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

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Vol 10.36   
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Thank You So Much, Dear Readers,
For Your Continued Support!
Disappointed In John Faso

As a member of the audience during Congressman John Faso's August 31 forum hosted by Move Forward New York I was frustrated and angered by Mr. Faso's evasive and dismissive responses. Question after specific question was deflected or neutralized by responses such as "we'll have to agree to disagree" or "you can't always get what you want," concluding with "you are utterly uniformed." What was clear is that Mr. Faso will not denounce Trump despite the President's statement that there were "very fine people" marching alongside Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Faso will continue to take money from sources like the Mercer family with ties to white nationalists, and he is completely unrepentant over his two votes for the American Health Care Act, a destructive bill that is estimated to leave over 90,000 constituents without health insurance in Congressional District 19. We deserve much better from our representative.

Jason Eckardt

Why State's Stopping CPV Is Important

We have some incredible news to share with you today! The NY DEC denied the 401 Water Quality Permit for $900 million Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) gas-fired power plant in Orange County. Thank you for taking time to help by reaching out to both Governor Cuomo and the DEC Commissioner Seggos, and letting your opinion be heard. We want to commend both Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Seggos for doing the right thing, directly challenging FERC, and for listening to the public who asked to keep their air and water safe from the pollution from the oil and gas industry.

This is significant. It could signal a change in the way FERC considers and approves infrastructure projects. It could mean that they now have to take into consideration the environment and climate change vs. using the previous method of a rubber-stamp approval.

For over five years, the front-line activist groups like Protect Orange County and SCRAM have been leading the fight to stop the $900 million Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) gas-fired power plant and collateral infrastructure projects, and we want to thank them as well for their tireless efforts.

Today, at this critical juncture in the fight, we see a victory, but until we are living in a state and country that doesn't rely on the dirty gas and oil industry, and supports 100 percent renewable sources of energy, we'll need to continue to work together. There are still a lot of unanswered questions that will either play out in court or in upcoming FERC processes.

As such, we will continue to fight against the CPV power plant as we work to put an end to increased oil and gas infrastructure in the state and we will continue to fight against fracked gas from other states coming in and threaten our environment. We will work to keep you up to speed on new developments in this fight. By making change here at home, we're protecting our neighbors and our environment!

Ramsay Adams, Executive Director
Catskill Mountainkeeper

Lost Home Due To Bad Assessment

In 2012, I decided that my house in the town of Marbletown was overassessed at $250,000. I went into the Assessor's Office and my assessment was reduced to $150,000. I was a happy guy. Then, I started thinking. If it was only worth $150,000 this year, it was only worth $150,000 last year. I called the assessor, since retired, and asked about this. I was told it could not be retroactively reduced.

Interestingly, I see TechCity in the town of Ulster did the same thing and they got their taxes retroactively reduced.

I guess it's true that bigger is better.

I lost my house to the tax sale in April and am going to be evicted by the man who bought it at the tax sale. Been in this house for 50 years. Going to be homeless. I am 62 years old and my very ill wife is 60.

Don't you love America? I did.

James W. Dennington
Stone Ridge

In Support Of Organized Labor

Each Labor Day, we remember trailblazing labor activists who secured workplace safety protections, fair wages and working hours, and the freedom to come together as workers to join a union.

This Labor Day, it's time to emphasize the importance of unions in our present economy and as a way to a greater America.

Let's face it: today's economy is rigged against working people. People are working longer hours for less pay. Not only can they not get ahead, they're falling behind.

The same chief executive officers who have rigged the economy for the benefit of the wealthiest few are now trying to use the Supreme Court to eliminate working people's freedom to unionize.

The only way to level the playing field is to give working people greater freedom to join together in strong unions. Workers who are organizing strong unions in their workplaces are winning better wages, safer working conditions, and raising the standard of living for those around them.

I think most of us have the same goals: working hard for a decent living, freedom to take time off to go to the doctor or pick up a sick child from school, and retiring with dignity. Many of our hardworking local friends and neighbors don't have that freedom. If we all show support for giving working people the greater freedom to join a union, we can level the playing field for all American workers.

Billy Riccaldo, President
CSEA Southern Region Office

We Need To Treat Drug Scourge Seriously

The FBI has reported that nearly 60,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016. This exceeds the number killed during the Vietnam War and yearly gun and auto deaths.

And it doesn't even include drug-related deaths from disease from drug use, killings to obtain drugs or territorial disputes; to say nothing of the children who will never have a chance due to their parents' addiction..

It's time to start calling drugs what they are — biochemical weapons of mass destruction — and those who smuggle them or illegally manufacture them terrorists and treat them as we would anyone caught distributing anthrax.

Terrorists do it for ideology and are willing to die for their cause.

Smugglers do it for profit. I wonder if they're willing to die for theirs. They need to be treated as saboteurs and tried in military courts.

John Habersberger
New Paltz


In Kevin Kellerman's "We Need More Vegetarian Options" letter to the editor we have a dangerous mixture of good intentions and getting things wrong.

Aside from options being a good thing, and Meatless Monday being the antithesis of options, some underlying assumptions are incorrect.

Yes we have an overweight/obesity problem among children, but the letter has things backwards. It is sugar, not fat, that raises the risk of diabetes. This fat-free thing is the residue of an old hoax perpetrated by the soft drink and sugar interests.

Non-fat and even low-fat dairy is unhealthy in several important ways. The thrust for these products, mistakenly picked up by many health professionals and corporate interests, is to blame for more harm than good. These, not whole milk, are the highly processed foods.

Skim milk is akin to sugar water. Low-fat milk is a little better but is also a cause of, not a remedy for, many health problems. There is protein to be sure, but here are some facts:

Skim milk has more sugar and less cream. It is often prepared from skim milk powder. The important vitamins in milk are fat-soluble and need fat for the body to properly access them. Skim milk makes them unavailable.

Calcium (with a lot of magnesium please), is what kids need for bone growth. It is taken up by the body much more efficiently in the presence of Vitamin D. Skim milk retards this process.

Sugar is the killer. Fat, gone from skim milk, and deficient in low-fat milk, is the traffic cop that prevents the rapid entry of sugar into the blood stream. Without it the sudden spike in sugar levels triggers an over-release of insulin. This in turn abnormally lowers blood sugar levels. The ping-pong effect of sugar-without-fat leads to hypoglycemia and diabetes.(And by the way, this is true for starches as well. Best to have some butter or a healthier-fat alternative on that piece of bread.)

There is a craving effect that is a blend of the psychological and brain physiology. It is this craving that leads to obesity via unhealthy snacking and overeating. Without fat in dairy products the absence of satiation (which evolution has provided us to prevent starvation) can, and very often does, lead to more, not fewer calories consumed. This is a major cause of obesity. Not for everyone, of course, but the broad view is that this is the case in almost all of the kids who "tend to" overweight; that is looking like about half the population.

For the skim milks that are made from or with the addition of skim milk powder there is another problem. The alteration of the chemistry of the natural and basically harmless, if not helpful, cholesterol that comes with the processing contributes to circulatory problems. These include blockages as in heart disease and stroke.

Kevin Kellerman has it right about dietary flaws raising the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, but has the fat component of the problem backwards. He further states (and we must forgive him as half the country wants to praise Obama and vilify Trump): "To compound the problem, the Trump administration has loosened President Obama's 2010 school lunch rules calling for whole grains, fat-free milk and reduced salt content. The rules had an 86 percent approval rating."

Let's look at the last part first. What does approval rating have to with what is right or wrong? 86 percent or 99 percent or 10 percent can be flat out wrong. Approval comes from media hype and, these days, partisan prejudice. Ignore it.

Reduced salt is reasonable; the fat-free milk has, as detailed above, introduced a "poisoning" to the school diet. However, when it comes to poison, whole grains are the real thing.

Real poisons are sprayed on crops. In grains these are mostly taken up in the edible portions by the germ. It's sad that the fibers in the bran get removed in making white flour, but the removal of the germ, which contains those nutrients that whole-grain people look at, removes most of the pesticide, fungicide, and herbicides that are sprayed on wheat, corn, and other food grains. This is one case where processing is healthful and the unprocessed food is dangerous. The bottom line here is that organic whole grains are beneficial. If you don't have organically grown grains then "white" is healthier than "whole."

But even were the grains chemical-free, there is another problem with whole grains. Unless they are stored under refrigeration for short periods and frozen for longer periods, the oxidation and other chemical processes produce unhealthy, or even toxic, products. You can bet that school lunch whole grains are not stored properly or used promptly. This is the same issue that has led billions with rice-based diets to rely on "processed" white rice. Brown rice, unless fresh and organic, is simply unhealthy, as the ancients discovered thousands of years ago.

Everything can be interpreted politically but just as approval rating should be ignored, so we should ignore who it is that support and promote ideas. I'm sure Obama's school lunch rules were meant to help, not harm, kids, but harm they do. Well-thought-out, not bandwagon, policies are what we need whether it is donkeys or elephants pushing them.

Yes we need options and choices. One size-fits-all rules have the great danger of wrongly affecting the entire population by trying to, in one stroke, help the entire population. Look at the ideas and question authority. The "they" get it wrong much too often.

Bob Prener

Support For Unionism

Great editorial. About time working people stood up and demanded the right to organize and collectively bargain. Stop with the pointing fingers and complaining how union jobs pay more and provide better benefits and that said positives be cut. Stand and demand the same for your job. Demand a living wage with benefits.

America was built on slave labor and appears to want to repeat that period of history. Maybe that's what Trump really means with his "Make America Great Again" mantra.

Steven L. Fornal

Gutter Gutter