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.
Marlboro school taxes
Regrettably, three fine establishments located in the village of Marlboro will no longer be receiving business from us. Once we received our new 2013-2014 Marlboro school tax bill last month, which increased by almost $1,000.00 dollars, our mortgage lender then found it necessary to increase our monthly mortgage payment by $210.00 dollars a month, or $2,500.00 annually. This latest large increase is on top of the already 87% increase we’ve been hit with over the past 8 years.
As a result, we have decided that the only way we are going to possibly be able to afford this unreasonable, exorbitant monthly increase will be to cease spending money on unnecessary things, such as entertainment and dining out.
Our two favorite Marlboro restaurants, which we have patronized a few times monthly, as well as an outstanding, unique, local musical venue will suffer the loss of our support as we simply can no longer afford to spend money on leisurely outings.
Most likely, we are not the only ones tightening our belts here. These astronomical school tax increases in Marlboro are wreaking havoc on many a budget in the area. Too bad for the community that the Marlboro Central School officials in charge of spending didn’t think it prudent to tighten their belts over the past several years, having knowledge of the impending financial disaster caused by the Roseton and Danskammer assessment calamity.
Now we must all pay the price for the District’s lack of responsible budgeting and spending of tax dollars during times of financial hardships.
David and Deborah Beckford
As a resident of the Hudson Valley, I am aware of the high occurrence
of teen fatalities via motor vehicle accidents. It is a tragedy
to see a young life ended so soon. Reinforcement of the law
and safety while operating a vehicle should be practiced in local
high schools, as this is the time students are learning to drive
and becoming more independent.
Wallkill Senior High School participates in an activity called
“Battle of the Belts” which is an enjoyable event that
enforces the use of seat belts. Students can sign up in teams
of four and compete against each other for the fastest time in buckling
up. Other programs should be organized to veer students away
from poor behaviors such as speeding and reckless driving.
It is my belief that every high school and middle school should
take part in activities such as Battle of the Belts. If an
event such as this can make even the smallest difference to teenager,
it may end up saving his or her life if an accident were to happen.
Life is too precious to be cut short and we must take action. Do
not hesitate, protect our youth.
For information on how to conduct a Battle of the Belts event,
please visit www.safeny.ny.gov/SRO-toolkit/files/BattleoftheBelts-HowTo.pdf
Gas pipeline concerns
Heads up! As gas driling expands in the Marcellus Shale,
three local counties are at risk of a proposed 36" gas
pipeline connecting the Tennessee Gas Pipeline "Upgrade"--
devastating the forests of North Jersey now--- with the newly
licensed Cricket Valley Gas Power Plant near Dover Plains in Dutchess
County. This "NYMarc" pipeline would cross Orange,
Ulster, and Dutchess Counties and the Hudson River at the Walkway
across the Hudson. It is projected to transverse the towns
of Shawangunk, Plattekill and Lloyd. In Dutchess, it would
move east just north of Poughkeepsie to the Iroquois Gas main line
at Pleasant Valley.
in 2010, Iroquois Gas Transmission proposed this 66 miles of pipeline
to move gas from west to east. Will it proceed? The
Minisink Compressor Station is in construction now to boost Marcellus
gas on its way "to serve Northeast markets" and proposed
LNG terminals on the coast for lucrative gas export.
Heads up, Landowners and Residents along this route. Federally
approved pipelines have eminent domain power to confiscate private
land. First, they must survey. You have the right to
say no to a survey of your land. Gas pipelines leak. Gas
pipelines explode. Gas pipelines enable nearby gas wells, thus
more climate changing fossil fuel dependence. Heads up, everyone!
Hudson River radionuclides
entering the drinking water
United Water and French parents "Suez Environnement"
and "GDF Suez" want Rockland County NY residents to drink
"desalinated" water from the Hudson River.
Tritium and Strontium-90 leaking into the Hudson from Indian Point,
are called "radionuclides". United Water's "Haverstraw
[NY] Water Supply Project" DEIS, Section 188.8.131.52, "Chapter
2: Project Description" (Page 2-33), discusses them:
"The technology for real-time monitoring and instantaneous
reporting for the presence of most individual radionuclides is not
available; therefore, analysis is done in a laboratory".
United Water would have us believe it's safe to rely upon some
early-warning system that they promise to install with the desalination
plant - to make sure the customer doesn't drink radioactive material.
But United Water can't support this promise, by their own written
admission in the DEIS. If you've ever waited for a laboratory result,
you know there is nothing "early" about it. Moreover,
why should Rockland County trust United Water, Suez, and GDF to
report accurately? United Water never timely and adequately warned
the Rockland County customer about arsenic, turbidity, and copper
sulfate in the drinking-water supply. United Water only spun sanitized
publicity about those contaminations - perhaps the only thing United
Water really does know how to sanitize - weeks to months post facto.
For that matter, would one think that United Water adequately warned
the children included in the 2002 Toms River, New Jersey civil settlement,
about the acrylonitrile and other mutagenic chemicals in their drinking
John J. Tormey III, Esq.
Dump Suez, LLC
New York, NY
Wants mental health services
returned to Cornwall
There is such a need in the United States for on-going availability
for mental health facilities, as witnessed on almost a daily basis
in the news. This subject matter has traditionally been either
hidden by families because they felt disgraced, but they never reached
out until recently for any assistance from the proper experts.
Unfortunately, this "sweeping under the rug" is still
practiced today. Many people are either misunderstood or just
ignored when they display a need for emotional help.
At one time, Cornwall Hospital located in Cornwall, NY had a program
for such situations. They provided mental aid and sometimes
short stays for evaluation or transfer to another facility for more
intense help. This disease is not new, but treatments are
sporatic, sometimes unconventional and very often ignored until
it is too late. Many of the horrific shootings, I believe,
are the desperate cries of many people who have given indications
of their illness, but no one took the time and effort to stop, look
at the situation and just listen.
Sometimes people who are in that final stage of desperation feel
this is their only way of showing people that they have nothing
to lose at that point and that no one will get them the professional
help they truly need.
So I am asking the Director of St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital and
the Board of Directors to consider reopening the rooms and facility
to such an important part of mental care, which goes hand-in-hand
with physical care.
Thank you for allowing me to address my concerns.
Amelia D. Russe
New York is currently serving as a battleground for natural gas
development. This potential addition to the New York State economy
has gained mass attention within the voters. Opponents point towards
the potential health risks, and lack of independent research as
reasons to not allow drilling.
New York should not allow fracking to occur. There is severe lack
of independent research done on the economic,health, and geological
effects of fracking. Critical information is being repressed by
an industry looking to make large profits with natural gas. In Pennsylvania
where fracking is allowed when environmental disasters occur they
are silenced with non-litigation gag orders.(http://news.msn.com/us/fracking-gag-order-for-children-now-disputed)
These orders prevent information from being collected about what
exactly went wrong during the drilling phase,not allowing voters
to make informed decisions. This allows the gas industry to tell
the public that there are no cases of water contamination.
Most recent data shows that in four years Pennsylvania had 161
documented cases of water contamination. Individual cases include
multiple individual families drinking wells(http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/sunday-times-review-of-dep-drilling-records-reveals-water-damage-murky-testing-methods-1.1
491547). In Ohio, Ben Lupo has been charged with over 100 environmental
violations, and is now being charged with purposefully dumping waste
water into storm drains which lead to public waterways(http://www.npr.org/2013/02/15/172078646/federal-charges-filed-in-ohio-dumping-case).
It is time to adapt sustainable industries, i.e. wind & solar
technology, to keep pace with the global trend. NYPIRG is advocating
New York to follow a more sustainable energy portfolio.
NYPIRG, Board Representative
Women's Equality Agenda
New York Assemblymembers Didi Barrett, Kevin Cahill, Aileen Gunther,
Frank Skartados and James Skoufis did the right thing in June by
voting to pass the FULL Women's Equality Agenda. This is just one
of the many ways that these members have stood up for the women
in New York. Unlike the New York Assembly, the State Senate
neglected to update New York’s 43-year old reproductive health
care law. I urge our state Senate to return to Albany and pass the
proposed reproductive health care update –the final bill of
the women’s equality package that needs legislative attention.
This should not be a difficult measure to support since 80 percent
of New York voters agreed it should be passed. The NY Assembly
did the right thing for women. I ask the Senate to follow their
President & CEO
Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley
Remembering our fallen heroes
It is hard to believe another September is upon us already. While
many are busy getting the kids back to school, picking apples, or
digging out sweaters and rakes, for many of us September brings
a different tradition: remembering those we lost on September 11,
As the wife and mother of law enforcement officers, the poignancy
of this national anniversary cannot be fully expressed in words.
My heart truly breaks remembering the 2,977 victims, including 343
firefighters and 23 police officers – these true heroes that
we will never forget.
This September, I will be thinking not only of the victims but
of their families and loved ones who continue to keep their memory
alive 11 years later. While it is said that time heals all wounds,
I cannot imagine that anything, including time, heals the loss of
a child, spouse, or parent in such a catastrophic and unexpected
way. Please know my thoughts are with you.
Additionally, I am encouraging all members of our community to
take a moment to remember not only the heroes we lost on September
11, 2013 but to remember their families and friends, and to join
me in saying “thank you” to a first responder, member
of the military or veteran serving our community, helping to keep
our lives and property safe from harm.
No matter how many times we say “thank you” to these
heroes it is never enough. On behalf of all the residents of the
98th Assembly District, “THANK YOU so very much.”
Assemblywoman, 98th district
The Cornwall Initiative for
“Let the People Decide”
The central power of government in a democracy is lawmaking, not
voting. Those who make the laws determine how, and when to make
the laws that keep them in office, give themselves pensions, raises,
health benefits, and profiteering for their contributors and families. Simply
put it has led to the corrupt political system we have today both
locally and nationally. The Golden Rule in politics is “Those
that control the Gold make the rules”.
Citizens can gain control of their government by becoming lawmakers
and turning its purpose to the public good.
Right now on Election Day the people give their power away to political
candidates who manipulate the electoral process to get elected and
re-elected. Would Congress have voted against logical gun controls
supported by 90% of the country while the families of the children
lost at Sandy Hook watched if they didn’t put their self-interest
first. The same self interest rules in local town councils.
The Cornwall Initiative for True Democracy will change the governing
laws of the town to give legislative powers to the people, giving
citizens the opportunity to vote on all proposed laws.
It is important to understand that this initiative does not alter
the existing structure of representative governments. Rather, it
adds an additional Check and guarantees the will of the people will
If residents wish to be empowered as lawmakers and truly have a
government “by the People” then vote for the True Democracy
How can voters enact the Cornwall Initiative for True Democracy?
By writing in the names of the three candidates that will implement
the initiative for Supervisor and the two Council seats open. Candidates
will be announced on 10/1/2013 after caucus.
By voting yes for the Cornwall Initiative for True Democracy:
- All legislation will be approved and voted on by a majority
of the Town’s citizens.
- The Budget will be approved and voted on by a majority of the
- Town Council can not vote themselves a pay raise. No pensions
- Term Limits of 8 Years for all Town Council Offices. The
founders envisioned citizen legislators not professional politicians.
Your Vote for the True Democracy Ticket is like signing the Declaration
of Independence. By establishing True Democracy here, we will be
a beacon of light that will spread across the country from sea to
James Sollami & I. Bernie Sussman
Pointing Fingers on Sales Tax
Issue Does Little to Solve the Problem
Several letters to the editor have been published surrounding the
issues of safety net and sales tax related to the county budget.
Having worked with both Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and County
Executive Michael Hein, I know that they are hard working men with
their constituents always at the forefront of their decision
making. Two people with such dedication to the people they
serve should work together to resolve the budget issues facing Ulster
The finger pointing for revenue shortfalls does nothing to fix
the problem and only serves to lay blame. The people of
Ulster County want solutions, not more problems. I know
Assemblyman Cahill is always looking out for the best interests
of the people he represents. He is a tireless advocate for
the working men and women of this area. In addition, having experience with
the legislative arena, I know nothing is a sure thing in Albany,
and most legislative successes come from negotiations with all involved
Michael Hein, like most county government leaders, faces unique
and difficult challenges. Revenue needed to meet the demands
of a budget that serves the people is no easy task. However,
this is a time for leadership and making the hard decisions necessary
to run government in times of economic distress. I urge our state,
county, and local leaders to work together to find answers to these
very difficult questions.
John P. Kaiser
President/Business Manager, LU320 IBEW
Dutchess County Jail
A recent letter to the editor was critical of Dutchess County for
spending money on a design study to determine how best to address
the overcrowding issue at the Dutchess County Jail. I can't
answer the question as to how many design studies have been done
over the last seven years, but from what I understand Mark Molinaro
and his team are giving this the attention and focus it really needs.
The overcrowding and the annual cost to taxpayers is not going to
go away on its' own. The $10 million annual cost to taxpayers will
just continue to rise with each passing year that nothing is done.
As part of this design study, inmates at the jail will be placed
in temporary housing pods on the current jail site. This in itself
will drastically reduce the amount it costs to transport inmates
to other facilities in other counties. There is much to consider
when it comes to this subject: inmate overcrowding, alternatives
to incarceration, reducing recidivism rates, social programs for
inmates, just to name a few. This design study is intended to focus
on all these important aspects and more. I commend Mark Molinaro
for taking this subject seriously, something that was never done
in the past. I feel that our County Executive has demonstrated that
he has our best interests at hand. He is genuinely concerned for
the county and for individuals who make Dutchess County their home.
Mark Molinaro deserves credit for taking a difficult and complicated
issue and bringing it forward for a resolution. Politically
speaking, it may not be in Mr. Molinaro's best interests to move
forward with this, but I thank him for having the courage to do
what is right, in spite of the criticism by some that will surely