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Monday, May 25, 2020


Make up your own mind

To the editor:
There has been a significant reporting concerning Sullivan County Family Court Judge Michael McGuire. While it is most unfortunate that some of his actions lend to the current outcry, they do not warrant a “character assassination” to an individual who has served his community with his efforts.
What needs to be stated in this matter is that there is full transparency as nothing was hidden. Also, there is an appeal process pending that could be interesting.
As for the appointment of Judge McGuire to the position of County Attorney (and he would be a good one), that is a matter for the Sullivan County Legislature.
I commend the editors and reporters of this newspaper for their objectivity and factual presentation of the issues. It is the readers' responsibility what to believe in this matter and not to be swayed by biased reporting.

Ralph John Savarese

Such Kind People

To the editor:
This past week we had a dilemma!
There is a special way that Jewish people prepare the body of the deceased for burial. It is done with much respect and care, and it is called a Tahara - meaning a spiritual purification. It is considered a most important tradition and law, that many who may not have been religiously active still insist on having a tahara done.
This past week, sadly, our community has lost a dear member who had Coronavirus. Since it was known that this was the cause of death, many were scared to volunteer for this great Mitzvah (good deed.) Note: This Mitzvah is done by community members as an act of love and care for others. It is the last deed that can be done to the deceased. They are not paid at all. They usually remain anonymous. The family does not know who they are. There are usually at least four volunteers. In this case though, most of our local volunteers were scared of participating, and some were away. We went to the neighboring communities of Monroe, Money and New Square.
They said that they will do it if we can transfer the body there for this preparation. The family objected to this move.
We called back the Monroe Community who said that the volunteers will gladly do it if we bring the deceased to them, so that it would only take them a few minutes to leave their houses in the middle of the night and then the 1 ½ - 2 hour process. He and his friend volunteered to do the twice 2-hour trip.
When I told them that this will not work with the family, he said that he will ask the volunteers again.
Amazingly these four “ladies” as well as their two drivers agreed to leave their houses at 10:30 p.m. and travel to Monticello, spend two hours with a lady whom they never knew before, and who came from another community whom they may not have known existed. At 1:30 a.m. they returned home arriving at 2:30 a.m. Of course they had all of the precautions necessary to work with a Covid person.
I am writing to express my amazement at such special people who out of concern that a fellow Jewish person may not have their “Tahara” left the comfort of their homes in order to help others.
I do not know their names and cannot thank them personally. The only thing I know is that they come from the Satmar Community of Monroe.
I am writing this in order to thank them publicly and in order to inspire myself and others to follow their amazing example in helping others that maybe we do not know, and lastly: If you should ever see or hear something negative about “their” Community, please realize that many of them are extra-ordinary, beautiful people.
They may not think exactly as we do, and may do things differently than we would, but in their own special way, they are amazing!
By the way, they also specialize in their tremendous help in the Bikur Cholim - help for the families of those who are in hospitals, but this is a full article of its own.

Rabbi Ben-Zion Chanowitz

The Old Shanty Lady

To the editor:
Thank you for the time and effort, you created a lovely little story about Big Bunny practically out of thin air. I can now forgive you for the “Desperate Housewife” award. Call me ever sensitive, my mother always did. It's just that I take pride in my only marriage, to my art.
I made a clean break from NYC seven years ago. I was desperate to get out. I spent my entire adult life in the same little walk up in Hell's Kitchen as the luxury highrises went up around us. They say it takes seven years to settle into a place and this is it for me, my house in Bethel. For better or worse.
My first year making a fool of myself in the Hortonville Talent Show was before your time as judge. I played the Old Shanty Lady, singing and dancing with a laundry basket full of watercolors. Jane, our fearless leader and musical director, had spent the previous day stringing a clothesline across the back of the stage. I hung out my “wash” of small paintings of my corner of the universe, Dr. Duggan and 17B, and sort of sang to the tune of “Old Shanty Town”.
It went:
I moved to Lil's yellow house on 17B
Speed limit 55, zooming truck's 70!
I put up a wood fence, it helped stopped the shake.
Out the side door, Dr. Duggan, take the dogs to the lake.
My first winter in Bethel, my feet nearly froze.
But then came the Spring time, I still had all my toes.
I won't move cause I'm tough!
It's my home. I got too much stuff!
In Lil's yellow house on 17B.
What I remember is the look on people's faces. Huh? Who? What? The? Please, let me know.

Art by Cynthia

Just, please, admit you were wrong?

To the editor:
Denise Connolly's Letter “Never Pleased,” recalls to me Trump's behavioral template. If someone challenges Trump on his fake facts, or reminds him of something he has said before which he now contradicts, he gets aggressive, nasty and personal.
I pointed out that Mrs. Connolly had her facts wrong. Rather than defend her statements which were pure wish fulfillment, she pointed out in her letter what a loser I am. What does that have to do with the price of masks in China?
Furthermore, the accusation that I think “all” people who vote for Trump are stupid and racist, is absurd. I have some very intelligent friends who supported him. And some of them are not even pure white, whatever that means.
They agreed with his policies on Israel and thought he was good for the economy. They liked the way he dealt with “Rocket Man” even though that love affair led to nothing.
No-one is perfect and even someone like me, dumb enough to have run for Town Supervisor, and unlucky enough to own a restaurant in a pandemic, can be right some of the time.
And, in this case, Mrs. Connolly, I was spot on. Just please, be intelligent enough to admit it when you are wrong.

Judith Maidenbaum

So many controlled by so few

To the editor:
In the United States never have so many been controlled by so few. At the onset of Covid-19 most Americans realized that with this new virus certain decisions had to be made without hesitation.
Yet a number of these decisions went unchecked and violated some of our constitutional rights even as the facts about this virus changed. Inherently Americans don't like to be told what to do. If you asked them to do something because it is necessary for the good of all most will go through hell and high water to meet the challenge.
Tell them they must comply or else without sound reasoning you better be prepared for resistance. No one person in our society should ever have the authority to dictate what people can and can't do without accountability and facing checks and balances.

Brent Lawrence

Mama Mia

To the editor:
Once a year is so so dear
My Mama made of gold
I love when she would pamper me
No difference if young or old
Made sure I had my lunch and dinner
Times she wasn't there
Of course my Mama Mia
You left so darn much here
When she'd arrive say about five
She'd hug me, a big kiss
Among those bags with all those tags
She'd look and say take this
Always a surprise, my eyes, a tear of love so true
This holiday, just one great day
Devoted just for you
“Mama Mia” I'm a lucky gal
My life so full of love
Hip, hip, horray it's Mother's Day
I'm blessed from up above.

Catherine LoBosco

No more cuts to public schools

To the editor:
Google Hangouts. Telephone. Email. Regular mail. Google Classroom. Learning has been an adventure for all of us over this past month and a half. But throughout it all, there is a consistent message that I keep trying to send to my students: I AM STILL HERE FOR YOU.
My work is by no means unique. Educators throughout Sullivan County have been doing the same. Why? Because we want our students to know that we're still here for them, that we want them to succeed academically, and that we're going to get through this pandemic.
I won't deny that there have been challenges along the way, but they don't compare to what we are facing ahead of us.
Potential cuts to public education are making headlines everywhere. My school, Tri-Valley Central School, as well as every other school in Sullivan County, hasn't been immune to that.
We faced numerous challenges before this public health crisis. Program cuts and a lack of mental health services are just two issues that our local schools grapple with every day. Making cuts now will only set us back as we seek to recover quickly from this crisis we find ourselves in.
Finding solutions needs to be an all hands-on deck ordeal. Federal stimulus funding for schools would be a big help. So would asking New York's billionaires and ultra-millionaires to step up and pay their fair share toward public education.
We will recover from this pandemic. And when we do, I have complete faith in my colleagues across our state and across our country that we will get America's children back on track. But just as we're going to need health care, transportation, and other public services to do it, we're going to need a robust public education system, not one that is decimated by cuts.
Please don't cut more from the great equalizer that is public education. We're going to need it now more than ever before.

Matt Haynes

Support of National Nurses Week

To the editor:
In recognition of National Nurses Week, I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to all nurses who live and work in our Hudson Valley and Catskills communities. The critical role they play in our healthcare system should be acknowledged and applauded by all. Nurses are often the first caring, reassuring face that a patient will see when they open their eyes in their hospital bed. While they encounter a new set of challenges each day, no challenge has been greater than the one they have boldly stepped up to combat now. Nurses have responded, as always, with compassion and technical expertise in their efforts to help residents across our region return to health.
During this pandemic, nurses are risking their own health and well-being to benefit the many of us who need heightened levels of care. In an effort to stop the spread of the virus, family members have not been allowed to be at the bedside of their loved ones that are sick, and so nurses have, once again, been called to an even greater level of duty.
New Yorkers have become keenly aware of the many people that do their jobs and keep our state running in the most challenging of times. While we are grateful for every single member of our communities that continues to answer the call of duty, nurses most closely represent what it means to be on the “front lines,” and will forever merit our profound gratitude and admiration. I wish you all health and steadfastness as our state and our nation continue to overcome the present difficulties. Together, we will get through this.
With Sincere Thanks and Appreciation,

Mike Martucci
New Hampton

Trumpism Right Here in Sullivan County

To the editor:
Though we bought our place in Sullivan County in 1989, we only shifted our voting here more recently. I have been politically engaged on the national level for a long time as Watergate was happening when I was an undergraduate. Retirement last year allowed me the time to be increasingly interested in local politics.
Locally, I have been following a scandal in the SC legislature and I am shocked by what I am seeing. The issue is the appointment, jammed through the legislature by Robert Doherty, of Michael McGuire to be Sullivan County's attorney.
Mr. McGuire was just suspended from his judgeship by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct who determined him “unfit to serve”. You can read it for yourself here:
Court records are public documents and in these you will hear Judge McGuire's own disdainful words, largely targeting women with his abuse. The 13 charges brought against him all influenced the commissions recommendation that he be removed from the bench.
Why did Robert Doherty decide that this man, deemed unfit to serve by his peers, should be our new County Attorney? For that matter, why did Corinne McGuire, Mike's wife suddenly wind up in a new county tax-payer funded job in a county overseen by Robert Doherty? Sounds like corruption to me. Sounds like political payback to me.
Though there has been considerable protest and outrage regarding this appointment, the Legislature has refused to answer our questions. There have been a number of articles and letters to the newspapers that outline the details of this case. And there are the shameful, shameful words uttered by Judge McGuire that are recorded in the case files for all to see, for which he was suspended from his judgeship.
I naively thought that this kind of exposure of corruption would surely facilitate a just resolution by Mr. McGuire declining the position or Mr. Doherty rescinding the offer. But no, shame does not seem to be in their make-up. They are shameless, and will take the public dollar for all its worth. Throw the wife in there too, what's a few bucks more.
I just don't understand how this can stand. Such corruption, right in the open. I am so disgusted by public officials on the dole, washing each others hands in the insiders club. Make no mistake, the club is the Republican party, with seven of the nine legislators being Republicans. Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have taught everyone that Republicans simply do not need to play by the rules, obey laws, appear when subpoenaed, provide documents. Robert Doherty is simply acting by the rules of his own Trumpublican club.
I ask you, would you like it if Mike McGuire spoke to your wife, or daughter, or mother, or sister the way he spoke to the women in the case documents? Would like them put in handcuffs as Mike McGuire ordered? Or would you demand justice for them? Would you demand that this man be driven from the county?
If you too are sickened by this bullying, by this good ole boy behavior, then I ask you to call them, the legislators, and let them know how you feel. This is our right, they work for us. These are not leaders, these are bullies, and weaklings, and thugs. Sullivan County deserves better. They will be gone when we make them gone.

Ken Wampler
White Sulphur Springs

Always here to listen

To the editor:
I live in the western part of the Town of Bethel. Even though residents of the Town of Bethel can use the Town of Bethel transfer station (formerly known as and a.k.a. “the dump”), in fact, it is much more convenient for me to use the Sullivan County transfer station that is located in Cochecton.
I am a firm believer in recycling. Some could even say that I am almost an extreme recycler, as I separate all of the Otto household trash. Almost every Saturday morning, I get the trash organized and ready for the weekly trip to the Cochecton Transfer Station.
When the COVID-19 crisis lockdown began in mid-March, I expressed my concern to Rob Doherty, my county Chairman for District One. He first worked to keep the Cochecton Transfer Station open on Saturday. Then, two weeks ago, a sign went up saying the transfer station would be closed on Saturdays and open on Fridays. “Say it ain't so!”
What about all the weekend people that use the transfer station? What about folks who work during the week? Rob told me to hang tight and see what he could do. I am super happy and grateful to report that as of last Saturday, May 9th; the Cochecton Transfer Station is back to being open on Saturdays (as well as the normal Wednesday).
The men that work there are terrific, always helpful and cheerful. I believe that just like myself, you too may get a great sense of satisfaction when you recycle. Thank you Chairman Doherty for keeping the Cochecton Transfer Station open on Saturday.
Our beautiful countryside will have less litter. Thanks for listening to your constituent and thanks for making it happen.

Susan Brown Otto

Sequel to McGuire's appointment to be released in 2024

To the editor:
We watched the McGuire story unfold and now we the residents of Sullivan County need to witness the aftermath.
The McGuire story as it played out in 2020 was somewhat confusing and perhaps paradoxical. The story opened with a judge that was deemed unfit (McGuire) by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. The commission voted 7-0 to suspend him from the bench with pay. Then the newly elected Sullivan County legislature voted without everyone present 6-1 to appoint McGuire. The story gets even more muddled when a county official stated: “McGuire will not collect his salary as a suspended judge”.
The story is difficult to follow as there are gaps and unanswered questions. It appears there is more to this story that needs to be written.
To quote a line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” although in this case, it's Sullivan County.
Critics consensus, despite a story of big names, this was a stinker.
Let's hope when the new cast of legislators is elected the sequel will play out better than the original.

Moreen Lerner
Kauneonga Lake

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