of consciousness. A kind, caring and cooperative world is not only
possible, but is the only solution to the devastation at our doorstop.
We must now step forward together and exercise our indomitable collective
power. Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their
global community. Pick an issue. Get involved. Bring a friend. You're
in good company, and there's no shortage of crucial tasks.
This “Colleen” has got her “Irish” up to the
sky after reading an editorial in the Daily Freeman of Monday, November
Entitled “A Lot Off The Top” it addressed how area “do-gooders”
are being “duped” into believing ALL qf their charitable
donations are going to the specific intended cause.
What made it strike home was one particular paragraph, which I’ll
address after the following explanation. A few weeks ago I received
a call from a rather snippy person who implied she was a member of
the Ulster County Sheriff’s Employees Association. Her conversation
went as follows:
“Marian, we’re in particular need this year. Won’t
you add ten dollars to your usual $25 donation?” I explained
that while I understood the “need,” due to no longer working
daily and exceptional physical needs, I couldn’t afford anywhere
near $35. Evidently annoyed, she replied, “Well, we will just
leave it at the $25. I’ll send a return envelope and you can
just insert your check.” Before I could say anymore, she signed
off without a “thank you.”
When the envelope arrived, feeling somewhat guilty, I wrote a check
for ten dollars, with an explanation of my reduced circumstances.
Now, after reading the Freeman editorial, I demand my bucks back!
After citing the fact that “there’s a new tool on the
web site of the Office of the Attorney General where citizens can
see where their potential donation would go”, the editor mentions
that, “donors gave about $246,000 in three years to the Ulster
County Sheriff’s Employees Association, but Stage Door Music
Productions, Inc. again kept EIGHTY percent of the take.”
Like “happenings” involving the same telemarketing firm,
included the “U.C. Corrections Officers Benevolent Association”
and the “Ulster County Volunteer Firemen’s Association”.
The informative piece cautions “donor beware’ and asks
readers to “Check it out on the computer at http://bartlett.oag.state.nv.us/pfs/i
Marian Callaghan Umhey
Mt. Tremper, NY
Recently there was an upheaval at the Phoenicia local library. Our
much appreciated head librarian was asked to leave. It was very uncomfortable
and because the specifics were never made know, it created bad feelings.
The fact of the matter is that the individuals who frequent the library
the most were the ones to feel her loss the most keenly. For myself,
it created one of those “How do I handle this” moments,
which in turn led me ponder the significance of the library in my
life, how I see my local library.
I would have to say that in reference to the above, for me the library
is a gracious host offering me opportunities to enrich my evenings
as well as broaden my horizons. I have always appreciated that the
ladies who man our library are wonderfully warm and welcoming. They
make going to the library a pleasure. Some of them are quite witty
and so often I leave there laughing. That part of the library is a
But the enriching part of the library for me is found in the books.
God Bless my mother who taught her family the value of a good book.
I never travel without one and I require at least three by my bedside
to feel secure. With the advent of the computer creating easy home
access to the Mid Hudson Library Catalog, I feel like someone who
can travel the world on a Concorde Jet! For that is in truth, what
the library is all about to me. Traveling while never leaving my safe
little home in the Catskills. I’ll give you an example.
This summer I had occasion to watch “Slumdog Millionaire”
and because I had read the novel, Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts,
I garnered so much pleasure from recognizing aspects of India's culture
that I’m sure other viewers weren’t even picking up on.
Heck! I’d been to India. Sure it was in a book, but I’ve
been to Iceland through Arnaldur Indridason’s mysteries. My
grandfather was in the British Cavalry in World War I, so give me
a Charles Todd mystery and there I am driving in post war England,
on rutted roads, on a rainy night, in a car that has no windows, during
an era of political transition. I have come to learn more about this
world’s political movements through literature since I first
read Gone With the Wind as a teenager, giving me a cosmopolitan view
of the world that allows me to put the dramas of a small town in perspective.
Lately, I’ve been checking out Alaska through Dana Stabenow’s
mysteries, and recently I whitewater rafted while reading In the Heart
of the Canyon by Elizabeth Hyde. And to come full circle, forty-six
years later, I enjoyed The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks. American
history, world history, a good mystery…you just can’t
beat the library for time travel, for learning something you weren’t
aware of while enjoying a good story. If I had had to pay for every
book I have read in my life, it probably would mean I was a millionaire.
So what it really means is that I get to live like a millionaire through
Thank you for letting me expound on such a dear topic,
It's hard to envy Mike Hein, being Ulster County's first County Executive,
and having to propose an executive budget during these hard economic
times. As he has said, "...we must all learn to do more with
less." The document assembled has too much emphasis on "with
less" and not enough on "do more." Taking a blanket
25% out of the Contract Agency funding, which includes libraries,
will only realize 0.05% savings of the overall budget but the libraries'
share would only save 0.0065%. The result of this small savings means
diminishing the quality of life for many citizens, doing a lot less
for the neediest among us, and is certainly not cost effective.
Most of the support for public libraries in Ulster County does not
come from the County Budget. What the County pays for is the service
called the InfoPortal, that delivers valuable materials to everyone
with a library card whether they use computers in a library, at home
or at work. It is a model of consolidation and efficient use of tax
payer money where rural, urban and suburban libraries can offer the
same excellent information services regardless of town or district
size. The InfoPortal is value packed with education, career counseling,
Civil Service and vocational practice tests, English and Spanish literacy
assistance for children, language learning including English for adults,
grant and fund-raising assistance for nonprofit organizations, a premier
collection of genealogy records and other resources. The cost of most
of the products is shared by the Mid Hudson Library System and this
budget cut will save far less than it is worth. A cut to the InfoPortal
means less high quality resources for the people of Ulster County.
At a time when so many Americans are competing so hard for a share
of so much less, now is not a time when Ulster County residents should
sacrifice these important materials that will improve their ability
to compete. Our Ulster County Legislators only have until November
23 to amend the Executive Budget and help our tax payers. I sincerely
urge every citizen who cares about these matters to call the Legislators
representing their towns. Please ask them not to cut library aid by
25%, from the 2009 level of $90,000 down to $67,500, because every
dollar spent on libraries means so much to our citizens when we need
Lynne Ridgeway, President
Ulster County Library Association
Congressman Maurice Hinchey has made a proposal that ought to give
homeowners in the region pause. He has proposed to turn a large swathe
of the Hudson Valley into a federal park. The transformation of a
developed region into a national park is a relatively new idea. Like
any regulation, it would be subject to ongoing modification. All regulations
are. The Adirondack Park in upstate New York, a state park, has seen
strict limitations on septic tank construction, and other development.
Given that states' rights and the US Constitution are dead letters,
there is nothing to prevent the evolution of a Hudson Valley federalization
to eventually limit sale of homes, end use of firewood for heating,
regulate construction of septic tanks, limit hunting, and make expensive
requirements for insulation of homes, forcing the elderly and poor
to give up their homes. The Democratic Party and their allied Republicrats
have long said how much they love the poor, and long ensured that
those they so love are forced to live in ugly, depraved inner cities.
Congressman Hinchey is such an altruist. The citizens of the Adirondack
Park, and many right here in the Catskill Park, live in permanent
poverty because of the Demo-Republicrats' immense altruism. If you
trust the federal government to put your economic interest in your
home and job before the wide range of special and political interests
that dominate Washington, you have nothing to fear from Congressman
Hinchey's proposal. For the sane among us, Congressman Hinchey's proposal
is a very, very frightening first step.
West Shokan, NY
As we approach the holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to send
my personal best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy and fun-filled
holiday season, and also for a joyous New Year.
Ulster County Legislator
Our family's business had a recent experience that reinforced my feeling
that Ulster County's change to an executive form of government (a)
was the right decision and (b) we elected the right person to lead
it: Mike Hein. At Rocking Horse Ranch Resort, we have just completed
a substantial investment in expansion including "Big Splash"
our indoor water park. As everyone is aware, construction rarely goes
as planned. We were about ready to open Big Splash Saturday, October
24 but were lacking a critical, big circulation pump and final approval
by Department of Health Officials.
The Department of Health had come earlier in the week, but could not
do the approval without the missing pump. They returned on Friday
at 4 p.m. With 400 guests in the house, we were still awaiting expedited
delivery of the big pump. The pump arrived after the DOH Officials
left. I called the County Executive's Office and explained the situation.
The County Executive personally returned my call on Friday night and
directed the Department of Health staff to return on Saturday morning
after we installed the pump late Friday night. This extra measure
of effort and service by our County's Officials at the direction of
County Executive Hein ensured that our weekend guests were able to
enjoy the new water park as promised.
In these difficult economic times it took fortitude to expand our
business. It is important that we have a business friendly administration
that understands Ulster County is not just a Monday through Friday
operation, but like its residents and businesses runs 24/7.
County Executive Hein "gets it." He and his staff understand
how to help the business sector in Ulster County grow without compromising
safety. I want to thank Mr. Hein and the Officials at the Ulster County
Dept. of Health for their cooperation and patience in getting our
new facility up and operating safely for the enjoyment of our guests.
Steven Turk, President
Rocking Horse Ranch Resort
There is only one thing in Babette Kiesel's letter that I am sure
is wrong: there was no venom whatsoever intended in my unfortunately
cross-eyed DiSclafani sketch. So far as I can tell, he's a nice, smart
fellow who made a good, competent Town Supervisor... after a few early
Here's what happened: my vicious slave-driving boss, The Editor, sent
me a batch of photos. "Draw them," he commanded. So, of
course, I did. Had I a choice? I did notice that Mr. DiSclafani came
out rather cross-eyed, but the picture he sent look a bit cross-eyed
to me. As I was not being paid extra for this extra work, it never
occurred to me to do it over.
"Can we make him less cross-eyed?" asked The Editor. "Go
ahead," I cheekily replied. You get what you pay for.
New Thermos, NY
Recently, a Federal Judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers is
at fault for shoddy oversight of the Mississippi River - Gulf Outlet,
which led to the flooding of New Orleans Lower 9 th. Ward and St.
A year before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans the Army Corps
of Engineers asked for $105 million for flood programs in New Orleans,
but it was carved back to $40 million. Instead, Bush and his Republican
controlled Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway
bill which included a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited
“Mitigation” programs are measures taken in advance to
minimize the damage done by natural disasters and is a crucial part
of the strategy to save lives. Since 2001, federal disaster programs
developed over many years have been slashed. FEMA was deliberately
downsized as part of Bush’s agenda to reduce the role of government.
After the Department of Homeland Security was created, FEMA’s
mitigation budgets for New Orleans were slashed even though it was
known to be one of the top three catastrophic disasters facing this
In 2004, Pleasant Mann, a 16 year FEMA veteran, warned Congress: “Over
the past 3 1/2 years, FEMA has gone from being a model agency to being
one where funds are being misspent, employees morale has fallen, and
our nation’s emergency management capability is being eroded.
Our professional staff are being systematically replaced by politically
connected novices and contractors.”
Inexperienced cronies were installed to head FEMA, and ensured the
slow federal response. The catastrophic disaster in New Orleans wasn’t
the fault of the Army Corps of Engineers or FEMA. The devastation
was the result of four years of deliberate Republican policy and budget
choices that favor ideology and partisan loyalty at the expense of
When the 55 wise men gathered in Philadelphia during the hot summer
of 1787 to draft a Constitution, an issue arose as what should be
the qualifications for a citizen to run for Congress or the Senate.
Some Delegates thought Congressmen and Senators should not be adjudicated
criminals and should be able to read and write. Hamilton and Madison
being practical wise men believed it would be difficult to muster
popular support for the Constitution in the 13 Colonies if a sizable
portion of the population was legally not eligible to run for the
Congress and be elected to the Senate. Senators were not chosen by
popular vote until after the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment
in 1913. From 1787 until 1913 Senators were chosen by the legislatures
of the several states and were sent to the Senate to protect the rights
of the states.
It emerged that the only qualifications to be a Congressman as set
forth in Article One Section 2 was that: "No person shall be
a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty
five years and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and
who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which
he shall be chosen."
Under Article One, Section 3, for choosing Senators, the age was raised
to 30 and residency was raised to nine years.
That is the way it has been for the last 222 years. To gain a fuller
appreciation of the issues, see the Federalist Papers number 21, 52
and 57 written by Hamilton and Madison.
The British every so often would empty their prisons, put the convicts
on prison ships and deliver them to the Colonies. Accordingly many
citizens had criminal records. Some may have been justly convicted
and some may not have been justly convicted under the British Criminal
Justice system. Compulsory Education seems to have corrected the read
and write issue but today a convicted criminal, who cannot even vote
for his or her candidacy, can run for Congress and serve. Some of
the high profile members of Congress who fit into this format are
Mario Biaggi who was convicted in the Brooklyn Navy Yard scandals,
Alcee L. Hastings who had Articles of Impeachment filed against him
and was convicted in the Senate trial and removed from the Judiciary.
But to this day he is still serving in the Congress, and there are
It is submitted that the Constitution should be amended to add a qualification
that a candidate for Congress or the Senate may not be an adjudicated
It seems pretty simple: If you do not want crooks in Washington writing
laws that control our lives, do no elect them and send them there
in the first place.
H. Clark Bell
The letter of November 19, 2009 by Mescal Hornbeck, decrying the disgraceful
"standoff" on health care insurance reform is totally erroneous.
The writer takes individuals, groups and duly elected politicians
to task for constitutionally exercising free speech, freedom of assembly
and freedom in the legislative process. Ms Hornbeck, as usua,l fails
to tell us the person(s) or group(s) who have 'paid" for the
disruption at town hall meetings. I will offer that George Soros,
a Greek British National did offer his entire fortune if G.W. Bush
would be defeated. How intrusive is that? How much money did Mr Soros
filter into our political process through "501"? Who cares?
Ms Hornbeck does however paint the private and for profit insurance
companies along with HMO's as having pumped in billions of dollars
to, "defeat our hopes". "They have promoted lies and
negative ideas about Universal Health Care". Millions go to "out"
elected officials in Washington as in "outing" someone's
life style. You don't really want to go there, do you Ms Hornbeck?
That has nothing to do with the debate, or any debate for that matter.
As a well traveled retiree with much foreign duty I can inform you
that our present health care system ("non system" as you
refer to it) is second to none in the world. Ms Hornbeck's complaint
that American employee benefits cause unfairness in the market place
should generate much personal adoration and sympathy with American
I invite you, Ms Hornbeck to observe the figures for and against this
crazy health plan that was launched in 1937. Social Security, Da!
Health Plan, Nyet! In fact Clinton's numbers for Health Care was higher
than the present promoter's. Tell us who the "partisan monster"
is and who the
Americans acting like sheep instead of people with minds are. How
many personal insults throughout your letter will persuade all or
most of us to support Universal Health Care in America?
Have we factored in the illegal immigrant numbers or the new legal
immigrants following Universal Health Care. Both bills will be signed
into law simultaneously. Then late that night Social Security will
be signed for those folks and next day as in 1937 those of age will
get SS checks.
Can we live with one who refuses a simple request to display a Birth
Cerificate as we all do many times in our life. Label this remark
what you will; "unfair", "foul ball" "political"
"racist" but it's a fact.
How about a new real debate; Civil or Military trial for the "Mutants"?
I smell a "celebratory" incident or other distraction no
matter the security.
Glenn T. Anderson
The mail brought a survey form put out by the National Research Survey
of Senior Voters put out by the Christian Seniors Association!
The mentality that causes the small minority of Muslims to kill those
they feel do not obey Allah can be found in America. There are groups
of those who consider themselves as being the true Christians who
are opposed to the fact that the Human Rights of the homosexual minority
in this country are being recognized. They oppose what they call Socialism
even though they have no good explanation what they mean. They oppose
sex education and abortion even though it is doubly clear that sex
education is vital in preventing pregnancy. They limit queries abut
abortion to just one aspect of it and lump it all together as "Killing
Babies." They blame same sex marriage for the disintegration
of family life. No one ever talks much about the way marriages turn
out when homosexual persons play heterosexual roles because of social
pressure. There are so many more Christians in this country who are
and always have been good Americans, good citizens, and really genuine
Christians who must shudder at the political emergence of religion
that has come about with the advent of the Bush regime. We have been
for so many years a country where Churches weren't interfered with
by the government and where governmental action wasn't controlled
by a religious sect that it seems incomprehensible that this has been
lost sight of by many. I suppose there was a real outcry when the
Sunday blue laws were erased and women obtained the right to vote
from some churches. There are some sects in this country who don't
believe in educating women. And at this time one huge church , the
Southern Baptist, decided that women should be subservient to men
and cannot serve as Deacons, Pastors and Chaplns in the armed service.
So Jimmy Carter severed his ties with it. We need more Jimmy Carters.
"I kill because you kill. You and he and all of you torture,
therefore I torture. I killed him because you would have killed me
if I had not. Such is the grammar of our time. It follows from this
that the spring of actions is not housed in the human conscience but
in the relationship that is formed between it and other people. We
do not commit evil because we have destroyed God in ourselves, but
because God and even Satan are unimportant if a deed is sanctioned
by another man." - Witold Gombrowicz, 1904-1969, Polish author,
How many millions of people has our military killed since the Second
World War, all sanctioned by out presidents? In the Far East, Middle
East, Africa and the Carribean, the people we have killed have all
been non-white. Perpetual war and look how it has improved the world
and our security is really tight and cozy, isn't it? Our drone aircraft
kill women and children in Afghanistan. The Muslim army officer murders
13 people at Fort Hood.
Mt. Tremper, NY
With grateful hearts extend our sincere thanks for all the loving
we received during a very difficult time.
We would like to thank all who gave prayer, sent food, made phone
calls, sent cards, provided child care, made a donation to the ALS
Center, or stopped by to offer your condolences. Bruce was not only
our son, father, grandfather, brother and uncle, he was also a soldier,
officer, fireman and all around man of the
community. The pain of his loss is great but all the love, caring
and compassion received from all of you has made it a little easier
Your acts of kindness will never be forgotten.
A huge thank you to the: ulster County Sheriff’s Dept., Town
of Shandaken Police Dept., the E. B. Gormley Funeral Home, Willcare,
Millennium, Island X-9 SeaBees, Phoenicia VFW & American Legion,
Phoenicia Fire Dist., Big Indian & Pine Hill Fire Depts., Shandaken
Highway Dept., and the Catamount Restaurant (Tracy Lynch).
A special “Thank You” to: Joe Steyer, Frank Falutico,
Tom Lattin, Wally & Lori Fulford, Fred Holland, George Neher,
Jimmy McGrath, Mark Wilsey & Gene Gormley, Rev. Ralph Darmstadt,
Dr. Lippert & Dr. Miller, Yvonne, Jean & Missy. Your caring
and compassion will live in our hearts forever.
We apologize to anyone we may have missed, please know you will always
be in our hearts. God Bless You All
The Family of Bruce Story:
Linda, Marshall, Valarie & Children
Chad, Lynnie & Children,
Kristi & Lisa
Come one, come all to the Phoenicia Library's festive yuletide party!
This fun annual gathering will take place on Saturday, December 12,
from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.at the library on Main Street, Phoenicia.
Eat, drink and be merry, and enjoy a performance by Uncle Rock at
1:30. Santa Claus will be there, holiday stories will be read aloud,
and holiday crafting for all ages will be offered. Hope to see you
Phoenicia Library Board