May I be among the first to announce that I’m supporting Terrie Rosenblum.
When I first came to Woodstock, I sat in the “cheep seats” at the WDC monthly meetings for a year or so. She was the chair then and I really got to observe how she worked from a special lens because I didn’t know many people at the time. So, I just pretty much saw everything as it was. Terrie’s ability to schedule time, interact with people who were sometimes trying to be difficult, and keep a sense of humor through it all made a very positive impression on me.
My observations taught me that Terrie is a very good negotiator. In Texas, we would say that she “knows how to hold ‘em and how to fold ‘em.” They also taught me that she is an excellent leader. Terrie’s background as a business owner is very obvious as she moves in town and governmental circles.
Once a teacher, always a teacher...Terrie is always able to help people understand why something is the way it is. Understanding is very important as we make decisions about our community’s future. Terrie is articulate. She thinks things through.
I’ve gone on record as saying that it doesn’t matter which party Terrie belongs to. She does an excellent job of whatever task she takes on. In community politics, at the local level, this is very important. However, Terrie is, to me, a serious Democrat. Even though I would support her if she were not a Democrat, it is important that she decided many years ago to be a Democrat and she hasn’t really switched parties since. We don’t have to worry about Terrie changing her mind and flip flopping along the way. She knows where she is on the path.
And last, I really feel that Terrie’s current knowledge and experience with the town board is extremely important. When she is elected Town Supervisor, we won’t have to wait 5 or 6 months for her to get up to date on all the ins and outs of the job. She’s in the job and knows how things are working and where everything is.
I hope you’ll realize what a jewel of an administrator she is. She’s going to make an excellent Supervisor.
My family and I have experienced another awesome year in the Kids Together Program, which is run by the Department of Ulster County Mental Health and housed at the YMCA.
If it weren’t for the hard work and dedication of the facilitators of the Kids Together Program, the staff at the Ulster County Mental Health Department who work behind the scenes and the staff of the YMCA, Kids Together would not be as rewarding and successful as it has become in the 18 years it has been running.
My family first started with Kids Together approximately four years ago. I never knew being involved in this program would have such an impact on my family. We have faced many challenges over the years and if it weren’t for the care and continued support of the staff at the Ulster County Department of Mental Health, I honestly don’t know where my family would be.
Many people benefit greatly from the services and programs that are provided by UCMH, and there are so many more families out there who would benefit also. Kids Together is just one of the many programs and services that are provided by the County. We are also involved in the Nexis program which has proved to be a very important tool for my family.
So once again, thank you, thank you to all who have worked so hard and are so dedicated to the families they services with the Kids Together Program as well as the many other services provided by the Ulster County Department of Mental Health. Your hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated!
WHERE DO THEY STAND
I think it would be a good idea for Jeremy Wilber and Lorin Rose, announced candidates for Town Supervisor, to let the people of Woodstock know their position regarding the sale of Town Hall, the preservation of The Comeau, commercial development in general and specifically the extension of the commercial district to Bearsville, as well as any plan to gut the Gateway Overlook district. Also, the issues being raised by Robin Segal and Jerry Washington regarding the town’s water supply/Rupco should be addressed. The thought of the insidious Terrie Rosenblum as supervisor is more painful than contemplating the affects of a tornado slamming Woodstock.
We need to know that there will be an alternative. A letter to the Times would be just the thing.
At last someone has come to the aid of the idiotic town board with a reasonable idea as to what to do with the Woodstock Town Hall. The sale of it for use as a pharmacy had much to say for it.
I don’t like to pay taxes any more than the rest of you. But even worse is the idea that the money is not being spent well. And I do think that the town would be wasting money by keeping the building and doing what the current plans call for. The improvement in facilities for the various users would be marginal at best. Parking access would not be improved at all. Maintenance and operating costs would remain the same.
Building a new building elsewhere (and where is a different topic I won’t address here) makes a lot of sense. Appropriate, attractive, and useful facilities for the various users could be built using the income from the sale of the town hall and money saved by not ‘fixing’ it. Proper parking and access can be engineered.
Even if the ‘bottom line’ may slightly favor fixing the town hall, these other factors should be considered. Let us make Woodstock a place that knows how to do things correctly instead of doing more ‘half baked’ things. The economic climate is improving, and by the time plans are in place, financing should not be a problem. Don’t be penny wise and dollar stupid.
A BRICK-BY-BRICK APPROACH
This year, the Youth and Family Council has been supporting the new initiatives at the Woodstock Youth Center, which have been able to offer not just the usual recreational facilities, but also an additional variety of educational, artistic and enrichment activities, since the beginning of the year.
As we approach the summer, and the school holidays, it is critical that we continue to support and extend these activities, which will include shows, concerts, film courses, study groups, field trips and meals, as well as visiting artists and entertainers .
Most importantly, we will also be able to offer some employment opportunities to local youth as interns and mentors within these programs and events.
While thus far the budget has been maintained by the Town of Woodstock, with the wholehearted support of the Town Board, the current financial climate means that funding for the additional staff and programs will come to an end on June 30th, and will not be reviewed until January 1, 2012 (next year’s Youth budget).
As a community, we hope to bridge this gap and enable not just a continuity, but an increase in events and activities so that the youth of the area have frequent, real, interesting and meaningful ways to spend their time all through the summer months.
The current Youth Center staff are pledged to initiate and coordinate these programs, alongside many volunteer members who are aware that ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ and that it is in our whole community’s interest to pull together and make this a summer to remember for all the right reasons.
We are asking you to help this vision by donating to the Woodstock Summer Youth Fund.
We are seeking the sum of $10,000, one brick at a time, to keep the current staff and programs in operation, and to engage additional local youth to expand and improve our offering.
LESSER IS GREATER
The lesser of two evils in recent presidential elections has always turned out to be the greater. Take Obama’s stand on cutting the deficit by slashing anything that could remotely benefit the middle class. First, he gives away huge tax cuts to the rich. Then he is “forced” into cutting Social Security and Medicare to save the nation from going into default. Could any Republican president have so effectively robbed the many to enrich the few?
Obama has caved on almost every issue dear to corporate hearts. He ruled out a single payer health system from the start. He did his best to encourage deep sea oil drilling, even after the BP disaster. He escalated wars in the Middle East, moving into Pakistan and Libya while reneging on promises to withdraw troops from Iraq. He has protected lawbreakers from the Bush era, and expanded their war crime policies. In short, he is not simply another George Bush, but an articulate and unprincipled advocate of endless wars abroad and complete corporate domination at home.
Obama cares so little for the union members and middle class working people that he played golf with the nation’s most overpaid CEOs while teachers and firefighters were battling for their rights in Wisconsin. He will do more to destroy the lives of middle class Americans than any right wing nut job the Republicans can run against him in 2012. Working people must stop supporting this charlatan if we hope to preserve our American dream.
As Chair of the Woodstock Democratic Committee (WDC) I was not comfortable being both a candidate for town Supervisor and the Chairperson of the WDC.
In order to avoid the appearance that I might use my position as Chair for political gain, on May 16 I temporarily stepped down as Chair while I am a candidate for Supervisor.
If I garner enough votes at the primary to be your Democratic Candidate, then, and only then, will I continue my race for the Supervisors position in the November election.
Mike Lourenso and Cathy Magarelli, current officers of the WDC executive committee, are now in charge and you can contact them at email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two excellent Democratic candidates, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Jon Sennett, Democratic challenger for the office of Ulster County District Attorney, need both your help and your vote on election day in November. Please support them.
I thank all of you for your work in getting out the vote in past elections and I hope you will continue to do so this year.
I am proud to be an active and open Democrat.
WETLANDS, FRACKING, PARKING
Let’s talk about environmentalism. Back in 2009, thanks in great part to Chris Collins, the Town Board adopted the Wetlands and Watercourse Law, that protected these crucial parts of our world from reckless destruction. When our former Building Inspector Paul Andreassen came to work, the very first thing he wanted to do was to repeal that law. Then he wanted to put the operation of it under his departments’ jurisdiction. Subsequently, the Town Board sent the law out to a specialist for ‘tweaking’ the language. It came back with some improvements in the organization and wording, but with a brief section that took the process and implementation of the law away from the Wetlands and Watercourse Inspector and put it back into the Building Inspector’s hands.
I can assure you that any proposed construction or alteration of properties here can be verified in two or three days by the Wetlands Inspector, which will not delay a project. If the Town Board votes to accept the new language, it will put this critical Law into the hands of people who don’t have the training or expertise to know what they may be looking at if they should go into the field. This is not a criticism of the folks currently in the Building Department, only an observation that their training is in other areas. I will never vote to allow this travesty to happen, and I hope other Members of the Board share this belief.
Last fall, the anti-fracking film Gasland showed at Onteora High School. Within a very short time, I presented an anti-fracking resolution to the Town Board, which was rejected. Ultimately, the Environmental Commission produced a resolution, which was accepted. It was designed to make the frackers prove that that was safe. I spoke then, saying “guess what? They will prove it’s safe, they always do. After that, we, the people will have to spend a lot of time, energy, and money to prove that they lie.” I don’t believe in a moratorium, I believe in an outright ban.
I am interested in bringing more income to the Town, and here is a specific proposal. The Rock City Road parking lot has produced well over $400,000 after expenses, since 2003. I want to put the Mountain View lot on the same basis, which means free parking for all residents; get a sticker for your vehicle from the Town Clerk. The charges and occasion for parking would be the same as the lot across the street. Any observer can see vehicles parked in Mountain View some of the time, but very many are there on weekends and holidays. Money to help with reducing Town taxes is going down the drain.
More to come.
REJECT WETLANDS LAW REVISION
Soon after Paul Andreassen was hired as building inspector, he wrote, “Since assuming the role as the Town’s building inspector and flood plain manager it is my opinion that the current wetland/watercourse law be replaced in its entirety. It is my opinion that the law is cumbersome, arbitrary and redundant.”
Woodstock’s Wetlands Law was adopted in Aug. 2009, after three years of effort by Chris Collins and others to combine proposals for wetlands protection into a comprehensive law. The first sentence from the resolution reads, “The Town Board of the Town of Woodstock finds that local measures are needed due to gaps in state and federal regulations governing streams and wetlands that leave the majority of Woodstock’s stream and wetland buffer areas with little or no protection from development.”
In December 2010, Mr. Andreassen wrote, “Possibly eliminate the law entirely and revisit section 260-34. There is no convincing evidence to support the law that any development impacting wetlands sufficiently has occurred to warrant the ratification of the current wetland/watercourse law.” Mr. Andreassen’s suggested alternative to eliminating the Wetlands Law was to put its enforcement and administration under the control of the building inspector.
Unannounced, in January 2011, the town board hired a Poughkeepsie wetlands consultant to rewrite the Wetlands Law to incorporate Mr. Andreassen’s suggestions. This rewrite was done without talking with the planning board, wetlands inspector, or anyone else involved with the current law. The Wetlands Law was rewritten in a back room ignoring all opinions or experiences other than those of the building inspector.
A review of the changed Wetlands Law shows these changes are meant to diminish the law and render it ineffective. The changed law should be summarily rejected as incompatible with protecting Woodstock’s wetlands.
HELP THE YOUTH
This is a plea to the Woodstock community to come to the rescue of the greatly expanded summer program for all our youth at The Woodstock Youth Center. For the first time in many, many years we have the opportunity to offer kids a summer of shows, concerts, film courses, study groups, meals, field trips, visiting artists and entertainers. The Town of Woodstock is out of money, and cannot afford to pay for the program and for Russell Richardson, formerly of The Indie Program, to run it. In fact, if we don’t raise $10,000 by June 30 we lose the summer program. The funds from the town for the new initiatives at the Youth Center end June 30, and new funds can not be reviewed and secured until January 1, 2012. (This summer program will also offer employment to older, local youth as interns and mentors).
As a community we hope to bridge this gap and enable not just a community, but an increase in meaningful events and activities so that our young people have frequent, real and positive ways to spend their summer. We do not want the Youth Center program to return to a babysitting experience for most of the participants!
Last year, when we were confronted with the possibility of a curfew for our young people, the community responded. Almost everyone said “No way, no curfew!” Instead, people committed themselves to finding alternatives to the curfew, starting new and expanded activities for our children, and providing meaningful educational and recreational opportunities. The Woodstock Youth and Family Council was formed to evaluate the youth program and provide a new direction. We have done that. We meet weekly and will continue to meet and plan.
We are asking for your help by supporting our Woodstock Summer Youth Fund, “Brick By Brick.” We are asking 100 people to contribute $100 each, totaling $10,000, to buy a “brick” to build this program. This will allow us to keep the staff and programs in operation and to engage additional local youths to expand our offerings. The results of the fundraising will appear weekly in this paper. Even before we have announced this effort we have already received pledges for 30 bricks! We need 70 more.
Please, please, please, if you can write a check for $100, do it! Smaller contributions are certainly welcome, but we desperately need to raise this money, and fast! Most members of the Woodstock Youth and Family Council have already written their checks, and we need you to step up and contribute. Please make checks payable to “Open Space.” Write “Brick by Brick” in the memo line. Send or take to TD Bank, 68 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock. The handling of the funds are being overseen by the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and the Arts. .
Thank you for your support and trust. Do this for our youth, our families and our community. We all deserve it!
The Woodstock Youth and Family Council
FUTURE OF WOODSTOCK CAFE
Last Saturday the Woodstock Public Library was host to the Future Of Woodstock Cafe which was attended by about 70 people — a broad cross-section of the community. We met around small tables in the Community Center for three hours of thinking about one broad question, “What is your vision for Woodstock in five years if everything goes as well as possible?”
The Library will be transcribing the results of this process and posting the report on our web site (woodstock.org) and in the Library later this month. In the fall we will use this vision of a great future for Woodstock to prepare our new five-year Plan of Service, in which we will lay out for ourselves how the Library can help the community achieve its vision. Of course the vision is available for any other organization to use in thinking about how it can contribute to a great future for the community too.
The event was planned and put on for the Library by Amy Raff, its Director, and her great staff. Anyone who has comments or questions about the process, or would like to contribute something about their own vision for Woodstock in five years if everything goes as well as possible could send their thoughts directly to Amy at email@example.com or by post to the Library, 5 Library Lane, Woodstock, NY 12498.
Amy was helped by many members of the Board of Trustees. The meeting was ably conducted by consultant Merribeth Advocate of the Mid-Hudson Library System. The Mid-Hudson System is the entity operating behind the scenes that allows some 90 libraries in our area to share a card catalog and books almost seamlessly.
The delicious sack lunches from Woodstock Meat Market and the fine cookies from Lori’s Creative Cafe & Jabelli’s Bakery were provided for the occasion by the Friends of the Woodstock Library. The Friends are the volunteers who put on the annual Library Fair (July 30, 2011) and who have a sale of used books most every other Saturday during the summer, along with one Thursday a month, usually near the middle of the month. For more information about the Friends of the Library, stop by the Library or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also want the thank the Town for letting us use the Community Center. A concrete example of the cooperation our taxpayers can expect among their governments.
And, of course, the event would have been meaningless without the cooperation of the 70 some members of the community who participated both by sharing their visions and by listening to others do the same. Thank You.
This is a great town and the Library is always looking for ways to make it even better for everyone.
Vice-President, Woodstock Public Library Board of Trustees
THE ABILITY TO LEAD A LIFE
Imagine yourself driving to work, and instead of the quick 10, 20, 30, or even hour long commute, it took you several hours. Often you aren’t able to make it to work because you have to pass through checkpoints where security has the right to arbitrarily deny you passage. Imagine yourself as a college student unable to complete your education because you can’t get to school on a regular basis because of these same checkpoints. Imagine that you or a loved one has a medical emergency, and you or your loved one dies because you aren’t allowed through the checkpoint. Imagine yet again, being a farmer who has a truck of produce to sell and you can’t because you have had to sit for hours at the checkpoint and your harvest has rotted in the heat of the day. Or imagine yourself as another farmer who always had easy access to your fields, but now you have to walk hours to get to an opening in a separation wall that has been built. Often, after you have walked for hours, you get to an opening and it has been arbitrarily closed for the day, and you have to go back home, unable to tend your land. How would these situations thwart and affect your physical and mental health, the ability to live a full life, and your society as a whole? These are some of the hardships faced on a daily basis by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. The ability to lead a life — go to school or work, farm your land, even visit family in another town, are civil rights that have all been strictly curtailed and denied to Palestinians by the Israeli government. A government supported by our government and our tax dollars despite flagrant violations of human rights and international laws.
Editor’s note: Bangall is in Dutchess County.
I know what we’ve lost. It was the people that once made this a cool town to live in and I think it could be that way again. I know what it’s like to be, and have, good neighbors.
I know a Democracy is based on good losers. Fighting a guerrilla war because a vote didn’t go your way hurts everyone. I can see a lot of little ways to save the town money and they would all add up.
And now another campaign poem:
We Have Till November
An election year has come to town
So spin your circles and stake your ground
But it’s the same sad horses on the merry-go -round
The usual suspects have hit their stride
They’re lining up and choosing sides
But we can all get off this ride
So if you care where this town goes
Then give your vote to Lorin Rose
He’s looking down the road, not down his nose
CHECK THE BLOG
It has recently come to my attention that The Mad Hatter has publicly described two of his political critics as “Sad Sack and His Bitch.” To resort to the cruel expression of “His Bitch” (documented in the Hatter’s own words on his public blog) is disturbing, especially when it’s from the leading contender for Town Supervisor. Before the voters of Woodstock go to the ballot box, it’s imperative that the Hatter confirms the identity of the “Bitch” who, according to the Hatter, belongs to the “Sad Sack.”
Furthermore, the Hatter, in his malicious approach to politics, may also perceive more than one “Bitch” in Woodstock’s community. Since the Hatter is likely to be Woodstock’s next Supervisor, voters must also know the total number of “Bitches” that the Hatter senses around him.
Let’s make sure we ask the right questions during the Hatter’s next Question and Answer session. Let’s verify that “Bitch” who belongs to “Sad Sack?” Does the Hatter perceive more than one “Bitch” in the Woodstock community? If so, who are these other “Bitches?” Most importantly, does the Hatter also want to “throttle” the “Bitch” whom he so easily attempts to publicly humiliate?
PTA SAYS THANKS
On behalf of the Woodstock Elementary School PTA, I would like to thank everyone who came out to support our Yard Sale: the vendors, the shoppers and the parent volunteers. Special thanks to the businesses who donated the supplies for our refreshment stand: Adams, Hurley Ridge Market and Stewarts. The donations provided, allowed us to keep our cost low. We raised $1395 which will go into our general PTA
account which pays for programs such as family nights, homework club snacks, t-shirts for Junior Olympics, food supplies for BOE meetings, Senior Luncheon, and much more.
Thanks again to all who came and participated, it was a great day!
Woodstock PTA President
HEAR YE, HEAR YE
Having recently been added to the cast (as Lord Mayor of London) of Carey Harrison’s brilliant new play, Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza, which will open at Byrdcliffe Theater on June 17, and absolutely reeling in the creative energy that surrounds this production (see www.thewoodstockplayers.com), I am moved to proclaim the following:
Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Villagers of the Town of Woodstock!
I have heard that, according to our Town Board and its Supervisor that, as of the date of June 30, there will be no funds to continue with the dynamic programs currently being provided and planned for the summer at our Youth Center. There are many of us in the Hamlet, as it were, “rogue and peasant slaves” to misfortune that we are, who have been concerned about Youth and Family Services in Woodstock for the past year. This group has recently embraced the idea to privately raise the necessary funds it will take to keep the present programs in place until the end of the summer. Won’t you help us please? Hear ye, hear ye! It doth, indeed, take a village! Ulster Publishing is running a series of free ads. Please refer to the ad herein. Aside to the audience: I have heard it told that we are almost half way to our goal and we have yet to begin!
And so it is, and so it shall be, by your graces all, I most humbly beg both your consideration and your indulgence. Exit the character...and many thanks from all of us!
Marcus Lindner, Member
Woodstock Youth and Family Council
I believe we need to have a comprehensive master pan for our town.
This was started by Brown and Anthony in 1962 and later with the Draft comprehensive plan in 2001.
I think some of the most important subjects of the plan should be: 1) Environmental Protection and preservation 2) Community character 3) Transportation including trails walking paths and bikes trails 4) Housing and residential development 5) Economical Development 6) Community Services and Facilities 7) Recreation and open Space
I will write a letter on each of these topics in the coming weeks.
PRAISE FOR SHARP
While I was watching Shandaken’s public access TV channel I noticed that SHARP (Shandaken Area Revitalization Plan) had acquired funding from the New York RESTORE program. SHARP is located on Main Street in Phoenicia. It was brutal winter and my roof was leaking, so I went to SHARP to inquire. They repaired my roof using the RESTORE grant money. Needless to say I was appreciative of what SHARP has done for me.
I knew that SHARP had helped many people and businesses in Shandaken. I asked a couple of questions and was surprised to find out that they had started in 1982 and in that time have provided more than 8 million dollars of aid not only to Shandaken, but also to Olive, Woodstock, Hardenburgh, and the entirety of Ulster County. Special praise is due to this organization and I for one now know that personally.
I wrote to the Gallery BMG, 12 Tannery Brook Road, Woodstock that I was overwhelmed by the beauty and imagination I saw and experienced in the work there, many by women photographers.
SUPPORT UNIONIZED NURSES
I’m writing this letter to give my support to the Benedictine nurses in their efforts to obtain their first contract as a unionized nursing staff. They have been working with the New York State Nurses Association (the union they voted for in a landslide) for two and a half years to help them achieve this goal.
Benedictine nurses have been treated unfairly since the merger of Kingston and Benedictine Hospitals. The Benedictine nurses who were sent to work at Kingston Hospital after the merger have been working for lower wages and worse benefits. In fact, when these nurses go to work they punch a different time clock than from the Kingston Hospital nurses. This unfair treatment must stop.
David Lundquist (the CEO of the company created for the merger) needs to give the Benedictine nurses what they deserve, instead of hiring consultants to help staff “cope” with the merger, and lawyers who are stalling contract negotiations. He needs to give the nurses a fair contract and retroactive pay for two plus years of lost wages due to their unequal treatment.