Letters to the Editor - Ocotber 21, 2010
October 21, 2010 04:19 PM | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Soon the annual trick or treat season will be upon us. Parents will send their children out to collect goodies from those they assume they can trust to give out items that won’t harm the kids.

However, there is one neighbor we can’t trust though we expect them to provide safe products for our families. Unfortunately, our local convenient marts, neighborhood grocery stores and even our pharmacy chains provide one item in all their stores that are toxic. I am referring to tobacco products. This is the only item I know of that if used as directed may kill the user. Think you are safe because you don’t use tobacco products yourself? It has been documented that if you can smell the tobacco smoke, you are in danger. Thankfully, some of the chains are starting to limit the accessibility and visibility of their tobacco products. It would be nice if they would remove them altogether, but we can understand they are out to make money and let’s face it, tobacco is a huge moneymaker – especially for the tobacco industry.

Isn’t it amazing that the tobacco industry is allowed to place their poisonous products just about anywhere we shop. Pharmacies are the one that really astounds me. Aren’t pharmacies the places we go to improve our health? It just goes to show you how far the tobacco industry will go to get your money. Thankfully, most of our independent pharmacies have never sold tobacco or have stopped. I want to thank Village Apothecary in Saugerties for taking a stand in not allowing tobacco products into their health providing facility. Thank you! I know there are more out there and we should patronize these pharmacies to show our support.

After all, they are a neighbor we can trust to give us safe and healthy products.

JoAnn Bell



Career politician Maurice Hinchey has spent 36 years in government: 18 years in the New York State Assembly and 18 years in Congress. During those 36 years New York State and the whole country have been battered by his relentless tax and spend activities. In the last two years alone, Hinchey has voted for about 1.5 trillion dollars of spending with the failed stimulus program, bailouts of Wall Street bankers and bailouts of automakers and their unions. In addition, he voted for the Obama takeover of the health care system where the costs will eventually skyrocket to multiple trillions of dollars and health care will have to be rationed. The money that Hinchey is spending is borrowed and makes up the national debt. Our national debt is money owed to other countries, primarily China.

Who will pay for Hinchey’s fabulous spending? He and his fellow big spending Democrats have driven up the national debt to levels far beyond the country’s ability to recover except by printing more money and adding to the national debt. One thing seems clear, Hinchey is not interested in paying taxes either, as part of the joint venture who is building a hotel and conference center on Partition Street in the Village of Saugerties, Hinchey and his partners have applied for property tax, mortgage tax and sales tax relief on the project. If the tax relief is granted by the Ulster County IDA, Hinchey’s personal project in the village of Saugerties will successfully avoid paying tens of thousands of dollars in tax money each year that our society needs. It seems that the partners of the hotel project waited patiently during all those months of public hearings for the project to be approved. Soon after the approvals were received to build the project, the request to evade property, mortgage and sales tax over the next ten years was made.

So who actually pays back the national debt? It seems to me that the middle class has to pay the bill. Can the middle class pay more taxes? The middle class is being taxed out of existence. They are an endangered species.

To add insult to injury, I understand that as part of the Democrat machine, Hinchey played a strong part in bringing about the financial collapse of the banking industry which led to the devastation of the housing industry. The Democrat controlled Congress mandated that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac drastically lower mortgage lending standards to levels which resulted in creation of mountains of toxic mortgages, which in turn led to the financial collapse. No country can afford politicians like Hinchey who tax and spend first without taking into consideration the effect of increasing the national debt to these unprecedented levels. Hinchey is not a villain. I am sure he tries his best dealing with our nation’s complex problems. Unfortunately, you can’t tax and spend your way out of these complex national problems without being part of the problem itself. We must now do what has to be done by finally voting him out and electing fiscally conservative candidates who will hold the line on taxing and spending.

William R.S. Myers



Last week, Saugerties Democratic Party chair Mike Harkavy defended Greg Helsmoortel’s decision to give part-time Judge Wendy Ricks $18,000 in health coverage. Harkavy also stated that politics reveals true character. I agree. Harkavy’s true character was exposed when he prevented Democrat Joan Feldmann from seeking re-election to the County Legislature. But, I digress.

I take exception to Harkavy’s statement that Helsmoortel proved my claims to be “blatantly false.” My earlier letter was based on Helsmoortel’s sloppy handling of my information request. No matter how much Harkavy and Helsmoortel protest, there is no public record of a vote or discussion to grant Ricks’ health coverage.

Indeed, Helsmoortel’s handling of this issue reveals the true character of his administration. Under his rule, town government operates in the shadows, resulting in several costly mistakes that have hurt taxpayers. Voters need to send a message to Helsmoortel this Election Day that this is unacceptable.

Joe Roberti

Chair, Saugerties GOP


1. Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below..

A. Two six-year Senate terms

B. Six two-year House terms

C. One six-year Senate term and three two-year House terms

2. No Tenure/No Pension. A congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or three percent.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.

The American people did not make this contract with congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The founding fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

Barbara Terwilliger Ambrosano



I can imagine the joy to be found in the George Phillips camp when they saw the front page headline in this week’s Saugerties Times: ‘People Are Fed Up.’ I imagine their joy increased when they read the “news” article by Hugh Reynolds, filled with Phillips’ false accusations, distortions and quarter-truths. Perhaps unintended, this political advertisement for Phillips - as if I haven’t had enough of his “Had Enough?” litter all over the area - was well over the top for me. Yes, I’ve had enough. But not enough of good editorial judgment.

Editor Will Dendis’ editorial was good but hardly balanced the Phillips article. I expect to see an article on the front page, before Election Day, that provides a parallel interview with, or article about, congressman Hinchey, who has done so much for Saugerties in addition to so many years of public service. Ironically, the paean to Phillips was continued on a page facing an article about a $5 million grant to SUNY New Paltz, secured by congressman Hinchey, for development of solar energy, an example of an excellent “earmark.”

We have a first-rate congressman in Maurice Hinchey; let’s be sure to keep him with us.

Meyer Rothberg



We have known the candidate for town justice, George Hass, as a friend and church member of this community for a number of years, and want to publicly express our opinion from this point of view.

We got to know George and his lovely wife, Marlene, when we were all involved in helping two local churches with fundraisers. George gave his time, talent and energy to this cause, even though he is a member of another church. This, we believe, say something about his generous character.

Speaking of character, George has a sense of humor that should keep him in good stead in a position that is often painfully serious.

During our conversations over the years, we have come to understand that George knows the law as both a citizen and law enforcement officer. He is concerned not only with the letter of the law, but also with the spirit of the law. We strongly encourage our voters to consider George Hass for the position of town justice

Michael Zollo and Sally Ann Lamouree Zollo



As a medical doctor, I spent many years in college, medical school and my residency, garnering the knowledge and skills necessary to become a competent doctor. This education and training was crucial, and I could not imagine a patient receiving care from a doctor who was lacking this education and training.

Therefore, imagine my surprise when I learned that our local town justices, who handle a myriad of cases, ranging from sex abuse to domestic violence to evictions, are not required to be lawyers, or even to have a college degree. Most people would agree that if you were suffering a medical crisis, you would seek a doctor with specialized training and exceptional qualifications. Therefore, it would follow that our community should select a judge who has judicial experience, a law degree and exceptional legal experience. Education and qualifications do matter.

I’ve known Wendy Ricks for many years and I whole-heartedly agree with all those who have written letters extolling the exceptional legal qualifications, professionalism and experience that Wendy has brought to the office of Saugerties Town Justice. She serves our community honorably, and the respect she has garnered throughout our town is well-deserved.

I also would like to state that the professional side of Wendy is just one part of who she is. Wendy is devoted to her family and to her community. Wendy has been active in the local AYSO soccer league, as a sponsor, coach and assistant coach. During the year that we coached together, I had the opportunity to observe Wendy’s enthusiasm, good will and respect toward everyone. Wendy has also served on the Board of Directors of the Ulster County Council of Girl Scouts and is now an assistant leader for her Daughter’s brownie troop. Wendy Ricks is a tremendous asset to our community, and I hope you will join me in re-electing her as Saugerties Town Justice on November 2.

Dr. Ann Andola



Opponents of Republican Town Justice candidate George Hass like to mention that he’s not an attorney. However, a recent study showed that about 70 percent of town justices in New York are not lawyers. When an effort was made to require all town justices to be lawyers, the New York State Association of Towns and the State Magistrate’s Association were opposed.

George Hass has 32 years of law enforcement experience. He understands how the judicial system works and has the intelligence and character to be a great Town Justice. He has been endorsed by the NYS Police Investigators Association, the NYS Troopers PBA, and the Ulster County Deputy Sheriff’s PBA.

I encourage Saugerties voters to join me in electing our next great, non-attorney town justice, George Hass.

Deborah Benjamin



I was very impressed with Wendy Ricks’ presentation at Thursday’s League of Women Voters Candidate Night. Using no prepared statement or notes, Judge Ricks spoke eloquently about her education, qualifications and experience. She made it perfectly clear why these attributes are so essential to her work in our Town Justice Court. I certainly understand why so many in the Saugerties community hold her in such high regard. Count me among the many. Please join me in re-electing

Wendy Ricks as Town Justice on November 2.

Herb and RoseMarie Ehrich



People who are inspired by the Tea Party want to take back their country. They support Republican candidates who accept millions of dollars in campaign funds from secret sources, possibly from companies that are not even from America. Does taking back our country mean selling it to the highest unknown bidder? Times are tough, but voting for the “just say no” Republicans will only give our country unknown masters. Democrats inherited a mess and despite mean spirited opposition are trying to help this country recover and they support full disclosure for campaign contributions. Don’t you think you and the candidates you vote for should support full disclosure? I know my candidate, Maurice Hinchey, does.

Lanny Walter



The two candidates for Congress in our district offer starkly different choices to voters. Maurice Hinchey is a tax and spend liberal who has been in political office 36 years, literally half of his life (he obviously doesn’t support term limits) while George Phillips is a fresh young leader and solid conservative with a socially compassionate record.

Hinchey’s spending of other people’s money is legendary, but in addition to being a big spender Hinchey is also a social radical, a member of the ultra left wing “Progressive Caucus”. He votes for same-sex “marriage”, taxpayer funded abortion, partial birth abortion and infanticide (yes, infanticide; he voted against supporting the, “Born Alive Infants Protection Act” which passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate and in the House with only Hinchey and six other ultra-radicals dissenting). He votes to defeat state laws by transporting minors across state lines to secure abortions and to ignore parental consent laws. He supports assembly line, “Clone and Kill” of human embryos to obtain their body parts for experimentation.

Hinchey is one of only a handful in Congress who voted to continue funding the “ACORN” organization when Congress voted to end funding after that group’s outrageous actions were exposed. Hinchey supports the forced unionization of workers against their will (card check). He votes against securing our southern border, and supports special benefits and amnesty for illegal aliens. He supports race-based affirmative action in jobs and education.

Hinchey’s positions on the environment are also at the most extreme fringe level. He proposes to nationalize the oil industry, works to impede and sabotage drilling for oil and clean natural gas and opposes carbon-free nuclear energy. In contrast he votes to lavishly fund his financial supporters in the solar panel business while the Department of Energy projects that even by 2035 solar energy could provide only an inconsequential percentage of our energy needs.

Hinchey periodically engages in wild, irrational charges, for example that President Bush deliberately allowed Osama bin Laden to escape. He is a fan of Fidel Castro and held a fundraiser this summer which featured his friendship with the Communist dictator.

In contrast, George Phillips is a breath of fresh air, a young, friendly, honest, intelligent, vigorous conservative. He campaigns under a pledge to eliminate wasteful spending, reduce the deficit and restore Constitutional government. Phillips is pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-family and pro-Constitution. After graduating magna cum laude from Villanova, he spent two years in Louisiana as a volunteer teacher of disadvantaged youth as part of his master’s degree program at Notre Dame University.

In Washington, D.C., Phillips taught for a brief time as a substitute teacher in inner city D.C. public schools before becoming a congressional aide to congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey where he gained four years of solid congressional experience working on foreign affairs, business matters, immigration and senior issues. He currently teaches history at a private high school and at Broome County Community College.

George Phillips has the enthusiastic support of the Republican and Conservative parties and the Tea Party Movement. If you want to restore honesty, integrity and sanity to our government in Washington you couldn’t do better than by voting for George Phillips.

Jim O’Reilly



On a voter registration form, many independent voters incorrectly think they are declaring their non-allegiance to all political parties when they check the Independence box. (In fact, they should instead check “Blank.”) Perhaps that party should be required to change its misleading name since the Independence Party is anything but independent.

In what is clearly an ethical breach, a member of its State Executive Committee, Langdon Chapman, Republican state senator Bonacic’s top operative and Counsel, and an associate in Bonacic’s law firm. When David Sager announced his intention to run against Bonacic for New York State Senate, Chapman tried to use the Independence Party line as leverage against other Democratic candidates if Sager remained in the race. In addition to the Independence Party bullying, Chapman, in a startling ethical lapse, has been retained as attorney for five municipalities in Bonacic’s Senate district and was even hired by a town supervisor who is also a full-time Bonacic Senate staffer.

It is cozy connections like this that give the New York State legislature its soiled reputation. David Sager has taken a strong stand that as state senator he will fight to abolish loopholes that allow ethically challenged politicians to function in grey areas.

Judith Simon



Hydrofracking is the unconventional mining technique used to access natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, a massive rock formation spanning New York State’s southern counties including Sullivan and Ulster. Gas companies and their lobbyists have poured millions into lawsuits, advertising campaigns and electing industry-friendly politicians. Corporate spokesmen disparage ordinary people worried about their drinking water, air quality and children’s health. But the public, informed by the documentary film, Gasland, and reports from environmental organizations, know this issue needs to be seriously examined. Exposure to the chemicals used in “fracking” include documented cases of potential brain and organ failure, respiratory and neurological harm when these chemicals become airborne toxins, and birth defects of livestock.

David Sager, a Sullivan County legislator now running for New York State Senate asks, “Do we really want industrial gas wells right next to our houses of worship, our schools, or in the middle of our residential neighborhoods?” Sager has been consistent and outspoken in his commitment to protect New York State’s water, air and public health. He has taken representatives of the gas industry and NYSDEC to task for failing to ensure that the industrialization that comes with hydraulic fracturing does not compromise our infrastructure, our environment, or our communities. David Sager wants regulation based on science, not on energy companies’ unenforceable and empty promises.

The approval of a recent state Senate bill to impose a moratorium on hydrofracking only postpones hydrofrack drilling — it does not call for further research, or even waiting for the EPA study to be done. The moratorium has been called an “incumbency protection program” designed to help long-term Senators, like John Bonacic, appear sympathetic to people worried about the risks of frack drilling.

We can’t trust Bonacic with our natural resources. But we can trust David Sager to protect our forests, air, water, and health now and for the future.

JoAnn Chamberlain

President, Ulster County Democratic Women


The Republican Party has always claimed to be the party of family values. That was the bedrock of their platform but you would never know it this year. Based on Carl Paladino’s past actions it was an eye-opener when Republican Congressional candidate George Phillips hitched his wagon to Paladino, who heads the Republican ticket.

It is common knowledge that Paladino has disseminated racist emails that demeaned Barack and Michelle Obama as well as pornographic emails that defy description while saying, “We must stop pandering to the pornographers and perverts who seek to target our children and destroy their live.” He has questioned Andrew Coumo’s parenting skills in the face of his own parental indiscretions. He was forced to flip-flop after slurring the gay community. The public gets it, and polls show that they find this behavior unacceptable for anyone seeking public office.

When questioned on his support for Paladino on YNN’s Capital Tonight, Phillips without hesitation said, “I do support Carl Paladino for Governor.” When questioned about Paladino’s controversial comments he said “I’m not going to comment on them.”

Mr. Phillip’s reluctance to take an independent stance and repudiate this behavior shows that he accepts the whole Paladino package. This was certainly not a profile in courage.

I support congressman Maurice Hinchey who never ducked a hard question or feared to go against the conventional thinking of his own party when he disagreed. He deserves your vote on November 2.

Mike Harkavy

Saugerties Democratic Committee, Chair


A crucial issue in the current election is the protection of or our pristine water sources from dangerous chemicals that are pumped into the ground during “fracking”, hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is a risky process of drilling for natural gas, a dirty way to get so-called clean energy and a process underway in our area by foreign owned companies. David Sager, Democratic candidate for State Senate, has been a leader in the fight against this process since 2008. Our State Legislature has put a one year long moratorium on drilling but has not required any research or comprehensive studies, just a moratorium to get them past the election, as Sager says “an incumbency protection program”. David Sager supports passage of the “Frack Act” in Congress, which would require the energy industry to disclose exactly what chemicals are pumped underground during fracking and bring the process under the EPA guidelines of The Safe Drinking Water Act.

Republican Sen. Bonacic has been a powerful presence in the most dysfunctional state legislature in the country for 12 years, including 8 years with Republican Governor George Pataki. Bonacic favors having drilling companies put up bonds to pay for damages that occur as a result of the process! How helpful will this be when our water is poisoned?

Protect our precious water. Get rid of entrenched long-time incumbents in Albany who have been in power for years in this disgrace of a legislative body. Send David Sager, a candidate with energy, ethics, passion and great intelligence to Albany. Vote for David Sager for State Senate! Check out his website:

Harriet Tomasko



The bottom line: The oil and gas industry would like to come to New York State and drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale using a new technology called Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing (HHF). Also called fracking, this procedure is so complicated and unpredictable there is no way to assure that there will not be the equivalent of a Gulf oil spill. The New York State Senate has passed a temporary moratorium and it is now up to the Assembly to do the same. Otherwise new permits could be issued allowing this drilling to start.

Yes, we need to lessen our consumption of fossil fuels. Yes, we need to support the development of renewable energy sources. For now, we need to prevent this catastrophic procedure which is equivalent to the environmental destruction as experienced by people in Appalachia who live downwind and downstream from mountaintop removal. To better understand the disastrous effects of fracking go to, and

Assembly members are busy preparing for the elections on November 2 and may not be back in Albany to finish business until after the 2nd. Call them now to urge them to vote for this temporary moratorium to further study the effects of HHF on public health and the environment. Call them everyday - it’s that urgent. And call or email everyone you know in the state to also contact their Assembly person.

Please call 1) Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver at 212-312-1420, 2) Assemblyman and chair of Environmental Conservation Robert Sweeney at 631-957-2087 and 3) your Assemblyman Peter Lopez at 518-943-1371. Tell them they must get Bill A.11443B on to the Assembly floor for a YES vote for a moratorium. 4) Call governor Paterson (518-474-8390) and tell him to encourage Assembly passage and then to sign the bill.

Mahatma Gandhi said “You may never know what results come from your actions. But if you do nothing, there will be no results.” Please act now! It’s our water, our soil and our air for all of us to share. Democracy is not a spectator sport. Your calls matter.

Rosalyn Cherry

New Paltz


The Saugerties School Board noted a week or so ago, that some $52,000 would be needed to pay stipends to teachers who become advisors to various school organizations and/or activities. The newspaper article further noted that un-paid volunteers were not allowed to offer their service by virtue of the contracts with the teachers. Yes, the union contracts stopped volunteers from serving.

Volunteerism has, and continues to be, a huge part in influencing our youth. Union contracts appear to fail in believing that. Since when do union-dictated contracts with teachers command to be all encompassing for our students?

Board of Education: stop the dictatorship of the teacher union! If they strike, they strike! There are still many good teachers who hopefully will do the job they love. Unions have done their best to make some leeches out of some fine teachers. The School Board must bleach-out the Union leeches. No union stain should be the breach in teachers contracts.

Nelson G. Burhans



On Saturday, October 9 there was a fundraiser held at Inquiring Minds Bookstore to help the stores that were damaged in the recent fire at 123 Partition Street. As one of the beneficiaries of the fundraiser, we want to thank the organizers, merchants and residents who came together to show their support. When a community helps its own, it brings back the feeling of long ago small town life and what a warm feeling it is. It is with genuine gratitude that we want to thank everyone involved for their efforts and support. We will reopen English Garden Custom Framing right next door at 135 Partition Street around the first of November and look forward to continuing to be a part of this wonderful community.

John Klimowicz and Ed Schukal

English Garden Custom Framing



To all the wonderful people in our community: the Friends of Scott Kammerzell would like to take a moment to thank you all for your kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness and prayers. Back in April when Scott was critically injured and burned in a work-related explosion, things looked pretty grim. But through the help of wonderfully skilled doctors, lots of prayers and now the support from the community, Scott is working his way back to a productive and healthy life. To all who donated their time, themselves, an item to auction, their talents and their support, we just wanted to say thank you on behalf of Scott and ourselves. Sometimes it seems we have lost our compassion for our fellow man, but this wonderful community has shown otherwise. Your kindness and support is greatly appreciated. Thank you. Please support the following businesses who supported our cause: Anaconda Sports, Blue Katz Men’s Club, AAA, Partition Street Wine Shop, Beekman Arms, The Woodcrest Community, Atlantic Kayak, Tours Greg Chorvas – Saugerties Parks and Rec, Steyer’s Auto, Carquest Auto, RC Lacy, Inc., Vince Berzal, Advance Auto, Snap On Tools, Rubinelli Glass, Steve Crohn, Dr. Mitchell Skolnick, Sawyer Motors, Ya Ya’s, Hot Towel Barbers, Kiss My Feet Salon and Day Spa, Smith’s Hardware, Dallas Hot Weiners, Krause’s Candy, Simulaids, Johnny G’s Restaurant, Two Brothers Pizzeria and Deli, The Flower Garden, IXL Fitness, Vankleek’s Auto, Smoke House of the Catskills, Chris Wikane Horseshoeing, Marti Miller Jewelry, Benson Steel, Dr. Joseph Mueller, Uniforms USA, John Palcher Signs, NY Tech Supply, Lux Hair Salon, Love Bites Café.

Stephanie Steyer



Are you owed back wages? Were you not paid your prevailing wage?

The Workers Rights of Ulster County is conducting a survey for workers who have worked on construction projects in Ulster County funded by the federal government. These workers may be eligible for back wages. This survey will include all people who have worked on the Kirkland Hotel, the Stuyvesant Hotel, the Hasbrouck Avenue property, 134 Hunter Street, the Petit House Condominiums and the Van Buren Street property, all in Kingston, as well as Park Heights in Rosendale and Buttermilk Falls Townhomes in Ellenville.

We want justice for all Ulster County workers and will make every attempt to get you the money you deserve to be paid based on the prevailing wage.

Please send your name, address, e-mail address and phone number to: The Workers Rights of Ulster County, P.O. Box 306, Bearsville, New York 12409 or e-mail us at

Harvey Brody


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