Letters to the Editor - December 2, 2010
December 02, 2010 01:43 PM | 2 2 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Good Neighbor Food Pantry in Woodstock has launched a food drive running through December 31. All donations of food items and items of dignity go directly to the needy who visit the food pantry. Funds donated are used to purchase food and items of dignity.

The number of people visiting the Good Neighbor Food Pantry in the past year has increased much that the pantry increased its hours of operation in May by opening an extra afternoon each week. People visiting the pantry weekly receive a three-day supply of food. The people visiting the Good Neighbor Food Pantry are making hard choices. They are in situations where they are choosing between food and medicine, or food and transportation, or food and rent.

Many of them are food insecure. They are struggling to have enough food to eat. And, they are going hungry.

Children are not exempt from this situation. Volunteers at the pantry work hard to see that the children of families visiting the pantry have enough to eat.

To make a donation of either food items or items of dignity, please drop them off at the Woodstock Apothecary or at 31 Tannery Brook.

If you want to make a donation but prefer to send a check, please make it out to Good Neighbor Food Pantry, c/o Woodstock Reformed Church, 16 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498.

It is also easy to include the Good Neighbor Food Pantry in your holiday gift giving plans. Simply send a check to the Good Neighbor Food Pantry and include the name and address of the person receiving the gift. We will send them a card telling them that a gift was given in their name.

We thank you for your generosity. We thank you for supporting a local charity. We thank you for thinking of those around you who are in need at this time.

For more info, please call 845-399-3967.

Thurman Greco



A recent column by Hugh Reynolds misrepresented slightly the position of the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region on Golden Hill. While the League did indeed recommend that the county sell the nursing home to a private entity, it did not recommend not-for-profit over for-profit. Studies show that both non-profits and for-profits can provide excellent care.

The quality of the management is key, and the League urged the county to select a buyer with a fine record of service so that the quality of care and all or most of the excellent employees at Golden Hill could be retained.

Mr. Reynolds also says, “Lost in all this numbers crunching is the compassion for the elderly infirm that used to be part of the Golden Hill conversation.” He may not have been referring to the League in saying this, but we assure him and others that compassion was very much a part of our organization’s conversation.

The elderly in Ulster County include taxpayers on limited fixed incomes struggling to hang on to their homes, elderly with disabilities that need in-home services (e.g. home nurse visits, Meals on Wheels), and elderly infirm who might actually prefer another Ulster Co. nursing home because it’s newer, closer to family, or otherwise more appealing.

And contrary to a commonly-held belief, all nursing homes are required by law to take Medicaid patients, so Golden Hill is not a “last resort” for those with limited funds.

In an economic crisis such as the one we’re in, the compassionate response is to look carefully at the needs of all who are hurting and meet these needs as completely and efficiently as possible. When new solutions might allow us to preserve needed services that would otherwise be cut, it is both compassionate and intelligent to explore them.

Dare Thompson, President

League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region


This is in reply to the annual misinformation letter from the Animal Rights gang about deer hunters causing traffic accidents. First of all, the bucks are in rutting season, that is, their brains are focused on sex, sex, and more sex. When the antlers lose their velvet covering each fall, hormones kick in, and the term “horny” was originally coined to describe male deer in rut. They will follow the scent of hot does far out of their regular territories. Secondly, the deer are used to the Daylight Savings traffic patterns of people coming to and from work. Standard time change has them temporarily confused about when is the best time to cross the road. Third, the frost/freeze has killed the summertime green plants that they feed on, and their food source changes to twiggy browse. Those are the real reasons deer accidents rise in the fall, not those mean old hunters.

The previous letter writer claimed that we killed off predators “for sport.” Do we want mountain lions in our back yards? Do farmers want wolves and coyotes around their sheep and chickens? We must intelligently control wildlife, or watch deer go through starve off cycles. After all, browsing animals like deer are only on earth as feed for other animals. I much rather prefer that the people benefit from this meat, and not a pack of coyotes. This of course brings up the subject of vegetarianism. Does your mouth water when you smell the turkey roasting in the oven? Question answered by Mother Nature.

Happy Hunting, yall.

Lanny Steitz



As a frequent visitor to our library I’ve always enjoyed the warmth and helpfulness of all the staff; getting around to appropriate stacks on my own was often a challenge! Now that has changed. On Thursday I arrived to return some books and to take a look at the new reconfiguration. One of the librarians offered me a tour and I am delighted to report on the transformation; each area is clearly marked with new signs and designed with a combined sense of privacy and spaciousness; there is a gentle flow from one area to the other and the back room design with its long tables and chairs reflects the atmosphere of a library to be taken seriously!

I encourage you to visit — and to ask for a tour in order to fully appreciate the skill and thoughtfulness of all who were involved — and to further enjoy all that our library has to offer us. Many thanks to all the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to so gift us.

Neshama Rose Lipari



Thanks to the members of our community who continue to support the Kodi kids — a sibling group of Kenyan AIDS orphans. The November 19 benefit to keep the children in boarding school was a huge success. Since 2003, your generosity has allowed a young Kenyan man to fulfill a promise to his dying brother that his six children would graduate high school. Graduating high school is a huge deal in Kenya, where just 43 percent of teens are enrolled in high school and only 19 percent actually attend. Yet today, three of the Kodi children have graduated. One will finish at the end of next year. The two youngest continue to work hard so that they will follow in their brother’s and sisters’ footsteps and do us all proud.

Again this year, world-class musicians — KJ Denhert, Deanna Kirk, Peter Einhorn, Lou Pappas, George DeLeon, Dick Kniss, Gloria Jean, David LaPlante — donated their talents to perform at a musical extravaganza. The Hudson Valley Dessert Company of Saugerties provided gastronomical delicacies, Sunflower in Woodstock supplied healthy beverages, and Adams Fairacre Farms in Kingston, Saugerties Price Chopper, Ulster Hannaford and Stop & Shop in New Paltz donated various products for the evening’s event. Thanks also to our media sponsor, Chronogram Magazine. The munificence of so many made for a wonderful evening. The openheartedness and kindness of the many people who gave lavishly ensured that the three remaining students will have another year of school. Our altruistic community has once again demonstrated Margaret Meade’s axiom: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

On behalf of the Kodi kids, we thank you.

Christine Dinsmore and Ruth Levine



Yesterday, I was walking around Cooper Lake for the first time in a few weeks, and I noticed, to my utter shock, that literally hundreds of trees had been cut down around the lake in recent weeks, including an entire clear-cut on the 212 side of the lake.

As I stood there, several Cooper Lake residents stopped in their cars, aghast at the devastation, all asking the same questions that I had in my mind. Who did this? Why was this done? Was there some practical reason for clear-cutting entire sections of the forest?

I went home and immediately Googled Cooper Lake, looking for articles in either the Woodstock Times or the Daily Freeman that would perhaps mention the forthcoming destruction. I couldn’t find a thing.

After asking around a bit, a few people who live around Cooper Lake told me they had received a letter from the city of Kingston informing them what was about to transpire and saying that the wood from the trees would be harvested and sold commercially.

I, like many others, have the following questions in mind: Who is responsible for this? The town of Woodstock or the city of Kingston? Who were the contractors/tree-cutters involved, and who is profiting from this sale? Did the razing of hundreds of trees have to pass any sort of public hearing, either in Woodstock or Kingston?

I would appreciate if Woodstock Times could clarify some of these questions in an upcoming issue. I have copious photographs if you would like to use them.

David McDonald

Director/Woodstock Revisited

Editor’s note: Talk about being exempt...the city of Kingston owns the property and because it is a municipality operating in another, it has the ability to do as it pleases on all of its watershed property, without permission from Woodstock, without SEQRA, without public notice or hearing. This came up several years ago in a similar situation in Mink Hollow on property that is part of its watershed wherein the city did some extensive logging and despite protests from neighbors, the town could do nothing. The city of Kingston in that case, magnanimously, made a presentation to the town in which it assured the town of its intentions to follow good forest management practices, and told the town what it was going to do. And it proceeded to do it. The good news about that time is that the city did exactly what it said it would, didn’t mess around, and noticeably, doesn’t mess around with its watershed. The Kingston Water Superintendent, a woman named Judith Hansen, is very protective of it and the city’s legal prerogatives. That includes logging and selling the wood.


I have observed and more recently supported through adoption, the efforts of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary as they have created a pastoral and harmonious haven in Willow. This is an old farming community and the Farm Animal Sanctuary is a healthy and clean farm environment which serves to protect abused or neglected farm animals while also offering a joyous family experience for parents and/or grandparents in which to safely bring young children to observe animals close at hand. Visitors only come on pleasant Saturday or Sundays seasonally. If a family takes a drive to visit the Sanctuary, you know they shop or dine as a part of that experience, thus, positively affecting the local economy. Many newer community members originally came into the area because of their interest in the work at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The staff is knowledgeable and courteous and the entire farming operation is run with a dedicated and professional effort.

I have served on the Woodstock Planning Board and at times witnessed the Farm Sanctuary’s presentations to that Board. During my service I observed the diligence they made to adhere to various Town and Planning Board requests. They have worked with Ulster County and DEP soil conservation staff to insure water quality. There does not appear to have been any problem caused by the number of animals grazing peacefully in their pastures.

Apparently a public hearing has been called for Thursday December 2 because the Farm Sanctuary held three summer 7 p.m. concerts which were basically amplified acoustic sets to raise funds to support the Sanctuary. How wonderful that Sean Lennon and Chrissie Hynde chose to come to Woodstock to support the Sanctuary! And, yes, these events were modest in impact, and not any louder than private parties and fund raisers that go on all over Woodstock throughout the summer months.

The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary is an asset to our community. Let’s support their honorable efforts and the rich history that animal husbandry has played in the Hudson Valley.

Laurie E. Ylvisaker



Woodstock, we have a problem. Our town board believes our taxes are low and that we aren’t paying enough in taxes.

When supervisor Moran introduced his budget, he launched a two pronged PR campaign to justify the large tax increase. First he proclaimed that you should consider the town wide rate instead of the individual line items. Your tax bill has taxes listed for the town’s general fund, the highway fund, the fire districts, the library, and if you live in special taxing districts, taxes for sewer, water and lighting.

Several letters to the editor and credible testimony by former Woodstock officials at the public hearing challenged the supervisor’s assertion of low taxes and made the case that taxes for the town’s general fund are out of control. When a former supervisor wrote “the Woodstock Town Board does not fully understand the budgeting process,” he was speaking for many that follow the town’s budget process.

Second, the supervisor directed the assessor to prepare a justification showing that Woodstock has some of the lowest tax rates in the county. A front page article, “Low-Tax Woodstock, Putting the town budget in perspective,” claimed that Woodstock is lightly taxed compared to surrounding communities. During the public hearing, the supervisor repeatedly referenced this article to justify his proposed tax increases saying that Woodstockers shouldn’t complain about their taxes.

Apparently the town board agrees with the supervisor. Although Bill McKenna suggested budget reductions, the other board members failed to offer any significant suggestions to reduce the budget. They seemed to support the supervisor’s view that Woodstock is lightly taxed and that large increases are completely justified. Woodstock, we have a problem.

Ken Panza



I’m writing on behalf of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. As a Willow resident and visitor to the sanctuary, I know what a wonderful job they do, and I also know how they draw people to visit them and how that helps our local economy and our town’s vitality. They have my support.

David Goldin



Money has equaled power for a long time. I can’t say for how long, but surely Kings had plenty, (although it may have been in the form of gold and silver, instead of printed paper.) In present times, the powerful “personhoods,” (as defined by the Supreme Court) that run the world have most of it — in dollars, Euro’s, Yuans, Marks, Rubles, etc. Money can be exchanged for anything, including food, clothing, soldiers, bombs, and today, my favorite exchange: truth.

So, as I watch the news, I believe I may be getting the truth, because I trust The New York Times, the AP, Reuters, or the Huffingston Post and MSNBC, to sum it up for me. But, can’t the truth be bought? Sure it can. Let’s take Saddam Hussein and 9/11. No, let’s move to the present and take the North/South Korean incident. Does anyone know what happened and why? Some shooting occurred because one side or the other started it, etc., etc. Take the robbing of all of our money. We do know that the military takes a lot of it, and it is now greatly privatized. So, if I owned Halliburton, or KBR wouldn’t I have a stake in wars?

Sometimes, they (the ones with all our money) trick us into believing that something good is happening, like the investigation into some of the investment companies, but what companies? Goldman, Sachs? No. They already settled for a $550 million deal with the SEC on their mortgage backed scams. That’s like me settling for a $500 dollar fine. I’d feel it, but not that much. Then, they got Bernie Madoff, not a biggy in the scheme of things, but that was supposed to keep us satisfied. So, who’s up for investigation now? Level Global, (hmmm never heard of them) DIamonback Capital (hmmm. never heard of them), and under consideration are USB and Bank of America, (yeah sure).

Now, our biggest distraction is that of Kim Jong N-il and his son, potentially gearing up for a nuclear war, and I must say that this leader truly gets my hair standing up on end. So, we can’t afford to ignore it, on the other hand, if we put our attention there, we can kiss the banksters investigations goodbye, and get back to the pat downs, which are way more fun. And surely, we can welcome some security scanning devices that are less intrusive than pat downs, or radiation. Hey, since our government can’t afford to come up with effective equipment for our security needs, maybe they can see what Kellogg, Brown and Root has available. And so it goes.

Jill Paperno



I am writing in support of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. I attended a town meeting last month where the subject of their operating permit was under question, due to complaints by some of their neighbors in Willow. I attended because I believe that the WFAS is a valuable and vital part of the Woodstock community. Jenny Brown, Doug Abel and the entire dedicated staff of the WFAS work tirelessly to run a safe, clean and professional sanctuary, with the needs of their larger community always in mind. I went to one of their benefit concerts this summer with my husband and daughter. I remember looking around at the very peaceful, intimate gathering and thinking that it was more like a small celebration in a backyard than a benefit concert featuring a world renowned, legendary musician and activist. The WFAS keeps their events on a small physical scale out of respect for their neighbors, but the impact of these events is enormous and far reaching — bringing awareness of the compassionate mission of the WFAS and the continuing legacy of the town of Woodstock as a place of peace, far beyond the borders of our county.

Elizabeth Mitchell



This year’s Thanksgiving Quiz: How many turkeys does it take to feed five hundred people? Answer: 30!

This year’s Family Thanksgiving was a tremendous success. Thanks in part to publicity generously given by both Woodstock Times and WDST, more than 500 people looking for a place to join others in giving thanks found our annual Feast, by far the largest number of people served in our 34 year history. Dozens more heard the call to cook and serve food and to donate funds to help make the celebration both delicious and heart warming. Think of the hours of shopping and cooking you do for your gathering of 20 or so and you’ll see why it is so important to acknowledge the people who make this meal happen, and happen with style and grace. The line of those waiting to be served extended into the parking lot, never shrinking for three straight hours, peacefully and with good humor (with help from the talented hors d’oeuvres passers). Perhaps people kept arriving as they saw how wonderful it was on Fanny Prizant’s live TV broadcast!

Chester Pertchik, The Grand Master with Pizazz, once again called his team together just before Halloween. Susan Goldman, Tamara Cooper (Program Director at Family of Woodstock) and Ruth Beyl sent out publicity and then coordinated the outpouring of offers to help. On the day of the Feast it all came together: Lisa Childers produced delightful decorations and Maria Ferguson, Renee Englander, Yvonne Sewell and Joan Apter graciously managed the kitchen and serving stations. A deep nod of thanks to servers young (very) and older. How can you refuse a cookie offered by a 4 year old? Tables and chairs for 500? A bow of thanks to Reverend Kim and the Overlook Methodist Church for these and to Ray Brundage, Town of Woodstock, Steve Romaine and Rick Ridell and the Sterling Men’s Group who managed their transport and handling.

We know that thank you’s get long. But here’s the thing. We want you to know that without local businesses who donate large quantities of delicious food and individuals who bring their favorite dish, Family could not feed 500 people at Thanksgiving. Please take a moment to appreciate the generosity of our local chefs and bakers: La Cucina, Gypsy Wolf Cantina, Bear Café, Bread Alone, Bistro To Go, Catskill Mountain Pizza, Garden Café, Sunfrost, Woodstock Meats, Sunflower Natural Foods, Oriole 9, Al’s Farmstand, Lori’s Café, Landau Grill, Mezzaluna, Mountain Gate Indian Restaurant, Oliver Kita, Reservoir Inn, Joshua’s Restaurant, Hickory BBQ, Taco Juan, Little Bear, Maria’s Bazar, Violette, 4H Club and Meredith’s Bakery. Thanks also to the Cox Gallery and Catskill Mountain Coffee Roasters for beverages; the Town for the use of the Community Center and Gordon Wemp for technical assistance; to H. Houst (Ned and Shelby) for the use of their generator (another reason to improve the Community Center!); to Woodstock Hardware for supplies and to Marc Braunstein and Markertek for all of the paper goods.

Did we leave anyone out? We hope not. And of course we thank our steady volunteers who stayed at the hotline phones while our Feast went on. Did you miss it this year? We’ll be back next year with another magnificent day of thanks.

Thank you all.

Susan Goldman

Family of Woodstock


Please do not revoke Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s permit to run its farm.

WFAS is doing such an amazing thing for abused and neglected animals. It has a beautiful property that is very clean and quiet during hours of operation and when closed to the public. The owners and staff are professional and they respect their neighbors and their community.

The issues at hand: The fund raiser concerts that were held over the summer were curated by my husband Jason Fine and we were present for all of them. They were run smoothly, they were properly staffed, they were not loud, and the visitors and performers were very respectful. The very nature of the event attracted a thoughtful and reverent crowd. WFAS had all the proper paperwork and permits to hold the concerts. Everything was done by the books. If there was one issue from one neighbor about the noise during the concerts it does not out weigh all the good they are doing for these animals and for the community.

I strongly believe that WFAS makes the area more valuable as it is a destination for people in New York State and beyond, and this can only bring good things to Willow and the town of Woodstock. I am aware that there are businesses adjacent to the farm that bring in traffic to the area.

My husband and I are residents of Woodstock and frequent the Animal Sanctuary to visit the animals and/or to volunteer our time to a good cause. It would be a total shame to not have this amazing place in operation, for the animals and for the people who support it.

Tracy Bonham



Paul Smart’s recent article regarding the Woodstock Guild’s Annual Meeting, “Not Quite a Revolution,” ended where the real story began, with the vote for the slate of Directors. While the tally was mentioned as though an afterthought, as something that only “those with a thing for exact numbers” might be interested in, it was the big story.

Although the number in favor of the slate was 111 with 58 against, consider that last year’s Annual Members Meeting most likely didn’t even have a quorum (30) of members present and that without proxies, (introduced to the Guild’s parliamentary process in 1998), the 2010 slate might well have been defeated.

The tally actually tells quite a story, that more than one third of the Guild’s members voting last week risked sending the Guild into “unchartered waters” by voting down the entire slate. Hardly just an interesting detail for those with counting obsessions, I’m hoping it’s a detail that the board is taking seriously because it is telling them something important. They will have to figure out exactly what that meeting and the vote means to them but I have a hunch that, aside from getting a serious long term fund raising program instituted, a key issue and concern for the membership is the democratic, or undemocratic, process of how the board gets elected…and stays elected.

It used to be, before 1998, that five members could nominate a member to the slate and that name would officially get included on the ballot. That nominated member, along with others running for board positions, would speak to the membership at the Annual Meeting and then the vote, by only those present, would elect individuals to the board.

It should always be that terms are honored and the Nominating Committee must present a slate of viable candidates to the membership at their annual meetings. Vacancies (the reason given by the Chair that she and two others were appointed to the board even though their terms had expired) are only filled during the year between annual meetings, they are not substitutes for legitimate candidates on the annual slate. To tell the membership that three people either had to disregard the By-Laws and serve third terms because there was no one else fit for the job or that there actually wasn’t a full slate in 2009 is, among other things, insulting to all the smart, talented members of the community.

I was very glad to hear Guild Board member Judge Peters express interest in bringing about change in the By-Laws to the process of the organization’s elections and look forward to helping her and other board members insure that next year’s membership meeting will be just as well attended but with a tally that tells a different story, one of confidence and good will.

Friedrike Merck



I am writing in support of our good neighbors the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary. The WAS is the perfect example of a neighbor who brings in business, contributes to our community and attracts low impact visitors to our town. Their mission is educational and sincere. Doug and Jenny are kind and considerate people who are very conscious of the concerns of their neighbors and have continually worked to accommodate any concerns.

Woodstock is genuinely enriched by their presence and we should seek ways to resolve any problems, if there are any, rather than entertaining any petty differences.

James Mongan



I’m writing on behalf of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary (WFAS).

I want to underscore the importance of this facility in education of young children in New York and the attraction of visitors (read: income) to the Woodstock area. I and my family took our very first trip to Woodstock because of reading about the farm. Subsequently we ended up moving permanently here— in no small part because of the farm and

what it represented within the community as a whole. I am now a contributing tax member of Woodstock as a result of WFAS (note: I am not a vegetarian).

I’m from a rural New England area and am no stranger to small farms. The cleanliness and organization of this farm is beyond reproach. Given as Jenny Brown and family’s main concern is the respectful care of the animals, it would (and does) seem strange that people think this is anything but a clean well run farm, which it very much is.

I have attended two of the three shows this summer. The attendees and performers were hardly disrespectful (as can be expected from a vegan leaning audience), nor was the music ever a full band, and the volume no different (actually much softer) than a drum circle in the Sunday Woodstock center. From my house I can hear Levon Helm’s concerts, and also I can hear the drum circle every week of the summer as well. I know as a reasonable adult that they won’t last all night, and I also realize that it’s fulfilling the history (real or purported) of Woodstock — history that sells this town to weekend tourists. As a tax paying resident I think of all the people that come for the weekend for these events: WFAS visit, Ramble, Drum circle etc. As is often the case the weekend comes and parents need to find things to do with their children.

The children visit the WFAS farm, the adults feel they have done something of import to the spirit of green education, then they might go to the center and have lunch or walk, feeling morally satisfied. The more people are in the town walking/shopping, the more others feel that this is a good place to be when they come.

It’s a simple town/people/commerce ripple effect that benefits all of Woodstock.

And most importantly keeps Woodstock from becoming the hollowed out shell that so many towns let happen in America’s disastrous Mall-ification.

So I believe that WFAS is an important part of Woodstock, and the limited concerts they have had only add to the allure of interesting art and music for which Woodstock would like to be continually known.

Hal Cragin



How regrettable it is that the success of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, a rare and treasured haven for people at least as much as animals, would be met with anything but unbridled enthusiasm. Given the enormity of goodwill that WFAS generates, from local friends and distant strangers alike, one would think its importance and benefit to the community would be self evident. But then, when turf wars erupt between those who like to fancy themselves as landed gentry and the next generation of American Dream seekers, it is not the thinking person’s game.

On review of recent complaints lodged against WFAS by its immediate neighbors, I cannot help but be disappointed by the intolerance, absence of candor, duplicity, and willful mischaracterization they propound. Having been a regular volunteer at the Sanctuary for several years now, and knowing the founders as I do, I can personally attest to the falsehoods set forth. As an example, the favorite complaint of a “smell” from the extremely carefully managed animal waste is absurd — an incidental odor is barely detectable on the farm itself, it could hardly be pungent enough to waft across the road. There has never been any disregard for Woodstock, its regulations, its hamlets, or its residents, as these neighbors would have us believe. Not once did WFAS act outside the auspices of authority. It has consistently and fervently made every effort to accommodate the concerns of adjacent property owners. One such effort would be the elaborate sprinkler system installed over the driveway to contain dust, only to be rejected as insufficient by those who seem to have no means of appeasement. The tone and derogatory terms in the complaints speak to the writers’ mindset, and call into question their motive.

The singular valid issue I observed among them was the evening hour musical events that took place on three occasions last summer. Three occasions, for three hours each, on summer Saturdays. And for this, these complainants, some of whom are not even year-round residents as I understand it, would slam shut the Sanctuary doors.

I have heard extremely loud music at much later hours bellowing over from neighbors while on the otherwise blissfully silent acres of the Sanctuary. It is an annoyance, even a disturbance, but is temporary and infrequent, and not worth complaining about. It certainly is not enough to challenge the entitlement of the offensive neighbor to be there at all. And it does not prompt anyone at the Sanctuary to go door to door soliciting malcontent, or install privacy invading video cameras to lie in wait in hopes of capturing footage of some imagined infraction, or demand that a heightened, onerous level of legal scrutiny be imposed on certain residents while not uniformly required, as has been done to the Sanctuary.

It is difficult to ponder how such malicious discourse can result in anything productive. We are fortunate to have, in the Planning Board, a neutral body between the angry mob and the Sanctuary. It is imperative that those charged with the duties of regulatory enforcement abide not merely the letter of the law, but the spirit of it. Technical violations, unintended consequences, and minor inconveniences of a kind that are experienced by all neighbors everywhere must not be given such stature as to threaten a reverse of the great gains that have been made in the interests of peace, compassion, health, balance and equity by Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Indeed, the people of Woodstock, and of Willow in particular, can be very proud to call this fine establishment one of their own.

Nancy Andreassi



RUPCO, in its application for Woodstock Commons, cited a study by Morris Associates. The study was from 1996. The study said that pressure in the town water system would fall below 20 PSI, the minimum pressure for firefighting, according to New York State’s chosen standards, The Ten States Standards. Back in 1996, the water district did not yet extend down Route 375. The Morris Associates study sought to simulate the water district we have now, back before it was built. For whatever reason, the town, back then, I suppose, thought it was OK to have sub-standard water pressure at the “working” fire hydrants. I can’t travel back in time to see whether the system was built as outlined in the simulation, or whether it was changed when built. What I do know is that a more reliable measure of system pressure would be simply to measure the pressure in the system now.

So what does this have to do with RUPCO? The RUPCO team does not appear to have simulated the water district pressure of the current system plus the expansion to serve their 53 new units. In other words, the study done 15 years ago, written in the future tense, was borrowed and substituted for lack of a current analysis of today’s system, written in the future tense about our current system plus RUPCO’s added demand. This is to say that RUPCO did no analysis of water pressure in a system that would include its housing project.

This is also to say that the Planning Board just passed this study to the Town Board, which is responsible for the water and sewer system analysis. The Town Board, all through the RUPCO application process, ignored this issue. Now, according to the Daily Freeman article of last Friday, Jeff Moran is satisfied with the Planning Board’s analysis (which is nonexistent).

What happens when a town simply fails to maintain adequate water pressure to the fire hydrants? Houses catch on fire, fire engines come, and no water comes out of the hose. Houses burn down. A certain town board member’s immediate family member watched this happen across the street from his home just a few towns away from here. He watched the homeowners sue the town.

Here in Woodstock, and in all towns in New York, if you know about a dangerous situation, go to the Town Clerk’s office and fill out a “Notice of Defect or Dangerous Condition.” By law, the town must correct the defect or danger within 30 days or decide that it is not really a danger. But guess who really makes that decision: the town’s insurance carrier. I filled out such a form November 30, 2010, citing the old water pressure study, and the dangerously low water pressure that the Planning Board thought was OK to decrease even further by adding 53 new users to the system. While the danger is not imminent, the decision to allow it to become imminent has already been made. Approval of Woodstock Commons was an act of negligence.

Robin Segal



Among the many charities operating in our general vicinity, I’d like to highlight the wonderful work of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. As per its mission statement, the Willow-based Sanctuary is “a place where visitors can come face to face with these animals who most only know as dinner and learn about the devastating effects of modern-day agribusiness on the animals, the environment and human health.” For those of us who care deeply about animal welfare, the Sanctuary is a gift to our community. But even those who place animal welfare lower down their list of priorities would surely be hard-pressed to come away from a visit to the Sanctuary — where rescued (and frequently abused) goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and other animals are allowed to live out their remaining years peacefully — and not acknowledge it as a place filled with love and compassion, a credit to the general good will of our area.

Visitors to the Sanctuary are only welcome five hours a day, on Saturdays and Sundays, and only from April through October. However, this past season, the Sanctuary expanded on those hours on three occasions with outdoor weekend concerts intended primarily as fund-raisers, but also as opportunities to bring more attention to their work — and indeed, to bring greater culture to the Woodstock/Catskills area. These concerts featured internationally famous artists, namely Chrissie Hynde, Sean Lennon and Moby, performing outdoors, but acoustically, in the early evening hours. Each artist could surely have played to many more people, but as far as I understand from asking at the first event, the Sanctuary limited ticket sales to 250 to abide by permit requirements and to minimize inconvenience to neighbors.

It appears that some of these neighbors are nonetheless pushing to rescind the Sanctuary’s permit to operate opening hours of any kind. This would be an extraordinary disservice not only to the Sanctuary, which relies on weekend visitors to spread the word and raise funds, but to the wider community that appreciates the Sanctuary’s good work. And while I acknowledge that 250 visitors to a neighborhood on a Saturday evening might be undesirable to some residents, I’d suggest that, given the peaceful nature of the concerts and the quality of the artists, then in the wider scheme of our societal issues, this should not be viewed as the greatest of all problems. I would respectfully ask those neighbors to sit down with the Sanctuary and work out any differences in person, and I implore the Woodstock Planning Board not to rescind the permit for the coming season. In times of recession, we need every visitor we can get to our community. And we should be supporting, not shunning, the great work of organizations like the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

Tony Fletcher

Mount Tremper


We are residents of Willow and have heard about the complaints regarding the Woodstock Animal Farm Sanctuary. I believe the neighbors were upset about the concerts they had there this summer. I don’t understand how a few neighbors complaints could outweigh the good the sanctuary has brought to Woodstock... I know quite a few “city folks” who came especially for the concerts and fell in love with the area and want to come back again…this means revenue from tourists, funds for the animals that the sanctuary protects and makes Woodstock more of a destination spot.

We need the income and unless we want to be a ghost hick town has been we need to encourage respectful events. The sanctuary complied with the town as far as parking, cleanliness and noise. We need more venues for events like these. This is what Woodstock has a reputation for, music, art, nature and life, not the gray haired Republican complainers that are trying to stop what is Woodstock.

Nidhi Adhiya-Huba



It has come to my attention that the folks at the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary are experiencing what I perceive as a lack of support from the Town of Woodstock and some of our local friends and citizens. Having recently moved back to the area after 14 years in Vermont, the first ‘thing’ that my partner and I became members of is the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why everyone living in this township wouldn’t want to support this amazing manifestation of charity and compassion. Very simply put, the Sanctuary saves lives and takes in the abandoned, the abused, the untouchables and gives them all love, medical care and a good home. Kind of what Mother Teresa did in India with yet another species. She was universally recognized as a saintly hero.

Perhaps being blessed with the Sanctuary in our area provides us all with an excellent opportunity for personal growth in the realms of greater love, compassion, tolerance and understanding for our brothers and sisters who are devoting themselves to selfless action by saving the lives of others — a powerful role-model for all of us. Are we so self-centered and small that we can’t honor and support the important work that the Sanctuary accomplishes 24/7? Are we so stuck in our own issues that we can’t sit down with our neighbors over a cup of tea and talk through any contentions? If we’re not willing to do that, how can we ever hope to see our grand-children grow-up in a peaceful world. Let’s unite in harmony and support the important work that the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary is doing in our community.

Donny Kass



Family’s wonderful Thanksgiving Feast is already fading into a memory — if you enjoyed yourself, please come back! If you cooked or served, can you do it again?

Reality says that we now have less than a month to pull the Woodstock Holiday Party on Christmas Day together. Mostly we need donations of food, people to cook it, and money to buy more of it. Last year we actually ran out of food long before the party was over. Please, please help!

All monetary donations will be put toward things to eat which also cuts into our “warm things” present budget. Mostly we have adults at the party, many elderly, and yes there are some children too. Everyone is welcome and everyone comes. Warm socks, gloves, scarves, and sweaters are the presents most in demand. However, little things of all natures, art supplies, costume jewelry, picture books etc. are also much appreciated. All presents can be brought to Woofstock Pet Supply which has graciously offered to be our drop-off center.

Please call me, Toni Weidenbecher (679-7281) with all questions and suggestions as well as to let me know how I can count on you.

Musicians please contact Michael Platsky (845-247-3145).

Toni Weidenbacher



Many retirees feel a need to find a volunteer project for meaningful and interesting activity. Younger persons also see volunteering as a way of contributing to their community and expanding their social horizons. An organization that needs and welcomes them is sStaying In Place. The gamut of needs includes driving and shopping, handyman chores, helping with household chores, assisting with paper work and technical devices and providing diversion such as reading, which is a great service to those living alone and are visually handicapped.

The organization includes a large part of the county so check with it for joining it as well as for volunteering. As a user, my life has been greatly enhanced by volunteers as well as by obtaining a hard to find needed service. Call 845-514-4891.

Will somebody explain why that Beaver dam is being allowed to continue and create the swamp behind Bradley Meadows? Is it part of a plot to claim that there is a natural wetland there? Any stream, large or small, could be dammed in places in such a way as to create a swamp. It is insane to allow it.

Mescal Hornbeck


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December 05, 2010
The WFAS is a nutjob cult.

Nuttiest cult since the Rajneeshies.
December 03, 2010
I came here to read up on the WFAS posts, which are all great, but must say that Jill Paperno's letter is like a lightning bolt in the middle of the whole shebang.

Thanks, Jill. Please keep looking, asking and writing, we need this kind of inquiry and analysis.

And thanks, WFAS, for being the fearless, free-thinkers that you are, creating a safe space for an always fresh dialogue to flourish.

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Note: The above are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of Ulster Publishing.