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Many of you may already know me, but I would like to say HELLO to those of you who do not yet. My name it Tim Hunter, and I am running to be your next town supervisor.
I moved here two decades ago when my wife and I realized Gardiner was the perfect place to raise our family — natural beauty, proximity to culture and amazing people.
We traveled to Guatemala, then Rwanda, to complete our adoptive family of four kids. Along the way, I ran for County Legislature, served on the Gardiner Open Space Commission and have been a regular on the Gardiner Democratic Committee. Also, I’ve captained a few choice projects: Save Minnewaska, Stop the Tea Party Takeover of Gardiner and worked enthusiastically for Jen Metzger and Juan Figueroa. Also, it was a joy running the Gardiner Community Concerts, inspired by former stagemate Pete Seeger. I hope to re-start them soon. Please contact me for more information. Space limits, but Google Tim Hunter + Gardiner.
But WHY do I want to be the Supervisor of Gardiner?
I want to Keep Gardiner Gardiner.
I see what has been happening with over-development, Yogi Bear, Awosting glamping, Steves Lane and the cell tower marring the pristine view of the Ridge. If we are to retain what’s left of the unique rural nature of Gardiner, we must act now before it is too late! Losing my wife to cancer in 2016, and being a single dad of four amazing kids since, has had a galvanizing effect on me. Next year, all four will be in high school and I will have all of my time for the betterment of Gardiner.
I have seen the way town government and citizens interact, and speaking to hundreds of neighbors, my feelings are confirmed that there is a level of disconnect between the two. In my advocacy group, there was a real feeling of disenfranchisement in speaking to town boards. We felt unheard and unseen. My volunteer and business experience makes me comfortable that I am fully ready to step up and work with you to make things better and more interactive. We have unique challenges, but I feel confident that if we work together things will improve.
Town government IS us. It is made up of neighbors. We should make every effort to listen. The boards reflect us. They should empathize and validate as we offer our opinions. NOT make citizens shy to speak. And you know what? Town oversight will be better. One of us is not as smart as all of us. I am firmly convinced that we will be stronger with the added benefit of people engaged, involved and valued.
June 27 is the Democratic Primary. It’s time for a change. I would appreciate your vote.
Go to Tim4Gardiner.com for more information, or to contact me with questions, comments and suggestions.
Your voice matters.
Candidate for Gardiner Supervisor
Vote ’em out
The current Onteora School Board, while professing to have no agenda, sneakily added an agenda item only hours before the May 2 meeting to close the Phoenicia and Woodstock elementary schools. Despite the 30-odd speakers at the meeting who spoke passionately about keeping those schools open and delaying the vote until after the upcoming school board elections, the board members chose to ignore public sentiment and voted 6-1 to close those schools.
For the voice of the people to be heard, we must vote for the school board candidates that stand for keeping our schools OPEN. They are: Emily Mitchell-Marell, Clark Goodson and Caroline Jerome.
The School Board election will be held on May 16. You can vote at any of the Onteora elementary schools (Woodstock, Phoenicia, Bennet) from 2 to 9 p.m. If you need an absentee ballot, you can obtain one from the district clerk by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have an address within the Onteora School District but are not registered to vote here, there will be affidavit ballots at each voting location. So, when the individual goes to vote, the registrar will ask their name and address. If they aren’t on the list, they will be handed an affidavit ballot.
Your vote for Emily Mitchell-Marell, Clark Goodson and Caroline Jerome is a vote for keeping our schools and our communities strong and healthy.
Suzanne M. Parker
Problem solving, Bill’s way
During McKenna’s time as supervisor, there were many issues that came before him that had to be resolved. Issues that required the process to start as quickly and efficiently as possible, but it didn’t quite work that way with him. His approach, as it is currently with the Shady dump, is more like we have a problem; let’s avoid it for the time being and maybe it will go away.
Shining a spotlight on subsidized squalor
Like everyone else who read Hudson Valley One’s front page story “Subsidized squalor,” I was heartsick to see the deplorable conditions which the homeless in our community are forced to endure.
A week later, your front page story “Rodeway blocked” let us know that Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger made an unannounced visit to the facility and shut it down for emergency housing.
The problem of homelessness in Ulster County — indeed the world — is far from being solved, but thank you to Hudson Valley One and Jen Metzger for shining a spotlight on this tragedy.
To paraphrase Margaret Meade: “Never doubt that a small local newspaper can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Kitty Brown, Member
Ulster Activist Affordable Housing Committee
Hinchey should back this bill to reduce landfill waste
Rokosz Most’s May 3 article, “Financial details kept under wraps at the UCRRA” quotes the marvelous Manna Jo Greene who appears to be the only person taking a smart approach to reducing our waste and climate change emissions, and minimizing the negative environmental and health impacts of our area’s next landfill. With just a few years left at the Seneca Meadows landfill we’re currently trucking our garbage hundreds of miles to, this is becoming an ever more pressing question.
Greene says, “Half the battle is won if recyclables are removed from the waste stream and if organics are directed towards composting.” This is true! Last week, I was one of 25 people who made the trek up to Albany to participate in the NY Is NOT Disposable Rally and meet with my state legislators to urge them to pass two critical bills that would achieve both goals that Greene highlights: The Packaging Reduction & Recycling Infrastructure Act (S4246/A5322) and The Bigger Better Bottle Bill (S237/ A6353). Together, these bills would dramatically reduce packaging waste, litter and plastic pollution while helping NYS comply with the directives in the climate law’s scoping plan, and giving a powerful boost to local recycling and composting programs, including UCRRA.
Sarahana Shrestha is already a co-sponsor of the Packaging Reduction & Recycling Infrastructure Act — bravo! I urge her to also co-sponsor and work to pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill in what’s left of this shortened session. However, Senator Hinchey has thus far declined to co-sponsor either of these common sense and desperately needed bills. To say this is disappointing is an understatement. There’s still time, however brief as the session ends on June 8, for her to change her mind and co-sponsor both bills to help our region avoid a stinky, wasteful, climate-warming future.
Two important plastic bills
Recently, I went to Albany to ask Senator Hinchey and Rep. Shrestha to support two bills that address problems related to plastic pollution, recycling and toxins in our environment. The two bills are: The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Act — which reduces packaging by 50% in the coming 12 years and provides strong oversight to ensure requirements to reduce toxins, increase recyclability and put fees for plastic manufacturers in place related to recyclability; and the Bigger Better Bottle Bill. This bill increases the deposit from five to ten cents (refundable) and includes more types of bottles. It is estimated that the bill would save $70 million annually through waste diversion and would recycle an additional five billion containers. Presently, when glass breaks, everything in the container becomes contaminated with glass shards and is no longer recyclable. Glass bottles, like wine and liquor bottles, will be included in the BBB Bill, so the overall presence of glass in our recycling streams will be reduced. Other effects of this bill will be an increase in revenue for municipalities, through the retention of the revenue from deposited bottles that have not been returned for cash. It will also increase income for those who gather empty cans and bottles in cities. This is not a small issue — people who gather bottles from curbside garbage and recycling bins are often vulnerable members of our society. As they do not have any other income, this is a very natural and organic way for them to get paid for an important job they do for those of us who don’t bring our bottles back for redemption. It’s been 42 years since the last bottle bill, a time where the five cent deposit then, is worth 16 cents today. Let’s pass both these long overdue bills!!!
$300K SUNY Impact Aid supports fire, police, rescue and New Paltz taxpayers
The Village of New Paltz, Senator Hinchey, Assemblymember Shrestha and Governor Hochul made sure $300,000 was secured for New Paltz taxpayers TOWNWIDE via the NYS budget last night. That’s $900,000 over the last six years.
We lobbied and received $200,000 in SUNY Impact Aid in fiscal years 2019, 2020 and 2021. Thank you former Senators Metzger and Bonacic and Assemblymember Cahill. (We lobbied in 2022 and 2023 but were unsuccessful.) With $200,000, the village elected to share $50,000 with the townwide A-Fund for police expenses and then apply $150,000 towards the volunteer New Paltz Fire Department’s reserve fund for future expenses to benefit townwide taxpayers.
For fiscal year 2024, our administration increased the request by $100,000 to $300,000 so we may contribute more to our fire budget and also use $50,000 of this desperately needed aid to support the New Paltz Rescue Squad.
Extra thanks to Senator Hinchey for making sure our request was in the Senate’s FY 2024 one-house budget to make this a possibility. SUNY Impact Aid supports fire, police, rescue and New Paltz taxpayers.
Mayor Tim Rogers
Teen mental health: Responding to stigma
May is Mental Health Month. The Maya Gold Foundation’s mission is to empower youth to access their inner wisdom and realize their dreams. One of the standing committees is the “Mental Health Committee.” The committee is comprised of teens from the nonprofit’s Youth Action Team, board members and community volunteers. During May, we have committed to raise awareness of mental health issues. The following letter to the editor is the first of a series of four that we are submitting during Mental Health Month. If you are curious about the Maya Gold Foundation, or would like to get involved, please fill out the contact form on our website: mayagoldfoundation.org. In addition, we encourage you to download from our website a useful parent and teen toolkit (bit.ly/pttoolkit) and follow us on social media. We hope you find this series helpful.
Our focus on the impact of stigma, prejudice and discrimination on teen mental health begins with a question — Why does every organ in our bodies get support and sympathy when it is ill, except our brain? Mental illness is so common and anyone can suffer from it. A big problem is that so few people want to talk about mental illness; so few, especially teens, want to acknowledge that they struggle with it. This fear and hesitation makes everything worse for the individual and for the community.
Mental health stigma happens when people are negatively viewed for having a mental health condition and are discriminated against because of what they are experiencing. Stigmatization occurs because people don’t understand these mental health conditions and what it is like to live with them. This lack of understanding can lead to fear and judgment.
Poor mental health in adolescence is a growing problem. Teens increasingly struggle with fear, inadequacy, hopelessness and isolation as they try to navigate an increasingly complex and uncertain world. They also struggle when they receive mixed messages about themselves, their value and potential and their world. The stigma around mental health makes reaching out, getting needed support and living well more difficult. In 2021, the CDC reported sobering statistics that dramatically illustrate the level of stress and anxiety that many young people are feeling. We will share some alarming details from this report in our letter to the editor next week. Stigmatization of teen mental health issues makes it even more difficult for us to respond to this crisis in our society in helpful, healing ways.
If we want to support teens experiencing mental health challenges and address the stigmas that complicate this helping process, here are some action-oriented steps we can take:
• Talk openly and honestly about mental health
• Educate ourselves and others by sharing facts and experiences
• Promote equal treatment between physical and mental illnesses
• Act compassionately in your interactions with people who have mental illnesses
• Be honest about needing and seeking mental health support
• Let people and the media know when they are using stigmatizing language about mental health issues
Putting these steps into practice could make the world better for teens, parents and the community at large!
Raamina Chowdhury, New Paltz
Elise Gold, New Paltz
Stella Keskey, New Paltz
Jacki Murray, Cornwall
Terri Murray, Cornwall
Marni Pasch, Woodstock
Mathew Swerdloff, New Paltz
Tucker? I barely knew her!
Tucker Carlson abruptly exited Fox News — and it was less than a week after the network settled a defamation lawsuit for $787 million. Yeah, FOX became all tuckered out. He no longer has a mainstream platform. His forever home at Fox entertainment [I guess], didn’t work out so well. Was he screaming into a “My Pillow” when told?
America is so much better off without his propaganda voice! He was not a factual news reporter. He was an entertainer. This is long overdue because this man did nothing but perpetuate racism, hatred and white supremacy. He helped make that network a cesspool of liars… Couldn’t have happened to a lousier guy, although it should have happened sooner.
“I’m just imagining MAGAt red slime oozing out the door and right into a cesspool. Yep, the on-air personality said “he’d like to spend more time pursuing his real passion — white supremacy.”
Fired from CNN, MSNBC and now FOX — all great accomplishments. Wonder if thoughts and prayers might help in his situation. Tucker Carlson just experienced what we call a “rapid unplanned career disassembly.” I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t catch my breath.
Carlson can now land a new job. I’m sure McDonalds needs a fry cook [“You want lies with that?” Then again, I am positive that Putin has other assignments for him. The Russian state media wants him bad.
As if Fox is going to ever be able to fix their reputation as liars — this ship has sailed. They aren’t going to course correct. I’m sure they’ll replace the lipless, lickspittle lunatic with someone equally loathsome. Carlson might be gone, but if you’re counting on Fox News to suddenly start telling the truth, don’t hold your breath.
To all the Tucker and Fox trolls out there, “Oh, how the sleazy have fallen.” His stupidity was of the highest level. It’s no wonder he was sacked. “Sounds like Fox’s make-believe-news division drank some Bud Light!” Good! LOL! Hmmm, the “Deep State and Aliens” are in control of Fox now. Oh well!
Cease and desist…. for some
It has come to light that a cease-and-desist order was recently issued to a Sand Hill Road landowner for violating tree-cutting regulations, within days of the complaint by a neighbor. It was delivered in person(s) by Gardiner’s Code Enforcement officer and Town Board member Warren Wiegand.
This swift action is in dramatic contrast to the three years of commercial exploitation of the Ridge by the Awosting Club, which continues to operate without permits, or penalty, or a cease-and-desist order, despite prolonged community outcry, press questioning and an unequivocally damning town resolution issued in February, 2023.
The resolution lists multiple violations of the zoning law and dismisses the owner’s claims to legitimacy based on the Grandfather clause — by laughably equating Girl Scouts in canvas pup tents with $350/night customers in air-conditioned walk-in geodesic domes.
These permanent structures were built without Planning Board construction/engineering review, on platforms supported by tall pilings, adjacent to the Palmaghatt Ravine. Outhouses and stylish fire pits abound. The potential of structural failure, environmental damage and forest fire — and Town of Gardiner liability for each — remain unaddressed.
This is not to suggest that there was anything inappropriate about the C&D order being promptly imposed for illegal tree-cutting, but to emphasize that a three-year delay in issuance of a cease-and-desist order for unpermitted Awosting Club operation is inexplicable. It is also unfair to similar enterprises to whom comparable privilege and protection were not extended.
The Gardiner Town Board and Supervisor Majestic chose to enforce Gardiner town laws selectively, evading oft-expressed citizen concern. No whoopsee, no why.
The prospect of elections in November may put some pep in their step.
Bill McKenna is the better choice
Woodstock has been doing quite well these last few years. We have a Master Plan. We are working on serious approaches to housing, transportation and the environment. The town office is finally getting the renovation it has needed for years. Our present Supervisor Bill McKenna has been getting things done. I like the course he has charted and I look forward to voting for him in the primary in June.
Changes to bail reform
I’m glad to see that the governor has made changes to bail reform. One was to the rules of discovery, which regarding a time limit was dropped after pushback from public defenders. Glad she listened to the people actually charged with doing the work — the public defenders.
Maybe if they were better funded and paid, they would not need the amount of time they are asking for? Public defenders rarely (?) make a career of being a public defender since they can make a lot more money working the other side of the courtroom as private defenders in either criminal or civil cases. Not a good idea to underpay them.
The other change was to cash bail. The usual cries from the far left that this will disenfranchise those who can’t make bail were, like clockwork, right on the heels of the governor’s bail reform changes. Good to have these views stated, but isn’t the issue whether the person is a repeat offender and/or a threat to society given the nature of the repeat or first-time offense? For this event the judges were constrained by the ‘least restrictive means’ wording of the original bail reform of 2019.
Glad to see the changes, notwithstanding the cries from Ms. Shrestha. At least she had the moxie to state her position unlike Senator Hinchey and Assemblyperson Jonathan Jacobson who have conveniently not responded to ‘repeated requests for comment on Hochul’s changes” (as quoted in the Freeman).
Crime goes deeper than the singular event and the causes, whether education, trauma, poor job opportunities, mental illness all need to be addressed, and that is where we should spend our dollars and debate. But, keeping the repeat and/or violent offenders off the streets is just as important. Both have to happen. I assume the governor sought input from various justices throughout the state, and thus this decidedly more judicious change to the law??
The Rodeway Inn
Bravo Jen Metzger, Ulster County Executive, for ceasing the placement of the unsheltered in the horrific Rodeway Inn. And thank you Hudson Valley One and Rokosz Most for reporting the squalid conditions found there. No one, no human being should live in one room which has exposed outlets, no heat, no hot water, mold on the ceiling, air conditioners with no filters, or in a facility where the wastewater operating permit expired in 2018. I cannot imagine the internal chaos that being sheltered in a hellhole like that would create. As far as following the trail of the unknown owner, my advice is look up the tax records. There must be a way to find out how this owner ( LLC? ) keeps cashing those housing checks from the Department of Social Services and pocketing the money, rather than make basic repairs and perform maintenance. It’s incomprehensible that our county is spending $100/day to this entity. Shelter is a basic human right. We can do better. If the tax laws were adjusted, the wealthiest Americans would pay their fair share and more living quarters would be built, as well as more social services provided.
My house came with an electric stove and being of a lazy sort, I stuck to electric stoves. Then came hurricane Irene. A $6000 generator was installed. It worked pretty well, just not with the stove. Nor with the electric baseboard heating. My fireplace insert, with the electric fan, did function so I went camping during blackouts — spuds and chops in the furnace, veggies on top. The electric blanket and microwave worked too. So when the new rule comes into force banning gas stoves in new houses, be warned. Of course you might have better luck with your electric stove by indulging in a $10,000 generator.
The decline of intergenerational wisdom in modern society
In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven world, intergenerational wisdom seems to be still typing on a typewriter, not a keyboard. Elders’ knowledge gets stuffed into attics, piled into basements and buried in coffins. Elders didn’t grow up with a mouse or trackball in their hands, so what could they possibly know about the internet life the young are living?
One of the main reasons for the decline of intergenerational wisdom is the erosion of traditional family structures. Historically, families lived with grandparents passing down their knowledge and values to their children and grandchildren. Grandparents’ advice was listened to, and there was time to develop deeper relationships that would last into the children’s lifetime. Today, however, families are often fragmented, with individuals pursuing their goals and careers, leaving little time or inclination for intergenerational communication and learning.
Like our outdated gun laws, our addiction to individualism, which is still a way of life, is multiplying fear and distress. The Internet cannot replace the value of face-to-face communication and personal interaction that fosters a firm relational foundation that can be depended upon.
When I returned from war, I was in my early twenties and had lost all the footing of my identity before I left. Then I met Alex, the painter injured severely in World War II. He had fought in the jungles of Burma with Merrill’s Marauders.
Alex had gotten my attention because he also struggled with PTSD. He’d found art as the path to his recovery. I did not become a painter, but with Alex’s support and guidance, I realized creativity was how to find my identity. It wasn’t until years later when he passed, I realized the extent of the knowledge and wisdom he had shared with me. I wish I had made more effort to listen to his stories and learn from his experiences.
Zoning overhaul hurts Woodstock
Woodstock’s Housing Oversight Task Force (HOTF) operated in complete secrecy while devising over 800 drastic proposals to gut the protections in Woodstock’s zoning law — possibly in violation of the state open meetings law.
The HOTF incorrectly claims that their revisions to our Zoning Law would create affordable housing. In fact, all these changes would do is draw more out-of-town developers and speculators who will be very eager to swoop in and greedily line their pockets if these revisions are adopted.
The units HOTF claims would be “affordable”? They sure wouldn’t be affordable for most.
Want a three-or-four-plex high-end luxury apartment building on a lot near you? How about an eight-plex? The new law will allow them.
The HOTF proposed extreme increases in density without doing any studies or projections as to how all this new building will affect water quality and supply (remember the drought last year?), drainage and flooding, sewage disposal, traffic, waterways, woodlands, open space, scenic vistas and wildlife habitats.
The HOTF’s resistance to having the Zoning Revision Committee and other Woodstock boards and committees review these revisions is ill-advised. It’s clear now that we can read their work that it is riddled with errors, contradictions and misguided and untested premises.
This is a rush job to repeal our zoning. Don’t listen to the spin. Take the time to read the document. They think no one will.
Tell the Town Board to reject these changes and keep super development that only benefits rich developers out of Woodstock.
Members, Woodstock Zoning Revision Committee
What’s in a name
Now that NATO is enlarging, it needs a new name, like NATOOOO.
Support Michael Veitch for Woodstock Town Board
I am so excited that Michael Veitch is running for Woodstock Town Board! He is so committed to protecting our environment, as his years of work on the Woodstock Tree Committee has proven. The Working Families Party has endorsed him and he was endorsed by Bernie Sanders when he ran For Vermont State Senate. I believe he will serve our town with commitment and distinction.
I’m voting for Michael, because I know how devoted he is to Woodstock. I hope you will join me in supporting Michael Veitch for Town Board.
Our judicial system is a fair and balanced system
John Butz, in another of his right-wing diatribes, attacks our judicial system to defend a 25-year-old Connecticut man who was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for using “a shield to temporarily pin a police officer to a door.” If I recall that case accurately, that man then used the shield to break into the windows of the Capitol and lead a violent invasion of it.
Does Mr. Butz also want to defend the man who hurled a fire extinguisher at a police officer? Or the Texas man, armed with tactical gear and an assault rifle at the insurrection, who threatened to shoot his son if he went to the FBI? (He testified at his father’s trial.) How about the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys (four of whom today were convicted by a jury of seditious conspiracy), Texas 3 Percenters and other domestic terrorists? Many, like this Connecticut man, said they were sorry yet lunatic right-wing Republicans like Paul Gosar say it was just a tourist visit! Does Mr. Butz agree? With the exception of some Trump appointees, including three on the Supreme Court and at least two other federal judges lately in the news who are politically or religiously prejudiced, our judicial system is a fair and balanced system. A bipartisan Senate report found that at least seven people died in connection with the attack. These January 6 insurrectionists belong in jail.
Nothing short of extraordinary
“The work under the McKnight administration to rectify Hurley’s many problems and issues has been nothing short of extraordinary.” This a quote from March Gallagher, Ulster County Comptroller, and she has it right.
In the 15 months that Supervisor McKnight has been in office, her administration has tackled some of the town’s most pressing issues, ignored for decades by previous administrations. These include the need to fix a damaged and leaking leachate system at the town’s closed landfill and locating a safe temporary alternative to the condemned and shuttered highway garage. The expensive health and safety failure at the highway garage happened on the watch of Superintendent Mike Shultis.
At the last Town Board workshop meeting, the engineers working to repair the leachate system had great praise for Deputy Supervisor Peter Humphries. This is well deserved.
Council member Humphries has been diligent and forthright in his investigation as well as thoughtful in helping the engineers. He has presented realistic information to the board and public about the system’s failures and repairs.
Many thanks to the McKnight administration for facing Hurley’s problems squarely and dealing with them in a timely and professional manner.
Trapped in a cage
This week, on a flight out of Newark, a disruptive woman was voted off the plane (before take-off) by most of the other passengers. Flight personnel honored their fear. On a moving train, as many veteran NYC strap-hangers used to call the subway, a guy went berserk and was restrained by another passenger. Though we have the word of Mayor Adams that from the first call the cops got for help until they got to the scene took only six minutes, the guy died. Both scenes are tragedies. Cops cannot be everywhere all of the time and sometimes we need to defend ourselves.
To hear some people describe guns as military assault rifles is not helpful. When Matt Dillon defended Miss Kitty and the good folks out on the plains, he carried a six-shooter. Each shot requires a pull of the trigger. So do all guns sold in the USA and that has been the law since Elliot Ness took on the mob.
Military guns often have the ability to fire many bullets per second, to allow a soldier to put out a wall of bullets to defend herself and others. That is automatic shooting and the closest thing we have to that is an old double-barreled shotgun with two triggers.
Guns are dangerous, no doubt, but deaths in and by cars are much more common. Perhaps the most dangerous thing is to force people to defend themselves. We each have the right to defend ourselves and others despite sometimes tragic outcomes.