I see our village referred to as “sleepy Saugerties” in the current Alm@nac article about this Sunday’s HITS on the Hudson event. I think gratuitous insults like this are inappropriate. Perhaps the writer should start by looking at the sign on the Thruway saying we are “one of the top ten coolest small towns in the USA.” Another one of these and I’ll drop my subscription.
THANKS FOR APPROVING LIBRARY BUDGET
I would like to thank those that voted for the 2011 Saugerties Public Library budget. Your support is greatly appreciated! I know you are looking forward to our new building as much as I am. I would also like to thank Jay Caffrey who served the maximum of two terms on the board and also worked for the library from the 1976 to 1999, much of it as director. Fortunately we will continue to draw on her knowledge of and dedication to the Saugerties Public Library as she has agreed to serve on the new policy committee. I congratulate Mary Alice Leahy and Ken Goldberg on winning new five-year terms and Meyer Rothberg on his write in victory, also winning a five-year term. I look forward to working with Meyer and welcome him to the board.
Saugerties Public Library Board president
UNDERSTANDING FREE SPEECH
It’s September 10 and I’m hoping against hope that the proposed Quran burning will not take place tomorrow, that the pastor of that tiny church in Florida will see reason.
If he doesn’t, many countries will not understand why our top leaders, including secretary of defense Gates and the president himself, can only entreat and plead with the pastor of a 30-person congregation to desist from the offensive act. Many people of other countries and cultures will not understand that an individual’s right to act in certain ways, however offensive, is protected by the Constitution here in the USA.
Many countries whose approval/cooperation we want will interpret our government’s failure to simply stop the burning as our seal of approval of the act. In truth, the fact that our government is not empowered to simply step in and stop the act, however repugnant, is exactly what’s right about America. What makes us special. What proves that the USA is NOT broken, that it works the way it’s supposed to.
But countries that are not democracies, or not democracies like ours, may never understand. This misunderstanding is the great tragedy, and the first of many reasons that I hope and pray it won’t happen.
Editor’s note: In the end, the pastor elected not to burn the Quran.
HASS FOR TOWN JUSTICE
I am writing to share my support for a candidate for town justice for Saugerties by the name of Mr. George Hass. I cannot vote for Mr. Hass as I do not live in Saugerties but I would urge voters to elect him to the office he seeks. I know that he will serve the town and surrounding community well, as I find him to be fair, honest and dedicated person. He brings a wealth of information and many talents to the position and I am convinced that if he is elected he will serve all concerned to the best of his abilities. I would urge the voters of Saugerties to remember the name of Mr. George Hass and to cast your vote for him in the up-coming election. Thank You.
Rev. Charles Stickley, Pastor Emeritus
SUCCESSFUL GALA AUCTION
The Saugerties Area Chamber of Commerce was delighted to hold a fun event in backyard of Stella’s Station’s this past Saturday, under three tents, on a beautiful pre-fall evening. Who can ask for more than good food, good friends (close to 200 people in attendance), good music, and at the end of the evening, the groups who we aimed to have benefit from the event being approximately $30,000 richer than they were at the start of the evening?
Attending and supporting the auction were state assemblyman Pete Lopez, town supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, town councilperson Jimmy Bruno, village mayor Bill Murphy (who was actually helping lug horses!), village trustees Suzanne LeBlanc and Vince Buono, and town justice Wendy Ricks. The Chamber really appreciates these officials and their participation as horse sponsors or Gala/Auction attendees or both.
Putting on such events always requires the right mix of generosity and hard work. During the Gala/Auction, the Chamber let it be known that they especially appreciated the support from:
Krause’s Chocolates, who sponsored not one, but two horses. Krause’s has been a sponsor each year of the public art auction, and like many of our fine businesses with this and other initiatives, they exemplify caring for our community.
Stewart’s Shops Inc. and the president of the Stewart’s Foundation, Susan Dake, for their Red Ribbon sponsorship.
Alex Rappoport, one of the two leaders of the Cahill School PTA (and Saugerties schools in general) participation. Alex unfortunately missed the Gala/Auction, because he’s down South, filming alligators, for a History Channel Show called “Swamp People.” (Be on the lookout for Alex’s name in the credits . . . there’s already one episode that Alex worked on, being shown from time to time.)
Barbara Budik, head of the Economic Development Committee, who organized the volunteers.
Mark Burns for hosting the event at Stella’s Station. Mark really knows how to put on a fun party.
And last but definitely first in the hearts of everyone who worked on Hors’n Around, the person who showed the most “horse sense” and constantly kept things from becoming a stampede . . . Jenny Mangione of Grist Mill Real Estate.
Saugerties Area Chamber of Commerce
DEMS PARTY IN SAUGERTIES
Ninety years ago American women won the right to vote. Initially it was predicted that women’s votes would not really matter, that they would vote similarly to their fathers and/or husbands. Instead, over the past thirty years women’s votes have made a difference.
As 51 percent of the population, women’s votes well should make a difference. Women should be able to influence policy in areas that directly affect us (which happens to be most policy areas) like health care—including reproductive health, childcare, eldercare, personal safety, economic security, education, housing, equal pay, and a healthy environment. Yet we continue to see the affects of policy makers who disregard the needs of women—including the recently passed healthcare reform which puts full reproductive healthcare out of the reach of most women.
Luckily, here in New York State we are more progressive, after all we were the first state to legalize abortions in 1970! Local women’s groups, including Ulster County Democratic Women, pulled together to ensure that the full range of reproductive health care services were maintained when our two Kingston hospitals merged. We Democratic women outnumber our female Republican counterparts here in Ulster County by a 3-2 margin. We can make the difference! But only if we are registered to vote, and do vote. So on that note, all Democrats — women and men alike — let’s party.
Come join UCDW this weekend for our Annual County-wide Democratic Picnic and Fun-Raiser, happening Sunday, September 19 from 1-4 p.m. at Cantine Field, Saugerties. Hear from our progressive candidates and elected officials, including congressman Maurice Hinchey. You’ll meet David Sager, who has been fighting Hydro-fracking in Sullivan County for over two years and is running for State Senate against John Bonacic. Meet Harley Doles who is challenging big insurance company protector senator Larkin. Also, on hand will be assemblymembers Kevin Cahill and Frank Skartados, county comptroller Elliott Auerbach, county executive Mike Hein and sheriff Paul Van Blarcum.
Share some slaw and conversation with our Dems. View sample voting ballots like ones that will be used on the New BMD Voting machines on Election Day. Enjoy good eats, light jazz, our down-home bake sale, and Keegan Ale. Admission is free. Good Eats - $12/plate, $7/kid’s plate. Meet us under the big pavilion. Come rain or shine.
RSVP (or volunteer to bake or help) at email@example.com or call (845)658-8055. Learn more on our website at www.UCDW.org.
Ulster County Democratic Women
TASTE OF NEW PALTZ A SUCCESS
The 20th annual Taste of New Paltz, held on Sunday, September 12 at the Ulster County Fairgrounds, was once again a resounding success. The threat of rain turned out to be just that and the chilly weather was just right for tasting. Thousands of attendees from across the Hudson Valley and beyond joined scores of intrepid volunteers and more than 100 vendors to celebrate the Taste’s 20th anniversary. We are so proud that, for 20 years, the Taste of New Paltz has raised the visibility and improved the quality of life in our beautiful region. As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Taste is vital to our mission to promote business, tourism, education and community projects in the Hudson Valley.
The Taste of New Paltz Committee, made up of local business owners, community members and Chamber staff, worked hard this year on each aspect of this event – restaurants, farm markets and wineries, kids expo, antiques expo, the artistic taste, business expo, country store, wellness & recreation expo, and crafts expo – and more than 150 community volunteers did all they could to make the Taste a lasting and enjoyable experience.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the participating businesses and volunteers. We are also especially grateful to the proud sponsors: Kempner Corporation and Water Street Market (Gold Sponsors); M&T Bank (Main Stage Sponsor); Hampton Inn - Kingston (T-Shirt Sponsor); Cumulus Broadcasting, Chronogram magazine, Hudson Valley Magazine, Roll Magazine, Schein Media and Ulster Publishing (Media Sponsors); CDPHP (Friend of the Taste). The Taste of New Paltz is sustained by volunteers and sponsors; if you would like to volunteer or for more information about sponsorship opportunities for next year’s Taste, please call the Chamber office at 845-255-0243 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are deeply gratified by the outpouring of support from the community and all our visitors, and we look forward a successful 21st annual event, on Sunday, September 18, 2011!
Kathy Combs, Taste of New Paltz chair
Joyce M. Minard, president
New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce
AMBIVALENCE WON’T DO
Rabbi Jonathan Kliger, of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, in his September 9 column, “The Virtues of Ambivalence,” calls for a sustained debate on Israel. An excellent idea. But as the title suggests, he wants to take the side of ambivalence in this debate, going so far as “Thank God for ambivalence.” And that’s a terrible idea.
Kligler would have us believe that “ambivalence” is a gift of God to the Jewish people, and their “difficult, unsatisfying, risky and ennobling Jewish discourse.” But I would say that this is to insult the Jewish people by denying them moral and intellectual clarity; indeed, Kligler denies Jews their own tradition.
Give me the Prophet Amos any day over a hundred comfortable Rabbis uneasy about the gathering storm of criticism of the Jewish State. Amos wrote in the 8th Century BCE, a time of territorial expansion and military power for an early version of Israel. Most Jews thought this was pretty neat, but not Amos. He wrote:
I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps,
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
(Amos: 5: 21-24)
Justice is the touchstone that gives meaning to history. Its eternally running waters can never be comprehended by a term like ambivalence, or any kind of flimflam. Kligler treats justice like an annoyance. “Where is the balance of justice?” intones the Rabbi, meaning, let’s figure out a way to dispose of it while preserving the precious reputation of Jews for moral elevation. His discourse is what a later and considerably more famous Jewish Prophet had in mind when he denounced the “scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” (Matt. 23: 23). These are they who “love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.” (23: 6-7).
Israel is seen as a refuge for an abused people scattered over the nations and held together only by a common religion. To put justice in the foreground instead of ambivalence means to cast a cold eye over its history. Coveting another’s lands, Zionist Jews embarked on a path of settler-colonialism. They needed a strong state for the purpose, and critically, an imperial patron who would help this state do the dirty work. In the process, the worst aspects of the religion came to the forefront. The legacy has been war, ethnic cleansing, racism of every stripe, the rise of vile fundamentalism, nuclear terror, and ceaseless criminality, including 450,000 illegal settlers and the wanton destruction of 24,000 Palestinian houses since 1967, using US-donated bulldozers, part of the phenomenal degeneration of our own society thanks to the Zionist power configuration.
If you want peace, build justice. Return to people what you have robbed them of, and undo the hellish life you have imposed upon them.
By the way, the Jews did not heed Amos’ warning. This led to the destruction of the First Temple, and the Babylonian captivity.