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.
Editor’s note: Below is a sampling of letters HV1 received regarding an article in last week’s issue announcing a cancer support group in Woodstock. The piece inaccurately describes the Oncology Support Program at HealthAlliance in Kingston as a religious cancer support center. Our sincere apologies for the mischaracterization. The story has been corrected online.
Sloppy journalism hurts the cancer community
I am profoundly dismayed by the recent article, “Coping with the Big C,” by Frances Marion Platt. While seeking to let readers know about a new local support for people diagnosed with cancer, the reporter grossly misrepresented a long standing and immensely valuable local asset, the HealthAlliance Oncology Support Program.
The main accusation against the “OSP” is that the organization is secular in nature, that prayers are read in meetings, alienating individuals who are either atheist, or in a non-Christian religion. Now I would like to give the author of this piece the benefit of the doubt and say that this was not a case of intentionally misleading Hudson Valley One readers. I think this was a case of sloppy journalism, where sources were simply not checked.
If Ms. Platt had reached out to some of the many members, facilitators or volunteers associated with the 23-year-old program that has served thousands of cancer survivors and their family members, she would have learned about the incredibly rich asset that is the OSP. She would have discovered that the support groups are not secular or religious in any way. She would have discovered that these groups are led by licensed certified social workers and attended by women, men, families and caregivers from all walks of life, with a wide set of belief systems. She would have learned that there are groups for people with different types and stages of cancer. She could have written an article that both celebrated a new group in Woodstock while also letting people know about the huge asset that already exists in Kingston where cancer survivors can attend free classes in healthy cooking, exercise, art therapy, writing, gardening, yoga, tai chi and more!
I discovered the OSP in 2014 when I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer at the age of 36. Since then, I have attended many events hosted by the OSP, and served as a peer facilitator of the Younger Women’s Support group and continue to serve as a “Nurturing Neighbor.” This group has been a touchstone for me both personally and in my professional work with cancer patients as a certified life coach. While we have never said a prayer in any of these groups or events that I’ve attended, we sure have read and listened to some beautiful poems by authors like Mary Oliver, who capture the depth of feeling and the fleeting preciousness of life that crystallizes for someone diagnosed with cancer.
Your article in HV1 announcing a cancer support group in Woodstock looks on the face of it as if it were describing a welcome addition to the area. However, rather than focus on what this group will be doing, too much is focused on the Oncology Support Program, formerly of Benedictine Hospital and now of HealthAlliance. This might have been a generous and neighborly way of announcing the new program, but the whole article was filled with clearly under-researched lies.
All one need do is to look at the HealthAlliance’s 16-page newsletter, called Celebrate Life, to know that the accusations in your article are false and ridiculous. There is no religious affiliation, Catholic or otherwise, unless you consider yoga, tai chi or qi gong classes to be religious.
There are healing arts classes, wellness and integrative programs, educational lectures, discussion groups and a library of cancer-related books. There is also a charming house on Mary’s Avenue where many of these meetings are held, and money was raised by the community to buy this house and make it hospitable and comfortable for their members.
All activities are for everybody.
The program was started 27 years ago when the renowned Dr. Sheldon Feldman was the head of the Breast Center at Benedictine Hospital. It was his idea to bring in a clinical social worker to ease the lives of his patients. That social worker is Barbara Sarah, still an active and concerned resident of Kingston. Ms. Sarah created the thriving program and left it many years later in very capable hands.
The Center is always filled with patients, families of patients and caregivers, and you won’t have to look far to find hundreds of people, present and former patients, who will tell you how their lives are and were enhanced throughout their bouts with cancer, through the kindness, creativity and medical expertise of the program and its practitioners.
I am not a cancer survivor, but I have attended many program functions throughout the 26 years I have been living in the Hudson Valley. Even with the crosses on the walls of the openly Catholic hospital, there was not one moment where I, as a Jew, was made to feel unwelcome, or where I felt I was being offered Catholic teachings, prayers or theology. Every function was well-attended by people of all backgrounds, and every one of them was entertaining, educational and run by people who were experts in their fields.
I am personally insulted by both the level of research, the outright lies and the lack of respect for this organization and the wonderful work they do for the Kingston community.
Carol Fox Prescott
Fact-check correction regarding oncology support
The recently published article regarding support for cancer patients is terribly misleading and challenges the credibility of your publication. The outstanding contribution of the non-secular oncology support of Kingston that has been ongoing for many years and that has served, and continues to serve in so many ways thousands of cancer patients in our area, is glaring in its omission. Please correct the error. Thanks.
Survivors launch Topic of Cancer support group in Woodstock
“According to reports by users, although HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley took over both Kingston and Benedictine Hospital and secularized all services in 2013, some of the facilitators of HealthAlliance’s support groups for cancer patients still fall back on the old prayer-based Roman Catholic Benedictine model.”
I don’t know where you are getting your information, but this is not true. As a cancer patient for the past two years, I have been a member of two support groups and attended several workshops on health and exercise through Reuner House at Health Alliance. I have no religious affiliation and neither do they. The social workers who run the groups are all highly qualified, caring individuals who have gotten me and several others through these devastating diagnoses during a pandemic that has stretched our emotional capacities. They are there whenever you need them in a crisis or just for general information. I look forward to my support groups, which meet once a month and are open to specific types of cancer and non-specific, including caregivers’ support. I couldn’t have gotten through these last two years without them.
As a subscriber to your paper, I hope you get better at researching your articles!
Tropic of Cancer support group
The Memoir Writing Workshop offered at the Reuner Cancer Support House in Kingston cannot be described as “journaling,” a word I find dismissive and woefully misconstrued. The writing done here is as diverse and original and serious as are its members. We have been meeting every Thursday for ten years; we have lost many of our original group. When I think of the work they did, and the work our group is now doing, it makes me furious to have it treated with such ignorance and seeming disdain.
I have nothing against starting a cancer support group in Woodstock, I applaud it; but I can think of no decent reason to dismiss or criticize the important and useful work being done in all kinds of ways at the Cancer Support House in Kingston.
Honor the community of the Oncology Support Program
For the sake of so many survivors, please correct the egregious errors that negate decades of support to the community provided by the Oncology Support Program founded by my mother, Barbara Sarah. When she was looking for support in the region for her own survival of cancer about 30 years ago and didn’t find it, she created a program at Benedictine that has now helped thousands of people and their families to make connections, find creative, secular ways to help themselves and one another and build a thriving community of survivors.
I have rarely met a person in this county who does not know my mother. She is legendary. So is the program. Every year for as long as I can recall, hundreds of people have come together for a survivors celebration, people who have been returning year after year out of gratitude and solidarity, to connect with others who provide a vibrant and informative network for one another.
It was so distressing to see her life’s work dismissed and denigrated with careless and uniformed reporting. Now that she has retired (just a few years ago at the age of 79), she has co-founded yet another program that is helping countless additional people to face death with honesty and dignity. Circle of Friends for the Dying, the Hudson Valley Death Cafes and the Home for the Dying now in Development, are the efforts of this group thanks to my mom’s unparalleled leadership that has grown to become the work of so many and has helped so many more.
Imagine being at the other end of the call from your wise and generous parent after she reads a story that negates her legacy, and even more importantly, the ripple effects it has had in our community, at the stoke of a pen!
I hope you will find an appropriate way to make amends and honor this work. Words matter. Deeds matter even more. Please address both.
Hurrah for highlighting a new cancer support in our community in the Woodstock area! It is also my hope that you will correct this gross mischaracterization of existing vital cancer supports through the hospital in Kingston.
Since my first cancer diagnosis in 2015, I’ve benefited from the Oncology Support Program. I’ve regularly attended a group for younger women with cancer, a coping skills group, an advanced cancer group, actively volunteered in their peer-to-peer support network and met one-on-one with social workers during times of need. Many of their programs are also open to people without a cancer diagnosis who want to explore healthy eating, talking about mortality, writing a memoir and practicing tai chi. In those six years, the only times that prayers have been invoked are briefly at the annual Survivors’ Day events, which are non-religious in nature.
There’s certainly room for more flavors of support in the area through this and other groups like Breast Cancer Options, or Breasties, and for more types of cancer and caregiving supports. But the characterization of the OSP model in this article is far from my own experience and damaging to the grassroots fabric that has been its legacy in our community for over 25 years. Again and again, I’ve witnessed OSP staff and members show up – whether you are dealing with the shock and practical questions of a fresh diagnosis or making transitions to hospice care – with sensitivity to all walks of life and deep experience.
A disservice to many
Last week’s article, “Coping With The Big C”, left many folks with the impression that Jane Young and I are anti-religion, anti-Kingston Oncology Support Network and anti AA. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reporter, Frances Marion Platt, used the article, we believe, to further her anti-religion agenda, not ours. We are completely supportive of the aforementioned groups. I have close friends and family in both AA and HAHV cancer support groups. I have also attended Al Anon groups. I myself attend the HAHV men’s cancer survivors support group with James Askin and no mention of religion ever occurred and I assume that’s true for all HAHV support groups. The reporter didn’t print that either.
When we decided to start our patients and survivors support group, we contacted Ellen Marshall, Director of HAHV support groups. She welcomed us with open arms and was more than generous with her support and assistance. We agreed to work closely together.
I did mention to the reporter that I attended the June 4 HAHV annual Cancer Survivors Celebration and there were three Catholic clergy involved in the program and I was surprised because I assumed the program was secular. Surprised, not disappointed, not angry, and not hostile.
The reporter ran with that statement and applied it in the most negative way possible and painted all the support groups with that statement — never my intention.
This article did a tremendous disservice to not only the HAHV support network but to us as well. Because of this article, we have spent the last few days fielding angry phone calls, denying our hostility towards these programs and convincing people we are NOT anti religion, anti AA and certainly not anti HAHV support groups. As I mentioned earlier, nothing could be further from the truth.
This article was a far cry from the usually accurate and insightful reporting of Hudson valley One.
Survivors launch Topic of Cancer support group in Woodstock
A recent article by Frances Marion Platt discussed the launching of a new cancer support group in Woodstock. Providing information on an additional community resource is commendable, and I am certain the new group will be of value.
Unfortunately, the article incorporates significant misinformation about the existing Oncology Support Program (OSP) of the HealthAlliance in Kingston. It states that OSP provides spiritual care with “meetings bookended with deity specific prayers and punctuated with New Testament readings” and that the current “facilitators still fall back on the old prayer Roman Catholic Benedictine model.”
As a 78-year-old Jewish leukemia patient, whose battle with cancer began 20 years ago, and as a facilitator of the Men’s Cancer Support Group during some of this time, nothing in my group or any other group that I knew of was religious oriented or non-secular. This was true in 2001 when the OSP was part of the church-affiliated Benedictine Hospital and continues to be true today. This program provided a venue for me to discuss my illness openly and honestly and to help others.
All one has to do is go online to the Celebrate Life Newsletter to appreciate the range and diversity of offerings and realize how inaccurate the description of the OSP is in this article. Since its founding in 1994, the OSP has provided support and help to hundreds of people in so many ways and has become a model for the creation of many other groups nationally and even internationally.
Alvin S. Konigsberg, Professor Emeritus
SUNY New Paltz
Topic of Cancer
I take exception to some of the reportage and allegations in the article Topic of cancer, which have not been supported with facts and names of the people who provided this (mis) information.
As a longtime member of the Oncology Support Program of HealthAlliance Hospital (and a former volunteer), any sessions I attended at the Oncology Support Program were never “bookended with deity-specific prayers and punctuated with New Testament readings” This was true long before HealthAlliance took over Benedictine and remains so.
As quoted in your article: “Some of the facilitators of HealthAlliance’s support groups for cancer patients still fall back on the old prayer-based Roman Catholic Benedictine model.”
Who are these facilitators?
From your article, the following quote “This may partially explain the low enrollment in these counseling programs. Where did the information on “low enrollment” come from? What constitutes low enrollment? If enrollment is low, could there be another reason? What might that be?
I would like to see a retraction and a correction printed based on hard facts attributed to the source. Please ask your reporter to do her homework and abstain from vague references that seem to have no basis in fact. While help for cancer patients, caregivers, family and friends is always welcome, must new sources of support disparage existing resources?
More information on the Health Alliance program can be obtained at https://www.hahv.org/oncology-support-program.
The current issue of the program’s newsletter can be found at: Celebrate Life SeptOctNovDec 2021.pdf (hahv.org).
Perri Blaze Ardman
Coping with accurate cancer support info!
Readers of Hudson Valley One can get full and accurate information about the Oncology Support Program at hahv.org/celebrate-life-newsletter.
Sixteen pages about innovative programs, support groups, meetings and comprehensive psychosocial support at the support house and in the community There is no reference to religion except for holiday listings in the calendar…..only educational and recreational opportunities for cancer patients and their families since 1994!
Sloppy journalism hurts the cancer community
I ask Hudson Valley One to please do your due diligence when publishing articles. If this is not an opinion piece, you need to fact check and research allegations. By failing to do so in this case, you not only slander a local organization, but also mislead patients who are struggling to get through a health crisis. In the “evergreen” nature of online articles, I suggest you print a correction with this article. To learn more about the HealthAlliance Oncology Support Program, visit www.hahv.org/oncology-support-program.
Please write accurately about the Oncology Support Program
As a former staff social worker (2000-2010) and director (2007-2010) of the Oncology Support Program at Benedictine — now HealthAlliance — Hospital, I was disheartened and frankly appalled, by the inaccurate portrayal of this program which has served thousands of Hudson Valley residents since its inception in the mid-1990’s. The programs and services are offered, largely free of cost, to all, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. People with any type of cancer are served, as well as their family members and friends, including children and youth of all ages. The hospital always made these programs accessible to all community members, regardless of whether they received any medical services at the hospital or with any physician connected with the hospital. People are helped in myriad ways through the emotional aspects of a cancer diagnosis, treatment, long-term survivorship and/or dying and death. I wish Eric Glass and Jane Young all the very best with their endeavor — there is certainly room for more support services and for people to have a selection of organizations to choose from.
The administration of OSP has always held and practiced this attitude of collaboration and, as the name indicates, support. But it is faulty journalism to publish such blanket generalizations that are entirely inaccurate. During my decade at OSP, I facilitated hundreds of support groups — including one for family members of cancer patients — and we never ever began or ended a support session with biblical scriptures or prayers. I request that HV1 issue an apology and — by way of correction — dedicate another article to rendering an accurate portrayal of the Oncology Support Program.
In response to “Coping with the Big C,” written by Frances Marion Platt
In my five years at the Oncology Support Program at WMC HealthAlliance, first as a patient then as a group facilitator, I have never experienced religion. Jane Young was a local doctor. She must have missed the memo in 2009 when our two local hospitals merged and religion was no longer a part of what was known prior as Benedictine Hospital. I am disturbed by this article for so many reasons. It’s such an injustice to the Oncology Support Program, to the counselors and volunteers who give of their hearts and their time to help others… many volunteers who are survivors themselves of cancer who give back because they know the journey and are dedicated to help others navigate more easily.
The article was a huge injustice to cancers patients everywhere, whom when diagnosed are scared, overwhelmed and don’t know where to start or how to cope. They don’t have time to wade through drama. Shame on you for boasting your group by putting down another organization. I’m so glad that you are both well and that you want to help others, but this article was mean and not intelligent. I personally am a stage 4 cancer survivor and was originally diagnosed terminal. I don’t know where I would be without OSP. I was scared for my life, overwhelmed and financially devastated. Counselors at OSP helped me learn coping skills and helped me apply for financial programs. Their support is uncanny, especially emotional support.
This article was an insult to over 10,000 people who have come through OSP’s doors, many of which continue to do so by giving back for over 25 years. Clearly OSP is doing something great to have stood the test of time. I am floored by the audacity and neglect in research before publication. Currently, because of Covid, the programs are run via Zoom for everyone’s safety. Zoom groups started up almost without skipping beat when Covid hit so patients could receive immediate continued support. The programs available are powerful, meaningful and life changing. Individuals themselves choose the groups they want to attend. There is a group for young women, breast cancer, terminal patients, men’s groups, children’s programs, programs for family members and caretakers, educational programs, cooking classes, writing classes, many different exercise classes and so much more. The groups are ever changing with need.
It is sad that the author felt the need to put down an essential organization in our community that works Monday through Friday helping so many with great care and love. It’s fabulous every time someone organizes a support group of any kind. Though I am a native of Woodstock, my local oncologist sent me to Columbia University Medical Center to a research specialist. My doctors at CUMC are amazed by the beautiful programs at OSP and tell me they could not do this there. We are so fortunate to have OSP. Please check out the program if you want to look at facts. We are here to help https://www.hahv.org/Uploads/Public/Documents/WMCHealth/Celebrate%20Life%20SeptOctNovDec%202021.pdf.
Coping with the Big C
I have been facilitating and supporting participants involved in the Miso Happy Cooking Club through the Oncology Support Program since 2005. We are available to anyone interested in a healthy diet. We are often a group of 18-25 survivors and other participants interested in prevention. We meet monthly for a cooking demonstration, as well as information about the food served. Recipes are given for all dishes created. It is a sad day when incorrect information creates misunderstandings. What is conveyed in this article is not what we do.
Our goals are very simple. To help those who are under cancer treatment or survivors to work on ways to improve their health by learning about food and healthy cooking methods.
The article “Coping with the Big C,” Survivors Launch Topic of Cancer Support Group in Woodstock” in Hudson Valley One, implies that our groups utilize religion in the presentations. Miso Happy teaches cooking skills for prevention and a return to full health during or after cancer treatments. It is a fun, joyful experience where we learn from the instructor and each other. Prior to the pandemic we were able to enjoy a taste of all the prepared dishes in class. We hope to go back to tastings in the future.
All are welcome!
Kathy Sheldon, RN
Shocked by what I read
I was shocked when I read this article. The article misrepresented the HealthAlliance Support Program as a Roman Catholic model. the group is far from that. Patients from all religions and backgrounds come to the support group for various programs concerning the type of cancer they are dealing with.
The Oncology Support Program offers many types of activities and support groups that meet according to type of cancer they have.
If another organization wishes to have a support group, that is fine just don’t put down a support group that has been helping, supporting and nurturing cancer patients for over 20 years.
What is the cause of the Afghan war?
Is it to keep the stockholders of Ametek Rotron happy? Is it to pay the salaries of Woodstock’s largest business?
Around the US, each Congressional district has at least one business that depends on war (and the lobbying efforts of the weapons manufacturers). DOD spends billions for bombs, bullets and even tiny fans to disperse the shrapnel. That’s the way that the “defense” industry keeps going. And Woodstock workers get paid. The money keeps flowing as long as there is an enemy.
Afghanistan is the perfect enemy to try out new drones, new dispersal devices. Night raids in distant mountain valleys are hard to document. Drone strikes on mud huts are precise. The infrared cameras from above show the accuracy of their “hits.” The families who are killed don’t really matter.
Twenty years of the Afghanistan war gave the military industry the boost they needed after Vietnam.
How can this country get out of the war business? How can Woodstock become a town of peace and love for real?
Come to the vigil at 3 p.m. every first day of the month at Woodstock’s own war business: Ametek Rotron.
Swim in poop
Feces from humans are a cause of illness, so we are taught to wash our hands. And yet we have all witnessed the quick rinse many people apparently think does the job well enough to then stick their hand in chips and dip at a party. Okay, no subscriber of this newspaper is guilty of that! Sure of our sainthood, how is it that once you have flushed, you are not ashamed that your poop is swirling around in your neighbor’s drinking water, fishing spot or favorite beach? And your elected mayors and supervisors know it, and have for decades.
Please ask why your locality allows population growth without first installing adequate extra sewage treatment capacity. And if they blame the rain, you have just been told a lie.
Makes no sense
As opposed to other types of roofs, a shed roof has a single slope that can vary in steepness depending on its design. That is the type of roof chosen by the architects for the proposed Comeau addition.
Woodstock annually gets about 48 inches of rain and 51 inches of snow; ten inches of melted snow or one inch of rain equate to .64 of a gallon of water per square foot of roof, so that the runoff from a 2,800-square-foot roof would amount to approximately 1,800 gallons of water. What do you think would be the overall effect of the rain and snow runoff, since the addition is only ten feet away from the Comeau building and the roofs slant towards each other?
Who wants a forever war?
Cut through the crap and you can see the truth clearly. It was always going to be a “high-risk” withdrawal from Afghanistan. You can’t lose a war and make it look like you’ve won. Getting out was right. Some chaos was inevitable. The airlift is a major logistical achievement. That’s not to say some critiques are not warranted. They certainly are. But some of the arguments being used are so indefensible, they require us to question the critics’ motives or expertise.
Many political talking heads, and I’m sure some readers of the Hudson Valley One newspaper, believe the chaos of the airlift is totally on our leader Joe Biden. Well, he has emphatically stated that the buck stops with him, and as the commander-in-chief, he’ll accept responsibility for its failures or successes. He will absorb the second-guessing and all the fallout from what he believes was the right decision. He doesn’t prescribe circular finger-pointing like other elected officials so often do. Just think of Trump and his style of leadership. Trump did nothing but “hide the truth” when so much terrible shit led back to him.
I will argue that Biden does not own this alone. No, it needs to be shared, and the authors of 20 years of war own this, too. The corrupt Afghan government and the Afghan military who stood down own this messy withdrawal. The Trump administration that set the deadlines, drew down the troops, left behind the materiel and released 5,000 Taliban prisoners owns this as well. Because of the optics, and a vigorous right-wing media campaign, the arsonist Trump is being held blameless and the firemen (Biden administration and Pentagon) vilified.
Many will still say, “Well, at least Biden totally owns the chaos surrounding our exit.” No again. There’s no way that the Taliban regaining control would not have led to chaos, with many thousands of Afghans seeking to escape the rule of a thug regime. Whenever we started airlifting folks out, it would’ve started. To compound this, a newer and smaller ISIS (Islamic State Khorasan, a/k/a ISIS-K), which is really a disaffected Pakistani Taliban that embraces a more violent version of Islam than the Taliban, emerged. This terrorist group counts both US forces and the Taliban as its foes and entered the mix; the chance of warfare increased greatly, and unfortunately it did. Sadly, we lost exceptional warriors doing humanitarian service as we evacuated. Combat sacrifices like this are never easy to accept.
There are reactionary/warmongering elected Republicans who are screaming, “It shouldn’t have happened in the first place! A real president that honored his nation would have reacted promptly. You’re an illegitimate president that has stolen an office that you’re not worthy of gracing. Step aside and let a real man do a real man’s job. It’s time to allow the real president to take his rightful place, President Trump!”
Can you imagine this incompetent boob trying to manage an evacuation? It would have been beyond his intellectual capacity to grasp, and he would have given up like he gave up on COVID. You can bet Republicans would have supported him instead of crying crocodile tears like they’re doing now. Yeahrightsure, just imagine if Cadet Bonespurs had been in charge; Trump would have already carpet-bombed them…plus, Trump would have accidentally bombed Nicaragua and then ordered the nuking of a hurricane. In reality, he would have done a piss-poor job, leaving all behind in his airlift, except for soldiers who voted for him. Nah, you say? Right, he likes negotiating with terrorists.
This just did not happen with one administration; this has been decades of trying to figure out the solution. Blaming a 20-year nightmare on the guy who is getting us out (after only being in charge for eight months) is really sad, and a desperate political ploy! They have contingency plans for anyone still there after 8/31. Stop pandering to people who aren’t listening to the administration. So sad. God bless our troops. We need to unite now and bring them home safely and to their families.
Obviously, this will define Biden’s presidency. He will be criticized heavily and probably for generations. Could it have been done better? Of course! But to have Trumpian elected Republicans scream “resignation or impeachment” is asinine and simply partisan bullshit. It’s as if they want a huge army presence and risk even more US lives than the ones already there. “Enough!” These fools should go back to their deplorable corner.
Let there be a real congressional bipartisan autopsy/probe to press president Joe Biden’s administration on what went wrong with this Afghanistan withdrawal. Seek a full accounting for these shortcomings, and then we’ll be better-served when we grade Biden’s leadership. Hopefully, we’ll learn what to do and not to do when a bad war is exited next time, which also includes how we handle another nation’s people (allies) that are left behind and who were protected by us.
Now let’s go forward and nation-build here in the USA. Make America a better place for all our citizens/residents. Give them a future to be proud of and ensure real peace, liberty and justice for all.
This is the voice
Opera is changing Phoenicia and Phoenicia is changing opera. The human voice belongs outdoors, howling into the darkness like a horned owl or a chaotic coyote.
When I first attended the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice, the music sounded like oatmeal boiling; it meant nothing to me. Now I hear all my heroes in the arias: Charlie Parker, Joni Mitchell – even Muddy Waters. Drop your prejudices against Old Europe! Come to the festival next year!
Town of Saugerties CCA program
The Town of Saugerties recently launched a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program for its residents. Saugerties has joined nine other Hudson Valley communities to pool buying power to secure a fixed rate for competitively priced, 100 percent New York State renewable electricity supply through Hudson Valley Community Power. The program is a public benefit which:
1. Secures a competitively priced fixed rate for 100 percent New York State renewable electricity supply.
2. Protects eligible residents and small businesses from bad contract terms. There are no individual contracts; the contract is held at a municipal level. Residents can opt out or opt in at any time with no fees or penalties.
3. Advances New York State climate goals.
The program goes into effect in September and remains through July 2024. The program rate, 7.289 cents/kWh, is lower than Central Hudson’s August 2021 rate (7.53 cents/kWh) and just five percent higher than Central Hudson’s July rate (6.97 cents/kWh), both of which source predominantly from nonrenewable sources. The New York State “Power to Choose” website also shows the program rate is 16 percent lower than comparable renewable electricity supply rates which individual community members could obtain from other third-party suppliers (ESCOs).
Central Hudson’s delivery charges and service are unaffected by the CCA program, which means that Central Hudson remains responsible for delivering electricity, maintaining power lines and managing all billing. CCA programs simply provide the opportunity for local decisionmaking about electricity sourcing. Through CCA, the partner communities and chosen administration team provide oversight to ensure a transparent and easy way for community members to source renewable electricity.
All eligible residents and small businesses in the Town of Saugerties were mailed a letter on municipal letterhead, describing their choices and how to opt out if they do not want to participate in the program.
Ineligible residents and small businesses did not receive a letter. Ineligible customers include: (1) Time of Use customers, (2) those who have selected an alternate electricity supplier/ESCO, (3) those who have a “block” on their Central Hudson account, (4) those who are in a utility bill assistance program, such as HEAP, and (5) most commercial and industrial customers. If you have questions about your eligibility, you can contact the Helpline.
Everyone remaining in the program will receive a standardized letter from Central Hudson indicating the pending change in supplier, which does not describe that anyone can opt out or opt in at any time. To learn more about your options, please refer to the municipal letter at www.hudsonvalleycommunitypower.com/announcements or contact the Program Helpline (below).
The Town of Saugerties decided to bring CCA to the community because it offers a safe, competitively priced fixed-rate option for 100 percent New York State renewable electricity. If you do not want to be a part of the program, you can opt out easily, free of charge, by mailing in your Opt-out Reply Card, calling the program Helpline at (845) 859-9099, extension 2 at any time or using the opt-out form at the program website: www.hudsonvalleycommunitypower.com.
Jeff Domanski, Local program manager
Hudson Valley Community Power
Don’t ignore science
Like death and taxes, there are some things in these pages that appear with predictable certainty: a screed against Trump, a screed against Biden, a cringeworthy song parody. I get it; these are the opinion pages and everybody has one. I myself have many.
Lately, though, a more insidious type of opinion is being expressed: one that is conceived in an already-suspicious mind and allowed to fester in the recesses of Facebook, et al, where repetition equals truth and “likes” equal facts. These opinions betray an ignorance of science and the methods that produce consensus in the field. Unfortunately, many of the subjects that contributors here expound on are far more complex than can be understood by lay persons in a few minutes online, so they frequently get distilled and distorted well beyond their actual meaning.
These are some excerpts from a recent letter:
1. “The mRNA vaccine is not a real vaccine.” Yes, it is. It uses a different mechanism to provide immunity, but it’s still a vaccine.
2. “They are experimental and there are no long-term studies on safety and efficacy.” Well, the current COVID vaccines are new, but mRNA therapies are not. The first in vitro work was done in 1990 and animal research began two years later. Humans have been receiving mRNA therapies for cancer since 2007.
3. “But, VAERS.” Anyone can submit a report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. The information is not checked, no one follows up on claims and there is no way to determine if an adverse effect is even related to the vaccine. This is from the VAERS website: “VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness. The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental or unverifiable. In large part, reports to VAERS are voluntary, which means they are subject to biases.” The point here is that VAERS is a blunt instrument, not a scalpel to dissect out data. It goes back to 1990 and is not limited to the current vaccines.
4. “NVCP compensation data.” Yeah, big numbers are scary when taken out of context. According to the CDC, from 2006 to 2016 over 3.1 billion doses of covered vaccines were distributed in the US alone. For lawsuits filed in this time period, 5,320 petitions were adjudicated by the court, and of those 3,597 were compensated. This means for every one million doses of vaccine that were distributed, one individual was compensated. Not that scary after all.
The folks who created these vaccines were the first in line to receive them and knowledgeable medical personnel are overwhelmingly vaccinated. All this is to say that if you’re not a plumber, you wouldn’t use these pages to criticize a plumbing technique, so why do so many non-scientists feel comfortable criticizing science?
Register to vote by the deadline!
I hope everyone eligible will register to vote and update their voter registration in time to vote in this year’s election. October 8 is the last day to register to vote, and October 13 is the last day to change your address if you’re already registered, in order to be able to vote on November 2.
And even though we “only” have local elections this year, it’s so important that in particular new Americans vote. I’m the only person in my family who can. Those of us from immigrant families, where not everyone is allowed to go to the polls, have a duty to make sure new Americans who can vote choose to be voters.
It’s also important that local community organizations are doing their part to get people registered. At Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, we’ve made 10,000 calls and sent 100,000 texts in the last month to help people register people to vote and provide voter education as part of the New York Immigration Coalition’s REMAP 2021 campaign. This campaign is providing voter education, voter registration access and Get-Out-the-Vote activities for new voters across the state.
Local elected officials make powerful decisions about our daily lives and the future of our communities. We all need to vote as one important way to make sure they hear our voices.
Women’s right to choice
At this time in this country, females have no right to choose what they grow in their own bodies. Laws that prohibit abortion dictate what a female must grow in her body. This means that the government owns all females who have not undergone menopause. In addition, putting into law what a woman must grow in her body sets a precedent for the government to dictate what a woman may not grow in her body and opens the door to a return of eugenics.
No female is born free in the United States, because no female born in this country is in full possession of her own body. Laws that forbid abortion are a tactic to enslave women by denying them ownership of their very bodies. Abortion laws are a tactic to deny women the right to choice. Choice is what opponents of the right to choose abortion are trying to deny to females. Freedom of choice about one’s own body/being is the real issue.
Men and women should place a hand on their abdomen and imagine being coerced into growing inside them a parasite they believe should not be growing there. There are many reasons why a female person might believe she should not grow in her body a creature that should not be born. To force a female to endure this for nine months when she believes it is wrong is a form of torture. It is as heinous and cruel as forcing a person to abort a wanted child was when eugenics were lawful.
Beautify New Paltz – please!
Many members of the Seniors Serving in Place (SSIP) reside in the Village of New Paltz. We love to see the colorful flowers in the spring. We were very pleased when we saw the lovely hanging baskets of lovely flowers on the poles along Main Street. We are very disappointed that this year there are no flowers. We are asking you to please bring the beauty back! Not only would they beautify our beloved historical New Paltz, they would also create a welcoming atmosphere for the many visitors who come here for entertainment and tourism.
Good to know
Wonderful article in your 9/01 edition by Erin Quinn regarding the Mohonk Preserve’s Climbing Rescue Team. I had not realized the range of daily challenges the team faces.
The Village continues to benefit, but is housing affordability being harmed by the Fed’s low interest rate policy?
For the last few years, the Village has enjoyed borrowing money inexpensively, and today we were offered our lowest rate yet. We borrowed $4.722 million for one year using a bond anticipation note (BAN) at a rate of 0.23 percent starting 9/15/21, to be paid back by 9/15/22. Seven institutional investors offered to let us borrow, and Oppenheimer & Co. offered the lowest rate among the seven firms.
Low rates help the Village balance expenses with revenues, but many are wondering if we’ll eventually see inflation if the US economy becomes overheated as the Federal Reserve sticks with its simulative stance adopted during the height of COVID 2020.
How large of a role has their accommodative monetary policy, which has supported low mortgage rates, played in driving housing costs higher? Is this further widening the gap between haves and have-nots? Like the Village, “good credits” like the haves are enjoying unprecedented access to borrowing inexpensively.
Recent BAN rates:
1.3% Oppenheimer – 2017
1.9% Jefferies Financial – April 2018
1.5% BNY Mellon – September 2019
2.0% Piper Jaffray – November 2019
0.59% Green County Commercial – October 2020
0.23% Oppenheimer – September 2021
The Village borrows money for various capital projects and equipment purchases spread out over several years. The debt service is bundled together in individual BANs to save money on borrowing costs.
Mayor Tim Rogers
Is a renaissance of the Medieval Ages upon us?
I have to blink at times. Is this 2021 or 1782?
Once again, men are taking control of women’s bodies. A new law revealed in Texas: barbaric, cruel and outmoded, putting thousands of women back to pain, anxiety and backrooms of hangers, saline solutions and who knows what else!
I’ve been on this planet 85 years. I’ve had a counseling practice where I’ve heard the woes, complaints, sorrows of many women: husbands wanting to share them with another woman or man in bed, wanting sex three times a day, demanding their wives watch porn films, photographing their wives naked in the woods to show their “buddies,” demanding sex while women had their periods, demanding sex while wife had the flu, wanting rectal sex with their wives/lovers, bedroom rapes. Is there no shame, respect for a woman’s body? That a woman must pay for endless birthing of children due to their insatiable needs that rarely have to do with love?
Where are the men to teach men about true lovemaking, as opposed to raw sex? We hear it in the movies often, one man to another, “Hey, you gettin’ it tonight?” “Going to score?”
I heard an expression at one point, “Women give sex to get love. Men give love to get sex.” I heard from women much sorrow about not enough love, a burning desire for romance, being listened to, kindnesses, more hugs.
Do men ever look inward? Who the hell do they think they are, making such rules as espoused in Texas? Oh! But it’s okay to eat baby lambs, animals, kill deer, birds, elephants for tusks, rhinos for horns? These animals have a right to life, as we do. They love, have emotions, yet it’s okay to kill them? But women can’t have a piece of tissue the size of a small fingernail removed before 20 weeks? After that, no. It should not be allowed.
Women need to take responsibility for caring for their bodies more, not give in to the man’s amorous croonings: “Aw, Honey, you feel soooo good without the protection.” Heard it hundreds of times from clients. The majority of today’s modern woman has taken more control, but the thousands in Texas who live a poverty line: more suffering, pain, pregnancies.
A woman has the right to have kids when she wants them. To have a life and develop her own talents, abilities. If she wants a big family, fine. Her choice.
Famed scientist Nikola Tesla (mid-1800s) spoke of women coming into their own in decades ahead. Claimed we had a different mind, looked at issues differently.
Bravo! They have! Anchorwomen, writers, space scientists, surgeons, mathematical geniuses, pharmacists, doctors, novelists, reporters, psychiatrists, pilots and more. I admire every one of them.
No one knows the mind of God. Sadly, men have believed they did. Thank heaven women have come into their own. In Texas, will they be able to, with the Dark Ages upon them?
Questions and answers
Psychological “projection” refers to unconsciously taking unwanted emotions or traits you don’t like about yourself and attributing them to someone else. After reading Neil Jarmel’s “You can’t fix stupid” in which he called me dishonest and stupid and offered other criticisms (described by Mr. Jarmel as “charitable”) the word projection came to mind. For this reason, I thought the best response to Mr. Jarmel’s letter would be the juvenile “I know you are, but what am I?” However, after some deliberation, I decided to throw caution to the wind and let former POTUS Donald J. Trump have the final word.
Bob Dylan wrote a song in which he dreamt he saw Saint Augustine. Coincidentally, I dreamt I saw a hostile Neil Jarmel joined by the Mr. Jarmel sympathizer and soon-to-be HV1 subscription-free Meyer Rothberg, taking turns asking former POTUS Trump what he’s been up to since he left office. In the dream, they both were, alternately, talk-singing the insult-laden questions (in the manner of Mr. Dylan) to a tune that sounded (eerily) like “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” Because of the foreboding nature of the things he heard and saw, former POTUS Trump, also in Dylan style, ignored their insults and simply answered the questions. The following is that dream:
Oh, where have you been, my horrible son?
And what have you seen, my twice-impeached one?
I’ve been viewing the land since I left the big office
I’ve been listening to those who said they could lead us
I saw an old man walk up the stairs of a big plane
And he fell three times, for a strong wind was blowin’
I saw a governor, once proudly hailed by the people,
Standing up before those who asked him hard questions
He denied doing wrong, but 11 women exposed him
We need faith, we need hope, we need truth, we need love
Or hard times…they will come
Oh, where have you been, my Putin-trained son?
And what have you heard, my white privileged one?
I heard those who once claimed a virus was natural
Being forced to admit that some men may have caused it
I heard many declare “Vaccines must be forced on the people”
While those surging our borders are too often untested
For border laws were changed, but the press stays so silent
I saw teachers alarmed, though vaccines they have taken
And our children are told to wear masks in their classrooms
We need faith, we need hope, we need truth, we need love
Or strong foundations…will be shaken
Oh, where have you been, my Twitter-banned son?
And what have you seen, my Proud Boy white one?
I’ve walked city streets where murder is common
And the color is black of the ones being buried
And the ones killed by cops are deemed important
While those killed by others matter only to loved ones
I heard many say “Justice must flow like a river”
But where truth is unheard, there are no rushing waters
I heard wisdom cry out, but its voice was unheeded
Let us pray and let us pray, let us pray, work and pray
Or evil times…will prevail
Oh, where have you been, my immoral son?
And what have you seen, my twice-impeached one?
I’ve been travelin’ the land to learn from the people
I’ve been watching all those chosen to lead us
I saw an airport flooded with desperate people
They were seeking to go to a place of true safety
For a war that they were fighting was suddenly ended
And the army they helped was gone from the battle
And this people once loved felt seduced and abandoned
Without faith, without hope, without truth bringing change
A proud nation…surely will fall
Oh, where have you been, my Russian-ruled son?
And what have you seen, my misogynist one?
I’ve seen corruption prevail when what’s vile is honored
And false freedom become a license for evil
I’ve seen the words of true prophets lightly regarded
Where those speaking folly are thought to be noble
And those who are scoundrels are highly respected
I saw the serpent unhindered where there is no virtue
And the light in the land being dimmed by deep darkness
Seek the truth, find the truth, learn the truth, live the truth
Or nighttime…it will come
Donate to the Library Fair
The 64th Elting Memorial Library Book Fair will take place on October 2 in New Paltz.
One of the most popular booths at the fair (at least for the children) is the toy booth. The Library is now accepting donations for toys that are clean and gently loved. Toys can be delivered to the Steinberg Reading Room (just to your right when you walk into the Library). Deadline for toy contributions is September 28.
Making plastic blocks a bad idea
I was dismayed to learn that the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency is thinking of manufacturing plastic blocks. In my opinion, this would be a very poor idea. Plastic blocks are not indestructible, but over time break down into microplastic particles, which leach into the soil and eventually end up in the digestive tracts of living beings – including us. If – Heaven forbid – they catch fire, they emit a cocktail of dioxins and other deadly gases. I sure wouldn’t want to live anywhere near a house built with them, let alone live in one myself.
At best, these blocks put off the price of plastics proliferation for a little while: a Devil’s bargain which, down the line, we would pay with interest, just as – with horrific fires and floods – awe are now paying with interest the price of industrial myopia, which dismissed climate change as nothing to worry about in the near term.
And to make these blocks, we would have to put up with an industrial smokestack to vomit into the air the effluent resulting from heating the steam et cetera. The company marketing these machines claims that “the production process has 41 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than needed to produce concrete blocks,” which would leave us with a worrisome 59 percent. Do we really want to add a smokestack industry to the Town of Ulster – or anywhere, for that matter?
Yes, the money might be nice to have – a thought that doubtless crossed the minds of the Kingston Water Authority, which contemplated selling off the water in Cooper Lake. Thankfully, public opposition defeated that idea.
I urge your readers to oppose the manufacture of plastic blocks in the Town of Ulster.
Learn about Hurley Dem candidates
Meet the Democratic candidates for Town of Hurley offices on the Hurley Dems’ new website and YouTube Channel. For information about all the candidates and videos with Melinda McKnight, Jana Martin and Mike Boms, go to hurleydems.com for the website and to the Hurley Dems Channel on YouTube for all the videos.
To learn more about Melinda McKnight, our Democratic candidate for supervisor, read the recent article “7 Locals Tackling New York’s Toughest Climate Problems,” by Lissa Harris, online in The River Newsroom at https://therivernewsroom.com/seven-locals-tackling-new-yorks-toughest-climate-problems.
Want to help elect Melinda and the Democratic candidates in Hurley? E-mail to email@example.com.
Village zoning amendment
In his letter to the paper last week, New Paltz Mayor Rogers proposes amending the downtown Village code from the current limit of “3 stories or 35 feet” to allow 40 ft. high buildings with peaked roofs.
The core of the Village of New Paltz was built in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. This is what gives the Village its attractive character, and it is to our advantage to try and preserve this character in the central Village area. I suggest that it is not in the Village’s interest to make code changes, which make it easier for developers to build large, incongruous buildings, which detract from the Victorian/Edwardian character of the Village center.
If, on reading the current downtown code limit, “3 stories or 35 feet,” you think that this helps to give the character of our downtown is some protection, you would be mistaken.
The current code wording, “3 stories or 35 feet,” is ambiguous. As a result, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, property developers have built at least three four-story buildings downtown. These buildings are not obvious when you stand on the sidewalk downtown, but if you stand near the Post Office, west of the Post Office driveway and look up Main Street, they become glaringly obvious and unattractive.
The Mayor’s proposal will make the situation worse, not better. Under the current Village code, developers are able to build four-story buildings downtown. Under the Mayor’s proposal, they will be able to build five-story buildings.
To protect its Victorian/Edwardian character, which makes the Village an attractive place to be, the code does need to be changed. Instead of the current code wording, “3 stories or 35 feet,” it would be preferable to say, “3 stories, not to exceed 35 feet.” It would also be beneficial to require that the exterior design of all new construction and/or substantial renovation shall emulate the appearance of Victorian/Edwardian mercantile architecture.
It is in the Village’s interest to protect the historic character of our downtown, and to use the NBR district to accommodate more dense development.