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.
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Celebrating Earth Day? Earth Day must be celebrated every day because our only home is being destroyed faster than any tree can grow. I quote from Hudson Valley One’s April 19: “Saugerties green and clean days will be held on April 22 and April 23. All Saugerties residents are invited to celebrate (my emphasis) Earth Day on April 22 by pitching in to clean up roadside litter throughout town.”
Indeed, our town’s roads need to be rid of the garbage that accumulates. Yes, volunteers are needed. Yes, fellow residents care about our environment and the beauty it affords us all. And, yes, we need to let those volunteers know that our town appreciates all their hard work.
And, as I read this request, The Winston Farm development horror came immediately to mind.
Such incredible hypocrisy from our Town Board. Asking for help tidying our roads and then supporting a development that clearly is going to fill our hometown not only with destruction of hundreds of trees, but also the wildlife that depend upon them, acres of open land, potentially do irreparable destruction to our aquifer.
And garbage? If our roads are considered litter filled now, just take a moment to envision the amount that will be accumulating. It certainly will take more than requesting citizen volunteer cleanup crews to accomplish this task.
The “Saugerties Green & Clean” and the “Greening of Saugerties” promises are empty words at best and absolute deception at worst.
Those who promote and support this desecration should think twice about the legacy of Historic, Friendly Saugerties and perhaps of their very own.
Hopefully it is not too late.
Exceeding his authority?
The request/application for an interpretation by the Woodstock Zoning Board of Appeals relating to whether or not the building permit issued to 10 Church Road by the building inspector was valid, did not require a referral from the building inspector. Not all requests to the ZBA require referrals from the building inspector. What gave him the right to return the application to the applicant, circumventing the Zoning Board of Appeals’ right to hear the case?
Where’s our tax money?
For years the Town of Woodstock has been debating millions of dollars for library and town offices renovations, yet a parking lot on Rock City Road that is being used by hundreds of people every day, is left full of dangerous potholes (some five to eight inches deep) and no lights!
Holes are so deep it can severely damage a car, not to mention major injuries to pedestrians.
What will it take for the town to do something about it? Will this warning be enough in order to be compensated in case of an accident?
Two boobs exposed
Woodstock Supervisor Bill McKenna and Councilperson Laura Ricci hinder environmental progress. While Supervisor McKenna is openly resistant to environmental initiatives, Councilperson Ricci uses her position as liaison to the Woodstock Environmental Commission (WEC) to greenwash her own politics. Ms. Ricci offers public support, but privately, she erects roadblocks to progress then touts her environmental bona fides when she dismantles them, leading some WEC members to call for her to resign as liaison.
Laura eventually voted ‘yes’ to designating the Zena Woods Critical Environmental Area, but fought the project tooth and nail until the end. When the WEC asked her to advocate for money in the town’s budget for composting, education and the annual Earth Day event, Ms. Ricci instead voted to defund the Commission. Despite her lengthy victory lap over the defeat of Terramor, Laura originally echoed the supervisor’s stance that “nothing could be done,” while other Town Board members were the ones urging the town to oppose the project. After the WEC spoke up about the mishandling of the illegal dumping in Shady, Ms. Ricci violated labor and ethics rules to replace me as WEC chair. Now, Supervisor McKenna has improbably assigned Laura to look into the issue, despite the fact that she voted “no” to well testing at the site and withheld pertinent documents the WEC was tasked with reviewing.
The Town of Woodstock is incredibly fortunate to be situated in an area that offers natural beauty and a resilient ecosystem. In the face of increasing development and a changing climate, that can never be taken for granted. If we want to see more environmental progress in Woodstock, it will have to be without Supervisor McKenna and Councilperson Ricci. Burn your bras if you wear them, because this is a pair of boobs that should not be supported.
Green and clean thanks
The Town of Saugerties Supervisor Fred Costello Jr. and Town Board Members Leeanne Thornton, Peg Nau, Mike Ivino and Zac Horton would like to thank the listed participants for their involvement during the Green & Clean Days, which were held on April 15, 16, 22 and 23, 2023 through their collection of roadside litter along town roads to aid in the beautification and greening of Saugerties.
Volunteer team captains: Bob Howe, Barbara Krzywonos, Amy Feinberg, Linda Beck, Phyllis Clark, Barbara Hammerstone, Renee Reynolds, Annie Hoffstatter, Jessica Brott, Jennifer Mangione, Ted Suttmeier, Elin Menzies, Donna McClain, Tami Pelham, Kathy Bridges, Julie Coon, the Sagazie Family, Laura Swanson, Tress Palmer, MaryAlice Lindquist, Jon Light, Maureen Condo, Beth Woodard, Team M & T Bank, Donna Mehalak, Gaynor Ellis, Valerie Scott, Ray Howard, Charles Staby, Marilyn Wall, Dorothy Goren, Joanne Nichols, Eddie Johnson, N. Ligenbuhl, Cherie Jemsek and Linda Siegel and the volunteer team members who helped these individuals with the project.
The Town of Saugerties is very fortunate to have such an asset as these volunteers that have pitched in to do their part for the community.
A special thanks goes out to the transfer station manager Doug Myer and his employees for the collection of the gathered roadside litter and for accepting/disposal of the litter.
Fred Costello Jr., Supervisor
Leanne Thornton, Town Board Member
Peg Nau, Town Board Member
Mike Ivino, Town Board Member
Zac Horton, Town Board Member
Candidate for town justice
There is an opening for a Gardiner town justice on the upcoming general election ballot and it’s important to elect a candidate with experience and skills to serve in that position.
The town justice hears and decides vehicle and traffic cases, small claims matters, misdemeanor prosecutions and evictions. A successful town justice should have courtroom experience, commitment to neutrality and concern for justice.
I would like to introduce myself as a candidate. After practicing law for almost three decades, and litigating in Federal and State courts, from intake to jury trial, I believe I have the experience for the position. In terms of neutrality, it is important to hear cases without prejudgment, and with an interest in ensuring that every party is heard. I have served as a neutral arbitrator for many years, rendering decisions in disputes for a Federal agency and am trained as a mediator.
I have lived in Gardiner for over two decades, raised my kids here and been involved in several volunteer capacities with the town. It would be my honor to serve as one of the two town justices for this community. I humbly ask for your support at the general election on November 7.
Laura Matlow Wong-Pan
Banking Act of 1933
In a previous letter dated March 30, 2023, I mentioned the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.
This act was sponsored by Senator Carter Glass (D) VA and Representative Henry Steagall (D) AL, commonly referred to as the Banking Act of 1933. This was a bill passed and signed by FDR in response to the stock market crash of the 1930s, which wiped out millions of deposits held by small business and homeowners. This was due to the role the banks played in the Great Depression of that time.
This bill separated checking and savings accounts from investment banking, which was considered, under the circumstances, to be risky adventures. These two accounts are protected by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), a result of the Banking Act of 1933.
It lent stability to the average investor as it protects his savings and checking accounts, now up to $250,000, gradually being increased to this level down through the years. But the men with the ‘gift of the touch of money’, found fault with it, particularly because it was too restrictive or, because they could not get their hands on these funds. Therefore, parts of this bill, if not the entire act, were repealed in 1999 by Bill Clinton (Graham-Leach Bliley Act). This undoubtedly played a role in the 2008 Great Recession.
An example of this is that Washington Mutual, one of the largest banks in the country, went under in 2008, even though supposedly insured with the FDIC! I was under the impression that if a bank was insured with the FDIC, they had the secure backing of the United States Government. What happened here?
The Silicon Valley Bank went under 2023 but was protected, I believe, by the FDIC. Why was one not covered by the FDIC and the other was? What were the manipulations behind one failing and not the other? What does this mean for Ulster Savings Bank, Bank of America, M&T, Chase, Wells Fargo and other banks across the country.
I would welcome all commentaries on this subject to educate and enlighten the average reader subscribing to this newspaper. Various opinions are welcome and perhaps we can grasp a greater understanding as to what happened and what this bodes for the average investor/depositor today.
Senator Hinchey helping us be energy efficient while protecting taxpayers
We are proud to share that we received an exciting call from Senator Michelle Hinchey’s office late Friday. The Senator has nominated the Village of New Paltz to receive a $300,000 grant towards the replacement of our well worn 25-year-old 1998 Chevy dump truck whose parts have become limited or unavailable. We plan to replace it with an energy efficient 2024 Western Star plow/salt truck with a hook lift system body for $312,298.
Our team is excited as the new truck has an updated lower emissions Cummins engine. We maintain a list of our 23 taxpayer-owned pieces of heavy equipment and trucks, ranked by when we believe replacements should be made. Five vehicles/equipment have been replaced since 2016.
We have been making upgrades primarily with local taxpayer funding, while not raising taxes, so we are especially pleased with the support from Senator Hinchey. We strive to be energy efficient while protecting taxpayers.
Had fun working closely with our Village of New Paltz DPW to secure this grant. Great teamwork!
Mayor Tim Rogers
Conservative caucus in Saugerties
The Town of Saugerties Conservative Party will be holding a caucus on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at 7 p.m., at the Senior Center, Market Street. The purpose of said meeting is to endorse Conservative candidates for town offices in the upcoming election. We urge you to attend this important meeting and support our Conservative candidates.
George Heidcamp, Chairman
Town of Saugerties Conservative Party
Here comes Mr. Jordan
First, let’s get this outta the way — he’s no angel. Led by his weaponization antics, chair of the House Judiciary Committee Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, kicked off a combative Republican-inspired field hearing inside a federal office building in lower Manhattan recently. All forms of news media witnessed elected right-wingers with their partisan and politicized retaliation clown show, as they played Trumpublican tourists for the public.
Yep, a bunch of newly-put-in-charge hee-haw clowns came with their BS folly to distract from a non-federal indictment (what Soros losers they are), seeking political shots to bully and discredit Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, claiming he has let crime spin out of control in the city due to his progressive ideology and “focus on going after Trump.” Really, they were just complaining because one of their criminals was caught red handed.
The idea that Republicans care about NYC is laughable. It was, in fact, a MAGAt off-Broadway production which bombed miserably, leaving the local/national audience unimpressed. These morons were wasting time defending this real-estate criminal.
Stick Jordan, with his trademark auctioneer-on-meth delivery, in a court jester hat and suit. Like many other elected GOP members, he has been infected with the “Orange Virus” from which few have recovered. Jordan is the king of lies and fake outrage. Thinks his job is to spread BS propaganda so he took his shit show on the road, on the taxpayers’ dime — all done for Trump and his dwindling constituency, a lowbrow audience that still listens to “FOX Not News.” Republicans are this nation’s biggest money pit.
It is truly breathtaking, the degree to which the GOP has become the party of alternative facts, conspiracy theories, grievance, propaganda and theatrics and has given up even the pretense of seriousness, ideas, policies and even the “public good.”
They have become power-mad, playing a zero-sum game of power at all costs. In fact, they are no longer a “party” at all, they have become a cult, no different than the cyanide drinkers of Jonestown or the asphyxiators of Heaven’s Gate IMHO.
Protect the Hudson River
Recently, Holtec, the company that has taken on decommissioning Indian Nuclear Power Plant, announced that it is planning to dump one-million gallons of radiological waste into our beloved Hudson River.
They must be stopped!
Contaminating our environment must not be a part of this nuclear nightmare process.
This decision is motivated by cost and not by necessity.
The state of our natural environment impacts all of our lives. It’s our job, as stewards of this planet, to keep it healthy and vibrant. We have an inherent responsibility to take care of this planet, as it gives us life, but also to protect its future for our children and grandchildren!
Water is life! Please help stop this egregious act! We must protect what we have left!
New legislation introduced (S5181/A5338) by state Senator Pete Harckharm and Assemblymember Dana Levenberg, with the support of a growing list of co-sponsors, will put a stop to any planned discharge into the Hudson River.
Please contact Gov. Hochul (518-474-8390) and urge her to oppose this plan.
Also, connect with the organizations championing this fight: Riverkeeper and Food and Water Watch.
Woodstock’s zoning and subdivision code under review
The Woodstock Housing Oversight Task Force (HOTF) wishes to thank the Woodstock Town Board for its unanimous April 18, 2023 resolution to begin formal review of our proposed amendments to Woodstock’s zoning and subdivision code. The HOTF’s mission is to make housing more available to people having a range of incomes and backgrounds while preserving the town’s character, scale and treasured natural environment. New York State enabling law for towns requires that zoning and land use regulations be consistent with an adopted comprehensive plan, a guiding principle in producing the HOTF’s zoning and subdivision code updates.
For almost two years, the HOTF worked closely with planner Nan Stolzenburg, FAICP, to draft the revisions we have just submitted. The new draft law updates the first version issued in 2022 and addresses comments received from Woodstock government entities and the public. It has been reviewed by Woodstock’s land-use lawyer and the County Planning Department. The resulting draft law will be further reviewed by the Town Board and the public, and receive formal review and comment from the Woodstock Planning Board and the Ulster County Planning Board.
Our community recognizes that Woodstock is experiencing a severe housing crisis that needs systemic attention. We are fortunate in Woodstock to have an active Housing Committee, a Home Share program, participation in Ulster County’s Housing Smart Communities Initiative and organizations such as Family of Woodstock and the Woodstock Housing Alliance, all engaged in addressing housing challenges. Woodstock is on its way to having a robust and innovative set of housing solutions. The zoning code revisions prepared by the HOTF will be a key part of meeting this need.
The HOTF looks forward to presenting an information session and discussion of the new draft law at the May 9 Woodstock Town Board meeting. The draft law, summaries and supporting documents are posted on the town’s website at woodstockny.org, on the zoning updates page.
The Woodstock HOTF thanks the Town Board for the opportunity to serve our town to help meet this vital need in our community.
Deborah Meyer DeWan and Kirk Ritchey, Co-Chairs
Judith Kerman, Laura Ricci, Richard Heppner, Michael Castiglione and Jeff Collins, Members
Woodstock Housing Oversight Task Force
It’s expensive to get the New York Times every day — plus you have to pay for antidepressants!
Wacky weather indeed
After reading the article by Erin Quinn entitled “Wacky weather,” about our past winter weather with comments by researcher emeritus Paul Huth at the Mohonk Preserve and reports and conversations by the founders and owners of Hudson Valley Weather, I was surprised at the omission of the words climate change, which is really behind the physical decades long intensification of the ENSO (El-Nino Southern Oscillation) cycle that is ultimately responsible for the destabilization of our planetary weather systems — including El Nino and La Nina.
Granted that the Hudson Valley topography, regional and micro-climate differences, elevation, (aerographic lift) have a lot to do with varying Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain weather — they are all fed by the ultimate generator of increasing atmospheric and marine temperatures due to an unabated increase of the atmospheric greenhouse gas C02 levels that has produced a worldwide temperature rise of 1.8 C. since the start of the Industrial Revolution and the highest C02 levels in the earth’s atmosphere in two million years — 423.5ppm.
The ENSO cycle, which alternates from the warm El Nino to the cooler La Nina has been part of the earth’s climate machine for millennia and historically responsible for regional and continental droughts, floods and drastic weather events. AGW however, (Anthropomorphic Global Warming) fed by chronic greenhouse gasses from the fossil fuel industry has become the forcing agent of constant upward trending atmospheric and ocean temperatures that will easily breach the IPCC and 2015 Paris Climate Treaty Accord targets of 1.5 C well before the turn of the century.
Extreme weather events, rising sea levels from melting ice caps, disrupted ecosystems, stuck weather, thawing permafrost, mega-droughts, and floods is the worldwide paradigm of the climate change apocalypse upon us and not just from El Nino or La Nina that may produce exceptional rainfall, snow or droughts.. Wacky weather indeed!
Victor C. Capelli
Reflection on my life post COVID
My workbench is more than just a place to store tools and projects. It reflects my very being. Every completed project, every unfinished sculpture and every ongoing task represents a building block of my life’s timeline. My workbench holds an intricate tapestry woven with the threads of my experiences and aspirations.
There’s something innate within me that drives me to create, to build, to tinker. It’s a primal urge that feels integral to who I am. Without a project to occupy my mind and hands, I feel like a part of me is missing. It’s as if creating and building gives my life purpose and meaning.
As I return to my workbench, I’m satisfied as I clean up the sawdust and organize my collection of hardware and materials. Discovering forgotten brass wood screws is like unearthing buried treasure. But as I reflect on my efforts, I can’t help but wonder: am I organizing my tools for convenience, or am I doing it to make it easier for my loved ones to find what they need after I’m gone?
As I grow older, I realize the importance of leaving a legacy for those I care about. Each tool on my workbench carries a story — a memory of when I first learned how to use it, the projects it helped me create and the moments it was there for me when I needed it. And now, as I continue to take on new projects, I consider the impact they may have on the people I love and the bridge they may become to help them understand the unexpressed sides of me.
Ultimately, my workbench is more than just a physical space — it’s a canvas for me to express myself through creation. Each project and every tool represents a piece of my identity, and I hope that one day, they will help my loved ones understand me in a way my words cannot express.
Housing the homeless
“Subsidized Squalor” by Rokosz Most (HV1 4/26/23) shocked me, not because I didn’t know how counties use public funds to prop up substandard for-profit enterprises like the Skytop motel and others of its disgusting ilk, or how miserably the unhoused and others dependent on the “safety net” are treated by our government bureaucracies, but rather because I discovered where and how it’s happening in my own backyard. This is shameful and we all ought to be horrified at the situation he describes.
According to the figures provided, each wretched motel room provided to an unhoused person or family costs the county, aka us, an average of $3800 a month. How would it not be less expensive just to rent apartments and houses for the unhoused and provide support programs to get them the benefits, programs and hopefully jobs required to enable them to return to a more normal and secure footing in the socio-economic life of the community? Talk about a win-win.
I want to recommend a remarkable book, mercifully under 200 pages of text (with nearly 100 pages of footnotes), to anyone interested in why there is so much poverty in America and how easy it would be to eliminate it, if we wanted to: Matthew Desmond’s Poverty, by America. Published this very year, it’s up to the minute in its observations and suggestions and available at the library.
Congressman Molinaro (CD 19) this week has betrayed the interests of our district. In Town Halls and other meetings, he said he was against holding action to raise the debt ceiling hostage. But this week he voted for the Republican bill that does just that.
The debt ceiling needs to be raised so that the United States can pay its bills as they come due. It does not authorize new spending, it simply makes it possible to pay up. Republicans had no trouble raising it multiple times when Trump was president. But now, they hold it hostage, demanding far reaching reductions in future spending in order to do their job and allow the United States to continue to pay our bills.
Beyond this hostage taking, the bill demands huge reductions in funding programs that protect our most vulnerable and our environment. The bill cuts off food to the hungry, reduces aid to our veterans, debt relief to college students, and for Head Start and child care assistance. These attack the social safety net relied on by the most vulnerable in our society during difficult times.
But the oil companies, natural gas and coal? They get to expand production. The very production that contributes to climate change.
Congressman Molinaro pretends to be more moderate than the far-right members of his party. But he votes with them. He votes against the interests of our community.
A week does not go by without my hearing and reading about a very wealthy guy named George Soros who puts his vast fortune to work targeting district attorney election campaigns. Smart guy. He funds candidates that he believes will selectively enforce some laws, but not others. And he is getting real results! As the late, great social commentator Will Rogers put it, “an honest politician is one who, when you buy him, stays bought.” Soros hires that kind of honesty.
A lot of us have spent a lot of time in the City. Most of us love it, and having it at our doorstep makes living here better.
Soros got NYC DA Bragg elected. Bragg does not enforce laws against prostitution, functionally legalizing that choice by some people, but also expanding the opportunity to force women and girls into that dangerous life.
Now our governor’s husband, and other entrepreneurs, are opening casinos in the City. Casinos help a lot of people lose a lot of money and seem to attract a lot of lousy types of businesses: loan sharks and pimps fit this argument best for me.
I say, enforce all laws, keep repeat offenders in custody, have speedy and fair trials, improve the prisons so that the experience improves the convicts’ employment chances when they get out, and throw DA Bragg and his kind out of office NOW.
Neil’s void continues
Another non-specific, empty regurgitation last week by Neil Jarmel was on full display while he sinks deeper and deeper into his TDS black hole. Neil is apparently becoming more self-conscious of his TDS as he subtly starts avoiding using the word “Trump” too often, instead sliding one of his many acronyms into the mix — TFG (The Former Guy — an obvious reference to Trump).
Notice how Neil never has any detailed, fact-based examples of his condemnations of Trump and the Republicans. It’s always just his vague nauseous blathering, often drowned out by his TDS venom. At this point, I’m guessing that quite a few readers on his side of the aisle are growing quite tired of his single-minded broken record rants — same ideas, same thoughts, same vile, same curse words, etc.
On the other hand, there are many SPECIFIC and DETAILED fact-based examples of Biden’s poor decisions and lack of national and international leadership that have put us all in an abyss regarding our economy, costs of goods and services, out-of-control national debt, erosion of our national security due to the refusal to uphold existing immigration laws, a weakened military that considers “white supremacy” and “proper pronouns” much more important than focusing on hard-nosed military preparedness and the list goes on. Neil is hardly stupid; he’s fully aware of all these shortcomings, yet doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to address any of it for 2 1/2 years and counting.
Neil warns us to “never let the same snake bite you twice.” It might be a bit too late for that, as Neil’s myopic cobra has bitten all of us dozens and dozens of times already.
John N. Butz