Legalized marijuana, Central Hudson, Terramor and more letters from our readers - Hudson Valley One | Turn 420
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Legalized marijuana, Central Hudson, Terramor and more letters from our readers – Hudson Valley One

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The views and opinions expressed in our letters section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hudson Valley One. You can submit a letter to the editor here.


Wake up!

There are those who believe, because the Terramor Outdoor Resorts’ project on Route 212 lies within the Saugerties Town limits, that Terramor should be a Saugerties-only issue determined solely by Saugerties and its Planning Board. The problem with this approach is that it ignores the fact that this proposed resort is almost eight miles to the Village of Saugerties but a mere 2.2 miles to the entrance to Woodstock at Routes 212 and 375 and 2.7 miles to Woodstock’s busy Village Green. So the REALITY is that Woodstock will bear the brunt of Terramor’s traffic impact, which, at full occupancy, could introduce an additional 25,000 vehicle trips to our area. Perennially congested in the summer months, Woodstock could witness bumper to bumper traffic literally for miles, thereby ruining our tourist appeal and our economics, not to mention the ability for locals to freely travel about. But it doesn’t end there. Terramor “glampers” will likely be unable or unwilling to resist the appeal of Woodstock’s Overlook Mountain, which already teems with urban hikers during spring, summer and fall — the same months that Terramor intends to operate. Problems await whether these glampers choose to arrive at Overlook via the Village Green or whether they travel there via Glasco Turnpike. The latter will affect the Woodstock Day School, the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, its neighbors across the road (who often have to back out of their driveways onto Glasco), key intersections at West Saugerties Road (the site of 20 new luxury homes), Plochmann Lane (currently enjoyed by pedestrians, dog walkers and bicyclists) and the oddly shaped (and often confusing) intersection at Glasco Turnpike, Rock City Road and Meads Mountain Road, from which they would travel the steep, winding, unfamiliar and busy last leg leading to Overlook.

In any event, this greatly increased traffic will no doubt lead to frustration, near head-on (and head-on) collisions that could result in property damage, physical injury or worse. Meanwhile, Saugertiesians, enjoying their bounty of Terramor tax revenues, will stroll leisurely up and down Main and Partition, blissfully unaware of the damage inflicted by Terramor miles away. Oh, and one more thing: Just to top it all off, let’s not forget New York State’s construction plans to rebuild Woodstock’s main street and bridges, commencing in summer 2024 (Terramor’s planned opening) for over a year, continuing until 2026. The moment is at hand for our elected Woodstock officials to either stand up for its citizens as an Involved Agency, or just stand aside and let its citizens be “Terramor-ized”.

Richard Buck
Woodstock

Supporting New Paltz’s volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad members

Supporting New Paltz’s volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad members is probably one of the most important things we can do as local elected officials.

Thank you Governor Hochul for signing legislation last month that permits local taxing authorities to provide a partial property tax exemption to volunteer firefighters or ambulance workers. The State’s new law will allow for an exemption of up to 10% of the assessed valuation of their primary residences. 

At last week’s Village Board meeting, we passed a law to opt in and extend this benefit at 10% to our volunteers who have served a minimum of two years. We wholeheartedly support opportunities like this to recognize and financially assist our volunteers. We hope the Town of New Paltz and Ulster County Government will adopt similar laws, and the New Paltz Central School District follows suit with their own resolution. 

Once the local entity opts in, an application for the exemption by the volunteer must be filed with the local assessor annually before the applicable “taxable status date.” Application found here: tax.ny.gov/pdf/current_forms/orpts/rp466a_vol_fill_in.pdf.

The Village of New Paltz’s law also stated that any member who accrues more than 20 years of active service and is so certified by the Village Board, shall be granted the 10% exemption for the remainder of his or her life as long as his or her primary residence is located within the Village of New Paltz. 

Additionally:

• Un-remarried spouses of deceased volunteers shall be entitled to continue the partial exemption provided that the deceased volunteer had been enrolled for at least 20 years.

• Un-remarried spouses of volunteers killed in the line of duty shall be entitled to continue the partial exemption provided that the member had been enrolled for at least five years.

This augments legislation our administration lobbied Albany to adopt for years that was finally passed in November 2019. The annual service award was increased from $700 to $1,200 for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers. We had asked for an increase to $2,100 but it felt really good to see this increase from $700 to $1,200. New Paltz’s program for fire department members originally became effective in January 1999 with service awards of $480. New Paltz increased its award to the maximum amount of $700 in January 2008 and it remained at that level because that was the maximum per state law, until 2019’s change.

Mayor Tim Rogers
New Paltz

Clean air, clean water and the Green Jobs Bond

Five years ago, New Paltz town officials and community members rezoned the “Plesser property” to accommodate Wildberry Lodge. I liked the plan (although I wasn’t thrilled with the PILOT). Supervisor Bettez and other Town Board members all spoke eloquently about why the PILOT should be granted, the resort should be built, sewer services provided to North Ohioville, and to my knowledge, the UCIDA was ready to grant the tax exemptions.

And then, two months ago? A fully formed plan for a County Government Operations Center was designed and presented to the New Paltz Town Board for this parcel. The County website cites Phase 1 as “community engagement.” I guess I missed that conversation.

Is taking the last piece of commercial property completely off the tax rolls in the best interest of New Paltz and Ulster County residents? 

I honestly don’t know. 

There will be a public hearing on February 16 where the pros and cons will be weighed in a “balance test.”

It would be good if the town and county could post the balancing proposal on both their websites before the public hearing. 

Kitty Brown
New Paltz

Protect what we still have

I watched the movie entitled Audubon last night on Amazon Prime. It is an intimate portrayal of a man who loved nature and loved birds and did something for all of us by drawing and painting magnificent scenes of wild life in the late 1700’s and 1800’s. If you can see it please do because it is beautiful and reminds us that we need to protect what we still have in our neighborhoods here in the Hudson Valley. 

Bardet Wardell
Hurley 

Republi-cants!

For days, they couldn’t agree on a speaker. They are so splintered. It forebodes a very dysfunctional Congress. Yes, I watched the selection, rejection and then election of the GOP House Speaker as Kevin McCarthy won [as he took his ascent to the gavel]. Not Sorry. The Republican Party made the “speaker spectacle” ridiculous and a joke. Got a kick out of the “Repugs” trying to pick one. They shouldn’t pick at it. It’ll just get infected, to be honest, I’d have a hard time picking one out of that mess, too.

It showed the Republican Party playbook and how it will damage America. Boy, did we witness the GOP “clown show” on full display: This Republican Party likes holding America hostage. The Republicans — they just love all that losing. Is it the Republican Party or the Donner Party that ascended to the gavel in the new 118th United States Congress?

A speaker should be easy to find, right? I nominate Bose. Pricey, yes, but a good speaker. Then again, why don’t they just get a regular Panasonic? Nah, let’s go for Hi-Fidelity, right? They should start with small speakers for the office, the pool or bedside table. I’ll vote for the “Left” one and “turn the Right one way down!”

Kevin McCarthy said on the very first day of the new Republican-led Congress, we will read every single word of the Constitution aloud from the floor of the House — something that hasn’t been done in years. AND yet, his MAGAnation caucus wants to blow up the underpinnings of our forefathers’ writings.

This is how two long-time and renowned Republicans see it. “Imagine all the GOP House craziness you can. Now, magnify that insanity and loon bucket fuckwittery by a billion. Then transport it to the pinnacle of “Burning Tire Mountain” as an endless cascade of clown cars plunge into the radioactive waste dump at the peak” (Rick Wilson, founder of The Lincoln Project, on Twitter). The invaluable Charlie Sykes’ replied: “I believe you understate the problem.”

Neil Jarmel
West Hurley

Help keep the Green green

It would be difficult for anyone approaching the center of Woodstock to miss the beauty of the Village Green. All year around, the gardens there provide a peaceful place to rest and enjoy nature. These gardens are the work of a dedicated team of volunteers who began with a layout of the Green and then planned many separate flower beds. A whole design emerged showcasing various trees, shrubs perennials and annuals. The garden beds themselves appeared and flourished because of many tireless hours of amending soil, planting, weeding, pruning, mulching and watering, often on Sunday mornings. 

The volunteers gave their time and energy to creating a place that all who walk, bike or drive by can enjoy. For their dedication to the loving care of the Woodstock Village Green, we would like to publicly honor Judy Dagirmanjian, Nancy Kantor, Hilary McKenna and Karen Walker. In sincere appreciation, we say, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!’ 

After working on the Green for 15 years, these women have decided to retire. We hope that new volunteers will step forward starting this spring. It is fulfilling work to help keep our Green green! 

Shannon Godfrey
on behalf of the Consistory of
the Woodstock Reformed Church

Itching to know

I graduated from a Poison Ivy League college.

Sparrow
Phoenicia

Enforcement of Woodstock town code protecting wetlands and watercourse

I am writing in regards to the 75-site glamping project proposed by Terramor/KOA on property with wetlands and a watercourse that crosses the boundaries between Woodstock and Saugerties. According to the Woodstock town code, protecting wetlands and watercourse, 260-33, “the boundaries of such wetlands are the outer limits of wetland soils, wetland hydrology and wetland vegetation.” Terramor is proposing to alter the wetlands within Woodstock’s borders and our law requires that they first apply for a permit: “any person to undertake any regulated activity, as defined in § 260-34C, in any wetland, watercourse, water body or their associated buffer without a wetland and watercourse permit … issued by the Town of Woodstock” is in violation of the law. The legal counsel for the Association of Towns has written that the Town of Woodstock qualifies for Involved, not just Interested, agency status, which stresses the Town of Woodstock’s responsibility in enforcing the law, noting that the town and Ulster County have special roles to play in the planning process because of the border between Woodstock and Saugerties.

Woodstock can and should enforce its Wetlands and Watercourse Law on the property within Woodstock’s borders. It is incumbent upon the Woodstock town supervisor and members of the Town Board to put this into effect.

Nancy Jainchill
Citizens Against Terramor
Woodstock

Thanks for being there for us

The M. F. Whitney Hose Company, Phoenicia Fire District Company 1, would like to thank all the town residents who have supported us with donations.

In 2022, we responded to 135 calls, showing up at fires, car accidents, downed trees on power lines and many other perilous situations.

We are there for you. Thank you for being there for us.

Violet Snow, Secretary
M. F. Whitney Hose Company
Phoenicia

The City is not a good neighbor

Despite the harm it does, New York City will be increasing the amount of muddy water it releases into the Esopus Creek from the Ashokan Reservoir. The City is not a good neighbor. 

The muddy water from the reservoir turns the fresh water creek into a brown stream. When it reaches Saugerties, it discourages swimming, boating and fishing. At Saugerties, it flows around a 90-degree bend to flow over a dam down to the Hudson. As the water slowly swirls around the bend, some of the soil drops and accumulates on the bottom of the Creek. It then grows green vegetation. The vegetation is unsightly and increases each year thereby reducing the area of navigable water. Expensive equipment is used annually to partially remove the vegetation. 

When I was a youngster, the Esopus was not muddy. Saugerties residents used it for swimming, boating and fishing. For decades, the City of New York has been discharging increasing amounts of muddy water into the Esopus and diminishing its recreational use. In Saugerties, it has discouraged swimming in the muddy Creek.

The City takes our clean water and leaves us with muddy water. The State should minimize the discharge of muddy water by the City. It should make the City compensate the towns along the Creek for the muddy water damage. It can start by paying for a swimming pool for Saugerties to again provide swimming for its residents. 

Our state senators and assembly members should assist Ulster County in achieving a permanent solution. New York City should be required to invest in the technology that avoids the discharge of muddy water. Towns along the Esopus should not have to subsidize the City’s water supply. There is no free ride!

Michael E. Catalinotto
Saugerties

Reject proposed seven-unit project

Woodstock needs no more short-term rental projects. They increase the commercialization of the village with increased traffic and pedestrian congestion. Walking to town is already difficult since sidewalks don’t exist. Bicycling to town is even more dangerous because no lanes provide protection. Keep Woodstock real — stop mindless development.

Irwin Rosenthal
Woodstock

The Saugerties Chamber of Commerce needs to borrow an electric generator

The Saugerties Chamber of Commerce is planning something special for the upcoming Snow Moon Festival. We need to borrow a small electric generator for the Chamber float for the Saugerties Snow Moon Festival parade on February 4.

If you have one we can borrow, please contact Mark Smith at info@discoversaugerties. com.

Mark Smith
Saugerties Chamber of Commerce

Molinaro is no centrist

I see that on the first day of Congress, Congressman Molinaro voted to revoke the additional funding for the IRS. This funding was specifically targeted for audits of high net worth individuals and corporations such as … Donald Trump (who was not audited during several of his years as president due to lack of funds). The funding was NOT targeted at middle-class taxpayers. Continuing the multi-year gutting of the IRS is nonsensical and voting for it shows Mr. Molinaro’s true intentions as congressman. In addition, he voted to gut the House Ethics Committee — that same committee that would be investigating Congressman Santos’ voluminous collection of lies. Mr. Molinaro shows that he is not independent, not seeking to “work across the aisle,” but is just favoring the party line by keeping our country a kleptocracy. I advise citizens to follow his voting record closely — he’s already off to a dismal start!

Richard Azoff
Saugerties

Legalized marijuana

Legalization of cannabis has been long overdue. I find it absurd to have laws prohibiting what a large section of the population is engaged in doing.

I find it equally absurd that the state is allowing the cannabis industry to sell products aimed at the young, i.e. laced gummies, brownies, candies and there is even one product dubbed cookie monster.

Adults who want to get high aren’t interested in the taste, they’re interested in the effect. These products are aimed at young people.

Here in Ulster County, marijuana use among high school students is already extremely high. In 2017, high school surveys indicated that 60% of seniors reported trying it at least once, and 39% were most likely using it more often.

When this issue was presented to the county, instead of doing something about the problem, they stopped funding the surveys. Bureaucracy 101: If the data makes you look bad, stop collecting it.

The underlying danger for adolescents is the effect that marijuana has on their developing brains. While occasional use probably doesn’t do much harm, anything more than occasional use probably does. There’s a reason it’s called “dope.”

The one indisputable fact is that the more a teen uses marijuana the less likely he or she will be able to reach their full potential.

Before being banned, flavored vaping started a lot of teens off and now many are hooked. It would be nice if our state lawmakers showed a little more foresight and banned flavored cannabis.

Thomas Kadgen
Shokan

Silence a lost art

In a group, the Talking Stick welcomes silence for everyone who is not holding the stick. The Talking Stick originated from the five Native-American tribes: the Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida and Onandaga, all living in what is now upper New York state, near the shores of Lake Ontario. Unfortunately, there was severe conflict among these tribes. Finally, a leader arose. His name was Deganawidah; he knew the power of listening respectfully and speaking from the heart. 

Deganawidah brought peace to warring tribes and started the tradition of using the Talking Stick to allow all hearts to have a space in the community.

The Talking Stick has been used to address animals that cannot speak a human language. Because humans have become isolated from nature, we have lost connection with our ancestors who sat around a fire and told stories shaped and polished by thousands of ancestors’ tongues. I see the Talking Stick like the walking stick. It can help us return to the path that leads us inside ourselves, where uncommunicated truth can find expression.

Unlike the magic wand that calls to other worlds and wizards for help, the Talking Stick is a key to doors we have closed in ourselves. For example, some believe the Talking Stick opens the voice of our soul or daemon.

I have been making walking sticks for veteran friends and folks I know who need the physical support of a cane. I’ve begun to feel that entering the inner world of ourselves is challenging terrain for some to navigate, and I decided I could help by making Talking Sticks. The computer has taken us so far from nature that we’ve lost the pathway to our internal emotional selves. So I have imagined the Talking Stick as a key to help conversations with ourselves. The Talking Stick is used in public to allow one voice to speak and can also be used to start a discussion with yourself. In other words, a part of you must listen to the one speaking inside. You may be surprised as to where the dialogue will go. Holding the Talking Stick and having a private discussion gives you help with silencing all the voices that interfere with the core truths in your heart and soul that are always present and too often ignored. 

Human communication around the world in seconds has eliminated the essential spaces for reflection, touch and silence. The heart has lost the metaphor for being the home of our soul. Instead, our brains use the speed of light-placing us eons ahead of our emotions, where love, family and community can grow.

We need a virtual campfire and a virtual Talking Stick to center us within our bodies, where all communication comes. Instead, we have isolated and compartmentalized our eyes and brains as the only faculties to speak for us. When everyone has a turn, even if they don’t take it, a deeper dimension of listening is acquired. When someone speaks from the heart, we feel their effect, passion and truth. Thus a container of trust and safety gets created.

Larry Winters
New Paltz

Thanks for your commitment to kids

We are pleased to announce “Commitment to Kids” 28th Great Ulster County Toy Extravaganza had another successful year. On behalf of the entire “Commitment to Kids” Committee we would like to thank the community for supporting our annual toy drive. With your help, we were able to donate 3,406 toys to 32 different organizations. All of the toys were distributed to children in Ulster County.

We are in desperate need of new volunteers. If you are interested, we will be meeting on Sunday, January 22 at 6:30 p.m. at our Bloomington Station, 14 Taylor Street, Bloomington. We will make a decision by April 1 as to whether we can continue or dissolve.

Please follow us on our Facebook page at Commitment to Kids Toy Drive or email us at commitmenttokids1@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Thank you for your continued support. We wish you and your family best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Colleen Phillips
Bloomington

Huh?

Maybe you can explain this item from Hudson Valley One regarding the Woodstock unappropriated fund balance: “McKenna said the money can sit there and earn interest until the board decides how to use it, but then the town would be in violation of its own policy, which caps the amount carried over to the next year at $650,000. ‘We’re probably at a million and a half,’ McKenna said.”

Howard Harris
Woodstock

Poor Catskill stewards

The reaction from Catskill Mountainkeeper to NYS DEC’s report last week on the “popularity” of the Catskill Park creating “new problems” centering on “visitors and managing the impact to the market,” baldly underscores the grim fact that DEC and all the members of the Catskill Park Coalition (which Catskill Mountainkeeper is part of), ironically, has created the very self-serving profit-minded Frankenstein outdoor recreation monster degrading the 287,000 acres Catskill Park and Preserve they are sworn to protect by encouraging the annual influx of more than three-million people trampling, skiing, hiking, dog walking and snowmobiling on those critically and heavily abused mountain trails, endangered wildlife habitats and green spaces; especially on the Catskill High Peaks where some of the heaviest human damage is chronic and cumulative.

Consider that the Catskill Park Coalition, in its outdoor recreation, and Catskill Park Management and the EPF (Environmental Protection Fund) program plan of 2020 and lobbying budget priorities to the New York State legislature included: $250,000 for mountain biking in the Shandaken Wild Forest, $1 million for “upgrades” to the state-run Belleayre Ski Center, $150,000 for the Catskill Visitor’s management operations and facilities, $250,000 for NYSDOT funding of the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byways that furthers Catskill Park road access and expansion, $50,000 to provide for a swimming area at Kenneth Wilson State Campground and investment in the Adventure NY program sponsored by DEC.

There were some constructive 2020 lobbying efforts, such as $500,000 for addressing staffing deficiencies in DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests, $750,000 to fund the Forest Ranger Academies and $750,000 for Cornell University’s “Save the Hemlocks” initiative to fight the invasive hemlock wooly adelgids. The cynical attempt by the Catskill Park Coalition members to disguise their outdoor recreation agenda, however, by ostensibly fostering token “beneficial” management tools, enhances the heavy human footprint they are actually trying to mitigate. Very little effort or money has been targeted to actually keep visitors out of vulnerable Catskill Park and Preserve lands under wholesale attack by state-sponsored outdoor recreation interests through the actions of recreation co-opted environmental organizations like the Catskill Park Coalition and Catskill Mountainkeeper. In fact, NYSDEC and the Catskill Coalition are shooting themselves in the foot by advocating outdoor recreation over the natural resource integrity of the Catskill Park and Preserve now suffering from 147 years of neglect and mismanagement.

Victor C. Capelli
Ulster Park

GOP, Goliath’s best friend

Most of us dutifully pay our Social Security taxes every payday, fulfilling our obligation as citizens, with the expectation that at year’s end our 1040 will either ask for a little more or gift a refund — a happy event. It’s a ritual — a bargain — that Americans accept as part of life, if begrudgingly. Most of us don’t fear that the IRS is going to come after us for an audit. Small potatoes, most of us.

So what was one of the new GOP House majority’s first legislative actions? To “defund the IRS.” The ironies of that action are too extensive for commentary here, but its priorities are blazingly clear — cripple the ability of the IRS to do its mandated work and deliver a message to the superrich, the tax cheats protected by a ring of lawyers, the would-be ruling class that thinks it’s “smart” to game the tax code: You’re safe. We’ve got your back. The one percenters and the ten percenters are aware that an adequately staffed IRS knows where to target the audits — where the money is and where the dodging hides. Those Republican legislators — many of them millionaires plus, themselves — like to pose as warriors for working people. How stupid do they think we are?

Ask those GOP warriors, including newly minted Marc Molinaro from our region, who voted in favor of the defunding: will you help me get my tax refund, of which millions have been delayed because there are too few IRS personnel to process them? More likely, they’ll be fundraising with the base on their phony damn-the-IRS issue, while their unhappy donors know the defunding effort will be shot down in the Senate or vetoed by President Biden.

Tom Denton
Highland

What’s on your mind?

Despite the recent reports of POTUS Biden having removed classified documents from their proper place (when he was VPOTUS) and storing them illegally — something he severely criticized Donald Trump for doing — I anticipate that in this week’s HV1 Neil Jarmel will have either ignored the story or defended Joe’s actions in this regard. Because of this I offer the following parody, based loosely on the Beatles “Yellow Submarine,” titled “Old Neil Jarmel’s mind” as a pre-emptive rejoinder.

(Stanza)

In the land of old Neil’s mind

lives a man he thinks unkind

Every week he tells a tale

of how this man, should be in jail

And the truth that we all see

is this man, lives there rent free

Read Neil’s words and you will find

Donald lives in old Neil’s mind

(Chorus)

Donald lives in the land of old Neil’s mind

land of Jarmel’s mind; land of old Neil’s mind

Donald lives in the land of old Neil’s mind

land of Jarmel’s mind; land of old Neil’s mind

(Bridge)

And Neil’s friends hate Donald too

they think what Neil says, is quite true

Listen now you’ll hear them say:

(Spoken)

(Tell us all more, Mr. Jarmel. Tell us all more)

Tell more, I will my dear friends

(Call him bad names, really bad names)

Will do, friends, will do

Trump is, a chump!

(Stanza)

As he tells his tales of woe (tales of woe)

there are some of us (there are some of us)

who want to hear, some tales of Joe

To the truth (to the truth)

Neil seems so blind (Neil seems blind)

because Donald’s (because Donald’s)

in his mind (in his mind, aha!)

(Chorus)

Donald lives in the land of old Neil’s mind

land of Jarmel’s mind; land of old Neil’s mind

Donald lives in the land of old Neil’s mind

land of Jarmel’s mind; land of old Neil’s mind

(Stanza)

There is more that could be said

(like Neil wishes Trump was dead)

But I’ll say one final word,

Neil’s obsession is absurd

But I hope one day we’ll find

Trump’s no longer in Neal’s mind!

Until then we all can sing:

Chorus)

Donald lives in the land of old Neil’s mind

land of Jarmel’s mind; land of old Neil’s mind

Donald lives in the land of old Neil’s mind
land of Jarmel’s mind; land of old Neil’s mind

George Civile
Gardiner

Stupid, ignorant or crazy?

Are we stupid, ignorant, crazy, or just don’t care?

In this time for repeated calls for “Common Sense” gun laws, why do we continue to tolerate rampant and explicit illegal gun use depicted on TV, in the movies and especially, video games aimed at teenagers? How stupid can we be? TV sells things, and it’s unrelenting in its sale of illegal gun use. Are we ignorant of that?

You’d think the FCC would be all over this insult to human bodies, but they care not at all for something patently illegal, prefer to suppress four-letter words and even a flash of nudity. As long as actors are clothed and not cursing, they can be shot full of holes any and every time. How stupid is that? And we the audience, seeming to think, “There but for the grace of God goes I,” watch these shows over and over. And more stupidly, buy the products they advertise.

Insults to precious human bodies, seen unending in shows like the despicable “John Wick” movies, one of which is often on every night of the week, or the truly horrendous “Purge,” are there for impressionable minds to see and learn how to shoot and kill people. Crazy.

And many an actor grows wealthy depicting murders and shooters, then whine for more gun control. Hypocrites.

This letter is unlikely to get the dopes at the FCC to take action to get gun violence out of the media, and well rewarded politicians are not willing to offend their rich donors in the media, and will do what they have always done — nothing. Stupid, stupid, ignorant as dirt.

Long ago, President Nixon removed cigarette ads from TV, by decree. Why hasn’t any other president done the same for gun violence? Stupid and cowardly. But see the above — political donations talk, we all don’t. Crazy.

The gutless FCC will continue to ignore this issue, while elsewhere many others will continue to call for yet more and more gun control. Plenty of laws are in force now, many ignored or seldom enforced, while gun deaths proliferate in the movies and video games.

So, in reality, nothing will change. Mostly young, impressionable or mentally challenged people will continue to imitate what they are learning to do by watching media in their living rooms and many others will suffer as a result.

Yes, we’ll be all three — stupid, crazy and ignorant.

And think about this: A six-year-old gets a gun, takes it to school and shoots his teacher. How does a six-year-old even know what a gun is and how to shoot it? By watching gun use on TV. We are reaping what we sow.

Frederick Gerty
Gardiner

Quiet please

I’m a supporter of sensible development in Woodstock. Going along with that thought is the need to allow developers to make profit on their investment.

Nonetheless, it is the town and by extension the voters, including homeowners and renters, who should set limits on uses and behavior around the community, not any individual owner or developer. That means controls on noise, trash, safety, parking, intrusive lighting and many other factors.

In the past decade, in particular, there has been an assault on our eardrums and our quality of life, especially in the center of town where commercial and residential uses co-mingle. Despite a broadly expressed concern among the populace that amplified outdoor music and rave-like gatherings are going uncontrolled, the town has so far done little to reign in the behavior of a small number of rule breakers.

Because the control is uniquely in the hands of the Town Board it is urgent that they put a stop to any plans by developers of new projects that will prevent violations of the common good by the limited few.

I strongly suggest that the Calimar complex, off of Tinker Street, be prevented from doing anything that would create loud sound and thereby disturb its neighbors. This means no outdoor performances, either amplified or acoustic, be permitted and that no large meeting spaces or special events be allowed such as weddings, parties or concerts.

It is time for the town to put its foot down on excessive noise.

Doug Sheer
Woodstock 

Seniors beware

This experience may become all too common under the AOC REACH program. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center aims to place seniors into AOC REACH without their knowledge or consent. The program will financially reward physicians who can “…. reduce program expenditures…while preserving or enhancing care….” Physicians for a National Health Program has extracted and published the details of the program and raised an alarm about the lack of safeguards against exploitation. Medical outcomes are often unclear, and the above consultation could be coded as a success since I left with just a mild protest. As Senator Warren and Representative Jayapal have pointed out, some of the same business investors, who cheated the Medicare Advantage program, are enrolled in REACH. They have suggested that the program be scrapped. Meanwhile, the program has been running since January 1, 2023, and I do not know if the surgeon was telling his honest opinion or merely adding to his good statistics.

Hal Chorny
Gardiner

Curious courts, Part II

Resuming from last week’s letter about former Ulster County Supreme Court Judge, Christopher E. Cahill, misapplying the legal doctrine of collateral estoppel in my court case with Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp. (“CenHud”) and the New York Department of Public Service/Public Service Commission (“DPS/PSC”), that same judge also misapplied the legal doctrine called “exhaustion of administrative remedies rule” (“E-Rule”). That rule requires that a complainant seek remedy from the appropriate administrative agency before filing a lawsuit. Since my initial complaint was against CenHud for terminating my home’s electrical service, the appropriate administrative agency would be the DPS/PSC. I made a complaint to their Office of Consumer Services (“OCS”) requesting my electrical service be restored with a safe analog meter. The OCS alleged they would do an “investigation” and issue a “report.” The resulting report was based on my few brief phone calls with them and input from an unidentified OCS so-called “expert.” A recent Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) response from that office revealed the OCS so-called expert was none other than CenHud’s General Counsel, Paul Colbert. Big surprise, the OCS issued their report in favor of CenHud. They never informed me in their official report/letter that I could appeal in an OCS “Informal Hearing.” I eventually found out anyway, and filed an application for an informal hearing. The application was denied by an OCS “Informal Hearing Officer” (a quasi-judge), citing NYS regulation [16NYCRR12.5(a)(2)], that supports the denial based on the fact that an informal hearing officer does not have the power to grant the relief I was requesting (electricity restored using a safe analog utility meter). Although the DPS/PSC approves the meters used by the utilities, it is the utility who actually chooses the specific meter. That all being said, there is an exemption to the E-Rule if the administrative agency does not have the power to grant the relief requested indicating futility (Matter of First Nat. City Bank, City of New York, 36N.Y.2d 87, 92-93).

That was exactly my situation, which the OCS admitted in their official letter. I did not need to continue seeking remedy from an agency that can’t provide the relief I am seeking. Neither did I need to initiate an Article 78judicial-reviewof the OCS report/decision because there were no grounds to do so as the OCS decision was according to law [16NYCRR12.5(a)(2)] and not “arbitrary” or “capricious” as Civil Practice Law Rule (7803) requires. Former Judge Cahill curiously disregarded all of that and the clear evidence for my claim to an exemption of the E-Rule. It didn’t matter that I supplied him with official OCS documentation that they did not have the power to grant my request, he disregarded it anyway, as well as abundant relevant binding case law. Subsequently, Judge Cahill misapplied the E-Rule and as detailed in my previous letter to the editor, collateral estoppel, apparently abusing his judicial discretion, and denied me my constitutional right to a trial. 

To be continued….

Steve Romine
Woodstock

The Biden hypocrisy rages on

Biden finally “visits” our southern border! Due to pressures he could no longer withstand and avoid, he figured he better get down to the border and pretend as if he cared. Certainly, no one was expecting a thorough, accurate and honest view of the realities going on at the river banks and in the streets of El Paso, TX. What we got was the anticipated repulsive photo op which was aided and abetted by the spineless and dedicated Democratic operative, Oscar Leeser, Mayor of El Paso.

Those of you who watch the real news have seen countless photos of illegal immigrants under wall to wall tents and blankets covering several streets in El Paso. Over quite some time, local residents and business owners have expressed their frustrations and fears for their city. Some have even experienced run-ins with the illegals as well as having their properties damaged, even including a few break-ins at their homes and barns. As a result, what has Biden’s faithful puppet, Mayor Leeser, done for his constituents? Absolutely nothing! Instead, within a 24 hour period of time, Leeser ordered the removal of all evidence of these chaotic ugly scenes so that, when Biden arrived for his “visit” the following day, the only thing visible was a pristine and sanitized wonderland.

In his three-hour “visit,” Biden and his minions showed absolutely no interest in traveling to the river banks to watch, firsthand, the hundreds and hundreds of illegals wading, unimpeded, through the river into El Paso on a daily basis. Anyone genuinely concerned with the real sources and causes of the record numbers of daily illegal crossings would have definitely wanted to visit these key areas. After all, seeing IS believing.

We’ve heard the monotonous and overly repeated yet inaccurate mantra that “our immigration system is broken.” The only things broken are the people and administration(s) that won’t uphold our existing immigration laws — laws that have successfully worked for generations. Our current facilities, courts, lawyers, judges and staff are inadequate to deal with the current outrageous influx, only because of the record numbers of illegals being allowed to freely enter our country due to the intentional negligence of our federal authorities, starting with Biden, in refusing to enforce existing immigration laws. Instead of hiring 85,000 armed IRS agents, we need to hire 85,000 people to expand the above noted professions, also to include border agents, so that immigrants can be quickly processed and adjudicated as to whether they are legally eligible for entry into the U.S.A., but through legal points of entry only, with all other immigrants caught at illegal points of entry being returned to Mexico or their home countries with clear instructions to enter our country at LEGAL points of entry so that they can be quickly, properly, and legally processed and adjudicated.

Much more to say on this topic but one thing is for sure, Neil Jarmel most likely led a standing ovation with family and friends for his favorite dictator, as Biden’s hypocritical and phony “visit” to El Paso unfolded.

John N. Butz
Modena



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