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Bennet Ratcliff can save the Woodstock TV studio
So why try to produce in a totally obsolete studio? I am not aware of a single piece of equipment that is not obsolete. Have we been promised a good workable TV studio? Yes, repeatedly by the supervisor and members of the council over a period exceeding 20 years. The only visible improvement is a ceiling fixture for lights which is not used and is not needed, we never had a lighting issue. My suggestion is to replace the supervisor with someone who has more interests than building new construction in town.
With the popularity of podcasts, many producers have taken that road. However, there is a tremendous difference in producing something fitting for the Woodstock art community and podcasting to the free world. There are still Woodstockers who watch the Woodstock Public Access Station for local input and information not relevant to a larger audience. Access TV gives access for locals to reach the townspeople for whatever they want to show, whether that is recipes, weddings, artist programs or politics. Access is intended to be controversial, which is the nature of individuality and of politics. Give us a decent TV studio and there will be new producers who are not ashamed of the studio.
Vote for Bennet Ratcliff and bring Woodstock back to Woodstock where we belong if we live here. Blessed be.
Vote for Michael Veitch in the June 27 Democratic primary
Speaking as a longtime member of the Woodstock Tree Committee, I have observed Michael Veitch’s strong leadership in the protection, preservation, planting, and standing up for the safety of trees throughout Woodstock.
Michael Veitch’s powerful leadership as a spokesperson and protector of Woodstock’s trees are a good indication of how he will continue as a protector of our town’s trees and natural resources when he is elected to the town board.
You can help by voting for Michael Veitch in the June 27 Democratic primary for the town board. You can vote early.
Veitch will work day and night to protect our endangered trees and all our natural resources.
More political speak
McKenna wrote this in response to a picture that I put on Facebook of a piece of construction equipment at the Comeau addition with a sign on it saying, Elect McKenna Woodstock Supervisor: “It is equipment owned by a private company and they are protected by free speech.”
His response brings to mind a few questions. Is this the private company that the town hired to construct the Comeau addition? Is the company based in Woodstock? Do the company owners live in Woodstock? Who paid for the signs? And regarding free speech, he should be the last one to bring up the First Amendment. Did McKenna forget about his attempt to deprive me of my right to free speech when he complained to the owner of Hudson Valley One about something I wrote?
Protect Gardiner, vote for Hunter
I moved to Gardiner in 2014 primarily because of the natural environment-woodlands, uninterrupted habitat, and an abundance of wildlife (i.e., birds, bald eagles, bears). It reminded me of the Town of Poughkeepsie when I was a child in the 70s where I spent most of my childhood traipsing through the woods, orchards, and cornfields. In the winter, we skated on the ice on the “swamp.” There was such a diversity of plant life and wildlife.
Today, Poughkeepsie is sadly overdeveloped. Those woods, orchards, fields, and dairy farms have been replaced with houses, apartments, and business complexes. Long gone are the flora and flora I cherished as a child. Unfortunately, I see Gardiner heading for a similar fate as Poughkeepsie. “Smart development” rather than “overdevelopment” is the way to avoid this catastrophe. Under the current Gardiner town leadership, the environment is suffering a death by a thousand cuts. Once open space is gone, it is gone forever. Once a species is gone, it is gone forever.
All, however, is not lost. With a change in the guard, the Gardiner we all love could be saved from unnecessary destruction. There is a Democratic Primary on June 27 with a race between the march forward of unchecked development under the current supervisor or a renewal of hope with Tim Hunter who has a track record of advocating for the environment and social issues that affect us all.
Please vote for Tim Hunter on June 27. It is time for a much-needed change in the right direction
Gardiner voters: Insist on a fair shake
Later this month, Gardiner Democrats will have a choice between two candidates, one backed by the official party (Marybeth Majestic) and the other on the outside looking in (Tim Hunter). I have always found the notion of party endorsements to be absurd. Let the voters know the facts and issues and make their own choices without being herded like cattle.
I know both Marybeth and Tim and like each of them. Both have their hearts in the right place. In many respects, Marybeth has been an effective supervisor and deserves more time in office. Yet Gardiner is plagued by a lack of transparency in its decisions (a concern that long precedes Marybeth’s tenure). And on many occasions, the town board has failed to enforce the regulations on the books, in part because the small government mantra (i.e. low taxes) means shying away from the expense of battling people and businesses that clearly ignore codes and ask for permission later. That needs to change.
From Jellystone to the Ridge/Bradley glamping efforts, to many other issues, Gardiner is always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to enforcing the rules. I hope that Marybeth and Tim can have a spirited debate on how Gardiner government can be transparent and accountable. I surely don’t need some local party hacks telling me how to vote.
Why Kitty Brown is running for a seat on the New Paltz Town Board
Why am I running for New Paltz Town Board after a ten-year retirement? Because like everyone else, I’d like to better understand why our town taxes continue to rise while village taxes remain stable or go down.
We are an incredibly open-hearted community. We host FAMILY, a youth center, a community wellness director, two swimming pools, a busy public library, two emergency operations centers, a community center, a landfill, lots of recreational opportunities — all of which are tax exempt. Add to that, SUNY New Paltz, NYS DEC, NYS Thruway, four New Paltz schools, a new police/court building, religious organizations. Well, that doesn’t leave a lot of taxpaying properties!
That’s why I opposed the town taking “the Plesser property” off the tax rolls to create a county operations center. We just borrowed $3 million to construct the much-needed emergency operations center on North Putt Corners. All of the Plesser property’s assets in the county’s proposal made this an attractive site for taxpaying commercial development. While I wasn’t thrilled by Widlberry’s PILOT, the project was far more preferable than no taxes, ever.
But what’s done is done. Moving forward, the town needs to create an Affordable Housing Task Force ASAP so we will be prioritized in County Executive Jen Metzger’s $15 million Housing Action Fund. The town also needs to adopt a 10% affordable unit policy for new apartments that mirrors that of the village.
To learn more about me, please visit ulsterstrong.com/ulster-election-2023.
The New Paltz town council primary is on June 27. Early voting starts on June 17 at the New Paltz Community Center.
I hope you’ll vote for me!
Yes, the campaign mudslinging continues. Someone recently asked me how I keep positive while receiving all of these campaign attacks.
Many months ago, I told a close friend I knew this would be a difficult campaign. The leader of our opposition has been described by the LA Times as a lobbyist with a close relationship to Hillary Clinton who is a former senior executive for one of the most influential political and public relations firms in Washington. In other words, he has had a lot of experience politically influencing public opinion. He knows how to craft a message, get people to share it, and get people to believe it, regardless of the full truth. And I told my friend that by the time he was done with me I would probably have three heads.
What keeps me going in the midst of this negative campaign season?
First, I have long believed that when being bullied, you have to do your best to stand up to the bully. If you don’t, you are letting the bully win.
Second, I have a strong record serving Woodstock. We have a crosswalk on Route 212 at the town hall, a Comprehensive Plan in 2018 and creation of an effective housing committee, complete streets committee, and zoning revision committee. We have a telecommunications law and a water protection law. I had a key role in each of these successes, and more, each worked in collaboration with many wonderful people, including Supervisor McKenna.
Third, this is a critically important election. Woodstock needs Supervisor McKenna, who consistently demonstrates fiscal responsibility and works for good. Facts are emerging that demonstrate his opponent as the opposite. Given the election choices, I believe Woodstock is best off with Supervisor McKenna and me continuing our work for the good of Woodstock, and with Anula Courtis, a business leader with a human rights focus. In supporting our candidacies, I am continuing to work for what I believe is best for Woodstock.
Laura Ricci, Town council member candidate
Vote for Hunter
It is interesting that the Gardiner Democratic Committee chooses to emphasize the purported administrative ability of their current candidate, Marybeth Majestic. Their focus on this limited skill set — as opposed to leadership — is understandable, albeit also questionable: kudos warranted for running meetings efficiently and overseeing the town budget (a town board group effort). She is indeed a skilled “retail” politician who puts in time attending various meetings and events which are not officially part of the portfolio — as every Supervisor during the last 20 years has also done.
However, Marybeth’s numerous administrative negatives are significant, and include throwing some town personnel under the bus on the grounds of incompetence: “bad legal advice” from longtime town lawyer David Brennan, the “resignation” of at least two code enforcement/building inspectors to name a few. And not to mention the departure of Gardiner’s unquestionably MVP (Most Valuable Player), Michelle Mosher.
The most glaring failures of Marybeth’s leadership, however, is the stunning, un-democratic lack of transparency on several major Gardiner issues. During my four years on the town board, we may have had five or six “executive sessions” held out of sight of the citizenry to discuss sensitive matters. The current town board operates through executive session on a regular basis. For three years, this was the case for the Awosting Club, when Marybeth repeatedly responded to public questions with “the lawyers are working on it…we’re discussing it…. I don’t know”. Ah, but she did. Perhaps even more disturbing is the apparent necessity of that silence. The Awosting Club has continued its unpermitted operation without explanation and without consequences. The only justification offered, outside of public hearing, as Marybeth’s plaintive question: “Don’t families who’ve owned properties for years know best how to manage them?” Of course — but not when the LAW is supposed to be applied equally to all. Despite the town resolution condemning “Club” operations issued in February, there is apparently no action taken by the town to stop them. But we don’t know because the supervisor hasn’t said.
The unfortunate outcome of Jellystone Park negotiations, the lack of candor or concern expressed regarding the egregious and possibly dangerous proposed cement company expansion affecting Dusinberre residents, the questionable cell tower approval, the ill-considered attempt to suspend the Gardiner’s Environmental Conservation Commission (and replacing Michael Hartner as chair, bringing “be careful what you wish for” to mind) ….. Democratic Party endorsement of Marybeth understandably declines to go there.
Tim Hunter is not a perfect candidate, as he would be the first to admit. But what he is not is far outweighed by what he IS: a devoted community activist, a big-hearted man raising four children on his own after the death of his wife years ago, a creative thinker, an honest person in whom vindictiveness does not reside, a proven real Democrat who believes in government transparency and a fair playing field.
He deserves the Democratic nomination. Please vote for Tim Hunter in the Democratic primary on June 27.
Vote for Marybeth Majestic for town supervisor on June 27
There is a primary election this year in Gardiner for the position of town supervisor. Voters will be going to the polls on June 27 to choose who will face the Republican opposition for that office in November. The Gardiner Democratic Committee has wholeheartedly and enthusiastically endorsed Marybeth Majestic for re-election to that position, which she has held since 2016. She deserves another two-year term.
We did not always support Supervisor Majestic. In fact, we endorsed other candidates in 2015 and 2017. We had doubts at the time about her commitment to the environment. However, in 2019, 2021, and again now, in 2023, we have no doubts.
Supervisor Majestic’s commitment to preserving and enhancing the natural wonders within Gardiner’s borders is now beyond question. She has championed the efforts of Climate Smart Gardiner and all the good it has done since its inception. She is in large part responsible for the establishment of the Community Preservation Plan, which imposed a 1.25% real estate transfer tax fund to protect resources and open space. She has brought green energy to Gardiner by championing the Community Choice Aggregation law. These and many other pro-environment actions taken by the supervisor are all significant proof that she will continue to be a strong steward of Gardiner’s environment.
Moreover, Majestic’s overall management of our town has been quite skillful. She has succeeded in greatly improving Gardiner’s physical and recreational infrastructure by replacing the failing Clove Road bridge and overseeing the resurfacing of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail between Gardiner and New Paltz with improvements planned for south of town and supported an entirely new trail system behind the transfer station. She brought high-speed internet services to unserved areas of the town and completed an inflow and infiltration study of the hamlet’s sewer system in preparation for needed upgrades coming in her next term. Importantly, our supervisor championed the development of an impressive updating of the town’s comprehensive plan which lays out a positive vision for the future and plan to get there, balancing growth with maintenance of the environment and Gardiner’s small-town character.
Space limitations prevent me from detailing all that Marybeth Majestic has done for Gardiner (click on the “Recent Accomplishments” tab on the Gardinerdemocrats.com website for a fuller picture). And she runs good town board meetings. As someone who spent decades teaching effective meeting skills, I am always impressed by her focus on getting things done and avoiding wasting public meeting time. All this and she’s reduced Gardiner’s property taxes for three years in a row!
In this primary campaign Democrats will surely hear mischaracterizations about Supervisor Majestic’s record by her opposition (someone who we know very well and have consciously and purposefully chosen not to support). Do not believe any of it. Instead, Dems should make their primary election voting decision based on a proven record of accomplishment. Vote for Marybeth Majestic for town supervisor on June 27. She is the choice of our local Democratic Committee, and she should be yours as well. See you at the polls!
Tom Kruglinski, Chair
Gardiner Democratic Committee
Why I am voting for Kitty Brown on June 27
I am voting for Kitty Brown in the New Paltz Democratic primary this June 27 because of her stellar qualities.
She is intelligent, experienced in serving local government, very organized, and caring and fair.
I first met Kitty when she served with the Unison Arts Center and I was very impressed by her PR skills. And then I learned how sensible she is while serving on the New Paltz Town Board.
All good reasons to vote for Kitty!
I urge people to work hard for Leeanne Thornton’s re-election
I have known Leeanne Thornton for many years and have had the privilege of serving on several of the many Saugerties community groups she has been involved in, including Esopus Creek Conservancy, the Boys & Girls Club, Saugerties Lighthouse TV. I have watched her as she sat on the Saugerties Town Board always with wisdom, intelligence, fairness, and passion. I have never met a more dedicated, energetic, caring, and open-minded person.
She is dedicated to the community of “Friendly Saugerties” — caring about and working for the environment, the children, the history of our town, and wise and sustainable growth.
I do hope that Leeanne will continue to work on the town board and I urge people to work hard for her re-election. It would be a real loss for the Town of Saugerties if she is no longer on the board.
Kitty Brown will be a practical and effective member of the New Paltz Town Board
We are writing in support of Kitty Brown in the upcoming New Paltz Town Board election. Kitty is hard-working and community-minded, with a proven track record of outstanding service in local government and environmental causes. We have no doubt she would be a practical and effective member of the New Paltz Town Board.
Peter and Mary Ellen Kenny
Springtown Road demolition
Thursday evening, May 25, I was driven home to find my road had been demolished. Without warning, we were riding on a rock pile with stones as big as my fist dinging my small car.
There was nothing wrong with our road. No cracks, not a rough pothole patch in sight along those two-plus miles our county decided to destroy in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
One week later, some paving has begun. Apparently, it will be at least one week more before it is finished. Stone dust covers flowers and crops anywhere near the road, along with piles of rocks. Some rain might help.
Our local town officials and police chief were not given any information on this project, along with the residents and farmers here. A few small tourist-oriented businesses on Springtown that were looking forward to long weekend income seemed out of luck.
The project seems like a punishment and the timing of this has made it so much worse.
Raw water cost up 310% over 20 years, 7.3% annualized
On May 31, I drove to Valhalla to testify before the NYC Water Board on their proposed water rate increase for customers north of the City. My comments:
NYC’s needs and responsibilities involving watershed management and filtration avoidance for the City, are different from its neighbors to the north.
Per federal and state law, our upstate communities are required to invest in expensive filtration systems before water is legally drinkable. This includes the raw water we purchase from NYC.
New Paltz currently sources about 60% of our raw water from NYC’s Catskill Aqueduct. It flows south via the Aqueduct from the dammed Esopus Creek at the Ashokan Reservoir.
In 2019, New Paltz replaced its 30-year-old filtration system and invested in our new state-of-the-art treatment plant, which cost our ratepayers $5.5 million.
Approximately 25% of our water fund’s annual expenses have been budgeted to pay down debt for the filtration system investment and nearly 20% of the water fund’s expenses have been budgeted to pay NYC for raw water from the Ashokan.
Your proposed rate increase, of 6.8%, means that over the last 20 years the cost for this raw water will have risen 310%, or 7.3% annualized
In comparison, rates for your customers in NYC have risen 195% during this period, AND the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) has risen 65%, or 2.5% annualized, for 20 years through April 2023. This means the cost of NYC’s pretreated water sold to upstate municipalities will have increased 5.5x faster than inflation.
Upstate communities should not be subject to escalations which are both greater than NYC’s customers and also completely disconnected from inflation. Especially since upstate communities are sold water that still requires expensive filtration. Additionally, how much could the cost of raw water go up if we anticipate a more inflationary period compared to the last 20 years?
Northern municipalities, and SUNY New Paltz, must now work together and encourage our state legislature to intervene. The price increases we have endured for the last 20 years are unfair and inequitable and will continue to impact affordability across our region.
Mayor Tim Rogers
More work to be done
While I laud the hard work and many hours the volunteers of the Woodstock Housing Oversight Task Force (HOTF) had put into re-zoning, their work is not done yet. There are still many issues that have to be addressed, which are the following:
The task force has never truly solved the affordable housing problem. There is should be a provision for Section 8 tenants which includes easy access to transit. If housing cannot be near town, then access to food and well being services should be considered. Even more importantly, the task force should consider joining the Ulster County Housing Fund to ensure that Woodstock can receive grant monies to purchase parcels and build units for these people who are underserved in our community.
The floating residential area should be carved out for separate legislation. It is too important and too complex to be included with the other rezoning proposals. High density residential zones should be kept closer to the business district where the new construction can be connected to sewer lines. Despite gaining ratables, they would be offset by the construction and maintenance of infrastructure such as roadways and bussing of students. The majority of the land west of Bearsville is in the Ashokan watershed where high density housing should not be built.
Continuing care retirement communities businesses cannot be outside the town district but along an infrastructure that supports easy access, heavier traffic usage and utilities. The CCRC’s should be built along the Route 212/375 corridor or Route 28.
Finally, but not least, the HOTF should be more diverse, three of its members sit on the board of the Woodstock Housing Alliance. A person with experience with affordable housing issues and tenants’ needs should be included too.
Hurley and scenic byway go together
Thanks to Hurley Supervisor Melinda McKnight for championing the inclusion of our town in the Catskills Scenic Byway. She has been the driving force to include Hurley in this program for many years — persisting against entrenched and misguided interests.
The byway is intended to support tourism and existing local business under the sponsorship of the State Department of Transportation.
Hurley should be one of the towns referred to in this statement from the byway’s website: “We invite you to wind through the Catskill Mountains on the Scenic Byway that takes you on a journey through historical, scenic, and charming hamlets and villages — each unique with something special to offer. We look forward to showing you why the Catskills always feel like home.” Sure sounds like Hurley to me!
At sceniccatskills.com/ check out the map and the local listings for the towns in the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. Here you can see how Hurley’s businesses would benefit from the program’s publicity and how our town could become known as “The Gateway to the Catskills.”
Hurley should join with Olive, Shandaken, Middletown, Andes, and the Villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville, to become part of the byway that now covers more than 50 miles of Route 28.
Businesses in the Town of Hurley, the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, and Supervisor McKnight all deserve our support.
What’s the buzz?
There are so few bees now that instead of making hives, they just live with roommates.
“Stand back and standby” for sentencing
Trump’s statement was used by the Proud Boys as a very successful recruitment tool. “Stand back and standby” — prison slang for “Don’t drop the soap, Benedict Arnold!” Former Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, a far-right, neo-fascist and three other members of the group were found guilty of seditious conspiracy and obstructing Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. I wonder if proud boys have proud moms. More recently Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, another far-right extremist group, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in the January 6 attack. Yeah, let this be a life-long lesson, proudless boys and others.
These numbskulls became traitors for the joke known as Donald Trump. These people have seriously harmed their lives for no reason at all. But that’s their fault. Donald Trump never had their back. He is only a friend to himself. After he has exhausted what benefit he can get from you, you are either an enemy or you do not exist.
Everyone that does Trump’s dirty work ends up in jail, except Trump! How many people are in jail now after being thrown under the bus by Trump? As usual, others pay for Trump’s actions. Be it banks, spouses, election workers, the Republican Party, his CFO, random women, Michael Cohen, etc.
I hope this is a lesson to other far right/MAGAt extremists who may try and wreak further seditionist havoc. Those defending the January insurrection are going to be on the wrong side of history in the long run. Yeah, “Stand back, Standby” is to get thrown under the bus! “Nang ’em by the Heck!”
The lesson to be learned here is that it is beyond foolish to let any lying corrupt politician manipulate you into doing their dirty work for them, because at the end of the day they don’t care about you at all. The DOJ is moving up the food chain and aiming for the “Big Fish.” No doubt Trump is dropping a load in his “Depend Absorbent Protection” briefs with these convictions.
Killing deer (the hard way)
In this paper on November 22, 2017 I responded to a letter about ‘hunting becoming a dying sport’. My argument was that humanely thinning the deer population and eating venison was a sensible way to protect the deer herd from overpopulation.
In some areas of our region Mother Nature, the original Cruella DeVille, found man’s take insufficient and we now have hemorrhagic disease reducing the deer population massively. The disease kills pretty fast for that bitch nature — 36 hours of misery or so.
Remember all the dead deer we used to see (and smell!) on the roads? Road kill is actually a wildlife management way of gauging certain wild animal populations. (i.e. more dead deer on the roads indicates more deer in an area).
My town supervisor was clueless when I found a dead mature doe on my lawn. And my town pool was empty until someone found the water needed to fill it for Memorial Day weekend.
I consider that a warning shot from Mother Nature — too little water, drought is coming and we will actually suffer if we do not store water during floods.
Thanks to the Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS), we have easy access to books in 66 different libraries.
Good intentions notwithstanding, some books worth reading end up buried on a shelf. Many of us wish to understand ourselves and one another better.
Below are 10 good reads. Each was chosen in the hope of improving understanding of Judaism by both Jewish and non-Jewish readers. All are available through the MHLS.
1. What Is A Jew? by Rabbi Morris N. Kertzer with Introduction by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman.
2. The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel (July 28, 2005) [Learn about the Sabbath from a man who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.].
3. Seasons of Our Joy — A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holidays by Arthur O. Waskow.
4. The Jew in the Lotus — A Poet’s Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India by Rodger Kamenetz.[The Dalai Lama asked for help. “Tell me your secret,” he said, “the secret of Jewish spiritual survival in exile”].
5. My Rebbe by Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz [The author was named a once-in-a-millennium scholar by Time Magazine].
6. The Big Book of Jewish Humor — 25th Anniversary by William Novak and Moshe Waldoks.
7. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, William Winslade, et al.
8. The Dignity of Difference — How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations by Jonathan Sacks (Reprinted 2007).
9. Days of Awe: A Treasury of Jewish Wisdom for Reflection, Repentance and Renewal on the High Holy Days. The author, Shmuel Yosef Agnon, won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
10. Israel: A Simple Guide to the World’s Most Misunderstood Country by Noa Tishby.
Please raise your hand
A few years ago, I ran groups called Veteran Civilian Dialogues. I did them in churches and colleges throughout the country. I started each group with: “Who in this group is a veteran? Please (stand). Who is related to a veteran? Please (stand). Who knows, a veteran? Please (stand). Who does not know a veteran? Please (stand).” There were never more than one or two out of 50 in this last group. I always thanked them extra for coming to discover what wars have done to humanity.
My wife and I went to the veterans memorial in Modena where my father’s name is on a memorial stone. My wife and I were the only folks at the memorial for over an hour when a car drove up. A young woman, maybe 20, got out and walked towards us.
“Did you see my grandfather’s on the name brick?”
“Not sure, what’s his name?”
“Richard, he was in the Vietnam war.”
“So was I.”
Reaching her hand, she said, “Thank you for your service.”
I bowed my head.
She said, “My dad and I placed all the name bricks in this memorial.”
Looking around at the name bricks, I said, “Thank you and your dad for honoring our vets.”
At that moment of our handshake, the generational gap closed. The young women’s presence became part of the day’s healing for me. I felt tears coming when I looked down. I understood then folks her age were aware of the sacrifices for the war I fought in. I was sure she and her dad had been deeply affected by what war showed their father and grandfather.
So how many of you folks reading this are a veteran? Raise your hand. How many are related to a veteran? Raise your hand. How many know a veteran? Raise your hand. How many do not know anyone affected by war? Place your hand upon your heart.
Scenes from our lives
I saw the Performing Arts of Woodstock production of Gruesome Playground Injuries, directed by Joe Bongiorno last weekend.
It was terrific and the audience loved it. The only two roles in play were performed by Wil Anderson and Taylor Steward, who even changed their costumes and makeup in front of the audience. It made me laugh and think about what we all go through as they replayed scenes from their lives through the years from age 8 to 38.
You can catch a performance at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center in Woodstock. It runs for the next two weekends at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Remembering Vernon Benjamin who died one year ago this month
Vernon Benjamin: Saugerties author and historian
To a wordsmith: Vernon Benjamin
He sought not fame nor glory.
His interest was in the story
Of the Town
History of the Valley.
No more he shares the valley lore
Its history writ in part
No more he adds to the breadth
Of his literary art.
Computer keys are tapped no more
No more his pen to paper goes
No more writings to compose
Our Wordsmith’s work is no more.
His stories lacked no detail.
His wealth of words enriched each tale.
Love of words nourished his soul
And with his pen he fed us all.
His knowledge shared in voice and prose
From his nurtured mind arose.
Author, Poet, Raconteur
May words he wrote
And stories spoke
Vote in the Democratic primary for Bill Murray for county legislature
I write to urge the nomination of my friend and neighbor William Wheeler Murray on Tuesday June 27 — primary day — as the Democratic Party’s candidate for the Ulster County legislature from the 20th district. Because the GOP is making no nomination for this seat, the Democrat primary winner is virtually assured a victory in the November general election.
I first came to know Bill about ten years ago when he and his family moved into the house next door to mine on Prospect Street in the Village of New Paltz. He proved to be a wonderful neighbor, gracious and generous with his time, always willing to lend a hand — often unasked — when help was needed.
Bill is smart, energetic, well informed on local and regional issues and experienced in leadership roles in the non-profit sector and local government. He listens well, cares about evidence and — insofar as I’ve been able to observe — is collaborative and consultative in decision making. Moreover, and importantly, Bill is committed to the idea of community and in particular is devoted to our community.
The characteristics that Bill showed as a neighbor on Prospect Street foreshadowed those he revealed as an enthusiastic participant in community life. For example, soon after he and his family moved into the village Bill became a member of our volunteer fire department, where he trained for and achieved status as a certified interior firefighter. This is one of the department’s most dangerous and demanding jobs. Later, after he ran for and was elected to the Village Board, on which he has now served six years, Bill drew upon his fire service experience to sponsor local legislation to make our community safer against fire and to gain greater support for volunteer fire fighters from state government. His seven years’ service as a member of the county planning board has given him the opportunity to develop a broadened perspective on a range of thorny local social and infrastructure issues that will be valuable in informing Bill’s work as a county legislator.
New York’s size sometimes keeps us from realizing — or remembering — that we have one of the most highly decentralized approaches in the nation for delivering essential public services. With this the case our county government must serve both as an autonomous center for decision making and a “branch office” of state government as it seeks to fairly fund its departments and programs, allocating and administering an annual operating budget that reached $378.5 million this year.
This complex combination of county responsibilities demands representatives who both know and are exemplars of our communities’ values and priorities and have consistently demonstrated character, integrity and commitment to democracy in their work with and for us all. Bill Murray is such a person. He has earned your vote. Support him on June 27.
Word play is the currency of politicians, and of the old Madison Avenue Ad men, but no good advertisement ever promised an existential (life-ending) result from a whiter smile, a softer mattress, or that “United is ready when you are!” becoming a life-ending event.
Until politicians needed to derail presidential candidate Barry Goldwater with their concern that his election would result in (as shown on TV) nuclear war — playing the ‘existential threat’ card was, for both sides, a bridge too far.
H. Ross Perot scared us massively as a third party candidate with his promise that NAFTA would create a “giant suckling sound” of jobs leaving the USA, but he steered clear of existential anything.
Democrats (as left of center thinkers like me used to be called), gone now but for the name and the Donkey, are vying for the chance to get filthy rich by living in the White House. All were forced (please don’t throw me in the briar patch?) into declaring that Al Gore’s discovery about how most of the people in the world would believe that, without drastic action in the (then) next ten years, billions of humans would be swallowed up the rising sea. An Inconvenient Truth movie came out in 2006.
“You’ll shoot your eye out!” — the BB gun threat! Al Gore is a senator’ s son who grew up in a fine DC hotel. Al never studied science other than the sexuality of women. He correctly concluded that all he needed was a fat wallet like daddy, built the single biggest house in the State of Tennessee and ran for president. Having lost that to a hanging chad, he went to Plan B: he wrote a horror film.
It really caught on, and it seems that many of my neighbors now believe in zombies! Some, even though they pack planes to travel the world for vacations, live in McMansions and use air conditioning in both of their homes, think Gore’s vision of global flooding by the year 2100 (close, but not too close) is a problem “Future Man” will not be able to solve. Ah, the threat of global warming!
So the whole big lie rests on one word: ‘threat’. Hey, Al never said this was a sure thing!
In her letter of May 31, Jo Galante Cicale says I dishonored a Capitol police officer. Which one? The one who died of unrelated causes AFTER the day of the riot? The officer who shot an unarmed Air Force veteran in cold blood? Or, the officer who was temporarily held against a door causing no injuries and requiring no medical attention? Of course I don’t defend the assault of any officer. In one case, I was merely pointing out the disproportionate prison sentence of the aggressor compared to NO arrests or sentences of any BLM and Antifa “peaceful protesters” for far more egregious assaults of dozens of police officers.
A hangman’s noose, one “heavily armed” gunman in a tree top, and feces smeared on walls are hardly the calling cards of REAL and successful “insurrectionists.” Last year after research, I defined an “insurrection” as involving an extremely large group of very well organized people, usually accompanied by some type of military personnel with a clear plan of successful maneuvers resulting in a REAL and successful takeover of a government. And, it usually involves much bloodshed and many deaths. The January 6 “insurrection” was nothing more than a disjointed riot involving the likes of the Keystone Cops, many of whom were dressed as if they were going to a Halloween party. If you read my letter of May 31 to Meyer Rothberg, you will see upon research that the Washington Post said that NO government officials were in danger, not even VP Pence.
And yes Jo, I DID have a lot to say about the BLM and its Marxist roots, openly acknowledged by the three women who formed the BLM, one of whom absconded with millions of dollars from donations. Regarding the BLM chant for defunding the police, only an idiot would believe that this would reduce crime. And, our beloved “Squad” as well as the lunatic U.S. representative from Missouri, Ms. Cori Bush, would fit right into this group think of mental midgets.
If Jo had truly read many of my letters as insinuated, then there should be no doubt that I clearly stand for fair and balanced law and order. Because, without REAL law and order instead of Soros backed “law and order,” we have chaos and the current increased crime rates all over our country.
John N. Butz
Support Bill McKenna for town supervisor and Laura Ricci and Anula Courtis for town board
I count myself as one of the fortunate ones, having lived in Woodstock for more than 35 years. Starting with the brand-new solid waste management board and continuing to serve with the Woodstock Land Conservancy, I’ve made a practice of giving back to our community. As a town, we have made great progress in recent years — passing the comprehensive plan, permanently protecting Comeau with a conservation easement, taking leadership on our response to climate change and now, the housing crisis — and at the heart of all these accomplishments and more, Bill McKenna has been a driving force to bring these to fruition.
Working with Laura Ricci and Reggie Earls on the town board, Bill has taken on many challenges, applying his strong work ethic and a carpenter’s hands-on approach to problem solving, engaging not just town employees, but a host of volunteers. He led a whole-of-government response to COVID, working tirelessly every day, personally delivering meals to seniors and others in quarantine, overseeing vaccinations, communicating with other levels of government, all while keeping the town running.
Both Laura Ricci and Bill McKenna are standing for re-election, and they have challengers in the Democratic primary election. (Early voting starts June 17th and election day is June 27th.) Also running for town board is Anula Courtis, and I have been very impressed with her integrity, her intelligence, and her advocacy for human rights. These three working together can continue to make progress on the critical issues facing our town. They offer concrete solutions and a commitment to working with everyone, even if they and we are not always in agreement. Unfortunately, this is in stark contrast to generalities, platitudes, and even falsehoods, fear mongering and divisiveness offered up by other candidates. I urge you to vote for Bill, Laura and Anula.
I am voting for Bill McKenna, Laura Ricci and Anula Courtis
I enthusiastically support Bill McKenna for supervisor. Bill has shepherded our town through: Adoption AND implementation of a comprehensive town plan; conservation initiatives (i.e.: Comeau property easement and stewardship collaboration); preservation of our community Center; projects to help everyone through COVID-19; and much more.
I am deeply involved in Woodstock’s efforts to create affordable homes. Bill’s support of the housing committee’s recommendations to update our zoning code resulted in a grant to pay for professional guidance for the revisions. The results are comprehensive, balancing housing needs with environmental conservation. Bill continues to review potential town-owned building sites and has advocated for state legislation for new housing funds. He won support to use most of Woodstock’s American Rescue Plan funds for affordable housing initiatives. Detractors anticipate the usual NIMBY “open door for developers,” “monstrous buildings and traffic.” Beware new NIMBY arguments from Bill’s opponents like ”not affordable enough!” and “no oversight!”
I believe Bill’s leadership is responsible and transparent. Although I haven’t agreed with Bill about every issue, I have always found him accessible. Discussion about budget issues in town meetings have been thorough. Questions are answered. Committees, task forces and departments get things done.
To me, Bennet is neither responsive nor a leader. He has no management experience. With affordable housing being our community’s number-one challenge, Bennet has offered no ideas. Every item on his campaign platform is already being led by Bill. I have presented at multiple town board meetings during Bennet’s term. He says “I have questions” but doesn’t ask, either in person or email. He has openly attacked the character of housing volunteers with innuendo not evidence. I and others have tried to engage on substantive issues and his strategy is clear. Avoidance, not transparency.
I am voting for Bill, Laura Ricci (independent thinker, steady, hard worker) and Anula Courtis (smart and reasoned)
Vote for Bill and Laura and Anula for the Woodstock Town Board on June 27
I am writing to support Bill McKenna’s reelection as supervisor for the town board. I have worked with Bill on many projects over the last years, both when he was on the board and then as supervisor. For me, the most personally significant was the stewardship management plan that was created for the Comeau property. With an overwhelming vote by the town to both purchase and protect the Comeau, it then fell to the town board to create a stewardship plan and negotiate a partnership with the Woodstock Land Conservancy to oversee the easement of the property which would protect it in perpetuity. Bill’s support and his good negotiating skills were essential to this process and for that this town owes him a deep debt of gratitude. He was flexible and creative in finding solutions and worked collaboratively with other members of the Board which is both necessary and admirable. He has shown these qualities again and again over the years. It is with this in mind that I urge my fellow Woodstockers to vote for Bill and Laura and Anula for the Woodstock Town Board on June 27th. Early voting is from June 17 to the 25.
Vote for Tim Hunter
I’ve known Tim Hunter since he moved to Gardiner decades ago. I also knew his wife before she passed tragically from leukemia. I know Tim to be a very intelligent, hard-working, good father to his children, and someone who is passionate about lending his voice and actions to the cause of making a better world.
These are ideal characteristics in an elected official. I have no doubt that if Tim where to find himself in a situation where he disagreed with a Town of Gardiner law, he would work to change it rather than secretly scheming to simply not enforce it.
We need a change in Gardiner. The current supervisor’s eight-year term is long enough.
Politicians get comfortable after long stints in office and start thinking that they are above the law.
Please join me in voting for Tim Hunter for Gardiner town supervisor in the June 27 Democratic primary. You will not be disappointed
For the record
The KAP team at WE would like to thank you for writing the article about our program. We appreciate the interest and time you took to meet with us and begin to understand the clinical uses of ketamine. With that being said, we also want to point out some troubling inaccuracies, misquotes, incorrect information, and a general messiness that we are quite concerned about as a representation of our work and business.
To begin, the title of the article, Special K, is the name of the illegal street form of ketamine. This type of ketamine use is so far from what we do and support and promote that we are not sure how this became the name of the piece. Associating our legal, clinically appropriate work with street drugs is a misrepresentation and an association with harm. How did this become the title?
Some other problematic things:
• There is nothing called depression-resistant therapy…there is something called treatment-resistant depression, which KAP can address but what is named in the article doesn’t exist.
• So many misquotes…things that were never said, said by different people, my understanding was that interviews were conducted using a recording device. This would have cleared up many of the problems in the article, because what was written was not what we said and often not who actually said it. How do we proceed when the piece is not an accurate account of our conversation?
• My name is spelled Doree, not Dorie
• The phone number at the end of the article is my personal cell phone, not the number of the practice. The correct number to give the public is 845-743-6878, as shown on the website and as I told you when we met and corresponded by email.
• There are a number of misspellings and grammatical issues that I won’t detail but a read-through should have picked up
• Our process is not accurately represented — we do numerous intakes and screenings to see if a person is the right fit for the work. Perhaps you were talking about the phone call when someone reaches out? Would it help to have our process written out?
“We’ll do our best to get someone in if there’s a cancellation or to refer them, and we always encourage people to call because we want to help” is not what I said about our intake process. We have openings in the practice for KAP clients and don’t randomly fit people in with cancellations. I am not sure where this came from.
• We are also not sure what the Kool Aid Acid test and two drinks is regarding. None of us remember this as part of our discussion and it is not a professional description of what occurs in the KAP work.
• The work is called ketamine assisted psychotherapy (KAP) not ketamine assisted therapy, minor but clarified by the KAP term we use everywhere and is the standard name in the field.
As a team, as well as the owner of a small business in the community, we are not sure how to remedy these issues. Having a new program written about is a great thing, but having it written about in a way that is confusing and inaccurate can do harm. I worry very much that given the nature and sensitivity of this work, associating it with street drugs in the title and then not accurately describing the thorough and clinically supported process and intention leaves us vulnerable to criticism and other problems. Please let us know how you plan to address these things so we can be certain our important, legal, and innovative mental health practices are understood for what they are and how helpful they have been and will continue to be.
Many thanks for your time and your response.
and the KAP team