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.
Ulster County not in business of protecting our natural world
A local paper’s recent article and accompanying photos about the opening of the 520-acre Hudson Cliffs State Park in the City of Kingston and the Town of Ulster as part of the Empire State Trail and the Kingston Greenline is one more example of how Kingston, DEC, Scenic Hudson and the State Office of Parks and Historic Preservation are pursuing an outdoor recreation venue and not natural ecosystem preservation.
Regardless of the PR propaganda published by the state, Scenic Hudson or City of Kingston, environmental protection organizations are sworn to protect our natural green spaces; the profound negative environmental impacts of still more people, more dogs, ATVs, snowmobiles, mountain bikes and other multi-recreation usage on the Hudson River Valley from the addition of this park will be comprehensively chronic and cumulative. Just like another atrocity in the woods, the Ashokan Rail Trail, the Hudson Cliffs State Park will add insult to injury on statewide ecosystems already suffering from the annual onslaught of 12 million human footprints, especially in the Hudson River riparian corridor and the Catskill State Park and Preserve.
New York State does not need more urban pockets, rail trails or dog parks that degrade delicate ecologies, endangering micro-niches and vulnerable wildlife habitats, which accelerates biodiversity loss. What we do need are more preserves, wildlife sanctuaries and refuges, which protect endangered plant and animal species from the abuses of mankind. Ulster County is not in the business of protecting our natural world; it is busy trying to destroy it and pave paradise in order to put up more parking lots.
Victor C. Capelli
Town of Ulster
Rush to judgment in ‘racist’ school assignment controversy
Recent media coverage of racism in the Saugerties schools suggests that many of the agitators, without knowing all the facts and before an investigation had even begun, have rushed to their own conclusions.
A teacher’s assignment has led the rush-to-judgment mob to demand the firing of this alleged racist teacher. They probably don’t know the particulars of the teacher’s presentation of the subject matter nor the purpose or intention of the assignment. If that is indeed the case, then once again we are witnessing in the media an unhinging by the holier than thou crowd eager to present their bonafides.
I am happy, for this Saugerties teacher’s sake, that there is such a thing as academic freedom and a Saugerties Teacher’s union to protect and defend a teacher’s rights against just such a situation of mob hysteria and intimidation.
That some opportunistic politicians have jumped on the bandwagon does not speak well for their judgment.
Forget the “pit”
Sometime you own something — valuable or useless — and some of it you may want to get rid of and some of it you may want to profit from. The idea and plan to “gentrify” the pitiful “pit” has been around for several years now. Interesting that the landowner and the builder are NOT getting the message — we don’t want this here!
There is a proposal to build a hotel and a conference center in the “pit”, the area between the Village Hall, the Mountain Laurel School, the St. Joseph Church, Hasbrouck Park with the playground (and now also an unrelated proposal to build a skateboarding park there!) and the closeness to Plattekill Avenue. Just the proximity to all these establishments speaks against such a huge development.
Despite the vibrancy here, New Paltz is a small village and a “business park” in its “downtown” center seems out of scope, a too grandiose way of thinking.
Granted, a hotel may attract even more people to New Paltz for a short stay, which may bring us more revenue and the hotel guests may love the neighborhood and its amenities.
A conference center? I think that SUNY has enough facilities to accommodate small conferences and of course so does Mohonk. Besides, it is anticipated that even in the new “new” post-pandemic normal, most meetings and conferences will take place remotely, rather than make people to spend money on travel and accommodations.
However, let’s assume the owner and the builder purport to build-up the “pit” for the benefit of the community.
One of the worst “benefits” would be the increased, in fact incessant, traffic on Main Street and not ONLY on good weather weekends. The other potential “benefit” I foresee are car accidents in the immediate vicinity of the business park, as cars pull in and out of the “pit” into streets with its own steady traffic. Mind you — all that adjacent to a school for low-graders and a playground for small kids!
There is a sentiment in New Paltz that there is a shortage of housing, particularly low-income housing. There is now a proposal to develop the area on Route 32S into housing, but most likely it would accommodate only students. This may open up some housing in the village, but maybe not.
So, Lalo Group, why don’t you propose to remake the “pit” into affordable housing with ample parking to also accommodate visitors to the adjacent attractions, instead of some fanciful business park. We are neither Long Island nor Westchester!
Celebrating the life of Dan Guenther
If you are one of the many people who knew, loved and appreciated Dan Guenther, we would like to like to invite you to a memorial gathering to celebrate his life and carry on his legacy of building community. It will be held on Saturday, June 12, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hasbrouck Park in New Paltz. Please hold that date.
You are invited to bring a photo or written story of a favorite moment with Dan to share on our Memory Wall. There will be remembrance addresses at 12 and 2 p.m.
Please watch for more details in social media and in this paper as we get closer to the event.
New Paltz Climate Action Coalition
More than once I have been informed that I can’t be told whether someone has been vaccinated or not to preserve their privacy. That is wrong. Remember the saying, “Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.” Even though I have been fully vaccinated (which includes two additional weeks for antibodies to be formed), my protection by the vaccine is not 100%. This means that there still is a possibility of my being infected. Even though the infection would be mild, I would still risk becoming a “long hauler,” with serious long-term injuries such as brain fog, permanent lung damage or chronic fatigue.
So I want to know whether that person near me has been vaccinated. If not, I would move at least six feet away, although I wear a mask indoors and around other people. And until masks are not necessary, I will be wearing a mask and probably even after.
Andi Weiss Bartczak
All people are created equal
The Saugerties Democratic Committee is extremely disturbed by a class assignment given to students at our high school. The assignment was to write a paragraph justifying the following statement and addressing the alternate claim. The statement read:
“George Floyd did not die because Chauvin’s knee was on his neck. He died from a heart attack and drug overdose. However, because Chauvin used excessive force and failed to render aid, he was convicted on all three counts by a jury of his peers.”
After several days of trial, a jury of 12 persons found Chauvin guilty of murder after seeing him press his knee into Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes even after he had already stopped breathing. The conduct and the video were grotesque.
For our school to suggest to our students that there is an alternative way to understand this moment of justice for George Floyd, and to blame him for what happened, is to disrespect the criminal prosecution that took place and excuse Chauvin’s brutal behavior. What is the alternative to this statement? Do we want our students to consider that Chauvin was innocent? The lesson of George Floyd’s murder is that some police officers allow their subconscious bias to block their recognition that this Black man is a fellow human being just like them and worthy of living out his life, just like them. Racism is a poison that needs to be purged from all of our souls. Chauvin will have many years to learn that lesson. Hopefully, we can all be inspired by those events in Minneapolis to learn that lesson for ourselves. All people are created equal. No exceptions!
Lanny Walter, Chair
Saugerties Democratic Committee
Most of us, at one time or another, have had the job of taking out the trash. But, “Say hey, Willie!” That trash should be called a resource from which new things are made. If you or I use it, it should be recyclable. Everything. I am only allowed to use one company to haul away my household waste, but it is not Waste Management, the biggest recycler in the nation.
I want proof that my mandated hauler is the best recycler and I suggest you should also.
Access for all in Woodstock
I want to thank Jacqueline Manganaro for her recent Letter to the Editor concerning the total lack of accessibility for people with disabilities in the Town of Woodstock. I use a wheelchair for mobility and moved here five years ago, fulfilling a dream that was born many years ago and finally fulfilled. I love the community, the nature and the history of Woodstock, but honestly, I never recommend going into the Town of Woodstock to friends and acquaintances from the disability community. I recommend Kingston instead. Let’s face it, Woodstock does not welcome people with disabilities.
I am the founder of a nonprofit and travel up and down the East Coast by boat yearly, addressing these issues in our marinas, port cities and towns. Every location has different rules, laws and regulations. There needs to be a desire from the town administration and businesses to accommodate people of all abilities – not only because it is the right thing to do for our community, but also because it makes good business sense and will help sustain our town. At the moment, one in four adults in the USA have some type of disabilities. With Baby Boomers coming into their 70s and 80s, this number will only grow. Just the mention of Woodstock in any conversation brings to mind those Boomers. Woodstock, wake up!
Ulster Immigrant Defense Network’s Takeout Project
I’m a Vassar College student currently interning at the Ulster Immigrant Defense Network (UIDN), a secular nonprofit organization based in Kingston. UIDN’s mission is to provide a network of support to immigrants regardless of status. As part of this mission, UIDN provides clothing and home items, transportation and accompaniment to New York City for ICE check-ins and court appearances, and financial assistance to help Ulster County immigrants pay rent and utilities bills. However, our most frequented service is our weekly food pantry, held at Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Church in Kingston, which serves food-insecure immigrant community members.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for the food pantry’s services has tripled. In response, UIDN is starting a new initiative: the UIDN Takeout Project (inspired by the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce’s Takeout Project). Our goals are to simultaneously support local businesses and to provide food to food-insecure immigrants.
To support this cause, you can purchase gift cards at Kingston restaurants and food stores and mail those cards to UIDN’s office, located at: Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Church, 30 Pine Grove Avenue, Kingston NY 12401. Our household support team will then distribute the gift cards to our immigrant friends who come to the pantry for food. We welcome support from any interested readers!
If you’d like to learn more about the UIDN Takeout Project, please visit our website by following this link: https://ulsterimmigrantdefensenetwork.org/a-word-from-an-intern. If you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com.
If you’re unable to purchase a gift card, but would like to contribute funds or become involved in other ways, please visit our website at https://ulsterimmigrantdefensenetwork.org.
Thank you for reading!
Either way you look at it
Woodstock palindrome: “Tinker St. – it’s re-knit!”
No more make-believe
“If you’re very, very stupid, how can you possibly realize that you’re very, very stupid? You’d have to be relatively intelligent to realize how stupid you really are.” Sometimes science, facts and very real (indisputable) truths are witnessed which help to characterize the supposition of stupidity.
Now let’s have a real blowback. I am not on the fence or confused about you, Mr. Civile, for you appease the lowest common denominator (lies, lies and more lies) – and all for what? You remain handcuffed to conspiracy nonsense and give CPR to a fringe element which is now the beating heart of your Republican Party. You go from Trumpy, Trumpier and Trumpiest with permutations and combinations of the three to form asinine subsets of disinformation and convoluted reasoning.
As a cult of personality Kool-Aid drinker, Trumpian Republicans like yourself continually demonstrate fealty to falsehoods, as it undermines any semblance of political reality, or even your own honesty – which is glaringly out of reach on the pages here. These obvious GOP prevarications Mr. Civile, coupled with your totally bent knee to the big lie which Trump perseverates, only gives an anemic pulse to your letter-writing rebuttals to me and others here.
Reason-based information and saying the truth while knowing the truth seems impossible for you. Trump’s bullcrap (he wants to unravel democracy), which is now baked into the Republican firmament of their own bullshit, appears to have taken hold in your craw too. I’m guessing that you must also admire his other very obvious immoralities.
Mr. Civile, I gave up with your irrationality while discussing GOP political hypocrisy at a time when an incredibly large number of states have seen bills aimed at voter suppression and our nation’s government is under attack by the MAGA right wing. If one can’t see the danger of Republican hypocrisy and treasonous behavior by an ex-president, then I have run out of words except for these: “You have no shame, sir!”
Warren Wiegand for Gardiner Town Board
I am seeking the nomination in the June 22 Primary to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for the Gardiner Town Board. I was endorsed by the Democratic Committee in early 2021. This is the fifth time the committee has supported me since 2007.
I’ve worked for the people of Gardiner for more than 18 years. First, I was a member of the Board of Assessment insuring that taxpayers’ property assessments were fair. Next, I started Gardiner’s effort to protect open space from development, resulting in Gardiner’s first Open Space law and saving two farms with over 200 acres from development. Then, I was the chair of the library’s fundraising campaign, which raised more than $500,000 from over 40% of Gardiner’s residents and resulted in the construction of Gardiner’s new library, which has become the center of our community. I also served on the Planning Board, protecting property owners and open space.
I have served 12 years on the Town Board, where I was the deputy supervisor for eight years. While on the Town Board, I focused on protecting open space from development, investing in Gardiner’s roads, bridges and highway equipment and keeping taxes affordable, especially for seniors and young families. Additionally, I worked to protect Gardiner’s assets, including the sale of the old library for $100,000 and the recovery of $129,000 from a settlement of law suit with a resident who wouldn’t pay his fair share of property taxes.
I hope you will vote for me in the June 22 Primary so I can continue to serve our community.
Pass the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill
I’m reaching out to my fellow New Yorkers to request their help in getting the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill passed in the New York State Assembly.
This bill is our opportunity to prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York pet stores and to stop our state’s participation in a cruel and inhumane system.
Many years ago, before I knew about the suffering caused by the puppy mill system, I bought a puppy at a pet store. He was sick with seizures and other issues for most of his life.
Since then, I’ve learned about the truly terrible conditions at puppy mills: These commercial enterprises, usually in the Midwest, breed mother dogs again and again to produce as many puppies as possible. These mothers live out their entire lives in small cages, never experiencing proper veterinary care, or love or play or feeling sunshine or fresh air. Their puppies, often sick, are transported hundreds of miles to be sold to unsuspecting consumers, who have little or no recourse when the puppy they love becomes sick or dies.
The good news is that the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill has passed in the New York Senate; now we New Yorkers need to reach out to our Assembly representatives. Please join me in asking Assembly member Didi Barrett to pass the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill (A.4283) so that we can end the retail sale of cruelly bred puppies in New York pet stores for good. Thank you.
Diane B. Mattes
Wild lives matter
I don’t understand why we have lawns. They steal habitat from wildlife that need that land and its resources (food, shelter et cetera) to survive. It robs the planet of trees and plants that sequester carbon.
What is a lawn? A monoculture that is useless. It has no nutritional value to man, isn’t necessary for our survival and its maintenance threatens the biosphere because it requires enormous fossil fuel resources (gas, oil, fertilizes and pesticides).
One gallon of gas weighs six pounds. Of that, 5.5 pounds is carbon. When that one gallon is burned, the carbon attaches to oxygen in the atmosphere, creating 19 pounds of carbon dioxide (three times more pounds than the gallon of gas it came from)! It is a huge contributor to climate change.
Please stop the insanity. A 20-to-30-foot path of lawn around a house is more than enough. Give nature a chance. We are not the only species that matters.
Jacqueline Manganaro, an ADA advocate, is quoted in Hudson Valley One as saying, “The Town of Woodstock seems to be ignoring a large community of people with disabilities. I’ve made attempts for three years on an advocate level. I took many pictures of broken, dangerous and/or lack of sidewalks in our town. These are dangerous obstacles for the community of people with disabilities. I’ve spoken to our town supervisor. What I’m told is, “The town is only responsible for certain sidewalks and the store-owners are responsible for their own sidewalks.” Is there a plan in works to correct this condition?
On another note, what about the Comeau addition, whose current design, it appears, is not in compliance with ADA regulations? Will that be addressed prior to its construction? What is currently being foisted upon us, aside from CCD issues, are approximately 40-inch-wide hallways/corridors that, according to https://legalbeagle.com/7829693-ada-hallway-requirements.html and an ADA attorney, “all hallways or corridors should have a clear width of 60 inches. Hallways with a clear width of less than 60 inches must provide passing spaces at reasonable intervals.”
I was appalled by District Attorney Clegg’s response to a judge’s decision to release an accused murderer from jail – not because the individual is innocent, but because, as the judge found, the district attorney failed to do his job. Clegg did not say he was sorry or that he would take steps to ensure that something like this does not happen again. No, all he offered was a lame excuse, which the judge summarily rejected; and then Clegg said, and I quote, “Stuff happens.”
Are you kidding me? Good Lord – are we to assume that because “stuff happens” there will be more of these outrages? How flippant, how pathetic, how sad, how cruel and how inexcusable!
One can only wonder how the victim’s friends and family feel about what has happened here; it has to be awful knowing that the man charged with breaking into the victim’s home and killing him was released from jail – again, not because he is innocent, but because, as the district attorney put it, “Stuff happens.”
Scary and so unnecessary! The “stuff’ that happened here is not complicated. It is plain and simple. The district attorney did not do his job, and as a result, an accused murderer has been set free and allowed to go back to live in the community where the killing occurred. I am sure the folks that live there are not terribly happy about this circumstance.
Bottom line: This “stuff’ shouldn’t and wouldn’t happen if Ulster County had a competent district attorney.
Taking it to the streets
As a former New York City journalist, I understand the journalism mantra, “If it bleeds, it leads.” But it’s unfortunate that our local paper failed to cover an uplifting event in Midtown Kingston: the John Lewis Voting Advancement Act Day.
If you had covered the day where 120+ people braved the cold rain to make their voices heard, you would have seen county executive Pat Ryan proclaim May 8 Ulster County John Lewis Voting Advancement Act Day, or moving speeches by congressman Antonio Delgado, New York senator Michelle Hinchey and other elected officials. You would have heard longtime civil rights activist Maude Bruce talk about marching for voter rights with Martin Luther King as a teenager in Georgia and how 60 years later she’s still marching. Perhaps the words of Reverend Evelyn Clarke or 17-year-old Rebekah Hendricks or disability rights activist Keith Gurgui would have been deemed newsworthy.
Marchers taking to the streets behind a 12-foot banner of John Lewis and the Edmund Pettus Bridge would have been a stunning photograph for the paper. And a video clip of Simi Stone’s poignant rendition of “Good Friends” or the rhythmic beat of the percussionists of the Center for Creative Education or the joyous sounds of the New Progressive Baptist Choir (which made the national broadcast) may have been appreciated by your online subscribers.
Kingston’s involvement in this national event highlighted the voter suppression laws winding through state legislatures across the country, targeting communities of color and young people. This story was noteworthy to inform readers that it’s time to contact their representatives to demand they protect our right to vote by passing the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Advancement Act and the Washington DC Admission Act. Perhaps this could have been your lead: Democracy bleeds as Republican legislators shoot holes in the Constitution.
Message from Saugerties Town Board
You may have heard something about a new community energy program, CCA, but may not be sure what it is and why you should know about it. So, here’s some information about CCA: how it works, how it benefits residents and small business owners and why the Town Board and the Climate Smart Task Force support CCA, known formally as Community Choice Aggregation.
What is CCA?
CCA is a New York State program for municipalities like Saugerties to put control of its energy supply in local hands. We will join with other Hudson Valley communities to pool electricity demand to obtain clean, 100 percent renewable energy. Pooling electricity demand gives the communities the clout to negotiate a good deal for residents and businesses who participate. When you buy in bulk, you get a better price.
What are the benefits of a CCA?
• CCA provides 100 percent renewable energy for residents and small businesses.
• 100 percent renewable energy reduces Saugerties’ carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 32,000 metric tons annually.
• There is the potential for savings during the contract period negotiated by the CCA.
• The contract rate is fixed for the contract period. Central Hudson’s rates vary month-to-month.
• The energy is generated in New York State from solar, wind or hydropower.
• It’s easy to participate. There are no contracts for you to sign. No forms to fill out. No fees.
• Enrollment is automatic. If you choose not to participate, you opt out.
• Central Hudson remains your utility, continues to deliver the electricity, sends one bill, maintains the lines and responds to outages.
How does CCA work?
• All eligible Town of Saugerties community members will receive a letter from the town in the mail with the fixed rate per kilowatt hour, the name of the energy supply company who won the bid, the agreed-upon contract length with the CCA and supply company, when and how to opt out and answers to other frequently asked questions.
• If you like what you are offered in the letter, you will be automatically enrolled. If not, opt out.
Why does the Town Board and the Climate Smart Task Force support CCA?
• CCA provides many benefits for those who choose to participate.
• CCA’s 100 percent renewable energy reduces Saugerties’ carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 32,000 metric tons each year of the contract.
• Consumers are protected because CCA is regulated by the New York State Public Service Commission.
• Joule Assets was selected by the Town Board to administer the program. Joule partners with the Hudson Valley Community Power program communities to procure the energy.
• Saugerties will join with nine of the Hudson Valley Community Power municipalities who formed a CCA with Joule Assets in 2019 and have been pleased and continue to participate.
You may still have some unanswered questions, so here is a phone number and an e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org, (845) 859-9099, to contact for more information.
The Saugerties Town Board thanks you for supporting the Town’s renewable energy initiatives.
Saugerties Town Board
As noted in a previous song parody (“Blame It on the Isolation”) since the COVID-19 pandemic, I had gained quite a few pounds. Remarkably, the writing of that song led to increased efforts of self-control and exercise, which stemmed the tide of any further weighty developments. Unfortunately, since the election of Biden/Harris with their disastrous policy decisions and divisive rhetoric, I have sought the solace of my favorite comfort foods once again, and any weight shed has been gradually regained. As a result, I began to write a parody of “Walk on By” to publicly acknowledge the shame this failure in my personal food fight has brought to my life in order to, again, reverse this latest eating trend. The following is the first stanza I wrote:
If you see me walking down the street
And you know as we walk, we’re gonna meet
Walk on by
However, I’ve decided that, since there are over three more years of the Biden/Harris administration to suffer through (and consequently, potentially, many more weeks of Neil Jarmel’s tributes to their incompetence, as well as his usual anti-Trump diatribes, printed in Hudson Valley One to endure), drastic measures are necessary at this time to motivate me to keep the pounds from adding up. With this in view, I’ve forsaken “Walk on By,” and, instead, submitted this parody of the Beatles’ “Taxman” (titled “Fatman”), in the hope that it will help my resolve of avoiding the kitchen to remain firm. My apologies to other Persons of Size (POS) who may be offended by this song. I regret having to admit I feel the full weight of your pain.
One, two, three, four
One, two (one, two three, four)
Let me tell you what’s up with me
I’ve gained some weight as you would see
Now I’m a fatman, ye-ah I’m a fatma-a-an
My waistline once was small and cut
But it’s grown a lot and so’s my butt
Now I’m a fatman, ye-ah I’m a fatma-a-an
(I’ll eat some chips, chips) they can’t be beat
(If they come with dip, dip) that will be neat
(Sandwich hot or cold, cold) I’ll take the heat
(If I’m on a walk, walk) I’ll stop to eat
‘Cos I’m a fat man
Ye-ah, I’m a fatma-a-an
Don’t ask me what I want for lunch
(Ah, ah Gordon Ramsey)
I’ll tell you let’s just do a brunch
(Ah, ah Rachael Ray)
If you like dessert here’s what to do:
Have pie à la mode and an éclair too
‘Cos I’m a fatman, ye-ah I’m a fatma-a-an
And since Biden I’m eating for two