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Monday, December 18, 2017


My Christmas List

To the editor:
What do you want for Christmas?
You've heard this asked before.
This is what I want; will I get it, I can't be sure
Happiness in the hearts of everyone
Food and shelter for you and yours
Laughter in every household
Folks whistling as they explore the stores
Waking up to a day of beauty
Lastly, the New Year giving
The whole world a brand new start!

Eileen Barwick


To the editor:
In response to Joel Lerner's article “The Bird Feeder” (December 15), many people put bird feeders in their yards because they welcome the beauty of song birds despite the inconvenience of wiping off their mess on an occasional lawn chair or table. Like the birds, immigrants contribute more to the greater good than the costs of providing assistance to them.
In 2015 the birthrate in the United States hit a low 1.84 children per women, which is below the replacement rate of 1.9. Our birthrate would be significantly lower if not for immigrant mothers. Countries like Japan, Italy, and Spain which have dangerously low birthrates do not have enough younger workers to replace an aging workforce. This can lead to economic instability or stagnation. We have largely avoided this situation because of immigration.
Another way that immigrants contribute to our nation is that many of them revitalize blighted urban areas by moving to these neighborhoods and starting new businesses. In fact, immigrants, who risk leaving their own countries to start a new life here, are much more likely to start businesses than native born Americans. Evidence of immigrant success is well documented in the technology and engineering sectors where one in four of tech and engineering companies started between 2006 and 2012 had an immigrant as a key founder.
Lerner's article concludes with his objections to “hearing people waving flags other than ours and squawking and screaming in the streets.” What exactly does this describe? Does this describe the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade, the West Indian American Parade or the St. Patrick's Day Parade? Fortunately, many Americans disagree and appreciate these events which are a celebration of the diversity of our great nation.

Gale Lichter Haynes

Winter's Flame

To the editor:
Crackling hearth
A well-earned rest
A Curled up cat
Astride my breast
While winter's wrath
Assaults outside
The inner faith
Of Holidays abide.
In eventide's subsiding light
A candle's flame
Pierces night.
That candle's glow
Such sweet delight
Can banish
Darkness, evil, fright.
Hold that candle
High and strong
That we may strive
To right the wrongs
And each of us
May search our souls
For good to triumph
O'r the cold.

Jim Kayton

More taxes is not the answer

To the editor:
Once again another rant from a liberal person who watched too much fake news. The reality is Obama did the opposite of Trump and made the USA a doormat to the world. Although he is a nice guy and I would like to meet former President Obama he too catered to his party's views and to the minorities and non-citizens rather than working for all Americans. And by the way Mr. Ebert both parties serve the very rich the Democrats just lie and say they are for the middle class and poor but look at how each party stimulates economic growth, they cut taxes on big business and wave fees, etc to bring in companies like we did here in Sullivan with the casino/resorts. Also if you over tax the rich they can just leave. It happened here in NY State under Gov. Spitzer when the top 10 richest people in NY left the state. I remember when Donald Trump was on the news back then talking about how much he loves NY but may have to leave if they keep raising taxes on everyone here. That is right, NY taxes everyone too much! What we need now more than anything else is truth. I mean first of all Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life and no person gets to the Father except through Him. But I also mean real news not biased spiteful news that is set up to build up one party and knock down another as if the Democrats have all the answers; by the way the Republicans don't have all the answers either and both parties need to work together to "make America Great Again."
Maybe we should just step back from political arguments this Christmas and all pray for peace on earth and goodwill toward man.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas
God bless America, One nation under God, In God we trust.

John “JP” Pasquale
Livingston Manor

Compliments to the chef

To the editor:
Just a few words to praise your great new column “Cooking In The Country.” We look forward to Claire Stabbart's columns in Friday's edition of The Sullivan County Democrat week after week, and have tried a number of her recipes. Tonight we enjoyed her “Shrimp/Scallop Scampi” recipe yet again, it's become one of our favorites. Kudos to Claire, and we hope you keep those columns and recipes coming… about a Cooking in the Country cookbook??

Judy Van Put
Livingston Manor

Merry X-Mas

To the editor:
Guess we must be thankful
to celebrate once more.
At this rate it's really fate
No one knows the score.
Pick up your tree and decorations.
Don't forget the mistletoe.
Let the X-mas carols play all day.
Keep it soft and low.
Merry X-mas. Give the kiddies little things for them to do.
A kiss and a hug, a holiday mug.
Make your dreams come true.
Let's not forget your little pets.
Your doggie or baby cat.
Make it a loving holiday
with special calls
to Grandma Pat.

Cathy LoBosco

Respect to Maurice Hinchey

To the editor:
During my administration as Director of the Sullivan County Veterans Service Agency (1994-2000), it was a distinct privilege to have had the Congressman Maurice Hinchey, serve as our area's representative. What causes this letter, was the absence of any mention in the newspaper coverage of his passing, that he was an honorably discharged Navy veteran, and that he served his community, state and nation, aside from his political careers in both the NYS Assembly, as well as in the Congress.
There were numerous times that I called upon him for his personal intervention, to assist needy veterans in the areas of Federal assistance, relating to benefits and entitlements, as well as V.A. follow through regarding disability compensation claims that were not responded to in long periods of time as well as burial assistance needs. He always came through!!
He was a staunch veteran supporter! I can recall times when I drove veterans to his Kingston office, so they could personally tell their stories, and, when the visit was over, they knew he was in their corner, based upon the evidence and supporting documentation submitted.
The time frame was shortened considerably and their frustration in receiving no action over lengthy periods of time was alleviated. The late internationally known poetess, Maya Angelou, was noted for two favorite expressions, which in Congressman Hinchey's case, certainly apply, due to his humanity and compassion..." People will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel". Further, "What you do for yourself remains with you, but what you do for others, becomes immortal". God bless you, Congressman Maurice... Rest in Peace. You had a "good run!”

Al Etkin
Rock Hill

Only in America

To the editor:
We have 300+ million people in this former great USA. We have thousands and thousands of college professors. We have millions of college graduates, yet out of these millions no one is smart enough to come out with a plan to “Make America Great Again.”
We have 536 people in Washington who control this contry. Is there not one who has common sense?
If you're reading this, STOP - look at your children, your grandchildren, every newborn today is $150,000 in debt. How can they ever get ahead?
The solution is so simple, so basic. You have to stop taxing the millions who are not sure they can put food on the table for their family. You have to tax people who have money. This country is not here for 5% of the population. This country is here for 100% of the population.
Look at the history - every time there is a big tax break, a recession occurs.
The top 5% are not going to invest and create jobs. They will put excess in foreign banks and probably not pay any taxes on it.
This tax bill before Congress will destroy this once great country.
You have a corrupt President and a group of corrupt followers who are determined to destroy.
Think about it - let your congressperson know where you stand.
We need change - now - Yesterday would have been better.

John Ebert
North Branch

Cuomo laughs at child poverty

To the editor:
It's great that Monticello and Fallsburg school districts receive annual grants for after school programs for the children in those districts but it's very sad that the Governor failed to say why/how they got them, giving a false sense of happiness.
Seeing Gov. Cuomo laughing, School Superintendents and Directors being very excited about this along with a no-name list of virtually every local elected official being there giving us a good feeling about this program, which Monticello and Fallsburg are the only two districts that are eligible to receive them in Sullivan County, doesn't tell the right story!
To be eligible your school district must be on the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, be located in a county that had a child poverty rate over 30% in 2015, have a district child poverty rate of over 30% in 2015 and finally had between 5,000 and 20,000 students living in poverty within the school district in 2015.
Between these two school districts there had to be a bare minimum of 10,000 students in 2015 living in poverty to be able to get these grants! To me this is very alarming and not a place for laughs but much concern.
What does this say about the rest of Sullivan County school districts that didn't have the minimum or about NY State when it comes to poverty of our children? Creating and awarding these grants is showing part of the bigger picture of how bad poverty is in NYS which is a surprise to me showing that Gov. Cuomo has done nothing in improving poverty conditions in NY.
Cuomo said that going home at 3:00 and just playing video games - when my children came home they had at least two hours of homework every day, no time for video games or even playtime.

Don Dittmer
Lake Huntington

Vote yes for facilities for the future

To the editor:
I am writing to encourage the voting community in the Monticello Central School District to vote “yes” on the school bond referendum on the December 19th ballot. This critical bond is the primary funding source for the construction and renovation of our schools as well as an essential investment in our community.
School facilities are invaluable in ways beyond educating our children, which is why it is so important to invest. School quality has a significant influence on neighborhood choice and housing values.
Monticello Central School District's capital improvement project will be put forth for voter approval on December 19, 2017. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the following locations:
District 1: Thompson - Robert J. Kaiser Middle School
District 2: Bethel - Duggan Community Center
District 3: Mamakating - Emma C. Chase Elementary School
District 4: Rock Hill - Rock Hill Fire Department
If you are unable to attend the official polling station download or call the district for an application. Deadline for absentees is December 14th. Absentee Applications can be downloaded at this link:
Phase 1 would include significant high school renovations and critical repairs to the middle and elementary schools and construction of a new transportation center, parking configuration adjustments, and tennis courts.
In Phase 2 the Cornelius Duggan Elementary School would be reopened and the grade level configuration across all schools would change. This would also include renovations to all elementary schools.
For detailed information go to:
I strongly support the bond proposal and urge you to vote “yes” on December 19th. If you vote yes on the bond, you won't just be saying yes to improve the MCSD, but you will also be saying yes to create a better future for our children and our community.

Moreen Lerner
Kauneonga Lake

Voices rising from the water

To the editor:
Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo established the New York State Drinking Water Quality Council to determine what courses of action the state should take in protecting our most vital resource. The Council is responsible for making sure that our communities have access to clean and healthy drinking water while also addressing other major water quality issues, including setting limits on extraordinarily dangerous and currently unregulated contaminants that have been linked to increased risks of various cancers, hormonal disorders, and birth defects.
In the face of crumbling water infrastructure, the presence of toxic and industrial pollution, and the slashing of the EPA at the federal level, it is more crucial than ever that New York takes the strongest measures toward protecting every water supply throughout the state.
We as New Yorkers must use our voice to urge the New York State Drinking Water Quality Council to put forth the strictest health standards for unregulated water contaminants, to grant our water infrastructure an adequate budget for improvement and safety, and to guarantee that we know what is in our drinking water. This council has been granted an enormous task, and the public must be part of the process to ensure that it is fully completed.
The New York State Drinking Water Quality Council is taking public comments via email, at
To learn more about the quality of your community's water, visit

Ethan Gormley

Put bullying out in the open

To the editor:
Your first course of action is through the administration in your school district when your child has been bullied. Get the person's name and phone number and the position that he/she participates in with the school and follow it up the very next day.
It's only proper to give the system the opportunity to conquer or eliminate the problem to get back to education and keeping peace and harmony with our prize cargo, our kids. If you believe that you are being stone-walled, use your citizens' right of order. Call the state police and have the bully arrested. The bully will not be so big and brave when he/she is taken out of the classroom in handcuffs!
Bullying should be addressed at the very beginning of the school year, such as at an assembly with all personnel. The administrator should lay out the ground work so that every member of the district, both employees and students, understand the consequences.
I was a school board member in my hometown and many years later I worked in another school district, both in Sullivan County and was quite upset with both administrations with the way they handled serious problems. “Make sure it does not get to the press,” - that was the quote in both cases. Both would sweep it under the rug.
You have a choice! You can use your other right. Be sure that a crime has been committed and if so, call the State police.

Don Rupp

Feral cats in Rockland

To the editor:
The humane way to deal with feral cats that has been adopted by many communities is to feed them, capture (in humane traps), spay, and release. TARA mobile spay unit spays for $60. It will require fund-raising and a few dedicated individuals working together to get this done, but it is the only viable humane method. People will continue to "dump" their unwanted pets in our communities, so it's better to deal with it now than let it fester and increase.

Hana Marritz
Equinunk, PA

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