I have a question for you concerning your notes of the Village of Saugerties board meeting of December 6. At this point, I wanted to review some statements of Mr. [Dennis] Larios. Lighthouse TV gave me a DVD copy of that contained that board meeting, but there was no copy of Mr. Rubin’s or Mr. Larios’ presentation. Lighthouse TV said that was what the station was given. The mayor said he did not know what happened.
Do you have any comments from Mr. Larios stating that the village ought not to plan to take any more than the allowable amount and that the water treatment plant could not treat any extra water? Also, I thought he said that Glasco ought to plan to hook to Kingston if more water was needed. Please let me know if you have anything on this.
SOS DOES SO MUCH
To the many wonderful Saugerties residents:
I received the abundance of many goodies you took the time to send and my many battle buddies, and I couldn’t keep our hands off the peanut-butter truffles you included.
We troops are extremely grateful for the many holiday packages the Saugerties residents have sent to us. All packages arrived undamaged and intact. The DVDs, socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, groceries, snacks and candies you sent through the SOS organization really gave us a huge boost, especially during these holidays.
We thank you for expressing your love and support. We won’t forget your kindness and taking the time to think of us by sending these extremely useful items and gifts.
Thank you, SOS, Barbara Dargan and SOS family!
Thank you, Elks Lodge #2574!
Thank you, Jones family of Mount Marion, The truffles sent were delicious!
Thank you to Girl Scout Troop 60194 and its many members, Donna Altschuh. JoJo. Cheyenne, Amber Mignano-Campbell, Sierra, Amber Nichol Marshall, Sophie J. and the many others who contributed their love, time and support in so that we could have a wonderful holiday! You are very special people.
Our love and appreciation go to all you and to the members of SOS for making this possible.
You do so much for so many. Thank you for all that you do.
Best wishes and happy new year.
Senior Chief Raymond Teitter
Senior Enlisted Leader, Alpha Company
United States Navy
LOOKING AT SHARED SERVICES
As we all know, all levels of government are facing serious economic difficulties. The road to recovery means difficult choices such as raising taxes, cutting services or both – actions that will affect the quality of all our lives.
However, there are sometimes creative ways to preserve critical civic services without incurring additional taxes. The League of Women Voters (LWV) has always encouraged government agencies to look for ways to maintain quality services by reorganizing them for better economic efficiency. In times like these, it is particularly important that we press our elected officials to do this.
We are fortunate that here in the mid-Hudson region, SUNY New Paltz’s Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) and Pattern for Progress have been working with local officials to see what services might be shared.
One area currently under study is our justice courts. While some may feel detached from this particular government activity, everyone’s tax dollars are used to support the locally-funded court facilities, clerks, and justices as well as the county-funded jail, public defenders, probation officers, and corrections officers that make this system work. Are there ways to “work smarter, not harder” to deliver the same quality of justice for fewer dollars?
The LWV and CRREO are co-sponsoring a conference, “Justice and Our Justice Courts,” to deal with this particular issue. The event will be held at SUNY New Paltz on Wednesday, January 12 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room in the Student Union Building. It is a great opportunity for us all to learn all about the organization and functioning of our local justice system. The conference will feature a panel of knowledgeable presenters including district attorney Holley Carnright, public defender Andrew Kossover, and Ulster County Magistrates Association head Tim Cox. We urge everyone’s attendance.
The event is offered at no charge, but SUNY needs to know you are coming so that refreshments and background materials don’t run out. Contact Joanne Bernardo at 257-2901 or email@example.com if you will be attending.
Board member, LWV
FRACKING IS BAD NEWS
What is the future of vertical and horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York State? Several weeks ago governor David Paterson vetoed the bill passed by both the New York State Senate and Assembly to temporarily ban fracking in the Marcellus Shale. Instead he issued a special order (with different dates for banning fracking) which has mixed reviews from all parties involved except for the oil and gas industry, who are pleased.
The next steps are in the hands of the new governor and you. To quote ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber, “From the right to know and the duty to inquire flows the obligation to act.” Become informed yourself and share that information about the environmental health consequences of fracking with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Call and send emails to your elected officials, both at the state and federal levels all the way up to president [Barack] Obama.
Demand they help protect our environment. All living beings share the same air, water and land. Do what you can to reduce your energy footprint. Every action makes a difference.
Again, Dr. Steingraber: “We are standing at a place where two rivers meet. A stream of emerging knowledge about the combustion of what fossil fuel is doing to our planet is joining a stream of emerging knowledge about what synthetic chemicals derived from fossil fuels is doing to our bodies.”
Dr. Steingraber, a 30-year survivor of bladder cancer, links human rights to the environment with a focus on chemical contamination from polluting practices. Her next book will cover the environmental threats to children’s development. You might also want to mention this to the elected officials you will be contacting. Any way you look at it, fracking is bad news.
MY WISH LIST
After failing to try and get a tax increase over 21% and having to settle for a mere 12.4% increase, the Saugerties school district’s amnesia has kicked in. They do not have the time and manpower to handle their workload or to meet with the board to discuss contracts, but they do have time on the payroll to develop their wish list.
Instead of realizing that the austerity budget this year is only the first of a series of further tightenings in this environment, and instead of focusing on creating a solid education core within obvious future budget cuts, they prefer to expend their time and energy (and our tax dollars) on recreating and growing the environment we couldn’t afford before.
The teachers, unions, and administration keep crying that “it’s for the students”, while they refuse to make any concessions and continue to use the money for salary increases, retirement increases, benefits increases, and miscellaneous salary boosters like stipends. The taxpayers’ wish list below reflects what is done in the private sector:
Stop funding education with property taxes
Budget based on affordability
Fiscal responsibility by school board, administration, all employees
Better communication of budget and taxes to taxpayers
Voting privileges for all taxpayers, and only taxpayers
Full-year school (at current annual salaries)
(or salaries cut to reflect partial work year)
Full eight-hour work days
No more tenure
Fire (and possibly fine) poor teachers
Merit raises only to 10% employees max, a capped dollar pool
Student responsibilities and accountability
Parent responsibilities and accountability
Stop taxpayer-funded babysitting
Increase class sizes
Integrate, not isolate, special-needs students
Focus on education fundamentals
Take hobbies out of the schools
Get rid of stipends
Get rid of additional pay for alternate workday activities
Return after-school activities to volunteers
Give the Booster Club control back
Consolidation of services
Consolidation of transportation
School board restricted to non-relatives of contract members
Replace retirement plan with partially self-funded IRAs
Increase medical benefits employees’ contributions
Reduce/remove medical-benefit funding at retirement
Elimination of frivolous field trips (except Medieval Times)
AN ILL WIND IS COMING
Recovery from this past week’s blizzard would have taken much longer were it not for the dedicated crew of state, county, city, town and village highway workers who worked around the clock to clear our streets. Things were back to business as usual on Tuesday. Employees were able to drive to work, residents were able to shop in local businesses, and the streets were safe for our children to enjoy their vacation from school because our highway crews had worked tirelessly to clear the streets.
It’s a good thing this blizzard hit before December 31, though. When the next big snowstorm hits, we’re going to see the real impact of the recent cuts to public services. Due to the shortsighted cuts in the state workforce and layoffs in local government, the snowplows won’t be coming around so quickly come January 1, 2011.
CSEA Southern Region president
ATLAS DIDN’T SHRUG
Last summer, Atlas the goat, so severely neglected that he needed a wheelchair to assist in his rehabilitation, stole our hearts with his determination and joie de vivre. He is just one of over 2000 animals who’ve come to Catskill Animal Sanctuary for a second chance, and with your help we have the opportunity to touch the lives of countless others through direct emergency rescue and our innovative educational programs..
Thanks to animal lovers like you, we have only $145,734 left to reach our goal of $1.5 million, money that will be used to save the lives of hundreds of animals who have run out of options, and to spread a message of compassion on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
Catskill Animal Sanctuary