Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Great news! Laurette Giardino, of East Fishkill, has entered the 2008 election race to become the Democratic candidate for New York State Assembly in the 103rd district. The district is east of us in Dutchess and Columbia County, but plays a significant roll in the economic development throughout the Hudson Valley.

Ms. Giardino, a businesswoman in Dutchess County, knows how hard it is to keep small businesses afloat. Over the years she owned and operated several stores, was Assistant Controller of a manufacturing company in Westchester, and published a monthly GLBT newspaper called In The Life.

District map to the left shows the townships from City of Hudson to E Fishkill in pink. With two district offices, this one will take some extra gas to manage the peoples business.

Laurette has been active in politics for many years. In 2007 she lost her bid for E. Fishkill Town Clerk by a handful of votes.. She currently serves as co-chair of the town’s Democratic Party and is a member of the Dutchess County Dem Women's Caucus. In her run for office last year, she was the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy grant.

She will be challenging Marc Molinaro, a Conservative Republican in his first term. With little to show for a long list of promises, Laurette plans on tapping into the new machine that has assumed power in Albany. With Paterson as Gov, a progressive Assembly and an eminent Dem majority in the state Senate, we need a business savvy woman in the 103rd.

Giardino said in the Pok Journal: "At this time, a Democrat has more chance of affecting change than a Republican. This is a good time to be in the majority. I am proud to be a Democrat because I believe in working for the people. My allegiance will be first and foremost to the residents of the 103rd. I will listen to my constituents, and will work with party leaders to do what is best for the people who live in my district."

Laurette has long championed environmental protections, women’s rights, developing alternative energy sources, improving education, and finding ways to help rescue struggling homeowners in this mortgage crisis..

Laurette told the Poughkeepsie Journal months ago: "This seat has been held by a Republican for too many years, and the results speak for themselves. People are having a harder time making ends meet than ever before. This will be a tough race, but I am committed to working hard to win it.”

Kevin Cahill serves us well in the 101st district with plenty to show for his good work in Albany. I expect well attended fundraisers coming soon from both of these fine public servants. The 101st and 103rd deserve a qualified team serving in Albany in 2008. I will keep you posted on the dates.

Contribute to Laurette Giardino's Campaign

Monday, April 28, 2008


The Carnegie Library is getting plenty of renewed attention these days. It seems to come in cycles. It was only four years ago that Assemblyman Cahill acquired funding to refurbish the former library into a tech/learning facility. Which went nowhere since there was little cooperation between the City and the school board...But not this time.

I am excited to think this may be the culmination of monies, people and the will to do something special in midtown. A renaissance if you will. The building couldn’t survive another winter without serious attention.

The library was constructed in 1904 to replace the original community library in City Hall across the street. It was among 1,600 public libraries built all over the US around the turn of the century, with money donated by Andrew Carnegie.

School Board member Jim Shaughnessy is the driving force behind the proposed renovation. He suggests tapping into school district CDBG funds to accomplish the task, but grant acceptance requires a learning component...Enter Evry Mann.

Evry Mann is the director of the Center for Creative Education in Stone Ridge and the large studio space on Thomas Street right here in Kingston where his organization's after-school programs serve more than 100 youths on a daily basis.

As noted in the Freeman: The center runs three arts education programs in Kingston, including the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston (POOK); the Energy Hip-Hop Dance Company; and after-school arts programs at Washington and Kennedy. The plan is to continue using the Thomas St studio for younger students and utilizing the renovated Carnegie Building for High School students.

The City of Kingston has included a $50K allotment from the annual CDBG funding toward the renovation of the building. There was plenty of support for the funding at the Public Hearing this past Wednesday when the funds distribution was announced.

Al Teetsel and I showed up during closing comments to witness a pleased crowd. Lowell Thing was one of the civilians from my district in attendance; from the smile on his face, he must have liked the proposal. Almost all of us Aldermen attended the numerous community development meetings this winter to hash out the final proposal. Thanks to Mike Murphy for guiding the group.

Between the state and federal sources, most of the funding will be secured, if not, there are other sources. Even with a zero tax impact, the renovation has to pass a public referendum in the fall.

I am definitely a YES vote.


Teach Children to Save Day is a national event developed by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation.

With the cooperation of Local and National Banks, bank representatives schedule a meeting with local school administrators to introduce the concept of saving to middle and high school students.

Last year, more than 200 bankers from sponsoring banks visited students in 400+ classrooms in New York State. The bankers conducted a 45-minute literacy-based lesson that focuses on the topic of saving and investing.

There is no charge for teachers or students to participate in Teach Children to Save Day; however, classroom visits may be limited. We will match classrooms on a first-come, first-serve basis. Maximum class size for a visit is 30 students. Teachers are required to remain in the classroom during the banker visit. The banker will bring the handouts and materials needed for the lesson.
I cannot confirm if KHS is participating in this program this year.
Ulster Savings Bank on Wall Street in Kingston will host a raffle to honor the American Bankers Association Education Foundation’s national “Teach Children to Save Day” on Tuesday, April 29th.The raffle prize winner will receive a $500 savings bond from Ulster Savings Bank in recognition of this special day. The drawing will be held on May 1. Entrants must be 18 or younger, and they must enter the raffle by visiting any of the Ulster Savings Bank branches.

Parents will also receive a guide for promoting child savings education. For more information, call 866-440-0391 or visit an Ulster Savings Bank branch.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Here in the City of Kingston, we have a KFC on Foxhall Avenue. Like most fast food restaurants, we seldom think about where their food source comes from.

I stumbled across a website featuring Pamela Anderson urging people to petition KFC to change their Chicken handling. The large unnatural commercial chicken coops are worth seeing in this video.

Join Pam and hundreds of other famous celebrities such as Jenna Jameson, Paul McCartney, Al Sharpton and Lady Bunny in a nation-wide boycott of KFC. . . Still not moved?

So, if you still insist on eating at KFC please
click here for an important consumer alert that you should read. Click on Pam’s video and, if you can stand watching the whole thing, then take action.

Lady Bunny says: Your participation is requested.


Saturday, April 26, 2008


Remember the rush to secure and inspect cargo after 9-11? We watched helplessly as the wheels of our federal government turned ever so slowly. The issue of US taxpayers being exposed to nuclear or biological threat was merely a whisper when compared to the demands of the special interests and prompt distribution of consumer goods.

Well, we have inched closer to a solution. The Department of Homeland Security has contracted OSI Systems Inc. to support the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office's data-fusion program. This program works to improve existing nuclear threat detection techniques. Like an upgrade to the shaky manual inspection process we have currently.

We still inspect and clear a mere fraction of the millions of cargo crates that come into this country yearly. DHS has never been fully funded or managed for the daunting task of mass cargo inspections. Now there’s a chance.OSI Systems is a developer of security and inspections; Rapiscan Systems is the division that handles what DHS is looking for. Taxpayers are kicking out $1.5 million for this contract. Feel better yet?

Through the development of X-ray and neutron based inspection methods, Rapiscan expects to deploy a better nuclear threat detection system for Screening. Making the apparatus larger and more reliable will speed things up at our ports. This will make the inspections less of a selective hit-or-miss procedure.

Of course there is always a down side. The advancement of this company and the increased output of production has prompted their manufacturing to move…guess where? Suzhou, China.

Located approximately 50 miles east of Shanghai, This facility will initially be focused on developing and manufacturing healthcare products for the emerging markets but the broad intent is to increase the production of the port inspection apparatus for the US.

We couldn’t offer OSI any tax breaks to manufacture here in this country? Of course not. Remember the special interest groups pushing for consumer goods distribution? Where are they making the most money? Cheap labor in China. Nice to see our government working for the US worker again.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Welcome to the Hudson Valley, where the future is GREEN: The jobs anyway.

This past Tuesday, Congressman Hichey addressed the UC Chamber of Commerce. In his great wisdom, he explained to the audience that a Green Jobs Revolution is upon us. The trend in local industries to develop alternatives to fossil fuels is sparking serious interest in Ulster County.

The Solar Energy Consortium, a newly formed group in the Hudson Valley, has been allotted some serious grant monies with the intent, partnered with Prism Solar Technologies Inc. to make a successful contribution to "the biggest problem we face as a species."

Hinchey said in the Freeman: “Our energy problems have caused economic problems and right now most of US consumers are spending much of their money on gasoline, heating oil and food."

Hinchey continued: "Supply and demand are no longer reflected in the price of oil, because while the demand is not increasing (in the United States), there is increasing demand for commodities contracts and the
speculators are driving up the price of energy." ""We want to make sure we don't get in a situation where we're importing solar energy from China."

Our Congressman mentioned Germany and the self-sufficient energy production in some of the towns. So, I found this article on a German Energy Site: One town called Dardesheim, relies almost entirely on renewable sources for its energy needs. The town’s goal is to use 100% renewable power, and become known as German’s “Town of Renewable Energies”. They already have some huge wind turbines in place, and many solar roofs installed. Last year they installed an amazing 62 megawatts of wind power, including one 6 megawatt turbine.

I have always admired the vision and attempts Hinchey has made on our behalf in Washington. Job growth has been less than worthy of mention during the last 7 years while we have spent a Trillion tax payer’s dollars on a war of choice abroad. Our infrastructure is suffering and gas prices may hit $4/gallon by November.

Our local economy needs a kick-in-the-ass, renewable energy sources and manufacturing must take hold in Ulster County. Senators Clinton and Schumer, as well as Assembly Cahill and Sen. Larkin have joined in the push to locate these Green Jobs here.

Thank you Maurice Hinchey, and a fine job done with the needed seed money for the Solar Consortium.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


If you were sent to defend a foreign country against Al Qaeda forces, wouldn’t you want weapons and ammunition? Well, our young soldiers are struggling without ‘em.

Since 2006, the Afghan government has been dependent on American military support against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Most of the ammunition has come from an upstart company in Florida called AEY Inc. Get this…our government awarded a $300 million contract to this company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur. Just who handles these arms deals?

Since January of 2008, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc made in the early 70’s.

The US State Department and NATO have determined these munitions to be unreliable and obsolete, and should have been destroyed years ago.

This Kid even created a shell company which is already on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking. So who is responsible?

The New York Times reported that these arms were manufactured in China, which is a violation of American law. The company's president, Efraim E. Diveroli, was also secretly recorded in a conversation that suggested corruption in his company's purchase of more than 100 million aging rounds in Albania.

Hundreds of Hudson Valley men & women are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and else-where to manage conflicts that threaten US interests. You would think that our own government would do a little research first. I bet our new Landlord DATAbase would do better.

If AEY Inc. is found in violation of the contract the company will be permanently barred from doing business with the U.S. government. The House Oversight Committee is currently reviewing this in hearings all this week.

I met this young man at the Midtown Center the day the troops came home last month. He told me of his training and where he hoped to be posted. Which makes the question local. When we send a local reserves cadet into harms way (pictured right) shouldn't he be prepared with all the means to protect himself?

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I am a recycling fanatic, there I’ve said it. But you already knew that. So, I couldn’t wait to do a piece on EARTH DAY on my BLOG.

What is Earth Day? It’s the day we celebrate the importance of the environment and to encourage civil action. April 22 is the day of observance nationally, But, I try to do my part every day. So how did this all start?

It was initiated in 1970 by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, who started a “teach-in” to protest the government’s environmental ignorance. It certainly made an impact. This eventually led to legislation including the Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act.

If you’re reading this, you’re wondering, what is Mike expecting of me? Simple, change a little something regarding your purchasing and disposal habits.

  • The average person generates 4.5 pounds of trash every day.

  • The EPA estimates that 50 percent of solid waste is recyclable, while only about 30 percent is through current programs.

  • As of 2006, there were approximately 8,660 curbside recycling programs.

  • An aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf to be purchased again in as little as 60 days; a glass bottle takes as little as 30 days.

  • One gallon of improperly disposed motor oil can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water.

Purchase goods with less packaging and from renewable sources. Separate and recycle all your waste at the curb where the service is provided. Recycling reduces the amount of waste in landfills, and prevents hazardous materials from leaking into our soil and water systems.

Every town and city throughout the country will offer some form of community action. I hope all of us take advantage of the great weather and step up our custodial duties in our neighborhoods. This is a day to stop and think about your affect on the environment and what you can do to help protect it. Don't leave me out here everyday by myself!


The Kingston Police Athletic League (KPAL) boxing show this past Saturday was quite a thrill. The Midtown Neighborhood Center was full of excited spectators waiting for the chance to see the long awaited event.

Held in the Billy Costello Gymnasium, young boxers from clubs all over the state came here and competed against a number of up and coming fighters from Kingston. This was an opportunity to see all the boxers shine.

KPAL started in 2006 by former World Boxing Lightweight champion Billy Costello and Kingston police officer Aaron Fitzgerald. Both Billy and Aaron train young fighters on a daily basis at the center.

Fitzgerald said that the bulk of the PAL boxers are students at either Kingston High or one of the two junior highs. To rest the fears of the boxer’s parents, Individual bouts range for only 3 rounds, two minutes in length, and are overseen by U.S.A. Boxing referees.

Fitzgerald was quoted in the Freeman, “We've got a viable program and recently expanded our Board of Directors," he added “It looks like we'll have some grant money coming in this year and the kids are here regularly working on their skills."

Although this is the third show KPAL has had at the Midtown Center, it’s the first I’ve been able to attend. To see how well KPAL manages this program and the number of kids who are participating on a daily basis, shows me one of the youth programs available to Kingston area youth is well worth funding. The City of Kingston provides a small amount through our annual CDBG allotment.

One of the highlights of the evening was the female match-up. Leah Mitchem, the wife of former U.S. Olympic alternate Brandon Mitchem, did an amazing performance for her first-ever amateur bout. Brandon has been training her. They are both great representatives of the KPAL program.

Jorge Chavez, a Kingston middle school student, was the winner of the 130 pound match-up and Fassel Ahmed who is a Kingston High senior did some amazing throws as well.

Costello said, "This is a great opportunity for our kids to show that they are committed to the sport and to show how much they've learned."

To get your teen involved, contact Fitzgerald at (845) 532-3396

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Power-Down Week is a national experiment that the City of Kingston Recreation Department is participating in this year. What started a few years ago in other cities, with impressive results, is the push to decrease the amount of time our youth watch TV, surf the web and play video games.

What the Rec. Department has offered is a week of motivational activities for families to rediscover the great outdoors. We have 9 sensational parks in Kingston. Each one is unique in uses and history. Here is a list of scheduled activities:

Monday, April 21 – Family Hike @ Kingston Point Park 6 pm

Tuesday, April 22 – Earth Day: Spring tour of Forsyth Nature Center. First 100 arrivals gets a tree sapling for home planting. Starts 3:30 pm

Wednesday, April 23 – Active Indoor Games @ Midtown Center. Kickball, Dodgeball and more. Starts 6 pm

Thursday, April 24 – Treasure Hunt at a mystery park. Check in at the Midtown Center at 6 pm for your first clue. You will trek to a park to find clues and prizes.

Friday, April 25 – Get Up And Dance @ Gallo Park. Starts 6 pm. All ages bring your dancing shoes for the Cha Cha Slide, Chicken Dance and more.

Saturday, April 26 – Global Youth Services Day: Meet at Kingston Point Beach at 9 am for the community clean-up and nature trail building.

Power-Down 2008 promotes getting out as an active family and leaving the TV behind. The success of this week long push to change the unhealthy winter habits of a couch potato have altered enough family schedules nationally that the energy invested by our Parks & Rec. Staff is worth it. This week of activity also sparks an increase in Park activity for townships that participate.

For more information; 331-1682 All activities are free!

Friday, April 18, 2008


New York has a new superintendent of the State Police. His name is Harry Corbitt and he was tapped by Governor Paterson to improve the tarnished image of the State Police Department. No thanks to Former Governor Spitzer.

Corbitt, a buffalo native, had risen to the rank of colonel before retiring from the State Police in 2004, Paterson asked him to take the reins at the agency at one of its most critical moments. He was voted in unanimously by the State Senate Wednesday.

New York’s State Police is now the target of a new investigation by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, who is seeking to determine whether politics played a role in its operations during that scandalous first year of the Spitzer Administration.

Corbitt is quoted in the Albany Times: “I was proud to be a trooper, and some of that pride has been tarnished,” He said this to Senate lawmakers in a final committee appearance before his nomination.

Moments after the confirmation, a line of smiling senators made their way to the back of the ornate chamber to be photographed next to the state’s new top cop and the first black man to hold the position.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said: “Gov. Paterson can be proud of having selected him as his very first nomination,”

I’m sure Joe Bruno is very happy to have turned the page on this issue.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


There is a new neighbor in the Ward Nine district here in the City of Kingston that many of us don’t know about.
It’s the new Cancer Support House on Mary’s Avenue across from Benedictine Hospital.

The newly renovated structure will serve the Oncology Support Program for the hospital as well as offer space for other support groups, art workshops, nutrition and educational programs, meditation and professional services focused on wellness through the Benedictine.

Named the Herbert & Sofia Reuner Cancer Support House, the center will have an open house this Tuesday, April 22nd from 2 to 7pm when the public is welcome to tour the house and enjoy light refreshments.

Cancer touches every family. We all have an intimate relationship with Cancer, whether we succumb to the illness or carry on as proud survivors, we and our families all need a support center.
Like other families, my brothers and I have lost two Aunts to cancer and know the suffering within the family all too well. I know you will join me as we all welcome the Support Center to our neighborhood and wish them god speed.

Location is 80 Mary’s Avenue, Kingston, NY
Parking is limited, so feel free to use the Sophie Finn School entrance for additional parking for this event after 3:30 once school is out.