All the roofs that can be pitched, will be pitched, covered in green standing seam metal roofing. The interiors, cathedral style, will be white. Whatever brick is exposed from the old canopy will be remedied, assuming it is of merit, or will be covered neatly and painted white. All posts will be attached to elevated concrete stands for durability, planters replaced and planted with suitable smaller flowering trees and seasonal plants.
Skylights will be added to the canopy.
The asbestos found is considered non-friable, i.e., does not break up and release fibers, and causes no risk, but nonetheless special handling is required by the state during the removal, but then can be disposed of with no special requirements.
I found this out by walking into uptown, chatting with a couple of the workers, getting directions to and talking with an engineer from Lochner Engineering (their offices are open to the public) who is contracted to see the contract is completed to specifications and all government procedures to insure successful completion and funding. There are fully drawn plans that show all the detail of construction and the professional opinion of the engineering firm is that funding is sufficient for all the work, plus the asbestos plus a buffer beyond that. They are sensitive, very, to the needs and concerns of the businesses during construction.
Whether one personally likes the canopies or not, they are being done well, responsibly, and of course are an improvement over what was there, deteriorating, over long years.
Golden Hill choices
If you are advocating for the county to build a new Golden Hill facility, where to you plan to get the money? You will need about $25 to $62.9 million a year in 2012-2016. Where can these funds come from?
You can take $7.4 million from all the other vulnerable populations like the Office for the Aging, Mental Health, Social Services, Veterans Affairs and the Youth Bureau.
Or you can take $12 million from Public Health and Safety, like Emergency Management, the Health Department and the Sheriff.
Or you can take $24.5 million from public services like Public Works, Building and Grounds, and UCAT.
Or you can take $7.7 million from economic and community development, including SUNY Ulster, UCDC and Tourism.
Or $9.8 million from government infrastructure such as Information Services, the County Attorney, Planning and the environment.
All these savings strategies add up to $61.4 million. In other words, Golden Hill could be the only non-mandated service the county would have. Everything else would disappear.
There are almost no small savings and efficiencies to be taken from these areas, so you will have to cut out whole programs that are either optional or conditionally mandated. They will leave real holes in our community.
Or, you can raise taxes. You will need to raise county taxes by 32 to 80 percent.
Or, you can privatize the Golden Hill health care center, retain the nursing home beds in Ulster County, and retain most of the jobs associated with Golden Hill.
What do you choose?
Dear shareholders of USA.gov (and Rep. Ryan)
I’m fed up to here listening to self-anointed schmexperts on TV judging the budget debate like a WWF grudge Match. Let’s deal with the facts:
The Democrats want to run an enterprise based on the Amtrak model.
The GOP wants run an enterprise like a Sunday service and skip the “collection plate” and eliminate the homily to run a leaner, meaner service. They’re confident that God would like that.
David Stockman, the author of the fraud known as Reaganomics, publicly admits to his scheme’s huge faults. Yet the GOP insists on running “The Gipper” ‘up-the-middle’ out of the T-formation which went out with the leather helmet. FYI, when St. Ronald left the governor’s mansion in Sacramento, California was faced with a massive budget deficit. Sound familiar?
Let’s get real. Any enterprise that hopes to sustain itself in good times or bad has to make adjustments when revenues aren’t meeting expenditures. Otherwise, you are headed for insolvency. The GOP has not uttered one peep about raising revenues. All they discuss are ways to cut programs to which they disapprove.
In the last decade, 47 percent of the S&P 500 paid no federal taxes in an environment of record profits and un-expensed assets give-aways, called stock options. Democrats, with a well of supporters from the world of finance, are deficient with any new ideas regarding how raise money given the challenges of the global credit markets without further burdening the middle class.
If we are going to survive this mess, both parties can find common ground with the realization that both party ideologies aren’t getting it done. If GE, with its $14 billion in new profits, can’t afford to pay 15 percent of its new profits to support one of the world’s greatest enterprises, The American Way of Life, then shut them down (we bailed them out). Start by scrapping the tax code, imposing a flat 15 percent tax on all wage earners and companies, and we can actually target the date that we begin to live within our means.
I’ve done the numbers, every wage earner would actually take home more pay. No more taxation on successful investment ideas and no safety net for imbecilic financial behavior. No more immoral estate taxes. After this is accomplished, then we can figure out how to retire all of this debt we have no way of ever honoring.
Consider the birds
As we delight to the cheering sight of robins and other migrating birds just returned from warmer climes, let us remember that they have vital needs just as we do.
Most of us grumbled a lot about the cold of the winter just passed, and many folks anticipate the fun of working in their yards soon. If you are planning to revitalize your outdoor environment, please do not give in to the temptation to use quick and easy herbicides and pesticides in order to achieve that unnatural absurdity — a billiard-table-like lawn.
Worldwide, birds are in greater distress than ever. Like other pollinators — bees and bats, who are, sadly, facing a real threat of extinction — birds suffer terribly from the enormous quantities of pollutants that we humans have devised in the mistaken belief that we were improving our lives.
This spring, put yourself in the place of a wild bird who has braved a thousand-mile journey, returning tired and hungry to this area. What a cruel thing it is to find that their food supply has been contaminated or killed off completely because we humans want to impress our neighbors with a “perfect” lawn.
Ask yourself, is it really so important to have a monotone lawn that it’s worth poisoning the robins and others who depend on a healthy supply of beetles and worms to live? Is your life made that much better by getting rid of weeds that you’re willing to kill our feathered friends?
A diverse lawn, made up of a variety of plants (including, yes, even the much-hated dandelions) is so much healthier and more natural and provides the multiple types of seeds needed to nourish birds and other animals. If you let nature take its course, you will eventually be blessed with many wildflowers mixed in, such as violets, daisies and buttercups.
Please consider the beauty, innocence, and even the necessity (as they pollinate and eat pests) of birds in our lives, and do not destroy their health by using toxic lawn and garden products. And boycott all manufacturers who are willing to kill birds to make a profit.
Kind of an ode to spring
The Good Book tells us there is a season for many things “for the highest as well as the lowest” and at long last, after so many anxious years, the Season of the Highest, the Wealthiest, and the Privileged, is now bursting forth like perfumed blossoms of spring, hallelujah!
And if Wall Street, the biggest bankers and the richest 5 percent of the American people did not have a center right party and a far right party to alternately represent their interests “instead of the old center party and right party which failed them in their Time of Greed” the Privileged would invent them. And it was done, and now they have their season.
And if those whose season had finally come did not have a Barack Obama to lead them behind a banner of the center right, surely they would invent one.
And they did. And if they did not have a Tea Party to hold high the banner of the far right, they would invent one, and did.
And now the Season of the Highest is beginning gloriously: Democrats and the Republicans, for so they are named, are working diligently together at last, from center-right to far right, for the interests of the few but mighty.
They are continuing the wars, hallelujah!, and the tax reductions for the wealthy, hallelujah!, and indifference to the environment, and our national infrastructure, and educational system, hallelujah! And now they are agreeing on budget cuts for Americans of low income, the working class and middle class, and on finally inching their way toward the destruction of the godless socialist edifice erected by the long-gone center-left Democratic Party known as the Temple of Social Security and the Caring Pools of Medicare and Medicaid and Food Stamps. Hallelujah for the Season of the Highest!
But seasons change, which is our point. And if we don’t let the far right turn us around, and don’t let the center-right turn us around, and don’t let the race-haters and red-baiters turn us around, we can make this Season of the Highest come and go for good before you know it.
Instead of a season that honors Wall Street, the biggest bankers and the richest five percent, and the right wing and the center-right parties that cater to them, it’s time to contemplate a new season, one that celebrates average hard working people, and families and students, common folk like most of us, and build new political parties that will cater to their interests, and make it a very long-lasting, wonderful spring of warm breezes, sunshine, peace, justice and equality for all.
Jack A. Smith