Wednesday, December 31, 2008


During the Thanksgiving Holiday, we get together with family and friends and make a point amongst ourselves to recognize what we are thankful for as the winter season approaches.

New Years Eve is different, we find ourselves in a personal space of reflection in these remaining hours, thinking about the accomplishments and failures, both personal and globally, as we set our sights to a new year full of promise.

We all have personal journeys that aren't all that different from each other. Family and friends have come and gone. We've lost loved ones and witnessed births. Our kids go off to college or come home with the fiancé.

But then theres the larger picture. Our economy is in a slump, people are unemployed, food pantries and meal services are seeing their numbers skyrocket. Past fuel prices pushed goods to an all time high and our housing market/assessments made living in New York State seem like a penalty.

It could be worse. There are places, even within our own country that are in serious need, where deplorable living conditions are the norm.

A simple review in any news site for the disasters of the last few years will show you the horrors and the joys in many communities. Joys?

When tragedy strikes, you'll find a community truly comes together to help financially and emotionally.

We saw this after Katrina, the Mississippi floods, the wildfires in California and the North East Blackout a few years ago. Not to mention the unforgettable community effort after 9-11.

But, If we look beyond our shores this year, You'll see another ground swell of community bonding as we watch countries where we are engaged, begin to flourish. Although Iraq has dominated the news for so long, we have forgotten about Afghanistan. [the real center of terrorism]

In KABUL Province, for instance, Soldiers from the New York National Guard delivered between 500 to 700 pounds of school supplies to help educate the next generation of Afghan youth.

The supplies were organized into student packs that included paper, notebooks, pens and pencils, clothing [even soccer and volleyballs] that the soldiers had received from family and friends at home.

NOTE: A good number of our New York National Guard arrived in Albany a few days ago.

Through the efforts of family members, church groups, school campaigns and several municipal organizations, supplies were gathered and shipped to Camp Blackhorse, which is co‐located with the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) Pol‐e‐charki garrison nearby.

According to their website: The troops are part of Afghan Regional Security Integration Command‐Central (ARSIC‐ C.) This command provides advisors and mentors to the ANA and the Afghan National Police in this area as part of the Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix (CJTF‐Phoenix) mission to grow and develop Afghanistan’s National Security Forces (ANSF.) The SECFOR troops provide security for the trainers and mentors during operations and convoys.

So, while you are navigating this snowy New Years Eve terrain with family and friends, I simply remind you that there is much to ponder as we leave 2008 behind us. Within our City, our Hudson Valley region, within our country's borders and abroad, we've seen good and not-so-good.

Look out for each other, support those in need and lets make 2009 the most positive year yet!

* If you would like to track what accomplishments are made in areas of conflict through our military, you can check out :
Keeping Tabs...a weekly electronic newsletter produced by the HQ 27th BCT Public Affairs Section for family members and friends back home and is available on‐line through the NYS Division of Military and Naval Affairs website at


Anonymous said...

As a New Paltz republican, Mike,
I applaud your sentiments,
We all need more positive approaches to the obstacles we face; personally, locally, nationally, & inter-nationally.

May it pass soon.

Happy 2009

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Mike and Family. You've been a good friend and great public asset to our community.All the best to you and our fellow residents in the new year... Humor and Hope for a bright future...Nancy and smitty

Thanks for a very good blogsite as well.

Anonymous said...

I have followed blog sites through the year. Yours is different.
Sure you are inside the issues because of your position, but you deliver topics that we dont expect from a local blogger. Your perspective of course, but refreshing.
I tune in every few days and review a few postings, only to be surprised at the diverse selection of topics.
Thank you.
I tend to forget you are an Alderman when Im reading. We tend to see our elected officials in a two dimensional angle, this blog shows us that the council, well you at least, is made up of a diverse and very human lot.
Blog on my friend.

Anonymous said...

Your the best Mike. You give us good reading and help up date our lost city. I give you love from a person that sits by a computer reading good, bad and is this really happening in our city. Thank you for anonymous and thank you for humor.

Anonymous said...

Yeah maybe the dark intersection by the Muddy Cup will be lit up?

Really inviting to the new businesses in the Millard Building.