Serving the Towns of Wawarsing, Crawford, Mamakating, Marbletown, Rochester and Shawangunk, and everything in between

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Vol 10.31   
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Thank You So Much, Dear Readers,
For Your Continued Support!
Another Candidate Steps Forward!

Two questions have been asked regarding Julius A. Collins, Jr.: who is he, and why is he running for the position of District 15 Legislator? I hope that this letter provides satisfactory responses to these questions for the constituents of District 15.

I, Julius A. Collins, Jr., have been a resident of the Village of Ellenville, in the Town of Wawarsing, for nearly 25 years. Ever mindful of a statement that I heard in my youth, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country," I have taken on the active role of a public servant since moving to Ellenville — doing my best to serve the needs of church, school, hospital and county, because this is my home.

The reason I am running for county legislator is because I feel that in this role, I would be better able to serve as a voice for the people of District 15. It is my belief and desire that as legislator, I can work in unison with the members of this community to protect and improve home life and businesses. It is, after all, our joint desire that this community thrives.

I look forward to receiving and sharing ideas towards this end with the people of the Town of Wawarsing.

Respectfully yours,

Reverend Julius A. Collins, Jr.

A President Who Is Un-Presidential...

So, Trump thinks he is the most "presidential" president but for Abraham Lincoln? Truth is, his shallow mind and expansive ignorance is overwhelming and dangerous. How dare he put himself above the numerous, great presidents that this country has elected and embraced since 1789?

There were many great leaders who proved to have courage, conviction, compassion, integrity, honesty and strategic thinking. They were true patriots who served their country and its citizens, not their egos, their financial empires and their families. They represented both parties - figuratively and literally. They were "presidential." And they did not admire ruthless dictators.

Trump, you, sir, are a "so-called" president.

Hopefully, his time at the White House will be extremely short. His lies, possible treason, ignorance, thoughtlessness, out-of- control ego, insecurity, unethical and embarrassing behaviors (and perhaps illegal ones), bullying, misogyny, delusion, tweeting and narcissism are nauseating. I watch and wait. I know there are Republicans who have ethics, common sense, dignity, compassion and integrity. Where are you? Your silence is deafening. Is your party (and the power it now wields) truly more important than the nation and our people? Our nation's safety and security is at stake. Our military members are at risk. Our standing in the world has been diminished. Basic human, equal and civil rights are being trampled. "Presidential?" Not. I can tell you that. Bigly.

Stephanie Hunter Lesky

A Call For Universal Healthcare

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., rode demonization of Obamacare to Republican control of Washington but could not deliver on the "repeal Obamacare!" slogan when three Republican senators refused to undermine health care for millions.

The overall Republican plan was: 1) Repeal Obamacare government spending; 2) thus freeing up money for tax cuts; 3) without increasing the deficit; 4) thus qualifying for "reconciliation;" 5) so only 50 votes were required; and 6) meaning no need to work with Senate Democrats.

Literally, the vote failure puts McConnell back at Square 1.

Why is health care insurance reform so hard? Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., explained it, decrying our employer-linked health insurance with its massive employer tax break. Insurers like covering mostly healthy working people, employers like the tax break, employees like the perceived free benefit. In reality, everyone funds the tax break through their tax payments, and medical bankruptcy happens to insured and uninsured. Tied to the employer, employees changing jobs lose health insurance coverage.

So every attempt to cover more people (by Democrats) or to have less coverage (by Republicans) runs up against resistance from insurers, employers and employees thinking they have a good thing, and resistance from those who would lose coverage. Never mind that we have the most expensive health care in the developed world, but with some of the worst health results.

Insurers, motivated to cut costs by enrolling just the healthy, are a poor fit for health care. A universal system like Medicare for all is a better match, and likely cheaper.

Frank Stoppenbach
Red Hook

Illegal Immigration Is A Crime. Period.

I read recently of a man who lived here for 31 years and was deported. The article told how heartbreaking this was for him and his family. This article wants to pull at our heartstrings and make everyone feel sorry for families in these situations. I will say that it is sad but it is also a problem of their own making. I have to wonder, in all those 31 years, why this man did not find a way to seek citizenship.

Breaking the law is just that and should not be excused. The drain on social benefits for those who are here illegally causes hardships for the citizens of our country. I am no big fan of our leader, however, his job is to protect the people of this country first, and that is what he is trying to do. One is not a bigot because one thinks that immigration should happen through proper channels. Sanctuary or Welcoming cities put non-citizens ahead of actual citizens. We are a nation of immigrants, and if a person comes here by following the laws in place, I, along with many others, am fine with that. Other cultures and languages give us depth and connections to our beginnings. It is not immigration that we take issue with, but protecting those who are here illegally.

Joan D. Thomas

Net Neutrality Will Save The Internet

The Federal Communications Commission is considering removal of protection of the Internet as a public utility.

Often called "net neutrality" (the proposed overturning of which is referred to as "Restoring Internet Freedom" by the FCC), the Internet is currently protected by Title II. If the FCC eliminates Title II net neutrality, the new rules would favor big corporations over free access. Besides higher costs for us, it will be harder or impossible for independent voices to be heard, for mobilization of grassroots movements. This would seriously impact our access to an open Internet and our freedom of speech.

If this is as troublesome to readers as it is to me, readers should comment to the FCC before Sept. 1. Comments can be very simple. The main point is that you want the FCC to maintain Title II protection of the Internet.

Comments may be sent to the FCC online at, choose express comment (proceeding number 17-108) and fill out the form.

Also, readers should let their congressional representatives know how they feel and encourage others to comment.

Readers can get more information now on websites like Save the Internet, but if this protection is removed, that freedom may no longer be available.

Amy Kletter
New Paltz

Is Our Republic Based On Religion?

I recently read an article by Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, which I found most enlightening, including the following paragraphs:

"The First Amendment, which places freedom of religion as number one, protects the churches from intrusion by the government, not the government from religion.

"[Alexis de] Tocqueville asked himself how a country so vast, so diverse, so open to everybody, so bold, under a constitution so daring and unprecedented could ever survive. His answer? Because the American people are religious!"

I'd like to hope our country has not strayed so far that its people no longer profess what early Americans professed in their Pledge of Allegiance — "one nation, under God."

Those who object have the freedom to eliminate what they feel objectionable, but not impose their views on the majority.

Joan Saehloff
Port Ewen

Our President Should Respect Real Heroes

Senator John McCain "was" an American POW during the Vietnam War. He was a POW for more than five years, giving up his chance for freedom to other POW's Why is he then considered by our president as a non-hero?

President Trump made this comment: "John McCain is no hero because he was a POW." As a veteran, I take exception to that ignorant comment, especially from a man who went out of his way to avoid the military. I suppose the president thinks all the "Trumps" are heroes... Well here is a word they should know very well, as a Putin lover: "Nyet."

Melvyn A. Cohen

Why Should Shareholders Benefit From Healthcare?

Two facts about health care are undeniable. The first is that the billions of dollars that are paid out to the shareholders of medical insurance companies do not contribute one iota to anyone's healthcare. The second undeniable fact is that the U.S. is alone in having most health-care coverage provided by corporate entities for whom such costs are great burdens unlike the rest of the world's industrial nations. A single-payer system solves both of these problems.

Lawrence Cutter
New Paltz

We Are Being Distracted From Solvable Issues

The circus is back in town, but it's not here. It's in Washington. The Big Tent is up and Congress is lining up to buy their tickets. It's the usual three-ring circus with the Democrats in one ring and the Republicans in the other. The third ring is the main act, this time being the Russian bear sparring with the American eagle. Seems like the bear got caught doing something wrong.

But the circus isn't something new. There have been many previous acts that Congress has been caught up in. We had the Impeachment of Bill Clinton Act, the Benghazi Act, the FBI Comey Act, and quite a few side shows. In a way, it helps Americans keep their minds off more pressing problems. This way, people have more time to play with their silly tech toys.

Now, this Russia thing.

It's very bad. But, actually, since 1946 the Russians and Americans have been involved with 116 elections throughout the world. Some of this has been through bribery, some through assassinations, poisonings, etc. This is what big countries do. It's not nice to do, but sometimes you have to do things that are not pleasant. Franklin Roosevelt cozied up to Joseph Stalin in World War II because we needed an ally to keep fighting on the Eastern Front against the Axis. Uncle Joe agreed, knowing the cost would be a million men and, in return, he would get the Balkans.

So while we focus on the Russia thing, Americans are struggling with their health plans, people are being tortured on an antiquated transit system just trying to get to work. The country is split into two warring camps where even families are afraid to talk about it anymore. We are becoming a Third World country. If this is the fruit of democracy, all I can say is God help us.

C. Michael Bufi

Sean Spicer Must Be Relieved...

Sean Spicer must be a happy man. Finally, his tenure with the Trump administration is behind him. Spicer was the face of the Trump platform and was the recipient of much ridicule from the press and public. The one incident that really bothered me was the trip to the Vatican. Spicer is a devout Catholic and a meeting with the Holy Father would have been a blessed event for him. Trump denied his request to go on that trip. That truly shows the punitive rebuke that the president was capable of to show his disdain of Sean Spicer. Spicer must be glad to move on.

Joe Abrams
Blooming Grove

Gutter Gutter