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Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Under his eye

“The Handmaiden's Tale”, though it was scary to read what could happen after our country's Constitution failed and Congress fell apart, I believed it could never happen here. Now I see a Constitutional crisis due to one Party whose members were too afraid to stand up to a corrupt President, too afraid to lose their jobs, too greedy, and many too corrupt themselves to stand up for our Democracy.
Now we can watch, as a man who has publicly been an ardent admirer of all Dictators, allows once again, Russia to corrupt our elections, while continuing to tear down other democratic structures as taught by a past advisor named Steve Bannon.
Trump is about revenge, anger, greed and hate, and everything good that we have learned to admire and model, is falling away to this newly accepted and encouraged behavior. The Democrats are taking a lot of flack now for being strong enough to see what has been happening and trying to stop it.
Local people are running to separate themselves from a lifetime connection to this Party, to be part of a run for power as a Republican. How ridiculous is it to blame the Democrats for not feeding deer, or changing bail requirements to go along with justice reform put into action by the President at the urging of his son-in-law? How can a person like Jen Metzger, who has taken on so many causes and has been running to all ends of her district to be of service, be accused of not doing a good job?
I am so saddened to watch this country that I love so much, fall into chaos and disgrace. I am alarmed, scared & repulsed by the actions of people put into positions to protect this country, some others of my fellow man, and especially the President of the United States.
I have never been so reviled by any President of any Party as I am now. I feel so proud of the judge who stood up today in the Roger Stone case for what is right. If anyone wants to know who Stone is, just watch the 2017 documentary “Get Me Roger Stone”.

Pamela Zaitchick
Glen Wild

My Opinion, Forestburgh Youth Program, A Sad Day

To the editor:
Having lived in The Town of Forestburgh for 50 years, I have many fond memories growing up there. We had a Post Office, Catholic school, House of Worship, Town Hall, Country Store, Ice Cream Parlor with revolving stools, a local Tavern, Forestburgh Theater, and some small taverns and restaurants in Oakland Valley, as well as Scout camps, in both communities
As the world turns, so has Forestburgh. There have been many changes from yesteryear, and I'm not sure they're for the better.
Children are the most valuable resource we have. I think the children are being shorted on an important function in their life, not having the full summer program that has been a mainstay for many, many years.
Reducing the summer program from six to four weeks may be one of the biggest mistakes the Town could make. If nothing else these children should get the feeling of belonging, being a part of, not left to wonder and get themselves in trouble.
Preventing trouble starts with children participating in the summer program that will prevent issues and keep them on the right track.
Camp is an extremely safe place, it's a destination that help get kids get outside having fun while learning life long skills.
Finding the right setting ( which we have) for your child, one in which he or she will feel comfortable, challenged , engaged, and part of a group that shares the same interest, passions, and abilities is vitally important.
No camp is for every child. By the same token, for every child there is a great camp experience waiting to be enjoyed. Forestburgh has that camp facilities.
Camp helps children learn about themselves, and the people and world around them. Camp is a safe, comforting, structured environment.
Summer camp has a lasting psychological impact. Camp enhances social skills, self confidence, friendship, teamwork, independent, healthy living, nature, and personable skills.
Forestburgh is a small town of about 700 people, and there are approximately 30-plus children active in the program. Our community is a laid back, relaxed, and quiet community.
We do offer a Country store, a Realty office and a Playhouse. You know everyone and everyone knows you. However, it's ten miles to Monticello shopping, there are no employment opportunities, no public transportation, so what do we have to do in Forestburgh????
This is where the Town Board members need to create some life for our youth. I am also a believer that our Town Seniors should be a part of the Summer program - it's healthy and good for them also. In fact the entire Town should utilize it. We need to allow our youth to look back on their days of summer camp with fond memories as others have had before them.
Schools focus on academic achievement.
Camp is a environment that creates and encourages a sense of community.
This is not a political letter, this is on behalf of the children who are unaware of what's about to happen to them, a life building experience they need be a part of, not wonder what are we going to do now?
With parents working, no entertainment options, adolescents are likely to get in trouble with alcohol, and drugs if not for programs like this. Idle minds are not good.
A must have
Keep the six-week program, not reducing it to four weeks.
Swim testing cannot be restricted to a single day. Your dealing with family's, what if they don't have transportation, illness, family away or some other legitimate reason. Most importantly, add more testing days.
Aside from testing days the most important issue is to have a full-time swim instructor. Drowning is the number one cause of injury related deaths of children ages 1 to 5 years.
Accidents happen, but if proper safety skills save one life, how do you put a dollar figure on it? Forestburgh should have nothing less than a full-time water safety, swim instructor on location.
In your newsletter dedicate a section to your summer program. Tell the community the importance of this program and how it helps the children, seniors, and family's.
This program provides basic life skills which a computer and cell phone does not. Our youth is our future.
Being creative makes the Town Hall and recreation a Happy Place for gathering and enjoying.
The Town has the ability to right this problem, I pray they do.
Our Board members are elected to look out for their residents
Well, children are residents also, so please do your part.

Bill Sipos, Sr.

Other options

To the editor:
Regarding Steve White's “My Turn” column on his bad experience with the forced switch from Family Drugstore to Walgreens...
Steve, just because the owner of Family Drug sold your information to that chain drugstore, you don't have to use them for your prescriptions. There are still quite a few non-chain drugstores in our county you can choose from.
About two years ago, we switched from Family DrugStore (and we were customers there since the year they opened so long ago!) because they no longer were on the contract for the “preferred” RX plan with the prescription insurance company we use. Instead of just a $1.00 co-pay, we would have a $40.00 co-pay if we stayed with Family Drugstore.
Our new drugstore became the Rock Hill Pharmacy. We get 90 day supplies of the RX's my husband and I need and the co-pay is anywhere from $1.00 to $3.00 depending on which manufacturers they get from. They automatically refill for us, contacting doctors if needed, and let us know when our RX's are ready for pick up.
The pharmacists and other staff are friendly and helpful and ready to answer all questions. Very convenient location for us because, although we live in Bethel like you do, Steve, we see doctors at Crystal Run Healthcare in Rock Hill, and Catskill Veterinary Services for our pets, so we don't have to make a special trip just to go to the drugstore.
Give them a try or any of the other non-chain drugstores for very personal service.

Denise Connolly

Correction on Not all LOVE is the same

To the editor:
Please note the following correction to my “…LOVE…” letter (published 2/18/20):
The passage referenced as Leviticus… should be corrected to Deuteronomy 6:5.

Michelle Sackett Schroeder

Not going far enough

To the editor:
While it is good news that a partial plastic ban is taking effect on March 1st, the loopholes and exclusions leave groups criticizing the bag ban according to an article by Isabel Braverman on February 11.
The partial ban is a good first step but it rightly should be criticized for not going far enough. I am old enough to remember a time before plastic bags were readily available and the world functioned quite nicely. There is really no reason the ban cannot be total.
Rwanda has a total plastic bag ban and in fact most of Africa now have stronger plastic bag bans then we will. Nothing NEEDS to be in a plastic bag. The same can be said of all single use plastics and single use products of every kind.
The problem is either that people will not recycle these items or that the item is not recyclable or there is no recycling market for the item to begin with. We end up with plastic trash filling up landfills or being burned, and worse yet it is often transported around the globe on container ships before being buried or burned, or simply dumped on land or into the Ocean.
We need to establish standards for packaging that only allows products to be sold in our state where ALL the packaging can be recycled and where there is a market for the recycled packaging; otherwise the product should not be allowed to be sold in our state.
If you establish equal standards for all, businesses will adapt and produce products that generate less trash, and recyclable products that can truly be recycled. Until we take serious action we will not be successful in cleaning up our Planet.

Bill Godfrey
High View

Not all heroes wear capes

To the editor:
On February 11th between 12:30-12:45 p.m. I was driving south on State Route 97 between Skipperene and Gables and a tree fell across the road blocking both sides. A pick-up pulled up on the northbound side and a man with a chainsaw started to work on the tree. In under 10 minutes he had cut the tree into moveable pieces and moved those pieces to the side of the road and traffic started to move.
Whoever you are, thank you for stepping up and being a good samaritan.

Karen Bliss

Not all LOVE is the same

To the editor:
Our broad use of the English word LOVE covers many meanings. This fact can blur the underlying differences.
The Greeks had more than a half dozen “Love” terms some of which have found their way into our vocabulary.
Philia, indicating brotherly love, shows up in Philadelphia - city of brotherly love. There is also Eros that reflects passionate, sensual love. Its counterpart can be found similarly in Roman mythology as Cupid's realm (though Eros is broader).
The Hebrew root word Dodim is found in Proverbs 7:18 denoting in this usage, physical, sensual love. Also it is found in the Song of Solomon 1:2 “…Your love (Dodeka) is better than wine.”
More frequently, the Hebrew root word, Ahavah, is used. It expresses the love Yahaveh has for His people. Jesus of Nazareth referenced Ahavah Love (Leviticus 18:12) when speaking of the greatest commandment.
Ahavah translates to the Greek Agape which is unconditional and selfless love. He said to Love (Agape) Yahaveh with all your heart…(Luke 10:27).

Michelle Sackett Schroeder

Albany places victims and witnesses at risk

To the editor:
The new discovery law in criminal cases mandating that the Prosecution must reveal all of its evidence within 15 days of arraignment is yet another example of Albany being out of touch with reality, and compromising the safety and privacy of citizens, and deterring law enforcement.
THE CHILLING EFFECT: The prosecutor's obligation to turn over to the defense the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any person who has relevant information regarding a case will likely result in citizens refusing to get involved and assisting law enforcement in solving crimes. It discourages bystanders who may have useful information from coming forward because they will fear for their safety and fear harassment or retaliation from criminals and their cronies.
JEOPARDIZING DRUG AND CHILD ABUSE CASES: Confidential informants and other witnesses to drug trafficking will hesitate to cooperate with police for fear of retaliation from drug gangs. One of the key investigative tools in child abuse/sex cases is information given by neighbors and family members who rely on the promise of anonymity. Likewise, mandated reporters such as teachers, aides, nurses and others will now be reluctant to report child neglect and sexual abuse.
Volunteer Firefighters and First Responders may now be dragged into criminal trials and proceedings as “discoverable” witnesses because of their firematic or their other life saving work at a potential crime scene.
The new law permits the defendant to “inspect” the premises and undertake his own investigation of the crime scene. Consider the victim of a crime like burglary or rape, and her horror when she learns that the perpetrator and his lawyer will be allowed back into her home and her bedroom, “to take notes” (???). This is an affront to our right to Privacy. It revictimizes the victim. Today's digital technology allows law enforcement to quickly and completely record any crime scene. What does the presence of the perpetrator and his lawyer add?
DISTRUST OF PROSECUTORS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT: The new law is cloaked in a veil of inherent distrust of prosecutors and law enforcement. Experienced prosecutors' ethical practices seek to resolve cases, protect witnesses (often child witnesses) and see to it that justice is achieved. To this end as a prosecutor I have in thousands of cases provided open discovery and have conferenced, formally or otherwise criminal cases without exposing the victim and law enforcement to undue publicity and exposure. The new law places additional burdens on law enforcement and opens their complete personnel files (medical files?) to the criminal and his lawyer. Prosecutors must be given flexibility to disclose witnesses and evidence in a way that does not compromise the victim, as well as community safety or police investigations.
JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED: The pace of criminal litigation will be considerably slowed. The new law does not streamline criminal cases but rather significantly expands the time frames for pre-plea and pretrial discovery. The new law will slow the disposition of cases, with discovery and protective motions, and overreaching demands for information about potential witnesses, police personnel records and requests to inspect the homes of victims.
IN MY OPINION, and in my experience as Prosecutor and a Judge, this new discovery law must be changed not tomorrow, but yesterday! It is up to good prosecutors to fight for the rights and safety of our communities and our citizens, and make our justice system better. This new law does not advance any of those objectives!

Judge Frank J. LaBuda (Ret.)

Jackie Horner

To the editor:
With sadness, respect and fond memories we read of Jackie Horner's passing.
Before we screened Dirty Dancing in August, 2017 at the Callicoon Theater to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the film, we contacted Jackie to see if she would be interested in hosting a Q&A after the film was shown.
Not only did she enthusiastically agree, but she brought with her props from her days as an instructor as well as copies of a book that included a chapter of her memories of times gone by. She held sway over the adoring, transfixed audience for more than an hour; her memoir was sold out.
Rarely does somebody come along with as much energy, enthusiasm and joie de vivre as was exhibited by Jackie that Saturday afternoon. She was truly a bright and shining gem in the entertainment firmament who will be sorely missed.

Barbara and Jim Kayton
Fremont Center

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