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.
Restore mask mandate
Recently, we learned that at least one Ulster County resident had tested positive for the Delta variant of Covid-19. From all I have read, the Delta variant spreads very quickly. It is not only impacting the unvaccinated, but also the fully vaccinated.
I have two children who are not yet old enough to be vaccinated. My family wears masks anytime we go to work or the store et cetera. We do our part to keep our youngest safe. We do our part to keep those in the community that are immune-compromised safe. We are all fully vaccinated.
Now that we know Delta is here, Governor Cuomo should reinstate the mask mandate. Our youngest are at risk to become very sick. Our community members who are immune-compromised, even if they are fully vaccinated, can be hospitalized with the Delta variant. Our community needs a mask mandate.
Protect Bluestone Wild Forest from development
The Mid-Hudson Group of the Sierra Club recently submitted comments, during the public hearing process, to the Town of Kingston Planning Board on the harmful effects the proposed concrete plant at 850 Route 28 is likely to have on the community character of the Town of Kingston. The Sierra Club, which has approximately 2,700 members in the mid-Hudson region, funded a study by Greenplan, Inc.’s Ted Fink, an experienced, highly regarded land-use planner, on the ways in which this plant will be detrimental to the community character of the Town. The issue of consistency with community character is one which must be considered as part of the SEQRA process.
The Town of Kingston, as described in its current 1996 Comprehensive Plan, has much rugged and rolling terrain and has a predominantly rural, bucolic character which “provides a pleasant environment for travelers and residents alike.” The closest thing to industrial development in the town appears to be the few bluestone mines and quarries that are still in operation.
As over 40 percent of the Town consists of Catskill Forest Preserve lands, it is one of the principal gateways to the Catskill Park, which is an important destination for both local residents and visitors and a major driver of economic benefits for the region, as illustrated by the several studies that demonstrate the economic value of the Catskill Park to its host communities.
Studies by Mr. Fink and numerous others indicate that this manufacturing facility may have some profoundly adverse impacts upon local residents and the Bluestone Wild Forest that almost completely surrounds it. Among these are noise levels that can be harmful to human health and make nearby forest areas uninhabitable for endangered bats and other wildlife, water use that may endanger the area’s scarce groundwater resources and nearby wetlands and ponds and damage to the historic features of the Hemlock Historic Quarry District. Given all the evidence thus far presented, it is quite obvious that this project could seriously harm the natural habitats, historic resources and recreational amenities that define the character of the Town of Kingston.
The law under SEQRA requires that any action that has the potential for at least one significant adverse impact must trigger a positive declaration that requires the applicant to file an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Since the Planning Board already determined a potential for adverse impacts when rescinding its negative declaration nearly two years ago, and numerous studies since then have documented many more potential adverse impacts, it is well past time for the Planning Board to require the applicant to file an EIS.
Furthermore, the Town is under no obligation to change the zoning for this parcel to allow for industrial use. There are many other potential uses for this property that would conform with its present zoning, be more compatible with the surrounding forest and enhance the amenities which serve the many visitors who frequent the area, while still producing revenue for the Town. Such services as a campground, restaurant, recreational equipment rentals and guide services are a few that come to mind, especially in light of the vast increase in visitors the Catskill Park has seen in recent years.
The Sierra Club hopes the Town of Kingston will recognize the value of this gem, the Bluestone Wild Forest, within its borders and make every effort to protect it from development that is harmful to its environment and the beautiful, bucolic character of the Town.
Bluestone Forest liaison
Mid-Hudson Group, Sierra Club
Up for discussion
What with educators being in the news these days, may I suggest a subject for an essay, along with Critical Race Theory?
If the overwhelming majority of Cubans ever want US statehood, what should be the US response be? Discuss.
A tail-wagging time
Dogs completely misunderstand kissing.
Notice to all Social Security beneficiaries
I have received notice from the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) of information that is of vital importance for the welfare of persons 65 and older, those collecting Social Security and drawing Medicare benefits. I will quote directly from the paper received.
Fact: “Medicare will turn 56 on July 30 and Social Security has its 86th anniversary on August 14 and 85 percent of Americans 50 and older oppose cutting these vital programs to reduce the budget deficit. Social Security is the main source of income for more than 34 million households. Of the 62 million people covered by Medicare, half have incomes less than $27,000.
“Yet, a bipartisan bill was recently introduced in Congress that could put these benefits at risk. The Time to Rescue United States Trusts Act (TRUST) would set up lawmakers with the power to recommend cuts to the programs. This means if only seven members of these ‘rescue committees’ approved of changes, they would be fast-tracked in the House and the Senate with no adequate debate among lawmakers. Moving these debates from the committees that normally oversee them to narrow, less transparent panels on a rushed schedule is unfair to all Americans who pay into the programs.”
Opinion: Well, whoop-de-doo. How do you do? The Republicans and Conservatives have not been able to muscle changes through by the power of their own parties, so they established bipartisan rescue committees to fast-track changes through without proper committee representation. This means the moderate Democratic members, those who are on the fence, have been enticed to cross the street at night to service the members of the Republican and Conservative parties! And fast-track means ramming it through, typical Mitch McConnell tactics. This is the old shuck-and-jive, slip-and-slide, tap-dancing footwork to once again attack our earned benefits.
Mitt Romney is a proponent of trimming the deficit by going after the earned benefits that you, me and millions of other fossils have paid into for years. This is plain b…s…. If they want to trim the deficit – and it has to be trimmed, as it is around 27 trillion dollars and climbing – why don’t they stop having troops all over the world? Also stop subsidizing countries around the world and stop Republicans from giving out these billion-dollar tax cuts to the wealthy and the corporations, under the guise of trickle-down economics, will benefit everyone. This is right out of the playbook of Herbert Hoover, our 31st president, 1929-1933. It didn’t work then, and it is not working now.
Additional information coming shortly.
We will stop criticizing Israel when Israel stops oppressing Palestinians
Why do we “single out” Israel for its abuses of Palestinian human rights? Shouldn’t we look at China’s abuses, or Myanmar’s, or the way Saudi Arabia treats women? All of those things are terrible, but as Americans, our focus is on demanding changes from our government. Only Israel gets $4 billion a year (plus special supplements) from Americans’ tax money to commit these atrocities. The U.S. government has “singled out” Israel for this benefit. Our money buys the bombs and bullets that destroy homes and families in Gaza. Our money buys the Caterpillars and surveillance equipment that destroy homes and families in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Jewish National Fund, which will only sell or lease land to Jews, is a tax-exempt fund under American law.
When someone tells us to avert our eyes from these atrocities and look at the atrocities elsewhere, they don’t want to have to answer — do you support these acts or not? If you oppose racism and white supremacy in the U.S., why would you want to hush up the same acts, the same thinking, the same privilege, that protect one ethnic group — Jews — at the expense of all others?
Palestinians deserve equal human rights, and it is not anti-Semitic to say so. Not only have Jews all over the world spoken up for Palestinian rights, but Israeli Jews are beginning to speak up also — 1000 Israeli Jews just began circulating a letter “Stop Israel’s Apartheid!: An open letter to the international community,” which you can read here: h.
A poll of American Jews by the Jewish Electorate Institute and published in Ha’aretz, the New York Times of Israel, on July 13, showed that one-quarter of American Jews agree that Israel is an apartheid state, and 22% believe that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians.
Fifty-eight percent said we should cut aid to Israel so it couldn’t spend more U.S. money supporting the Jews-only settlements on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Not to mention the 16,000 artists from all countries who have called for an end to Israeli apartheid: https://mondoweiss.net/2021/06/this-is-not-a-conflict-this-is-apartheid-over-16000-artists-sign-letter-in-solidarity-with-palestine.
Are they all anti-Semites?
The charge of anti-Semitism, when it is used to silence critics of the Israeli government, is just a cloak that supporters of Israel’s policies use to cover the naked shame of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and genocide. It also discredits criticism of genuine anti-Semitism, which is on the rise in the U.S. mainly thanks to Trumpism and its open support of white supremacy.
In the meantime, here are some books you can read that will help clarify the history of the region:
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe; The General’s Son, by Miko Peled, grandson of an Israeli hero of 1948 and 1967; and The Iron Wall, by Israeli historian Avi Schlaim.
Thanks fire department
All public spaces need to be designed to serve all individuals. Old buildings often do not have easy access for people with disabilities. Even with the addition of a wheelchair lift, the point of access can still feel clumsy and unintentionally prohibitive (staff first locate a key, then turn it on and wait to see if it functions properly on any given day.) The handi-lift to the second floor meeting rooms at Village Hall has not been easy to use even on its best days, despite the fact that we spent money keeping it serviced for years and repaired regularly.
We need to make real investments so public spaces are truly accessible. We want to provide spaces where people with disabilities feel empowered and welcomed.
I’m pleased the town government is investing in renovating a new police and court building on North Putt off Henry W. Dubois Drive (next to the new fire station that’s under construction) where the new court room will be on the first floor. Disabled individuals will not have to manage something like the village’s handi-lift or the town’s lift in the soon to be former courtroom. The new town court building is scheduled to open this fall.
Additionally, we are excited that our new fire station’s construction is underway at Henry W. Dubois and North Putt. After the fire department moves into their new home in 2022, the village plans to use the fire department’s meeting room on Plattekill Avenue for public meetings like Planning Board, Village Board, ZBA, Shade Tree Commission, etc. This room is better as it is accessible straight from Plattekill Avenue through the fire station’s front door.
The village government asked the New Paltz Fire Department to share the meeting room while the new fire station was still under construction. Thankfully, the fire department membership agreed and felt it made sense to provide the village boards and commissions access to the meeting room in the fire station. So on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, provided the fire department isn’t using it, public meetings are being held in the fire department’s meeting room on Plattekill Avenue.
Thank you fire department members for knowing the importance of accessibility to our diverse community members and sharing the meeting space as a way of continuing to serve our whole community.
Mayor Tim Rogers
The courage to care
The last few articles I’ve written have been focused on caring, and with good reason. I believe, for one reason or another, we have pulled away from expressing our caring, as well as just being relaxed with the feeling of caring. Our society has slowly but surely moved the expression of caring to the back burner, and in place we are now obsessed about the almighty dollar. Capitalism, or should I say out of control capitalism, has placed a monetary value on everything. If you can’t make money with it, then why bother? Caring for each other has taken a back seat at this time. Curiously though, what do we want when we go to see a good movie, or read a good book. We want to be emotionally moved. Why? Because we want to feel more emotion in our lives, but only when it’s safe. Isn’t that interesting? Movies and books can often be seen as much safer than real life interactions. However, when we share real caring in the moment with another person, it can make us feel so vulnerable.
That’s why I titled this article, “The Courage to Care.” My definition of courage is to first feel whatever anxiety or fear may arise about taking on a new challenge, but then proceeding in spite of the fear. It’s not a fearless act. It’s making a decision to deal with the situation even though you may be filled with nervous energy. From a distance it may appear that you are fearless. But inside, you most likely are well aware of that anxious buzz pulsating through your body.
The word, “courage” is derived from the French word, “Coeur” which means heart. To act courageously, as the song goes, “…you gotta have heart, miles and miles of heart.” Years ago, when I first began mobility training as a blind man, I was pretty terrified. I was learning how to navigate the neighborhood on my own, without any assistance from anybody. There was a lot to learn, but all the information, although useful, did not make it any easier to actually get out with a white cane and practice what I was learning. I knew what to do, but knowing what to do, and actually doing it, are very different. It took guts and a lot of heart, To be clear, it was quite uncomfortable. But in time I developed the skill of navigating through the streets of my neighborhood. However, even when I trusted my cane skills, and all the information I had learned, I consistently had to muster up the courage to get out and go for a walk. It took courage to face the world with just me and my cane, because each day was different, and I never knew ahead of time what challenge might be waiting for me, right around the corner. Years later, whenever I needed to tap into my courage, I’d just go out for a walk on my own. It always worked. As a side note, many people over the years who observed me walking, would come up to me and comment about how fearless I was to go out on my own without sight. To them I appeared fearless. But I knew the truth. I was courageous, not fearless.
Now it’s time for you to take the leap. Look in the mirror and see if you can connect to sincerely caring about your well being. Not just how hot you look or how cool you may appear to others. That stuff is just chasing carrots that society has trained you to chase. Try looking a little deeper, past the facade of your ego. Are you able to open up to sincerely caring for yourself? You may not feel that tenderness toward yourself initially, but make it a daily commitment to look in the mirror, and soon your caring will strengthen. It might take a while to get past the negativity you were conditioned to believe about your looks. But, in time, that will fade away, and your sincere caring will have a chance to grow. It’s worth the effort. And remember, you are not just working on caring about yourself. You are also strengthening your own courage as well as your ability to express caring for others. And when you can connect to both your caring, and your courage, everybody benefits!
Separating truth from disinformation
Responding to Lee Reich’s letter in last week’s Hudson Valley One paper, an important consideration left out in Lee’s attempt to minimize the self-reporting aspect of the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (“VAERS”), is that “serious adverse events are more likely to be reported than non-serious events,” according to several studies and VAERS own website (FAQ). Since I reported 387,087 adverse events following vaccinations, the number has now climbed to 463,457. The 6,113 deaths figure is now 10,991, an increase of over 1,943 over the previous week. The 31,240 figure of serious injuries is now 48,385, which was 7,370 more compared to the previous week. I know of two people seriously injured by the Covid-19 vaccine. My friend’s son who developed multiple blood clots after being vaccinated was hospitalized. Another is a client, whose husband was hospitalized with leg problems after he got the second vaccine shot, and can barely walk now, consistent with vaccine-induced thrombosis. The risks are very real.
Federal law provides that people cannot be forced to take such risks when alternative therapies are available, Ivermectin being one of them, as documented with abundant science in my 7/14/21 letter.
Consider that instead of prescribing Ivermectin early on in the onset of Covid, infected people were told to stay home until symptoms worsened and hospitalization required and then Remdesivir would be prescribed for moderate to severe Covid-19 symptoms. Remdesivir, manufactured by Gilead Sciences Inc. is CIA connected and had at one point ex-Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld as its CEO, declared to be “the most ruthless man I have ever known” by ex-secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Remdesivir failed its clinical trials but was approved by the FDA under Emergency Use Authorization. Not surprisingly, follow up studies documented Remdesivir “was not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits:” (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32423584/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32821939/).
Likewise, the current push for mass vaccination is being driven by Big Pharma, assisted by the corporate-controlled Mainstream Media and its Big Pharma shills, who have been suppressing the truth on alternative therapies for Covid-19 all along.
Do your own research and you will find that most of Mainstream Media and Big Pharma are owned by the same two intertwined mega-financial management firms, Vanguard and Black Rock. With combined assets of 20-trillion dollars, it is estimated this powerful duopoly “will own mostly everything by 2028” (https://financialpost.com/investing/a-20-trillion-blackrock-vanguard-duopoly-is-investings-future.) Who owns Black Rock and Vanguard though is carefully hidden.
Limiting public comments
Lately, some of us observed a disturbing trend in many of the various board meetings. Specifically: notifying the speaker that they have only three minutes to deliver their comment and informing us that we cannot read someone else’s letter on their behalf.
A comment by Dan Torres, cited in the “Clamping down on comment” notice in the July 7 issue of Hudson Valley One that “public comment is a privilege” [emphasis is mine] is especially disturbing. Rather, serving the public on a municipal board is a privilege!
When the community elects its trustees, they expect them to work for the common good, keep us informed and seek our input. Public comments are made by members of the community not just to air their own approvals, frustrations, ideas for the benefit of the particular board. They also aim to inform the public who may be attending the meeting and thus potentially engage a larger group on the topic to the benefit of all.
There are issues that seem to proceed without public hearings (for instance the Village Board’s plan to build a skateboard park in Hasbrouck Park), so even when a topic is not on the agenda, it is important to bring those issues to everyone’s attention.
We, the public, have to listen when some board members “think out loud;” this may be why meetings last longer than some board members would like. We try to present our comments as succinctly as possible; we just ask that our elected officials hear them.
And the answer is
The U.S. inflation rate reached a 13-year high recently, triggering a debate about whether the country is entering an inflationary period similar to the 1970s. We haven’t seen such pricing power in decades. Inflation has risen by 5.4% over the past 12 months, the fastest gain since the summer of 2008, with core CPI up a sharp 4.5%, the most since 1991. Additionally, according to the latest Producer Price Index report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics building material prices continue to set record highs.
Supervisor McKenna added a resolution to the July 20 Town Board meeting’s preliminary agenda to bond the Comeau renovation addition. Based upon the above facts, the review of the Comeau renovation addition by the Commission of Civic Design (CCD state that they were and still remain very uncomfortable with the proposed design in terms of plan and form. A perusal of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) indicates that the addition’s design may discriminate against individuals with disabilities and that the 2.3-million dollar bonding estimate may also be in question due to the astronomical increase in building materials. Do you think that the Town Board members should pass the resolution?
Race to nowhere
Addendum to last week’s letter: Yes, now we’ve learned that any hope of her Olympic dream has been completely blown in a “puff of smoke.” It’s been unveiled by the USA Track and Field that Sha’Carri Richardson will not even run the 4 x 100 relay. This new outcome has extinguished the 21-year-old sprinter’s last chance to participate in this summer’s games. What a tragic result.
I call BS on her non grata when it comes to the relay aspect and not being an Olympian representative at the Tokyo games. She was already suspended from the 100-meter race, which was her specialty. They knew she would’ve been eligible for the relay; they didn’t have to notify any alternates as replacements.
I know that according to some asinine USOC rule, leaving Richardson (America’s fastest woman) off the relay is technically correct because the initial suspension for THC presence after being drug-tested wiped out her Olympic trials results. It’s as though she never competed there, and if you don’t compete in the trials, you don’t get considered for the relay. This “total” removal of her from the team/participation is bleepin’ ridiculous.
Is it really fair to disqualify Sha’Carri Richardson for smoking marijuana? Are athletes disqualified for drinking alcohol? Richardson, a world-class sprinter, took the “high” road and admitted she knew the rules and thus the consequences. I’m happy that Nike is standing by her. It’s not like she was Lance Armstrong and “juicing” to win. Good for her, and with luck we’ll see her in future Olympics.
Still, it is a stupid decision by our Olympic committee and global anti-doping officials, and it makes me so sad that I jus’ wanna smoke ganja in solidarity with her and then cry.
Don’t ignore facts
John Habersberger, I usually just ignore your Luddite reactionary claptrap, but I felt compelled to respond when you cite some dubious story to slam transgender people. Par for the course for a Republican and a member of the local Republican committee, I know. But more Republican legislators have been arrested for bathroom misconduct than trans people. Facts can be inconvenient, I know. You might try to employ them once in a while.
Alert, Saugerties peeps!
I almost threw a letter into my recycling thinking it was junk mail. It comes from the Saugerties Town Board, and they have decided, without my permission, to sign me up for their green energy program with Joule Community Power. If I do nothing, I get signed up for a program that, by their own numbers, will increase my cost per kWh by 30 percent. How dare the Town Board take it upon themselves to make this decision for me? Did anyone on the current board oppose this?
If this upsets you as much as it does me, be sure to opt out! What’s next? Will I be enrolled in the political party the Town Board thinks I should belong to unless I opt out?
Because of the mainstream media’s risky decision to protect POTUS Biden by ignoring his obvious cognitive decline and hiding or excusing his policy failures, POTUS Biden was unaware of the level of genuine concern throughout the country caused by these things. Feeling good, POTUS Joe, famous for introducing America to “Corn Pop” and his recent non-hyperbolic statement that voter-reform efforts are “the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War” (a literal war in which 650,000 people were killed), called his old friend, Barack Obama, to chat.
(Kalorama, Washington, DC)
Awakened by his ringing phone, a groggy Barack Obama, whispering to avoid waking Michelle, answers the phone:
POTUS BIDEN: Hi Barack.
OBAMA, still whispering, answers: Joe? Joe, is that you? It’s 4 in the morning!
JOE: I thought you’d be awake. I forgot you don’t go to bed after watching Lester Holt’s 7 p.m. evening news show like I do. Sorry, Barack. Can we talk?
OBAMA, still whispering, gets out of bed and moves to the balcony (once there he begins to speak in his normal voice): Well, I’m up now, Joe, so I’m listening, but this better be important.
BIDEN: Barack, things are going really well. Being vice president is a lot easier than I thought it would be and President Harris is doing such a good job that I have a lot of free time on my hands, so I thought I’d give you a buzz.
OBAMA: Joe, Kamala is not the president, you are.
BIDEN: She is? Didn’t I just return from a trip to the border to report on what’s going on down there?
OBAMA: No, Joe, that was Kamala and you sent her there.
BIDEN: I did? Why?
OBAMA: Well, Joe, since you overturned all of Trump’s immigration policies, everyone and their families are trying to get into the country through our southern border.
BIDEN: Really? I overturned Trump’s policies? Why’d I do that? Things at the border were going pretty well as I remember it.
OBAMA: Yeah, they were, Joe, but apparently, you didn’t realize that you weren’t supposed to keep your campaign promises when doing so would create an unprecedented immigration crisis.
(At that moment, Michelle Obama stirs in the bed and notices Barack isn’t there. Hearing his voice, she follows it to the balcony and, seeing her husband, begins to speak.)
MICHELLE: Barack, what are you doing? Are you talking to someone? Are you on the phone? Who is it?
Barack mutes the phone as Joe continues to ramble on and says: Sorry, Michelle, it’s Joe, he called again.
MICHELLE: Why did you pick up? I told you to screen all your calls and let the machine answer. Tell him Hillary’s on the other line and you have to take her call – morning, noon, dinnertime, the man’s got no boundaries… Does he still think Kamala’s president? Barack, you can’t keep taking his calls!
BARACK: Sorry, Michelle. I’ll get off right away. Joe? Hey, Joe, uh, Hillary’s beeping in and I’ve got to take her call.
BIDEN: Hillary? C’mon, man, you wouldn’t try to kid a kidder, would you? I mean Hillary’s a big effing deal. So, yeah, I understand. Sure, talk to her. Anyway, thanks for calling, Barack. If there’s anything else I can do to help out, don’t hesitate to give me a ring. Like I said, being vice president is easier than I thought it would be, so I’m available. Say hello to Hillary for me. Hey, tell her I really loved her latest film, Million Dollar Baby.
BARACK: Uh, yeah, will do. Uh, goodnight, Joe.
BIDEN: Goodnight Barack. Hey, one last thing: When the press asks me what kind of ice cream I like, should I say vanilla or chocolate?
BARACK: Chocolate, Joe. Chocolate. Goodnight, Joe. Sweet dreams.