Letters to the Editor 8/2/2007
Tragically Governor Spitzer is allowing the full force and authority
of the State of New York to be used to implement the religious directives
of the Archdiocese of New York. In a state like New York with its
commitment to tolerance and diversity, this decision to force a secular
hospital to comply with the religious demands of a Catholic hospital
is unacceptable. That this is coming from a Democratic Governor is
even more shocking. Significant reproductive procedures are being
corporately removed from a secular community hospital under the veil
of the demands of New York State law. While this description is somewhat
over simplified, the full effect of the decision by Governor Spitzer
to continue with the law that implements the Berger Commission recommendations
without an exception for maintaining full, legal, medical and surgical
procedures within safe hospital settings is creating an ethical crisis.
The good citizens of New York deserve relief from this inappropriate
use of government authority.
The situation that I am referring to is in Kingston, New York where
our secular community hospital, The Kingston Hospital is being forced
to move away from its mission, and corporately exclude legal, medical
and surgical reproductive procedures because Benedictine Hospital,
a catholic hospital, has religious objections. There are other ways
to save millions of dollars and avoid the medical arms race, but under
the threat of New York State and federal law the other available options
are not being considered. Millions of dollars can be saved without
creating an ethical crisis.
Please contact Governor Spitzer and state your concerns about this
matter, also send a letter of complaint to The Kingston Hospital Board
of Trustees and tell them to back away from the alliance with Benedictine
Last year in July of 2006 Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia, fired several
rockets into northern Israel, crossed the border into Israel, killed
several Israeli soldiers and captured two soldiers which they said
they wanted to exchange for Lebanese imprisoned in Israel. In retaliation
Israel bombed Lebanon for 34 days, deliberately targeting infrastructure,
encouraged by the Bush administration and paid for by the US. (US
tax payers give Israel $8 million in direct aid everyday and an additional
$6-8million everyday that must be spent in the US (mostly used for
arms) and military surplus.) Hezbollah continued firing rockets into
Israel and resisted the Israeli invasion killing 119 Israeli soldiers
and 39 civilians. 1200 Lebanese were killed by Israeli forces. 300,000
Israelis fled their homes as did 1 million Lebanese, 200,000 of whom
remain homeless today. Over 1 million US made cluster bombs littered
southern Lebanon, many still remaining today and continuing the grisly
killing and maiming.
Please join us to acknowledge this senseless slaughter and on going
suffering in a vigil on the Woodstock Green on Sunday July 22 from
3 to 5pm. Thank you.
In regards to the letter by Elaine Hencke, I have a question - to
wit, Elaine what is your agenda? First, you seem never to bring to
the public attention the situation in Darfur - aren't you concerned
that Darfur has now had more than 450,000 people die from violence
and disease and more than 2.5 million people displaced? How do you
justify your apparent non-concern with the ethnic cleansing and genocide
happening in this region since 2003?
Second, while you acknowledge that it was Hezbollah who incited the
battle last year by firing rockets, crossing the border, killing Israeli
soldiers and capturing and still holding two soldiers, you then go
on to describe what Israel did in retribution in more scathing detail.
You did not say that the reason for the relatively high death among
the Lebanese population (keep in mind that you say nothing about 450,000
murdered in Darfur) is because Hezbollah used its people as human
shields. Obviously, you don't find that abhorrent.
Third, I question your objectivity because with so many critical human
rights issues confronting the world, your constant tunnel vision focus
on Israel is noteworthy. For example, in a recent New York Times article
"Palestinians never used to do these things to one another,"
Steven Erlanger says that at least 210 Palestinians, most of them
Fatah members, died in Gaza and some 800 were wounded. Palestinians
were "putting bullets in the back of the heads of men on their
knees. Shooting up hospitals. Killing patients. Knee-capping doctors.
Executing clerics. Throwing handcuffed prisoners to their deaths from
Gaza's highest apartment buildings."
Yes, many innocents died in Lebanon and Israel in July 2006, but the
reason for the deaths was not precipitated by Israel. And, I for one
am glad that the U.S. gave Israel direct aid so that Israel could
respond to this terrorist attack.
I get the uncomfortable feeling that you are going beyond a constructive
criticism of one or another Israeli government policy, and are giving
moral support to a people who have amply demonstrated their murderous
hatred of Jews. In the face of the genocide in Darfur, international
terrorism and other human rights issues throughout the world, why
do you continue to single out Israel, this tiny beleaguered country
surrounded by Islamic hatred, for your moral rage?
Over the past few months, sub-prime and predatory loan foreclosures
have made headlines in the news. At the RUPCO Homeownership Center
we are receiving numerous calls on a daily basis from honest hardworking
families that are behind on their mortgage payments and are in danger
of losing their homes.
When families finally reach out for help, they are in default of their
mortgage. Their credit rating ahs dropped to a level that makes them
ineligible for help from any fixed rate refinance loan that would
make payments affordable. Nationally, 50 percent of all homeowners
three months behind in payments never contact their lender. Most families
that come to us for assistance have done a refinance of their original
mortgage loan. A majority of the loans do not have a fixed interest
rate, but are Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) loans. The loans we've
reviewed have low teaser rates and usually reset, or adjust every
six months. These mortgages can increase by as much as four percent
over the prime interest rate twice annually. The only person the client
sees is the settlement or closing agent, who, after earning their
commissions, leave the customer with no one to contact but an 800
number. This can make a very stressful time even more desperate for
Imagine the shock of families that come for assistance when they discover
that they signed a mortgage note with a 40 year term that could grow
to an 18 percent interest rate. Adjustable rate mortgages become less
and less affordable every year and often, coupled with an illness
or loss of a job, can price the family right out of its home.
Homeowners need to understand that most sub-prime predatory loans
are not based on their income or ability to repay the loan, but on
their assets and the equity in their home.
To address this serious issue, RUPCO's Homeownership Center has partnered
with the Housing Preservation Foundation and NeighborWorks America
to promote a 24/7 hotline for foreclosure counseling, 1-888-995-HOPE.
The purpose of this ad campaign is to encourage families to seek counseling
and contact their lenders at the first sign of distress, before foreclosure
is imminent and provides immediate access to a trained foreclosure
counselor. Unfortunately there are no rescue funds for customers to
get caught up on their payments.
We believe education is the key to smart mortgage loan decisions and
long term affordability. The Rural Ulster Preservation Company's Homeownership
Center provides first time homebuyer counseling, education and grants
for downpayment, closing costs and housing rehabilitation. Since the
center opened, we have educated and counseled hundreds of your neighbors
on their single most important purchase, a home of their own. In addition,
local community-minded lenders provide many loan products and options
that are affordable.
If you are behind in your mortgage or realize that your loan is no
longer affordable, we are available to assist with counseling and
education. It is our hope that with the educational tools offered
by the RUPCO Homeownership Center, we can reduce the number of Ulster
County residents in foreclosure. At the same time, I hope that homeowners
more carefully review the reasons for taking equity from their most
precious investment, their home.
And so we learn the President has "gagged" the Surgeon General
so that he won't talk about stem cells, contraception etc. Wonder
what the next fascist act will be? This country has never suffered
such degradation as it has since King George ascended the throne.
The monkey business committed at his first election, the waging of
war unjustifiably, the scandalous gross waste of funds and endangerment
of our troops and the people of Iraq because of ineptness in using
contractors instead of trained personnel in security and protection
in Iraq, the failure to pursue the terrorist forces in Afghanistan
and the assumption of powers not allowable a president, the refusing
to join the World in measures to reduce global warning and dozens
of other assaults on our established government with the resultant
destruction of many thousands of lives and monstrous indebtedness
into which our country has been thrown along with gross weakening
of our capabilities to protect our citizens at home, all cry to be
requited. In this case that would be impeachment and immediate rectifying
of whatever can be rectified. But we are letting it go on and on!
Let us support the Kucinich bill 333 put before congress in April
requiring immediate investigation of Cheney, the power behind the
throne, and his impeachment and ask for the inclusion of Bush, also.
I would think that this would be non-partisan inasmuch as Bush has
grossly besmirched the Republican Party as well as the nation. Call
Maurice Hinchey locally and talk with his staff. Call 331-4466 and
you can talk with his staff. He will get your messages.
The County’s Special Committee to Investigate the Pre-Planning,
Planning, and Construction of the Ulster County Law Enforcement Center
is nearing the halfway mark of its self imposed schedule. The committee
has established an anonymous tip line and requests that anyone with
information that may be relevant to the investigation provide it through
the tip line. The calls will not be traced. Callers wishing to identify
themselves may do so as part of their message. The phone number is
845-340-3356. Any help is appreciated.
Chairperson, Special Committee
Ulster County Legislature
Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from
now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran.
Bush has put in place all the necessary measures for dictatorship
in the form of "executive orders" that are triggered whenever
Bush declares a national emergency. Recent statements by Homeland
Security Chief Michael Chertoff, former Republican senator Rick Santorum
and others suggest that Americans might expect a series of staged,
or false flag, "terrorist" events in the near future.
Many attentive people believe that the reason the Bush administration
will not bow to expert advice and public opinion and begin withdrawing
US troops from Iraq is that the administration intends to rescue its
unpopular position with false flag operations that can be used to
expand the war to Iran.
Too much is going wrong for the Bush administration: the failure of
its Middle East wars, Republican senators jumping ship, Turkish troops
massed on northern Iraq's border poised for an invasion to deal with
Kurds, and a majority of Americans favoring the impeachment of Cheney
and a near-majority favoring Bush's impeachment. The Bush administration
desperately needs dramatic events to scare the American people and
the Congress back in line with the militarist-police state that Bush
and Cheney have fostered.
William Norman Grigg recently wrote that the GOP is "praying
for a terrorist strike" to save the party from electoral wipeout
in 2008. Chertoff, Cheney, the neocon nazis, and Mossad would have
no qualms about saving the bacon for the Republicans, who have enabled
Bush to start two unjustified wars, with Iran waiting in the wings
to be attacked in a third war.
The Bush administration has tried unsuccessfully to resurrect the
terrorist fear factor by infiltrating some blowhard groups and encouraging
them to talk about staging "terrorist" events. The talk,
encouraged by federal agents, resulted in "terrorist" arrests
hyped by the media, but even the captive media was unable to scare
people with such transparent sting operations.
If the Bush administration wants to continue its wars in the Middle
East and to entrench the "unitary executive" at home, it
will have to conduct some false flag operations that will both frighten
and anger the American people and make them accept Bush's declaration
of "national emergency" and the return of the draft. Alternatively,
the administration could simply allow any real terrorist plot to proceed
A series of staged or permitted attacks would be spun by the captive
media as a vindication of the neoconsevatives' Islamophobic policy,
the intention of which is to destroy all Middle Eastern governments
that are not American puppet states. Success would give the US control
over oil, but the main purpose is to eliminate any resistance to Israel's
complete absorption of Palestine into Greater Israel.
Think about it. If another 9/11-type "security failure"
were not in the works, why would Homeland Security czar Chertoff go
to the trouble of convincing the Chicago Tribune that Americans have
become complacent about terrorist threats and that he has "a
gut feeling" that America will soon be hit hard?
Why would Republican warmonger Rick Santorum say on the Hugh Hewitt
radio show that "between now and November, a lot of things are
going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American
public's (sic) going to have a very different view of this war."
Throughout its existence the US government has staged incidents that
the government then used in behalf of purposes that it could not otherwise
have pursued. According to a number of writers, false flag operations
have been routinely used by the Israeli state. During the Czarist
era in Russia, the secret police would set off bombs in order to arrest
those the secret police
regarded as troublesome. Hitler was a dramatic orchestrator of false
flag operations. False flag operations are a commonplace tool of governments.
Ask yourself: Would a government that has lied us into two wars and
is working to lie us into an attack on Iran shrink from staging "terrorist"
attacks in order to remove opposition to its agenda?
Only a diehard minority believes in the honesty and integrity of the
Bush-Cheney administration and in the truthfulness of the corporate
Hitler, who never achieved majority support in a German election,
used the Reichstag fire to fan hysteria and push through the Enabling
Act, which made him dictator. Determined tyrants never require majority
support in order to overthrow constitutional orders.
The American constitutional system is near to being overthrown. Are
coming "terrorist" events of which Chertoff warns and Santorum
promises the means for overthrowing our constitutional democracy?
Paul Craig Roberts, former
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
in the Reagan administration
If the economic potential of the “Solar Energy Consortium”
(Daily Freeman, July 17 and 18, Kingston Times, July 19) even approaches
what U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey purports it to be, venture capitalists
should be pawing the earth to get a piece of it. Even “angels”
flock to that which more conservative heads ignore.
As the state comptroller’s office routinely informs readers
of its annual report, for every million dollars of so-called “state
aid,” taxpayers have shelled out $1.15 to 1.2 million. Worse
yet, when the State “gifts” a project with federal dollars,
the brokerage fee doubles, to between 1.3 and 1.4; a 30 to 40 percent
“cost of doing business with the government doing business with
our tax dollars,” which few realize - and occasional news sources
Today, as I read his hyperbolic predictions, I pictured Congressman
Hinchey atop a soapbox, megaphone in hand, perhaps auditioning for
a sideshow barker’s job at the circus. Had cooler heads failed
to tell him: Cole Brothers left town Saturday morning?
Candidate for County Executive
Congratulations to U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey on his expected
approval of a $1.5 million appropriation for the newly announced solar
energy consortium at Tech City.
This facility can strengthen New York’s economy and increase
Ulster County’s economic growth. For over ten years local Legislator
Robert Aiello has been working diligently to try and bring focus on
Tech City for research facilities. Finally, his voice and ideas have
been heard! This type of facility can build our economy and attract
people from the private sector to our area. Thank you Mr. Hinchey
and Mr. Aiello for your persistence and your continued concern for
Ulster County’s local economy.
I was so pleased to read about your support for making Kingston a
Not only is this a great opportunity for economic growth in Ulster
County, it is a timely, earth-friendly, and most necessary step toward
freeing Americans from oil dependency and the serious threats of nuclear
Thank you, Congressman Hinchey, for taking action in the present to
improve the health, environment and economic survival of future generations.
Rose Marie Williams
My name is Jane Warrick. It was my distinct privilege to share space
and my home with George Pignatello, a.k.a. George the Wood Guy (GTWG),
for nearly a decade. I'm writing to thank both Jennifer Holz and George
Holz for their beautiful tributes published in the last edition of
your fine publication. In fact, I need to thank all the Holz', Joshua,
Jen, George and Cody Cragnolin for throwing the wake the shook Woodland
Valley featuring a balloon release, fireworks and a "sacrificial"
lamb named Wanda.
I also want to thank the compassionate members of our great community
> who gave George the kind of send-off usually reserved for Gods
and Gurus. A special shout-out to Mark Wilsey of Gormley's Funeral
Home for helping us to "stage" an unforgettable funeral
service, complete with live Oaks and Evergreens!
I wonder if you might consider publishing the picture George Holz
took of GTWG. A lot of folks have been asking to see it and I was
of the understanding that you may be able to accommodate them -- nearly
200 strong! I would also like to take this opportunity to announce
that in October Peter DiScalafani and his wife, Rose-Marie Dorn of
Catskill Rose in Mt. Tremper will be hosting a fund-raising auction
benefit in honor of GTWG. Come next April 1st, look for a special
event hosted by Larry, Paulette and J Brill of Shandaken and New York
City on the first day of trout season. Looking forward to seeing you
all at these exciting get-togethers in memory of our friend George.
Blessings & Gratitude,
Jane Warrick, a.k.a. "Miss Jane"
Editor’s Note: We have placed the above-mentioned photo of George
on Page 26.
Over the last few weeks, we have had more than a dozen people as us
about a rumor. We would like the opportunity to respond to these inquiries
regarding our supposed “closing”. Let us put this issue
to rest: We are not ‘for sale’ and we have no intention
of closing our restaurant.
The Catskills has provided us with the landscape and lifestyle that
we have come to love and are proud to call home. We want to raise
our daughter in this terrific community, one that has embraced us
since our opening more than two years ago. We will continue to give
back to this wonderful community through our support of area organizations,
donations, educational programs here at the restaurant, and our work
with our local parks. We hope to be here for many years to come. My
husband and I are so very grateful for our talented staff and our
growing list of loyal guests. Thank you for your concerns.
Marybeth Mills, Co-Owner
Big Indian, NY
Golden Stone Productions has been in existence for about four months
now. Founded by executive producers Bianca and George Quigley, along
with Herman Sebek, Andy Paluselli, and Liz Toleno, they make their
home at the Quimby Theater at UCCC. Their premiere
offering was 'Thoroughly Modern Millie', adapted by Richard Morris
from his original screenplay.
Of the original score, only 'Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life', 'Jimmy',
and the title song remain. New songs by Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlan
really capture the feel of the Roaring Twenties. Musical in-jokes
abound; catching them was like an Easter egg hunt.
The show was directed and choreographed by Herman Sebek and Andy Paluselli.
The choreography was energetic and far from the simplistic style one
often finds in community theater, and every member of the cast rose
to the task admirably.
The multi-purpose set, designed by Richard W. Prouse, gave everything
the feel of the Art Deco period of 80 years ago; any regular visitor
to Radio City Music Hall would have felt right at home. Bethany Goldpaugh
Brown's costumes covered the gamut of period styles, echoing each
Music director Liz Toleno led a nine-member band that more than did
justice to the score. The playing was always spot-on, and this is
one of the few community shows in which I could understand every word
being sung, even in the songs I'd never heard before.
Of the cast, one must begin with Jenn Kelly, who appeared courtesy
of Actor's Equity. Her Millie was the epitome of the wide-eyed would-be
sophisticate. Robert C. Sheeley was excellent as the Harold Lloyd-ish
playboy who never expected to fall in love. Jimmy is almost a mirror-image
of Millie, and Mr. Sheeley complemented Ms. Kelly admirably.
Susan Lombard was fabulous as Muzzy Van Hossmere, the name-dropping
socialite with her feet on the ground. In this incarnation, Muzzy
is also a celebrated cabaret artist, and Ms. Lombard had the presence
to carry it off. Miss Dorothy was played by Danielle Borkowski. Seemingly
the type who gives blondes a bad name, it's a pleasant surprise to
discover just how level-headed she actually is. Michael Werner was
nicely stilted as Trevor Graydon, the initial object of Millie's husband-hunting
I have to mention Greta Bowers as Miss Flannery, office manager to
Trevor Graydon. A Rubenesque lady, Ms. Bowers is surprisingly light
on her feet, and brought off her tap routines very well, indeed.
The scene-stealers of the show were Mrs. Meers and her henchmen, Ching
Ho and Bun Foo, ably played by Susan Gies (at the performance I attended),
Albright, and Joe Augustine respectively. The chemistry between these
three made them a great team. In addition, their rendition of Al Jolson's
'Mammy' (in Chinese with English super-titles) brought down
The rest of the cast proved the adage that there are no small roles,
only small actors. Each character was an individual, no matter how
briefly seen. From historical personages to the newsboys, all turned
in wonderful performances. Special mention must go to Yuiko McDowell,
who made a cameo appearance as Mama in a projected photograph with
her 'sons' to complete the fairy-tale ending.
To pull off a show of this size and complexity in such a short amount
of time is truly amazing, and shows what true teamwork can do. This
definitely bodes well for the future of community theater in the Hudson
Patricia G. Gerresheim
West Shokan, NY