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Letters to the Editor - January 27, 2011
January 27, 2011 02:15 PM | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Corrections

In an article entitled “Slow Progress” in the January 13 editon, the website for the Small Business Administration was incorrect. It should have read sba.gov.

Also, in the January 13 issue, in the photo on the front page, Michael Perkins, of the Woodstock Library Forum was introducing Daniel Logan, who read from his novel Gone is the Eagle. ++


REST IN PEACE, MESCAL


So many incredible memories of Woodstock’s “first lady” shared through the many years Mescal devoted to her friends, her causes, and the town of Woodstock. May she rest in peace as she rests in our hearts.

Judith W. Chase

Woodstock


PRIDE AND DEDICATION

It is amazing how many things the people living in this town take for granted. For instance, during the recent snow storms, were you able to drive on town roads? Did you ever ask yourselves why?

Howard Harris

Bearsville


INHUMANE WHALING

I’m grateful to all those in the Hudson Valley who have voiced their concern, signed petitions and stood for an end to the whaling industry. ‘Whaling’ endangers many species (including Dolphin) and by today’s international standards is inhumane.

Right now the Japanese whaling fleet is in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary hunting whales. This is the fourth time the Japanese have gone to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary since President Obama made the statement that, “Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable.”

I live in the Mid Hudson Valley and have never personally seen whales in the Hudson but I do volunteer as a Greenpeace Network coordinator to participate in their campaigns that raise awareness of environmental injustices around the globe. According to a recent Greenpeace poll, 83 percent of Americans want the President to stand by his pledge to strengthen the ban on commercial whaling.

We say, President Obama must use all the diplomatic tools available to him to reform the International Whaling Commission and stop the Japanese from whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We demand that the Japanese stop or face economic boycott of their product imports including: cars, tech, tools and foods.

Stephen Johnson

Woodstock


TECHNICAL VIOLATIONS

Last week the town board reviewed the progress of the Comeau stewardship plan. The first amendment to the Comeau easement requires that a “Stewardship Plan shall be written and implemented by the Grantor [town] within eighteen (18) months.” Based on current status and the remaining work and reviews, it appears the town board will fail to meet this deadline and be in technical violation of the easement.

Deputy supervisor Terrie Rosenblum was given responsibility for developing the Comeau stewardship plan. Since then, no documents, proposals, or recommendations have been presented to the town board or the Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC) for review and comment. Both Terrie and the WLC have said that due diligence reviews by lawyers, the town board, and the WLC’s board are required before implementing the stewardship plan, but the time remaining does not allow for due diligence reviews.

The first amendment reads, “Grantor [town] shall provide notice to Grantee [WLC] of all activities in relation to the preparation, review, revision and implementation of the Stewardship Plan, and shall additionally provide to Grantee copies of all related documentation, the opportunity to participate in meetings and the opportunity to submit to Grantor comments and suggestions in relation to the Stewardship Plan and its preparation, review, revision and implementation.” The WLC has received no stewardship documents nor been invited to any meetings. Residents submitting freedom of information requests (FOIL) have received a “no documents available” response.

The town board has failed to take their responsibilities seriously. A formal contract was signed and filed with county clerk requiring the town to develop a stewardship plan, but most of the time has elapsed without any visible progress. A stewardship plan for an easement held in perpetually requires careful review. Instead, we are offered a superficial review and perfunctory approval by the town board of whatever Terrie Rosenblum proposes.

Ken Panza

Woodstock


TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES REPLY

Jill Paperno states 1. The death panel was not going to kill Grandma.

The British National Health Service (NHS) has an agency called NICE – National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness. NICE determines if a patient’s treatment is cost effective for the government. Speaking before a group of British doctors in 2008, Dr. Donald Berwick states “NICE is not just a national treasure, it is a global treasure.” He goes on to state “It’s not a question of whether we will ration care, it is whether we will ration with our eyes open”

You Democrats can dress it up all you want, but rationing is still a death panel. And who did Nobama appoint (without congressional approval) to head the Medicare and Medicaid office? None other than Dr. Donald Berwick.

Jill Paperno states 2. Obama is not “the most pro-abortion president ever to occupy the White House.” In fact, his health care law does not allow federal dollars to pay for elective abortions.

The fact of the matter is that no where in the Nobama Healthcare bill does it prohibit the use of federal funds for abortions. If you want to dispute this fact, then you cite the page and paragraph where this prohibition of funding exists. Chris Smith (R-NJ) has introduced bipartisan legislation (HR-3) that codifies the Hyde Amendment and other similar policies by permanently applying a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion across all federal programs. If the Nobama Healthcare bill had specified abortion ban funding, then HR-3 wouldn’t be necessary.

Jill Paperno states 3. Obama does not want to “take away our second amendment rights and ban arms to the people.” In fact he said: “We can reconcile those two realities by making sure the Second Amendment is respected and that people are able to lawfully own guns, but that we also start cracking down on the kinds of abuses of firearms that we see on the streets...by banning the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons, etc.”

What a complete oxymoron statement. Enough said.

Jill Paperno states 4. The Republicans claim to be fiscally conservative. But truth is that their eight years of control left us the largest deficit in our history. That’s simply not fiscally conservative.

I’ll refer you to www.usdebtclock.org The current U.S. deficit is 1.325 trillion dollars. In the upper right hand corner of the clock, you can set the clock back to 2008 when George was still in charge and you will see that the national debt was 178 billion dollars. So in two short years, Nobama has increased the debt 6 fold. So much for record deficits Jill.

Bill Fava

Thornton, Colorado


JAY’S PLAN

I appreciate Keith Anderson’s letter questioning my plan for a Comeau Stewardship Committee. It gives me the opportunity to correct misapprehensions he, and perhaps others, may have. The word ‘stewardship’ appears twelve times in the First amendment to the Easement, starting on page 1. Indeed, Keith quotes that word in his letter, in spite of his claim that the word does not “exist in any of the pages.” He is correct when he points out that the word “Committee” is not in that document. Here, he has hit upon the genius of that First Amendment; it leaves open what the Stewardship Plan is and how it is to be implemented. My concept for the Plan is to create a “Committee” made up of Comeau users, two Town Board members, with an observer from the Woodstock Land Conservancy. It could be termed as almost anything else except ‘undemocratic and opaque’. That Committee will be the official body where questions, concerns and projects for the Comeau property will be submitted, from the public and ‘users’ and the Town Board. Final decisions will be made by the full Town Board, of course.

The time frame for the creation and implementation of the Stewardship plan is, legally, 18 months from the signing of the Easement. That language, which Keith notes, refers to a “specified period.” Failure to accomplish that time period will not “impair or invalidate” the Easement. My plan can be up and running within two months. We are now into the fourteenth month. I’m sure that Keith and the rest of Woodstock would rather see it done sooner than later. In any event, Keith’s opinion, without correction, will “mislead and misinform” readers, although I’m sure he didn’t do that deliberately. Additionally, I have supported the Easement from the beginning, unlike some others on the Board.

Ken Panza’s letter pointed out a big problem with the recently ‘updated’ Ethics law. Having Town Board members serve there is worse than a bad idea. I spoke, during that public meeting of the Town Board, of the undue influence of an elected official. I pointed out that some years ago, I served on the Ethics Board while I was also on the Town Board. In the single case that came before us, I held a minority opinion. When the report of that case was made to the Town Board, my minority opinion overcame the majority of the Ethics board. The probability of that kind of outcome happening again is very real. My appeal to my colleagues fell on deaf ears, unfortunately, and using New York State guidelines on Ethics when we don’t have to is not only ridiculous, but also a diminishing of the little that’s left of Home Rule.

Jay Wenk

Woodstock


REALLY ROUTE 28

I’m a bit miffed that Carl van Brunt has appropriated Route 28 as a unifying theme for a show of artists not associated at all with Route 28, while failing to include artists who actually are associated with Route 28. Myself, for one, resident at 3024 Route 28 in Ashokan for 16 years; Steve Heller of Boiceville, resident on Route 28 for several decades...and others further up the scenic road, some around Phoenicia, some all the way to Andes. Like George Ballantine, subject of the previous week’s Smart Art column, for the show on Route 28, at the Emerson in Mt Tremper.

Now, I may be sensitive about this because I’ve been working on the Central Catskills Collaborative for the past couple of years, working with the seven municipalities along the Route 28 corridor to promote and enhance the region, working on the proposal for a Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway designation for Route 28 from West Hurley to Andes. I also lived on Route 28 in Andes for five years. So, I know Route 28. Carl, I suggest you drive the road beyond the turn off at Route 375 to Woodstock and experience what we have to offer.

In the meantime, all are welcome to visit the exhibit “Inspired Landscapes: George Ballantine & Robert Selkowitz” to see some genuine Route 28 inspired art. It’s at The Emerson on Route 28 in Mt Tremper, open every day in the East Conference room behind the Country Store, 55 paintings in all. Up through February 27.

Robert Selkowitz

Ashokan


FOR ALL OF YOU WHO BRAVED THE STORM

Thank you for coming out to the Sunflower Natural Foods Market to shop and donate cereal to the Good Neighbor Food Pantry. Even with the power outages, we managed to collect about 40 bags of much needed cereal.

And, we received a surprise food box from the Rite Aid Pharmacy next door.

This was totally unexpected! Thanks again for your generosity.

If you were unable to make it to the Sunflower Natural Foods Market last Tuesday and would like to make a donation to the Good Neigbor Food Pantry, please mail your check to: Good Neighbor Food Pantry, c/o Woodstock Reformed Church, 16 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 1298.

We look forward to seeing you at the next food raiser at the Sunflower Natural Foods Market 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, February 15. That is, coincidentally, the same day that the food delivery will arrive at the pantry at 9:30 a.m. at the Woodstock Reformed Church. If we are very lucky, we will see some of our Woodstock neighbors at both places.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock


BIZARRE AND INSULTING ACCUSATIONS

I admire the Woodstock library because (1) it keeps very old books, (2) holds all sorts of book fairs, and (2) doesn’t charge patrons who return books late.

But I am appalled that an employee of the library, Pia Alexander, spies on its patrons. She rushed to tell that Israel-hater, Tarak Kauff, that I was seen in the library sometime after someone took down an anti-Israel article from the bulletin board and drew swastikas on something written there.

Yes, I was in the library recently, bringing in a bagful books for a library sale. And in my brief visit I took out an old collection of Dorothy Parker’s book reviews for The New Yorker, which she signed Constant Reader. That’s what I was carrying when I left.

Pia Alexander’s conduct in accusing me of doing something I didn’t do, a criminal act, with no evidence at all, is shameful. And perhaps libelous. Certainly unworthy of an employee of the estimable Woodstock library. And the idea that I, a pro-Israel Jew, would draw swastikas on a flier is plain weird.

I would expect such bizarre and insulting accusations from someone like Tarak Kauff, but not from an employee of the town of Woodstock.

Warren Boroson

Woodstock


A SCHOOL CLOSING SHOULD BE IN THE DISCUSSION

Why is it that every neighboring school district [ie Kingston, New Paltz, Rondout] is discussing the closing of a school except Onteora? We seem to be discussing how each department can cut some program in order to keep our tax levy lower when our programs are already limited. I understand and sympathize with those families with children in the elementary schools, but economic times are tough.

The main concern is traveling times for the kids in the outer reaches of our very large district or so it seems and that’s fair. But wouldn’t we be able to send more busses out to get the kids? Aren’t these very same kids going to be going to the central campus anyway at some point? My son has a 30-35 minute drive to school. It seems long, but with his trusty mp3 player, he really doesn’t mind. Our district has a small population of great kids. We should be doing more and offering more to them! So much money is spent on educating special needs children and that’s fine, but the average or advanced children have limited options. I think that stinks. To cut more from their already meager options is just plain sickening. We could be so much better, but we just don’t want to shake it up...and we have to...or more and more people will move out of the area, choose private schools or home school their kids. Then what good would the “neighborhood school” be? How small will we let classes be before we start thinking about downsizing?

I hope our new superintendent pays attention. I hope she’s a leader, not a follower. We have a “task force” that is discussing options for our district. Read the web site. Not a single discussion, unless I missed it, is made regarding the closing of a school. I also hope more district taxpayers speak out, write letters to the BOE or go to meetings if you can stand them. If we don’t do something, if we just sit back, then it’ll be business as usual. Frankly, if “business” is our kids, I’d like it to be outstanding, not just usual.

Debbie Izzo

Olivebridge


TURN IT AROUND

Re: Ms. Qamar’s letter “End this injustice in Middle East,” the following scenario will require a bit of creative visualization but I believe the result will shed more light on the situation Ms. Qamar describes. Replace Palestine with Mexico, Israel with the United States and Ms. Qamar with a Ms. Diaz who has sent a similar letter to Woodstock Times about our neighbor to the south of the border.

In her letter, Ms. Diaz decries the U.S. occupation of Mexico. The U.S. response is “But Ms. Diaz, several years ago the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the entire Garcia region of Mexico in good faith hoping it would lead to peace. Regrettably, what happened was that Garcia residents elected the Hamacho party whose charter explicitly calls for the destruction of the U.S. And as you know, Hamacho has launched rocket attacks for years into El Paso killing many Texas residents.”

Ms. Diaz immediately retorts: “No Senor! The rockets were a legitimate protest of the continued U.S. occupation of another region of Mexico, the Oeste Blanco!” “But Ms. Diaz with all due respect, the U.S. has been negotiating peace with El Fator, the government in the Oeste Blanco, the same government that, as you know, Hamacho expelled from the Garcia, killing many of their senior officials. Hamacho cannot now speak for El Fator.”

Ms. Diaz continues: “No, no. We send rockets because you blockade the Gulf…basic necessities cannot reach the Garcians!” “But Ms. Diaz, we allow basic necessities in after we inspect cargoes. It is only the armaments and materials to build rockets that we must interdict so that the Garcians will not be able to continue to attack Texans.”

Ms. Diaz goes on to say: “What are a few primitive rockets against the largest army in the world?” “Everything Ms. Diaz. Because when your core mission is to destroy your neighbor, you won’t be satisfied with just using those rockets. On the other hand, were Hamacho simply to honor our right to live next door, the American people will honor your sovereignty.”

“Oh we can’t do that!”

“Because we don’t want you as our neighbor.”

Lee Wind

Woodstock


MARCH 26 FOR AUGUST 20

Save the date! We encourage everyone to make plans for Saturday, March 26. There will be a concert and kick-off party for WHAiV (Woodstock Honors and Appreciates its Volunteers.) It’s a great way to enjoy wonderful music and at this time of the year, help with the Town Picnic. At this party on March 26 there will be delightful Irish music by “Spatter the Mud”, as well as great dance music and rock harmonies by the JV Squad, “Not the Beatles” and other special guests, starting 7 p.m. at the Colony Cafe. This concert-party is a wonderful night of music for a fair price, $15 each or $25 for two in advance.

Don’t forget to also make plans to attend the Town Picnic this summer, on Saturday, August 20th in honor of the 7th Annual Woodstock Volunteers’ Day. 1 p.m.-5 p.m. at the rec field on Rock City Road. While the Town Picnic is eight months away, the preparations are underway. Many of your friends and neighbors will be there. In our town, we have a great deal to celebrate. We have over 1,000 volunteers and more than 40 local charities and community organizations. You’re invited, so save the date and make plans to attend the Town Picnic. “Please show up for the volunteers. They always show up for us.”

There are at least three good reasons to celebrate Volunteers’ Day: first a town should never take its volunteers for granted. We should honor their hard work and important contributions; second, it is important for our community to celebrate the wide circle of kindness and generosity that we have among us and third, it is important to demonstrate for our children that we value the community spirit.

To order tickets for March 26, or to make a donation go to our website www.volunteersday.org. Hope to see you on March 26.

Sam Magarelli

Woodstock


FIGHT THE FRACKERS

Last Sunday a group of concerned citizens met at the Inquiring Mind Bookstore in Saugerties to take the first steps in starting a group to address the real and present danger which hydro fracking presents to the water and air of our state and our community. We left that meeting excited and ready to begin planning steps to take. We are meeting again this Sunday, January 30 at 11 a.m. again at the Inquiring Mind in Saugerties.

Though a moratorium is presently in place for horizontal hydro fracking in NYS, it is only until July and we know that the money and power of the gas industry is busy making its case. Small groups throughout the region have formed and are forming to address this issue. We feel it is time those of us in northern Ulster County, Greene County and the Catskills to come together to educate ourselves and our neighbors, to make our voices heard, to lobby and act to ban this form of extraction which puts at great risk the clean water and air which is surely the lifeblood of our communities.

Please join us on Sunday at the Inquiring Mind! As we reach out to friends and neighbors in Greene County and in the Catskills, we hope to rotate meeting places so that can be truly a regional group. If you have any questions, please call 246-3449.

See you on Sunday.

Sue Rosenberg

Saugerties


TURNING BLUE

A cute little vampire one fine day asked Houdini: ‘How long, fine Sire, can you hold your breath inside this beautiful, hand-made, laminated straight-jacket?’

Ron Rybacki

Woodstock


IN BROAD DAYLIGHT

The most impeachable crimes in the history of our country go unprosecuted. The organized murder of a million innocent Iraqi’s goes unaddressed.

We acquiesce to a cadre of financial elite ripping off the U.S. Treasury for untold trillions of dollars, bankrupting cities and states, devaluing all our incomes, raising all our taxes and costing many of us our retirements, our jobs and our homes.

And the demand for an independent investigation of the appalling, yet undeniable facts pointing to elements inside the U.S. Government as the orchestrator of the September 11, 2001 attacks — the event that turned the course of history overnight — go unheeded and unanswered.

These crimes have taken place in broad daylight, in plain sight of the American people. We should shudder to imagine what’s being planned behind closed doors! Like the Germans during the rise of the Nazis, history will hold us all complicit in these tyrannies by our lethargy, passivity and consent.

Enough of the liberal illusion of “pragmatist/realist compromise.” Enough of the futile belief in choice by electoral politics, as all elections have now been gifted to the mega wealthy by the Supreme Court. The only choice remaining is active, vociferous, disobedient resistance to the corporate takeover of every aspect of our lives.

Liam Watt

Saugerties


IN THE BACK ROOMS

Obfuscation and misdirection is the tactic that Deputy Supervisor Rosenblum uses in response (January 20) to a critical letter in Wooodstock Times (January 13) of her tenure while in office. Not only does she not address the issues but takes us off in another direction with some fairy tale. Worse yet, she has taken the low road by equating legitimate criticism with the tragic events in Tucson, Arizona. Perhaps she thinks by wrapping that tragic event around her she can shield herself from further criticism. Well it won’t work. The Moran-Rosenblum administration is a do nothing administration. They have wasted tens of thousands of dollars lawyers, consultants and architects and have nothing to show for it. They also like to fly under the radar. Their creation of two person Town Board sub-committees is a way to circumvent the Open Government law. As Rosenblum once commented at a Town Board meeting, “if they had three members, it would constitute a quorum.” A quorum would make them subject to the Open Government laws. The public would then know what is really going on in the back room.

David Menzies

Woodstock


THE SUPREME DORK

One of nine of our Supreme Court Justice’s representatives (the amusing one), attended, and spoke at the tea party meeting, organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota on Monday, the 24th. As requested, Justice Scalia read the Federalist Papers and the Constitution to the audience.

Although this meeting was not open to the press, it’s said that three democrats were present: Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Jerry Nadler of New York, and Melvin Watt of North Carolina. Schakowsky said that he opposed the idea of a “living constitution” rather than enacting laws that push for it’s new interpretation. More on that after I figure out what it means. It’s also said that this meeting was called to discuss the health care options.

University of Texas law professor, Lucas A. Powe, a historian of the Warren Court, said that “He is taking political partisanship to levels not seen in over half a century.” Justice Scalia has also attended private retreats, sponsored by the Koch Brothers Industries, along with Justice Clarence Thomas, who is married to a strong supporter of the Tea Party.

Clarence Thomas recently corrected his previously omitted financial forms that in the past have been required by all federal judges, after Common Cause called on the U.S. Justice Dept. to investigate Scalia and Thomas for possible ethical lapses, in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission on the matter of unlimited corporate funding for elections. We now know that her previously unreported income from the Heritage Foundation showed about $700,000.

Let’s remember that we have three branches of government, the White House, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court. The White House has one person leading it, the House, hundreds, the Supreme Court has nione people. Two of them are behind the Tea Party, which at present, looks as if it’s being led by Michele Bachman, who is for the overthrow of the government. Need I say more?

Jill Paperno

Glenford


COOLEST PHOENICIA

Phoenicia is in the running for “Budget Travel” magazine’s 2011 Top 10 Coolest American Towns. We have made it into the top 20, and we are in an on-line voting contest to garner enough votes to put us in the top 10. We are currently at number eight (as of 1/25/2011). We need your readers’ help in voting. Winning towns will be featured in a September, 2011 magazine article. And, many of us feel that visitors to Phoenicia will also visit area towns. So neighbors, please help by voting at:

http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-srv/coolestsmalltowns/CST2011.html

Voting ends February 11th. Thanks for your support. Please spread the word.

Maxanne Resnick

Chichester


COOL, BUT NO CELL SERVICES

Your “Coolest Phoenicia” article pointed out many of the town’s well earned assets, but I had a little trouble with one of the issues.

Mark Koegel states that the lack of cell phone service in this town is a virtue, since some people don’t want to be bothered by them when they’re out having coffee. He might want to tell that to a worried parent trying to reach his or her children during a storm, or an elderly person caught suddenly with no transportation home. Or a person who cannot make a scheduled appointment due to car trouble. Or to an individual who can’t make it to a coffee date.

Christina Pultzer

Phoenicia


IS ISRAEL AN ETHNOCRACY

Israel defines itself as a Jewish state; yet, in reality, it is Jewish-Arab in population. By Israel’s own census, non-Jews make up 20 percent of the population. Juxtaposed against this bi-national reality is the ethnic exclusivity in the state’s economic, political, cultural, and legal centers of power. There are almost no Arabs in high- or mid-level government positions, the Supreme Court, directorships of government companies, and in state radio and in television. The laws that regulate immigration, naturalization, the use and ownership of land, provision of social services, and distribution of resources all give preference to Jews over non-Jews.

A 2007 UN study found many Israeli laws that relate only to the rights of Jews or that abridge the rights of Arab citizens. Although The Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom, Israel’s Bill of Rights, protects some disadvantaged groups (i.e., women), there are no provisions in Israeli law that specifically protect the rights of its Arab citizens.

Most Palestinian Arabs are not allowed to serve in the military; this then limits their ability to receive housing loans, preferences in public employment, and financial aid for university study. Yet, yeshiva students, who are granted exemption from military service, receive these benefits.

The Israeli Law of Return grants citizenship to any Jew looking to immigrate to Israel, yet denies this right to Palestinians who were expelled from their homes in 1948 and even to children of Israeli non-Jews who wish to immigrate to Israel.

The objectives of the Israeli education system, as stated in the State Education Law, are to exclusively advance Jewish culture and Zionist ideology. Matriculation exams include questions on Judaism, but not on the Christian, Druze, or Muslim faiths.

All political parties are required to accept the “existence of the State of Israel” as a state of the Jewish people, but Israeli election law can disqualify political parties that call for full equality of the Palestinian-Arab community.

Nearly 10 percent of the Arab population in Israel lives in villages that have been declared illegal (known as “unrecognized villages”), receive no government services, and cannot be found on any map.

There are laws and military regulations that have granted the State the right to confiscate Palestinian land. Over 24,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished to date.

Many Jewish and Zionist organizations (i.e., the Jewish National Fund) are granted special status and allowed to manage land, housing, and services almost exclusively serving the Jewish population, but no non-Jewish organizations are granted the same special status.

Israel calls itself an ethnic democratic state. However, by placing the rights of its Jewish citizens above all others, it has created a pervasive system of legal and social discrimination against its Palestinian-Arab citizens, which belies this claim.

Let us no longer call Israel the only democratic country in the Middle East.

Nicholas Abramson

Shady


A NASTY FEW

How sad it is that Woodstock is home to a handful of individuals who seem to think that by putting others down they lift themselves up. How warped is that as an approach to life? It is obvious that their ears are deaf to the many messages voiced by prominent leaders in our country, from our President on down, that civility is the preferred avenue of expressing differences of opinions; that one can disagree without being disagreeable. They apparently give no thought to the fact that their disparaging remarks and derogatory comments cause varying degrees of pain to so many, not just to the individuals they choose to attack but to the family and friends of each of those individuals. It is very disturbing that the sort of things these few people continually spew and disgorge can reach the ears of some who actually believe their accusations and distortions and outright lies. Soul searching is not within reach of those without souls.

Mary Phillips Burke

Woodstock


A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MESCAL HORNBECK

She would rise at the crack of dawn, at 6 a.m., until about age 95, always starting the day with coffee and a hearty breakfast.

Then she habitually sat down at the computer to check her emails and worked on her weekly Woodstock Times column. Afternoons, she would tend to her gardens. Often Mescal was seen mowing her lawn on a sweltering hot day. Until recently she did her own cooking, using vegetables from her garden. She made her signature soup from scratch. Subsequently, she sat the hot soup out in her breezeway to cool off and skim the fat (perhaps one secret to her longevity). At 5 p.m. she would have her shot of bourbon, which she called her libation.

Her social life was eventful and full to the brim with her many friends and contacts. She religiously attended many of her social events up until her last year. Her favorite would have friends at her place for dinner and Scrabble, to end an evening with harmless but enjoyable competition. There are videos of Mescal square dancing with great fitness. Mescal is one of the founders of the extensive Senior recreation program and she attended several of them until only a few years ago, still highly competitive with the kids of 50 and 60 years old. Mescal Hornbeck: Surely, an outrageous name for an outrageous lady.

Joyce Balsamo

Woodstock

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Robin Rosenberg
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January 28, 2011
Regarding Phoenicia as the coolest town in America, imagine my divided loyalties as a former resident of Saugerties, Woodstock and Big Indian who now lives in Lewisburg WV (along with a few other former Woodstock residents) in having to choose between Phoenicia and Lewisburg.

I love Overlook Mountain, my dear old friends, who may remember me from my years at the old Woodstock Health Food Center, but I had to vote for my current home town!

Come visit Lewisburg and recall the woodstock of the 1970's!

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