With Winter here, cleaning one1s car of snow and ice is certainly
a chore. As a matter of Safety and Courtesy, please take the
extra few minutes to remove accumulated snow and ice from
the roof of your vehicle before driving on public roads. A
woman was killed last year in New Jersey when her windshield
was shattered by a hunk of ice from another vehicle, causing
her fatal crash. While New York State does not have a mandatory
snow removal law, you are still legally responsible for any
accidents or damages caused
by ANYTHING not properly attached to your vehicle that can
come off and endanger others. On the practical side, the extra
weight of all that snow decreases your gas mileage and increases
your fuel expense, so you can save both lives and money by
removing it. Please take off your snow hats!
Your banner photo and caption of NEW BUSINESS! in the Olive
Press is sadly misleading. Mountain Business Services merely
moved around the corner from a Route 28 stand alone building
into the mini-mall at Shokan Square. It is not a new business,
and they replaced a family practice physician who apparently
couldn't make a business at the site.
In fact, we have steadily been losing businesses and services
in our Rt 28 corridor. In that Shokan Square mall there is
a beautiful vacant former doll shop and a recently vacated
Wine Steward shop. Across Rt 28 there are several vacant stores
in the other mini-mall, stores formerly occupied. We have
lost both our Black Bear restaurants, the one in Shandaken
with its gift shop and the one in West Hurley with its motel.
I am sure the rest of our local businesses are hanging on
by a tight margin. We certainly would appreciate the patronage
of our local residents as they whiz by on the way to the Hudson
Valley Mall and WalMart. Your local papers should make more
of an effort to highlight our local businesses, our artists
and craftspeople (disclosure: myself among them). I know you
do this from time to time, but it should be more of an effort,
especially at the holiday season.
For the past year I have been participating in the Central
Catskill Collaborative focused on the Route 28 corridor and
its issues. I have been urging the creation of a Visitor and
Welcome Center in one of the many vacant commercial spaces
in our corridor. I wish that ribbon cutting pictured last
issue had been for such a center to help direct people to
our local attractions, services and businesses.
This is in response to Stevan Alburty’s recent letter
to the editor of the Phoenicia Times. Mr. Alburty suggests
that the farm stand issue in the Town of Shandaken relates
to the classic movie “A Man for All Seasons.”
He quotes Sir Thomas More’s great speech “When
the last law was down and the Devil turned `round on you,
where would you hide--the laws all being flat?”
In Mr. Alburty’s view Hanover Farm’s operating
outside the law is an attack on the very essence of our legal
system. To him it all comes to a belligerent demand on being
There is a fundamental problem with Mr. Alburty’s view.
First he skips over entirely the fact that the existing law
is understood by all parties to be antiquated. This is not
a particularly rare situation in our country where law books
are filled with prohibitions and penalties that reflect an
earlier age and are no longer enforced.
The fundamental problem Mr. Alburty doesn’t seem to
understand is the arbitrary and vindictive application of
the law by the Disclafani administration. There are two farm
stands in Shandaken. Only one was asked to pay a $2500 fee
for site plan review.
The Disclafani administration proposed a new law that seeks
to dictate, item by item, what foods can be sold in a farm
stand, the specific dates farm stands in our town are allowed
to open and required to close, and most absurdly, the daily
hours of operation that will shift according to the set of
Mr. Alburty views my promise to fight for my right to sell
tomatoes as a joke. Offering fresh produce at reasonable prices
when it’s convenient to our customers for the past eight
years has provided a service to the community and a livelihood
for my family for and our fourteen employees. It’s been
fun serving the people of our community, but never a joke.
Al Higley, Hanover Farms
Mount Tremper, NY
I wanted to address the 12/3/2009 letter that Marian Callaghan
Umhey submitted regarding the Ulster County Sheriff’s
Employees and their fundraising. It is very important that
the public know that this organization does not represent
the Patrol Division. The Ulster County Deputy Sheriff’s
Police Benevolent Association (UCDSPBA) does not hire out
or participate in any telephone solicitations. The members
of the PBA, which consist of the men and women who patrol
Ulster County realize that these hired telemarketers survive
on the public’s donation. The PBA occasionally sends
mailings to Ulster County residents asking for support in
the many programs that we fund throughout the county. By doing
such we receive 100% of your donation and there is no pressured
sales pitch. If any resident receives a call from anyone who
claims to represent the fundraising efforts of the PBA they
are lying and we would like to know. Thank you for your support.
Perry M. Soule, Secretary
Ulster County Deputy Sheriff’s
Police Benevolent Association
I recently obtained copies of the Town of Olive's bank accounts
via a freedom of information law request. The statements showed
that as of September 30, 2009 the Town was holding approximately
$2 million in cash, nearly half of the Town's operating budget.
About one half of the $2 million balance is atttributable
to the capital fund and the other half to the general fund.
I am posting JPG images of the key statements on my blog this
week. Taxes are paid in January, so the $1 million in operating
funds was being held when about 70% of the year had gone by.
Note that Town Supervisor Leifeld and his fellow Democrats
have increased property taxes by over 6 percent despite ample
cash balances. The accounts are mostly held in commercial
banks that pay interest below the inflation rate. Hence, the
Democrats are taxing you and giving the proceeds to local
You may have missed the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank's statistics
on national monetary policy over the past three years (to
catch up see http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications).
To put Mr. Leifeld's folly into perspective notice that in
the past year or so the Fed has tripled the monetary base
and since 2006 the money supply has been increasing by 8 percent
per year. It is true that these numbers may not correspond
to inflation in the short run, but there is a significant
risk of them corresponding to it in the long run. More money
chasing fewer goods. Those with bank accounts would be hurt.
Right now, the Town of Olive under Mr. Leifeld's direction
is effectively paying local banks to hold two million of your
dollars because inflation adjusted interest rates are below
zero. The situation can get much worse, though. China is holding
nearly a trillion dollars in treasury bonds and has been selling
the bonds, converting dollars back into yuan. Other countries
such as Japan and Saudi Arabia are holding similar amounts.
If there is a run on the dollar, there could be hyper-inflation
here in the US as foreign bond holdings move into non-dollar
denominated assets. No one can predict a thing like that,
but there is a risk. Even if that does not occur, it is unlikely
that the poorly paid Chinese workers will be able to continue
to carry American consumers on their backs. The Chinese were
eager for industrialization, and they took large dollar holdings
to keep Chinese wages and prices low which they now regret
especially because the Bush and Obama administrations have
pursued an inflationary, pro-Wall Street policy. No one can
sustain ongoing losses in terms of artificially reduced wages
as the Chinese have. If there is a run on the dollar, central
banks around the world may sell.
Thus, Mr. Leifeld is speculating. He has taken a long dollar
position at a time when the dollar faces considerable risk.
Those of you who lived through the late 1970s may recall how
inflation affected bank accounts. The smart money was in commodities.
The Town of Olive's money is in bank accounts. Under inflation,
the value of the $2 million could be reduced to $1 million
or $500,000. I wonder how Mr. Leifeld's past record in stock,
currency and commodity speculation looks. You better pray
that he knows what he is doing. I doubt it.
Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.
West Shokan, NY
What is happening to the heart of our little community? Recently
we lost our librarian.This was all cloaked in great secrecy
and no reason was given to the public as to why this happened.
I always liked Regina...she was a good librarian with a great
sense of hum our and she added a lot to the social environment
there. I have no idea of the details of her firing, but, something
there does not seem quite right to me. Just recently, I learned
that my very dear friend Lea was fired from Sweet Sue's. I
was very upset to hear this sad news. I have been a common
fixture at Sue's for at least the last five years .Also, I
briefly trained to be a part of the wait staff there. I can
tell you that Lea often did the work of 10 people.She is one
of THE most honorable and hard-working people I know. Not
only is she the Queen of multitasking but she was always graceful
under fire.She served as waitress, counselor,local headhunter/job
finder,mother to all who enter big and small. She knows everyone's
name their children's names, how each and everyone of her
customer's is doing...have they been ill.?....did they lose
their job?.......is their roof leaking?....and ,how can she
help? Lea is the face and soul of sweet sue's....in fact,
many out-of-towners often assume she is Sue.
There is no legitimate reason as far as I can tell for firing
this amazing woman. She has been waiting tables since she
was in the womb,for crying out loud, and grew up in the industry
'helping to run her mother's restaurant. Most of the reason
any of us locals go into Sue's in the first place is because
of Lea. I feel that her firing can only hurt Sue's business
and I can't imagine why, especially before the holiday season,
she would be let go. Lea works so hard and without complaint
for her family, and like many of us up here is struggling
to support three people. This move on the part of Sweet Sue's
is just plain mean-spirited at best. I for one will not step
foot in that restaurant again. Boy, Phoenicia sure is changing
and ,in my opinion,not for the better. This makes me very
sad. I remember the days when a bunch of us would gather at
the library and shoot the breeze....check in with each other
, talk about our kids support each other thru hard times.Then
we'd meander over to Sue's, say hi to Lea and play with True.
These two places in our town were the very heart of our little
community to see that change and to have those changes leave
you feeling deeply disturbed about the ethics involved is
truly unsettling. In a time in our culture where it is rare
to see people stand up for one another, I felt it was absolutely
necessary, and my moral obligation ,to speak out on behalf
of one of the most decent honest and loving people I know.
I love you Lea and you will be sorely missed...........keep
us posted on where you go next....we'll follow
I am so thankful for my public library, Olive Free Library,
as well as the Mid-Hudson Library system. For us, the library
is our community center, a place to see friends and neighbors,
to make new friends and strengthen our community bond. Its
librarians and staff are welcoming, knowledgeable and friendly.
Community volunteers add to this strength of the library.
Storyhours are about crafts, stories, yoga, music. Here we
see parents and kids learning and having fun.Here is a place
for our Senior Citizens to remain a active and a vital part
of our community. Here is a place that during this recession
we can still borrow books, watch movies, engage in group activities,
use their computers to get on the internet or bring our own
and use the wireless connection, or make photocopies. Here
I bring my homeschooled children a few times a week, to learn
and explore. For us, the library is our school; our resource
for knowledge. When we need more than our own library collection
we can borrow from the Mid-Hudson Library system. It can not
get much easier than asking for a book and it showing it up.
Our library is many things to our community, but mostly it
is our heart and needs our care and support so our community
West Shokan, NY
(This letter was originally addressed to outgoing Ulster County
Legislature Chairman David Donaldson)
I am sad to say that his is the second incident of its kind
in the past few months. As you may be aware, near the end
of last evening's 2010 budget hearing and vote, a sheriff's
deputy, from chambers doorway in full view of the public,
rudely and insistently summoned me from my ten-plus years'
customary legislative chambers windowseat, to come to him
in the hall outside chambers.
This not only interferred with my witnessing the complete
goings-on, at a criitical moment, but embarrassed me before
the scores of visitors who saw clearly the deputy insistently
summon me with an imperative, common finger gesture.
I was sure that a loved one had telephoned the building to
inform me of a crisis.
But, no. The deputy said that I was not to sit in my customary
perch, well above the otherwise-blocking heads before me,
on the windowsill behind the legislators.
I asked, "On whose authority?"
"The legislature," the deputy said.
"Who in the legislature?" I asked.
As he turned his back to me, the deputy said something to
the effect, "I can't...or I won't tell you."
To which I reminded him that not only was the "order"
a violation of my rights to "peaceably assemble"
on public property wherever I reasonably and politely choose,
but his refusal to identify the origin(s) approached a violation
of my right commonly known as "confronting one's accuser."
After which he continued his obstinate silence.
I had missed the critical crux of the goings-on. After a few
mintes of trying to return to the game, I decided it was hopeless,
The issue is not my personal motivation to sit where I choose,
although I have previously told you, as a friend and Legislature
Chair. It is simply that my rights have, once again, been
similarly flagrantly violated by an unidentified someone or
some persons presuming unwarranted, unjustified presumption
of authority in abject contravention of my inherent rights
to sit, quietly, where I please in chambers, so long as I
do not violate any other person's rights.
I would remind you and him, her or them that a mere, psychological,
perhaps claustrophobic, fear, even panic, publically manifested
by the presence of someone seated behind them does not give
them the right to bar that person or person(s) from that location.
I will expect
(1) to receive within 7 days a written apology from the person
or people who directly or indirectly ordered the deputy to
demand I sit elsewhere. I doubt that the entire legislature
is at fault; and
(2) a public apology in full with, if they wish, an explanation
of their reason(s) at the annual meeting, December 16.
Otherwise, I shall have no choice but to take the matter to
court in a suit legitimately claiming harrassment, violation
of my rights under the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th and 10th amendments
to the U.S. Constitution, et al.
A few observations from the last Onteora Central School board
I believe for about the last 6 meetings the Superintendent
has spoken to the point of the budget. She has mentioned the
potential impact of mid-year cuts and the ARRA "stimulus"
moneys ending. But when she mentions some areas that have
to be looked at she is attacked for even talking about these
things (staff changes or cuts). These are real things that
need to be talked about, it is over 73% of the budget.
At the last Dec. 2008 meeting there had been a discussion
about sending the board president "Ralph" to the
NYSSBA conference on "Passing a Budget,” and Trustee
Flayhan was very outspoken about not sending anyone to conferences.
So it was voted not to spend the $210 on the conference. This
week the NYSSBA conference was approved for 2 Trustees to
go at $210 each, and one will be Trustee Flayhan who has always
been so against any conference expense "we can get the
info.on the web".
Trustee Fletcher mentioned getting mileage for attending UCSBA
meetings, he gets a free meal and free education what else
is he looking for? He often mentions that he had come to many
meeting before he ran for the board, maybe he missed the part
that the Trustee does this for "nothing".
The OTA contract looks to be a fair contract agreement but
with all the negative spin from the OTA, job action threats
we will never know. But I see Trustee Kurnit voted yea, instead
of abstaining, from the vote. Not illegal, but is it ethical
with the fact that he still has not said he is married to
a school teacher in the district.
And the discussion about Don Gottleib’s letter with
the OTA agreement numbers. Trustee Flayhan said it should
be posted on the web page, but not on the front page, let
the people search it out. She did not want take from education
on the front page. The last time I checked teachers are pretty
close to education in the school. Maybe the fact she was a
little too close to OTA, and the letters with our kids names
on them. So much for transparency.
More talk about Rt. 28, I guess because the seniors have asked
for an open campus. I do believe they have an open campus
as long as they don't cross Rt.28. The district and the transportation
director spent a lot of time making it a child safety zone,
so no child would have to walk along the highway, and the
voters approved it. Just say "no".
Some of the great positive things in the district have been
the DECA toys telethon.
The soon to open Auditorium, with our winter concerts and
the and the January Grand Opening.
The winters sports have started with wins for our basketball
and wrestling teams.
Holiday boutiques and winter concerts at the elementary schools.
Stay involved with our district, go to board meetings, support
your PTAs, Middle School PTSO, and the High School Parent
Lee Wind of Zena's letter in the Woodstock Times of 12/3 proposing
a 'metaphorical' violent conflict between Rhinebeck and Woodstock
[which I presume to allude to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict]
sounds 'sound' until one wonders why Rhinebecker's would actually
be tempted to elect such officials [who campaigned to wipe
Woodstock off the face of the earth]. Perhaps Wind has been
bitten by the same disease that afflicted Rip van Winkle who
slept for so many years, missing the actual beginning of the
series of events that led to such a 'radical' turn of events.
Apparently Wind missed the 'invasion' of Rhinebeck by 'Stockers'
some years ago [possibly hippies or NYC yuppies] who, rather
than simply buying a few trinkets or smoking a joint or two
and catching a few rays, decided that they wanted to 'own'
Rhinebeck and surrounding lands. Again, instead of putting
their worldly and well educated minds to thinking of a way
to follow the law and come up with ways to peacefully purchase
parcels, the Stockers decided that they had the devine right
to violently toss out the 'Beckers', men, women and children
[while you might think that this kind of self serving rationization
indicates that the invaders must have been hippies, who are
known to be prone to such self justification, do not jump
to too quick a conclusion. Hippies might think they have the
devine right, but are generally not that violent, but throw
in a few Yuppies, who have been known to use such 'methods'
and you might have the correct mix.] and went about systematically
and brutally 'cleansing' the area of 'Beckers', all the while
pointing to the 'violent' behavior of the Beckers [who were
fighting to preserve right to lands that they had held for
centuries] as justification for their own violence. The 'Stockers'
were happy to keep pointing out the fact that the Beckers
had 'stolen' the land from the Indians since that helped them
salve their own rationalized 'possition'. Now, after 50 years
or so, Wind has woken up and hears the violent blathering
of the Beckers and comes to the conclusion expressed in last
I will now add to the fantasy by assuming that Wind is still
just a bit sleepy and, even after reading my historical reminder
of the origins of the conflict outlined above, kind of does
a 'throwing up of the hands' and says something to the effect
of "Oh hell, who knows what the various wrongs of the
past were? It will never be all sorted out. But that is all
'ancient history' now, so why can't the Beckers just accept
the present 'reality' and turn to getting on with building
a life for themselves. After all, history is rife with such
'injustices' and rationalizations and smart people eventually
just turn to rebuilding and getting on with it."
Sounds [again] sound until Wind, if so inclined, takes a look
at the total situation today and realizes that, "Why,
I never noticed through my still fuzzy eyes that the Stockers
are STILL at it!! Everyday, the Stockers are taking more and
more land and 'cleansing' more and more Beckers and it is
clear that there is a steady and well thought out plan on
the part of the Stockers to continue this by what ever self
serving rationalizations and force of arms and trickery they
can muster. My God now what is the 'truth'?"
Perhaps I give Wind too much credit, but let me try one more
'fantasy'. Imagine that the Stockers actually held a Community
Forum and addressed the question, 'What would be my response
if the shoe where on the other foot? Would I not react somewhat
the same as the Beckers to such a reality, knowing that, if
I don't then I will eventually be pushed completely out of
Rhinebeck?". Is it too much to contemplate, Wind, that
it is time for the Stockers to get out of the self rationalizing
mode [if they really want the conflict to be over] and ask
a few truly self serving questions such as "If I want
the strife to be over, must I not take into consideration
the quite real and human predicament that the Beckers are
in and also take a good hard look at the inhuman behavior
of some of my fellow Stockers and turn my attention to THEIR
part in keeping this situation going?"
I'm in regular contact with friends who are born and raised
Israeli residents and I do want to convey to Wind that there
is hope that this idea is beginning to take hold. Look around
and see if you can find a few Stockers who want to help that
kind of sanity to spread.
After reading Babette Kiesel's recommendation of computer
guy Scott Cameron in the 10/23 issue, I said to myself: "Great.
This is just what I need," having multiple computer problems
of my own. So I called Scott, left several messages and never
heard from him. Disappointed, I went to the next guy. Matt
actually answered the phone himself, came to my house the
next day, fixed all my computer problems and then some, and
was very reasonably priced. He went above and beyond. If you
ever need a computer guru, call Matt Schoenfeld (his ad is
right under Scott's). He's the best.
Just 50 miles south of you, the two Indian Point nuclear reactors
continue to operate, as they have since the mid-1970s. Federal
regulators will soon decide whether to allow the reactors
to operate for another 20 years. Entergy Nuclear, which operates
Indian Point, presents the plant as a "clean" way
of meeting future energy needs. But is this a true statement,
or a slogan?
To produce electricity, Indian Point generates high heat and
huge amounts of radioactive chemicals - the same mix in atomic
bomb tests. These chemicals are essentially waste products.
Much is stored on the site, while some is released into local
air and water.
Waste must be stored in deep pools of water that must be constantly
cooled. Loss of cooling water would mean a meltdown. The area
could not be evacuated safely, and many thousands would suffer
from radiation poisoning or cancer. The catastrophic accident
at the Chernobyl reactor, and the fact that one of the hijacked
planes flew directly over Indian Point on 9/11 are grim reminders
of this possibility.
The radioactivity that can't be retained in the plant is emitted
into the air. It enters human bodies by breathing and the
food chain. Radioactive chemicals cause cancer, and are especially
harmful to the fetus, infant, and child. Doses are low, but
in 2005, the National Academy of Sciences reported that all
exposures are harmful, based on hundreds of scientific studies.
Just last week, a journal article examining U.S. thyroid cancer
rates was released. Rockland, Putnam, and Orange counties
- all of which border Indian Point - had the highest rates
in New York State, and among the highest in the U.S. Aside
from radiation exposure, there are no other known causes of
thyroid cancer, so Indian Point emissions may be contributing
to these high rates.
The decision on what to do with Indian Point's old, corroding
reactors should be primarily a public health decision. With
21 million persons living within 50 miles of Indian Point,
the stakes are extremely high. Assertions that nuclear reactors
are "clean" are just slogans. Less toxic ways to
create electricity - clean renewable sources, conservation,
and greater efficiency - should be emphasized over dangerous
sources like nukes.
Joseph J. Mangano, Exec. Director
Radiation and Public Health Project
New York, NY
The Department of Social Services is appealing to the community
for donations in order to provide the needy children, families
and senior citizens in our community with Christmas/holiday
gifts, new toys, new warm clothing (for children, adults and
seniors). Gift certificates for teenagers would be greatly
Families and/or children can be "adopted" and monetary
donations in the form of gift cards to local stores, or VISA
gift cards are also greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, this
year we are unable to accept checks due to a change in County
policy. Gift cards can be sent to the attention of Laura Walzer,
Dept. of Social Services, 1091 Development Court, Kingston,
NY 12401. For more information, please contact Laura Walzer
at 334-5139, Rachel Hunter 334-5352 or Kristy Granger at 334-5298.
At this hectic time of year, we are often so consumed with
our own schedules and obligations, that we may overlook those
people in our community who may not be as fortunate. In the
spirit of giving during this season, we would appreciate any
assistance in making this holiday season a special one for
Laura Walzer, Rachel Hunter
and Kristy Granger
Children and Adult Services, UCDSS
Now that Stay In Place has gotten in place, the older people
living in beloved rural homes here in Woodstock and the other
northern townships of Ulster County now have an ally that
can help them stay in those homes. The Stay In Place organization
can provide for its members assurance of the availability
at a reasonable cost of those services vital to, living here
such as snow plowing, home repairs, some transportation and
other chores which age and physical status may prevent the
doing. For more information call 679-7625.
Those of you watching the Dean Palen-Health Department scenario
might be interested to know that the Woodstock Wastewater
project was affected by Dean Palen, who then was the County
Sanitary Engineer. He frequently would halt the work and require
the project engineer to meet with him over some point in which
he wished to go over and which, most often, was totally spurious.
Job halts cost big bucks.
It is a sad situation but the saddest part is that the County
Legislature was so ignorant of the importance of having a
qualified person head the health department as to ignore what
was going on. It is notable that in the Woodstock Times report
on Dean Palen it came out that the workers in the department
were doing very good work. The workers include Inspectors,
other sanitation department workers and the Public Health
Nurses. Public Health Nurses are highly qualified professional
people and if they did well without any body at the helm what
more might have been accomplished if the department had been
headed by a person of vision and ability.
I read the Phoenicia Times (on-line) on occasion as I have
grown up and have some roots in the Shandaken community. I
went on the web today (Dec. 7,2009 Pearl Harbor Day) to check
the news in the PT and I was amazed to find a letter from
a person ( I will refrain from using his name) from Mt. Tremper
berating America and its presidents for killing people around
the world. The irony of my reading this letter on this momentous
day is truly stunning.
I have news for this wayward American who seems to be devoid
of any historical recall and that is our countries incursions
into foreign lands has for the most part been due to direct
aggression to America's people and our way of life. The Tremperite
does not seem to recall Pearl Harbor and the Japanese rape
of China or the ruthless swath of destruction that the countries
of Germany, Italy and Japan reigned upon humanity during World
War II. Indeed given a bit more time Germany would have had
the Atom bomb and the means to deliver it via the V II rocket.
My Dad and many other Americans participated in the invasion
of Normandy. Many loss their lives and others came away wounded
and their futures changed forever. All to protect our country
and to end the oppression that was being perpetrated on the
people of Europe, Asia and indeed threatened our own shores.
Fast forward to current times and the horrific sight of Americans
leaping to their death from the Twin Towers because they did
not want to burn to death. Who are the thugs who instigated
this heinous event against New York, and continue to kill
innocent people around the world in the name of their God.
Americans are the bad guys?
Using quotes from Gombrowicz a wealthy Pole who fled to Buenos
Aires, South America to wait out World War (while his countryman
where being slaughtered ) and who wrote anti-nationalist dogma
to make the case of American adventurism in killing is truly
An important book in my library is Antonin Artaud: Selected
Writings, with an introduction by Susan Sontag, and it was
a thrill to know that the translator of these 650 pages, Helen
Weaver, is part of our community.
An example of Artaud's writing that has influenced me in my
work: "Wither we shall bring all the arts back to one
central attitude and necessity, finding an analogy between
a gesture made in painting or the theater and a gesture made
by lava in a volcanic eruption, or we must stop painting,
babbling, writing and doing anything at all." Antonin
Artaud, from "An End to Masterpieces," (1933), translated
from the French by Helen Weaver.
Mount Tremper, NY
I am saddened by our president's decision to escalate the
war in Afghanistan. There can be no clear rationale in sending
additional troops into that region. It will not stop al-Qaeda
to operate effectively in that area. Other nations have tried
to do this over the centuries and it has never worked.
War is never the answer in solving mankind's problems. Each
war sows the seeds for the next conflict. A further escalation
will only increase casualties on both sides, and heart breaking
suffering for the families of our brave men and women. There
must be a much better way. The Afghan people are not enemies;
they are people like us with the same hopes, and longings.
They love their country, their families, and their young people.
Only when we get God back into our lives will we be able to
solve this conflict.
I therefore ask our president to reconsider his decision.
The lives of billions of people in the world will be affected
by this. This hour calls for prayer for our president, that
God may guide him, and show us a way out to peace and cooperation.
Johann Christoph Arnold, Pastor
t has come to my attention that the Kingston URGENT task force
recently "busted" a disabled man. They harassed
and trashed the home of Burton Aldrich of Kingston. Took the
money he had saved for his bills and December's rent and are
trying to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law allowable
for possession and selling of the plant marijuana. As a Kingstonian
and an American citizen, I wanted to point out a few important
facts concerning the police department's incompetence in choosing
what to use their task force for. Kingston is now full of
murder. Rape. Grand theft and hardcore drug sales such as
crack cocaine. Heroin. Meth. Should our disabled community
face jail charges, when they are already terminally ill, and
do time for trying to feel better? Be in less pain and live
out a happy life choosing a non-pharmaceutical drug (not man-made).
I recently moved out of the city of Kingston due to its new-found
Many members of both parties in Congress have confused a public
health issue, medical marijuana, with the politics of the
War on Drugs. In doing so, they have denied an effective medication
to the seriously ill and dying. On June 15, 2005, the House
voted 264-161 against a bi-partisan measure, sponsored by
Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.)
that would have barred the U.S. Department of Justice from
targeting patients who use marijuana medicinally in accordance
with the laws of their states.
The 161 House votes in favor of the patient-protection provision
was the highest total ever recorded in a Congressional floor
vote to liberalize marijuana laws. Of those who voted in support
of the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment, 15
were Republicans and 128 were Democrats. The House's only
independent congressman also voted in favor of the amendment.
Many Congressional battles are won only after several failed
attempts. Please contact your representative now and urge
their support for federal medical marijuana legislation.
As to the message we are sending to kids, NORML hopes the
message we are sending is that we would not deny any effective
medication to the seriously ill and dying. We routinely permit
cancer patients to self-administer morphine in cancer wards
all across the country; we allow physicians to prescribe amphetamines
for weight loss and use cocaine in nose and throat operations.
Each of these drugs can be abused on the street, yet no one
is suggesting we are sending the wrong message to kids by
permitting their medical use.
The most important step you can take is to contact your elected
officials at all levels of government - local, state and federal
- and let them know you oppose arresting responsible marijuana
smokers. As a constituent, you hold special influence over
the politicians who represent your district. It is critical
you let them know how you feel. Because the marijuana-smoking
community remains largely "in the closet" and is
all too often invisible politically, our core constituency
currently exercises far less political power than our numbers
would otherwise suggest. The only way to overcome this handicap
is for more of us to take an active role, and routinely contact
our elected officials.
A majority of the American public opposes sending marijuana
smokers to jail, and three out of four support the medical
use of marijuana. Yet many elected officials remain fearful
that if they support these reform proposals, they will be
perceived as "soft" on crime and drugs and defeated
at the next election.
Tell your elected officials that you know the difference between
marijuana and more dangerous drugs and between marijuana smoking
and violent crime, and that you do not support spending billions
of dollars per year incarcerating nonviolent marijuana offenders.
Toni Elise Fairley
Ulster Park, NY
Funny thing: In New York Republicans criticize for years Gov.
Eliot Spitzer's efforts to discredit Republican State Senate
leader Joe Bruno, and when Spitzer cheats, they gloat and
howl in a frenzy. But Bruno, Gloater #1, runs a business for
years out of his office, and they're nowhere. Imagine if Spitzer
and Bruno switched parties! Typical Republican hypocrisy...
J. Andrew Smith
Some states have laws concerning trees and the what type of
tree work can be performed by whom.
I drove down Wall Street in Kingston last week and I saw that
the honey locust trees that line the street between John Street
and Front Street had a new look. After years of being strangled
by holiday lights, the crowns of these trees are now round.
I did not notice if the lights had been removed or not. Every
branch had been cut to conform into the round, unnatural shape.
Some branches were two inches in diameter. Just cut to fit
into the roundness. I also had noticed the trees at the front
of Kingston Hospital on Broadway. These trees have been topped.
Which is defined as an inappropriate pruning technique to
reduce tree size. Topping produces weakly attached new growth
and leads to extensive columns of decay which can cause trees
to fail. If there is a tree ordinance in the city of Kingston,
it either does not address these issues or the ordinance is
not enforced. Either way, something should be done to stop
this type of work that threatens the lives of our trees and
the safety of our communities.
As much as I do not care for regulations, a law licensing
people who commercially work with trees may prevent this type
of pruning work from taking place. There are standards developed
by the tree care industry along with the American National
Standards Institute that outline what type of pruning, transplanting
and planting, support systems, fertilization, lightning protection,
protection for construction activities and standards for safe
work practices for tree care operations. These standards are
not laws but they are the result of many years of experienced
arborists meeting to develop the best practices based on their
experiences, scientific research and input from arborists
around the world. Standards for the tree care industry are
voluntary and arborists that care about their clients and
their trees take these standards very seriously. If you want
the best for your trees, ask your arborist if they follow
the ANSI A-300 Standards for Tree Care Operations.
Meanwhile, in Stone Ridge the work has commenced for the "Sidewalk
Project." I can't help but notice the orange fences with
their "Protected Site" signs that are wrapped around
the trunks of trees. What are they protecting? The trunks
of the trees? Even elementary school children know that tree
roots are integral to the longevity of trees. The absorbing
roots, found at the surface throughout the root zone, absorb
moisture and along with the moisture nutrients that are attached
to water molecules. The structural roots anchor the trees
so they are less likely to fall down.
I don't want a world with more regulations. But I do want
a world where people have respect for each other and their
Peter R. Landau
Northeast Arboricultural Associates