I offer the following as a private citizen:
In his recent lengthy letter to the editor, school trustee Steven Haun has once again made inaccurate claims against the Board of Education and district administration. Mr. Haun continues to insist that the district incorrectly appropriated funds allocated to the 2009-10 budget, even in spite of a resolution passed on June 8, 2010 which was voted unanimously that “any revenue shortfall experienced by the district has not, in any event, been due to a misappropriation of funds.” (That 9-0 “unanimous” vote includes Haun, himself.) Please read item N3 on page 9 of the board-approved minutes for the June 8 meeting. The minutes can be found under the Board of Education tab on the district website.
Mr. Haun also made other inaccurate allegations in his letter. In an attempt to clarify the inaccuracies made by Mr. Haun and present the “true facts” to the public, an explanation has been placed on the school website by the Superintendent of Schools. I would encourage readers to visit the Saugerties Central School District website at: www.saugerties.K12.ny.us , click on the superintendent’s page and read the “Recent Claims-Full Response. You can then judge for yourself.
George D Heidcamp Sr.
Mr. Heidcamp is president of the Saugerties Board of Education.
At times the historic Katsbaan Cemetery looks like part of the fabulous Lazy Swan Golf Course. Has the cemetery also been sold? Is it now also being incorporated with the Lazy Swan? When visiting the resting places of my ancestors, I no longer find the peaceful and serene stillness. Now I find golf balls. It is extremely distasteful, and very intrusive to see little white golf balls lying on top of a loved ones grave! From all I have read and seen, I do think that the Lazy Swan has enough working capital to install some sort of a natural barrier between the Katsbaan Dutch cemetery and the golf course. Will we instead be asked to suck it up, and wear hard hats at burial ceremonies? If this was not such a grave situation, I would be laughing.
Barbara Terwilliger Ambrosano
TOWN TOO INVOLVED IN OPUS 40
As we all experience the excessive hot weather one small group of our citizens suffer from Bluestone Chip Heat Stroke.
The Saugerties Town Board has expressed and begun a movement to acquire the scenic treasure known as Opus 40, the extraordinarily artistic blue stone creation by Harvey Fite in his abandoned quarry.
Already the Town Board has spent $5,000 of taxpayers’ money from the Economic Development account as a retainer to a law firm in Columbia County with known experience in Charitable Trusts, etc… Further efforts are ongoing in attempts to acquire parcels totaling some 58 acres with a recorded assessed value of $193,000. These parcels are currently tax exempt. There is discussion to acquire additional acres from owners to enhance the site. Currently the sale asking price is in the $3,000,000 range.
Should any of this come to fruition and a self-sustaining trust and budget be set-up (if a grant application is successful) you can bet our Town Board will be up to their drawers in it. It could even mean a new division for the Buildings and Grounds Department.
I have been assured by some Town Board members that should it come to the point where town funds are needed, they would vote against further attempts of acquisition, yet they did already spend $5,000 of public funds and could very well lose that.
The bluestone neatly assembled at Opus 40 has been chipped. Some of those rock chips flew to hit Town Hall and get imbedded in the minds of some.
Come on Town Board, withdraw any further thoughts of buying Opus 40 – unless of course you wish to acquire the CAROUSEL and place it around the OBELISK. Continue to encourage real estate firms to aggressively seek potential private buyers as you say is being done already.
Nelson G. Burhans
On July 10 Operation SOS held its fifth annual barbecue and I want to thank all involved who made it happen. This year the event faced challenges that threatened its success not the least of which was the pouring rain through much of the morning. Weather.com’s forecast gave a bleak outlook of rain throughout the day. I read my morning reading in God Calling entitled “Expect Miracles.” I gained a sense of calm and as I hung marker balloons in my rain slicker from 8-10 a.m. the rain abated and God sent us the best weather for our event.
The annual barbecue turned out to be a great success. While there have been changes in those who are active in SOS, this organization is one that is blessed because it is based on selflessness and giving. Some of those who gave of their time, energy and resources that day and in preparation for the event are Werner Hegner, Antoinette Babb, Mark Knaust, the William Mower family, David, Stacey and Tyler Gippert, Michael Harrington, Justin Graham, Michael Feller, Janice Whitmore, Lou Honecker, Eleanor and Dennis Flynn, Pete Richardson, Don Chiodo Sr. and Don Chiodo Jr., Barbara Coll, Barbara Dalmas, Ginny Davies, Marie, Ed and Alassandra Steedle, Theresa Pesce, Tom and Joy Andreassen.
We thank many businesses for their support including Adams Fairacre Farms, Jolly Cow, Hannaford Supermarket, Price Chopper, Dunkin Donuts, and Maria Valk, JD Liquors, and Sue’s Restaurant and Car Wash. A special thanks to Dave Ducas and Ronald Wood who volunteered their time and talent for the fifth year as DJs and announcers. Special thanks to the Elks who were on hand that day to insure the smooth operations; Debbie and Robert Venneri, Mr.Swart, Joan Gessner, Al Whittaker, and Al Brooks Jr. who have been continuous strong supporters of SOS.
All listened attentively and at times with awe to the guest speakers. The first guest speaker was SFC Bill Forte who shared some of his 21 years of experience ranging from Vietnam through Desert Storm as well as the support extended to his son and brother both of which are still on active duty and who have been deployed to the Middle East.
Impromptu speeches were made by MSGT Chuck Polacco who presented SOS with a donation from the Kingston Veteran’s Association as well as LTC David Gagnon and his father LTC Dan Gagnon. LTC David Gagnon spoke of his experiences in Iraq as commander of the 104thMP Battalion in 2007 and the packages and morale boost from SOS as well as the homecoming which he described as one of the best in the nation. He spoke of the unit’s reentry into Kingston and finding the streets lined with yellow ribbons (made and donated by Michael’s Candy Corner) and hung by Operation SOS. Finally Ed Steedle representing American Legion Post presented SOS with a donation for their continued work. Ed orchestrated the raffle and included an impromptu auction.
Thank you to our great community which continues to support our fundraisers year after year and who filled the Pavilion leaving standing room only.
As Operation SOS moves toward the completion of seven years of 100 percent volunteer service we realize that support for our deployed military is just as important as it ever was and perhaps more so as citizens tend to become weary. In 2008 Anthony Forte, while deployed wrote to SOS “As much as any body armor or medical service you keep our troops ready to meet the challenges before them.”
The next packing day is scheduled for Thursday August 19. For more information call 845 246-3390.
Let’s keep the miracle of our mission alive. God bless America and God bless our troops.
SUPER SUCCESSFUL GARDEN TOUR
I would like to thank all those who participated in the sixth annual Secret Gardens of Saugerties Tour on Saturday, July 10. The tour had the highest attendance and made the most money in its six-year history. Over 300 people visited the gardens, despite the weather forecast for rain and thunderstorms. To call this year’s tour a success would be a huge understatement.
Without question, my biggest and most appreciative thank you goes to the gardeners, who worked many, many long hours in their gardens to make them as perfect as possible for the day of the tour, without the help of rain for what seemed like an eternity. My thanks and gratitude to the many businesses and individuals who helped by sponsoring the tour. I must mention Sharon Brontolli and Rick Smith and all the folks at Smith Hardware who, for six years, have interrupted their busy days to sell tickets for the tour. Thank you all.
Special thanks to those who donated gift certificates, services, did photocopying, and helped me with other aspects of the tour. I greatly appreciate the help of the 29 volunteers who assisted at the gardens and at registration on the day of the tour. My thanks also to this newspaper for publicizing the tour. Lastly, thanks to the hundreds of people who bought tickets to view the beautiful gardens. I hope you all had a wonderful time.
The proceeds from the tour will help the Boys & Girls Club, Saugerties Unit, which serves the needs of the Saugerties community. I couldn’t have done it these six years with out all of you. Thank you all!
SUCCESSFUL FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION
The Kiwanis Club of Saugerties would like to thank the following people/groups for making the Fourth of July celebration a great success: the village and town of Saugerties, the Saugerties Parks Department, the Saugerties Police Department, the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department, Diaz Memorial Ambulance Service, all the local businesses who contributed to the raffle, all the vendors, all the bands who participated in the “Battle of the Bands,” WDST for promoting the fireworks and broadcasting from Cantine Field, and a special thanks to all the volunteers. It really does take a community!
President, Saugerties Kiwanis Club
SORRY FOR THE MIX-UP
I’m writing this letter in regards to the mix up with the parade judges for the July 5 parade. Being chief of the Saugerties Fire Department and chairman of the July 5, 2010 Parade Committee, I would like to apologize to Mrs. Thornton and her committee. This was a miscommunication on my part. The Saugerties Fire Department would like you and your committee to judge next year’s parade. Again, I am very sorry this happened and I apologize.
UPDATE ON HYDROFRACKING
At the urging of Julia Walsh — activist and project director of Frack Attack — I contacted New York State Senator Thompson’s office to speak at the State Senate Environmental Commission meeting in Albany. Public comment is not allowed on a bill that is not on the agenda. However, I was fortunate enough to be given special privilege to speak on behalf of environmental groups on the need for a moratorium on issuing DEC permits for hydrofracking.
I would like to share what I said at the meeting. It is imperative that people start to educate themselves on a critically important environmental issue confronting the state and nation.
“I am here on behalf of many organizations to speak about a bill that is not on the agenda but should be: The Englebright/Addabbo bill, which would put a moratorium in place on issuing gas drilling permits until the federal government concludes their scientific study.
Last week a New York City public school had antifreeze fed into the school’s water system causing the children to drink contaminated water out of the fountains. The children were rushed to the hospital.
Now imagine that the water was contaminated with toluene, ethylene, methane and 500+ other undisclosed chemicals that are used in horizontal gas drilling. If this were to happen, I am not so sure these kids would get out of the hospital.
Yesterday, Congressman Hinchey spoke about 14 homes in Pennsylvania that had their wells closed due to water contamination from hydrofracking.
And recently there were explosions from gas wells in Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia that killed and burned many workers and produced flames to shoot up over 70-feet high and seen for miles
Six states have documented a total of approximately 1,000 specific cases of water pollution attributable to hydrofracking technology. The former administration in Washington declared the practice -- and the toxic water -- off limits to the scrutiny of the EPA.
This action led the states to fend for themselves, despite the limited financial resources.
Hudson Valley Business Journal states that if industry plans are ultimately approved, an estimated 200,000 wells will be sunk in central New York and Sullivan County.
New York has a total of 17 inspectors to cover all safe water enforcement investigations throughout the state.
The EPA has agreed to take another look at the potential adverse impacts that hydro fracking may have on water quality and public health. We owe it to the people of New York to let the experts conduct their study. We all understand New York is in a fiscal crisis. However, selling out our most precious commodity — our liquid gold — is not the answer.
As a matter of fact, New York’s fiscal crisis makes it more imperative that you enact this bill. Without the resources to manage this activity, there is a pretty good chance that disaster will happen, causing the state additional massive financial burden.
The potential destruction of New York’s drinking water is too important to play politics with.
Our children’s health and future cannot be for sale.
I am asking on behalf of all the organizations I am here representing to put your name on this bill and do everything in your power to bring this to the floor this legislative session and see it become law. With the Assembly already stepping up to the plate, it is now up to all of you.
On behalf of all of the following organizations and myself, thank you for giving us this time.
Ulster County Legislator