A recent article in the newspaper said the Kingston teachers’ union and the teachers have agreed on contract terms for the next contract. The union would not disclose what was agreed upon.
The district said “we don’t know” and offered no further comment. This certainly sounds like a sweet deal between the union and the district. Left in the dark are the taxpayers who have to pay the bill.
The current political sound bite is “transparency in government.” How about a little of that at the local level? Tell us now what you are committing us to pay in the future.
Alarming ads for alarming problem
Ulster County TV viewers, Watch Out! Watch out for the New York State Department of Health’s ads on TV. Watch what happens to a smoker and people around the smoker; how every cigarette is doing you damage, then please note the phone number that can offer help.
These are alarming ads for an alarming problem. However, the Tobacco Free Action Coalition of Ulster County (TFAC) wants to be part of the solution that free smokers and let families live smoke-free.
Here are some of the ways TFAC is working toward a healthier future for all residents:
We support smoke-free public recreation areas. Did you know that 80 percent of Ulster County residents believe our children should be able to play on tobacco-free public playgrounds?
We are working toward smoke-free entryways and grounds at public work places so that everyone can breathe clean air.
We are asking large grocery store chains to eliminate the sale of tobacco or reduce the visibility of tobacco displays, which negatively influences children. Over three quarters of Ulster residents favor requiring stores to keep displays of tobacco products out of sight.
To learn more about the fight against big tobacco, please visit www.tobaccofreeactioncoalition.org.
If anyone wants help to quit smoking, call the New York Smokers’ Quitline at 1 866-NY QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit: www.nysmokefree.com.
TFAC-Tobacco Free Action Coalition of Ulster County
Voters, just say no to high school project
School taxpayers stand by, the Kingston City School District is trying to fleece us again. An $86 million project at Kingston High School to “bring the campus” into 2010.
Included in the proposal is the notion and concept of having “housing pods” is the latest cure. Their ally is the New York State Department of Education who visited the high school and gave it a Report Card grade of F. What a coincidence, one of their great recommendations is we solve the problem with housing pods. No student has to walk to get to the next classroom. Hence why not bull ahead, spend $86M, and voila, we will be eligible for getting a Report Card grade of D in three years.
Keep in mind that the Department of Education is fond of “notions and concepts” because they don’t have to pay for or live with the end result. Consider Modern Math, end result when the battery in the hand-held calculator dies, you stare into space. Whole English? Some graduates can’t read their own diplomas.
Let’s step a back in time. We had a right to a public education but we also had a responsibility to respect the other students in our classroom who were entitled to that same right. If we had to walk to our next classroom or, Heaven forbid, go to another floor, we did it. The goal of an education is to introduce a responsible person into the workforce. If anybody believes the ultimate employer will deliver the work to you at your workplace so you won’t be inconvenienced, I have a bridge to sell you.
You’ll see more of this $86M notion in the coming months. It may even make its way onto an election in the future. When it appears on a ballot, just say no. We are paying enough for poor results, let the high-paid administrators come up with a plan at our 2009 tax rate.
Ronald E. Dietl
Thank you, Golden Hill staff
I’m writing this letter of appreciation and sense of gratefulness to the staff at Golden Hill Health Care Facility (south side) for the excellent care they provided for my brother Bob at the facility. Bob was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and needed 24/7 skilled care. It’s difficult to find the right words to express the gratitude my family and I have for the compassion, concern and kindness shown by the staff during this very difficult time.
My brother Bob passed away Saturday, July 19, with his loving family members and his nurses by his side. The excellent care and dedication from the professional staff that provided his day-to-day care kept Bob with us for a longer time period than most of the physicians thought possible. God bless all of you.
Vote for Tantillo
The election season is approaching and I’m especially looking forward to supporting Fawn Tantillo this fall for Ulster County comptroller. This is a fairly new position in Ulster County, but a very important one. Fawn wants to be your watchdog and I know she would be great at it.
She is not only intimately familiar with Ulster County Government, but also the people who work and live here. Her resume is long and laudable helping people in both the public and the private sector.
I hope you will join me in supporting her, not just because she’s my mother, but because she’s the best candidate for this position.
Help kids at shelter fit in
School will be open in a couple of months. At the Domestic Violence Shelter (The Washbourne House) the kids will head off to school each day, just like the children in your neighborhood. But for most, it’s a new school with unfamiliar faces and unknown routines. A new outfit and school supplies may help boost their confidence.
There are some families who are facing the reality of homelessness and poverty due to domestic violence. Family Domestic Violence Services is looking for individuals, family groups or groups of co-workers who would like to adopt a child or children for school clothes and school supplies.
The donor would provide either a gift card or new clothes to a child whose family is recovering from the trauma of domestic violence and adjusting, possibly to a dramatic reduction in income and standard of living. You can help put a smile on the face of a child this year.
If you can help out, please call me at (845) 331-7080 ex.127.
Family Domestic Violence Services
The three sources of energy
I have often sat reading some screed on this or that topic that involves “energy” and its glories and hazards. Nuclear energy, Marcellus shale drilling, solar collectors, wind farms, bicycling and even “eating locally” to save fossil fuel. While I applaud all the awareness-building and good intentions that “fuel” much of this writing and speaking and experimenting, I often cringe when I see well-intentioned types spouting so called scientific “facts” that are clearly ridiculous to bolster their points. While this practice might bolster, at least temporarily, excitement and even right action by the intended audience, it inevitably leads to confusion and “detours” from effective action.
I would like to provide a basic outline of sound information about energy that might be of help in deeply thinking through your passions to effective action.
For us here on earth, there are only three primary sources of energy: The sun, radioactive decay of elements in the minerals composing the earth and, to a lesser degree, gravity. OK, OK, for the purists among you, there is a fourth, rather trivial source from material such as meteors and cosmic rays raining continuously into the top of the atmosphere which does have a small, but detectable, addition to atmospheric energy.
All other so called “sources” of energy are really derived [or secondary] from these three. As an example, wind energy is derived from solar energy as sunlight heats part of the atmosphere while other parts are cooling, thus drawing warmer air up and drawing cooler air in near the ground. Tidal energy is derived from the changing gravitational attraction of the moon [mostly] and sun as the earth and moon rotate plus a small component from wind pushing the ocean waves around. Even the energy in fossil fuels, such as extracted oils, is really stored solar energy from photosynthesis many years ago.
I could go on and on about the complex ways these primary sources result in one or the other derived “sources,” but one particularly intense issue seems to illustrate the confusion well. “Geothermal” energy, which many see as good energy, is primarily derived from the exact same source as nuclear energy, which the same people see as somehow bad. And interestingly, there is another set of people who see them exactly the opposite. Nuclear is a good, non-polluting source [ignoring the “waste” issue] while geothermal is too diffuse and so is a waste of time. Both are primarily derived from the natural radioactive decay of certain elements in the earth. They are just delivered in different ways.
Which brings me to a different point. Usually the discussions around energy are not really, despite the words used, about the energy itself but about the way it is handled by humans. Thus, the nuclear debate is rarely about nuclear energy per se, but about how it is handled, both in its usable form and in the “side effects” such as waste handling. Similar debates about the complexities of tapping wind or tidal energy are appearing now as well.
Another aspect that is starting to get more attention in the various debates is the so-called “hidden” parts of the issues. For example, whether or not it is cheaper to eat locally grown foods than distantly grown ones. It is not hard to show that in some situations the energy [and fuel] used per carrot or tomato delivered is actually less for them grown in Chile than in New Jersey or North Carolina. That does not make them taste better or worse or more or less nutritious either way or better for neighboring farmers. It simply confuses the discussion if provably false “facts” are thrown in willy-nilly.
A second example of so-called “hidden” costs is the environmental effects of producing the raw materials needed to capture and distribute direct solar energy [much less the derived solar energy in wind]. The mining and transportation of silicon, iron ore, copper and the petroleum products, etc. used to set up such a system is hard to calculate, much less to integrate, into such a discussion but have no less a real impact on the environment.
Keeping these basic facts in you mind while advocating for this or that way of saving our planet and its environment can only help you to be more secure in your advocacy and thus taken more seriously in your arguments. Please try to advocate from a grounded place and you will have a stronger effect.