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.
The truth about Terramor
Last Tuesday’s Saugerties Planning Board meeting was packed with those opposing KOA Terramor’s plan to build a massive “glamping” resort on 77 pristine woodland acres on the border between Woodstock and Saugerties, off Route 212 near Shultis Corners. Presentations were made by the Sierra Club, the Catskill Mountain Keepers, the Woodstock Land Conservancy, the Woodstock Jewish Congregation and many many more, every single one opposed to Terramor. Interestingly, for an open forum, not a single person or representative of any group spoke in support of the project: no business interest, no restaurant owner, no shop owner, no politician — no one at all. And at this point, what is being asked of the board is what’s technically known as a SEQRA review, which is simply an objective comprehensive environmental impact study designed to get at the truth of the project’s possible adverse effects on land, air, water, wildlife — a comprehensive sense of how it will impact the local community.
The Saugerties Board must now affirm the need for such a review or basically take the studies Terramor themselves has done as gospel…and it was quite clear from the experts who presented at this meeting that many of those studies are, at best, flawed, and at worst actively disingenuous. What the residents of Saugerties and Woodstock (with the support of many organizations) are asking for is simple: the truth — an honest unbiased review. A board member has been quoted as saying that their job “is to do what’s legal. We can’t go by our heart. We have to think about the legalities and it’s tough for some people to understand this.” What’s actually tough to understand is why the board wouldn’t simply do everything in its power to get at the truth of the impact of allowing the Terramor resort to be built in the first place.
DON’T curb your enthusiasm
In case you haven’t been paying attention, a Big Bad Wolf named Terramor is coming and he’s about to blow your house down. With traffic congestion, air and water pollution and even a superfund site near to their proposed resort now threatens our community. Thankfully, a handful of local citizens have been working their tails off to protect us — yes, US. They’ve organized, written countless letters, hired lawyers and experts, coordinated their efforts with community, educational and religious organizations — for FREE — donating countless hours of their time. As Brian Hollander so brilliantly reported, almost 20 citizens stood up in front of the Saugerties Planning Board and collectively made a great case against Terramor. BUT THEY NEED YOUR HELP. Woodstock is facing an existential threat and YOU have a choice: (a) simply wait for the wolf to blow YOUR house down and bemoan your fate when it happens or (b) be a part of the solution by supporting these people who are fighting to protect OUR community. The point is YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE by making a donation of $10, $25 or $100 or more. Hey, you’ll spend that much or more for lunch, a bottle of wine, dinner out or even a six-pack. So, please — get off the sofa, get involved, take a stand, lend a hand to these dedicated few who are protecting YOUR community. Go to CitizensAgainstTerramor.org and donate TODAY! Thank you.
Total dada noise foofaraw
Classified documents? Oh, to be a fly on the wall in President Joe Biden’s White House. [Now] it’s drip, drip, drip with these classified documents. Biden appears to be frustrated and irritated with the backlash to this classified docs controversy. Well, he should be embarrassed for “the buck” stops at the person in charge.
What is known so far suggests that the Trump and Biden classified documents cases are not equivalent. The National Archives sought records from Trump’s team for more than a year, and at least 100 documents were ultimately retrieved with some being considered “highly” classified/top secret. Still waiting for Trump to be held accountable for directing his staff to remove documents and bring them to Mar-a-lago. Then denied he took them [obstruction of justice] and, even after he was exposed for having them, he refused to turn them over [more obstruction].
Biden’s team discovered roughly ten classified documents in Biden’s office and quickly delivered them to the National Archives. Another very small number were also discovered at Biden’s Delaware home, and these were also turned in.
You know. Biden’s lawyers could have literally destroyed all of these, and no one would have ever known. No one knew they existed. Nothing more honest than turning yourself in.
Yup. The documents were turned in after being discovered. No hiding, no need for the FBI to get a legal warrant. On the surface, it appears to be an oversight and Biden took immediate steps to remedy it and search for more without being ordered to. However, the DOJ needs to investigate and show that there was no intent, which is the standard for illegal behavior. I’m also looking forward to hearing what was found. They’re only saying classified markings.
Well at least he had them handed over without throwing a “duck fit.” Unlike Trump who threw a major tantrum at his hotel in Florida chanting, “I can make them declassified by just saying it” and refused to hand them over after he was out of office.
I voted for Biden. Please investigate. Use the same measures that were taken during Trump’s investigation. If it comes to light that he committed a crime, then I support any subsequent charges. If it’s found that he didn’t commit any crimes, awesome.
I would expect the DOJ to do no less, but then I’m not in a cult where I think a leader can declassify docs with the power of his mind.
Bridges too far
The fact is that a small portion of the land that belongs to the Calamar development exists on the other side of the stream that runs behind the main property of what has been proposed as a new motel or hotel was used as a pretense to get approval to install two foot bridges and subsequently positioned as a new access route into the conserved and protected Comeau property.
Consider the environmental impact
This special allowance should not have been granted as it a) represents a special entrance to what is otherwise a conservation zone with limited uses allowed and b) other over-the-creek uses nearby have led to pollution, filth and inappropriate camping. You need only look at the area on or under the old bridge behind the Station Cafe with broken bottles, trash and the detritus there to have a pretty good idea of what the impact might be of the two approved bridges at Calamar and their promoted uses as special access routes into the Comeau.
More importantly, even than this inappropriate private use of access to public lands is how this got shoved through without oversight by the Comeau stewards. It smells of a sweetheart deal made in darkness without appropriate vetting.
Rescind the approval of the two bridges.
Oh, the Glamptown Shadies
Sing this song:
The Glamptown Shadies
All year long:
“Oh, moolah, yay!”
They’ll scar our earth,
Pollute our air,
For “Moolah! Moolah!”
Befoul our wetlands
Without a care,
“Oh, moolah, yay!”
Partying all night!
Clogging roads all day!
Oh, Terramor will be a curse
Please, Saugerstock, shoo it away!
Again inspired by another source: “The lifestyle you save may be your own.” Terramor will create a cesspool of problems my lyrics only hint at.
For details, visit the Citizens against Terramor’s Facebook page. Who knows: The terrible-but-not-yet-inevitable threat you’ll learn about there may even inspire you to join us!
Spreading the manure
Let me get this straight: When Neil Jarmel criticizes the former President it’s because he’s inflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, but when John Butz criticizes the current President, as he does nearly every week, that’s … what? Political commentary? Okie dokie.
It needs to be said, though, that the right-wing mantra, repeated last week by Mr. Butz, about “… 87,000 armed IRS agents …” is, typically, misleading. It’s hard to tell if the folks at Fox News are intentionally trying to deceive their viewers or if they’re simply ignorant of the facts, but now it’s oozing into the local paper, making it harder to ignore. Consider:
The number 87,000 is the total of new hires over the next eight years. Due to attrition (retirement, re-location, etc.), the IRS anticipates losing about 50,000 staff members by 2026. The vast majority of them are accountants, but new hires will also replace janitorial staff, IT support, customer service reps and others who are NOT armed. In 2021, the IRS employed over 78,000 people, down 13% from ten years ago, so the new additions will not appreciably increase its numbers.
Only Special Agents carry firearms and there are currently only 2100 Special Agents, or less than 3% of the IRS work force. That number is expected to go up by about 150 over the next ten years. While Elliot Ness was the most famous Special Agent, the people carrying on that work are no less dedicated to law enforcement and are working on a budget that has continued to decrease over the past 20 years. It is estimated that underfunding the IRS costs about $18 billion per year in lost tax revenue.
The 400-odd billionaires in the US pay an average of 8.2% of their income in taxes, with some paying nothing at all. What percentage do you pay? House Republicans are running interference for the very wealthy and using Fox News to spread the manure, while the middle class ends up with the cleaning bill.
Consider the term wounded warrior. Wounded identifies a veteran as a patient. However, a wounded warrior also connotes a victim compromised by war wounds. Unfortunately, these category labels become windows to see our injured veterans as secondary citizens.
The entertainment industry springboards the image of our veterans as insane, hopeless and suicidal in films. Our Veterans Administration has become so political it took years to put burn pit policies in place; huge numbers died and suffered while politicians played political ping pong with their lives. This past year the VA left many thousands waiting over a year to replace their cancer-causing CPAP machines after they were told they must use the machine even though they risked getting cancer.
As a combat veteran, I suggest we look at how we view our veterans and see that the state of where we are today comes from the United States funding our economy by going to WAR. Politicians know veterans hold these truths and fear we will lose the economy if they end the massive spending on wars. Politicians and the wealthy’s greatest fear is if we begin calling our veterans Truth Carriers, morality will be reborn and wealth will be dispersed.
The truths of war last every veteran’s lifetime. We carry this truth alone, knowing our families and loved ones who we live with also carry our burdens. Unfortunately, another political benefit of repressing the reality of war is that it hides what we have done to our enemies. Most of those we kill are everyday folks, low-ranking military and many civilians, not the dictators and elite, who also use the war for wealth and power. Our veterans sacrifice their honor and morality by keeping the facts of war repressed from public view, which places them into a category of victims that politicians can safely ignore.
It’s not unfair to say this unresolved moral paradox brought by the lack of political accountability becomes more complicated for veterans to heal from the many physical and mental wounds inflicted on the battlefields.
Politicians and generals use verbal dance twists to spin and disguise the depth of moral responsibility this kind of warfare calls forth. All combat veterans learn that it simply boils down to, “Was the enemy I killed deserving of death?” Truth Carriers endlessly ask this question of themselves. But, unfortunately, politicians do not own moral responsibility for taking life. Instead, they bury this truth beneath monolithic piles of blood money.
Because veterans have taken a life or supported others taking life, they have no choice but to hold death in their awareness. Morality provides the possibility of self-forgiveness for taking life. “Truth Carriers” know war in their bones, and death visits them daily from past battlefields. In contrast, civilians know wars from sound bites. The government hires experts to dissect wars into complex intellectualized concepts that don’t bleed. News philosophers make up abstract ideas that leave out the moral facts of war’s aftereffects.
As a “Truth Carrier,” I say, no one should be able to run for election to the Senate, Congress or president without working or serving in a military conflict or war. They should serve for at least one year, with six months of their service tending a military morgue.
New interest rate environment
The Village of New Paltz borrows money for various capital projects and equipment and finances our purchases over several years using a combination of short- and long-term notes and bonds. For the last few years the village enjoyed borrowing money inexpensively, but starting last year, Federal Reserve officials emphasized that we should expect to see ongoing restrictive monetary policy to slow demand and tame inflation.
Last week, our $1.1 million bond anticipation note (BAN) was listed on S&P Global’s Ipreo Parity auction system and nine institutions bid to lend us the funds for one year. Only licensed banks and broker dealers may use this system. Banks tend to hold short-term BANs like ours and broker dealers will offer them to their investing clients.
Of the nine licensed institutions who offered to lend us $1.1 million, Jefferies provided the lowest net rate at 3.36% for us to borrow these funds starting 2/2/23 and pay them back by 2/2/24.
Our net rates for BANs:
1.16% Oppenheimer — September ’16
1.27% Oppenheimer — September ’17
1.91% Jefferies — March ’18
2.15% Jefferies — September ’18
1.40% BNY Mellon — September ’19
1.39% Piper Jaffray — November ’19
0.59% Green County Commercial — October ’20
0.23% Oppenheimer — September ’21
0.56% Green County Commercial — February ’22
2.96% Fidelity Capital Markets — September ’22
3.36% Jefferies — February ’23
Mayor Tim Rogers
Did you even ask?
Frances Marion Platt’s article about the dedication of the Town of Gardiner meeting room on December 20 was an inaccurate poor attempt at journalism. I am very certain Platt never spoke to (at the time the article was written) retiring Town Clerk Michelle Mosher. I know Michelle very well and her decision to retire has nothing to do with feeling unworthy as Platt incorrectly stated. Michelle retired because she worked long and hard for the Town of Gardiner and earned her retirement. After over 30 years of working for the town, an article highlighting her career, the things she has done for the town and the legacy she will leave behind should have been the focus, not inaccurate speculation on why she was retiring. All Platt’s “facts” in the article are far from that. Did you even talk to her before writing your article Frances Platt? I demand that you reach out to Michelle, get your facts straight and issue a correction to the article.
PS: Congratulations on your retirement mom, it is well deserved. We are proud of you and love you.
Does he really?
From Hudson Valley One: “And while I [Supervisor McKenna] really wanted to see that project happen, there has not been agreement with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) about the reeds that we can use and whether they’d be acceptable.” Which is the reason McKenna is using to take the reed bed grant money and potentially have it available for the office renovation. Based upon my “the watch must be broken theory,” I recently foiled for all communications between the DEC and Woodstock regarding the reed bed at the sewer treatment plant.
It appears that the last email exchange took place on May 27, 2020. Additionally, in April of 2019, McKenna asked Bill Rudge of the DEC if the “terms [required to install the reed bed] we are talking are insurmountable or a bit more work?” Rudge’s response was: “In short, if you wanted to consider an alternative plant, like a cattail, this could go forward, and then if you wanted to convert to native phragmites once you complete an acceptable risk management plan, that would be an option. Admittedly, my take is that it will be very difficult to complete the additional survey work we need in time for undertaking this in 2019.” I will ask again. Does he really want to see the project happen?
Interview with an ideologue
An ideologue is someone who has very strong beliefs or opinions and stubbornly sticks to them even when evidence suggests they might be wrong. The following is an imaginary interview between the moderator of the PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff and my favorite ideologue, Neil Jarmel. All the answers from this parody are taken from Mr. Jarmel’s Feedback writings.
Woodruff: Good evening. Tonight, the NewsHour is privileged to be interviewing Mr. Neil Jarmel, a frequent letter writer to the Feedback section of Hudson Valley’s popular Newspaper, Hudson Valley One. Mr. Jarmel’s letters are noted for their frequent attacks against former POTUS Donald J. Trump and Republicans who have supported him or his policies. Good evening Mr. Jarmel.
Jarmel: Good evening, Judy. May I call you Judy?
Woodruff: As long as it is understood by readers that your use of my first name does not imply that you have ever met me before this interview and therefore could not possibly know or understand me then yes, you may call me Judy.
Jarmel: Of course. Thank you, Judy.
Woodruff: Since the time allotted for this NewsHour segment is limited to 500 words I will limit myself to three questions. You have been criticized in HV1 for your frequent attacks against Donald Trump even though he is no longer POTUS. Do you think this criticism is justified?
Jarmel: No, Judy. The MAGAt-elected Trumpbulicans want all people to accept the public status quo as somehow fair and sacrosanct.
Woodruff: I see. You have been extremely critical of former POTUS Trump for storing classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. When this discovery was revealed, President Biden questioned how such a thing could possibly happen and called Trump’s behavior “totally irresponsible.” In light of the fact that classified documents, were, discovered in three or four different Biden locations, including the garage of his Delaware home, do you consider Biden to be “totally irresponsible” and perhaps hypocritical?
Jarmel: Trump doesn’t care about America…There is an old saying, “Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me 9,000+times then I must be a Trump supporter…America’s democracy has paid a very dear price because of Trump’s continual con-like antics.
Woodruff: You didn’t actually answer my question but I will take your response as a “No.”
Woodruff: You recently criticized Republican George Santos for lying on his résumé during his election campaign. Joe Biden has plagiarized and told numerous lies in the last 40 years among them the following: he was arrested in apartheid-era South Africa and went to law school on a full academic scholarship. He told the hurricane-devastated island of Puerto Rico that he had been “raised in the Puerto Rican community at home, politically,” in Delaware. With your criticism of Santos in view, why did you vote for liar Biden in 2020?
Jarmel: Unfortunately, known liars are welcomed into the Republican Party with open arms, whereas know criminals like Trump are compared to God.
Woodruff: Again, you have not answered my question, Mr. Jarmel. However, it seems I’ve gone over the 500-word limit. I wanted to ask you about the 210 House Democrats who voted against the Republican initiated bill requiring medical personnel to attempt to save babies born alive after a botched abortion, but that will have to wait for another time. Good night, Mr. Jarmel.
Jarmel: Good night, Judy.
Woodruff: This has been the NewsHour and I’m Judy Woodruff.
I now do all my shopping at Tops
Just the facts:
1. For approximately a month, Shop-Rite’s only two motorized carts have been broken/out of service.
2. I am disabled/handicapped and I spoke to Shop-Rite employees (including the store manager) about this issue/problem.
3. When I suggested that they consider ordering replacement motorized carts, I was told that there was no room for them — either in the inside front of the store or in the storage area in the back.
They said “there is no room.”
4. I therefore had no choice but to walk to my car with my groceries in my hands.
5. There was nothing, e g., rock salt, put down on the slick walk and street outside.
6. Reluctantly, I went to Tops, with its full lineup of motorized carts. Contrary to popular opinion, Tops is NOT more expensive than Shop-Rite. In fact, I found many additional less-expensive items that I didn’t know Tops even carried.
7. I now do all my shopping at Tops.
All shook up
A bottle of pills is a kind of maraca.
Anyone else get as sick and tired of hearing about Biden’s Corvette papers as I did? So instead I got up early and watched the goings-on at The World Economic Forum at Davos for comic relief. A howl.
Climate change of course was a main topic. That didn’t stop one private plane after another arriving, each disgorging only one person. I assume the captain and crew evaporated and somehow re-appeared when it was time for departure. John Kerry described himself as an extra-terrestrial, Al Gore exploded wildly about migrants flooding our borders because of climate change. But the climax of the shenanigans came for me when the founder of this carnival of billionaire looney tunes, someone called Shultz, dressed in what looked like a Space-X suit, got up on a big platform and banged on about “ze crisees” which ve now face, and how ve must stop eating ze meat and instead eat “ze bugs!”
Great. Now I know what to do with those pesky aphids that cling to my walls come spring. Worried about the rising costs of raisins for my bread-and-butter puddings? No prob. Just shake the contents of my fly swatter over the batter, pop into the oven et voila! Mayfly’s a bit of a teaser, but I finally came up with Ragout des gilets-jaunes et des mouches de Mai avec ses tostes — yellow-jacket and mayfly stew with its toasts. Bon appetit!
PS: I’ve left out the crickets of summer. I love them and will leave them be. Just hope they don’t come across Shultz.
A smile can mean the world to someone who is hurting
From Thich Nhat Hanh: “Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I intend to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” This past Sunday, January 22 was the second anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations TPNW (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons). Ninety-eight countries have signed the treaty — 68 have ratified it and 30 other countries are moving through their ratification process. Prohibitions under the treaty include not developing, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, deploying nuclear weapons on national territory or providing assistance to any State in the conduct of prohibited activities. Notably missing as countries NOT signing on to the TPNW are the U.S., U.K., Russia, China, North Korea, Israel, Pakistan, India and France. These are the nine countries possessing nuclear weapons. An enforceable and verifiable treaty is needed. Please contact your federal representatives in Congress, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., the White House (President Biden, Antony Blinken), local/county/state representatives (who, in turn, can contact federal officials) and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of non-signing nuclear countries. Effect change by being that pebble in the pond that creates ripples and a base that may allow our children and grandchildren to have a more secure world. As an individual, each of us can make contact with and smile at someone today — even if we don’t know the person. It may be the only smile they get today. Your smile can mean the world to someone who is hurting. And, who knows, that smile of yours might be passed on to an unthinkable number of others. You may even find that it gets returned to you when you need it most. Peace.
Big challenge for George
Oops! Sorry for my cultural appropriation.
Big challenge for George and I am surprised this has not been done. It’s screaming to be done. What, you ask?
A parody of Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage! I admit, he’ll have trouble finding rhymes for Burisma. Hunter’s laptop should be easy. Corn Pop, no problem. Big Guy, piece of cake.
The Central Scrutinizer,
The Calamar calamity
So now, another developer, Michael Arnstein, is petitioning the Woodstock Planning Board for permission to build a seven-unit motel on Calamar Lane, a tiny unpaved lane off Tinker Street near the cinema. Until a few years ago, the three lots that Mr. Arnstein has purchased were devoted to long-term housing. You know, for residents. A horrible fire in 2018 destroyed those homes.
The three lots in question are nestled within an area that has always been primarily residential. Mr. Arnstein’s motel would be crammed between homes and bordered by a stream over which Mr. Arnstein wants to place two footbridges and then a sleeping platform on the other side.
But, wait, hasn’t Woodstock been struggling for years because its own residents have almost nowhere to live? How can we consider removing a serious housing option for the sake of unnecessary tourist accommodations aka individual financial profit? When does it stop? When does Woodstock hold true to its spirit and say no?
The spirit of Woodstock is much more than a bumper sticker. The spirit of Woodstock is real, and despite many desecrations, it still burns bright. People come to Woodstock for something different, to connect with a world that still breathes and sings. Let’s make sure that world is always here, a place where human values count more than anything.
If you too would like to preserve Woodstock, please sign our petition at: change.org/STOPCALAMAR.
Making a difference
I found myself waiting at Kingston UPS today in a long line with two women behind me also wearing masks. Yes, I am still wearing a mask. It has become my habit to speak to “strangers,” particularly when it is convenient, or we are meeting face-to-face like in the parking lot of Barnes & Noble, standing in line to pay, etc.
What I have found is that my Covid isolation has forced me to crave conversations about any topic, including the pandemic, as well as comments on the beauty of the Catskills, weather or an item in one of the stores. In fact, I find that many other shoppers are willing to discuss products, the weather or almost anything. It’s simple connection.
It’s about building our community now. A common behavior of feeling part of a community is saying “Good Morning,” or “Aren’t those mountains beautiful today” or “How old is your baby?”
Out of the blue? Not really. Even a simple “good morning or afternoon” has been a greeting in communities for thousands of years.
1. A simple comment or conversation can brighten the day for both of you. We both feel noticed.
2. We acknowledge we are part of a friendly society and
3. Life feels safer emotionally.
Building our community is vital now. Everyone in the whole world has experienced severe fear in the past Covid years. We have faced death and the trauma of loosing friends and relatives, not to mention our freedom to travel, our hopes and dreams to enjoy a social retirement, teenagers’ freedom to explore and the joys of family activities and play.
It’s time now to recognize the damage that our society has suffered and to begin to be kind, to be generous with our spontaneous safe connections, to feel the community warming up and acknowledging that we are in this together for our personal and community benefit.
Making an effort to be friendly makes a difference.
Interfaith Rev Bardet Wardell