Mohonk Preserve tax exermption
I have in past brought up concerns about Mohonk Preserve and their cost burden to Gardiner property tax payers. It appears that this topic is not simply a concern of myself and others locally, but of the office of the Comptroller of Ulster County which recently issued a report entitled "Wholly-Exempt Properties - what do they cost Ulster County Tax Payers?". Recently, the Gardiner town board passed a resolution against a New Paltz development because it may be tax exempt under IDA, even through this only affects a portion of Gardiner residents. However, past requests by me and others to have the town board address Mohonk Preserve to attempt to generate revenue based on their fair tax share, have not been addressed, even through it affects all property taxpayers in Gardiner. It also seems from this report that local legislation to collect property taxes may be possible. As a concerned Gardiner taxpayer, I call on the town board to address this request in earnest.
Cuomo’s Alarming Trespass
When good and decent hard-working, law-abiding Americans who hold traditional family values allow themselves to be marginalized and branded as EXTREMISTS, we are at the beginning of the end of what can no longer be referred to as a free society! When Governor Cuomo declared one group unwelcome, he insulted us all as Americans. You do not have to believe as I do to be my friend, and many of my friends do not. But to deny me the right to my deeply held beliefs is crossing a line we shall all live to regret! Each of us has a sacred duty as Americans to draw that line so vividly clear that ALL, regardless of political stripe, may know their own bounds.
Taconic DDSO closing
I am a current employee of NYS Taconic DDSO located in Wassaic, NY. As many may know, the state is closing this facility at the end of the month. Other employees and I have felt that it was essential to make the public aware of the unfairness and immoral behavior surrounding this closure.
Taconic has received plenty of negative publicity over the years concerning the care of the residents in this facility; but with my letter I wish to make the public aware that the staff that is currently employed with Taconic has provided years of exemplary support and care for the developmentally disabled and medically frail at this location. The public has judged our work unfairly and the state has shut us down prematurely. The direct result of the facility shut down has been the displacement of many residents to locations that cannot provide them the level of care they have grown accustomed. Many of these residents have lived at Taconic their entire lives and are now being shifted out of their homes and into routines that frightening and unfamiliar to them. We wish to shed a more positive light on the staff and the care provided at Taconic while making state officials aware of the damage they have caused with the restructuring of this historic facility. We ask that the public and the State legislator afford us the opportunity to express our concerns for our residents and for our jobs.
According to the American Cancer Society tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in New York State, taking more than 25,000 lives prematurely every year. Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer, contributing to 80 percent of lung cancer deaths in women and 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in men. Quitting smoking is the single most important step you can take to reduce your risk of cancer. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases and those who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely to die from smoking-related illness. Research done by the National Cancer Institute has shown that quitting by age 30 reduces a person’s risk of dying due to a smoking-related disease by more than 90 percent and quitting by age 50 reduces a person’s risk of dying prematurely by 50 percent. If you smoke, do something special for yourself and your family. Quit today! For help in quitting talk to your doctor and call the New York State Smoker’s Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit their website at www.nysmokefree.com
A happy and healthy 2014 to all!
Theresa Miller, Director
Tri-County Cessation Center
Lake Katrine, NY
As we argue back and forth about unemployment extension, I have to recall the program from many years ago called CETA (Community Employment Training Act).
The Town of Newburgh chose to participate. I think the funding was federal, funneled thru the state to the town.
When I worked at the Rec Department, the group was headed by one, Tilford Steitler Sr. A most respectful, observant man. He knew what he was about. He was a mentor to a rough bunch of chronically unemployed. He was their last resort.
At least six or seven were on the town crew. They reported to Tilford everyday, 8 to 5. Sprinkled thru several town departments, their jobs varied, as well as the problems they encountered. Not everyone on staff could accept them; Tilford handled every problem as if it was his family. Patiently and quietly he moved his charges forward.
They were hired to work. They received salary for their work. They had to be there, answering to Tilford.
Some of these hires are still with the town, one a department head. Maybe the right and left of politics could agree that putting physically abled persons to work, at least to attend a job with the proper mentor, would begin a compromise of the opposing sides, one of which does not want more people on the dole and the other which wants to provide an income to able bodied citizens. Not everyone survived the program, but with tutelage and direction some do. It is worth a shot.
Thankful for staff at store
This Thanksgiving I have a lot to be thankful for, but one thing stands out that deserves special recognition. On Sunday November 24, 2013, I went to Price Chopper in the Town of Newburgh to get the final items on my Thanksgiving shopping list. I wandered each aisle, scanning the shelves, making sure I purchased everything I needed for that perfect family dinner. Like hundreds of others I rummaged through the turkeys looking for that perfect one. I found my turkey, checked out, loaded my car, and headed home with a million things to do between now and Thanksgiving on my mind.
As we unpacked the bags, I answered our home phone and started to chat with a friend. As we talked I glanced down and noticed the diamond from my engagement ring was missing and the prong was bent. I became hysterical and ended my phone conversation in a complete panic.
I called my husband at work and broke down crying that I had lost the diamond in my ring. I asked him to call Price Chopper Security immediately and ask them to start looking around the register I checked out from.
My children and I jumped in my car and headed back to Price Chopper. Once inside I went straight to the security office and was greet by Jay Austin. As I introduced myself she apologized for not having a chance to check the register I was at (they had just finished a shoplifting incident). She asked where I thought I might have lost it. I thought about it and suggested I may have lost it by the turkeys or hams. She suggested “well lets head back there and start looking”. She helped my son look through the ham cooler while my daughter and I looked through all the turkeys. It just seemed hopeless. It was at that moment this security woman told me “I’ll be right back.”
She returned with a rolling cart. I stood by watching her and my son empty the cooler of 15–20 twenty pound turkeys so the drainage grate was visible. She carefully examined the ice chips underneath the grate. My son pulled out a flashlight and they shined it at the ice. After what seemed like forever, my son asked her, “Is that it?” She replied, “I think so!”
To my surprise and relief, after a few tries, she gently pulled the diamond to my engagement ring from the drainage grate in the cooler and placed it into my hand. I instantly broke into tears and gave her a big hug. She walked us to the front of the store, diamond in hand to get a bag to put it in. I hugged her again and thanked her for all she had done.
In a world where so many people are forced to question humanity every day, I am reminded that there are still wonderful people in the world willing to help others. This woman went above and beyond the duties described in her job description to help a total stranger find a priceless heirloom. If not for her perseverance and time, I may never have found that diamond and may have been forced to live with a hole in my heart as a result of the loss.
Thank you Jay Austin from the bottom of my heart. Price Chopper should be honored to have her employed as part of their loss prevention department. Since I was blessed to have her in my life for those 30 minutes of misery, Price Chopper has gained a forever customer.
Happy 40th Birthday TAP! The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) has been helping students for the past 40 years in New York State to make higher education affordable, but unfortunately TAP is outdated and needs reform. Tuition is increasing, yet the maximum TAP award is not. TAP gives me a small amount of aid every year just barely enough to cover the cost of textbooks. If it were updated to reflect the needs of students, it may even help with tuition and fees. Due to the current needs of students, NYPIRG is working on a number of initiatives to update and fix the program, including increasing the number of semesters that students are eligible to receive TAP and raising the maximum award from $5,000 to $6,500 for all students. Overall TAP needs a facelift. TAP needs to be expanded to undocumented youth, graduate students, and students in default on federal loans. Students deserve an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams without the burden of unfair, overwhelming student loan debt.
Bad News for Highland Central School District Taxpayers – a 4.25% Tax Increase
The Highland School District will hold a special election, at a cost of thousands of dollars, to decide on a $25 million capital project. A “special election” spells trouble for the taxpayer – senior citizens are away, information is limited and voters do not have sufficient time to examine the proposal afforded in the normal budget and election cycle. This proposal is anything but cost-neutral. Taxpayers will assume debt service in excess of $1 million per year, an effective tax increase exceeding 4.25%. This proposed tax increase from a District that has been unable to plan beyond the upcoming year, has two open labor contracts and has financially struggled, eliminating jobs and educational programs.
Taxpayers genuinely want the schools and the infrastructure maintained, but this goes well beyond what is reasonable. A turf field and material redesign of parking lots, costing millions of dollars, are examples of what this Boards deems, “preserving our facilities”.
I urge the voters to reject this proposal and the 4.25% tax increase. Vote no and demand that the Board present a capital plan, in concert with the operating budget, that will recognize the financial pressure facing the taxpayer and realistically addresses the needs of the district.
Town of Monroe politics
The ongoing political mess in the Town of Monroe offers recourse for those residents and voters who are frustrated and disappointed by the outcome of the elections earlier this month. In July of this year, Governor Cuomo enacted a commission to investigate public corruption under the Moreland Act. Information about the commission including a tips line that you can call is posted on the internet.
If you feel strongly enough about your situation in Monroe you should take advantage of the opportunities afforded under the Moreland Act and ask the commission to investigate.
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