Serving the Towns of Wawarsing, Crawford, Mamakating, Rochester and Shawangunk, and everything in between
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Gutter Gutter
Where Did All the Water Go?

As I drive around the town of Rochester and communities surrounding us and see ponds, streams and creeks run dry and meet people at the local water hole obtaining water as their wells have gone dry, I wonder how much longer this trend will continue.

With climate change a prominent issue of concern, we need to be more attentive to our water use.

Locally, we are all on the same water aquifer with the water table dropping very, very low. Especially given that we have had no significant rain. We need to be conservation-minded.

In fact, The Environmental Commission from the Town of Rochester could not even float boats in an attempt to clean the Rondout this year for the 5th Annual Ulster County Creek Week. Instead, they organized, with the help of the community, an event attended by about 100 people concerned about the health of the Rondout Creek. A speaker from Riverkeeper presented recent water report data and information on how they can make their local waterway cleaner.

Thank you to all those who attended and donated food and to our business donors: Emmanuel's, Cancielleri Pizza, Saunderskill Farms, Kelder's Farms, The Rosendale Cafe, The Cheese Store, Back to Basic Farms, and Long Season Farm. You all helped us put out a nice spread. And many thanks to Chris Hewitt who made homemade pizzas in the community oven at the Community Center and to The King of Rome whose music added ambiance to the day.

It was a wonderful, spirited, inspirational community event.

Look for Spring and Fall events next year sponsored by the Town of Rochester ECC. Earth Day and Creek Week are reminders to help us keep the Rondout cleaner and be concerned about the environment and the water we use and drink. For water is life.

Barbara Fornal

Don't Shove The Mine Down Our Throats!

I hope that the modification to the Ellenville Sand and Gravel Mining permit doesn't get shoved down our throats regardless of the consequences. A letter to the editor published on September 15 makes blasting sound as if it could be done in a playground full of children, with none the wiser. There is no hysteria here and I have not encountered slander toward anyone. That's childish. However, two facts remain:

First, Ellenville Sand and Gravel desperately wants to blast the hell out of an area within a 5 minute walk from the village.

Second, I vehemently oppose the blasting.

Elizabeth P. Gordon

Some Thoughts About Our President...

Thought for tonight — Much has been said about my president (and yours also whether you like him or not). He walked into an economic collapse and to ugly wars. He tried after losing a mother to cancer to rein in healthcare problems. He supported equal pay for equal work for women, he gave the order to take out Osama bin Ladin, he brought American solders home from an unjust war in Iraq, he stood up for the rights of people to marry the person they love. He has kept an open mind and been willing to change it when things have gone differently than expected. Do not get me wrong I do not think he is perfect (I bet we would argue at the Thanksgiving table) but at the end of the day I know this — We as a nation have grown (kicking and screaming) a lot. And at the end of the day I would prefer to have a president who tried to do something he thought was the right thing than a president who tried to do something because someone else thought it was the right thing. Besides, I am thinking if you piss off the far right and the far left enough maybe those in the quiet majority might finally have a voice. I'm thinking right now that if I could see the future, history books will tell us that my President's least significant achievement is being a man of color. His most significant will be that he was a president of the people and for the people.

Rebecca Turmo

The America Gives More Act Would Help!

The United States Senate has an opportunity to provide a powerful boost to charitable organizations such as Family of Woodstock Inc. and Mohonk Preserve, agencies working to improve lives and strengthen communities here in the Mid-Hudson Valley and across the country.

In July, the House of Representatives approved the America Gives More Act, landmark legislation that would make major charitable giving incentives permanent and reliable for potential donors.

Here in the Mid-Hudson Valley, these provisions help FAMILY provide services including shelters, emergency food pantries, court advocates, counseling and case management services, emergency hotlines, and child care support. And through charitable contributions, Mohonk Preserve is able to permanently protect 8,000 acres of the Shawangunk Ridge for the public, providing recreational and learning opportunities in nature for over 165,000 children and adults each year and conducting award-winning programs in environmental education, conservation science and land protection and stewardship.

The Senate has the opportunity to approve a permanent extension of these tax provisions, which would encourage individuals and small businesses to actively support the development and sustainability of our communities.

We urge U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, to vote for the legislation.

Michael Berg, Executive Director
Family of Woodstock Inc.
Glenn Hoagland, Executive Director
Mohonk Preserve

Does Anything Matter In Rochester?

After serving four years as Councilwoman — and being recognized for my dedicated service — you'd think I was the best qualified applicant for a 4-month appointment to the Rochester Town Board. And so begins the latest episode in the "how to get rid of Manuela" saga — which started with the infamous porno rumor in 2007 and continued with a residency non-issue in 2009.

The filling of this town board vacancy required two steps: (1) a town board appointment for the rest of the year, based on applications and interviews, and (2) the nomination at the parties' caucuses of candidates for the November special election.

As reported in the September 4 issue, I was among the three candidates interviewed for the Rochester councilperson position left vacant by the resignation of councilman Tavi Cilenti.

To see why people consider the town board's decision "outrageous" and "beyond logic" you must compare my 9-page application — including the reasons why I am the best qualified, my resume, quotes from newspapers expressing praise regarding my work as councilwoman, most from supervisor Carl Chipman himself, proofs of my accomplishments and of my success in building a positive image for our town — to the one submitted by Cindy Fornino, the chosen applicant: three meager lines showing interest in the position, not one word regarding her education, her experience or her record.

I commend the journalistic objectivity of reporter Terence Ward who mentioned the key point: "Fornino ...spouse to the chairman of the town's Conservative Party."

I found it disturbing that supervisor Carl Chipman and councilman Brian Drabkin bought their spot on the Conservative line in next year's elections by appointing the wife of Gerry Fornino, the chairman of the Rochester Conservative Party. If cultivating connections didn't play a role, then the reasons for rejecting me — the best qualified applicant — are painfully obvious: I always speak my mind, and I do it with a foreign accent.

Reporting on the Rochester Republican Caucus (September 18), Terence Ward nailed it again: "What neither Fornino nor her nominator mentioned was the fact that she is registered as a Conservative, the party that her husband chairs in the town. It was only brought up because Michailescu forced the issue on procedural grounds."

The 2014 Republican Caucus was the most staged event I participated to in my entire life, and I've spent thirty years in Europe's worst Communist dictatorship! The new Republican Committee chairman Danny Aversano didn't utter the word Republican; fellow Republican Committee members used all the tricks in the book to sabotage my nomination, and they succeeded. But while these were expected Republican Committee shenanigans, no matter who the chair is, our town leadership's decision is most troubling.

What is the message we convey to our residents, to women, to our youth? That nothing matters except marrying the "right" man? That education doesn't matter, experience doesn't matter, a stellar record doesn't matter, involvement in town's life doesn't matter, doing an excellent job, accomplishments and volunteering do not matter?

I am struggling hard to believe that Rochester is still a place where — in John Adams' words — "to be good, and to do good, is all we have to do."

Manuela Michailescu

We Have To Address Climate Change Now!

The Earth's climate is getting warmer, and humans are responsible.

That's not my opinion, that's a fact supported by more than 97 percent of climate scientists. The outcome over the next 50 years and beyond could include massive heat waves, prolonged drought, extreme weather and the mass extinction of species.

We have the alternatives, we have the technology and we have the power. What we don't have is any more excuses. Please make this change happen now. Leave nuclear, coal, oil and gas behind. Let's harness the natural powers of sun and wind and water. That's the only way we can survive progress and move forward.

Jerusha Jaeger
New Paltz

Some Questions For The Gaming Commission...

I would like to thank the head of the state Gaming Commission for his comments on the procedures involved in the decision to choose which sites and companies will be chosen for the new casinos. His answers seem to verify that I was not alone in my trepidation.

According to what I have read, Orange County was not part of the original concept of giving an economic boost to Sullivan and Ulster counties; suddenly that changed. The governor appointed five members to a Gaming Commission location board. I do not intend to intimate any impropriety on anyone's part but frankly I would like to know how they were chosen. It must be nice to get a political appointment to determine the economic future of two counties. They must be very important, since at the televised presentation only three attended in person for the majority of the presentation. There are some points I do understand.

First, "this process is transparent;" second, "The Gaming Commission's decision will be final." The governor's five picks' decision is final. Orange County is in the mix with $450 million for the license if it goes to Tuxedo. Yes, that is quite transparent as well. Just remember this is New York State, then give me a past example of when money has not been the deciding factor. I want to thank Channel 6 for televising the presentations. I would love to see the hearings as well.

Richard Langston

Fiction Doesn't Hold A Candle To News

Dystopian fiction is getting impossible to write. There are the classic ones like "1984" and "Brave New World," but lately the genre has fallen on hard times.

A typical dystopian novel might portray some future society where every bit of information about people's lives is collected by a sinister group of masters, who meet secretly to determine whom to murder. Character development usually involves the gradual awakening of a believer in the system, who goes from being a simple rube to a horrified victim of the monstrous social order.

Irony often speeds the rube's journey of discovery. A "Big Brother" leader is found to be a grotesque fraud who preaches hope and change while secretly working for the tiny group of elite masters. Endless wars fought in faraway places and waged in the name of freedom are discovered to be the exact opposite, the butchery of innocent people in the name of profit.

The media in such novels is completely controlled by the depraved system itself, offering news that always supports the monstrous status quo. Often the propaganda fed to the common people is much more powerful than any physical coercion needs to be.

These novels often include a vast underclass considered to be subhuman. Physically different, they are used like animals for whatever purposes the elites choose. Herded together in wretched conditions, they are subjected to every form of racism and police brutality imaginable to keep them in line.

Perhaps we don't have to imagine such worlds anymore.

Fred Nagel

Gutter Gutter
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