When I see a friendly face from the past, hear concert music or see beautiful art, it always brings back wonderful memories. Things have happened recently that brings me back to memories of my experiences while attending school. I remember the fun I had on the trips our high school band took to Virginia and Florida, performing at Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, Virginia, the State Capitol, and the elementary schools. We had concerts at the schools for our parents and I was privileged to be able to be a part of All County Band and All County Chorus multiple years. I was also involved in the arts. I took all the classes for art that our district had available. During that time in both art and music I developed life-long relationships with students that had the same passions I did. They are some of my dearest friends today. We still keep in contact, our children are friends and I have had reunion parties for the band, music and art students that I went to school with over 25 years ago.
Everyone has that certain teacher who encourages you to be more than you ever thought imaginable or that librarian that gave you the right book to get you hooked on reading. I was a very shy child who loved to sing and play the flute. Mr. Jones, my sixth grade band teacher, gave me, a very shy child, the encouragement I so desperately needed to perform. Many of the things I accomplish today I attribute to being involved in art and music in school and those who taught me.
I attended Saugerties and so do my three children. Our district has been hit with the devastating mistakes of past administrations and the worst state budget I’ve seen in my 45 years. Taxpayers can’t afford to make up the difference. But I’m unable to sit idly by as important programs are cut. Instrumental music for grades 4-6 grades has been eliminated, as have four crucial art and music electives — making it difficult to major in music or art — and the library department was downsized from six librarians to three for the district — leaving the junior/senior high school with one librarian to teach 1,600 students the skills necessary research and source for a well-written paper for both high school and college. Additionally, funding for extra-curricular activities has been eliminated.
To residents of neighboring towns: the students and community of Saugerties need your help! We all shop in your towns and stores. We have gone to your concerts and plays at UPAC, the Woodstock Playhouse, the Maverick and the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie. We go to your movie theaters and dine in your restaurants. We as a community are reaching out for you to help our children for we have always supported your events, businesses and communities.
We need sponsors for events, items donated for raffles and auctions, volunteers to run events, talented performers for our concert series and people to join us at all our events to raise the needed funds to reinstate programs in our school district. To get involved and help please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us through our web site www.saugertiesslam.com to be updated regularly on events and contacts for chairpersons for the Saugerties PTSA- Saugerties Saves Library, Arts, and Music 2010 Committee. All monetary donations can be made to Ulster County Community Fund/Slam and mailed to: Saugerties PTSA, Call Box A, Saugerties, NY 12477.
We need you! We’ve been there for you in our good times, now be there for us in our bad times. The students of Saugerties and my children deserve to be able to have the kind of memories I had growing up and the education they deserve to succeed in life.
NO FRACKING WAY
Halliburton profits were up 83 percent in the second quarter, and their shares were up 5 percent. That’s enough for you that own this stock to take a deep breath (no, deeper please). Halliburton has more than one reason to be relieved. First, there is a possibility that the catastrophe partially caused by them could be coming to an end, unless of course, a hurricane hits the Gulf Coast, which has been known to happen, before the relief wells are in place.
Still, they are hoping that the temporary cap, which seems to be working, may replace the necessity for the relief well(s) during the hurricane season. There’s no guarantee that the cap will hold, since this has never been tried before. But fear not Halliburton stockholders, we’ve heard little of Halliburton during this three-month catastrophe, so their PR seems to be holding up better than any wells in any ocean.
There are other reasons for Halliburton shares to be rising. The biggest one is that Halliburton is involved in hydraulic fracturing, now, appropriately referred to as fracking. In an investigation by congressman Henry Waxman, Halliburton admitted to using fluids containing diesel fuel from 2005-2007, to fracture oil and gas from underground in 15 states. Yes, these things go on behind our backs, and by the time it comes to our attention, it’s way too late to prevent catastrophic toxins from entering into our air and water.
You don’t have to believe me. If you have any sense of responsibility to your loved ones, particularly to your children and grandchildren, I can now state that it is your obligation to see the HBO movie Gasland. It not only explains it all, but shows proof of what has already happened in Pennsylvania and other states. In addition, if you get HBO, I implore you to invite your friends who do not have HBO to come and share your screen with them. A vote for temporarily suspending fracking in New York State is presently on the table. If we don’t let our representatives know that we are passionate about this, they can just wait it out and then resume their business as usual, whatever that is. Please remember: Democracy is not a spectator sport.
SECRET GARDEN TOUR KUDOS
The Boys and Girls Club extends a sincere and grateful thank you to Jamie Fine. We are the recipients of the proceeds from Jamie’s annual incredible garden tour in Saugerties. I was not able to attend this year, but I’ve heard through reliable sources that this year exceeded all others. That is amazing, considering every year the same is said of Jamie’s garden selections.
The Boys and Girls Club have been reaping the benefits of the garden tour proceeds since its inception. We are so very fortunate to have Jamie’s support. Year after year she works tirelessly to bring this event to Saugerties and year after year it is more successful than the previous year. Thank you to the gardening community who graciously give up their privacy for a few hours to share their gardens; thank you to the community sponsors and all the volunteers. We cannot wait to see the 2011 “secrets.”
Thank you Jamie!
CELEBRATING SUCCESS Eighteen months into his first term, Mike Hein and his administration have much to be proud of. Beyond the nuts-and-bolts success stories in numerous county departments, Mike’s key political achievement has been to provide leadership where before there was none. While it may be irksome to his political detractors, Mike’s omnipresence is exactly what the county’s voters demanded after decades of not knowing who should get the credit – or more often the blame – for Ulster County’s dysfunctional government. Now we know. And as a result of the significant improvements in the functionality of the county government, there is a lot more credit, and a lot less blame, than there used to be.
The impact of Mike’s leadership extends beyond the county’s borders: the ability of this county to negotiate and cooperate with our neighbors, with Albany and with New York City have all been dramatically improved by the reform of our government and by Mike’s proactive leadership and advocacy for our communities. It is to Mike’s great credit that he has filled this role so successfully with no predecessor to emulate, his never having held elected office before. It’s even more to his credit that he has managed the affairs of the county so successfully in a time of national economic turmoil.
It is a shame that rather than join in the celebration of the success of our new form of government – something that all the citizens of our county can and should be proud of – some on the other side of the aisle skip no opportunity to try to knock Mike down for their own partisan gain. I suppose they just want to go back to the days when they were in charge, back before we elected Mike and comptroller Elliott Auerbach. You know, the days of high taxes, wasteful spending, and no accountability. The good old days for them, perhaps, but not for the citizens of this county.
Chair, Ulster County Democratic Party
Republican county chairman Mario Catalano recently chose to withdraw his letter to the editor regarding Hein’s tenure due to issues of “timeliness.”
NOISY NEIGHBORS Saugerties desperately needs a noise ordinance. I am a resident of Saugerties and use my house primarily on the weekends. I pay almost $ 28,000 a year in real estate taxes to this town. I spend as much as I can at local stores and restaurants, use local services and employ locals. I do not use the schools and have no kids. Barely any services are provided by the town, except for water and sewer which I pay for as well. Surely I am entitled to enjoy my house on the weekends without the careless and obnoxious noise some neighbors think is perfectly acceptable (as long as they are ones making the noise of course). Surely an ordinance that prevents construction noise outside of weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., with no work on the weekends, is acceptable to the majority? And a restriction of excessive noise at all times too? I am referring to my neighbors who repeatedly perform construction work on the weekends without any regard to the discomfort of their neighbors starting sometimes as early as 8 a.m. on the weekends. What may be obvious manners and consideration to some is certainly not obvious to all.
If this town can take $ 28,000 from me every year in taxes, surely asking for some peace and quiet isn’t asking too much? It is time for Saugerties to enact a noise ordinance to allow all to enjoy some peace and quiet in their homes. And if you cannot provide this simple entitlement, then half my tax bill!
LIFETIME LEARNING A year ago a group of dedicated, enthusiastic individuals planned a new venture for the residents of Saugerties and the surrounding communities. Our first two semesters were a success. Four courses last fall expanded to eight in the spring! This coming September and October, Lifespring will offer twelve courses. Who would have expected the community to show up with such enthusiasm and curiosity?
Marie Curie put it aptly: “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”
In fact, enthusiasm, coupled with intellectual interest and curiosity, has given our band of volunteers a major boost. To view the attendees who came in with their life experiences adding to the quality of the programs lifted all our spirits: planners and attendees. In fact, we even had special events once a month during the winter months due to the response to our program.
Currently we are in the process of registering for the upcoming fall program. All are welcome to join the program for the coming year. Registration closes Tuesday, August 10. Your cost for the entire year which now includes three courses in the fall and three in the spring (six weeks in length) plus special events is $60 for the year. A bargain for curiosity! Go to lifespringsaugerties.com for more info.
Start on a voyage of discovery if this program is new for you: welcome aboard. For those of you continuing on to a second year: welcome back!
Albert Einstein proclaimed: “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.”
Lifespring board member
LOCAL DEMS SUPPORT UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION Losing your job is a very demoralizing experience. You can blame yourself, feeling like you did something wrong, when you had nothing to do with the economic circumstances surrounding the loss. The Republicans add insult to injury by insinuating that the jobless are slackers, responsible for their own circumstances. The Republicans continued their assault by denying the extension of unemployment benefits. We reject this characterization of American workers who have lost their jobs during this devastating recession. We support the continuation of unemployment benefits for our hard-hit friends and neighbors who are going through hard times.
Mike Harkavy, chair
Marcus Arthur, vice chair
Donn Avallone, vice chair
Beth Murphy, secretary
Harriet Tomasko, treasurer
The Saugerties Democratic Executive Committee
DO YOU HAVE A SECRET? On July 10 the sixth annual Secret Gardens of Saugerties Tour was held and each year it continues to grow in attendance. Jamie Fine, the organizer of this event puts in endless hours of effort to make this event the success it is. She finds the gardens (after all they are secret), organizes the 30-plus volunteers, does the publicity, manages the ticket sales and solicits the business sponsors. Her tireless efforts are worth it because this year the tour raised almost $7,000 for The Boys and Girls Club of Saugerties. This annual fundraising effort goes a long ways to helping the Boys & Girls Club maintain their programs and facility.
As a volunteer who has assisted on the tour since its first year (and whose garden was on it several years ago) I extend my grateful appreciation to Jamie, all the gardeners and volunteers on the efforts that they have put forth. The children of our community are the winners of our efforts. However, the future of the tour is now dependent on finding gardens for the tour for the years 2012 and onward. If you know of a garden (yours or someone else’s) that you think should no longer be a “secret garden” please contact Jamie at 246-0710. Thanks again to everyone.
CATSKILLS BIKE RACE The Tour of the Catskills is back for a third year, and this year promises to be the most exciting one yet! This year’s finale race features a climb up Platte Clove, a.k.a. Devil’s Kitchen, for the first time in a bike race since the Tour de Trump race in the 1990s. The Tour of the Catskills is a three-day pro/amateur bicycle race that starts Friday, July 30 in Tannersville, is in Windham on Saturday, July 31 and ends on Sunday, August 1 in Hunter.
We are looking for volunteers to help with registration on Friday and road marshals on Saturday and/or Sunday. Any and all volunteers will receive a commemorative t-shirt and lunch on Sunday with the racers. As an incentive, groups or clubs that bring 10 or more volunteers over the course of the weekend are eligible to receive a $100 donation for their organization. This incentive is open to any kind of group and is not exclusive to athletic organizations. There are 3-4 hour shifts available for just one day or as many as you’d like over the weekend.
The Tour of the Catskills is going to be an exciting event and I encourage everyone to take time for a short drive that weekend to come watch some of the race, and please consider volunteering for a few hours. For more information about the race or to volunteer, go to www.tourofthecatskills.com or email email@example.com.