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.
A glamping resort is scheduled to be built near the border between Woodstock and Saugerties, and there are many complaints from residents. Terramor Outdoor Resorts owns a 77-acre property on Route 212 and plans to have 75 tents with showers and bathrooms, a gift shop, a swimming pool, several other buildings and an on-site restaurant.
Anyone who has lived on Route 212 knows of the dangers that its winding roads can present. Introducing a tourist trap that caters to everyone except the locals is unfortunate enough, but there’s an added danger when combined with the historically bad traffic. In an effort to assuage the concerns of those of us that drive on Route 212, Terramor Outdoor Resorts conducted a traffic study in the calmest month of the year, when their clients would be nowhere to be seen.
The Woodstock Environmental Commission also has concerns about the impact the project would have on the 77 acres of wetlands. Wetlands are ecosystems that are vital to the watershed, and councilman Bennett Ratcliff believes that Terramor’s construction will destroy the wetlands on both sides of the border between Saugerties and Woodstock.
In addition to the destruction of wetlands, the light and air pollution that would come from 75 firepits burning nightly would affect nearby residents and those of the Hudson Valley. “Seventy-plus firepits is analogous to living near a large-scale toxic incinerator,” said Lorraine Farina, the former chair of the Air Quality Subcommittee of the City of Kingston Conservation Advisory Council.
Many organizations warn of the risks associated with woodburning and smoke exposure, and it’s been proven that burning wood can be 41 percent more polluting than burning coal. In New York State, and Ulster County in particular, woodsmoke emissions are on the rise. New York has a new constitutional amendment that states that residents are entitled to clean air and water, and Terramor’s plans directly conflict with that amendment.
The only real benefit Saugerties could experience from allowing Terramor to build their glamping resort is an influx of wealthier city people. The locals of Saugerties and Woodstock would experience a lesser quality of living, an ecosystem would take substantial damage and there would be a loss of potential. Instead of designating an entire plot of land to over-expensive and temporary housing, the space should be made into a low-impact trail or left alone altogether. Terramor could take notes from the rail trails that have spread throughout Ulster County and preserve the land while also gaining traction.
Asked and unanswered
Nick Henderson’s article, “Protecting the water,” raises more questions than it answers. The writer asserts, with no source given, that paperwork enshrining a Wellhead Protection law passed by the Town of Woodstock in 2007 was not filed by the incoming administration headed by Supervisor Jeff Moran in 2008.
• Why was the paperwork not filed?
• Was the incoming administration aware that ministerial action was required to enshrine a law “passed” by the Town in 2007?
• Why — as is it is the Town Clerk’s responsibility to file paperwork with the State — wasn’t the Town Clerk directed by the Town Board in 2007 to file the necessary paperwork?
• Was the language that created the law flawed, insufficient or overly draconian, in the opinion of the incoming administration, and did that Town Board work to craft new, better and more comprehensive legislation?
• Did the Moran administration pass other legislation protecting Woodstock’s water supply — for example, a Wetlands and Watercourse law?
The writer quotes a current board member praising the “passion” of the late Messrs. Jerry Washington and Jay Wenk, presumably (the writer does not elaborate) for helping to identify and encourage the removal of the remaining underground oil tanks in the Bearsville Flats wellhead area, the tail-end of an ongoing process begun by Town Boards in the mid-1980s. Which administrations authorized and supported this years-long initiative? Was it the Wilbur administration of 1999-2007? The Moran administration of 2008-2011? The successive Wilbur administration of 2008-2016? The current McKenna administration of 2017-2023?
Finally, why did it take another 15 years for the Wellhead Protection law to be passed and filed?
The writer provides us with no answers to the questions raised in his article.
What I should have said in my October 19 letter titled, “They are not bogus” in Hudson Valley One, where I intimated that McKenna exploited his position as supervisor to approve altered and improperly completed mass gathering applications, was: At a previous Town Board meeting, board member Radcliff, during a “testy exchange” with McKenna, remarked about ”his being shown a May 25 permit [issued to allow outdoor live music] that turned out not to be a permit at all” and went on to say, “I still don’t know what to do when I see bogus permits for the noise law.”
McKenna’s response to this accusation, according to Hudson Valley One was, “…they are not bogus. The form being used was designed by the late town supervisor Jeremy Wilber and is a mass-gathering permit.” As if that fact would validate the issuance of a permit that would circumvent the noise law and potentially open up a Pandora’s box when it came to unlawful uses of private properties.
We the people
Kudos to all the unsung heroes in the Town of Woodstock and surrounding towns and hamlets in the Hudson Valley – to those individuals who don’t receive a salary or stipend from their Town, but keep a watchful eye nonetheless on what’s in their community’s best interest for not just this generation, but many more generations to come.
A special shout-out to the members of my own community this week who, after five years of fighting, managed to convince the Woodstock Town Board to adopt the most restrictive 5G zoning law, and in doing so restricting high-band 5G in Woodstock. This is the type of 5G that requires an intense infrastructure that is needed to support driverless cars, robots and the Internet of things. I for one will sleep better tonight knowing there are people in my hometown who put people before profit: individuals who are “truthsayers.” People who at any cost will always seek the truth and continue to keep a watchful eye on their community, and in doing so stem the tide of corruption in this corporatocracy.
Saugerties residents have now received two mailers from the new owners of Winston Farm, stating that all those opposed to their development plans for its 800 acres are “out-of-towners” only concerned with headlines and donations.
We are not out-of-towners; we are concerned local residents. The only sense in which we are “outsiders” is that we are thinking globally as well as locally. Winston Farm is a resource, of open space, of forest, meadows, streams and wetlands, that needs to be preserved as wilderness, locally for recreation and education and globally as a bulwark against climate change.
Development should take place where there is already development, not by destroying any of such a precious, irreplaceable 800 acres.
Everything falls apart 2
“No one wants the job who can keep Twitter alive. There is no successor,” Musk tweeted.
Elon says, “I am smart. I look for things. Things to feed my ego.”
His rapid descent into madness, taking the platform with it, is why it’s now coined #Twitanic. Right now, it’s kinda looking like a “bull in a china shop” situation.
Against this openly bleak discovery, grabbing small handfuls of “what was once” which continue t’fall between the cracks of his fingers, we get to watch it bounce around where the rubber hits the road.
Musk reminds me of Strangelove, B-52 pilot Maj. “King” Kong – a fictional Stetson-wearing Texan cowboy played by character actor Slim Pickens – who pilots the only bomber that fails to receive the recall code, because his plane’s radio is damaged by enemy fire, but still able to deliver the payload. And thus continues flying to its target, goes to the bomb-bay to manually release, the bomb is dropped and Kong along with it. He rides the atomic bomb down to Ground Zero. “Aaaaaa hooooo! Aaaaaaaa hooooo!”
Finally, there is a horrific atomic “Ka-boooom!” and then we in the Twitterverse sing, “Let’s say goodbye with a smile / Just for a while we must part / Don’t let this parting upset you / I’ll not forget you / We’ll meet again / Don’t know where /Don’t know when / But I know we’ll meet again / Some sunny day.”
He likes to portray Twitter as a town square, but he is silencing voices that criticize him. It’s a town square with cross-eyed snipers in the belltower. How nice! Really, like a town square in a company town.
Twitter has provided an interesting insight. Musk had a good genius/billionaire mystique going. Now the curtain has been drawn back, and we see him as a flawed human flailing at the helm. He may have some genius qualities, but he needs handlers to guide him, or he’ll break everything.
Bottom line: Twitter is a sideshow. Tesla is entering a difficult time and Musk’s distraction with Twitter is harming that company. SpaceX is now part of the “big league” in aerospace companies, but it could still falter. Musk is wasting his time with Twitter, and in the process, he is slowly burning himself out. Sad. I pity anyone who bought a Tesla.
Secondly: DJT – Yes, and really, who isn’t appalled and horrified by the antics of this hateful, conceited and arrogant, politically swampy clown posing now as an ex-president? He served four horrible years in the White House. Newly revealed four possible criminal charges against Trump is a “very big one”: No one is above the law. If he was a hardworking, no-name guy, he would be in prison already.
I’d like Trump to run as the GOP nominee and watch his definitive downfall continue. It’s been hilarious watching his embarrassing freak-show acts since his three-time loss.
If Trump is running for the presidency in 2024, then who’s his campaign manager? Who’s his chief executive? These people should be in place right now, if Trump is serious. Fingers crossed that his new “campaign manager” will most likely be the prison warden.
IMHO, his grift continues. The slope is slippery and there is nothing he can do to escape the consequences of his own amoral behavior.
DJT is an arrogant, corrupt, incompetent, godless, loveless, soulless coward who gives turds a bad name. I really shouldn’t hold back and say what I really think of him. Geez, this a-hole even calls for “termination of the Constitution.”
We are tired of the system being rigged in favor of the rich and we do not want fascism. If we lose our democracy, you will begin to understand the true meaning of misery.
Vote blue in future elections until the Trumpublican GOP becomes American again. When they can go back to defending corporate interests and deceiving workers into voting against their own best interests without inciting an insurrection, they can once again be considered an option (though not a good one). Voting for any Republican is an endorsement of their current behavior and a rejection of the principles this country was founded upon.
Lastly: With the “New Year” upon us, I want to wish all readers of the Hudson Valley One a very good year. Personally, I still don’t know what I’m wearing to the living room New Year’s Eve; I might not even go!
Well, another year has gone by and we’re still here. Hope everyone has a happy and healthy one, above all else. May your family and friends stay safe and healthy during these challenging times as this new interactive planetary whip of the Sun propels us into 2023.
Of course, I also want to send out similar salutations for a wonderful and Happy Snappy New Year to the “Letters to the Editor” Deb Alexsa, as well as to all the staff at the newspaper: Thank you all, and peacefulness always!
A true Renaissance man is also a woman.
The real threat to democracy
I was surprised to learn recently that Bob Dylan is a big Frank Sinatra fan. Excited over the discovery, I began to search for any articles on the subject and found a few. As I was reading one of them, I dozed off and fell asleep. During this unplanned nap, I had a dream in which I saw Frank Sinatra in serious discussion with Dylan. At first, I couldn’t make out what they were saying, so I moved closer to listen in. Hovering over them, unnoticed, I overheard Frank telling Bob that he was troubled by the recent reports that Twitter and other social media outlets as well as political figures – often inspired by federal agents – influenced the political conversation in the country by shadow-banning, mostly, conservative voices to discredit genuine news stories. And Frank noted all of this was done because they feared Donald Trump would win in 2020.
“What’s happened to the party of JFK and Hubert Humphrey that I used to know, Bob?” Frank asked with great emotion. “I wish there was something I could do. The bias of the mainstream media is almost as unfair as Brando getting the role of Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls instead of me. (I mean the guy could barely carry a tune.) Why aren’t Democrats outraged – especially since they learned that the FBI knew the Hunter laptop was genuine and the story of 51 partisan former intelligence officers that the Hunter Biden laptop story had all the earmarks of Russian disinformation was ‘malarkey,’ as the old Irish guy in the White House would say?
“I mean, you’d think they could have defeated that cafone Trump by proposing ideas that were better than his. Do we really want the FBI and the media acting on behalf of political parties? I mean, talk about a threat to democracy!”
Bob, noting Frank’s consternation, responded quickly: “Frank, I think I hear an answer blowing in the wind. Listen, you may not be here now, but I am. You know I’m a big fan of yours, Frank. What if I take your famous Cole Porter song, ‘I’ve Got You under My Skin,’ and rework the lyrics to send a message? Since your version is the definitive one, everyone who listens to it will feel like they’re hearing from you.”
Frank’s troubled expression changed to one of hopeful anticipation as he realized that, although it was Dylan reworking the words, people would know that Bob was doing it “Frank’s Way.” “I think that could work, Bob. Do you have something in mind?”
“I think so Frank. Just give me a couple of minutes” The Voice of his Generation began composing new lyrics to the Porter classic, to the great interest of the Chairman of the Board. And as the work progressed, Frank, looking over Bob’s shoulder, began singing Bob’s lyrics with increasing enthusiasm. At the end of the song, I suddenly awoke with the sound of Frank’s unique voice and Dylan’s penetrating words ringing in my ears. I quickly wrote them down, and the following is the song, as Paul Simon might say, “that was planted in my brain.”
“Your Bias is Such a Sin” (sung to the tune of Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You under My Skin”)
Your bias is such a sin
This tactic, it won’t go so well for you
It’s dangerous and wrong
It’s time to stop and really
Try something new
Your bias is such a sin
Trump’s base will never give in
You’ve said that they make you feel like
You’re stuck in the deepest well
But please don’t deny what is true
‘Cos you know that sure as hell
Your bias is such a sin
You’ve sacrificed everything that is right
For the sake of ending your fear
But I’m warning you like a light in the night
That sounds like a voice (a loud voice) in your ear
Hear my words little fool
Don’t let bias in
Adjust your mentality
Seek out what’s reality
Don’t say “No can do,” ‘cos this thing you do makes fools smile and say through their grins
Your bias is the worst of your sins
(Big Band musical interlude leading to dramatic Sinatra closing)
You’ve sacrificed everything that is right
For the sake of ending your fear
But I’m warning you like a light in the night
That sounds like a voice (how it yells) in your ear
Hear my words, silly fool
Don’t let bias in
Embrace true reality
Wake up, adjust your mentality
Don’t say “No can do,” ‘cos this thing you do
Hides the truth to your chagrin
So you can’t let bias come in
Wrongly think beguine rhymes with begin
But don’t let your bias come in
‘Cos your bias is a grave sin
Yes your bias is such a sin
Real estate transaction volume has cooled
The Village of New Paltz budgeted to receive $105,000 for its share of mortgage tax revenue but received a whopping $312,821 last year. This was shocking after the average budgeted amount for the previous ten years was $76,800 and the average actual amount received was $73,244, with a high of $81,975 for 2020-21 and a low of $61,048 for 2011-12.
Mortgage tax is a solid but partial window into the real estate market because it excludes cash transactions.
It is also noteworthy to highlight that just eight of NY’s counties collect only 0.75% of a mortgage’s value to document transitions and Ulster County is one. See NY’s Mortgage Recording Tax Return form (MT-15) for a current list of the various tax rates by jurisdiction. Ulster County is unique in that it does not levy an additional mortgage tax surcharge, only 0.75%. In Dutchess, Putnam and Orange the total tax is 1.05%. In Greene and Columbia it’s 1.25% and it’s 1% in Sullivan. The tax revenues are then split with NYS and locally.
Last week the Village of New Paltz received mortgage tax revenue for the six-month period April 2022 – September 2022 of only $63,871.
Mayor Tim Rogers
Winston Farm owners right people for the job
Growth in Saugerties and Ulster County is not only inevitable, but it is also a good thing – if it is done responsibly. That’s what we can have with the Winston Farm development. The site, more than 800 acres, presents terrific possibilities. Some of the many concepts being explored include homes, businesses, a hotel and more, all right off the Thruway’s Exit 20. That location is important; it makes the site attractive to the tens of thousands who drive by daily.
We all know the real estate adage: location, location, location. Well, Winston Farm has all three. That’s why the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation identified the site as an ideal location for development.
All we need to do is ensure that the proposal is done right. Fortunately, Winston Farm’s three owners are the right people for that job. They’re local business leaders who have publicly committed to keeping substantial portions of the property in their current natural state. Contrary to misinformation spread by opponents, they also promise to use sustainable building methods.
Most importantly, the owners publicly and repeatedly have committed to working with Saugerties residents and local leaders to see that, together, we identify uses for the property that benefit all stakeholders.
John A. Eickman
Director of Community Relations, HITS, LLC
Off the cuff
I believe those deciding today’s education curriculums need educating on how to meet the needs of our young in today’s world. Because the university’s attention to technology has become the dominant educational focus, it appears like the same mindset of the California Gold Rush of 1848. Thousands fled to California to find wealth. Unfortunately, only a few found gold, similar to today’s tech industry. The 1848 miners got paid negligibly, but those who bought their gold cheaply became the tycoons of that century. Because we’ve allowed the wealthy to mono-focus on one machine for survival, our infrastructure has become more vulnerable than ever before.
We’ve stepped from the Industrial Revolution into a world where machines tell us what to do, removing us from the majority’s wisdom in making decisions. The programmers dictate. The consequences and vulnerabilities of having all our computer eggs in one basket that must be plugged in are significant. For example, look at the Ukraine war we sponsor. It is computer warfare. Ukraine’s nuclear power plant was a primary target, and the weapons we gave them were computer-controlled. This lesson is taught nightly on TV.
Does the United States’ war strategy have survival plans for when our basket of computer eggs gets unplugged? What would the effects be if our industries were without computers? Could we return to working with our hands to live? Our laptops supply work, food, power and health while our destinies live online. Foresight would tell us to teach our children how to build a woodfire, because YouTube won’t be available. A calculated intentional power outage in the United States would be more devastating than a monolith tornado hitting the entire country.
Reductive education has become exclusionary for the brain. Emotional intelligence, wisdom, morality and the necessity of cultivating common sense have left our educational institutions. The keyboard steps over our hearts and mainlines directly to our brains. Unfortunately, politicians show almost none of the above attributes, nor do their policies. Instead, money and the speed of miscommunication offered by the computer assist their primary focus of being reelected.
Perhaps students need to learn how to make life rafts to survive what the Internet’s lightning speed is propelling. Colleges would do well to consider becoming survival schools. I suggest that college administrations begin forming committees to define a survival school in today’s world. It’s not about going into the backwoods and living off the land. There are very few backwoods left. However, everyone knows we will soon be confronted with the basic need to provide food, water and air. Individual wealth dominates politicians riding the tsunami wave of technology, which means wars are the primary consumer of the most expensive products: computer-driven weapons.
How to build a woodfire: Start with dry kindling. Take two small logs and lay them parallel. Place your starter of paper or fine dry grass between the logs, then lay thin twigs and finely broken kindling on top of the starter. Next, crisscross larger twigs several inches above, making a wooden tower. Light your starter and blow gently into the flames, helping them rise into the wooden tower. Then tell a story your grandmother told you.
Neil comes out of hibernation!
Finally, out of the woodwork comes Neil Jarmel, albeit in a grossly failed attempt, as he addresses nothing in today’s real world with any specificity and clarity.
He says that I am a “conspiracy theorist” and a “fascist.” Yet all I do each week is talk about real events going on in our country and the world in these times. Issues and events in real time do not fall into the category of “conspiracy theories.”
Neil refers to my Feedback letters as “embarrassing rebuttals.” Each of my rebuttals involved a grounded train of thought, clear information behind positions taken and always referencing the everyday realities we all see, using logic and common sense – unlike Neil’s ambiguous and vague rants, devoid of any examples using clarity, focus and reasoning. Neil’s sarcastic implosions are nearly always general, nebulous and vague, with no references to our everyday realities.
Most likely, nearly all HV1 readers notice that, with all the current realities and shortcomings of the Biden administration presented to Neil for comment, he never has any informed comebacks or defenses, while he continues to ignore all challenges presented to him by me, Mr. Civile and a few others about these daily realities and shortcomings with which all Americans are faced. Why is that? Simply because Neil has no reliable and accurate data to refute the disasters we’ve all seen and experienced in the past two years.
Why won’t he even try? Because, due to his TDS, he’s so in love with, addicted to and immersed in his “bash Trump bubble” that he simply doesn’t care what’s happening to any of his fellow Americans, himself or his family. He seems to be more and more enamored with his “new QAnon world.” These are, unquestionably, Neil’s comfort zones.
Neil uses the term “Democratic values,” which would be considered a classic oxymoron by many people. Translated, though, his phrase really means “dangerous Democratic eccentricities.”
John N. Butz
Light up Saugerties
We have been working hard to plan our events to “light up Saugerties” during the Snow Moon Festival, February 3 to 5. So, we are asking for a little help. We would love to have our Saugerties Snow Moon Festival full of lights.
Please consider keeping your holiday lights up and light up the Town of Saugerties during the Festival. Our goal is to bring cheer, light and lots of fun during the coldest and darkest time of the year. And it’s all to benefit the Saugerties-area food banks. The Festival is a not-for-profit event which includes an indoor artisan market, magic shows, movies, a parade, barn fire and numerous other events throughout the Village of Saugerties.
Visit our Facebook page for detailed information or e-mail email@example.com. We can still use volunteers and sponsors.
Snow Moon Festival organizers
A New Year’s resolution?
I’ve never written in to the letter’s section, but reading Chris Finlay’s parody of the Grinch I was struck by how it exemplifies an unfortunate tendency in our current public discourse.
By one definition a cynic is someone who always assumes that other people are driven by the worst possible motivations. Admire as I might Mr. Finlay’s Seussian turns of phrase (Tofu Roast Beast seemed particularly apt for Woodstock), I could not overlook his overall thrust, namely that those who disagree with him about the best course forward for the Woodstock Library are not just people with different opinions, but heartless Grinches furthering some sort of nefarious scheme to deprive others of their preferred Library setup, out of cruelty, or spite, or I don’t know what.
I do not write this to in any way re-litigate the Library discussion, heaven knows there has been enough of that. I just encourage anyone who finds themselves on one side or another of any divide in opinion (and there are so so many points of division out there these days, it seems) to try out the habit of mind of resisting cynicism, and rather than assuming people who have different ideas or opinions have the worst motives, assume they have good intentions, at least until they irrefutably prove otherwise. I don’t think Chris had bad intentions writing his parody, but I do think his piece falls into the unfortunate rut our public discussions seem to be in.
I’ve watched the Library debates reasonably attentively and I don’t see any Grinches. I see people doing their best, which isn’t always perfect, and won’t ever make everyone happy. Could we all resolve to be more generous of spirit in ’23? I hope so.
Happy New Year!