Serving the Towns of Wawarsing, Crawford, Mamakating, Rochester and Shawangunk, and everything in between
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Gutter Gutter
Truth In Taxation Was MY Promise

I am pleased that the County Executive has signed the Legislature's Truth in Taxation proposal. This is one of the promises I made when I was elected Chairman of the Legislature. Now taxpayers will better be able to understand their tax bills. I applaud Town of Rochester Supervisor Carl Chipman and Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley for their advocacy and partnership with the Legislature in enacting this law.

Terry Bernardo,
Chairman, Ulster County Legislature

No Review, No Action...

At the last Town of Wawarsing Planning Board meeting, Chairman Brian Shug instructed the applicant, TCJ Enterprises, to submit an Engineered Storm Water Review for their proposed 4x4 obstacle course to the Department of Environmental Conservation. TCJ Enterprises has since submitted a Storm Water Review to the Planning Board without referring the review to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Region 3 Water. The Town of Wawarsing regulations and conservation law are specific: without a review and comments by NYSDEC the Planning Board should take no action. The Storm Water Review must be submitted to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Chris De Feo

Is Mahamudra Compatible With Cragsmoor?

Will the coming of Mahamudra Buddhist Hermitage be compatible to what has made Cragsmoor one of the jewels in the crown of our region for over a century and a half; environmentally, historically and inspirationally?

First off, I don't know the answer to my question.

If it is compatible, enough said. If not, what can be done to attain a harmonious and beneficial relationship?

In my delving into Buddhism I have found little in words to describe its dimensions. I have read about Buddhism, that silence not words is essential to realizing enlightenment. And that Buddha's silence represents a distain of logical/philosophical debate. I could be all wet in my definitions... but I am trying to understand.


Because understanding is part of communicating and to communicate can lead to better comprehension and an awareness of people's feelings and viewpoints. Hopefully, Cragsmoorites and Dharmakaya will find meaningful ways to exchange thoughts and ideas, concerns and needs. If not through a volley of syllables, possibly through gestures and actions.

While there have been concerns put to the Town Board and Dharmakaya regarding less esoteric issues, ie: water, waste, traffic, tax role loss, volunteer fire department capabilities and so on, the most important issue in my opinion, of which I have heard nothing discussed, relates to compatibility.

Compatibility spawned through respect, understanding, give and take, and enthusiasm can add another facet in the jewel that is Cragsmoor.

Chuck Davidson

Character Questioned Because Of Cancer Actions

On June 26th Clerk of the Legislature Karen Binder passed away after a tough battle with cancer. For those of you who paid attention there was a lot of quiet talk about Clerk Binder's treatment by Chairwoman Bernardo and her immediate staff in the months immediately preceding her death. I was told, and so were many others, by a number of inside people that the Chairwoman specifically requested an audit of Clerk Binder's time off, known as comp or compensatory time, which she was using to receive cancer treatments and see her doctors. After several attempts, I have obtained the documentation via FOIL that substantiates this claim. As many of us have agreed, we must question the character of someone making life difficult on the job for a hardworking employee battling cancer. To view the documentation I received from the Comptroller Auerbach's office visit .

Robin Vaccai Yess, Spokesperson
Liberty Coalition

No More, No Way, No How...

I assume that everyone in the Rondout Valley has received their school tax bill. Taxpayers should also know that the RVCSD recently purchased nearly 200 iPads for students at a cost of almost $100,000. It makes no difference that they expect to get some of that expense back next year. We, the taxpayers in the valley cannot afford this type of frivolous spending.

We were deceived by the district back in May when the superintendent requested funds be transferred for "purchases." He never stated that the district was buying iPads with said money. I was at that meeting and I would have been on my feet immediately if we, the public had been honestly informed of the district's intention.

I am not here to debate the validity of iPads as an educational tool. The schools have computers available for student use as do the local libraries. The iPad may in fact be a wonderful thing to own — I wouldn't know as I cannot afford one. The difference between me and the RVCSD is that if I cannot afford something I don't whip out a credit card and shop. The RVCSD however, seems to have no problem essentially using my credit card to purchase items they cannot afford.

Back in May we were assured that the budget for the 2012-2013 school year was lean and though it was still too high for this rural community to maintain, only 599 people bothered to vote "NO" on the proposed budget. If you couldn't be bothered to go out and vote, don't complain about your school taxes. But, you must learn to understand that by not voting our school district into an austerity budget you essentially gave them tacit approval to spend whatever money they want to spend. They have learned that we will roll over and write the check for whatever they want.

It should be our goal as a community to tell the RVCSD that our budget should be a lot closer to $40 million than to $60 million. We must start telling them NOW that we will vote down next year's budget if they don't make substantial cuts. Don't believe their rally cry "it's about the kids." It isn't. It's about union greed and lavish teacher salaries and benefits that our community cannot sustain.

Join us at if you want to help us fight to save our homes. We are planning a public meeting soon and if you are tax poor, angry and morally outraged, contact us.

Sondra Slonim

Garbage Costs Money... Reduce!

Several articles on the problems of the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency highlight the obvious but not yet accepted fact that garbage costs money. Some of us have to pay a hauler, while others pay through their property taxes and perhaps don't realize how much they pay for hauling everybody's garbage "away." As with toxic chemicals released to our environment, there is no true "away."

It's time for Ulster County to learn from nature, that is, to start on the path to "zero waste". In nature there is no "garbage". What is a waste product for one organism, such as oxygen to photosynthesizing plants, is a needed or useful chemical for other organisms, in this case animals who must inhale oxygen to live.

The first principle of zero waste is to reduce what needs to be handled after you've finished with the item. Municipalities are banning those grocery plastic bags while responsible people are developing the habit of bringing reusable bags when they know they will be buying something. We also need to develop the habit of bringing our own mug to work and get-togethers, so cups aren't used once and thrown out.

The second principle of zero waste is to reuse. Using it for its intended purpose is the best, because the time and effort put into making that product, such as a leakproof bottle for liquids, doesn't go to waste. Second tier would be to put that item to use in other ways. Clothes and towels become rags. Take-home containers are washed and used to store food in the fridge at least once. Magazines are taken to medical offices and public places such as bus stations and left for others to read.

If those two methods can't be used, then recycle. Turn plastic into new bottles, dish drainers, garbage cans, plastic mats, plastic lumber. Collect office paper and turn into new paper, which we all should make sure to buy. Newspapers can be recycled several times into newsprint. Food wastes should be composted, at home or by your government.

So we need to make products that can be easily reused or recycled. Why aren't bottle caps all made of the same recyclable plastic? Why aren't beverages, at least locally produced ones, in reusable bottles as they used to be?

Andi Weiss Bartczak

Let's Take America Back Now!

In my opinion me thinks / MY Empty Chair Moment
Dear We the People, / Let it be known from this day henceforth
We are in terrible peril, / we are LOSING America –
& everything for which it stands, as a Republic / "one nation, under God, with liberty & justice for all."

We are destroying ourselves, / Killing ourselves,
Burying ourselves with / political correctness
misplaced, bleeding heart cultural loyalties / turning a blind eye to reality
NOT facing truths / our crushing national debt.

We are bankrupt

We have LOST our sanity
Replaced it with vanity.

It's domestic forces within our very own borders (it's US, We the People, who can no longer
See the forest from the trees,
& we'll soon be on our knees — as this, our National Disgrace Disease takes firm hold (& it Ain't EVER gonna let us go!!!)

Americans have been brainwashed, whitewashed, LIED TO from the get-go
our religions, culture, language, historical traditions have been diluted, excluded, polluted to the point where
America is no longer recognizable —
To us or to the world — which depends on us for their every move.

Our allies are our enemies
Our enemies are our friends

Know this: this does NOT bode well!!
This is NOT gonna end well!!!

We've entitled the world / they expect us to solve all their problems & ills —
But how can we / when we can't even wipe our own little tushies?
When we're losing our very own battles here at home?
Losing the will to carry on — & do the right thing for us?
So who's gonna be there for US — the United States of America — when we're zapped (into oblivion)?!

Who's gonna fill the gap?
Who's gonna pick up the slack when we're gone?

Do NOT take a chance 2nd guessing the answer to THAT question:
you'll lose the bet!!

Know this:
if we DON'T change course N-O-W,
we'll have lost America
our precious freedoms
our choices
& our voices

Know this:
There are no time-outs left in this game of life;
when they're gone, they're gone and done for — forever!!
& it'll be lights out fade out exit state left drawn curtains

SO What are we waiting for?


Joan Glaser

Gutter Gutter