Honor Our Veterans!
Veterans should be honored, not forgotten!
On any given night 107,000 veterans are homeless. This shocking information, glimpsed during a recent episode of ABC's "What Would You Do," prompted me to write this letter.
Ulster County is not immune to this problem. In an August 2012 press release, County Executive Mike Hein thanked Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for signing important legislation to address the needs of Ulster County veterans. According to Ulster County Veterans Service Agency, "there are approximately 6-10 Ulster County veterans at any given time seeking emergency housing assistance."
But the purpose of this letter is to look at what we do in the Town of Rochester to show respect for our veterans.
During my four-year term as Town of Rochester Councilwoman, I served as town board liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission. HPC's main effort and practically their entire budget was dedicated for years to completing the Veterans Park, continuing the work of former town board member Francis Gray, who spearheaded this project.
Our Veterans Park, just down the hill from the Town Hall (follow the new signage), is the result of dedication, determination, volunteer work and generous donations, spiced with heated arguments, delays and dilemmas.
In 2008, Councilman Tavi Cilenti, himself a veteran, and I discussed the project with Sen. Bonacic in Albany, but we didn't receive any help; we just did it ourselves and it was finally completed and dedicated in 2011.
Unfortunately, I see a trend to play trivial political games with town celebrations. Instead of getting better, the situation got worse this year. The small ceremony at the Veterans Park on Memorial Day was not advertised at all; it was not considered a significant event. The chairs prepared for veterans in front of the Accord Fire House, where the parade ended, remained empty...
When Sue Cummings was our legislator she was always present at our town events; it's really sad and disappointing to have now a Rochester legislator who, two years in a row, joined the Memorial Day Parade organized by her husband only after the ceremony at the Veterans Park was over.
Nothing wrong with inviting a veteran from another town to speak at the Memorial Day 2012, even when he is a Bernardo-appointed legislative employee. To not invite our Rochester veterans was definitely wrong. Those empty chairs are a haunting image... Veterans should not be sacrificed for political gain or games; we are one town and should speak with one voice when honoring the veterans!
Veterans Day is coming; I sincerely hope the town board would make sure that on November 11 our veterans will be celebrated as they fully deserve. Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies should become a tradition at Rochester Veterans Park.
How We Can Help The Safety Net
The news is filled with statistics to show that the number of Americans living in poverty is growing day by day. It is unfortunate for anyone to go hungry, especially children. A large percentage of the world population is facing hunger and poverty, and it is no different for Ulster County. But unlike most of the world, not only do we have a safety net in the form of food pantries and soup kitchens, but we also have public transportation to get to these facilities.
Ulster County has almost 40 facilities that serve as either food pantries or soup kitchens and in some instances both. There is a map of Ulster County food pantries and soup kitchens accessible by Ulster County Area Transit (UCAT) buses that stop at these facilities. These maps will be displayed on all UCAT buses and are posted online at www.ulstercorps.org/HungerProject/UCAT-Pantries-Map-Poster.pdf. Or call UCAT dispatch at 340-3333 or 888-827-8228.
There are food pantries at Community Action (647-6061), Ellenville Seventh Day Adventist Church (647-5998), Ellenville United Methodist Church (647-7094), Family of Ellenville (647-2443), Hosanna Assembly of God (647- 4341) and St. Mary's & St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church (647-6080, x 304.) There is a soup kitchen in Ellenville at Shiloh Baptist Church (647-8662) while the Town of Wawarsing has a food pantry (647-4920.) as well. For other facilities in nearby communities go to www.co.ulster.ny.us/initiatives/downloads/pantries. Or call Ulster County Winter Watch at 340-3633.
For those of us who are more fortunate and do not need the services of a food pantry or soup kitchen, what can we do to help?
When we go shopping buy extra items to donate to the food pantry. Call and ask the food pantry what we can do to volunteer and/or what specific food they need. Encourage groups (high school, scouts etc.) to have a food drive at a local food store. If living in a building complex, set up several large containers where residents can donate food. Please remember when sharing what is in our own pantry, make sure the date is not expired, as it will be discarded. Buy a gift card to a local food store so the food pantry can supplement with what is actually needed.
Neighbors helping neighbors is the best way to deal with hunger in our community. Most of us have more than we need — and we don't have to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas to help our friends.
Run Down By Obstacle Course...
The Town of Wawarsing will be conducting a re-evaluaton of property values over the next year. Clearly, properties in a rural residential neighborhood surrounding a 68 acre 4x4 obstacle course will drop substantially in value. The noise, fumes, dust, run-off, and 4x4 traffic on local roads will decrease real estate values across a wide swath including Tempaloni, Anderson, Otens, and Oak Ridge Roads. The Town Assessor will have to drop the tax roll substantially, not only for the owners of homes directly abutting the course, but for holdings in the wide area surrounding it. This 4x4 obstacle course damages not only the property owners directly in its path, but the taxpaying citizens of the Town of Wawarsing as a whole.
What ARE The Comptrollers' Concerns?
Mr. Elliott Auerbach, September 20th, whets our appetite in his Plea for patience regarding his office's analysis of the "referenced resolution" before the legislative session. Exactly what are the concerns, issues, problems, operating funds, seizures and other questions your office has raised?
Henry J. Bartosik
Editor's Note: We edited down the Ulster County Comptroller's memo to county legislators last week to fit in its major issues. For the full memo, please visit www.scribd.com/doc/106240728/Comptroller-s-Urgent-Plea-Memo-09-17.
The Silence Of The Lambs
The silence of the lambs is deafening. America has been censored by the international Islamic community and America has apologized. Where are the Hollywood actors, producers, screenwriters and investors? Their work will never be subjected to such censorship? Hence silence. Where is the moderate Muslim who would never engage in such horrific acts? Is there no need to condemn these actions of fellow believers? Is there no need to attempt to educate international Islam about the constitutional rights of American citizens and individual responsibility? But then it is only those radicals who kill fellow Americans, hence no need to get involved?
Does the gay lesbian community feel the least bit uncomfortable about the leaders of the United States enabling Radical Islamic control of foreign countries? Does the gay lesbian community think that they would be safe in the countries this administration has helped create?
As America acquiesces to radical Islamic culture will the atheist ideology be tolerated?
Will the independence of American women inflame the sensitivities of International Radical Islam?
There are so many groups in America whose beliefs and lifestyles are insulting to the radical Islamic Community, it is difficult to believe that the current incidents won't be repeated many times over, and yet... Silence.