On the Saturday before Christmas, the volunteers of the Glasco Fire Department formed a special holiday motorcade, as they do annually, and paraded through the streets of the Glasco Fire District. The motorcade was led by an Ulster County sheriff’s patrol car. Following next was a fire truck that apparently had been commandeered this year by none other than the notorious Grinch, who was trying very hard to steal Christmas. You are a mean one, Mr. Grinch!
Fortunately the Grinch’s plans were not working, as the jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus, along with the first lady of Christmas, Mrs. Claus, followed aboard the next fire truck. Christmas songs played from the loudspeakers.
Last but not least was a fire truck carrying two of Santa’s helpers, who distributed candy to all of the good girls and boys along the route.
A special thank you goes out to the Ulster County sheriff’s department and especially to the volunteers of the Glasco Fire Company who took time out from their busy holiday season to spread cheer and good will to residents of the Glasco Fire District, young and old alike.
THANKS TO THE VOLUNTEERS
What an amazing town Saugerties is!
I’m not just referring to all of the great shops or terrific little places to eat, either, though we do have those! What Saugerties has that makes it so special is a real sense of community, of being there for each other.
This was shown yet again this Christmastime as the people of Saugerties and the groups that they belong to gave to help those less fortunate. This year, the Saugerties Area Council of Churches was able to host another successful Christmas Toy Store thanks to all of you and your generosity. The donations of both presents and funds were overwhelming to me, especially in this economy!
We served 126 families as they came to shop for toys and gifts for their 333 children.
Thank you all ever so much for your continued support of this mission project.
I would also like to thank the 20 or so volunteers who all serve so cheerfully and work so hard. A special thanks this year to my super-shoppers, Amanda and Rachel, who spent many hours in many, many stores making almost all of this of this year’s purchases, and with such enthusiasm. And to my right-hand ‘man,’ Lucy, who continues to inspire me with her youthful outlook on life and her wisdom about charity.
God bless you all!
Saugerties Area Council of Churches
What is next? My wife and I were divinely inspired. We co-founded an organization to help women and children that were in a place where they couldn’t help themselves. We needed a home to run this organization from. So one day we were led to a place not too far from where you are in small-town America.
“Good luck!” and “Great idea but not in my backyard,” we were told. Onward we pressed. My wife and I went through all the legal procedures to present this project before the town. We were met with hostile opposition. “We don’t want your Jesus” was heard at the public meeting and “They will never fit in” was also said. There was a petition where approximately seventy-five percent of the neighbors signed in opposition to the project.
One neighbor got a seat on the planning board just to stop the project. His presence was felt daily for four years with complaints both verbal and written.
To achieve the needed document to open the project took over four years. The site plan was laid out in great detail, and much effort was needed to execute the site plan. With the help of many good people who toiled above and beyond, no detail was overlooked. All aspects of the site plan were completed and achieved beyond all expectations and exceeded the requirements. That neighbor and town board planning member resigned after that citing his disappointment with decisions made by the planning board.
Now we receive almost daily phone calls only meant to harass us from the neighbors or their friends and relatives. One neighbor took it upon himself to throw dog feces in our parking lot daily. This took place after big rocks were placed on my lawn this summer to destroy my lawnmower and the sump pumps in my house were sabotaged so that the basement would flood.
How did those leaves get on my property this fall when I have no trees? What is next on the hierarchy of terrorist activities? I can see why you don’t want my Jesus. While you put up your Christmas trees and lights do you know whose birthday you are celebrating on December 25?
I do not want to fit in this neighborhood. I lived through the 1960s where you were shot and killed for what you believed in, including president John Kennedy, senator Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King had a dream. Has America changed since then? Peace is not the absence of war; it is the absence of the thoughts of war.
Your town has already changed with the condominiums that are just a block away. Do you know who is in the hotels and motels all around you?
Duane A. Taylor
At this very special time of year I extend sincere appreciation for the great coverage you provide throughout the year, along with best wishes for a great holiday season, and a happy, healthy and safe new year. Happy holidays from the entire staff and management at the Kiwanis Ice Arena.
Our 2010 Christmas poem is for you and your readers’ enjoyment. Thank you.
The Day After Christmas at the Kiwanis Ice Arena
’Twas the day after Christmas all through the Kiwanis dome
Not a person was skating, not even a gnome.
The posters and pennants were hung on Keith’s wall
In hopes the Stanley Keg would soon come a call.
The pucks were nestled all snug in BJ’s bucket
While water was dripping from Terry’s faucets above it.
Becky in her parka, and Koeg in his gear
Were waiting in Benson’s bleachers for the team to appear.
When out on the ice, there rose such a clatter
Bob sprang from the office to see what was the matter.
Away to the boards Bob dashed in a flash
To see if Kleemann was hurt in the crash.
Beaver’s light in the dome cast a shadow below
Where Rob laid, just holding his toe.
When what to Marc’s wondering eyes should appear
But a hockey team and a goalie all dressed in full gear.
With a little old skater so lively and quick
Marc knew in a moment it must be Hockey St. Nick.
More rapid than Mullen his admirers came
And he taunted and shouted and called them a name.
Now skate, now pass, now get us some more
Onward, onward, Joshua, we need you to score.
From the end of zone to the top of the crease
Put the puck in the net, AJ, and the crowd you will please.
As skates pound the ice and Weaver’s wild pucks fly
They meet up with the goalie, who stands wide and high.
Up to the goal Bodie’s speedy puck flew
St. Nick was the goalie, but nobody knew.
Then in a twinkling, Zambo looked on the shelf
Bash was howling and cheering, along with each little elf.
As Randy drew in his head and was turning around
The puck hit elf Teresa and made a loud sound.
Teresa was dressed all in green from her head to her foot
Her clothes were wrinkled and covered with soot.
Her shoulder pads she had flung over her back
Teresa looked determined and ready to attack.
Her eyes how they gleamed, her dimples turned nomie
Her cheeks were like roses, her nose the color of the Zamboni
Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
Ears stuck out of her helmet and shined with a glow.
The shaft of her stick she held tight in her hands
As Marzac skated down the ice giving commands.
The goalie wasn’t Harkin, he was stout and had a round belly
That shook when he laughed like Tina’s bowl full of jelly.
The goalie went down to block the elf’s shot
Looked at her and laughed, and said, Is that all you got?
But to Gallagher’s surprise, Teresa got the puck
Took a full slap shot and made St. Nick duck.
He spoke not a word, but threw down his stick
It was pretty unsportsmanlike for a guy like St. Nick.
He kicked off his pads, they swept down the ice like a broom
He stomped off the rink and headed to the locker room.
He sprang to his sled, to his team he gave a call
And left that little elf standing right there in the hall
But Brownie heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight
Merry Christmas to all, good luck and good night.
Kiwanis Ice Arena
HERE’S MY IMPRESSION
I am writing to you about a distressing problem that is occurring in our community in hopes that you will take swift and appropriate action to save our beautiful Esopus Creek from devastation. Please do whatever is possible to assist with this important problem. Please also forward this information to interested persons, and agencies. Please contact your elected representatives to request that they take action on this problem.
I am not a scientist, but I have done my best to assemble an accurate description of what I believe is a significant problem. These concerns will definitely require further study. Attached are photographs of what the creek looked like on October 4, 2008 vs. what it looks like now, December 18, 2010.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is currently dumping 580 million gallons of turbid water into the Esopus Creek. If a private citizen or corporation knowingly dumped millions of gallons of dirty water into the Esopus Creek, I’m sure the DEC would bury them in fines, litigation, and criminal charges. New York City’s DEP has been getting away with polluting our water resources for far too long. There shouldn’t be a double standard for state agencies. The DEP is not above the law. The Clean Water Act applies to the NYC DEP too! DEP needs to be accountable, and held financially liable and legally responsible for the damage they are creating in the watershed communities below the Ashokan Reservoir.
The DEP has ignored regulatory requirements which are part of the Filtration Avoidance Permit (obtained in 2007) to come up with an acceptable operating plan. This is three years overdue, despite repeated requests by the DEC.
I attended a DEP presentation on 12/17/10 led by DEP deputy commissioner Paul Rush, and read through the White Paper that the DEP prepared for the USGS in October 2010 describing its management methods for water resources through the use of the new Operational Support Tool. Here’s my impression:
As mandated by a 1954 lawsuit, the document includes significant language to ensure protections for the Delaware River. However, there is no provision in their plan to assure these same protections are applied to the Esopus Creek. There are no water release rules or standards for Esopus Creek water quality specified. There are no turbidity thresholds for the Esopus Creek specified.
The report discusses the need to “monitor” water quality in creeks, rivers and streams but it does not establish clear standards for water quality. The report says the DEP will “monitor turbidity,” but does not say they will take action or accept responsibility if the turbidity effects downstream communities on the Esopus Creek negatively. The report does not acknowledge that turbid releases from the Ashokan Reservoir contribute to an even greater cumulative effect of the natural turbidity of this creek.
This report makes clear that anticipated climate change will result in increased turbidity. If we don’t take action this situation will get worse. The report refers to a “drawdown season,” but does not establish a specific timeframe for drawdowns. The graphs included seem to portray that turbid water releases will occur October through June, which will definitely impact fish and wildlife habitat, farm irrigation systems, as well as recreational and tourism use of the Esopus. There are no scheduled freshwater releases, not even in the summer when the Esopus is at its lowest capacity and sustains its highest use for recreation, fishing, tourism and farm-crop irrigation.
An encouraging moment occurred at the meeting on 12/17/10 when it was discussed that the Operational Support Tool (computer program) could be used in the future to predict the availability of fresh water for possible releases. There are no written provisions to alternate turbid and freshwater releases to improve water quality, though the presenter did acknowledge that this was possible.
Deputy commissioner Rush also reminded those present that the DEP had no legal mandate to release any water at all into the Esopus Creek. Thus, the DEP could effectively completely sever the flow between upper creek above the reservoir and the lower creek below if it chose to do so. If this were to occur, the creek and wetlands would be thrust into artificial drought conditions yearround, and severely limit the viability of this important estuary.
When questioned about the research that had been done prior to opening the “waste channel,” the DEP representative indicated that monitoring had been done, but only on the Ashokan Reservoir property. The DEP deputy commissioner said he had “limited knowledge” of the Esopus Creek and would welcome the opportunity to take “a tour” of the Esopus Creek in the future.
In my opinion, “tourists” shouldn’t be in charge of our watershed.
A second meeting with DEP was scheduled for January 14 at The Ashokan Center for further discussions with “stakeholders.”
The new DEP monitoring system is essentially a complex set of computer simulators, with very flexible parameters, which allows for “alternative rules and policies” and short-term operating rules or “adjustments” that do not appear to require DEC approval or review or take into account local community needs.
There has been significant concern raised about the impact turbid water will have on fish and wildlife, tourism, recreation, the forest preserve and protected wetlands at Esopus Creek Conservancy, The Saugerties Lighthouse tidal wetland areas, a decrease in property values (and corresponding tax assessments), increased sediment deposits (particularly collecting behind the Saugerties Dam near the Village Beach and Esopus Creek Conservancy wetlands), erosion of hundreds of fragile aging septic systems along the creek, bacterial changes that could potentially close the creek for swimming and recreation (at private homes, Saugerties Village Beach and the Saugerties Lighthouse), riparian buffer damage, and potential for flooding.
Turbid water discharges are negatively affecting the designated protected freshwater and tidal Wetland areas in Saugerties, Town of Ulster and in other sections of the Esopus Creek by filling in the wetlands and coating them with mud, silt and causing erosion of creek banks and buffers due to increased volume of water, negatively impacting fish spawning, aquatic health and sensitive wildlife areas, and promoting the growth of invasive species, resulting in changed and suffering ecosystems.
This is illegal. State and federal laws protecting our designated freshwater and tidal wetlands, and Hudson River estuary must be enforced by the DEC and EPA.
DEP has also failed to recognize that its waste-channel releases are not the only factor causing turbidity in the creek. The massive volume and flow of colloidal turbid water discharged from the Ashokan Reservoir, combined with additional natural turbid water from other streams and tributaries that flow into the Esopus, create an even larger cumulative problem. The resulting turbidity grows as the 580 million gallons of Ashokan discharge proceeds down the creek, churning up sediment and causing significant riparian erosion, farm land erosion, stream bank failure, and failure of septic systems. By the time this volume reaches the vulnerable wetlands in the Town of Ulster and Saugerties, its destructive power is greatly magnified due to heavy continued flow, DEC-mandated local stormwater diversion into the creek, silt, turbidity and bacterial content.
It is profoundly disheartening that our Saugerties community has worked so long and hard to collaborate with government and private agencies in order to balance estuary preservation and environmental protection, with enhanced recreational opportunities only to have our long-term efforts and investments destroyed by a state agency that fails to comprehend that there is life beyond the boundaries of their assigned domain.
The consensus among constituents in Saugerties is that there should be a moratorium on turbid water releases until such time an agreement is reached among DEC, DEP and the downstream communities of the Esopus Creek to ensure water quality, protect sensitive environmental areas, protect personal property, and prevent flooding in the Esopus Creek.
Additionally, the ten-year Filtration Avoidance Permit granted in 2007 to DEP for the Ashokan Reservoir should be revoked, based on changes in current circumstances and the failure of DEP to make appropriate, environmentally sound operational adjustments and decisions, and its failure to provide DEC with an accepted operating plan within a reasonable timeframe.
Renewal of the DEP SPDES (State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit should not be considered until which time the above cited concerns are addressed and corrected to the satisfaction of downstream communities.
As citizens of the State of New York we have the right to demand that the DEC, EPA, USGS and the State of New York take immediate corrective action as regulators of this rogue agency which is flagrantly ignoring laws and failing to comply in a timely manner with oversight attempts by state and federal agencies.
As far as I’m concerned The DEP should take “Protection” and “Environment” out of its name.
Thank you for your time, attention, and swift action on this important issue.