I’d like to thank all the volunteer firemen who worked so fast and so hard to contain the fire on Partition early last week. While I’m deeply sorry for those losses that did occur, I’m certain the quick and dedicated work of these firefighters spared my building. Although I sustained lots of smoke damage, my building is still safe. I’m proud to be a business owner in Saugerties, and I want to acknowledge their great work.
HEALTH INSURANCE FOR TOWN JUSTICE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE, HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE
Joe Roberti Jr., chair of the Saugerties Republican Committee, is once again wrong in his conspiratorial assertion that I secretly included Justice Wendy Ricks in the town’s health care plan and that he, single-handedly, has uncovered this “questionable act.” Roberti has uncovered nothing.
The fact is that the decision to give Judge Ricks health insurance under the town’s plan has been discussed at Town Board meetings and in public. Just last year Roberti’s father appeared at the PUBLIC HEARING for the 2010 budget and asked the Town Board if Judge Ricks received health insurance which I answered in the affirmative, even though the questioner already knew the answer. This issue has not been a secret and it has been reported in the newspapers. Any Town Board member will affirm that they were included in the conversation when this decision was originally made. The judge position may be labeled a part-time position, such as my job is, but I can assure you it is not — just as mine is not. A judge is on call 24/7/365 and that is an indisputable fact. Besides weekly scheduled court sessions, judges are often called out in the middle of the night and on weekends for arraignments.
When this insurance question arose, I checked with our health insurance agent and was informed that in the past at least two (2) town justices had received health insurance and quite possibly four (4) had. I also checked with one of the prior judges who practices law in Saugerties and he confirmed that he had received health insurance from the town when he was a town justice. “Past practice” had been established and why should Judge Ricks be excluded when others received it. The second current town justice takes an insurance buyout as his spouse is provided county insurance. “Helsmoortel’s decision to break precedent is particularly maddening” is a ridiculous statement because I obviously went with precedent on this one, as is already known by Roberti. Roberti also states there are potential layoffs coming in the town. Just to clarify, those layoffs started over a year ago.
Roberti’s letter was a despicable attempt to bring any type of criticism to Judge Wendy Ricks, a very professional, honorable and hard working justice for the town of Saugerties.
Town of Saugerties supervisor
GOP JUSTICE CANDIDATE FAILED TO FILE NECESSARY PAPERWORK
You would think and hope that a candidate for Town Justice would know and follow the law and make sure others do as well. New York State law requires that a candidate’s official campaign committee file financial disclosure forms with the Board of Elections detailing where their campaign funds come from and how these funds are spent. This is a matter of transparency and it is the law.
The campaign committee for George Hass, candidate for Saugerties Town Justice, has, to date, failed to file any of the three financial disclosure reports required by law. To see this go to the New York State Board of Elections web site www.elections.state.ny.us/recipientstext.html; enter the name George Hass; and click on his campaign committee number C83176. No reports. No information. Nothing. If you enter the name Wendy Ricks, however, and look at her re-election campaign report, you’ll see detailed information on her campaign donations and expenses, as required by law.
I would hope Mr. Hass would direct his campaign treasurer to comply with the law.
Treasurer, Committee to Re-elect Wendy Ricks
Editor’s note: According to Jennifer Denier, treasurer for the Committee to Elect George Hass, the committee has made every attempt to file the required paperwork, but has been unable to install the software the Board of Elections uses. As a result, the disclosures have to be done manually. The committee has been in regular contact with the Board of Elections, and Denier hopes to have all the paperwork filed by Friday, October 8.
STILL NO BUDGET
According to the Supervisor’s office, as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, October 5, the tentative 2011 Saugerties town budget has not been submitted. This is the second year in a row that supervisor Helsmoortel has failed to submit the budget by the state-mandated deadline of September 30.
Last year, Helsmoortel delayed the release a tentative budget that raised town property taxes by 9 percent (nearly 20 percent for village residents) until right before a League of Women Voter’s debate so Democratic candidates could claim to be fiscally responsible.
It is sad that Helsmoortel and the Democrat-controlled Town Board have such utter disrespect for the laws of the state while paying lip service to the concept of open government. Hopefully. when the budget is finally released, Helsmoortel will hold budget hearings and the budget vote with proper notice and a time convenient for the public.
Chair, Saugerties Republican Committee
HAD ENOUGH OF THE REPUBLICANS
Mr. Phillips, the Republican candidate who is running against Maurice Hinchey for Congress has road signs that say “Had enough?” Yes, I have had enough!
I have had enough of the “Just say NO” Republicans who have done nothing to help this country dig itself out of the hole it is in.
I have had enough of the Republicans who dug the hole we are in by pushing for a free market system without regulation that led to an economic disaster.
I have had enough of Republicans who helped the rich get richer and want them to stay that way even if the rest of us are going to lose our tax cuts.
I have had enough of the bashing of health care reform and refusal to recognize that we all have to share responsibility for a healthier America.
I will stick with Maurice who knows how and why he has to fight for a better and healthier America for all of us.
And one last word, Mr. Phillips, if you want to be a law maker, you should first stop being a law breaker by spreading your signs around the town before the 30 day limitation for those signs prior to Election Day.
HASS FOR TOWN JUSTICE
I am writing to express my support for George Hass for Saugerties Town Justice. Like the late Dave Wachtel showed, who served as Saugerties Town Justice for 28 years, you don’t have to be an attorney to be successful in the position.
George served our country in the U.S. Army, has over three decades of law enforcement experience, and has worked as a court officer for ten years, including working in the Saugerties Justice Court. I believe his experience, judgment and personal integrity will help George be an outstanding Town Justice.
I encourage all Saugerties residents to support George Hass on Election Day.
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS LOOKING FOR NEW MEMBERS
October is the month for the League of Women Voters of Saugerties membership drive. We are inviting those interested in government, politics and issues in a non-partisan way to join us for a brunch on Saturday, October 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Senior Center on Market Street.
The League is a nonpartisan political organization which encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The Saugerties League has been active at many levels.
The Saugerties League has conducted studies:
the consolidation of town and village services There will soon be one police force for the town and village of Saugerties;
alternatives to incarceration;
the feasibility of having an installment option for paying school taxes which has now been instituted;
the death penalty.
The Saugerties League has sponsored informative public informational meetings:
the tax grievance process;
health care and the availability of health insurance in Ulster County;
election law and electronic voting;
the Ulster County Charter;
shared services by local government units.
The Saugerties League is now:
promoting the use of the local UCAT S Bus in the town and village;
developing a plan to publicize the emergency evacuation plans of town and village;
participating in the NYS League study on consolidation of governmental units and sharing of governmental services;
developing a program on the issue of redistricting for national, state and local elected officials after the 2010 census.
If you are interested in attending the brunch or for more information, please call Sally (246-2945) or Cheri (336-8303).
Sally Colclough and the Board of Directors
League of Women Voters of Saugerties
THANKS FROM SLAM
What a wonderful town we live in. In times of need, Saugerties always comes to the rescue. I have lived and worked in Saugerties all my life, and I am constantly reminded why I always wanted to raise my family here. In tough times and great times, the Saugerties community has always gone the extra mile to support each other and the children of this community in a way they could afford. Recently the school district has hit some really hard times, and many programs were cut. But that did not discourage the community to lend a hand to try to provide for the students of Saugerties. On August 31, the Renwick Clifton House owners, Miriam and Eric Adams opened their home and their B&B for an unbelievable, elegant affair, “The Summer’s Eve Soiree.” With the help of their good friends Mark Smith and Nancy Swart we planned this event. The proceeds for this fundraiser were donated to Saugerties Saving Library, Arts and Music. The area businesses, restaurants, artists and artisans donated generously to this fundraiser event.
I would like to thank all those who made it possible to run this successful event. We had food, wine, art, music and hand crafted items, all donated for this fundraiser. Thank you to all the teachers and volunteers that served that evening. We greatly appreciate the musicians that played Jazz for us, Nancy Swart, Bernhardt Spirig, Josh Tyler and Tom DePetris. A special thanks goes to artists: Isaac Abrams, Loell Barr, Kristy Bishop, Marjorie Block, Gladys Brodsky, Steve Crohn, Rivka Katvan, Phyllis McCabe, Michael Nelson, Ze’ev Willy Neumann, Angela Gaffney Smith, Mark Smith, Jeanette Sauer, Istar Schwager, Raymond Steiner, and Audrey Steinhorn. Hand-crafted items were donated by Heather Leung, Lexis Leung, Althea Meneses, Andrea Perez, Joan Reinmuth, Samantha Sachar, and Donna Stackhouse. To those parents and community members that donated items for the basket raffles, thank you. Area businesses, chefs and restaurants that generously donated, food and items for auction include: Smith Hardware, Sue’s Restaurant, Riveria Produce, Sauer Farm, Town and Country Liquors, Hannaford, Adam’s Fairacre Farms, Cafe Mezzaluna, New World Home Cooking, Cafe Tamayo, Love Bites, Dutch Ale House, Krause’s Candy, The Dam, Main Street Grill, Fez, The Pig, The Clark House B&B, The Renwick Clifton House B&B, Hudson Valley Dessert Company and E&J Gallo-Frank Tucker Distributor. Thank you for your continued support.
Chairperson, Saugerties Saves Library Arts and Music
THANKS FOR SUPPORTING SPORTS
On behalf of the Saugerties Central School District, I would like to thank the members of the community who supported the fundraising efforts of the Athletic Booster Club. It is because of your generosity that the children in this community are able to participate in athletic competitions this year.
One donor contributed $150,000 of their own money to give the fundraising efforts a jump-start. This person’s selfless act is something the community of Saugerties will long remember. I cannot overstate how impressed I was with this individual’s commitment to the children of this area, and their understanding that education is something which goes beyond the classroom walls. Through athletics, important life lessons such as working collaboratively as a team to achieve a goal and remaining determined to accomplish a task in the face of adversity are instilled. As anyone who has ever participated in sports can attest, these skills will serve the students well throughout their lives, regardless of the paths they choose.
After the individual donor committed $150,000, the rest of the Booster Club implemented a series of initiatives to raise a matching $150,000. Whether it was “Push-Up-Palooza,” “Pig Roast and Raffle,” “Yankee Tickets and Limo Raffle,” “A Dinner-Auction” or any of the many other events, everyone did their part. Students, their parents and family members, staff, and the community as a whole are commended.
As a result, 40 teams will be able to participate in sports during the fall, winter and spring seasons. During the fall, over 400 students participate in the athletics program; during the winter, over 200 students; in the spring, over 350. In total, there are 650 athletes who participate in sports at the modified, junior varsity, and varsity levels during the school year (some students participate in multiple sports). Without the support of the community, this would not have been possible for 2010-11. Thank you!
Saugerties Central School District superintendent
SUCCESSFUL GOLF TOURNAMENT
Rip Van Winkle Country Club, in Palenville, was the site this past Sunday for the 19th annual SAA Golf Tournament sponsored by Sawyer Motors of Saugerties and Sawyer Chevy of Catskill. Enjoying breezy fall weather conditions, 80 golfers teed off in a Captain and Crew Format. Emerging from the pack to take first place honors was the team of Craig Zduniak, Jeff Zduniak, Dennis Ross and Gerry Engstrom. Their 12-under par score of 60 was two strokes better than the runner-up team of Jack Wilsey, Gary Schoepflin, Eric Wilsey and Eric Tavares, which took second place with a 10-under score of 62. Third place, with a score of 9-under, 63, went to Mike Abate, Tiber Tomshaw, Tom Galbraith, and Dave Schultz. Closest-to-pin honors went to Craig Zduniak, who landed his tee shot just 40 inches from the pin on Hole 3. Longest drive honors on Holes 9/18 went to Jackie Whipple in the Ladies Division and Gary Schoepflin in the Men’s. Closest-drive-to-the-line on Holes 7/16 went to Tim Baxter.
The S.A.A. extends thanks and appreciation to Bob Siracusano and George Sisco of Sawyer Motors and Larry Siracusano of Sawyer Chevy for their dedicated efforts in sponsoring the event again this year. Additionally, to all the volunteers who worked the tournament and the many Hole Sponsors, who we kindly ask you patronize whenever possible. Further, John Smith, along with staff and management of the Rip Van Winkle Country Club for going above and beyond in providing the venue, along with the many amenities. Last, but certainly not least, the 80 golfers who participated in this year’s event.
From the event’s organizers