Congratulations To Solarize Rondout Valley
I want thank the folks at Solarize Rondout Valley for taking the time to drive up to the mountains this past Saturday to tell everyone about solar power and a free assessment program they are offering for a limited time. We had a great bunch of homeowners and a couple of business people attend an informational session up here at the Boiceville Inn and I think everyone left a little more informed about the costs and benefits of installing solar power.
Solarize Rondout Valley, a campaign of Solarize Hudson Valley, is sponsored by the Environmental Conservation Commissions of Marbletown and Rochester and the Conservation Advisory Council of Olive. Another informational session is being offered on Saturday, June 17th from 10 to 11 a.m. at the SunCreek Center, 8 Sun Creek Lane, Stone Ridge. They are offering to come to your house or business and conduct a free evaluation to see if solar can work for you. But there is a deadline to sign up for the free evaluation and to receive certain financial assistance and tax credits. For more information visit Solarize-HudsonValley.org. This is really a great opportunity that I think everyone should take advantage of.
John R. Parete,
Ulster County Legislator
Support The Wawayanda Six... Be Active!
While progressives understand that Trump is clearly pushing lethal policies of environmental devastation, strangely and dangerously many progressives fail to grasp the equally obvious reality that Cuomo — Democrat, Working Families Governor Cuomo — is currently devastating our region's environment and public health, is forcing toxicity and economic ruin on Hudson Valley residents and, via just one fracked fuel power plant in our area, is increasing NYS greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent early next year. And oh yeah, his top aide coincidently accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from this toxic fuel company's CEO. And that matter is under federal investigation. But it's no matter, as the project goes on anyway.
What project is this? CPV (Competive Power Ventures) power plant, located, with its humungous tank of ammonia, right in the densely populated Middletown area, by ever-congested I-84. And who else supports this unnecessary lethal project? Sean Patrick Maloney, James Skoufis. Are they Republicans? No, they are not. Like Cuomo, solid Dems all.
The "Wawayanda 6," members of an activist group working to stop this monstrosity, were convicted on June 7 of disorderly conduct while peacefully protesting, despite testimony from multiple A-list experts describing the great harm this plant will do to health, environment and climate in our tri-state area. In other words, to the general welfare of the people (and other species) which governments are constitutionally mandated to protect. But, to the unholy alliance of Red and Blue plutocrat officials, no matter.
So get in touch with reality, people. The inconvenient truth is, like the Republicans, the Dems and the WFs are not our friends either. (Bernie is NOT a Dem; he tried to run with the Dems, and the Dems ran him over).
James Cromwell, a local resident and one of the Wawayanda 6, stated that if the appeal is lost, he will go to jail rather than pay the $325 fine. Like myself, he is also a member of the Green Party. If you care about the planet, why aren't you? Join us — Hudson Valley Green Party. We're online and on FB, and dedicated to politics that really do support planet, peace and people.
Worried About The Spiral Of Lies
Most people are more easily taken in "by a large lie than by a small lie, since they sometimes tell petty lies themselves but would be ashamed to tell big ones," wrote Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf. We have a lying administration: Jeff Sessions and Mike Flynn feel comfortable lying and Trump has been called the King of Whoppers. There's even a word to describe the situation: kakistocracy (kak-uh-stok-ruh-see). It means government by the worst.
This administration disrespects the media, the intelligence community and inspector generals — all checks on lying. Inspector generals oversee all government departments and as a group have been known to uncover malfeasance netting many times their salaries. Trump has reduced their budget and is not filling vacancies, a big gain for corruption.
There is something we can soon do about this: repeal and replace the lying John Faso.
Fire Chiefs Supporting County Efforts
For well over 25 years, there has only been discussions with respect to the need for a countywide fire training center in Ulster County. It is only now that we are finally seeing movement. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein should be commended for listening to the fire service community and providing real leadership by swiftly taking action. Without his focus and the cooperation of many others, the much-needed fire training facility would have remained only a dream.
The "task force" appointed by the county executive was comprised of volunteers (chiefs and past chiefs), as well as the Ulster County director of emergency management and the Ulster County fire coordinator. Through Hein's commitment to the fire service, Ulster County is now close to having the best training resources available and our county residents will have the best fire service protection; and our residents deserve nothing less.
There are 50 fire departments within Ulster County, with the vast majority of them being volunteer, and the reality of the fact is that demands on the fire service are changing at a very rapid pace. We outlined the fire service's needs in the face of these increased challenges, and the county executive is committed to keeping the fire service, and the safety of Ulster County's residents, at the forefront, and for that we are grateful.
On behalf of Ulster County
Fire Chiefs Association
Defend, Don't Defund, Our Forests
City, town, and suburban neighborhoods that are pleasant to walk or drive through — what is one thing they tend to have in common? The presence of mature trees. We can thank the science and practice of urban forestry for that. Urban environments are those that have been significantly altered by human activity. Eighty percent of Americans live in the urban forest; by 2050, 90 percent of us are projected to be.
Trees make our urban environments livable. They provide beauty, psychological comfort, and energy-saving shade; they calm traffic; they take massive amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air and sequester it as carbon in their wood; their canopies slow down stormwater runoff, which takes the strain off of expensive municipal drainage systems; they are proven to increase property values; and they provide food and shelter for wildlife.
These benefits are monetarily quantifiable. In the Northeast, a large tree provides $5,870 in environmental and other benefits over its lifetime, a nearly 440 percent return on investment. Nationwide, the collective value of community trees for all the services they provide exceeds $10 billion.
An analysis in our region in 2013 yielded interesting results in Red Hook, Beacon, and Cold Spring. A team trained in i-Tree, a peer-reviewed inventory and value assessment software, found that there are 450 trees on public land in Red Hook that provide $70,661 in annual benefits, or $157.02 per tree per year. They found that Beacon has 855 street trees providing $109,304 in annual benefits, and in Cold Spring, they found there are 437 trees yielding $56,719 in annual benefits.
The President's proposed federal budget would defund the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry program. This would end the program that provides technical, financial, research, and educational services to local government, nonprofit organizations, community groups, educational institutions, and tribal governments. This would cost America much more than it would save. Please call your representative in the House to let him or her know how important urban and community forestry funding is to you.
It's here. The possible end of democracy. I never would have imagined that it could possibly take place during my lifetime, but here we are. I have believed in our form of government for my entire lifetime, but I no longer have faith that our basic beliefs will trump Trump.
I never knew that one person could take over our government, although I did have some questions about the safety of our elections for some years. I just thought that it could change the percentage of the votes, but not the outcome.
After watching the pledging of allegiance to the president the other day by Reince Priebus and all of the other cabinet members, I was stunned. Furthermore Jeff Sessions, responded by saying, "It's great to be here and celebrate this group."
Well, that was it for me. I can keep my dental appointment instead of staying home to watch the possible "democracy saving" interview with our Attorney General today (Tuesday, as I write this letter).
No need to watch it. He is not going to be the one to save our democracy. The only one that can do it is you, me and our friends. Just look at the numbers. Yes, they "our present leaders" have the money.
The top 1 percent have an average income of $1.3 million a year. The bottom 50 percent of us earn an average of between $24,000- $72,000 a year. According to the Motley Fool, about 4 percent of our population are millionaires. That means we have about 96 percent of the rest of us.
There will be lots of "groups" gathering together during this summer, so please get out and join in the movement to restore our democracy now!
Another Letter Against The Fire Training Center...
An unprincipled politician putting his personal ambition before his constituents seems like a contemporary cliche. However, in this case, what's at stake is a fragile environment in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Stone Ridge.
The politician is Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and his scheme was designed to unfold under the radar of public opinion. While the aim of the project was admirable — build a countywide fire training facility — the process has been shady.
County firefighters deserve the best training resources and it's the responsibility of public officials to find the ideal site.
Why is Hein short circuiting the process by choosing a site with inadequate water; a location that will prevent firefighters training in broad array of exercises? With over two years and $25,000, to spend, why did his appointees not find a site in a non-residential zone? Why locate in the middle of 300 family homes?
Hein is silent on the subject and inquiries to his office go unanswered.
Recently, Hein assembled the media and posed in front of shiny fire truck where he declared the site location would be on Cottekill Road, Stone Ridge; yet another in a line of countless photo-ops for a future "Mike Hein for Governor" campaign.
Left out of the process: the people. Not once did his expensive search committee seek public comment.
Honest officials will tell you the Cottekill site would violate the rights of residents and destroy fragile wetlands serving as a nature corridor to a variety of protected species. There are better locations offering a broader array of training possibilities.
It's time for Hein to put aside political ambitions and do the right thing for our firefighters and the people of Ulster County.