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.
OMG – no sooner do I pen (and have published) a response to a misinformed letter against Israel that another one appears (and in the same issue, 9/1).
I would hope that Robert Gelbach (and his fellow “Big Lie” anti-Israel compatriots) were taught a few facts when they possibly saw representative Antonio Delgado on 9/4. The Big Lie that Gelbach pushes in his letter is that Israel is abusing Palestinian children!
My answer, and I hope Representative Delgado’s was as well, is: No government abuses Palestinian children more than Hamas – their own elected, internationally recognized terrorist organization. Mr. Gelbach (et al), get it through your heads: No decent/caring government puts bombs and munitions where their citizens (especially children) live and go to school. Hamas does.
No decent government incites, glorifies and rewards terrorism, which prompts teenagers to try to carry out terror attacks against Israelis. The Palestinian Hamas government does.
No government violates a Convention that was signed in April 2014, which states (in article 38), “Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.” Not only do the Palestinians not honor that Convention, but consistently put young children in harm’s way by encouraging them to be terrorists.
And then when Hamas, the internationally recognized terrorist organization, sends firebombs (incendiary balloons launched from Gaza) to Israel, thereby intentionally provoking a deserved Israeli response to this terrorism, they cry “Foul,” thereby firing up the anti-Israel US progressives to further aid and abet terrorism.
Water fund debt
On September 8, the New Paltz Village Board voted in support of refinancing one of its two 20-year serial bonds while interest rates are low to save approximately $30,000 in our municipal water fund. These serial bonds were used to fund two different capital projects.
ONE: In September 2006, we borrowed $2.2 million for new customer water meters throughout the system and a 1.5-million-gallon water tank up near Cherry Hill. The lender was Wachovia Securities and the rate was 4.14%. We anticipate refinancing the remaining $755,000 balance at today’s lower rates. Including all fees and expenses we anticipate borrowing at about 1.15% and paying it all back within five years. This refinance would save the Village’s water fund approximately $30,000 over five years.
TWO: More recently in April 2019, we borrowed: $385 million to replace the water filtration unit in the plant at Mountain Rest Road. Month-to-date through September 12th we have averaged using 753,000 gallons of water per day for our homes, businesses and schools. Robert W. Baird & Co. lent us the funds for 20 years at 2.74%. This bond cannot be called or redeemed until after the ninth year from its issuance. We have to wait until 90 days before its call date in April 2028. Then we can see if market conditions are favorable and whether it would make sense to refinance.
Mayor Tim Rogers
Telling a story
It took me years to hear the harmonies in Rembrandt.
The true damages of war
Wars do not end – ever. Decades after the last Vietnam veteran left the jungles there, many have died or are battling the growing list of medical conditions linked to Agent Orange exposure. Our government only reluctantly – and kicking and screaming – began to recognize the “collateral” damage of its extensive spraying of a toxic chemical, which even then was known to cause cancer, as well as other illnesses.
The VA has recently added to the list of Agent Orange conditions, to now include bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinsonism, a precursor to Parkinson’s disease. For more information contact your local VA Service Agency rep, or va.gov/disability/howtofile a claim.
Agent Orange is only a part of the story about the aftereffects of war that plague our veterans. Vets from the subsequent wars also face medical issues from toxic exposures, as well as the PTSD that is inherent from facing the horrors of war.
Please do not forget the true damages from war.
Jo Galante Cicale
Acknowledging the efforts of Mike Katz
The effort to maintain important community services is a difficult one, particularly in these critical times. Family of Woodstock, Inc. provides numerous services to the community, including providing transitional living services to homeless adolescents who are without family support.
I am very pleased to report that a community group, headed by Mike Katz, sponsored a very successful golf tournament to benefit our transitional living programs. Together with his sister Dana, and Jess Robie from Family’s Board of Directors, the event was able to raise over $13,000 and a wonderful time was had by all.
While programs like the transitional living program are critical, they are not fully funded by our government, and they require community support to be substantial and comprehensive enough to help young adults gain the skills that they need and become valued members of our community.
We want to thank Mike, Dana and Jess for providing an enjoyable way for the community to contribute to such a valuable program.
Michael Berg, Executive Director
Family of Woodstock, Inc.
Save the Lakes
In 2007, members of Hudson River Valley Resort (HRVR), the corporation who bought the Williams Lake property, sat in my backyard in Rosendale and attempted to sell their elaborate corporate plans of a new hotel, condominiums and several high-end private homes to members of Save the Lakes, a grassroots activist organization. We were skeptical of their development plans and questioned the impact on local communities. When it was obvious to HRVR that we were not going to budge from our resistance to their massive project, the CEO at the time said, “It’s all right; we will make this development happen within a year, with or without Save the Lakes.” We answered, “Don’t underestimate community grassroots power.”
How naïve and how little did HRVR know at that time. Now, 15 years later, they have an infrastructure built to a hotel, condominiums and homes that still do not exist. What happened? Besides holding HRVR to the regulations of the Environmental Impact Statement and making sure that HRVR carried out in detail the State Environmental Quality Review, Save the Lakes fought for development alternatives and tried to provide affordable public access to locals and the surrounding communities. This was not an easy task, and it took years of research, creating numerous public forums, attending Town of Rosendale board meetings and keeping the local communities informed.
Fifteen years ago, HRVR promised the local communities jobs, new fire engines, more police vigilance and a thriving Rosendale Main Street from the influx of the wealthy residents of their planned gated Williams Lake Resort. As the Rosendale local government believed and hung on every word promised by HRVR, none of this happened. In fact, two years ago, I attended a Rosendale Town Board meeting where HRVR changed their original plans from building a hotel first, which could have created local jobs, to building the high-end homes first. Why? To jump on the increasing housing market in the Hudson Valley. No one except the local real estate would benefit from this change, and yet it was approved.
For 12 years, except for a few planned activities, the Williams Lake property sat empty and was closed to public swimming access; HRVR touted an insurance liability while they did construction work. What construction work? Why not have an affordable membership beach access while wading through planning, bureaucracy, financial concerns and now COVID?
If it wasn’t for Save the Lakes, who held HRVR to environmental regulations, who tried to keep at least some of the project viable for local residents, like affordable housing and affordable local access to the property, this area could have seen a corporation creating an environmental disaster while building a gated playground for the wealthy. Save the Lakes was an important example of a grassroots organization essential for the empowerment of local residents to fight for the future of their communities.
As for me, I am still holding out a hope that when the Williams Lake project is complete, the local community will not be excluded from swimming in the pristine Williams Lake – a lake which many of us had access to 15 years ago.
Margarita Meyendorff (Mourka)
Only $20 more added to your taxes: How many times have you heard that whenever the town wants to borrow money? How much money have those “onlys” added up to over the years?
The proposed Comeau building project consists in equipping and renovating the 2,400-square-foot Comeau building and the 800-square-foot supervisor’s cottage and constructing a new 2,000-square-foot office building. According to the online commercial building construction cost estimator Levelset, using figures from New York City, the cost to build a single-story commercial office building on the high end is $361 per square foot and on the low end $301 per square foot. According to the Design Build Construction Company Build It, the average cost of renovating a building falls in the range of $200 a square foot.
Based on these figures (and especially if the supervisor’s office is incorporated into the new addition), it seems that the $2 million the Town already has allocated could be used to finance the project without increasing our taxes.
The Supreme Court declined not to block a recently-signed-into Texas law, which is the nation’s strictest abortion measure: banning the procedure as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. It also allows no exception on rape or incest. This new Texas Handmaid’s Tale anti-abortion law also incentivizes a $10,000 penalty for citizen bounty-hunters to make oodles of money. A vigilante system seems so un-American, doesn’t it?
What the SCOTUS did (by not doing anything) was take a 50-year precedent that is Roe v. Wade, and a 30-year precedent of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and allow or reignite a national debate over abortion. It also basically granted people who have been terrorizing women at abortion clinics for decades to become a vigilante mob of bounty-hunters. It puts the power in the hands of these people and forfeits the responsibility of prudent government. This shouldn’t be acceptable anywhere in the USA; it looks KKKlanish!
What just happened in Texas leaves me speechless. Texans are hunting each other. State-sanctioned whistleblowers, totally legal bounty-hunting. I’m speechless. I know that each person will experience this Texas nightmare differently in reality, yet it’s a nightmare for all of us – it is inhuman and cruel. Turning in your neighbors for money is full-blown Nazi (seemingly not in this GOP fascists state) with a hint of Judas.
What is Texas doing for the unwanted children and their mothers who can’t afford to take care of a child for 20 years? Seems that they’re just “pro-total control” over women and proving, once again, they don’t really care about children or women. Yup, they couldn’t care less. So sick of the Republican Taliban!
These are the same Republican voters who are saying they don’t want to be controlled by the government; well, what do you call this? These are people who claim they love all children and don’t do jack to help the children out here that are in need. But yet they want to call the shots and force women to carry a child they don’t want, even if they’ve been raped.
Just maybe, we need to pass a Woman’s Heartbeat Law: If a woman has a heartbeat, you can’t tell her what to do with her body, ever!
This Texas law, one of the nation’s most restrictive, has it all figured out on how to f#ck over every woman. And now other right-wing extremist governors are going to use this egregious law for copycat measures in their states. It should always be a woman’s choice, dammit!
We need to rise up and knock this law down – not only for the ramifications across the country but also for the individual lives across the board in which women are going to be denied a safe abortion. The majority of people/women have openly stated and believe in being able to make their own decisions about health, body and sexual life. It needs to be a basic human right.
Topic of Cancer Support Group
I am writing this letter as a cancer survivor of 25 years because I was truly offended by your article concerning the Topic of Cancer support group in Woodstock. I am always enthused about any group which helps those who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis and the subsequent treatments. However, I was taken aback by the negativity expressed in this article, specifically about the Oncology Support Program offered through HealthAlliance.
As I previously stated, I am a 25-year survivor, and I have participated in numerous support groups sponsored by the Oncology Support Program, previously programs offered by Benedictine Hospital. Although I had previously attended other support groups in the area, none could compare to what I found at Benedictine. I can say that from the first time I contacted Barbara Sarah, the founder of the Oncology Support Program, I felt loved and supported. After 25 years, I still have the friendship and support of Barbara and others whom I met in that program all those years ago. I still remain on the mailing list and participate in programs of interest to this day. This was/is a group which encourages people to live their best life even as they are contending with this difficult diagnosis.
I was especially taken aback by the portrayal of the program as some kind of religious group which does not welcome those of all backgrounds. I can honestly say that I have never attended a support group which indicated any religious affiliation, even when the program was run by Benedictine, a Roman Catholic hospital. I think that this kind of mischaracterization is dangerous and actually has the effect of turning people away from a program which can possibly be the most important aspect in a person’s healing. This kind of negativity would seem to be the opposite of supportive and in direct opposition to the stated intentions of this newly formed support group.
I wish these fellow survivors well in their new endeavor, but I would sincerely hope that your paper would be more cautions and confirm the information given by someone being interviewed for an article. Consider the effect that this negativity can have on someone who is already dealing with a difficult life situation. Perhaps an apology is in order and a retraction of the incorrect information supplied by your publication. In fact, perhaps a follow-up article would be in order, which would detail the many programs and support groups which are available in Kingston and throughout the Hudson Valley.
Lydia Anne Binotto
“Coping with the Big C: misinformation
This letter refers to the article “Coping with the Big C,” written by Frances Marion Platt in the September 3 edition.
It was very encouraging to hear that the new cancer support group Topic of Cancer was starting up in Woodstock. Having to deal with the trauma and turmoil of the diagnosis and the treatment is difficult enough, so the presence of a group that will support the emotional effects is very welcome.
However, this wasn’t an article just about the formation and presence of a new group or model. In addition to the welcoming of this group, it also made maligning statements about the Oncology Support Program at HealthAlliance. The article might have the effect of steering patients in the community away from a program not founded on a medical model, but one that focuses on positivity and creativity and one that offers an eclectic approach to support. The article does a total disservice to both the program and a community that is in need of services in an area where services are few and far between. How many people will not seek the services offered because of the statements made in the article? The article describes the support groups as “religiously oriented,” with “meetings bookended with deity-specific prayers and punctuated by New Testament readings.”
The special thing about the Oncology Support Program is that many of the groups offer a way through the emotional upheaval via the creative arts, which evoke feelings, solace and solutions in a unique way. As a creative arts therapist myself, I provided both dance and writing groups in the past. I know some people who currently provide groups, and I know the founder. Based on past and present experience, I was shocked to hear the claims that were made.
I am curious about one thing: Was this “accusation” discussed with the director of OSP before writing the article? There is no indication that OSP had an opportunity to correct the misinformation. Was there any fact-checking done? Surely, a good reporter knows it’s good practice to get the opinion or view of both sides in order to write a balanced article. I do not see any balance here.
I would be curious to hear what the director has to say. Will we hear about that discussion?
I wish the new group well. I am sure they are going to be received well and will add a much-needed texture to cancer recovery.
Arzi McKeown, MA, MS
Question of the day
President Biden again ended a speech saying they said, “I’m supposed to stop and walk out of the room.” To copy Edmund O’Brien in The Wild Bunch, “Who in the hell is they?” We have a president who does a poor job reading speeches someone else wrote, losing his place, mumbling and stumbling. If he takes questions he has a list of reporters, with pictures and the order to call them, so the answers to the preselected questions, also written by someone else. I have one question to all those who still maintain Biden is physically and mentally fit to be president: If you called for a ride and the car pulled up and Joe Biden was driving, would you get in?
Thank you to a few special individuals
I wanted to take the time to recognize two individuals within our community who, over the past few weeks, have given back to the community in their own little ways.
I first want to take the time to thank Saugerties Town Board member Michael Ivino and the young gentleman that was with him, bright and early the other morning. Both were on 212 in Saugerties, hanging American flags and flags for our armed forces. It was refreshing to see a sign of patriotism after losing 13 beautiful souls to a horrific attack in Afghanistan.
Secondly, I want to thank Matthew Russell and the members of VFW Post 5034 for hosting a barbecue, giving back to the community, despite all they have already given to us through their military service. It was a well-planned event, complete with food, drinks and great entertainment, with many in attendance.
Thank you to these individuals who have shown great pride in not only their community, but in their country and those who serve it in the armed forces.
Remembering 9/11 events
Three commercial jet planes hijacked by Saudi Arabians were flown into the World Trade Center complex (WTC) and the Pentagon, somehow evading a multi-billion-dollar air defense system. Vice president Dick Cheney gives a stand-down order to the military, according to Department of Transportation, Vincent Minetta. No US military planes are sent up to intervene at the Pentagon after the WTC towers were hit, even with an hour’s notice and with two combat squadrons available ten miles away at Andrew Air Force base.
Three thousand-plus innocent people were horrifically murdered at the WTC complex. Fifteen damaged floors purportedly crushed 95 undamaged floors in less than 12 seconds when no steel-framed buildings in the history of the world have ever collapsed due to fires. Even though jet fuel, a/k/a refined kerosene, cannot melt steel, molten steel was found in the basement of each of the collapsed WTC buildings (#1, #2, #7) and stayed molten under pools of New York City firefighters’ water for almost three months.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) admits they never investigated for explosions at Ground Zero, even though 500 firefighters, police and rescue first responders reported seeing/hearing explosions and huge plumes of dust consistent with controlled demolition. Nine scientists collect multiple samples of Ground Zero dust and analyze it in the lab and conclude active and inactive residues of classified military-grade nano-thermite incendiary/explosive is observed in the dust samples, and analysis is published in a 2011 peer-reviewed journal that is unchallenged to this day (www2.ae911truth.org/downloads/Full_Thermite_paper.pdf).
Rudy Giuliani seals all the first-responder testimonies from public scrutiny. No investigation for 500 days, till the 9/11 victims’ families pressured Congress. Tom Daschle, majority whip for the Democratic Party, reports Dick Cheney called him three times to attempt to stop the 911 Commission investigation from being activated. The 911 Commission formed anyway. George Bush and Dick Cheney refused to testify unless in the room together; no recording or anything written down, and no taking of an oath, swearing to tell the truth.
Larry Silverstein, a George Bush crony and WTC leaseholder, walks away with $5 billion in cash from an insurance policy he took out on the WTC only six weeks earlier. Larry Silverstein and his whole family are unusually absent from the WTC complex on 9/11 and never questioned by the 911 Commission. The forgotten dead cry out for justice.
Donations being accepted for Elting Library fair October 2
The 64th Elting Memorial Library Book Fair will take place on October 2 beginning at 9 a.m. on the corner of Front and Church Street in New Paltz. The library is now accepting donations for toys that are clean and gently loved. Toy donations 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.
Friends of the Saugerties Library expands membership
A huge thank you to our Saugerties community for responding to the Friends of the Saugerties Library recent membership drive.
We carried all memberships over last year, opting to not conduct a 2020 membership drive, recognizing the difficulties of navigating through the pandemic. This year we offered the option of paying our membership fee, making a donation or continuing to have memberships, once again, carried over.
We are deeply touched by the outpouring of support, which led to a near-doubling of members and generous donations. However, being Saugertiesians, we are not surprised by the generosity of a community which banned together these trying months.
The Friends of the Saugerties Public Library is a volunteer group which raises funds to assist with programs offered by the library, free passes to area museums, computer upgrades and a $1,000 annual scholarship to a graduating Saugerties High School student.
The Friends are seeking new friends to their very friendly and welcoming group. Volunteer participation is always welcomed, but becoming a supporter is equally important. Click on the Friends tab at the Library’s website for information or a membership application.
And once again, thank you to one and all for your support.
Ray Rebholz & Jen Kavanagh, Co-presidents
Friends of the Saugerties Library
Did 911 awaken?
My dear friend wrote me on 9/11. He said he knew that I use my voice to highlight politicians’ reasons for going to war, mainly greed and power, not morality. He went on to say the military complex has its own addiction to power and the “war mind.” He said that politicians get voted out, but the Pentagon’s infrastructure outlasts them all. Below is my reply.
My perspective of the military got welded into me as an enlisted man. During the Vietnam War, I had little compassion for officers carrying generals’ orders listing the enemy and US soldiers to be killed in the next war maneuver. Who and how Americans and their enemies were killed is the military lifers’ decision. The military complex enculturates generals, educating them to perform the primary goal of our military, kill the enemy. Generals influence politicians. Politicians manipulate generals and common folk pay with their lives. The Pentagon, CIA, FBI, and Home Land Security hold every GI’s soul in their hands. No president can easily confront a five-star general who has spent his 30-year military career looking through the monocular of war.
My eyes read the compass I was given as a private in the Marine Corps. My reflex to point at the ones wearing the political mask started in my working-class family. In my life, I’ve seen the US in one kind of war or another since my return from Vietnam. Today, as my life travels towards closure, the fog is clearing. I see big-brained brilliant humans having become a pandemic that’s killing themselves and every living thing on the earth. We’ve made our egos into God. We talk a lot about the dangers affecting all things alive, and what is needed to make change is love, kindness and compassion in our community and country. Yet I see minuscule actions taking place. There is no evidence our nation wants to follow the true north compass needle that points directly at our souls, where moral actions are birthed. Few look inside while most of us remain childlike, looking for mommy or daddy, which transforms into looking to the government to make a change so we can listen to our egos, who tell us to go in any direction that takes the least work and feels good.
I say 911 could have been an awakening, so could the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Neither proved to be. What these wars did was funnel to our enemies billions of dollars worth of weapons now available in any newborn’s lifetime.
All this protection and I don’t feel any safer than I did on the battlefields in Nam.
COVID brings us another chance to awaken. COVID likes human lungs, but it loves human egos even more. Why? Because human egos help spread COVID to the unvaccinated and unmasked. COVID believes the human ego will never put others first.