I don't know about you, but I'm scared of the tea party. No
kidding. My fear began when they started shouting at our representatives
in their Town Hall meetings, but increased when they started
toting guns to their meetings. Last night, I watched Rachel
Maddow and learned more about the Tea Party and wanted to
share it with you.
Although I knew that Dick Armey was connected to the Party,
and I knew that they had adequate funding, I didn't know that
his lobbying company, called FreedomWorks, was behind the
whole thing. Their client? Bristol Meyers, Clients in the
Insurance Industry, clients in the Oil Industry and the Prime
Minister of the United Arab Emeritz, the country with the
7th largest oil reserves in the world. Dick Army doesn't try
to cover this up since his FreedomWorks has details and instructions
to their members on their website.
These instructions are on how to intimidate Public Representatives
in town hall meetings. He also puts out news releases on the
ever popular ABC News, which seems to advocate the Tea Party.
As it turns out, we don't have any "truth in reporting"
laws, so how do we fight a wealthy group of people that know
how to rile up and mobilize poor, uneducated and uninformed
people? We are in big trouble so I'm writing this to go on
record that: "I told you so."
We need to organize, and inform the people of the Tea Party
Lies. If we don't, the newspapers and TV stations won't, and
what will we be able to do when they convince their members
that we, (those that do not belong to their group) are the
I'll close with some good news. Obama seems to be waking up
and after watching his Monday night health care speech, I'm
a bit hopeful that he maybe able to pull it off. Now, let
us remember John Lennon and imagine better days.
A number of Olive residents have questioned my claim that
limousine liberals favor the wealthy, i.e., themselves. The
financial elite has often been called the military industrial
complex (MIC) but is more accurately a nexus of real estate,
Wall Street and commercial banking with the MIC and so I will
refer to it as the banking elite.
Gabriel Kolko in his Triumph of Conservatism shows that the
establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank was part of a larger
movement, Progressivism, that reflected the banking elite's
interests. This followed three decades of cumulative politicization
of the economy by the Mugwumps and Populists of the 1880s
and 1890s. One fruit of these movements, the 1890 Sherman
Anti-trust Act, supported increasing concentration of industry.
Martin J. Sklar provides detailed documentation in his Corporate
Reconstruction of American Capitalism 1890-1916. The establishment
of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 further enhanced the banking
elite's domination, which was accelerated in 1932 when Franklin
D. Roosevelt abolished the gold standard and confiscated all
privately held gold.
The way that the Federal Reserve Bank helps the banking elite
at the expense of the average American is that it increases
the number of dollars in circulation, distributing them to
the banking system. The banking system takes the reserves
that the Fed gives it and expands the reserves further through
fractional reserve banking. Briefly, when the fractional reserve
banking system receives a Federal Reserve deposit (created
out of thin air) of one dollar, it can expand the number of
dollars by ten. Thus, the Federal Reserve Bank, which the
banking system legally owns, can create deposits (reserves)
out of thin air and then the banks can lend up to ten times
the reserves also out of thin air. In other words, the Fed
and the banking system cheapen the dollars that you own.
Economists, who are on the banking elite's payroll through
consultancies, endowed chairs, and appointments to the Federal
Reserve Bank staff, serve as an important propaganda source.
They claim that the reserves are distributed evenly throughout
the economy. Of course, this claim is absurd. Limousine liberals
like William Greider (author of Secrets of the Temple) claim:
(a) the Federal Reserve Bank helps the middle class but (b)
the Federal Reserve Bank gives hundreds of billions of dollars
to the Bunker Hunt, Wall Street speculators and recipients
of foreign investment. Limousine liberals never question how
it might be possible to give hundreds of billions to Wall
Street banks and at the same time help the average American.
Thus, at the foundation of big government is big subsidy to
the banking elite. But that's the least of big government's
subsidy to limousine liberals. A bigger way is the Fed's bloating
of the stock market. The way the Fed's monetary expansion
bloats the stock market is by reducing interest rates. Low
interest rates mean higher stock prices. The present value
of future dividend payments are higher at a lower interest
rate. Since stocks are present value indicators of a firm's
future profits, lower interest rates reduce the discount factor
and raise stock prices.
The income inequality about which limousine liberals shed
crocodile tears is due to the system which they put in place:
by keeping interest rates low, stock prices are buoyed and
wealthy limousine liberals like George Soros and Warren Buffett
become richer. The way that interest rates are kept low is
by the Fed's and the banking system's increasing the amount
of money. The increasing amount of money leads to higher prices
(inflation). Higher prices mean the average American becomes
poorer. Thus, the inflation adjusted wages of workers are
reduced while stock prices are increased and the wealthy become
wealtier. No source has advocated this system more aggressively
or for longer than the New York Times.
The period of the Fed's greatest power began in 1971 and continues
today. During this 39 year history, American workers' wages
began to stagnate in the early to mid 1970s. They continue
to stagnate today. American workers today earn per hour what
they earned in 1971. Prior to 1971, real hourly wages increased
2% per year. The post 1971 period saw massive increases in
stock prices and increasing income inequality. All of this
is due to the policies of limousine liberals, beginning with
Franklin D. Roosevelt, who abolished the gold standard and
Richard M. Nixon, who declared "We are all Keynesians
West Shokan, NY
Our founding fathers recognized, that they couldn't predict
the future. Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Madison:
"No society can make a perpetual constitution, or even
a perpetual law. The earth always belongs to the living generation....
Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires
at the end of 19 years. If it goes longer, it is and act of
force and not of right." They wanted the Constitution
to be a living document for future generations to make better.
Consequently, our founding fathers included Article I, Section
8 of our Constitution, that provides and extensive list of
the powers of Congress. The list concludes with: "To
make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying
into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers
vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United
States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." The
Declaration of Independence was written primarily by Thomas
Jefferson. "We hold these Truths to be self-evident,
that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these
are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Some
Americans consider Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment
Insurance and Universal Healthcare the creation of a cradle-to-grave
dependency class, but many of us view these programs as the
fulfillment of a promise made by our founding fathers. Although,
versions of: "Do unto others as you would have others
do unto you," are shared by 21 world religions, many
Americans don't subscribe to this Golden Rule. Lifewise, many
members of Congress disregard this ethical code that states
one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to
ensure justice for others. It's also called the ethic of reciprocity
and is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept
of human rights.
Over 44,000 fellow Americans die every year, because they
don't have healthcare insurance. Will your representative
in Congress vote against healthcare reform. Who will apologize
to the families of those 44,000 Americans for voting against
I stood before the seated board in the Onteora Central School
District the other night at their regular meeting. A board
who for the past two years has put aside the needs of the
students and tax payers and has concentrated on personal agendas
and hysteria. A board who has a pseudo superior philosophy
about education that applies to private schools and their
budgets, not a public school district that is struggling the
give the best education possible to all of its students.
This board has negated an exemplary strategic plan, has bypassed
years of research by a qualified committee concerning the
middle school configuration and who haunts our administrators
and teaching staff by disallowing their educated strategies
We now stand at a critical turning point in our district history.
A few years ago this board put aside a long range fiscal and
educational plan which steered our district towards fiscal
stability and educational excellence in the name of protecting
one community's wants (not needs).
As a result of indecision and band-aid approaches, this board
has allowed our taxes to continually increase without a responsible
plan for stabilization. We are now faced with crippling decisions
that will affect this district for years to come and the only
thing this board can do is to micro-manage and try to eliminate
our very qualified administrative staff in the name of saving
our district money. This board has blocked our administrators
at every turn concerning decisions about the future education
of our students.
In order to keep our tax increase below 4%, this board must
cut $1.5 million dollars out of our budget. How are they directing
these cuts? Let's start by their directing the elimination
of our Pupil Personnel Services Director and piling that over
extended position on to the shoulders of our Assistant Superintendent
in charge of curriculum. Never mind that there are more future
mandates coming down from the government concerning special
education rulings. Then add to that the elimination of competitive
sports. And top it off with directives for very specific cuts
that they know absolutely nothing about but want to see what
these cuts look like on paper so they can make more irresponsible
Now, just suppose this budget they are trying to created gets
voted down at the polls. That will mean they will have to
cut another 1.5 million dollars. We, now, have only 1,639
students in our school district and we are housing them in
five facilities. As much as anyone would hate to do it, the
only logical decisions are to consolidate our district.
In my own quest to understand the different positions and
in talking with many educators and financial experts, these
are the results that I believe would help our district. We
must face the fact that the entire world population is facing
a birthing decline, not just the Onteora district. Advertising
how wonderful we are will not get us enough students to ward
off the inevitable consolidation. 1,639 students do not require
five buildings. And if the sixth graders are placed into the
middle school configuration (as this board is contemplating
investigating even though the whole concept was outlined for
them five years ago), then that will leave an extremely low
population in our three elementary schools.
So...what if we closed Phoenicia and sold it to the town of
Phoenicia for $1. They could use it for town offices, senior
center, town library, community center...the possibilities
are mind boggling. Then, instead of selling or leasing West
Hurley, put the Woodstock School up for sale and relocate
the students to a real campus with expansion possibilities
in West Hurley. Just think...nine acres directly across the
street from a golf course and walking distance to the infamous
"Woodstock." What hotel chain wouldn't eat that
It's time this board stopped discussing and started acting.
It's time this board listened to the expert directive from
our highly qualified administrators and educators, all of
whom we pay dearly. It's time this board did what it is supposed
to do - make and execute policy and leave the day to day decisions
to the people we employ, thus ensuring a success educational
process and a fiscally stable district.
Oh, by the way, all of you people in all the school districts
who are constantly complaining about the rise in school taxes?
Stop complaining and get out to the board meeting and tell
our boards what you want them to do. After all, you elected
A writer has suggested that the Onteora School Board "put
the Woodstock School up for sale and relocate the students
to a real campus with expansion possibilities in West Hurley.
Just think...nine acres directly across the street from a
golf course and walking distance to the infamous 'Woodstock.'
What hotel chain wouldn't eat that one up?"
A hotel? I'm not conversant with the hospitality industry,
but I do know that our local innkeepers, like our restaurateurs
and other seasonally dependent entrepreneurs, have a very
difficult time attracting customers in the off season, which
can be six months or more of the year. My guess is that were
the hospitality industry to have identified "the infamous
Woodstock" as a viable location, we would have had one
by now. Woodstock does not need another large property sitting
It is true that West Hurley's mothballed 37-acre campus has
great potential, but the dwindling student population made
it untenable to keep it operational. It is true as well that
districtwide enrollment has dropped precipitously over the
past decade or so, but the population of Woodstock Elementary
is on an upswing. Moreover, it is true that consolidation
appears to be the trend of our age, but this is not a magic
bullet. One problem may lie with the configuration of the
Onteora School District, the state's second largest in terms
of geography, encompassing Olive, Shandaken, West Hurley and
Glenford, much of Woodstock, and portions of Marbletown and
Hunter. A first step could be for the Commissioner of Education,
in concert with BOCES, to fund a study of Woodstock's three
school districts - Onteora, Saugerties, and Kingston Consolidated
- to examine a redistricting plan and evaluate the possible
benefits to the students and the community.
Once a Town loses its elementary school, it does not get it
back. In my capacity as Town Supervisor as well as a private
citizen of Woodstock, I feel strongly that our community derives
great cultural, economic, and emotional benefits from the
presence of the Woodstock Elementary School, and I believe
that keeping this school open should be a priority for our
elected school board (to whom, whatever our differences may
be, I extend my deep gratitude for their valiant service -
past, present, and future - in a very difficult and generally
Jeff Moran, Supervisor
Well, here we are again. Dr. Ford said she was pleased to
present pianist Justin Kolb to an enthusiastic audience last
Thursday evening, a program where the wonderful music faculty
was praised from the stage and the importance of the school
music program emphasized. But now, as last year, we face the
prospect of the dissolution of the elementary strings program
at Onteora. Talk of it simply being a matter of "more
group lessons, less private ones" is inaccurate and misleading.
The most recently hired music teacher, Melissa Glover, will
probably not be able to stay on in a part-time position. Without
her, there is a cascading effect of inefficient travel and
instruction. I could quote from my previous letter last year
when we were faced with a similar situation. The enormous
benefits of this music curriculum in our schools cannot be
over-emphasized. It is programs like these that will attract
new families and families who may have gone elsewhere for
their children's education. For most families, the school
music program is the only chance their children will have
to learn to play an instrument, and that allows students from
all ethnic and economic groups to learn a common language
and be part of a musical community. Who knows what talent
and self-expression and self confidence might develop from
that opportunity? Most important to remember is that once
such a program is allowed to expire, it will be almost impossible
to resuscitate; these things only go one way...
The very real correlations between music education and the
growth of the brain, music education and mathematical ability,
music education and graduation rates, may lead to the danger
of underestimating the value of music education for its own
sake. If you value it, stand up for it. Do your cost/benefit
analysis if you must; I don't think you'll find that saving
the half-time cost of one teacher will make up for the very
real and irreplaceable loss that the Onteora district will
experience if they make this disastrous cut.
On behalf of Onteora Central School District and the HS Music
Department, I would like to thank Justin Kolb, pianist, for
gracing our Auditorium with his talent. Justin Kolbs' expertise
was matched by his program selection, knowledge, insightful
comments, and humor. We truly appreciate his support for our
fine music program.
Leslie Ford, Superintendent
Onteora School District
I just left this week's 3/16/10 Board of Education meeting,
still in progress at our beautiful Phoenicia Elementary School,
and wanted to take a minute to reassure students, parents
and Onteora district taxpayers that yes, the Board heard your
impassioned pleas tonight. They heard your requests, your
suggestions and your fervor and they were clearly moved.
At the point I left the meeting to come home after a long,
long day, the Administration and the Administrative Cabinet
were presenting the three different proposed budget scenarios
to the Board. With many of the line items, I was so pleased
to hear Board Trustees remark, "This needs to be looked
at again" or "We can't support a cut like that."
Hot button items like the music program, the talented and
gifted program, athletics - the Board Trustees were asking
all the right questions for our students and our families
and therefore, for all of us in our community.
During such a difficult time for public education and for
schools nationwide, I'm delighted that we have such a caring,
well-rounded, opinionated Board that's not ready nor willing
to take the easy way out; a Board that's looking at all the
angles with educated, caring insight; a Board that stands
by its good decision to abandon an unpopular strategic plan
from the recent years past.
Unless we as a community vote to approve a tax increase above
and beyond what's on the table right now, cuts will come and
they certainly will hurt. But I am confident that our Board
of Education Trustees are making solid decisions, so now,
before I collapse in bed, I want to say, thank you!
Mount Tremper, NY
If NYC builds you a sewage treatment plant for free and you
take ownership of something you might not be able to afford
the maintenance,you need to find out what the cost of upkeep
are going to be in the future.it would be more cost effective
to let NYC build the plants and let NYC keep the ownership.
If the plants get built, they should allow for growth of the
In a recent article about the economic situation and the lay
offs these past months, ythe former Sweet Sue's waitress Lea
was highlighted in particular. I don't know her personally,
but reading all these letters and any mention of her name
to the locals, it always became a passionate discussion. First
I thought, boy these people have nothing better to do. Then
hearing what they all had to say about this person made me
curious. I have been in human resources for over 20 years,
and feel I have good judgment of people, so on my way home
from skiing thought I would pop in to Sunfrost. Well, good
fortune would have it, there she was. With an obvious fan
base of customers buzzing around the cafe counter, as I walked
in her welcoming smile greeted me and at once I felt at home.
She had a magic touch of making each person feel she was there
just for them, making recommendations of food, what to do
for this and that ailment, even telling one customer to make
sure they add acidophilus to their dogs diet. Her appearance
was conservative and feminine with a beautiful embroidered
skirt her hair neatly pulled away from her face and just enough
sass in her voice to keep the crowd entertained. It would
seem that Sweet Sue's couldn't afford to lose Lea's talent.
Maybe I should open my own restaurant and get Lea running
it. She would ensure success.
For the past ten years, Nicole Quinn and I have offered a
playwriting workshop to Rondout Valley High School Drama Club
students as BOCES guest artists. Students write, direct and
act in short plays on any subject they choose. We've always
taken the position that it's a PG-13 event. (PG-13 movies
are routinely screened in the classroom, so this seems appropriate.)
New superintendent Rosario Agostaro and principal Andrew Davenport
have announced that all entertainment presented at the school
should be family-appropriate, with no adult language or themes.
They've cited a line in the School's Code of Conduct referring
to "conduct, dress and language deemed unacceptable and
inappropriate on school property" to bolster their argument.
This would effectively ban a number of our students' short
plays, which deal with drug use, homophobia, teen sexuality,
drinking and other topics on our students' minds. It would
also have prevented the Drama Club from producing plays by
Sam Shepard, Harold Pinter, and possibly even Aristophanes'
Lysistrata, as it has in past years. Student film programs,
Wake-Up Week presentations, WISE senior projects and other
public events could be subject to similar censorship for language
The Code of Conduct - clearly intended to cover interpersonal
behavior, not artistic expression - is also alarmingly vague.
While some may deem minimal usage of four-letter words "unacceptable
and inappropriate," many of us would deem censorship
of students' work "unacceptable and inappropriate."
Who gets to do the deeming?
In September 2001, Nicole and I wrote a play entitled War
At Home: Students Respond to 9/11 with 40 Drama Club members.
It was subsequently published by Playscripts and has received
over 70 productions worldwide, raising more than $6000 for
charities chosen by our student authors. The script includes
several dramatically effective expletives. The only schools
to request permission to delete this language have been a
couple of private Christian academies. Under these new guidelines,
this play - created at Rondout High School a decade ago -
could not be performed there today.
At a Board of Education meeting on March 9, 2010, Drama Club
advisor Joseph Reeder and over a dozen students and community
members spoke out in support of the playwrights workshop and
freedom of expression. Many more have sent letters. If this
issue concerns you, please contact the Rondout Valley Board
of Education, Superintendent, and Principal via the school's
Nina Shengold, BOCES guest artist, RVHS Drama Club
Stone Ridge, NY
Ever wonder why New York State ranks midway nationally in
state taxes, while its counties rank among the highest? The
reason is unfunded or partially funded mandates. The political
philosophy of Albany is pass the bill and then pass the buck.
Congress is just as bad; Florida fouls up their election and
in response congress passes the Help America Vote Act which
will significantly raise local property taxes. It is geared
to replace our inexpensive and highly secure voting machines
with very costly and questionable ones. Thanks congress, just
what we need in New York, additional property taxes.
Same thing on the county level. One of the most aggravating
attending legislative meetings is to witness the attitude
of some of our legislators toward spending state and federal
money. The attitude being, grab whatever you can and spend
NY State continues to spend significantly more than it takes
in. Sooner or later the state legislature will have to do
something about it. And since most of them are in the pocket
of special interest groups they will probably pass along the
costs to the counties.
For Ulster County, this means taxes will have to go up or
spending will have to come down. Bad news, for all involved,
as this time around the average property owner is as cash
poor as the government (look at the number of properties that
are in tax delinquency).
It is obvious to anyone that doesn't work for the county that
these financial times calls for government to start shutting
down the departments, programs, and
services that are either too costly or ineffective.
Last year Hein was able to consolidate some departments and
eliminate others which held down our property taxes for this
year. Two weeks ago he froze spending as revenues continue
to fall. Needless to say the budgetary forecast
for next year looks grim.
Hopefully legislative help is on the way. Its been a long
time, decades perhaps, since the Ulster County Legislature
significantly reduced spending. Perhaps this year will be
different as Chairman Wadnola and a number of first and second
term legislators seem determined to hold the line on taxes.
As a discontented taxpayer, I wish them well.
Thomas P Kadgen
It seems so strange that so many people with answering machines
don't use a message that tells the caller that the person
and number are the ones that the caller wishes to contact.
Really careful business-like people do. It is troublesome
to get an answer that gives neither. So you wonder before
you leave a message if it was the right person, if you dialed
correctly and should I leave the message not knowing these
things. For a good many calls it may not matter. For others
it may be very important that the right person get the message.
Can't people realize that it is important? I usually remark
when giving my message that the message on the answering machine
did not tell me if I had the right number. I have spoken directly
to others about it and had some change their message. Being
careful about things like this makes the social machinery
I have just received a letter from Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum
soliciting memberships for the NY State Sheriffs Association
Institute Inc. Van Blarcum prominently identifies himself
as Ulster County's sheriff.
I have no idea if that is a good organization or not. Personally,
I'm not interested. But I am very disturbed that one of our
high profile public officials [especially one in the law enforcement
arm] so overtly uses the power and [hopefully] prestige of
his office to solicit funds from the public. He starts the
letter with a statement that "... it is my responsibility
to uphold the laws of New York...". While I could not
agree more with that statement, it seems to me that there
should be a law that it is vital to keep our law enforcement
officials above and entirely separate from this kind of money
grubbing for such a self promoting private organization.
I wonder if our Attorney General has thought to look into
conflict of interest and other ethical issues in this situation?
The Ulster County State of the County given by County Executive
Michael Hein was a good summary of the year 2009. His reference
to defending the Charter form of government is somewhat Don
Quixote and windmill in nature. No one is trying to change
the Charter government hence there is no need for paranoia.
His efforts to create shared services is a great start but
there is enormous mistrust on the Town level for this program
and some see it as a cost shift from the County to the Towns.
His suggestion that Towns pay extra for Sheriff's services
is ill advised. He cuts the County budget but passes the expense
to the Town. Sounds like zero sum mathematics to me. The devil
is in the details and the details have not been clearly defined
Mr. Hein needs to lead by example. Hopefully in the 2010 round
of downsizing measures he will cut his own budget. The Press
Secretary line would be a good place to start. I would suggest
he consider adopting Edwards Deming's Total Quality Management
model and retire his autocratic style. Ulster County has an
enormously talented body of employees. If Mr. Hein were to
engage Ulster County employees with the respect they deserve
he could realize economies and efficiencies and maintain morale
and spirit de corp. Total Quality Management of course means
positive and open communication both laterally and vertically.
Mr. Hein currently communicates with the Legislature and other
County Leaders via press releases in the Daily Freeman. This
is both rude and unproductive. He is not Mr. Cellophane just
The county needs to develop strategic plans and this effort
will need the commitment of all the talent available inside
and outside of Ulster County. The County Executive and the
Legislature must work together to accomplish this. Mr. Hein's
weekly crisis Du jour is not a helpful approach. Mr. Hein
"Tear Down this Wall".
All Counties and Towns in New York State need to unite and
proclaim to both State and Federal government that unfunded
mandates are unsustainable. The ability to pay has been surpassed
and "Home Rule" is eradicated. The United States
needs to secure its borders and enforce existing immigration
laws. Once done the economy will improve.
True progress in 2010 will require true cooperation. There
is much room for improvement in this area.
Ulster County Legislature
I feel I must respond to a recent letter to the editor by
County Legislator Hayes that contained inaccurate information.
Unfortunately, Legislator Hayes failed to research the facts
and did a disservice to the public by providing misinformation
regarding government communication.
I have urged all government officials to set aside partisan
politics as we strive to protect the taxpayers of Ulster County
during these challenging times and reform a long broken government.
My administration is committed to open communication. To that
end, I have initiated regular meetings with the leadership
of both parties, meet with individual legislators on a daily
basis, and provide full access to department heads and other
management staff at legislative committee meetings. It has
long been my position that all levels of government must work
together to better serve taxpayers, so County government now
works closely with the town supervisors at their regularly
scheduled monthly meetings to better coordinate overall operations
and share information.
In addition, as we strive to best serve the people of Ulster
County and provide the greatest degree of transparency, the
county website - www.ulstercountyny.gov - has been completely
overhauled. This site now provides another option for citizens
to access an enormous amount of useful information. I encourage
anyone seeking additional information to please contact my
office at 340-3800. My door is always open.
I am not a career politician. I am an individual passionate
about serving our community and making a difference during
the most difficult financial conditions since the Great Depression.
Part of being Ulster County's first County Executive includes
making the tough choices needed to best prepare our area for
the future. The same tough choices American families are making
every day. I am honored to serve as County Executive and look
forward to working with all Legislators to protect taxpayers
and make the much-needed changes to insure a brighter future.
Michael P. Hein, County Executive
I want to express my appreciation for County Executive Hein's
leadership and Family of Woodstock Executive Director Michael
Berg's persistence in bringing stakeholders together to save
the Evolve program. As a counselor in the program who has
worked with batterers for over 20 years, I am pleased to see
that the community was able to rally and make this program
a priority. We understand the importance of our work in the
community and it's nice to know others do as well. We have
probably prevented thousands of domestic violence incidents
over the life of the program making Ulster County and safer
place for all.
I would like to thank The Bistro, New World Home Cooking,
Le Canard Enchaine, and Fleisher's Meats for their continued
support of my 5th annual free Valentines Day Relationship
Skills Workshop. These businesses have contributed gift certificates
for the raffle I hold every year at the end of the workshop.
I also want to thank Woodstock Times, the Chronogram, the
Poughkeepsie Journal, the Times Herald Record, the Saugerties
Post Star, and the Daily Freeman for coverage of this free
The workshop is based upon the Imago Relationship approach
developed over 20 years ago and popularized in the book, Getting
the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix. At its core is a specific
dialogue process that teaches a successful communication skillset
with broad appeal, applicable for parenting, individuals,
couples, and groups, in addition to dispute resolution and
One of the great tragedies of the current economic conditions
is its disastrous effect on household pets. When a provider
can't put enough food on the table for the family, how do
they feed the dog or cat?
Of the 150-plus families and individuals who rely on the Woodstock
Food Pantry, many must care for much-loved pets, in most cases
a dog. Often they feel compelled to give up their animals
to the ASPCA for adoption, but the loss of a longtime four-legged
friend can have a severe psychological impact on the individual
or family. Though they may be doing their best, many cannot
prevent the deterioration of the health of their pets because
they are forced to reduce the amount and quality of the food
If you care about animals or care about those who are faced
with the gut-wrenching decision of giving up their pets or
cutting back on their quality of nourishment, you can make
a big difference with a dog or cat food donation to the Food
Pantry. Pet food is relatively cheap, so a small investment
goes a very long way! If you prefer, you can of course make
a cash donation to the Good Neighbor Food Pantry, c/o Woodstock
Reformed Church, 16 Tinker St. Woodstock 12498. Write the
words "pet food" on the check or envelope.
Let's get together and help provide for these faithful companions
who bring so much comfort to those who need it most.
My friends mom passed after a trying time of older age taking
over her body. She was elderly and had been missing her husband
for 7 years. Time got the better of her and her bones were
getting weak. She fell several times and needed brain surgery,
a new hip, and other challenges. Her family expected her to
go on forever, but , alas, the body knows better. Hospice
became her living room so the family could be with her in
her final moments.
Her girls all clustered around her, daughters and granddaughters.
They could not stop trying to make her final moments comfortable
and loving. She was never without a loving hand to hold, a
beautiful smile to admire and the healing energy of unconditional
love. Jen brought familiar items to her bedside to comfort
her. Mom responded with smiles and twinkling eyes at each
One night, it was getting close to the end. Jen found her
father's watch. She hadn't seen it for 7 years, since his
passing to the other side. She placed the watch on Mom's chest.
As soon as the watch touched her frail body, it began to tick.
The girls were shocked and amazed! If Jen alone had seen this,
she may not have believed it had happened. But, her entire
family witnessed the event.
The watch had stopped at her father's time of death, 10:25PM,
and now it was ticking away. By morning the watch said, 10:10AM.
Jen's sister wanted to send her out for an errand. Jen refused
to go. She wanted to wait until at least 10:45AM just in case
something was going to happen.
The family gathered around Mom, held her hands, kissed her
and embraced her. The watch stopped at 10:25AM and Mom had
They could feel the energy shift in the room. They knew their
father and mother were together once more. The watch ticked
My deepest heartfelt thanks go out to everyone involved in
the recent Hope For Haiti benefit at the Bearsville Theater.
You raised $5200 for the Haitian People's Support Project
and the result will be a bus full of food, medicine, disinfectant,
clothing, tents, etc. going to Haiti from the Dominican Republic
Special thanks go out to the Musicians: DJ Empress Selektor,
Shirline Clark, Lisa Love, Dr. Know, Ingrid Sertso, Karl Berger,
Tom Schmidt, Peter Buettner, Happy Traum, Jack DeJohnette,
David Sancious, Don Byron, Jerry Marotta, Jimmy Eppard, Charlie
Kniceley, Marc Black, Mike Esposito, Bill Ylitalo, Warren
Bernhardt, Eric Parker, Little Earl Lundy, Ross Rice, Colin
Almquist, Dan Cartright, and Eric Cartright.
Additional thanks also to Imperial Guitar and Soundworks for
providing the backline music equipment, to Lucy Swenson of
The Turning Mill for designing the poster, to Karen Falch
of Print Express for printing and distribution, to stage hands
James Orr, Matt Kehoe and Jah Jean; to production assistant
Kevin Chase, to Bearsville's very professional staff: Robert
Frazza, Peter Cantine, Grace and Walter and the rest; to Ani
Weiss for the painting, and to Bob Margolis and Brian Hollander
for great coverage in Woodstock Times, to the people that
showed their love and support to Haiti in their time of need.
Most of all to Pierre and Terry Leroy from HPSP for their
tireless efforts and good work they've done all these years!
I am writing this letter in desperation, in hopes that you
can help save the identity of the hamlet of Big Indian in
the town of Shandaken. My name is Jeffrey P. Laskow and I
am the owner/landlord of the Big Indian/Oliverea Post Office
located on State Route 28. A 21-year lease is expiring June
30, 2010. With exhausting attempts to renegotiate with the
USPS for the same amount of rent, I find myself reaching out
to you for help. It's become clear that the USPS is unwilling
to negotiate any further and will try and close the facility
by suspending service and/or stating eviction by the landlord,
which is clearly not the case. A special docket number has
been created by the Postal Regulatory Commission concerning
these so-called evictions (Docket PI 2010-1) which has been
happening all across America. The Closing/Consolidation of
Post Offices Committee is currently involved and trying to
rally support around the country to urge the USPS from closing
small Level 11 facilities.
FYI, the total cost of operating ALL the rural post offices
(Level 11) in the entire U.S. is one 1 percent of the total
operating costs of the USPS (as per AUSPL) Also a special
appraisal was ordered by the USPS which depicted a 50% decline
in fair market property values in our area in the past three
years. I guess they never reviewed our taxes.
Losing such an important component of our rural community
will have everlasting effects and create such hardships on
the local economy that would never really fully recover. Small
Level 11 facilities act as the glue that binds rural communities
together. Our local post offices create a lifeline for residents
during bad weather and times of local disaster; thus they
serve a critical social and cultural public policy function
that far surpasses any function they play as a retail or delivery
point in the postal system. Why should small rural America
pay for years of mismanagement by the USPS? As a USPS landlord
for the past 21 years and a resident for 25, I become very
sympathetic for needs and wants of the facility and the local
community, examples; supplying propane gas for heat and lighting
for the USPS during times of emergencies, opening my property
for local events such as Shandaken Day, Big Indian Car Show
and Native American Festivals. Without your help and the support
of local government the facility will close within the blink
of an eye, and be lost forever! And which one would be next?
Jeffrey P. Laskow
Big Indian, NY
Nowhere is it clearer than the "case for medical marijuana,"
that New York Senators need to put patient's needs ahead of
politics. This legislation has failed since 1998 to become
a law - a law to stop arresting sick and dying patients from
arrest, prison, and criminal records. Now that the New York
Assembly is on-board, it's time to convince the remaining
doubtful Senators that the people of New York need this law.
Citizens, patients and Health Care Professionals, it's time
to stand up and let Senator John Bonacic know we demand protection
for people with cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, arthritis
and other serious ailments. New Jersey just added this safe
and natural medicine to its doctors' bags; it's time New York
joined 14 other compassionate states and did the same. Please
go to www.nypatientsfirst.org to become a part of the solution!
This should be the year we start protecting patients, but
your voices are needed.
On Wednesday, March 3, I received the best massage of my life
at the holistic community health clinic, held four times a
year at the Phoenicia Healing Arts Center on Main Street.
Shiatsu practitioner Angel Ortloff is a genius, and the clinic
is a real gift to the community. Acupuncturist Julia Rose,
in her gentle but firm fashion, is working steadily on the
vision she described to me in an interview three years ago,
her desire to create a "community wellness center".
This clinic, based on a similar endeavor operating in Woodstock,
is the first step in that direction.
The clinic is free, with donations welcomed, and it is truly
a community experience. Several of the practitioners, offering
such options as reiki, homeopathy, massage therapy, flower
essence counseling, and more, are people I have known and
respected for years. I ran into four of my friends who showed
up for appointments, and there was a lively chat in the waiting
room after my session. I also met people I didn't know before,
expanding my circle of acquaintances.
So if you don't have much money and want a treatment that
will enhance your health in a holistic fashion, contact the
Phoenicia Healing Arts Center and get on their email list
for the next clinic, about three months from now. If, by some
divine grace, you do have money, call for a referral. We have
talented healers in this area who are not big-shot practitioners
in it to get rich, but dedicated people trying to make a living.
They charge less than city prices, and they are worth your
Phoenicia and Teaneck, NJ
Why would this paper publish from "Thus Spoke Zarathustra"
by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, ( 1844-19000?
This is not a philosophical or literary paper. It is a small
town newspaper. Why would one read it? It is not easy reading.
The chapter is about "The Rabble" and the phrase
"herd mentality" is added. The Oxford dictionary
defines herd as a large number of people, a rabble is a disparagement,
a put down.
I ask myself why am I reading Stendhal, ( Henri Marie Beyle,
1783-1842), French author? After I had it for decades I read
his novel , "The Red and the Black." It had a profound
effect on me. I then started to read my copy of his selected
letters. In a letter to his sister he also used the word rabble.
Keep in mind these two men are influencing thinking and writing
100/150 years after their deaths.
Nietzsche confessed that the discovery of Stendhal was amongst
the most fortunate chances in his life. The theory of the
superman, (Zarathustra) , owed much to Stendhal. Taine, (
1828-93) French philosopher and critic, read "The Red
and the Black" about eighty times. For him, the author
was the supreme author of the century.
Stendhal wrote to his sister who lived in Grenoble; "...you
will see how all beings are isolated by egoism. In Paris that
huge city, even after ten years of careful search, you will
scarcely succeed in assembling a circle of thirty intelligent
and sensitive people."
Nietzsche referred to the "scribbling rabble", "the
power rabble", and "the pleasure rabble."
Stendhal writes "I thirst for a conversation which is
something other than a ceremony."
Maybe, next, I will get into my portable Nietzsche. Can you
believe someone read a book almost eighty times? Ah yes, no
TV in those days, but Stendhal might have had fun with E-mail!
Mt. Tremper, NY