The Department of Social Services is appealing to the community for donations in order to provide the needy children, families and senior citizens in our community with Christmas/holiday gifts, new toys, new warm clothing (for children, adults and seniors). Gift certificates for teenagers would be greatly appreciated.
Families and/or children can be “adopted” and monetary donations in the form of gift cards to local stores, or Visa gift cards are also greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, we can no longer accept monetary donations in the form of checks due to changes in County policy. Donations can be sent to the attention of Laura Walzer, Dept. of Social Services, 1091 Development Court, Kingston, NY 12401. For more information, please contact Laura Walzer at 334-5139, Rachel Hunter at 334-5352 or Kristy Granger at 334-5155.
At this hectic time of year, we are often so consumed with our own schedules and obligations, that we may overlook those people in our community who may not be as fortunate. In the spirit of giving during this season, we would appreciate any assistance in making this holiday season a special one for all.
Children and Adult Services, UCDSS
I lived on Mt. View Avenue in Woodstock from 1966 until I moved to West Hurley in 1999. Mark Rogosin lived just across the stream that ran through my back yard. I would often walk from my home on Mt. View to the Village Green area on Old Forge Road and past Mark’s home. He did not talk much, but he was always friendly and would sometimes share comments about Woodstock events.
I missed the memorial for Mark as I was out of town. Recently I was looking through a box of old photos and found one that I had taken of Mark in his front yard. He was creating a large image for the Woodstock celebration.
Attached is a copy of the image that I would like to share with the people of Woodstock.
SUPPORT THE TOWN BOARD
Tuesday’s town board meeting (11/9/10) was truly a revelation! I had no idea we had so many “experts,” so many “problem solvers,” so many “ever-so-knowledgeable-individuals” who seemingly felt no need to share their “vast founts of expertise”...until they discovered that their taxes were going to go up! Suddenly they found their voices and chose to blast the town board members for what they apparently perceive to be ineptitude. How utterly amazing! All sorts of advice from a number of people, many, unfortunately, but not surprisingly, coming from individuals who have a history of never doing anything but criticize those who were elected to lead our community. I was particularly offended by the comment “It isn’t the quantity of time you spend, it’s the quality!” That was a truly rotten, egregious comment for anyone to make. The suggestion that if this town board was “responsible” it would reduce the contingency or the reserve fund in order to lower the percentage of the tax increase was totally bizarre. If the town board was to vote to do that the end result would render the town board unable to pay for any unexpected expenditure (like unsafe bridge replacement, for example!) except by having to resort to borrowing money (plus interest) as well as risk losing the bond rating that was so admirably accomplished by our previous Supervisor, Jeremy Wilber. What a ludicrous suggestion! Another individual requested the town board mail out newsletters. Such a mailing would be extraordinarily expensive, costing several thousand dollars in postage alone. I am under the impression that the object is one of saving money, not increasing expenditures. Town issues are already covered in myriad ways.
It is one thing to appear before the town board with indisputable facts and figures. It is an entirely different thing to simply attack with unsubstantiated opinions and petty accusations. There were many individuals who addressed the town board members tonight who should search their souls and then hang their heads in shame, if, indeed, they have souls and if indeed they are capable of feeling shame. The current economic dilemma we are facing is a very serious one. No one is arguing that fact. Only by pulling together can we find our way through these difficult circumstances. What we need to do is support our town board, not denigrate them. They are working against staggering odds and doing their very best to find the avenues that will best serve the entire community. I, for one, want to congratulate every town board member for all their sincere dedication to their position.
Mary Phillips Burke
I’m continually surprised at the complacency of so many in the public, and on the Town Board, about reasons for the disastrous economy and rising tax rates. It’s apparent to me that our enormously bloated ‘Defense’ budget, the permanent stationing of troops all over the world, wars without end, the killing and maiming of Americans and the grotesque number of innocent civilians and their infrastructures destroyed, have taken our resources and our spirit to the junk yard. I don’t remember who said that history teaches us that we don’t learn from history, but that truth is self evident. No one can have both Guns and Butter. By the time you read this, I’m afraid the Woodstock Town Board will have passed next year’s budget with a raise of about 10% in taxes, but without my consent. Ulster County’s ‘contribution’ to this reality, at this writing, is $911,350,497 and rising. Consider what that kind of money would do for us and the quality of our lives, as well as our conscience. In his speech “Why I Oppose the Vietnam War” at New York’s Riverside Church in 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. said “the United States is the greatest purveyor of terror in the world today.” I believe that is also true now. We don’t choose to acknowledge that a lie started the Vietnamese war, as well as the war in Iraq. As a member of the Town Board, I’ve seen and heard citizens rightfully complaining about rising tax levies, but without commenting on where the real problem lies. Almost a billion dollars gone from our pockets here in Ulster County, not for ‘butter’ but for guns, and what guns can do. Where is the outrage, especially now with the drain on our resources right in our face at budget time? Our Town and our budget does not exist in a near vacuum of “mandated services and rising health care costs,” it exists in the context of the destruction of our morality.
Aesop wrote about a dog who had a nice big bone in his mouth. While walking with this prize he happened to look into a pond where he saw his reflection. Thinking it was another dog with a bigger bone and in order to get the second bone, he opened his mouth and dropped his prize bone into the pond. Moral of this story is: sometimes opening your mouth at the wrong time can lead to unanticipated results.
A SECURITY STATE
Tired of talking about Obama? Let’s look beyond the man to the forces that have shaped our government and society.
Since the late 1970’s, the rich have gotten very much richer. This leads to more money being poured into our elections, or politicians for hire. No one can even run without a corporate war chest, and both political parties have come to represent the same wealthy people.
The rich don’t spend their money on everyday products. They speculate, causing the economic crashes that we have come to know. And since the rich also control the politicians, there is less and less government regulation of bad business practices. And more jobs overseas, more working people taken advantage of, and more environmental ruin.
War is a huge money maker for the wealthy class. Hence, both parties support ongoing wars for natural resources. Add to that the huge influence of the weapons makers and we have perpetual war.
Violent occupations always bring their subjugation methods back home. We now live in a security state that was science fiction only a decade ago. The U.S. government even claims the right to assassinate its own citizens without trial. The media, for all its shouting, is a propaganda tool promoting our conflicts.
Obama couldn’t have changed much even if he had wanted to. But he was able to raise the hopes of a nation for something better, a dangerous tactic for any candidate serving the plutocracy.
LOWER HIGHER TAX WOODSTOCK
The editor is quick to defend the supervisor when there’s any suggestion he is responsible for the school budget, but seems to condone the supervisor when he takes credit for budgets where he has no responsibility. The town board is directly responsible for the general fund, and does not establish the school budget, the library budget, the fire commissioners’ budget, the county budget, etc. To combine the general fund budget with any of these budgets is clearly misleading and deceptive.
At the Tuesday, November 9 public hearing, the town board presented a budget showing $3,411,097 to be raised by tax for the general fund, a 19.05 percent increase over the 2010 general fund tax levy, yet the Woodstock Times keeps reporting there is only a 10 percent increase in overall town taxes.
Perhaps the editor can be fooled, but the former town officials that spoke at that Tuesday public hearing weren’t fooled. Several past town supervisors and board members accused the current town board of acting irresponsibly in their management of the budget. Although many suggestions were made by these former officials, these suggestions were apparently ignored. As one former official told me, “I cut my remarks short because their eyes were glazing over and they weren’t paying attention.”
No doubt the Woodstock Times will continue to publish the misleading 10 percent increase in overall town taxes, giving the town board undeserved credit while belittling the hard work of the fire commissioners and library board required to prepare responsible budgets. When tax bills arrive in January, everyone can decide if they believe the numbers in the Woodstock Times or their actual tax bills. And everyone can decide if this is “Low-Tax Woodstock” as the Woodstock Times claims.
Editor’s reply: Where is the Highway budget in your calculations? The highway fund is fully 30 percent of the townwide levy, and, to use your words, direct responsibility for it rests with the town board and the supervisor, just like the general fund. Using your figures from Tuesday November 9, (and the board approved a budget Tuesday, November 16 with reduced numbers — see Page 1), combining the general fund and highway fund reduces the tax increase by nearly six points. Add in the other town board responsibilities that are not town wide but affect hamlet residents, like the sewer and water districts, lighting and garden districts and the tax increase comes down further.
And no, we won’t continue publishing the overall 10 percent tax increase figure, because it’s now less.
The debate over Low-Tax Woodstock vs. High-Tax Woodstock obscures the salient fact that Ulster County has the highest foreclosure rate in New York State. Check it out. Our local economy is hardly “healthy,” as supervisor Moran described it at the public hearing on the budget.
Editor’s note: We asked Jim Dougherty of Lender Asset Solutions LLC, about the contention that Ulster County has the highest foreclosure rate in New York State. He says “The letter writer is probably confusing the foreclosure rate with the 90-Day Pre-Foreclosure Notice activity that is covered in the report from the New York State Banking Department dated October 7, 2010…Based on the major counties we monitor, Ulster County would appear to be out of the top ten as to foreclosure rate within the 62 counties in New York State. More than 70 percent of the 62 counties have insignificant activity with those counties being to the North and Western regions of the State. All in all, of the 30 percent with significant foreclosure activity, Ulster County is at the lower end of the spectrum. Foreclosure activity in Ulster County is declining as of last month.”
FOR THE NEW WOODSTOCK WHERE PEOPLE WEAR THEIR ATTORNEYS LIKE A SIDE ARM
Don’t Kid Yourself
Too late now the fix is in
Forget it all you just can’t win
Too late for words that ring with truth
Too late for ideals from your youth
Too late to make the pieces fit
Too late to try and gives a shit
Too late you hear the wishbone snap
Too late for peace and love and crap
Too late to see what’s heaven sent
Too late to seek enlightenment
To late to try to walk the walk
To late you hear the money talk
Too late you see the fights been thrown
Roll up your banner and go on home
ARTS BOARD SUPPORTS SALE OF PLAYHOUSE
For the past 21 years the Woodstock Arts Board has had the honor and distinction of securing, re-building and operating the new Woodstock Playhouse. Through the tireless efforts of each group of Board members throughout those 21 years along with the active and supportive community volunteers and donors, the Woodstock Playhouse has secured a spot in the hearts and minds of local supporters along with many visitors to town, as the preeminent performing arts center in the Hamlet. Our summer programming choices in music, dance and theater have drawn many to this very unique venue. Despite financial difficulties, the Playhouse has always endured.
As we faced the ultimate in financial difficulties we had the enormous good fortune of meeting and negotiating with another preeminent Ulster County cultural group. The Woodstock Arts Board is proud to announce that the New York Conservatory for the Arts is purchasing the Woodstock Playhouse and has immediate plans to enclose the venue for year round performances. That was always our dream and NYCA can finally bring that dream to fruition. The Woodstock Arts Board will continue to support the Woodstock Playhouse under its new ownership and looks forward to working with NYCA to preserve this Woodstock jewel for decades to come.
Cynthia Goldberg, President, Woodstock Arts Board
Joan Roberts, Acting Secretary
“Comparisons are odorous.” So said Shakespeare. Those words, spoken by Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing were actually slightly altered from the original quote, “comparisons are odious,” credited to John Lydgate in his Debate between the horse, goose and sheep in 1440. The statement was also credited to several other authors through history, notably Cervantes, Christopher Marlowe and John Donne. No matter the author or the date, the meaning is literal.
There should be no tax increase whatsoever. Period.
Bob Berman is apparently the only person who gets to reply to Letters to the Editor in real time. I had hoped that Berman, as a scientist, would address the issues relating to the physics and economics of nuclear power Julian Lines, Tobe Carey and I dealt with in our letters.
Instead he picked up on my response to his rather unscientific argument that if Barack Obama and The New York Times Editorial Board support Nuclear Power, it must be good.
I certainly did not engage in “low-level name calling.” It is legitimate and reasonable in this age of unlimited corporate campaign funding, greenwashing, lobbyist driven politics and scientists on corporate payrolls, to question whether powerful institutions that push polluting industries are doing so out of altruism and the all-knowing-ness of the gods. I am genuinely perplexed why the esteemed Scientist consistently fails to address scientific issues regarding something he so stridently supports, instead insulting critics as “ignorant,” “distorted,” “biased,” believing in “space aliens,” etc. Hence I wondered whether his interest in nukes is purely scientific.
Lighten up, Bob, methinks thou doth protest too strongly. A simple yes or know as to any financial interest in nukes would suffice. I’m sure the readers would much rather hear your scientific refutation of the points we raised. You called a similar letter published in the New Paltz Times “false, distorted, and largely incorrect.” I’ve been out of school a while. Has the Second Law of Thermodynamics been repealed, or Earth’s escape velocity lowered? Is there no Plutonium or U238 in the waste? Have half lives shortened? Is rocketing the waste into space really feasable?
The benefits of nuclear power website has the same unsubstantiated platitudes Bob uses. Carbon free. Just dump the waste in a geological formation. No problem. It also has a slick video clip by the Nuclear Energy Institute touting “Clean Air Energy,” vaguely reminiscent of the days when Greedy Killerwatt and the Peaceful Atom visited us in elementary school. I would reccommend as an antidote, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, www.nirs.org .
Many of Bob Berman’s columns are educational and well researched. Venturing into matters he can only support via industry websites diminishes his credibility in his field of expertise.
Bob Berman replies:
(sigh) Yeah, sure, I own a 30% stake in Indian Point and the Nuclear Industry sends me checks. That’s why I’m so rich. And when I urge readers to do their own research, naturally any website that points to benefits must be propaganda or paid-off — unlike this guy’s unbiased websites. And all the environmentalists who now support nuclear power are also paid-off, along with The New York Times, and Obama, and everyone else. And if only I now offer on these pages the health statistics, safety info, and other data that have unimpeachable mainstream university pedigrees, then he will accept it. There. I’ve agreed with everything he’s said. Now can we simply let readers check it all out on their own?
THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS
During Woodstock’s town board meeting on November 9, a few of the local Republican big guns came out to voice their concerns over Woodstock’s exorbitant 2011 proposed budget. I was particularly impressed with their knowledge, experience, common sense and suggested business solutions. From their disapproving commentary, aimed at the town board, it appears that these straight-talking Republicans are realizing that they endorsed the wrong candidates.
That is, the Woodstock Republican Party nominated four of the five town board members, surprisingly all “Democrats.” Today, the party’s leaders are rightfully attacking these same town board members, for their ineptitude on the budget. Similar incompetence can also be found in the controversial RUPCO project, the overdue town offices for police and judges, the expensive Geo Thermal System in the highway garage, the Cell Tower with limited coverage, the forthcoming Stewardship Plan to “protect” the Comeau and the neglected FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) “Appeal Process” as documented in NY State’s Open government laws.
Woodstock’s Republicans can do a much better job at their next caucus by nominating their party’s more experienced and bright minds, as witnessed on November 9, rather than continuing to nominate self-proclaimed Democrats. Let’s clear the decks and improve the caucus process to get a few folks with fundamental business sense to run this town.
GUITAR SHOW THANKS
The Second (or Third?) Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase, held October 23 and 24 at the Bearsville Theater and Utopia Soundstage, was a success. Some 35 guitar and stringed instrument makers from all over the country, plus another dozen or so wood dealers, tool and parts suppliers, magazines, Sponsoring entities and other vendors, showed and sold their wares. Over 1000 people attended, and were treated to continuous live music as dozens of fine musicians took turns performing and demonstrating the works of exhibiting luthiers. I’m proud to say that the Woodstock Luthiers Showcase is becoming one of the premier events of its kind in the USA, and I hope it can continue to grow and prosper right here in Woodstock. It could not happen without the support of our community and I want to acknowledge and thank the following for all their help: The Crew: Sharon Klein, Production Partner and Music Coordinator; John Guth, Sound Engineer; Rob Shear, Webster and Graphics Facilitator; Peter Wilson, Photographer; Chip Brill for the Program; and Bruce Ackerman for his artwork, logos and posters.
The Volunteers, who humped tables and helped with set-up, manned the doors and checked wristown boardands, stage managed and assisted performers, exhibitors and attendees: Peggy Atwood, Rennie Cantine, Betsy Friedman, Dustin Bryant & Kris Osterberg (Planet Woodstock Music), Jeff Harrigfeld & Jenn Miller (Woodstock Music Shop), Ron Parker, Steve & Tomas Pesko, Dave Shortsleeve, Norm Wennet, and Cap’n Mike Wholey.
Special thanks to Judy Whitfield and Chip Brill, who ran the Charity Raffles of products donated by D’Addario Strings, Planet Waves Music Products, and Fishman Acoustic Amplification. This year’s raffles raised $350, donated to the John Herald Fund/Family of Woodstock.
Very Special thanks to Jeff and Karen Shultis and the Wittenberg VFD Engine Co. #2 for their support and the loan of tables and chairs.
I would also like to thank the following Woodstock musicians and guitar enthusiasts for performing, hosting and housing guitar makers, enthusiastic support and general good will: Perry Beekman, Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, Steve Earle, Bill Keith & Mark Patton, Martin Keith, The Saturday Night Bluegrass Band, Happy Traum, and Elly Wininger.
Happy Now the New Guitars!
WE STOPPED A FRAUD
In a recent editorial a writer openly and unjustly criticized the employees of the Ulster County Department of Social Services (DSS)!
I would like to clear up a few misleading issues — the first being that DSS has control over the operation of the food stamp program. This is false! The program is a federally controlled mandated program. We must follow a strict code of rules set forth by the Federal Government. We must approve those that meet the standards set forth by the feds. Second, it is the Federal Government that approves the vendors that accept food stamp payments, not the local DSS department. Third, it is the Federal Government that usually investigates fraud in this program. Due to a backlog of issues on the federal level, the State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance and the local DSS office were given permission to do the investigation. The department rose to the occasion and found fraud. They did what we expected of them and that was to protect the taxpayers of Ulster County. This effort was done with the support of the Kingston police, the DA’s office under the leadership on Holley Carnright and the Department of Social Services investigation team.
As Chairman of the Ulster County Legislature’s Health and Human Services committee, I have been critical when necessary and protective when I read blogs and articles that unjustly attack the staff of DSS. County Government has worked to make sure the system at our local DSS department protects the tax dollars that are entrusted to them. You try to deal with the high volume of cases as they do; it is a very emotional and demanding job.
Is the system perfect? No! Have we made major improvements? Yes! Will we keep working to protect the taxpayers funding? Yes! Will I as Chairman criticize when need be? Yes! Will I defend the staff when they are unjustly being attacked like now? Yes!
Sometimes opinions can be wrong when they are not based on facts! Remember a million dollar fraud operation was stopped! Let that be a warning. Fraud will not be tolerated!
Walter G. Frey, Jr., Chairman of Health and Human Services
Legislator District 4
FRIENDS THANK ABRAMS
The Friends of the Library would like to thank internationally-acclaimed pianist Daniel Abrams for donating his time and talent for a fabulous concert for the benefit of the Woodstock Library last Saturday. Thanks also to the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s Vincent Wagner Fund for making it possible to hold the concert at the Kleinert/James Gallery
Provisions for the reception after the concert were donated by Adams Fairacre Farms, Hurley Ridge Wines & Spirits, Sunflower Natural Foods, Mother Earth of Kingston and The Merchant Wines & Spirits of Kingston — thank you all for your generosity.
A thank you should be extended to all our volunteers that make events like this possible. Most of all, our heartfelt thanks to the audience that turned out to reward all the effort.
Friends of the Library, a volunteer-based, not-for-profit organization, raises money to help the Woodstock Library with expenses not included in the budget. The Library has just undergone a reconfiguration to make better use of the space, and is reopening on Thursday, November 18. Please join us there on Saturday, November 20 from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. to celebrate our newly redesigned library and wonderful staff that make coming to the library a joy.
The Friends is currently increasing our membership, and looking forward to having more wonderful fundraisers and other volunteer opportunities. Please consider joining and helping our wonderful Library in numerous ways — you can pick up a membership form at the front desk of the Library, and at Library events.
Leslie Siegel, Vice President
Friends of the Library
The tone of RUPCO’s point of view last week by Kevin O’Connor was decidedly defensive and it appears they did not like being put in that role. Typically, RUPCO’s demeanor concerning Woodstock Commons has been one of an aggressive nature throughout towards the public, starting with the banners at the public hearing flaunting the “YES WE CAN” slogan in the face of a large town turnout. Prospective neighbors have never felt recognized, heard, or their concerns respectfully addressed. At the eleventh hour — surprise! — after Planning Board approval, we find out there are no plans in place for sewer or water for the 53 unit mixed-income level housing development in a very ecologically sensitive area of a powerful wetlands. The town board was recently told by RUPCO’s lawyer that their role is only ministerial as far as admitting this project to hook up to the town water and sewer systems. Many felt that the way the town board was told this at the public meeting contained a veiled threat. The project developers have publicly announced more than once they will break ground on March 1 next year. One local contractor pointed out how no other builder would consider announcing as a fact a start date with absolutely no plans in place for water and sewer for even a single house, per building code.
Guy Kempe and Kevin O’Connor have supporters at Woodstock town meetings, many of whom are their professional colleagues in other county agencies and who also happen to live in Woodstock. RUPCO’s colleagues know there is a county/statewide demand for affordable housing, even if “affordable” includes incomes levels of upwards of $40,000. However they do not seem to concern themselves with the potential impacts to Woodstockers economically or environmentally in their loyalty to RUPCO. They do not appear to show any consideration of the negative effects on one of Woodstock’s existing affordable neighborhoods, or the impacts on the growing “strip” along Mill Hill Road.
Perhaps the continual aggressive stance of RUPCO masks a basic underlying shaky ground for the completion of Woodstock Commons, and I don’t mean just the fragileness of the wetlands behind Bradley Meadows where this housing is proposed.
Seeing a documentary on the Marijuana “War” going on right in our own California simply reinforces the strong belief that keeping Marijuana illegal is a terrible mistake.
Controlling the growth and use is as futile as controlling the growth and use of tomatoes yet billions are spent trying to. The growers and sellers are lawbreakers and are jailed, swelling the populations of our jails and prisons. This is not stopping its use. It may be enhancing it because of the “forbidden fruit” effect, making its use sound intriguing.
The total negative effect caused by the use of Marijuana is much less than the effect of alcohol on the individual and on society. When the Volstead Act making the liquor illegal was passed, the results were devastating in terms of the crime which resulted. The bootlegger wars were horror stories. So was the way people drank anything from rubbing alcohol to after shave lotion as well as wood alcohol and ruined their health or died because they couldn’t get a drink.
Alcohol is a part of many people’s lives, a drug that has been used for centuries. Many like marijuana and wish to use it. It is hard to call that a criminal offence yet we are making it one by outlawing it. It is not a hard, dangerous drug like the opiates and cocaine. It can cause serious problems by impairing ability to function safely and serious health problems in those addicted. However since its use is not being lessened by its being illegal and the illegality itself is causing so much cost and criminal activity why not legalize it? And let us not forget that legalizing it is the only way the government can have any control of the industry whatsoever.
COME TO THE GUILD ANNUAL MEETING
Concerned about the fiscal well-being of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild? Wonder about follow-up from the Special Meeting? Anxious to hear about the long and short term plans for paying off the debt? Hoping for White Pines to be saved? Awaiting news of the next Executive Director? Curious about all that by-law fuss? Looking for the new budget?
Come and ask your questions at our annual meeting, 1 p.m. Sunday, November 21 at the Kleinert/James Arts Center. We want everyone there.
If you care be there, or ask someone to be there for you.
2011 EXPERIENCE WOODSTOCK CARD
In December the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Arts will launch the 2011 version of the Experience Woodstock Card (EWC). First introduced in 2010, the EWC is a wonderful way for residents and visitors to enjoy Woodstock. This past year more than 70 area businesses and arts organizations made special offers through the card. Hundreds of 2010 cards are now in circulation. Residents and visitors are using them every day in Woodstock’s restaurants, shops, galleries, performance spaces and more. For a complete listing of offers, go to www.woodstockchamber.com.
As we all know, Woodstock is an excellent four-season destination for cultural tourism. In 2011 the Chamber of Commerce and Arts will be even more involved in making Woodstock and all of its wonders a recurring destination. With the Chamber finalizing its plans for 2011, there’s an opportunity for more area businesses to sponsor the EW Card and to make special offers for card carriers — especially now that the card is even more enticing, with its greater number of shops, eateries, galleries, and services.
Those of us who live here should also consider purchasing the 2011 card for personal use, holiday gifts, and shopping with out-of-town friends who love to come to Woodstock. It’s a great way to help ourselves and help our town. Woodstock is already a “destination,” and all of us can help the Chamber in welcoming our visitors. Our pride in our town includes even more than business and the arts; we also treasure our history and our uniqueness, and those are wonderful things to share with visitors.
The Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts is not your typical chamber of commerce. Not many of us have found the word “arts” in the chamber of commerce name when we travel to other places, but here it is part of who we are and the Chamber strives to make that even better!
Please support the Chamber, the galleries, and all our merchants and restaurateurs. Get your own Experience Woodstock Card; I’ve have had mine for a year. It will save money, support the efforts of our merchants and artists, and it will help the Chamber in its pledge to make the uniqueness of Woodstock more available to everyone. For more information call 679-8555 or send email to email@example.com. All calls and emails will be promptly responded to!
Woodstock Town Board
SHE KNEW, I DIDN’T
I gotta clear up some misinformation. On his channel 23 show called something like “The Rabid Dog Bite Review,” David Boyle has claimed several times that two years ago, when I bought my house in Woodstock, I knew about Woodstock Commons, RUPCO’s planned development for the land behind Bradley Meadows and very close to my house. The truth is, I did not know anything about the project, nor had I ever heard of RUPCO. I did not learn about the project until June 2009, three months after I moved to town.
Boyle also claims that I am not suing my “buyer’s broker,” Joyce Beymer, the person who was supposed to look out for my best interests. Beymer works and has worked for Coldwell Banker Village Green. The fact is that I am suing both Beymer and Coldwell Banker Village Green for nondisclosure of material fact. The fact of RUPCO probably about to begin a two year long construction project (regardless of the type of project being built) is certainly material to whether I would have chosen to buy the house I bought. There is no reason to think I would have bought my house, since moving from New York City to Woodstock for peace and quiet is not consistent with moving into a neighborhood about to be overrun by blasting and drilling for months and years.
For the record, I am not opposed to Woodstock Commons because I live near the land it is supposed to occupy. I am opposed to the project as proposed primarily because it exacerbates an existing safety hazard, and probably jeopardizes existing houses’ fire protection through overextension of our water infrastructure. As a resident of my house and my neighborhood, on the other hand, I do not want to live next to a construction site that I was not told about when it was my right to know about it. Had I been informed that any large construction project was imminent, so close to my house, I simply would have looked elsewhere for a house. That is why I am suing Joyce Beymer and Coldwell Banker Village Green.
And, here is the most outrageous part: Joyce Beymer and Coldwell Banker Village Green, in their initial response to my lawsuit, deny that Beymer knew about Woodstock Commons. They deny knowing about it now, which is strange since the lawsuit itself is evidence that something is going on in the neighborhood. They deny that the project was passed by the town’s lead agency. They deny that Beymer was my fiduciary and was supposed to be working in my best interest. This is their defense, and they cannot change it. It’s going to be fun to watch these people’s depositions as they squirm and writhe and ooze sleaze as they try to look honest when they say under oath that they didn’t and still don’t know anything about Woodstock Commons.
Unbelievable? Yes, it is. That’s why I have posted my lawsuit and Coldwell Banker Village Green’s response/defense on my blog: http://thetroublewithrupco.blogspot.com
RUPCO WILL COST THE TAXPAYERS
In the past few days I received many emails from total strangers praising my letters.
I also received one from RUPCO Director of Community Development Mr. Guy Kempe and one from Town of Woodstock Councilman Bill McKenna and they both vehemently deny that the tax increase has anything to with RUPCO project. That’s funny because I personally attended a town meeting where reasons for the tax increase were discussed and the Town Supervisor explained that the town septic system and water supply have to be upgraded to accommodate the influx of new tenants. So to tell me that the RUPCO will not cost the taxpayers anything at all is a total nonsense or a total lie. I would like to remind these two gentlemen that two years ago I wrote a letter offering my crew from Eastern Europe who would build the entire project for the fraction of the cost.
They are all excellent masons, carpenters and craftsmen who would be happy to be earning $15 an hour.
I even suggested hiring my architect from Romania who would not charge the full 15 percent of the project but a mere five percent. With these guys I can build a 2000 square foot house for $40,000 which comes out to only $20 per square foot. I am willing to bet that the RUPCO in Woodstock will cost ten times as much to build and taxpayers will pick up the tab. Who are you kidding?
Editor’s note: When Mr. Halaska talks about the tax increase in the town budget costing taxpayers because of RUPCO sewer and water concerns, as he did last week and appears to this week, he is not correct. The town’s water and sewer districts are responsible solely for any repairs and improvements that may be needed. Mr. Halaska, from Lake Hill, is not part of either. When he contends that RUPCO may cost the taxpayers money, in general, he may be correct.
MY AMERICAN DREAM
This strange...suicidal landscape. This depth-charge laden nightmare we call the American Dream. These hand-holding global-corporate cyclopses huffing and puffing over their sinister joke: an infinite labyrinth of deceit. The telescoping of minutiae onto the altar of obscenely successful disasters, and more stupid blockbusters laced with dead G-strings. If you need a mental emetic, just watch ‘The View’ everyday — I can’t stop puking. (But the monkey-people believe them, the monkey-people drink beer or champaigne and make love under the ‘barbed-wire stars’).
On the one hand, there’s not the slightest bit of time left; on the other, we all have — the dead and the living-dead — eternity at our fingertips.
AGAIN — RUPCO IS NOT IN HAMLET SEWER DISTRICT
Apparently, there are still some non-believers so I will state it again. The St. John property behind Bradley Meadows where RUPCO wants to build is not in the hamlet sewer district.
There are two pieces of evidence that I have brought forth many times before. The property is not on the parcel list and has never paid hamlet sewer taxes. Now there is a third piece of evidence…the boundary description that was approved by the Town Board in 1980.
RUPCO claims there are two small pieces of land that by law puts them in the district. The one piece is on Elwyn Lane and the other on Playhouse Lane. The law they refer to says “Those properties which are now divided by the District boundary line shall be considered to be wholly served by the District.”
However, the property is not divided by the District boundary because the boundary description does not include any part of the St. John property. On the Elwyn side, the boundary description says it crosses the property — that does not mean includes — and besides what it crosses is a right-of-way that St. John doesn’t even own. On the Playhouse side, the boundary description purposely goes around the small piece of St. John property, not through it.
There isn’t one shred of evidence that proves they are in the district. There are, however, three pieces of irrefutable, uncontestable evidence that shows they are not in the hamlet sewer district…and that will stand up in a court of law.
RUPCO NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR TAX INCREASES
Jan Halaska is seriously misinformed in a letter that appeared in the Daily Freeman and Woodstock Times. We appreciate what the Editor of the Woodstock Times printed under Halaska’s letter.
It said: “Editor’s note: None of the proposed 38 percent tax increase (since reduced) could possibly be used to update the water supply and septic needs for RUPCO residents. The proposal was for the general fund of the town budget only. Water and septic expenditures can only come from the special districts, Woodstock Water District, Hamlet Sewer and Eastern and Western Wastewater Districts, which have their own separate budgets.
“As to Mr. Halaska’s claim that ‘there are no houses being sold…in this town,’ statistics obtained from a realtor show that 23 homes have been sold in Woodstock since September, including, most recently, one for $1.1 million.”
We must reiterate! It is true that Woodstock Commons will be affordable housing for the selected low-income tenants, none of whom will have income over 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI.) But there is no truth to the statement that “Woodstock taxpayers penalized by another 38 percent to facilitate RUPCO construction.” Again: any tax increases in the Town of Woodstock this year have nothing (zero) to do with RUPCO or Woodstock Commons.
Rural Ulster Preservation
HOLIDAY PARTY SHAPING UP
The Woodstock Holiday Party on Christmas Day, besides being the best of commuity and a great way to spend the holiday, is mostly about food, and Markertek will again be supplying all the utensils for eating it. Thank you, Mark and Pat, for your gift which really does so much to make this event possible. Can you, the people who are reading this, help out by supplying some of the tremendous amount of food we need? All kinds of eatables are needed, however, we especially need an assortment of cooked vegetable dishes.
I also want to put in a quick beg for presents, unwrapped, which will be distributed throughout the party. Nathan and Shelli of the Woodstock Museum and the Department of Social Services, Children’s Services Unit, will again be getting us many of the presents for children. We’ll need more, mainly presents for adults. I’m trying to simplify the gifts this year, focusing on warm and cozy things like sweaters, gloves, socks, scarfs, hats and small items which we pass around in baskets. Costume jewelry is always very popular as well as other small items, such as games and writing and art supplies. As you go through your houses, please keep the party in mind. Things need not be new, just nice.
Thanks to the many diverse musicians who volunteer their art, we have live music all day. Would you like to perform? If so, please contact Mike Platsky at 247-3145.
For everything else, please call me, Toni Weidenbacher, at 679-7281.