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.
This week’s issue is the last issue in which letters criticizing a candidate on the ballot in the November 2 election will be printed, so as to allow for a response. If space allows, letters endorsing a candidate which contain no criticism of his or her opponent will be accepted for publication in the October 27 issue. All letters should be fewer than 500 words and be submitted by 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Although Hudson Valley One does not specifically limit the number of letters a reader can submit per month, the publication of letters written by frequent correspondents may be delayed to make room for less-often-heard voices.
— Deb Alexsa, Editor
Woodstock tree planting
To celebrate five years as a Tree City, Woodstock was awarded a small grant to plant three hardwood future shade trees. One is located near the entrance to Mountain View parking lot and two are in front of the Overlook Bakery on Tinker Street to replace a large tree that had died. Many thanks from the Woodstock Tree Committee to all who helped make this happen.
Michael Veitch, Chair
Woodstock Tree Committee
Only once in decades does a Town have the chance to provide a new addition to a historic building presently used for Town offices. Such is the case with the Town of Woodstock, the ‘Colony of the Arts’. The existing Dutch Revival office building on the Comeau Easement, formerly the Eames home, is a prime candidate for a NY State historic registry (SHPO) grant and possibly the Federal Registry. What could be a better place for civic design?
Our Town badly needs improved office spaces on one accessible level. The existing building is in process for a possible historic preservation/restoration grant which could save the Town significant expense. The dilemma we face is a proposal about to be placed on the November 2 ballot for a $1M bond: building improvements, cottage renovations and a new addition as an ‘L shaped’ plan with incompatible shed roof forms adjacent to, and one that would crowd the existing historic two-story building. Total estimated cost: $2.99M including $1.99M from Town reserve.
The proposed design of this addition will jeopardize such a grant. Any addition should be approved by SHPO prior to any bond vote. What’s being proposed is a banal, warehouse looking addition resembling a storage building with an interior access link only through the Great Meeting room. Whatever happened to civic presence and pride in architecture ? The plans and model are at the Supervisor’s office and I urge all voters to see them. Vote NO on the November 2 bond.
David Ekroth, Architect
Sidelined by new campground law
Gardiner Town Board inaction regarding the unpermitted operation of Camilla Bradley’s Awosting “Club” glamping has been prolonged, secretive and disturbing. The Gardiner Planning Board and Environmental Conservation Commission are both sidelined by the new Campground Law. It delegates campground permitting to the authority of the Town Board, which has betrayed its commitment to the people of Gardiner by not enforcing regulations. It has also ignored its responsibility to steward the most valuable and vulnerable terrain within its boundaries by turning a blind eye to the possibility of environmental damage to the Shawangunk Ridge. The question is why.
Friends of the Shawangunks (FOS) has politely and frequently expressed its concerns to the Town Board throughout the past year. During this time, the Awosting Club has proceeded with construction and extravagant commercial operation, profiting from glampers paying $325/night to stay in large geodesic domes with outhouses, constructed in potentially illegal proximity to the highly protected Palmaghatt Stream. They have done so without submitting any permit applications – violating clear requirements with impunity, but seemingly without consequence.
Supervisor Majestic’s oft-promised but never-provided legal review of the Awosting Club situation by the town attorney remains a mystery. A FOIL request by FOS to the Town Board produced many pages of totally redacted correspondence within the Town Board dating back to March 2, 2021. There was apparently a lot to say, but what? The Gardiner Town Board, nevertheless, repeatedly congratulates itself on transparency, In the absence of facts, we are left with questions. Is Ridge ecology and the fragile Palmaghatt stream and corridor being harmed? Are meaningful fines and/or an enforced shutdown of Awosting Club operations under consideration? What will it take to compel the submission of legally required permit applications and a site plan review by the Planning Board and ECC, as required for construction done in Ridge Zones 2 and 3?
And why has this been allowed to go on, with no action by the Town Board, for so…very…long?
President, Friends of the Shawangunks
Preserving the natural beauty of Comeau
For those who love to walk or use the Comeau property in Woodstock, we need your help. The trails have been eroding and need constant monitoring and maintenance. The property is being used more and more by walkers both local and from out of town. It’s a beautiful outing for day trippers, dog walkers and nature lovers, but it has taken a toll. The roots are coming up above ground and easily tripped over. The bank along the Esopus Stream is breaking down from heavy walking traffic causing trees to fall and infringing on the lower trail. The drainage pipes are being uncovered and clogged causing mud, puddles and run offs. The trails need to be refurbished twice a year, spring and fall with stone and wood chips. It also needs to be monitored weekly. It takes time and effort. CSAC, the stewards of the property cannot do it alone. We need volunteers to help accomplish this. If you use the trails or just love the area please help by volunteering to help achieve those goals. It would be greatly appreciated.
Paula Miller CSAC member
Hey Hurley, what do you call it?
I’m still waiting to hear if the Hurley Republican candidates approve Trump’s Big Lie. Their silence is very loud.
Some say I shouldn’t talk about lies and liars in local elections. Well, what should I say when I see something like this on the Hurley Republican’s website? “Pat Garraghan had initially tried to run in the primary against the current Democrat (sic) candidate, but this was not allowed.” Since none of the major political parties in Hurley hold a primary to choose candidates, this claim is not true.
In Hurley, the parties nominate their candidates at a caucus. The Hurley Democratic caucus was open to all registered Democrats to offer a nomination. The person nominated does NOT have to be a party member. I was at the caucus. No one offered the Republican candidate’s name for any office.
Since there was no Democratic primary, why would the Republicans claim there was? And what should I call this statement? A Mistake? Untrue? Misinformation? Distraction? A Falsehood? A Trick? Ignorance? Fantasy? Magical thinking? Mischaracterization? Prevarication? Nonsense? Simply embarrassing? Is there a better word?
Does it matter if voters know the truth?
What should I say about this Republican posting? “The diversity of our Boards and Committees is further limited by having the friends and family members of current Democrat (sic) candidates placed in strategic positions on Town Boards and Committees.”
Apparently none of the Republican Town Board candidates have served on Hurley volunteer boards. Is this why they don’t know that volunteers are nominated by the supervisor?
Town of Hurley supervisors have all been Republicans for most of the past four decades. Were the volunteers all Republican political appointees? Why are the Republicans demeaning current and former board members? Should I ignore this post? What do I call it? A Mistake? A Falsity? Embarrassing? Awkward? Strained? Cognitive malfunction? Malignant misinformation? Willful ignorance? Is there a better word?
Does the mindset of a town supervisor matter when they take office? Does it matter what their business principles are, or what their respect for the truth is? How about their actions in the face of the carbon-driven climate crisis affecting us all? Does it matter if Hurley candidates walk the walk every day instead of just talk the talk? Does it matter if voters know any of this about the candidates?
While touting his business experience on their website, the Republican candidate for supervisor hides the important news that he’s an executive with one of the largest fossil fuel distributors in the Northeast. Is there a word for this?
In contrast, Melinda McKnight, the Democratic candidate, has spent ten years helping businesses and homeowners take conservation measures that reduce fossil fuel use, lower their carbon pollution output and save money. Melinda’s a genuine climate champion.
In the privacy of your voting booth, one word matters: Truth.
Vote for Hurley Democrats on Row A. Learn more at hurleydems.com. Early voting starts October 23. Election day is Tuesday, November 2.
We don’t need no stinkin’ ballots (all credit to the Magnificent Seven). Just wait until you see the Moscow edition of our ballot for the upcoming, so-called election. I got mine, being an absentee voter.
We are a one-party town, county and state. Lots of blank white boxes on this ballot. But do be sure to turn it over. You get to vote on if you want clean air and clean water!
Back before Newsweek (it was a news magazine) did a feature on our then “cooling planet,” we had an actual problem with dirty air. The word ‘particulates’ was as popular as ‘climate change’. In fact, we were all breathing in and keeping inside our lungs tiny particles of soot from wood fires (all the rage), dirty diesel from mostly trucks and Loop buses and (gulp) cars. We do now have vastly improved air, so this vote should go the way the legislators want and justify more spending on something. The air is very clean. Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is also the single most important plant food on the planet. It is not a particulate. Please do not stop breathing: I like my veggies.
Save Comeau again
A bond initiative on the Woodstock November ballot is more than meets the eye. What looks like a million-dollar bond for Town office renovations and new building is actually an assault on Woodstock’s past and stops forever preserving a historic property for future generations. The Comeau House, also known as the Eames House, has been in the Town’s stewardship since 1983 when it was deeded to the Town by Martin Comeau in his will. Town offices have been housed in the building since then, and there are now plans to alter it forever with an ultramodern addition that has received a considerable amount of criticism from the Woodstock Civic Design Commission and others.
Historic preservation has held a very prominent place in New York State and, together with the federal programs, provides millions of dollars to preserve and protect places of historic significance. The Comeau House appears to be just such a place worth protecting and preserving. Designed by nationally recognized architect Frank E. Wallis for an artist friend in Woodstock, it was built in 1910 in an early example of the Dutch Revival style. Wallis was a noted expert on Colonial architecture and many of his creations, including In the Oaks in North Carolina, are in the National Historic Register.
The Comeau House is a prime candidate for consideration for the Register, to join the Byrdcliffe Colony that Alf Evers successfully had registered in 1976. Most of the original interior and exterior are intact. Once designated for inclusion in the registry, the Town becomes eligible for matching grants to cover the significant cost of renovations, maintenance and preservation. The Town also benefits from being part of a national movement to protect our historic places and buildings for future generations.
The new Town office building design will “with 100 percent certainty” end any chance the Town has of placing the Comeau House in the National Historic Register, according to New York State preservation experts. Why the benefits of historic designation were never explored on this project is a question for the supervisor, his architects and the Town Board. My phone calls and e-mails to the State Historic Preservation about this property were apparently the first they have received, and that is simply not right. They would be thrilled to come down and do an historic evaluation if asked.
Stories abound of lost opportunities to protect historic buildings, notably demolishing the old Penn Station in New York City or Trump’s blasting the carved façade of the Bonwit Teller Building. It’s not too late to act. Vote No on the bond issue and send the planners and Town officials back to the drawing board. Request a full state evaluation of the building for possible inclusion in the National Historic Register. Work with preservationists and the CCD, not ignore them, as this project team has done, for a much better resolution to this project.
Is plastic recycled?
A significant contributor to the Code Red global planet crisis, which has only recently been officialized as the state of our climate, is the mass production of plastic. There are many specific formulations for plastic being produced, but the most prevalent is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), as it is the most durable and lacks chemicals that are toxic. It is used for many of our common packaging (i.e., detergent bottles, to-go containers, plastic bags et cetera). Some of these packages are placed in recycling bins, but that does not assure that even they will in fact be recycled.
Most consumer items made of plastic are labeled on the bottom with a number, indicating both its chemical composition and recyclability. Only the numbers 1, 2 and 5 have the potential to be recycled, but even among those, just six percent actually undergo recycling. The remaining majority are transported to typically impoverished countries, to reside in and further pollute the underdeveloped sections of these countries. The residents within these communities, who barely appear on the global radar, are those whose living environments are the most polluted with plastic. In addition, much of the discarded plastic is eventually dragged onto foreign land by wind and tide.
To fully eliminate existing plastic at this point is impossible, but to proceed with an attainable course of action to counteract its continuing mass production, the required solution is an active and intentional avoidance/minimization of, and alternatives to, any potential plastic use.
Successful Longyear Farm Day
Woodstock Land Conservancy’s seventh (usually) annual Longyear Farm Day “funraiser” returned after its COVID-19 hiatus. We are grateful to Matt, Heather and Kathy Longyear and Mike and Meghann Reimondo for hosting our event at their beautiful Woodstock farm. Their commitment and love of this community is clear, and we appreciate their friends and family who support this beloved event.
Thanks to our generous local sponsors: Golden Pasture: Douglas & Katherine Tegen and Woodstock Chimes; Blue Grass Pasture: Boyer Sign Co., Emerson Resort & Spa, Garden Café and Houst Hardware; and Green Pasture: Lonergan & Lonergan, Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Paul Alexander Construction, Phoenicia Diner, Positive Feedback, Sunflower Market, Sunfrost Farms, Ulster Savings Bank and Woodstock Print Express. The following local businesses gave generously: Adams Fairacre Farms, Bread Alone and Provisions.
Thanks to our phenomenal exhibitors: supervisor Bill McKenna with his Apple Cider Press, Matt Helffrich and Laura Gust of Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program, Muriel Stallworth of Living Land Learn, Mike Reimondo Beekeeper, Lee Kalish of Positive Feedback, Ellen Kalish of Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, Woodstock Elementary School art teacher Roberta Ziemba and musician Julian Berman. Check out photos on our Facebook page.
To our extraordinary staff and team of volunteers who helped us bring this event to life, we thank you immensely.
For the past 33 years, Woodstock Land Conservancy has been part of the fabric of this community. Your support has helped us protect important natural resources, including scenic lands, significant habitats and their species, our watershed and our work supporting trails, including the Ashokan Rail Trail. And you’ve helped us provide robust nature programming year-round. We love your participation, and we invite you to join us at one of our gorgeous preserves. (See www.woodstocklandconservancy.org for more info.)
Program & outreach coordinator, Woodstock Land Conservancy
Changes to NYS Constitution
Even though the candidates are uncontested in our Village and Town of New Paltz, there are important propositions on the back of the ballot for our consideration. Proposal #1 is about reapportionment and redistricting. Proposal #1 freezes the number of New York State senators at 63, simplifies the approval process for new legislative districts, alters the redistricting calendar to align with election petitioning and primary dates and ensures that all New York State residents are counted in their correct residences.
Proposals #3 and #4 increase voter access. Proposal #3 eliminates the ten-day advance voter registration requirement and gives the State Legislature the ability to pass a statute for same-day voter registration; and Proposal #4 eliminates the need for an excuse when applying for an absent ballot. Proposal #3 and #4 have each passed both the New York State Senate and Assembly in two legislative sessions. Please vote for Proposal #1, 3, 4.
If you need further information, please review all the propositions at this link: Ulster County BOE Proposals on the Early Voting and November ballots (https://elections.ulstercountyny.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/list-of-props.pdf).
Election Reform Committee, Ulster Activists (U-ACT)
With garlic still on my breath
Words cannot truly express our appreciation for all of the volunteers who helped make the 2021 Hudson Valley Garlic Festival™ a success. During these difficult times, the Kiwanis Club of Saugerties made the decision in April to hold the Garlic Festival this year. After months of anticipation, our festival happened on October 2 and 3 and was a resounding success.
Our thanks go out to Saugerties High School Key Club, Boy Scout t\Troops 135 and 36, T\the Saugerties Reformed Church, Saugerties American Legion Post 72, Saugerties Elks Lodge #2574 and the dozens of local volunteers who helped with ticket sales, the souvenir stand and cleanup.
We would also like to thank the Town and Village of Saugerties, the Saugerties Police Department and the crew of the Saugerties Building and Grounds Department. We couldn’t do this without you!
Committee chair, Kiwanis Club of Saugerties
Hudson Valley Garlic Festival™
What’s in a name
It’s time we renamed the center of New York City “Womanhattan.”
Exaggerated, misleading & outright false statements
I read with interest Ken McCarthy’s letter “Facts & exaggerations about COVID” in this paper’s October 6 edition. He highlights some “exaggerated, misleading and in some cases outright false statements” (his words), after which he lists four such claims.
Taking, one example, his #4 counterclaim that “Mask-wearing as a way to prevent disease has long been discredited.” He cites research published in BMJ Open that, according to him, “before COVID hysteria, masks were known to: a) increase the chances of respiratory infections and b) be ineffective in blocking the particles that cause viruses.”
I read the cited article in detail; evidently Mr. McCarthy did not read it or, if he did, he chose to cite statements out of context to support his beliefs. In brief, the research compared disease incidence among a group of hospital personnel wearing either “medical” masks, a group wearing “cloth” masks or a control group. This is significant: The control group were not unmasked but were following their usual practice, which included mask-wearing, and mostly wore medical masks.
So, yes, the study does show that wearing a less-effective mask (the cloth mask) is not as effective in preventing disease as is wearing a more-effective mask (the medical mask). The control group was hardly a control group; they should have been unmasked if the goal was to determine which masks were more effective and if cloth masks were at all effective.
Two takeaways from all this are: 1) A better mask provides better protection against disease spread, and 2) check your sources, especially for information that goes counter to logic and the views of the majority of the scientific community.
I decided not to bother checking the validity of Mr. McCarthy’s three other claims, which also seem dubious. The spread of such misinformation is what keeps COVID spreading and morphing into new variants. Wear a mask, get vaccinated and get tested if you suspect you have COVID.
Candidates to support in Lloyd
On November 2, you will be asked to vote for supervisor and two Town councilmen for the Town of Lloyd.
I am supporting candidates who will be fiscally responsible; create a transparent government; support local law enforcement; retain and attract businesses; focus on balanced growth; maintain the rural feel and beauty of the area; is accessible; and has experience, leadership, commitment and integrity.
Please join me and vote for Dave Plavchak for supervisor and Leonard Auchmoody and John Fraino for councilmen.
Reelect Tracey Bartels
I am writing to urge my fellow citizens of Ulster County Legislative District 16 to vote to reelect our wonderful County legislator, Tracey Bartels. Tracey is one of the longest-serving legislators in the county and is a true leader whose experience is unmatched. As a member of legislative leadership, she has collaborated closely with County executive Patrick Ryan to formulate and execute an exceptionally effective response to the COVID crisis. Tracey is also an advocate for increasing the quality and quantity of County services while simultaneously keeping taxes low. And her main claim to fame, of course, is her relentless advocacy for a clean and safe environment.
In an age when partisan fights are commonplace, where the world is warming due to human activity and where pandemics and natural disasters hit us with increasing frequency, Tracey Bartels is the kind of proven leader we need representing us in Kingston.
Tracey is in a tough fight for reelection and needs every vote. If you were thinking about staying home on November 2, please reconsider. Go to the polls early (early voting starts on October 23 and these are the first votes counted) or vote on Election Day for Tracey Bartels.
Response to uncensored info from October 6 letter
A frequent letter-writer to this paper with a certain bias continues to peddle half-truths and downright misinformation regarding SARS-CoV-2. He listed a number of cherrypicked studies to bolster his case. I have cherrypicked my own and will let the reader determine which are more accurate.
1) This clarifies the use of the PCR test as a diagnostic tool: www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-pcr-idUSKBN24420X.
2) This paper emphasizes the correlation between mask-wearing and the reduction in spread of COVID: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249891.
3) Here is a recent study showing that vaccinated people are less likely to spread COVID: www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/vaccinated-people-are-less-likely-spread-covid-new-research-finds-n1280583.
4) Here is a recent article debunking the notion that more vaccinated Israelis are getting COVID than unvaccinated Israelis: www.statesman.com/story/news/politics/2021/10/07/more-vaccinated-israelis-getting-covid-than-unvaccinated-israelis/6024490001.
5) Regarding post-vaccine deaths, check out “Scary Reports of Deaths Following COVID-19 Vaccination Aren’t What They Seem:” www.muhealth.org/our-stories/scary-reports-deaths-following-covid-19-vaccination-arent-what-they-seem.
6) Regarding ivermectin, “As one ICU doctor put it: ‘We Brazilians had to learn in the hardest way that ivermectin didn’t work,’” from www.businessinsider.com/brazil-tragic-ivermectin-for-covid-frenzy-warning-to-us-experts-2021-9.
And, finally, regarding the fact that many nurses in New York City, but nowhere near as many as stated, were willing to be fired rather than get vaccinated, I can only assume that many of them got their vaccine (dis)information from some of the same sources as the writer of the letter. The problem is not with the vaccines, but rather with those who promulgate false and/or misleading information.
What is he hiding?
I have a copy of an application from the Town of Woodstock to the Commission for Civic Design (CCD), signed by our supervisor, to review “the renovation of and addition to the existing Town of Woodstock NY office building and supervisor’s cottage.” It’s dated August 28, 2019.
Prior to that date, the CCD had performed an initial review of the Walkers’ plans and made recommendations. A month after that date, the CCD and the Walkers met, at which time the CCD told the Walkers that there were serious design issues that required additional meetings. However, the next and last meeting wasn’t until April of 2020, and the drawing still had serious design issues. Since then, our supervisor, in spite of the need for additional reviews, has not required the Walkers to meet with the CCD. Why?
What a field day to overthrow, so let’s unseat (Ooh ooh ooh), Thousands of people on the Capitol street (Ooh ooh ooh), Raving mad and they’re carrying signs (Ooh ooh ooh), Mostly say, “Hooray for white me, ‘cause we kiss Trump’s fat autocratic orange behind” (Ooh ooh ooh) – It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound? Everybody, it’s time to bring that imPOTUS clown #45 down.
During an interview on Fox News, the former vice president Mike Pence redirected the blame for the insurrection on the media. Yeah, they want to distract us from a “Biden failed agenda.” Yeah, right, sure! He’s still a Trumpy puppet. He’s Mr. Cellophane – because you can look right through him, walk right by him and never know he’s there. Now he’s just attracting more flies to the GOP and a Trump stinking agenda. Being a liar isn’t very church-worthy. Pence, who’s a doormat, is ignoring and not talking about the person who basically put a price on his head. And Trump saying, “He betrayed him and the country” had nothing to do with it, I guess.
Mikey wants us to believe with his public statements that January 6 was just another day among the many that preceded it and have come after. What the hell is wrong with Pence? Then, live TV is wrong too! Or perhaps you can use Trump’s favorite word: fake TV! Pence’s mouth keeps getting more orange-stained by the minute. Mother said it was okay to kiss ass so we can get votes. Pence is laying the tracks for 2024. He’s spineless and has no integrity! But that’s the majority of Republicans who still “can’t handle the truth.”
Let’s see – “one day” in January is where Trump supporters took American flags on poles and bashed cops’ brains in who were protecting the Capitol Building, or is “one day” in January when Trump/Pence administration followers broke into the Capitol Building and smeared excrement on the walls of the US Congress? Hmm, just maybe you mean “one day” is where/when Donald Trump, who was Mike Pence’s political partner, fomented violence at a rally he attended when calling people to “stop the vote,” and having his stage allies basically call to the rioters and mobsters to “engage in combat justice.” Is that the “one day” Mike Pence is referencing as just “another” day? Yeah, that’s like downplaying and calling 9/11 just one day in September and Pearl Harbor Day just another December day – no big deal other than being major low points in American history.
Ohhh, I didn’t know we could blame other people for our actions. Deflection (and blaming others for their actions) is the Republican way. Sure, it was the media that was carrying placards saying, “Hang Pence,” and yeah, the mob was pushing back, they were angrily chanting “Hang press,” not “Pence.” Sounds like Trump’s cronies got Pence to say that the media started it.
I don’t recall that the media was shouting to hang Pence and erect a makeshift hangman’s noose in the middle of the mêlée. Hey Mikey, it was not the media that forced you to escape through the back door for your life. You’re just scared to talk about the big elephant in the room – Pence’s wife and daughter were there on January 6 and had to be ushered to safety. I wonder if they agree with him that it was all the media’s fault. The Republican Party is a joke and are leading the country down a narrative called destruction. Any individual that falls for Pence’s alternative recent history deserves to be ignorant. The thing to remember about Mike Pence is, nothing.
The one thing that stands out to me about Mike Pence in his entire time as vice president was the five minutes of fame the fly received while perched on top of his crappy head during the debate. Pence has always been an ass-kissing weasel and a whipping dog for Trump. Looks like he’ll never come out of the closet.
And in fairness to accurately accusing one of the real perpetrators of an attempted insurgency, the media like Fox News that promoted (and continues to promote) the “Big Lie” does share the blame.
Until death do US part
I recently read about the high suicide rates among US servicemembers and veterans of the post-9/11 wars. It was published in a research paper titled “Twenty Years of War,” written by Thomas Howard Suitt, Boston University, and published by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Where my focus settled in reading this paper was on moral injury.
Below is an excerpt:
The study finds that at least four times as many active-duty personnel and war veterans of post-9/11 conflicts have died of suicide than in combat, as an estimated 30,177 have died by suicide as compared with the 7,057 killed in post-9/11 war operations.
My personal experience of moral injury took years to awaken in me, after the unjust war of Vietnam. When I did begin to understand the human sacrifice, I had to face the fact that over 58,000 of my fellow soldiers died for politicians’ agendas and corporate financial gain.
To my own surprise, the hair on the back of my neck still stands up when I hear “The Star-Spangled Banner.” My idealism has a half-life like plutonium even after the list of wars since Vietnam: Grenada, Beirut, Libya, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Haiti, Yugoslavia, the War on Terrorism, Afghanistan, Philippines and Iraq.
Every combat veteran knows of the immorality on the battlefields. When dishonesty comes from the Oval Office, what is destroyed are the ideals the military uses to motivate soldiers to risk their lives going to war. John McCain’s death seems to have marked the loss of front-line wisdom in politics. War today is business where vast amounts of capital are made rapidly. What is amazing to me is that the public and our troops all know government leadership is owned by corporations who provide campaign contributions to politicians who are willing to spend human capital. Politicians use moral rhetoric to disguise this truth, so our youth will enlist to go to our front lines. You might think this open knowledge awakens religious institutions to grapple with the morality of unjust wars. What appears to me to be their response is that the majority hide in their robes. Add to that, most of our representatives have never stepped on a battlefield; to them morality is nothing more than a philosophical concept that will not bleed.
Our military leadership and our political representatives quickly hand our physically and morally injured veterans to the Veterans’ Administration. Once there, the VA labels these soldiers with a mental diagnosis called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Our vets stand alone with the burden of a mental illness diagnosis added to having to carry the life-crushing load of facilitating murders for our country in unjust wars. Thus, the vows made by our protectors to our government to kill in war for moral reasons leaves many of our warriors in the dilemma, “Until Death Do US Part.”
When asked, recently, whether Democrats have failed to effectively persuade the public that their party’s massive $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure and $3.5 trillion spending bills are justifiable and necessary to help the country, speaker Nancy Pelosi turned the question around on the reporter and took the opportunity to scold the press by responding, “Well, I think you all could do a better job of selling it, to be very frank with you.” Apparently, Nancy is disappointed that the press is not as enthusiastic about the Democrats as they were during the previous administration. And to be clear, if the Biden administration had been a tad more competent during its first nine months in power, the press would be happily fulfilling their normal role of hawking and defending the policies of their favorite political party.
In any event, it was refreshing to see Speaker Pelosi so openly chastise the press for not doing their job. The following is a parody of the Temptations’ hit song “My Girl,” written with the view that Joe’s girl, Nancy Pelosi, has more influence on the POTUS than is appropriate. The song raises the question, “Who’s running the Democrat Party, anyway?” (This song works best if the reader imagines a happily befuddled Mr. Biden singing the lead as he’s smoothly backed up by secretary of state Antony Blinken, national security advisor Jake Sullivan, senator Chuck Schumer, chief of staff Ron Klain and an enthusiastic Donald Trump singing and dancing in choreographed unity as only the Temptations could.
I’ll bring rain clouds to your sunny day
When it’s cold outside
I’ll take your fossil fuels away
I guess you’ll say
Who can make me act this way?
Nancy, my girl, Nancy
Talkin’ ‘bout my girl…Nancy!
I save my religion for a rainy day
Though I’m Catholic
I’ll make the Hyde Amendment
I guess you’ll say
Who can make me act this way?
Nancy, my girl, Nancy
Talkin’ ‘bout my girl…Nancy!
I’ve brought so much trouble
To the land of the free
That the whole Dem Party has
Ran away from me
I guess you’ll say
What could make them act this way?
Nancy, my girl, Nancy
Talkin’ ‘bout my girl…Nancy!
I’m the free world’s leader
But no one envies me
Even the press won’t help me
As anyone can see
And I guess you’ll say
Who made things turn out this way?
Nancy, my girl, Nancy
Talkin’ ‘bout my girl…Nancy!
I need lots of money to cure
All the country’s ills
My plans are all laid out
In my inflation-causing bills
I guess you’ll say
Who thinks deficit spending’s okay?
Nancy, my girl, Nancy
Talkin’ ‘bout my girl…Nancy!
The southern border’s open
This no one can deny
I changed all of Trump’s border laws
And that’s the reason why
I guess you’ll say
Why not build more Wall today?
Talkin’ ‘bout my girl…Nancy
I’ll bring rain clouds to your sunny day…with Nancy
I’ll even take oil fuels away with Nancy
Talkin’ bout, talkin’ bout, talkin,’ bout Nancy
Talkin’ bout, talkin’ bout, talkin’ bout, Nancy
(repeat to fade)
US has moral obligation to lead at COP
World leaders will soon be meeting in Glasgow to make commitments to reduce climate pollution, and it couldn’t come soon enough. From wildfires and extreme heat waves to severe flooding and droughts, we are already witnessing the real-time cost of political and systematic inaction on climate change.
The US has a moral obligation to lead the world by example and make ambitious commitments in Glasgow. But first, we need Congress to pass ambitiously bold climate investments that protect our planet and communities now so that the US can be viewed as a leader.
US faith communities are proving it can be done, cutting emissions in their own facilities and supporting vulnerable people and communities in the US and globally. Fueled by a sense of moral responsibility to care for our neighbors, our common home and protect our children’s future, congregations and families around the country are reducing their climate pollution.
As a person with deep spiritual convictions, I am committed to solving the climate crisis and prioritizing the needs of those who are most vulnerable. I pray for the moral leadership of Congress and the US government at this critical moment. In addition, each individual, community and global entity has the responsibility to protect and nourish the Earth that we prepare for our children and all future generations. This can be accomplished if we dream, plan to make the dream be fulfilled and then strongly take actions to follow that plan.
Cast your vote for Ulster County Legislator Tracey Bartels
Is this the time for a change?
Is this really the time to change leadership?
In the middle of a pandemic.
And unprecedentedly difficult fiscal times.
Here in Gardiner and Shawangunk we have been lucky. VERY lucky to have been represented in the Ulster County Legislature by the highly respected, skilled, hard-working, independent-minded Tracey Bartels.
Good for the Earth….introducing and passing significant environmental legislation.
Good for your wallet…..with a reputation as a “fiscal watchdog,” never once voting to increase your taxes.
A trusted leader….past chairman of the Legislature and current deputy chair.
All of that institutional knowledge and history is of benefit to all of us in her district.
And she has been deeply involved with the County’s strong proactive response to COVID-19.
Tried, true, trusted over time — a proven uniter and do-gooder who gets things done. I have known Tracey for over 15 years. There is a reason she has been re-elected repeatedly: Tracey Bartels gets it.
She truly knows what it is to be a representative. She listens to constituent concerns, governs effectively and addresses problems with a direct and collaborative manner that garners respect from both sides of the aisle.
So I repeat: “Is this the time for a change?” I sincerely hope that you agree with me that the answer is a resounding no… and yes, cast your vote for Ulster County Legislator Tracey Bartels.
I believe the Woodstock Library belongs in the Hamlet
Library trustees are moving at a breakneck speed to move the Woodstock Library from the Hamlet to Bearsville. They have voted to buy the building at 10 Dixon Avenue with little publicity. The building will have to first be renovated from offices to a library and then enlarged. The present library on Library Lane will be sold. It is a move that will have a huge effect on library patrons. Having been a library clerk in three libraries, including Woodstock, I am very familiar with library functions and patron “use” patterns. Here are some of the reasons I believe the library belongs in the Hamlet.
Convenience: A major function at the circulation desk is checking out books and other items to library patrons and receiving return items. This activity becomes intense. The pattern in local libraries is that patrons like to rush in and rush out with their items. The current library location in Town is convenient, for easy and quick access for all patrons to pick up and drop off library items. It is on a quiet street with residential traffic. For senior library users especially, a central location in Town is more easily accessible.
Accessibility. A good number of Woodstock Library patrons walk to the library. The library is, above all else, a public resource and ideally should be easily accessible to all Woodstock residents.
Iconic Town landmark: Clearly, not all Woodstockers value the nature and beauty of the library site. But for 100 years, this site has been the home of the Woodstock Library, and many Woodstockers value the unique history of our library located on this site, a fact recognized and acknowledged by the library Master Plan architect in 2017. In comparison, 10 Dixon Avenue is a constrained site, the handsome building is sandwiched between two businesses in the Light Industrial District. The open-back kitchen door of the popular Dixon Roadside is on one side with a smoker humming on the roof, and the old Simulaids building, now IPA, is on the other side, each approximately 25 feet away and clearly visible.
Safety. I live on this block and know the neighborhood well. I wonder, before their decision, if each trustee studied the neighborhood and the issue of safety for library patrons? The block itself has three businesses, the street has a ballpark, dogpark, many residences including Meadow Lane, and is a thoroughfare for traffic to Yerry Hill and up the mountain. There are delivery trucks, it’s noisy and traffic is fast moving. Most concerning is the issue of safety at the intersection of Route 212 and Dixon Avenue. This corner is already a dangerous intersection with difficult visibility and speeding trucks and other vehicles on 212 where the speed limit here is 45 mph. The Dixon Roadside parking lot entrance and exit is right at this corner. Currently, much traffic turns in and out of Dixon Avenue before any added volume of library traffic. The issue of safety at this corner has recently been brought to Town officials and should be reviewed further and include library trustees.
As the library is a large public building accessible to all, the location in Town is safer for library staff when a minimal number of library staff are working at night. The library in Town also acts as a safety zone for those needing help or assistance in any way. People feel safe turning to the familiarity of our library and its friendly staff for help or assistance in so many varied situations.
Library programs often take place in the evenings when it is dark. The drive up the Bearsville corridor with its fast-moving traffic and wildlife will not be easy, if not dangerous, for some library patrons. This traffic in the evening hours can be heavy due to the Bearsville Complex and Dixon Roadside.
I ask each library trustee to consider that a modern building such as the Miller Howard renovation/addition could be designed and built on the library site. Such a newly designed library could incorporate the front of the current building in its design in order to reflect an architectural connection to the historic library and to Woodstock. This library would look and be essentially “new.” Let this very stylish building at 10 Dixon Avenue be an example of this possibility! We can have a stylish, modern and functional Woodstock Library that will be convenient, easily accessible and safe for the Woodstock library patrons.
Vote Tracey Bartels for Ulster County Legislature
A pre-pandemic memory of buying a takeout coffee in a Dutchess County deli. First, I stared at the Styrofoam cup handed to me. Then the moment of recognition: I was not in Ulster anymore. There was no polystyrene takeout ban in Dutchess. Next, a moment of gratitude — a thank you to Tracey Bartels for writing and co-sponsoring Ulster’s Polystyrene takeout law.
Since then, I have realized what Tracey has done for protecting the environment and keeping Ulster clean and safe is remarkable. She has led the way for the ban on single-use plastic bags by writing Ulster’s Bring Your Own Bag Act. She has worked to adopt the “green fleet policy” and LEED standards for Ulster county buildings. Now she is tackling a “zero waste” plan while also supporting a green jobs initiative that creates living-wage jobs for businesses that protect our environment.
While Tracey is pioneering Ulster’s path forward, she is fiscally cautious. She has never voted for a tax increase and identifies beneficial budget cuts and efficiencies.
Tracey is running for reelection for her seat on the Ulster County Legislature where she has been one of the longest serving legislators. Please vote for her in the upcoming election.
Winston Farm development project should not proceed
Reasons why the Winston Farm development project should not proceed are numerous, among them light and noise pollution from construction and from the businesses, housing and various proposed entertainment venues (which currently include an amphitheatre and indoor water park), overburdening the aquifer, increased traffic on our rural roads and the questionable economic benefit for our community. There is also an overarching reason, one that connects Saugerties with the wider world. We are in an ecological crisis of global warming and the loss of 70 percent of global biodiversity. The U.S. lost 23 more species of wildlife, including the largest woodpecker, to extinction this year. This region is already ecologically degraded. We are seeing the consequences of centuries of relentless and repetitive clear cutting leading to the loss of carbon sinks, diversion of waterways, air, water and soil pollution and degradation — all in the name of “development.”
The American Lung Association gives the Hudson Valley a D for air quality. As a registered nurse who has worked in and studied public health, I understand how environmental degradation directly impacts our health. At what point will we say enough? When will we acknowledge the absolute necessity of preserving biodiversity and carbon sinks and take action?
Winston Farm provides a carbon sink, but only as long as that habitat remains undeveloped and a preserve for local flora and fauna, which currently includes at least two endangered species of bird. The development of Winston Farm will further alter the ecology, landscape, culture and health of Saugerties. Over the last few decades psychologists have observed a particular form of stress — solastalgia. Described by some as homesickness even though you are home, it is defined as emotional or existential stress directly caused by the environmental damage to the place in which you live. In the U.S., Indigenous peoples have the longest familiarity with solastalgia, having experienced it since Europeans first arrived on these shores. Today, it is felt all over the world as ecological degradation resulting from development is changing how and where people are even able to live. Perhaps without realizing it, people in Saugerties and the Hudson Valley are experiencing it, as projects like the one proposed for Winston Farm continue unabated in the name of progress. I’m not anti-progress, but I do believe we need to redefine progress, and our priorities. We have developed and paved our way into an unstable present and a catastrophic future. Knowing what we do about the scale of the climate and ecological crisis, it is time to re-evaluate our priorities. It is our responsibility, as beings that are part of a vast ecosystem on which we are dependent, to minimize and repair the damage everywhere we can, starting at home.
Please vote this year to protect the environment
Gardiner Democrats, it is particularly important to vote this year. It is critical to re-elect our County Legislator, Tracey Bartels. In the last year, Gardiner has seen firsthand the continuing worsening and changing of our climate. For openers, throughout the summer, we had an increased amount of rain, highlighted by Hurricane Ida. That storm caused massive flooding and the evacuation of the Jellystone campground. This is not a fluke. So, if you really care about the environment and if you really believe that climate change is real and worsening, then Tracey is the person we need in Kingston. As a member of Climate Smart Gardiner, an organization that helped our Town to become a Bronze Certified DEC Clean Community, I recognize that her efforts are instrumental in our town’s green progress. During her tenure, she wrote the Bring Your Own Bag Act leading Ulster and other counties to ban the use of single use plastic bags, which clog up the landfills and often wind up in our oceans. She wrote and co-sponsored the Polystyrene takeout law, protecting health and waterways, which NYS has now adopted. She worked tirelessly on the adoption of a county green fleet policy and LEED standards for county buildings. She is working toward a county zero waste plan. Finally, she supports a green job pipeline — helping the environment while creating living wage jobs. In short, while others give lip service to changing the environment, Tracey acts for you and your future generations. Nevertheless, this is not the only reason you should not abstain from voting this year. On the other side of the ballot are six proposals, five of which protect your voting rights. One proposal is especially important to the environment as it protects our rights to clean air and water, so a Flint Michigan does not happen here. Please people, vote for yourself and your future generations.
Clearcutting on Olderbark Mountain
Regarding your October 13 article about the bald spot that recently appeared on Olderbark Mountain, visible for miles around. There will be many more bald spots with buildings on them in our surrounding mountains unless Woodstockers insist that their Town government officials take the Town zoning laws seriously. What do we have a Scenic Overlay District for?
This Thursday, October 21, at 6:30 p.m., the Woodstock Planning Board is going to vote on an application to erect five buildings on this bald spot. Marc and Hariette de Swaan Arons, a global marketing executive and interior designer respectively, want to put a house, two guest houses, a studio, garage, outdoor pool, tennis courts and sauna, and 40 solar panels on the land they cleared on Olderbark Mountain last winter without so much as a permit.
Planning Board Chairman Peter Cross’s statement last week, that the project was “the least obtrusive and most site-respective (sic.) design that can be done,” does not mean that it conforms to the zoning law or qualifies for a special use permit. It does mean that the Planning Board will probably approve the project this Thursday unless it is met with a groundswell of public opposition — or somebody hires a good lawyer.
While the public hearing on this application was held last week, it is not too late to email the Planning Board and tell them what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also attend the meeting via Zoom by requesting a link from the Planning Board Secretary Melissa Gray at email@example.com. While members of the public won’t be able to speak, many eyes watching might give the Planning Board pause. They might even ask the Town attorney whether this project is legal.
At last week’s meeting, Planning Board members lamented the fact that they had no money in their budget to seek legal advice. This is a shocking state of affairs. You can email the Town Board members (their names and emails are on the town website at woodstockny.org) and ask them to put some money in the Planning Board budget to consult the Town attorney.
Finally, a question for Marc and Hariette de Swaan Arons: How can you be so selfish? This is not New York City, it is a small town. Is this how you want to be introduced to your new neighbors — by putting a scar on their view of the wild, scenic mountains that surround Woodstock?
Tracey Bartels has my vote
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Tracey Bartels has voted against all tax increases, and for keeping the county budget tight. She has crossed party lines to accomplish environmental protections and to keep Ulster County relatively safe during COVID-19. She is hardworking, moral and realistic. She is also a great mother.
It’s obvious that to replace Trace Bartels would be harmful to Ulster County. Tracey has my vote.
What I observed on Main Street
The other day, I saw two “signs of the times” on Main Street New Paltz.
One was a large flag being flown from the bed of a pickup truck saying, “F_ _ K BIDEN.” Oh how far we have come from the “I LIKE IKE” political button I saw as a kid! The positive messages about the candidates we endorse are often replaced with harsh demeaning messages about those we don’t want in office.
When the “anti words” go beyond public decency (which I believe still exists), the banner ironically brings damage to the cause of the one displaying it. Just saying…
The second Main Street observation was a large plastic blow-up dragon on the front lawn of the Episcopal Church property. Aside from seeming a bit inappropriate for a church, another meaning came to mind concerning how the Episcopal Church in the U.S. has been at odds with the larger Anglican community over the issue of same-sex marriage ( the American branch pro, the Anglicans against).
Along with the Roman Catholic, the Orthodox and many other Christian groups, I believe that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman. And that all other permutations of marriage are “dragon inspired” and actually hurt the cause of the good news of salvation through Jesus the Christ. There is hope for everyone in the Messiah.
Tax and neglect in Hurley
Hurley Republicans like to tax and neglect. We pay our taxes, and Republicans neglect what needs to be done. GOP claims of low taxes, while neglecting decades-long problems leave Hurley taxpayers to face higher bills over the long run. Tax and neglect, with a head-in-the-sand approach, only makes problems fester and grow. Hurley taxpayers now face expensive fixes at the town hall, highway garage, leachate field and transfer station.
Recently, Hurley’s Republican supervisor admitted that many hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been spent pumping out and disposing of leachate, and apparently rainwater, from a long-broken system at the closed landfill. The Town of Hurley just authorized another expensive engineering study to find out what went wrong and what’s needed to fix the ignored problems.
Some months ago, a detailed report on conditions in the Hurley Town Hall was undertaken. The report was recently lauded by a Town Board member. Among the 17 problems identified at the Town Hall are several health issues and code violations that need immediate attention. Here are some of the problems uncovered: High electricity and heating oil bills, the boiler exhibited a very high level of carbon monoxide during combustion testing, the attic access pull-down stairs is missing the bottom step, physical hazard (code violation), bathroom vent fans are not vented to the outdoors, terminate into the attic (code violation), there are live electric junction boxes in the attic without cover plates (code violation), the mineral wool insulation in the attic is infested with mice tunnels and feces, all three of the bathroom vent hoses are not insulated in the attic (code violation), flex lines were used for #2 fuel oil to boiler (code violation).
In another example of tax and neglect, the Hurley highway garage is in such poor shape that a recent report shows at least $1.5 million is needed for repairs, or as much as $4 million needs to be spent building a new garage. Moldy air quality and methane leaks are so bad in the garage that the Town was forced to buy a separate trailer to house the secretarial staff. How much longer will tax and neglect be the way Hurley is run?
Hurley voters have a chance to make a real difference this fall. Learn more at www.hurleydems.com.
Early voting starts October 23 at five places in Ulster County including Shokan and midtown Kingston. Election Day is Tuesday, November 2 with voting at the West Hurley Firehouse and at the Hurley Town Hall. Local elections matter. For the future of Hurley vote for Democrats on Row A.
Why isn’t our Charter being adhered to?
It took years to develop and implement our voter-approved Charter. It is to the County what the Constitution is to the nation. It is the law. Why is it being ignored?
The Charter states that legislators are not allowed to hold any other elected office while serving their term. Yet a legislator was allowed to hold two elected offices during his term.
The Charter states that the Legislature can require information it deems necessary to make informed decisions about spending plans. The County Executive continually refuses to give them the information they request.
The Charter authorizes the Comptroller to audit any entity receiving county funds. The UCRRA refuses to comply with the request and is fighting the subsequent subpoena to do so. They have the audacity to use taxpayer money to finance a court battle against the tax payer’s watchdog from auditing them.
The Charter mandates that the Board of Ethics meet twice a year. It hasn’t. That a periodic compensation review to be done every two years. It hasn’t.
That a charter review be undertaken at least once every ten years. It’s past due.
Why isn’t our Charter being adhered to?