Serving the Towns of Wawarsing, Crawford, Mamakating, Rochester and Shawangunk, and everything in between
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Voting Should Never Be Suppressed!

At long last I've finally heard one of the main stream media personalities (Chris Matthews) comment on one of America's most disturbing lies: voter suppression.

Voter suppression should be an insult to all Americans, especially those of us who take the time to understand the matters that relate to political subject, then have the willingness and conscience responsibility of actually casting our ballots at the voting booth.

Seriously, I often wonder why the many veterans groups remain silent to the evils of voter suppression. After all, these are the brave citizens that place their lives and limbs in harm's way to protect the rights of American as well as nations all over the world.

American solders get deployed all over the world, to protect our rights and freedom. Their lives are on the line for people in countries all over the world to attain freedom for people who don't have the rights we take for granted — voting.

Lord knows our society is weary to the point of exhaustion with our young men and women going off to war, all too often coming home broken, in far too many body bags. Then after servicing 1-2-3 tours of duty, these same elected officials want not to service those brave fellow Americans. I say thank you veterans. Speak up; voices are long overdue. In a country that preaches so loudly the virtues of democracy, one would assume political convalesce would be important to every citizen.

Kenneth Jeter, Chairperson
Ellenville NAACP Civic Engagement

There IS Too Much Violence On Television

Very seldom do I watch any of the new series of cop shows on television. Last night, though, leaving my television on after the news shows, I glanced up to see a cop/serial-killing show called "The Following." This was one disgusting television show that I will never forget. If our younger generation is watching this type of show, now I see why there is so much violence in our society today. Television is numbing and nurturing everyone to this disgusting violence being portrayed in front of all generations.

This type of violence only leads to a numbing effect and the possibility that someone might actually carry out an act of violence similar to what is portrayed. So who and what is the cause of all these senseless crimes we see today? There can only be one response and that is the television our generations are watching today.

Something needs to be done about this, someone has to step up and stop these television shows from reaching our younger generations. This violence should not be allowed to become commonplace for our future generations to watch and then act out on our society.

David M. Wolff

Fracking Is Still An Imminent Danger!

Hydraulic fracking is not currently taking place in upstate New York, but the threat that this process poses to our environment continues to grow in other ways.

Right now a de facto moratorium exists in New York to allow the state's Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation to research the health and environmental impacts of proposed fracking. We continue to wait for their initial findings but the struggle to prevent gas and oil companies from bringing fracking, its infrastructure, and its waste to New York goes on.

As the oil and gas industry expands fracking in neighboring states, trucks carrying toxic frack waste from sites in Pennsylvania and Ohio travel our roads in New York. Meanwhile, the construction of pipelines to transport fracked gas to New York and the state's ports has already begun.

Significant victories have already been won against fracking through home rule initiatives in local NYS communities with the passage of bans and ordinances that protect aquifers or regulate zoning, hazardous waste, and road use. Non-profit environmental organizations and lawyers such as Helen and David Slottje have helped to make these early victories possible by offering legal support to advocates on the ground. But much more remains to be done.

In order to help support this important work, in the fall of 2012, Catskill Mountainkeeper teamed up with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to create the Community Fracking Defense Project (CFDP). This joint initiative assists local governments and advocates seeking added control or protections from hydraulic fracturing in their communities. Through the CFDP, we have been providing pro bono legal assistance in the drafting of zoning regulations and land use plans as well as defending anti-fracking regulations already in place. We are also helping the grassroots efforts of NYS residents and environmental groups in challenging industry-sponsored pro-fracking resolutions and/or other pro-fracking actions.

We want to help your community, too. Please join in our efforts to keep fracking out of NYS at the local level.

It is an incredible honor to work with anti-fracking advocates around the state and we look forward to continuing to build this historic movement together.

Betta Broad
Livingston Manor

An Obamacare Scare At Town Hall?

After the annual organizational meeting, the most boring town board meeting hands down is where the kindly insurance agent comes in with his powerpoint presentation showing the board exactly what their insurance coverage costs will be for the upcoming year. You can usually expect the regular 2-5 percent increase (it never ever goes down!), but wait... what is he saying now? That because of Obamacare, the policy that the town carries now is being dropped, and what used to be hundreds of other options have now been pared back to maybe a couple dozen or so! Oh no... he's explaining that each of the new options, with much the same type of coverage the town enjoys now, will have premium increases of what looks to be about 70 percent across the board. And worse... these all have much higher deductibles than the current policy! What will the poor town employees do? How will they ever be able to pay these increases in premiums and endure higher deductibles?

But wait... the town supervisor is speaking, and he doesn't seem worried at all! That's because the town employees won't have to worry about paying more...YOU WILL! That's right, the Town of Gardiner not only subsidizes 100 percent of the employee premium, they also pay for 100 percent of the employee's family premiums. On top of that, the town reimburses the employees for anything they or their families have to pay as part of the deductible, and also the co-pays! Whew... so no one need worry or care that the costs have skyrocketed so much... except the poor saps, us taxpayers, who will pick up 100 percent of the bill.

I offered a comment that the town seemed to be crazy generous when it came to doling out health care benefits, and for once, the town supervisor agreed with me. Maybe when the board sits down to build the 2015 budget, and wrings their hands over where to cut, they can start with the insanely generous health care subsidies for town employees... starting with the town supervisor himself.

Pamela O'Dell

Wawarsing Is Chasing Away Small Business

If there was a small business in Ellenville that had the potential to bring thousands of clients from outside the area every year to spend money on food, hotels, gas, shopping and meals and thus helping support the local economy eating at diners and restaurants while they were here, you would think the local government would be very supportive of that, correct?

If there was a small business in town that brought customers into town who also spend money on second homes and /or move here buying homes and enrolling their children in the school system all which helps the tax rolls, you would think that the town of Wawarsing would be very supportive of this as well, correct?

If a small business moved into this town from somewhere else and bought land for their business and purchased a home and paid taxes that help support this town, you would think the town of Wawarsing would help support this small business, correct?

What if this small business was instrumental in the decision of over 30 individuals and families to move to the Ellenville area to live or to start a business - the town of Wawarsing would be very supportive, right?

Most of the customers that come to this small business are family oriented and bring spouses and children along to shop locally helping the economy of the town in general.

The small business in question is Mountain Wings Hang Gliding School here in Ellenville.

The town board and its supervisor have been blocking the growth of this small business by putting up road blocks on every attempt this small business has tried to grow. There has been no positive support or respect. There has not been support in any way to help this small business to grow which in the long run is hurting everyone that lives and works in the town of Wawarsing.

This small business started in Kerhonkson but soon realized all the benefits for growth if it moved to Ellenville. This small business moved into town at 150 Canal Street (now home of Gabys) for 18 years then to the building now occupied by the Nevele for four more years before building its own building and moving to a small piece of land they purchased just south of the Nevele on Hang Glider Road.

This small business is owned and operated by me, Greg Black, born in Ellenville, raised in Kerhonkson and moved back to Ellenville 12 years ago.

So, I ask you all, why would the town board stop this small business from growing and bringing in more business, more people to help support the other small local business? Why wouldn't the town board want to help and support this small business? Why would the town board make untrue accusations to stop this business from using the airport that it has used successfully and safely for over 25 years? The Joseph Resnick Airport is a public airport supported by tax dollars and funded by the federal government (FAA), and even with a letter from the FAA stating that the town must give access to any and all kinds of aeronautical activity like ours, they would continue to deny Mountain Wings from using the airport? Why?

I guess the BIG boys in town don't want anyone playing in their sand box.

Greg Black

It Is Our Responsibility To Prevent Roadkill

As hard as we humans think we had it this winter, it is likely that wildlife had it worse. Yes, all animals have intelligence and certain instincts that help them survive part of the time, but they are also laboring under increased handicaps caused by us: less habitat, clean water, and food resources thanks to our continual destruction of their land for our own purposes; plus, the constant threat of being mowed down as they try to cross the roads.

As the weather warms, hungry wildlife have ventured out to find food and water for their families. I have already noticed many more sad, dead bodies in the roadways.

I hope that at least some of you will take more care as you dash all over the place. Please watch the sides of the road for any living creature, large or small, about to cross, and for pity's sake, slow down. Will the world really come to an end if you take a few more minutes to get someplace? However, it will come to an end for the wild animals when you do not pay attention and have a heart.

Remember that they all have families, just as you do, who need and love them and will grieve for them when they don't come home. In many cases, parent animals are killed and babies left to starve. So please, be kind and careful, and know the blessing of saving a life.

Eileen Fay

Feels There Are Things Left Unsaid...

There comes a time in every man's life when he must speak his mind. I must speak mine now. I voted for President Obama twice, as I thought he would bring this country together for the very first time. My belief is that there is good and bad in every race in the world. Wherever you travel you will find someone who hates or dislikes someone else, either for his race, religion, or status in the community, even if the prime CEO's of Wall Street fame and politicians who steal say " I didn't realize." My argument is that when the President makes a call to a citizen to pay his respect, such as in the case of Trayvon Martin — and my sympathy goes out to his family — he has opened himself up to being called a racist in one way or another, which is what I did not want to say. During the past month or two, a NYC police officer was shot and killed, as was a DEP worker who serves our great City and State by making sure that the water supply in the Ashokan Reservoir that supplies water to NYC as drinking water is not contaminated by a terrorist act. Both were Caucasian, and both were shot and killed by persons of color, and yet the President of the United States has not made a call to their families. You should not call one family if you are not going to call the other. I am 75 years of age and I still remember my parents telling me to greet everyone with respect whether you like them or not. He has opened the door to criticism by me and by all of our United States of America. Mr. President, remember we are a UNITED STATES.

Peter Polis

Kudos For Finding Our Religion

Although your series, "Finding Our Religion" ended some time ago, many of the topics still remain fresh in my mind, and I want to congratulate the Journal, especially Karen Mattern, for offering your readers such a thoughtful and in-depth exploration of this topic.

Often considered a matter of private concern, the understanding and acceptance of the religious beliefs of others is rarely valued. More often than not, narrow religious beliefs have become the banners under which many wars have been fought and countless lives lost. It is, however, only through open and honest discussion that we can uncover the common truths upon which all spiritual paths are founded, love and compassion for one's neighbor, perhaps being the most significant. How appropriate that Ms. Mattern chose Valentine's Day for her conclusion to the series. The quotes she selected from different faiths ring true for all of us.

A physical reminder of this unity can be observed on the peace pole in front of the Stone Church in Cragsmoor. There you will find a thick post of western red cedar with the message "May peace prevail on earth," in the eight different languages of some of the major spiritual paths in the world. It was positioned in line with the entrance to the church and the stained glass window with corresponding symbols on the far wall. This is just one of more than 100,000 poles, standing in180 countries which serve as symbols of the common yearning for peace among all people.

Thank you, Karen, for helping us understand those basic beliefs that connect us all.

Maureen Radl

A Heartfelt Thank You To The Community

We would like this letter to serve as a deeply appreciated thank you to all of those who were there and helped us out in our time of need. On January 5, the tenants of Glusker Gardens Apartment in Ellenville had a major flood to the extent that the tenants had to be relocated at 1:00 a.m. With the assistance of the fire department, police department, Ellenville First Aid Squad and the Red Cross, they were all relocated in a safe and efficient manner.

We would also like to express our gratitude to Wilson's Market and Peter's Market for supplying them with meals while they were away from home. Last but not forgotten we wish to express our gratitude to Honor's Haven for lodging our tenants and making them feel at home. Again, thank you to everyone who participated in helping us in our time of need. It just shows how a small community comes together for one another in hard times.

Glusker Garden's Apartments Management

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