Serving the Towns of Wawarsing, Crawford, Mamakating, Rochester and Shawangunk, and everything in between
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Gutter Gutter
So What Do People Want For Ellenville?

Your recent article on Center and Canal street development in Ellenville mentions the town might need a tailor or shoe repair shop in the near future, but in this day of cheap shoes and practically disposable clothing I don't see the demand. The town could probably support another family restaurant or a great burger place; maybe a good ice cream parlor or old fashioned soda fountain type establishment, but what about non-food items? Book stores are dying, we watch movies on devices, and it's easier to buy most things online in the privacy of our homes. What do people still want to buy in a local "brick and mortar" that they can't get more conveniently from internet shopping - or cheaper at Walmart or a Dollar Store? I suggest the Shawankgunk Journal poll their readers for ideas by asking the question: What types of local businesses would they personally support?

Dina Frisch-Israel
Toronto, Canada

Stop Voting For The Wives Of Party Chairmen!

Sadly, the Town of Rochester is already infamous for dirty political deals benefiting the wives of party chairmen.

The trend started in 2009 with the wife of Len Bernardo, the Chairman of Ulster County Independence Party. As reported by Kingston Times, then GOP County Chairman Catalano "cooked a deal with Bernardo to guarantee his wife, Terry Bernardo, a seat in the legislature." All done shamelessly, in your face: "The Chairman of the Independence Party would like his wife to win as a Republican." The rest is history...

This year, Gerry Fornino — the chairman of the Conservative Party in Rochester — is trying to buy an election for his wife. Of course, he is paying with the Conservative line on next year's ballot.

Supervisor Carl Chipman led the Rochester Town Board to appointing Gerry Fornino's wife to the seat vacated by Tavi Cilenti, making an "incumbent" from the least qualified among applicants. Terry Bernardo masterminded the staged Republican Caucus that gave to Gerry Fornino's wife the Republican line on the ballot.

Mark my words: both Carl Chipman and Terry Bernardo will get the Conservative line on the 2015 ballot.

With self-interest becoming the primary motivator, the roots of corruption spread insidiously. These party chairmen take advantage of voters' little knowledge of local political shenanigans. In the words of a Republican Committee chairman from a town next door, what Bernardo and Fornino do is "Clever! Immoral, but very clever!"

The back room deals make the elections meaningless by denying voters the right to choose their leaders. The back room deals stifle healthy debates and erode people's confidence in the electoral process. The back room deals compromise parties' values, undermine politicians' character and generate voters' apathy. The back room deals are morally wrong.

Only you — the voters — have the power to stop these outrageous dirty deals: NEVER vote for the wife of a party chairman! Luckily, this year you have a choice. In the Special Election for the vacant seat on the Rochester Town Board you should vote for Greta Baker.

Jon Dogar-Marinesco

Supporting Hughes For Rosendale Board

I'm writing to show my support for John Hughes, candidate for the Town Council of Rosendale. I have known John for almost 20 years, having played in 3 or 4 bands with him, most recently Dog on Fleas (for 13 years), and having borrowed from him many a tool and ladder. To sum up John's character: John is a lot of things to a lot of people; a great father and family man, diligent friend, hard worker, compassionate giver to whomever has needs. John is a joy to be around. It's as though he looks at the world and says to himself, "What an amazing world. And what can I do to make it better?"

John is a perfect mix of optimist and not quite pessimist. He really cares about the people of his community. On a number of occasions I've seen John go out of his way to understand and reach solutions with people he doesn't necessarily see eye to eye with. And I've also noticed that John is sometimes the last to leave a party, because he's doing the dishes and cleaning up. How many politicians can you say that about? Please choose John Hughes!

Dean Jones

About Those Projected 2015 Budget Savings...

I wish to thank the New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, both on a personal level and as an elected official in Ulster County for his prudent and diligent care of the New York State Retirement system. As a newly retired teacher, the safety of the retirement system is extremely important to my family and as an elected county official the approximate $3,200,000 less in required contributions this year by the county is well appreciated.

We often hear, time and time again, the complaints from county officials about New York State mandates crippling the county and its municipalities. We also need to recognize when they help. This savings will enable us to hold the line on taxes as well as enable us to start a three-year phase in of the county takeover of the burden of election costs that the county mandated from the towns.

With a small increase in appropriations to Ulster County Community College, we should also be able to achieve the goal of heading off another tuition increase. These yearly tuition hikes have been hurting many young adults trying to better themselves by forcing them to attend out of county colleges with considerably cheaper tuition.

The small increase will bring the county closer to providing its one-third share of maintaining the college. The formula created by New York State to maintaining community colleges was one-third state contribution, one-third county contribution and one-third student tuition and fees. Neither the state nor the county pays their full one-third, which results in higher tuition costs for students and/or their families.

It was only a couple of months ago we were advised by the County Executive that both the election costs takeover and the modest increase to the college were impossible because the county was facing a fiscal crisis and hence, they were rejected by the Legislature. Last week, the County Executive, using less than twelve percent (12 percent) of the above-mentioned savings, included both these changes in his 2015 budget proposal. I applaud the Executive for now recognizing the value and importance of these changes for our constituents, and New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for helping provide us with the relief to not only reduce property taxes but fund critical county services for local residents.

Dave Donaldson, Legislator

Eldridge & The Crazies That Support Him

I just attended the Congressional debate between Congressman Chris Gibson and his challenger, Sean Eldridge and found the lack of decorum in the Miller School auditorium disgraceful. Superintendent Dr. Paladino introduced the event, noting that it would be a "great civics lesson" for those students (and there were quite a few) in attendance. Sadly, it was anything but an example of civics because although the moderator laid down the rules in the very beginning, the Eldridge supporters started out breaking them with applause and cheers and of course, were then followed by the Gibson supporters and were allowed to do so throughout the evening without any strong control from the moderator.

It got to the point where very loud Eldridge supporters began shouting down our Congressman (who is a retired decorated Army colonel) each time he began to speak. It was unwarranted, uncalled for, disgraceful and downright un-American! They should have been removed! Sean Eldridge would have shown years of maturity beyond his young age of 28 if he had silenced his unruly supporters and asked them to stop, just as the Congressman did when his supporters shouted back in frustration.

But therein lies the difference between a tried and true statesman and a young upstart with a group of liberal followers who are ill-mannered and shout down anyone who don't believe as they do. That is exactly what we do not need in Washington, D.C. Gibson is an honest man of the people who has sponsored bipartisan legislation including "No Labels" which was supported across both sides of the aisle. This decorated Army colonel who served seven tours in Iraq, deserved far more respect than given to him by the unruly crowd who support Eldridge. The fact that this inexperienced contender sat on the stage and smirked during these exchanges and did nothing to silence it, proves that he would only add more partisan fighting in Congress that Gibson has so faithfully worked to change in his short tenure in Washington. Please re-elect this true American who respects civil discourse and American ideals.

Jolie Dunham
Lake Katrine

Ebola Should Not Be A Political Issue!

I'm sick of our politicians' carrying on about Ebola and trying to pretend they truly care about the American people while making political hay over one Ebola death. Here is the math: Ebola — one death in the US so far; gun violence — 11,000 per year in the US; the flu — around 50,000 per year. If they really cared about saving lives they would pass the gun control laws that are long overdue — but we know they don't care about gun violence and especially don't care about school shootings. If they really cared about Americans health and infectious diseases they would restore all the cuts they made to the Center for Disease Control and all other health related agency budgets that they have made and vote on the Surgeon General our President nominated months ago — but we know they don't care that these agencies don't have the funding they need to be fully effective. We also know they don't care that we don't have a Surgeon General because the NRA opposes the man nominated. That's right, the NRA doesn't like Obama's nominee for Surgeon General because he once wrote something about gun violence being a health problem in this country (AND OF COURSE IT IS!) They would rather raise hell over getting an Ebola Czar to supervise the fight against one disease than hire a Surgeon General to supervise the whole of our medical establishment including all diseases and the research and development that is sorely needed in all areas. You can't believe the hypocrisy of most congressmen and senators today.

Lee Augustine

Who Is The Hypocrite Running For Congress?

I just attended a debate sponsored by the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce between Sean Eldridge and Chris Gibson who are running for Congress in the 19th congressional district.

In the debate, Gibson crowed that he had offered Eldridge an opportunity to agree to a spending limit for each of their campaigns. He then spouted that Eldridge had not agreed to this deal, and therefore was hypocritical in his fight for campaign finance reform. Well let's look at the facts. Eldridge's campaign contributions are from donors who are subject to complete financial disclosure. He does not receive any money from Political Action Committees (PACs) who are not subject to financial disclosure. Gibson has not renounced PACs who support him. So in effect, Gibson would show equal spending by reportable donations as Eldridge, but would be gaining the benefit of millions of dollars from PACs supported by the likes of the Koch Brothers.

Is it any wonder that Eldridge declined this disingenuous deal? It would be as if Gibson asked the Defense Department to agree to disarm themselves before entering a conflict. This is the height of hypocrisy.

I encourage you to vote for Sean Eldridge for Congress on Nov. 4. He will work to disarm these secret PACs.

Mike Harkavy

Another Endorsement For John Hughes...

It is special election time and Rosendale voters have the opportunity to vote for a special candidate: John Hughes. I have had the opportunity to work with John on a number of projects, and I have come to know that his humble exterior covers a vast array of talents that are coupled with a generous and thoughtful disposition.

Of all his talents, it is John's ability to connect with others that most inspired me to write this letter. John demonstrates outstanding maturity and care, complemented with a great sense of humor. He shows respect for others by reaching out in difficult situations and by providing straightforward, honest information. I have great respect for the effort John puts into considering other people's point of view.

Rosendale has become divided over a few issues. This division has generated negative feelings and has resulted in unpleasant behavior at town meetings. While John will not be able to magically end the division, his presence on the town council will certainly help to create a more productive environment.

As a parent and local businessperson, John has extensive experience with many aspects of life in Rosendale. He has a deep understanding of the town's assets. This experience and understanding will serve us all well when John, as a member of the Rosendale town council, can serve to advance our unique town.

Choose to participate in this election. Choose Hughes.

Maureen Morrow

Answers Statement That Blasting Is Non-Harmful

I'm glad Kristen O. Walsh thinks blasting is no big deal. Perhaps she needs to Google Callanan's mining operation in Kingston, NY and get educated on the problems these residents are still dealing with. Or the blasting in Pine Bush several years ago in which the wells of seven families were contaminated and could not be used for a long period of time when blasting went wrong and hit a pocket of methane gas. Maybe you should talk to people who live in Rock Mountain Estates and see if they feel it is "no big deal."

This is a village. My backyard is about 1,000 feet from your family's property. Who is going to buy my house when there will be sirens sounding, then explosions, house vibrating, pictures falling off the walls, etc. I will tell you... no one. Most people have the common courtesy to not ruin other people's property for personal financial gain.

Perhaps instead of hiring that so called geologist who is either incompetent or a liar, you should have looked into your crystal ball, since you seem so confident blasting is harmless, and told your parents about the bedrock that was obviously there. Griggs should have done core samples, because if he had, the bedrock would not be a "new" discovery. So either he did no core samples, which means he is incompetent since this should have been part of the original study; or if he did them and failed to share this information with your family, then you could say he lied.

The only "progress" I see here will be "profit" in the Osterhoudt family pocket. The Village of Ellenville will only lose if blasting is allowed. The planning board should listen to the people of this village, not a business that wants to exploit this beautiful place we are raising our children in and call home.

Deborah Brissett

Gutter Gutter
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