The 2010 Census is winding down, and as a census partner, I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate everyone who has supported and participated in this great effort. However, there are still several quality assurance operations that will continue to take place this month, and I encourage you to cooperate with census workers should they call or visit your household. These final steps will ensure the census will provide the highest quality data possible — information that will benefit our community and the nation for the next 10 years.
If you have already responded to the census, it’s possible that a census worker may contact you if the worker has difficulty reading your paperwork or otherwise needs to clarify your answers. Census workers may visit if your household was incorrectly marked as unoccupied on April 1. You may receive a visit if your address was not included in the mail-back phase or in the door-to-door follow-up phase. If you filled out a Be Counted form or provided your answers over the phone, a census worker may visit to confirm that the geographic location of your home matches the address in the Census Bureau’s files. Finally, census workers may be in your area to resolve any suspected duplicate addresses.
Please keep in mind that the Census Bureau’s quality assurance operations will affect a small percentage of the total number of households counted in the 2010 Census.
As always, individual responses are completely confidential, protected, and cannot be shared with anyone. All Census Bureau employees are required to swear an oath for life to protect your personal information. Please cooperate if a census worker calls or visits your household as part of the final stages of the 2010 Census. This has been the largest domestic undertaking of the American people, and now is the time to make sure the data we all rely on is as accurate as possible.
Supervisor, town of Saugerties
SPEAK OUT AGAINST BARCLAY HEIGHTS DEVELOPMENT
I have very serious reservations regarding the construction of the Highland Cliffs Project. In Saugerties over the past five years there have been several construction projects that have not successfully been completed due to various reasons.
Construction on an apartment complex behind the strip plaza behind Dunkin Donuts and located off Village Drive was started and abandoned. A dump truck, bulldozer and backhoe and partially excavated land remain as remembrances of an approved project. A condominium project was started on 9W next to Quick Chek and instead of being sold as condominiums, due to lack of interest and financing, the condominiums are now being rented as apartments. Does this indicate that there should be concerns regarding construction of a third apartment complex?
Having lived in Barclay Heights for 36 years, two of those residing in the Hilltop Apartments, on Skyline Drive, which in 1976 were very nice and extremely well maintained, we have resided at 14 Birchwood Drive West for 34 years. Over these years the amount of traffic through Barclay Heights has significantly increased as well as the highly traveled route 9W. I travel that road twice daily to and from work. There are mornings that it has taken me up to 10 minutes to make a right hand turn on 9W south and there have been many close calls, including impatient drivers almost rear-ending me, during my return trip home in the afternoon while trying to make a left-hand turn onto Manor Lane. The volume of traffic is horrific for an outdated two lane main thoroughfare.
Why is the Town Planning Board [considering] another project, in a highly trafficked area, with out-dated roads and infrastructure when it probably is not needed?
Since the developer of the project may not be responsible for paying property or school taxes, why would the town consider allowing such a project? Would it not be better to attempt to develop business that would help defray the cost of our property and school taxes?
That ridge section of Barclay Heights is the only area that is undeveloped. It allows for a balance in the ecosystem and natural habitat, along with a basically well-maintained development of single-family homes. If this project is allowed to move forward toward approval, it could be yet another possible construction disaster.
On August 17, I urge residents of Barclay Heights to attend the public hearing on this project.
EDITORIAL PAINTED ALL ARTISTS WITH SAME BRUSH
I want to start this letter with an expression of my deep-felt thanks to the Saugerties Times for their excellent article covering the Saugerties Artist Studio Tour which will be available to ALL (not just art buffs) this weekend. The tour is a wonderful opportunity to talk to Saugerties working artists and see firsthand how and where they work at transforming creativity into visible expression. However, when I got to page 12 of the paper there was this erroneous editorial suggesting that Saugerties’ artists are pretending to be someone other than who they are. The only saving grace to the editorial was Mr. Dendis’ statement in the first sentence that he may be deceived. Indeed he is and here is why.
I am a working artist living in Saugerties. I moved here (from Woodstock) because I believed that our community would best enrich my life and my work. I have never regretted that move and daily rejoice in the fact that I live in Saugerties. I love and am proud to live and work in this town. I know many of the artists who also live and work here and I have never heard any of them refer to themselves or their studios being in “Woodstock East.”
The Saugerties artists I know are an amazing group of very talented and hard-working people. They are fiercely independent and each has a point of view that is solely their own. If you want a demonstration of this you should see the current exhibit at the Saugerties Historical Society where 17 Saugerties artists expressed their view of the migration of the Palatines to our area in the 18th century. Not only is the work exciting, but the diversity among the artists is quite evident. From whatever source Mr. Dendis received his East Woodstock statement, both he and the Saugerties Times owe the artists of our town an apology for painting them all with the same brush. I hope he will participate in the studio tour to find out firsthand how wrong his editorial was.
NEVER HEARD THE TERM
“Some call it East Woodstock . . .” Who? Never in my 39 years in Saugerties have I heard anyone call the town “East Woodstock.” This sounds like something a real estate agent would say, hoping to justify an outrageously priced home. I would be very surprised if anyone on the Saugerties Artists Studio Tour actually said this. To a person, we are all proud of our tour, our artists, and the distinctive nature and homespun charm of our Hudson River town.
Woodstock does have some claim on “colony of the arts,” but so does Palenville (remember the Hudson River School of artists?). Saugerties, however, is a well-rounded community in which artists do not set themselves apart in separate “scenes,” but have interwoven themselves into the life and breath of the community, as much a part of the fabric of the town as plumbers, electricians, farmers, shopkeepers, doctors, lawyers, chefs, and all the rest. Just a cursory stroll down Main or Partition streets is enough to confirm this, with work by local artists in the windows and on the sidewalks.
Take the Artists Studio Tour this weekend. It’s a way to discover the hidden worlds of creativity that exist in farmhouses, old factories, barns, garages, and sheds. It’s fun, and it’s free. You can pick up a map at many local stores or download it from www.saugertiesarttour.com.
NO IDENTITY CRISIS HERE
The Saugerties Times editorial “Be Yourself, Saugerties Artists,” August 5, 2010, infers that Saugerties’ artists may suffer from an identity crisis. Not in my experience. The artists that I know including myself, who reside and work in Saugerties, are part of a thriving and expanding community who are here by choice with no regrets. This is made evident when you consider their many and varied contributions to their town.
Here is a short list of some of those contributions. The mural at Town Hall is a fine example of artistic community-based collaboration. Artists generously contribute artwork to fund raising activities for a variety of hometown projects and causes. Working side by side with local organizations, Saugerties artists have created celebratory art shows to honor our town’s history such as the Palatine Spirit (8/2010) and The Treasure Box Hunt (8/2009) in honor of the Quadricentennial. As a group, the Saugerties Artists Studio Tour is a member of the Saugerties Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Saugerties Artists Studio Tour, now in its eighth year, is among the best-known public events not only in Saugerties but also in surrounding communities. This event alone attracts new and returning artists who proudly claim Saugerties as their own.
I would also note that as the artist community grows the news media plays a key role in that development. It is of little use to have an extraordinary artistic, vibrant community without our hometown newspapers reporting it. Since its inception the Saugerties Times and the Post Star have helped to spread the word. It is this partnership, in part, that will continue to help define our unique identity.
Coordinator, Saugerties Artists Studio Tour
IN SEARCH OF MY INNER SAUGERTIESIAN
In 1982 I moved my shop/studio from 49th and Broadway to a basement in Soho. In Soho I was surrounded by galleries, artists and a creative buzz. Three years later I had a chance to rent a 2,000 square foot space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I was tormented. Should I leave my beloved Soho where I can walk into a gallery any time I want? I realized in moving to Brooklyn I would still be able to create, make the most of my new studio and a new neighborhood. In a few weeks I made myself known. I went out of my way to meet my neighbors, and embarked on a new era of creativity. Twenty years later my neighborhood became popular and expensive. In 2005 I venture into Greenpoint, 30 blocks away, and soon Greenpoint became impossibly expensive and I realized that I really did not need the city for inspiration, I needed an affordable place. I knew that inspiration would come no matter where I chose to live. In 2003 I became a frequent visitor to Woodstock and started to establish a name for myself as a sculptor (and I became “framous”). When I considered leaving Brooklyn in 2008, Saugerties was my choice. I saw it as fertile ground for inspiration (not only in nature) but in the community as a well. I discovered Snyder’s farm with its sloping hill (on 212), it is a perfect canvas for my art which I use every fall.
Two years ago, I was delighted to become a part of the 40 or more Saugerties artists who are members of the annual studio tour. They are a creative, independent and a confident community without any need to enhance their stature by making claims on a neighboring town.
In addition I would like to add my voice to Mr. Joe Sinnott for his call to enhance the importance of the arts in our local schools and daily life. Art is not a marginally decorative device, but is self-exploratory as well as a social necessity to maintain our communal sanity!
Ze’ev Willy Neumann
DISAGREED WITH ART EDITORIAL
This letter is in response to your editorial on the artists in Saugerties and I presume those participating in the Artists Studio Tour.
I don’t think that it was your intention to “slam” the artists, but that is how it reads. It, also, in my opinion, reads as being patronizing.
All the artists that I know and those in the tour, do not have an “inferiority complex” and I have never heard of anyone of these artists referring to our studios location as “East Woodstock.”
I, also, strongly disagree with you that “good artists need to appeal to everyone.” You create for yourself first and you, the artist, has to like it!!! If people respond to it and appreciate it, that is a bonus. Those people who create are for “everyone” are not true artists, but those to whom sales is more important.
I, also, don’t think that your mentioning of Pratt and those that attended it, including myself, automatically makes one a good painter. There are too many local artists who not only did not go to Pratt, but, also, did not go to any art school. Good art has no prerequisite on what school you went to.
When I bought my property, in 1971, to build a house and studios, I chose Saugerties. I didn’t feel a need to pay a premium for a Woodstock address! And found that Saugerties was a more real town than Woodstock!
You might consider dropping in on some studios this weekend. You will find a lot of high quality work!
PRO-CASINO ARGUMENT DEBUNKED
Senator Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat who sponsored the bill initiating a repeal of the gambling prohibition in the state constitution which recently passed the Senate (S-8119), said he had decided to push the legislation after taking a fact-finding trip to casinos in neighboring states.
“What struck me was all the New York license plates in the parking lots,” said Mr. Adams, who estimates that the state is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in New Yorkers’ money to casinos in nearby states. (New York Times, 7/22)
It’s not a new thought. A Google search reveals multitudes of officials all over the country observing their states’ license plates in other states’ casino parking lots. Statements to the effect of: ‘Let’s keep the dollars (often overstated) in our state, why should we lose out?’ then follow. Casinos are touted as economic engines providing construction jobs, permanent jobs, tax revenues. In New York our politicians tirelessly attempt to roll back obstacles to casino development. You never hear from a cautionary word about the impact of the many harms of casino gambling from senators Schumer or Gillibrand or representative Hinchey or senator Bonacic, to cite my legislators, who are by no means alone.
So New York wants to compete aggressively with Connecticut, even as Massachusetts verges on joining in. Pennsylvania expands casinos, poaches on New Jersey. The Adams bill initially opens the door to five upstate race-track-associated non-Indian casinos. But developers are eager to build casinos in other counties. Christopher Higgins, chief counsel to the Senate majority, said it is unclear whether Onondaga County and other counties that don’t currently have live horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering, could obtain the necessary licensing and then seek approval to host a casino. (Syracuse Post-Standard, 6/29)
So the trend is: more casinos, more competition, more access to casinos at shorter distances, more dependence on local gamblers, more problem and pathological gambling permeating the state, more harmful effects and costs that will ultimately borne by the taxpayer, not the casinos and, ironically, the prospect of limited tax revenues.
Consider the plight of Atlantic City, poor and blighted after thirty years of casinos. “The advent of gambling at racetracks and other sites in Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania in recent years poses the most severe threat to Atlantic City in generations. This year, Atlantic City casino revenue is down almost 30 percent from the same period in 2006, and the casinos have shed about 12,000 jobs since then. In the first quarter of this year, 7 of the 11 casinos posted operating losses…Atlantic City is dying,” N.J. governor Christie said, as he proposed a state takeover of the city. (NY Times, 7/22)
We don’t need more license-plate counting in distant parking lots as a substitute for thinking and ill-informed cheerleading. We need a moratorium on casino-building and and a state commission which conducts an in-depth independent study of casino gambling in the region and state.
GAZA LETTER CONTAINED DISTORTIONS AND MISREPRESENTATIONS
This is in response to Elaine Hencke’s chimerical letter of last week which you incorrectly labeled “Apartheid in Gaza.” Ms. Hencke pretends to honor Israel and then proceeds to spew distortions and misrepresentations, as well as spouting the “party line” against Israel.
That party line propaganda includes labeling Israel as an apartheid state – a loaded term which conjures up a whole set of value judgments harking back to the brutal oppression of the undemocratic government of South Africa against the vast majority of its own citizens. Palestinians living in Israel, however, enjoy more liberties than do Palestinians in their own land.
So, rather than do a paragraph by paragraph analysis of those, for want of a better term, “problems” in every sentence in her letter, I will comment on one egregious example, the boycott of Israeli products and specifically Ahava cosmetics. Ms. Hencke says that they are made on stolen land, using stolen resources and with cheap Palestinian labor.
The truth is that about 200 workers are employed in the Ahava factory, of whom about 100 are Palestinian workers. Because of their employment, those Palestinian workers are probably among the best-off people in their villages. However, Ms. Hencke is willing to sacrifice their well–being by trying to bankrupt the company with a boycott.
As to Ms. Hencke’s claim that Ahava uses “stolen Palestinian resources,” the mud and materials used in Ahava cosmetics products are mined in the Israeli part of the Dead Sea. So much for stealing Palestinian resources – unless Ms. Hencke means, which I am sure she does, that the entire entity of Israel is on Palestinian land.
Further, Mitzpe Shalem, the West Bank kibbutz where Ahava products are produced, “is not an illegal settlement.”
RUN/WALK ORGANIZERS THANK VOLUNTEERS AND SPONSORS
On August 1, we held our first fun run/walk at the Saugerties High School to raise money for the Saugerties Booster Club. Approximately 97 people participated in the event and we raised over $1,200 for the organization. Our purpose for this “race” was two-fold: to raise money for the Saugerties sports program and to offer a distance event for the seasoned as well as the novice runner/walker. All participants were eligible for the prize drawing held at the conclusion of the race and we would like to thank the following individuals and businesses for their generous support: Hudson Valley Cruise Lines; IXL Fitness; Shelley Kinsch - Stone Ridge Salon; Dick’s Sporting Goods; Lorinda Paul - Kenco donation; and Gary Lundgren - Renegade Baseball Tickets donation.
We would also like to thank Roundtop Screening/Printing and John Greco for the wonderful t-shirts that were provided to all participants as well as Lox of Bagels and Sam’s Club for the refreshments. In addition, we would like to thank the following individuals for their guidance and assistance either before, during, or after the race: Doug Freese, Onteora Runner’s Club; Jennifer Mangione; Lisa Mayone and Diane Brandes; Kathy Polizzi; Rebecca Curley; Katharine and Jackie Greco; William, Nathaniel and Rachel Meyers; Chelsea Defino; and Michael LaTourette.
Thanks again to everyone for making this event a wonderful and successful experience!
Michelle Meyers and Lisa Greco
WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THIS PLACE
What’s happening to this place
that I once called home
To the trees I used to climb
and the fields I used to roam.
I used to play with the waves
that jumped over my head
Now these waves, if I swallowed
would surely make me dead.
So many gorgeous species
are now going away
Are they on another planet?
will they see another day?
I know much less now than I did
before the billionaires grew
Since their profits only increased
by more people getting screwed
Information coming to me through
the media that they own
Now that Google’s one of them
I’ll soon forget what I’d once known.
I don’t have any answers
only hopes that I’m not alone.
If we make our voices heard
perhaps we still can save our home.
HISTORICAL SOCIETY THANKS COMMUNITY
The Saugerties Historical Society has had two wonderful events at the Kiersted house recently. Our annual yard sale was a huge success in great part because of all the donations that were given by the community. Thank you for your generosity. We also want to thank Stuart & Diana Buchan, Jon Alpern, Audrey Klinkenberg, Mary Alice Lindqurst, Vincent McLaughlin, Barbara Yosh, Sadie Numsen and Bill Reinhart. Without your help this event would not happen.
The society is extremely fortunate to have the work of the artists of the Saugerties Artist Tour hang in the Kiersted house for a special exhibit “The Palatine Spirit.” These talented artists were able to show in many different mediums the great trials of the Palatines, who settled in Saugerties in 1710. The society would also like to thank Barbara Bravo, Susan and Howard Goldson, Ulf Loven for all their work in this exhibit and Gus Pedersen who built and hung in the Kiersted house a wonderful hanging system. Life will be easier at the Kiersted house because of his work.
Thank you to you all.
President, Saugerties Historical Society
THE GULF OIL SPILL COMING TO NEW YORK STATE? What? How is that possible? All the easy oil and gas has already been extracted from the Earth. Just as the Gulf oil spill was a risky procedure, so is hydraulic fracturing (fracking) here in New York State (or any state with shale). New York State sits on very large natural gas deposits deep under the Marcellus Shale and the Utica Shale.
Last week the New York State Senate voted 48 to 9 for a moratorium until May 2011 to study the effects of fracking on public health and the environment. In fracking vertical pipes cross into many horizontal wells (as deep as 10,000 feet below the Earth’s surface) to search for gas by forcing sand, tons and tons of water and undisclosed chemicals at very high pressure. The chemicals do not have to be disclosed because of what is known as the “Halliburton Loophole,” in the 2005 Energy Policy Act and Safe Drinking Water Act that exempts the oil and gas industry from disclosing what they put in the environment. Congressman Maurice Hinchey has introduced a law into Congress to eliminate this loophole so there would be full disclosure of any chemicals used by this industry.
Fracking is not safe. The oil and gas industry do not have contingency plans for human error or technical problems. They cannot build computer models of what is under the shale or at the bottom of the sea. With all their technology and information from geologists and others in the scientific community, will they be able to predict that one time when the high pressure exerted to break open the shale will start a rippling effect of fissures they are not prepared for? Will they have a surefire way to capture all the waste water that is now poisoned from the chemicals and radioactive from the shale? Where will they discard the waste water they do capture besides in open pits to be covered with dirt and sand?
Will the tax revenue generated for state and local municipalities be worth what it will cost to fix a disaster? Does the money from leasing their property to gas drilling worth the landowners’ health rapidly declining, land being ruined, water poisoned and homes rendered unlivable? Do we need any more proof that fracking needs to be studied first as is outlined in the moratorium already passed by our State Senate? Why take a chance?
What can we do? Call assembly leader Sheldon Silver (212-312-1420) and tell him the New York State Assembly must bring the moratorium vote to the floor this September. Call assemblyman Pete Lopez (518-943-1371) to get this on the floor and convince others it is the right thing to do. Call governor Paterson (518-474-8390) and tell him to encourage assembly passage and then to sign the bill. Spread the word to everyone and be informed yourself. Learn what has happened to Ditmas, PA and Fort Lupton, CO for a start. Some of the many web sites out there to inform you include www.earthworksaction.org, www.frackaction.com and Gaslandthemovie.com.
It’s our water, our air and our soil for all to share. Please do your part to protect our natural resources for this and all future generations. Calls do make a difference!