Cuomo’s Troubles in the March 17 edition of Hudson Valley One. In this time of extremes it seems extreme reactions jump the gun of solid investigation and truth finding. In this case, I feel that Governor Cuomo’s unconscionable behavior has thoroughly been addressed by the revelations while it is right to continue an investigation. However, an impeachment to remove him from office seems premature until facts bring substantial evidence.
The alleged miscounting of nursing home Covid deaths also must be investigated, but it has been stated that the deaths were counted as hospital deaths so the nursing home deaths appeared to be fewer. Keep in mind this confusion was at the early stages of the pandemic. There was no federal leadership or guidance and our state government had to invent the wheel. The error was that Governor Cuomo did not admit his error when recognized.
Is there anyone reading this who did not find reassurance in Cuomo’s daily Covid reports? Who did not feel that he was doing what other leaders were not? Making huge decisions on as solid a basis as was available at the time, numbers changing day to day?
Thank you Ms Slotnick for presenting the available facts as best we can know them before a thorough investigation, and let’s hope that the conversation will calm to a level of reason.
Iran nuclear program
Many Americans opposed the 2015 agreement with Iran concerning its nuclear program. It is widely known Iran cannot be trusted, and the agreement left a wide opening for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, endangering not just the United States and Israel, but the Sunni Arab states in the region as well.
Since signing the agreement, Iran has continued its destructive activities. It continues to develop ballistic missile capabilities, funnels arms to terrorists and uses drones and cruise missiles to attack its neighbors. The billions of dollars returned to it under the agreement were not used to improve the lives of Iranians, but to pay for military and terrorist activities.
Iran’s posture has inspired 140 members of Congress, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, to write to Secretary of State Blinken urging him to remain vigilant and wary of Iran’s activities. The US must ensure that Iran neither acquires a nuclear weapon nor the ballistic missiles needed to deliver such weapons. Regrettably, my congressman, Antonio Delgado (NY-19), is not among those raising these concerns. In fact, Mr. Delgado remains silent in the face of Iran’s clear threat to peace in the region. He owes his constituents an explanation.
Native plant gardeners and enthusiasts
Many in Ulster County and beyond are interested in doing what they can to support precarious populations of pollinators and other ecologically important insects. These actions include limiting or eliminating the use of insecticides and growing a wide diversity of primarily native plants. As warm days beckon us outside, minds turn to spring cleanup chores in the yard and garden. Here it’s important to realize that those old perennial flower stems and that “messy” leaf litter may well be the overwintering sites for beneficial insects that are still waiting for warmer weather.
Wherever possible, hold off on raking up those leaves and cutting back those stems and branches as long as you can – deep into April, at least, and ideally into May. When you do cut back perennials with sturdy stems, leave 15 inches of stubble for cavity-nesting species of native bees. Leave fallen leaves and plant materials on-site where possible. These practices mimic what happens in wild habitats, providing homes for insects and reducing reliance on purchased mulches. You will be rewarded for this less-manicured look with the presence of beneficial insects that pollinate plants, control pests and play a critical role in the function of local habitats.
Native Plant Network
Add color to your life
The best fingerpainters are chimpanzees.
Friends of the Field
I am a member of the newly formed Friends of the Field, a community group concerned about the potential development of the meadow located behind the Lasher Funeral home. Our group consists of contiguous and extended neighbors of the field, Woodstock constituents and past community members who hold Woodstock in their hearts. I am adding my voice to the growing outcry over the loss of green space and concern of over development within the Town of Woodstock.
Woodstock is a special place in this country and the world; “The Most Famous Small Town in America.” The reasons for this are myriad, but not least of all is our natural splendor and our juxtaposition of both famous, yet quaint. Lashers meadow stands as one of the truly last open spaces in the hamlet. Once it is gone, there is no turning back. It is our duty to our environment, our local wildlife and our future community to protect and preserve what we can in the present.
Going back nearly half a century to the 1984 Open Space Plan, through the 2003 proposed Comprehensive Plan to the 2018 adopted Comprehensive Plan, natural resource preservation and protection is an overwhelming priority for the town’s residents. In Woodstock’s adopted Comprehensive Plan it was agreed that building off the Strategic Conservation Plan (Woodstock Land Conservancy, 2013), the town should identify sites with high conservation value and coordinate with landowners to advance mutual interests for long-term conservation of these resources.
If this stance was adopted by our town government not even three years ago, then where is the actionable response when faced with this today? How are citizens to trust that the community vision will be upheld? The response of the town to Lasher’s meadow today creates a roadmap for the environmental conservation of tomorrow.
According to the Hudsonia Habitat Mapping Project (2012), Lasher’s back field is two to three acres made up of upland hardwood forest, upland meadow, wet meadow and hardwood shrub swamp. The biodiversity of this acreage cannot be understated: from diverse plant life, to insects and butterflies, to birds, small animals and larger animals like deer and bear, this field in our hamlet is home to them all.
Upland meadows account for only 3% of the total land area in town. The Hudsonia biologists consider ALL types of meadow habitat to be ecologically significant. The dramatic decline of grassland-breeding birds in the Northeast has been attributed to the loss of large areas of suitable meadow habitat; Small swamps embedded in upland forest are often overlooked in wetland protection, but can have extremely high biodiversity value, similar to intermittent woodland pools. Conservation of habitats is one of the best ways to protect biological resources. (Hudsonia Habitat Mapping Project 2012)
I acknowledge that there are a number of issues facing the town presently that impact the wider community. Issues of housing, business and economy. However, as a planet, we are facing a climate crisis and it is imperative that we act when we can. Woodstock, at risk for flash floods and major storm events due to development in a low-lying watershed area, cannot simply look the other way because a land is privately held. I ask the Town Board to step in and hold true to its adopted environmental commitment found in the 2018 Comprehensive Plan. I ask you to save Lasher’s meadow as open space in perpetuity.
Blowin’ in the wind
Although the mainstream media (MSM) and Democrats missed no opportunity to question former POTUS Donald Trump’s mental and physical capacities when he stumbled over words or walked carefully down a slippery ramp that had no handrails while wearing shoes, this same media misses no opportunity to excuse and defend POTUS Biden’s frequent word gaffes and, most recently, a series of falls (said to have been caused by the wind) while walking up the steps of Air Force One. According to anonymous administration sources, to help Biden avoid future falls by reminding him of the wind’s power so that he’ll watch his steps, POTUS Biden’s staff members have placed a recording of the following revised chorus from the classic song “Blow the Man Down” that is automatically activated to play whenever Biden, publicly, approaches any staircase:
Blow the man down, [great winds] blow the man down
Way, hey, blow the man down
Blow him right back into Delaware town
Watch for the winds or they’ll blow the man down.