In the course of reading too quickly, I mistook the author of a letter on the topic of "foreign" vs. domestic" oil and misaddressed my response. My sincere apologies to Joyce Minard, and I hope no lasting harm has come to either your reputation or our relationship. Sorry, and I will try to read more closely in the future.
Thanks for the bonsai tree
The New Paltz Highway Department would like to acknowledge Mr. Littlefoot for his recent donation of a bonsai tree, which has been planted in front of our building. Thank you for your time and contribution to our community.
The New Paltz Highway Department
Support for local business
I am pleased there is a group in New Paltz meeting and trying to take action to attract businesses we want to our community and increase our tax base, rather than just continuing to reject businesses we don't want. I regret I did not attend the meetings personally to discuss possible business choices. Reading the article in last week's paper, I want to respond to one of the group's suggestions -- a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. I would strongly oppose this idea. We have two local health food stores already, one of which, Health and Nutrition, is now supplying a large segment of the town's organic needs. I remember when they first opened right next door to their current location, in what is now the laundromat. As I recall, they were small, had mainly packaged foods and offered no fresh produce, I shopped there, but I found myself frequently the only customer in the store. In contrast, they are now a much larger, well-stocked, bustling venue with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, including locally grown and very competitive prices. Some of my friends from Woodstock shop there when they're visiting because of the good prices.
We also have an excellent, organic and vegan café -- Karma Road -- steadily increasing in popularity the longer it's here and pleasing numerous locals and out-of-towners with its delicious fresh juices and smoothies.
I know New Paltz is striving, wherever possible, to support local business over chain stores. Let's not drive out what is thriving here and keeping money in our community. We don't want to discourage small business owners who have steadily worked their way up from humble beginnings and have been able to withstand economic downturns and other challenges to stay open and fill an important need.
Cause for concern
It was great to see the photo in last week's paper of students graduating from the New Paltz Middle School who received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence.
But assuming that the middle school's graduating class is equally divided between boys and girls, it is noteworthy that 12 of the 14 students pictured are girls; put another way, less than 15% of these top students are boys.
It's wonderful to see girls achieving, but I think the lack of even close to equal representation by boys should be a cause for concern.
Choose a "staycation" It's that great time of year when many of us are planning a vacation. This year, you might want to choose a "Staycation"! That's a vacation near where you live. There are so many great places here in the Hudson Valley/Catskill regions. Not only will you save a whole lot of travel time and money, security checks and jet lag, but you can also lessen your carbon footprint by using less gas.
The New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce now located at 257 Main Street has a wide range of materials to help you make plans. Ulster County has a program that will direct you to the wide array of events and places all over the county. You can get the "Alive" brochure at the chamber or go on-line to www.ulstercountyalive.com.
Using less gas by staying closer to home reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, including the need for more oil drilling (and possible spills.) Every effort we make, no matter how small, adds up over time to help our environment. And right now, our environment really needs our help.
Have a great summer!