On Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010, The Dance for Peace organization drew close to 300 people together for our second annual Give Dance A Chance event, this year held at Backstage Studio Productions on Wall Street in Kingston. It was a beautiful fall day outdoors; and inside, spirits were high as many experienced dancers gathered along with newer dancers and enjoyed the music and good company. Through the front window, passers-by could hear the strains of the blues playing, and peek in at the dance in progress. Upstairs, belly dancing was being done by women aged 3 to 73.
The spacious back area was surrounded by our vendors serving up hot tamales, sweet treats, and other delicious offerings, along with displays of vintage clothing, sparkling jewelry, and a multitude of merchandise and services offered by our silent auction. In the center of the room, Energy led a group in hip-hop dance, followed by hula-hooping, then tango. Even the onlookers were amazed.
Dancing stopped for a few minutes for the presentation of our Peace Hero Awards, which were given to Diane Reeder (Queen’s Galley), Manna Jo Greene (environmental events newsletter), and John Flowers (Poughkeepsie-area community organizer.) They were honored with plaques and words of praise.
All of the bands and dance instructors that day volunteered their talents. In addition, more than 50 individuals contributed their time for running the event. We wish to thank them all.
We, the organizers and the participants of the event, are grateful for donations for the silent auction, the presence of the vendors, and the support of the Kingston area community in general.
In keeping with our mission of promoting peace in our community and beyond, we are donating $2,100 to Queen’s Galley to aid their service to the community. Kingston is so fortunate to have Diane Reeder and the volunteer support she has created.
For the upcoming year, The Dance for Peace will be meeting in January to discuss goals and plans for future events and who in the community will benefit from our fundraising.
Stay tuned via the website www.thedanceforpeace.org.
Study the Constitution
“We the People” think that opening the new session of the House in Congress with a reading of the Constitution was a positive and encouraging action. We hope that it’s a sign of renewed commitment on the part of our elected representatives to respect the Founding Fathers’ framework for the most perfect government on earth, and that they will regard it with full esteem as the supreme law of the land and continue to protect and defend it. People can also help protect and defend our founding document and system by learning more about the Constitution and the meaning the Founders put into it. You are invited to a Constitution Study Group on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Gardiner Town Hall, Rt. 44/55 in Gardiner. It’s free and open to everyone. Free Pocket Constitutions will be provided if you don’t have a copy. Please contact Pam at (845) 255-3557 with questions or for directions.
Eddyville resident gives thanks
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley and the members of the Town Board in their victory in defeating the Eddyville Corporation’s attempt to overturn the Town’s ban on mining in residential zones. Judge Melkonian’s decision soundly and decisively rejected the Eddyville Corporation’s challenge to the 2004 legislation on all grounds and reaffirmed the rights of the Town’s citizenry to self-determination in its zoning regulations.
As a resident of Eddyville and a member of the executive committee of S.T.E.M (Stop the Eddyville Mine), I would like to extend a sincere and heartfelt thanks to Supervisor Quigley and Town Board members Joel Brink, John Morrow, Eric Kitchen, and Cris Hendrick for committing the resources necessary to defeat this litigation. Given the economic challenges before the Town and the competition for very limited resources within Town government, this could not have been an easy decision. I would especially like to commend Town Attorney Jason Kovacs on his vigorous defense of this case and his expertise in drafting the legal arguments that enabled Judge Melkonian to issue his decision in such a clear and expeditious manner.
In an age when it is all too common for elected officials to disappoint us, it is comforting to know that, at least in the Town of Ulster, representative democracy is alive and well.
Don’t cut funds for anti-smoking fight
According to a report released recently by U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, exposure to tobacco smoke, even occasional smoking or secondhand smoke, causes immediate damage to your body that can lead to serious illness or death. This new U.S. Surgeon General’s report on tobacco also reveals that smoking causes more than 85 percent of lung cancers and can cause cancer almost anywhere in the body.
The public health impact of tobacco use is devastating. In New York State, 25,400 adults die each year as a result of smoking and 389,000 kids now under 18 and alive in New York will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.
There is a proven solution to reducing tobacco use. The New York State Tobacco Control Program and its partners work to protect children from tobacco use and help adults quit. Research shows that the more states invest in comprehensive tobacco control programs, the greater number of smokers quit. Unfortunately, cuts to tobacco prevention funding, and pervasive tobacco industry marketing have begun to damage progress made in reducing youth and adult smoking.
Tobacco use and dependence is the leading cause of preventable death in New York and in the U.S. I encourage everyone to support the Tobacco Control Program’s efforts to save lives and dollars. We must keep the funding strong if we want to increase the number of kids who don’t ever start to smoke.
Lifespring adult learning
Woodstock and surrounding area retired, semi-retired and other adults are invited to join the Lifespring: Saugerties Adult Learning Community for the spring semester. Classes are held at the United Methodist Church, which is handicapped-accessible, on the corner of Post and Washington in the Village of Saugerties. Classes start April 12, meeting weekly on Tuesdays for six weeks.
The membership fee is $40 for the spring semester. (Those who registered last fall, at a fee of $60, have paid in full for two semesters.) The schedule offers a total of 13 courses to choose from, including the hot topic “Climate Change and War: Twin Dangers Facing the Next Generation.” Go to www.lifespringsaugerties.com for the complete catalog, or call (845) 246-2800 ext. 452 to request a printed catalog. Registration deadline is March 1.
Lifespring is a Town of Saugerties volunteer-run organization, supported by membership fees and volunteers who perform all necessary functions. There are many ways that Lifespring members help make the program successful, from serving on the curriculum committee, running AV equipment, being a class manager, or in short-term volunteer capacities. If you are seeking a way to share your energy, skills, and interests, we will welcome you and put you to work!
Course instructors are not paid, but volunteer to teach because they have strong interests that they love to share. If you are interested in teaching, please contact Lifespring as above.
Lifespring Membership Coordinator
Obama was wrong to speak in Arizona
The Tucson event that memorialized the senseless loss of human life in Arizona was filled with absurd contradictions, tempered by examples of heroic human caring. Is it really such a mystery that violence is endemic in the media, the arts, politics and daily life?
Physical violence is endemic to Arizona, in particular, because it is a major center of illegal immigration, is impacted by Mexican and American drug lords, and has suffered from the political, legal abuse of the Federal government. It was not fitting for Obama, Jeffrey Holder and Janet Napolitano to be there as prayerful sympathetic mourners because they contributed to the civil and social angst in the area: Obama and Holder with their lawsuit against the state, and Napolitano with an obstinate assertion that the situation had “improved” and needed no further assistance.
In addition Obama and the Democratic Congress have created anger among our people by their undemocratic and autocratic actions, notably, the ruthless effort to quell citizen protest of Health Care Reform in “Town Hall meetings,” the avoidance of congressional consideration and debate of Obamacare provisions, and Ms. Pelosi’s assertion that Republicans should vote to pass the bill to learn about its provisions. The 2,500-page bill was then pushed through without having been read, with a long laundry list of Voodoo economic structures, earmarks, and mandated purchase of health insurance. In addition, Obama, by executive order, later exempted favored corporations, government employees, private unions, and shamefully, members of Congress from the new law. Surprise!
The dissembling and “spinning” inherent in the Obamacare legislative process was nothing short of political violence against truth and trust in representation, the heart of the democratic process. National media and political pundits excused the urgency because it would give Obama and the Democrat party “talking points” for the 2012 presidential election. The failure of the DNC, Congress and state election officials to vet Obama’s background and candidate eligibility (Report the Congressional Research Service, an arm of the Congress) remains a source of anger because Obama had it in his power to release this information — and did nothing to explain his behavior. The mass media willingly demonized citizens’ doubts about his legitimacy and honesty.
Political demonizing of opponents, like members of the Tea Party, followed the manipulation and bullying of “Town Hall” meetings by members of Andy Stern’s SEIU national union who were bussed to Montana and admitted to the hearing site before members of the community could enter. Such physical manipulation smacks of the methods of Vladimir Putin, the stealth leader of Russia. National mass media did not investigate and criticize these actions.
Ordinary citizens feel threatened by these methods used by Obama, Congress and Democratic camp followers. They are angry about the failure of federal and state governments to protect their civil right to protest, and the apparent impotence of the Judiciary at all levels to protect them. In the light of violations of freedom’s basic precepts, unyielding partisanship is a virtue. To whom do the people turn in a police state?
Thoughts for MLK Day
Was Martin King in your mind or was he not even a pawn in your thoughts?
Were you off work for the MLK Jr. national holiday Monday? Did you go to an MLK Jr. event? Volunteer in your community?
If Martin Luther King Jr. hardly crossed your mind on the holiday apply what’s helpful from below. If you are of Latin, Asian, Middle Eastern or another descent I apologize for painting things so black and white.
For white people: Do you have black family members, friends, co-congregants or co-workers? Remember black friends/classmates/teammates from high school? Black families in your neighborhood? Maybe a black doctor, teacher or coach who helped you out?
The big deal: Without MLK Jr./the civil rights movement these things would not be part of your life. Imagine them disappearing to a permanent “other side of town.”
For black people: No, things aren’t perfect today but they’re better. How would you like any of the following? Separate and unequal schools? Separate movie theaters? Separate neighborhoods/towns with sub-standard services? Having to “cross the tracks” to work? Very limited career possibilities as discrimination and quotas by colleges/universities/employers would still be legal?
The big deal: Without MLK Jr./the civil rights movement much of the progress your family/our town/our nation has made wouldn’t have been possible. Jim Crow laws would prevail. Barack Obama President? Not even close; like him or not. Fear would rule the day for people who pushed the said and unsaid boundaries.
We honor and celebrate the U.S. on July 4 with parades and fire works and soldiers on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
Next year, will you take some action to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and the millions who also worked for civil rights?
Many of us slept in and then played video games, watched movies, cleaned our houses or went shopping on the King holiday.
I signed up to volunteer at The Queen’s Galley (a restaurant-style Kingston soup kitchen), I attended a celebration at a Kingston church and I watched a King speech from his last campaign in Memphis in March of 1968.
I hope you are moved in some way. His was such a deep, smart life and there’s much to discover in addition to his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. May we all be out there next year. He will be smiling from the beyond for sure.