Wednesday, June 29, 2011


A few days ago, while driving through Ulster, I passed the local franchise of Five Guys Burgers. There were a few women along 9W holding signs indicating that purchases today would help Women Veterans. We stopped in.

These women are tough as nails, but they had fallen on tough emotional times since coming back to civilian life. Everyone who serves, experiences something different. When faced with different circumstances, they take different paths. Samaritan Village is there to help.
It was a joy to speak with the group. They spoke about the program and where they served as well as touching on issues facing the county like Golden Hill and Mental health. People dont realize just how related many of these facilities and programs are.

The first NYS licensed residential treatment facility designed exclusively for women veterans began operations on January 31, 2011. 
A small group of pioneering women veterans moved in to the newly-built facility located on the grounds of the Samaritan Village Ellenville campus. 
In recognition of their special treatment needs, and with gratitude for their service to our country, New York State awarded funding to Samaritan Village to develop a program specifically for women veterans. Building upon 15 years of proven expertise in veteran-specific treatment services, Samaritan’s new program will provide trauma-informed care, individual and group counselling, gender-specific counselling, vocational/educational rehabilitation and family reunification services. 

The veterans described their difficulty adjusting to civilian life after experiencing war; of using alcohol and drugs to medicate their feelings; of not knowing where to get help; of the importance of long-term recovery programs that recognize veterans’ special needs; and of their relief in finding Samaritan Village.

If you or anyone you know could use the services offered here, or if you'd like a tour of the facility, contact:

Samaritan Village 

(845) 647-8006

751 Briggs Highway,  
Ellenville, NY 12428 
Cross Streets: Between Birchall Rd and Frog Hollow Rd/Badner Ln

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Knowing the financial dilemma facing the county as we approach 2012, I join my fellow Legislators in a sigh of relief. Last Friday while we were all watching the high profile votes like the Big Ugly and Same-Sex Marriage, the Senate also permitted the extension of the 1% sales tax here at the County level. 

Let me extend a big thanks to both Assemblyman Tom Kirwin and Senator Bill Larkin for sponsoring the bill this year. 

As reported in the press, we legislators were a little concerned that the State bodies hadn't voted on it until the last minute.Faced with the diminished projected funds heading into the next budget session, we would have scrambled like madmen to find additional revenue. Including increased taxes. 
As noted: The legislation allows the county to continue collecting an additional 1 percent sales tax that generates about $25 million for the county and local municipalities. With the increase, the county sales-tax rate is 4 percent. Placing additional taxes on our property rather than sales tax, means people who visit Ulster County help offset the financial burden of upkeep here in the tourism Mecca of the Hudson Valley. Roads, bridges and infrastructure are all part of the responsibility of the county and keeping Ulster County "open" is economic priority one.

County Exec Hein told the Record: Without the sales-tax extension, the costs would be passed along to the property tax. He added: There was no increase in the tax levy last year; meanwhile, the county payroll declined.
"The reason that you need these things is to be able to offset ever-declining state aid."

The 2011 budget was painful enough without having to contend with the sales tax issue. Mind you, there are other sales tax issues we have to deal with regarding the transfer of the safety net costs to the County where they should be. That will be a nut to crack of epic proportion. But that's another post.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


It's been well over 40 years since America's favorite President, Richard Nixon declared his "War On Drugs". As you can see outside your window, the decades long struggle to penalize the masses for using illegal substances has been a success. 
OK so you know I'm kidding. 
We, the American taxpayer, have spent over a Trillion dollars and have incarcerated millions of people for drug infractions. Money and energy that could have been better spent on recovery programs from coast to coast with most of the allotted funds available for domestic infrastructure and healthcare.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced legislation last Thursday to end the federal ban on marijuana and let the states decide how to manage it.
“The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal,” according to the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for pot legalization. 
Congressman Frank said the goal of the bill, HR 2306, is not to legalize marijuana but to remove it from the list of federally controlled substances while allowing states to decide how they will regulate it.
Quoted in the LA Times, he said: "I do not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana. Neither do I urge them to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco. But in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy."
He then added: "Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom." I guess it would be hard to tell Barney Frank from Ron Paul on this subject, so it's not such a shock to see both sponsoring this bill.
Other than our own Maurice Hinchey calling for the complete legalization of Marijuana and getting little support, this is the first time the effort has been bi-partisan and achieved any publicity. 

More than a dozen states allow the sale of medical marijuana, but the practice is not legal under federal law so there are messy clashes within divisions of law enforcement. In the middle of all of this is a coalition of officers called LEAP. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. You can find more on them by going to 
Several months ago, President Obama was asked in an interview about this same subject. That video is below:

Last week, to commemorate the anniversary, a group of former law enforcement officials unveiled a new report detailing the failures of the government's long battle against illegal drugs and denounces the Obama administration's current drug policies.
When we consider the amount of money American taxpayers spend to continue this failed policy, our ability to complain about many of the other expenditures diminishes greatly. Our own county corrections employees admit putting our resources to better use would change the quality of life throughout the Hudson Valley region. Might even change the gang landscape in the Newburgh area. But until something happens on the federal level and the state of New York follows with drastic changes to drug policy, we stand no chance.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Yes, it really happened. the New York State Senate has finally finally stepped away from a long history of passive discrimination. (the Marriage Equality Bill passed by a vote of 33-29)  What we just witnessed through television, twitter or whatever method you chose, is nothing short of revolutionary.
Because of it's population, New York's leap into the light will actually double the number of people eligible to marry their long time partner. Partners who were prohibited through legally supported discrimination.
To my friends who still harbor the damaging ill will toward equality, I forgive you. Your religious and family upbringing are what shape you and for most, there is no shaking what has been instilled in your psyche. However, those of us who challenge those notions are gaining in strength and numbers. 
Four Republican State Senators joined the Civil Rights Movement this Friday evening. Roy McDonald, Steve Saland, Mark Grisanti and Jim Ales, But let me tell you this was no easy victory. 
In 2009, right-wing groups helped derail marriage equality at the last minute. And just a few weeks ago, the extremist National Organization for Marriage (NOM) committed $1.5 million to stop us from passing this law. As you can see, their efforts fell short.  

Currently, the District of Columbia and five states -- Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire -- grant same-sex marriage licenses. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo was anxious to sign what he has long championed, into law. He noted during his comments following the vote that once the bill was printed in it's long form, he would sign it so there would be less of a delay in implementation. The first scheduled nuptials begin 30 days after the Governor signs the bill. 
What is curious about the new law, is the lack of residential restriction. Other states require that you live there for a year or so. New York will welcome couples from across the country. Considering the influx of new weddings and the financial impact we will experience, should we label this act as a step toward job growth in New York?  Hmmm

Thursday, June 16, 2011


 Everyone in the greater Kingston area knows this Washington Avenue intersection with Schwenk and Hurley Ave. The traffic volume during rush hour is almost at capacity.
 The resurfacing, however, has provided the opportunity to alter the lane and storage pattern in each direction. You may find that navigation in both directions is much easier to understand and less dangerous.
That's because the new striping actually copies the plan that Charlie Schaller and I offered the Traffic & Public Safety Committee back in 2007. The plan that my colleagues wouldn't entertain because no-one saw the benefit in cleaning up what I thought was a storage nightmare.

This shot above brings the lane division out to where Ulster Savings exits. I may still have drawings that depict the same pattern!
 The west bound lanes are wider than before and the east bound single is cut down to 14 feet wide from 20. I'm going to have to commend my friends on the county and state traffic boards for following through with the modifications from so long ago. Job well done!



UC Exec Mike Hein was awarded a 2011 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award for his work on Intergovernmental Collaboration/Shared Services in Ulster County.  NACo acknowledged the County Executive’s “hard work to promote quality, efficient, and responsive management and administration.”
Hein said, “This award is the recognition of a strong group effort and I want to commend the many towns that have participated in this program.  I believe shared services are the wave of the future and I look forward to growing this program.  Simply put, it works and saves taxpayers money.  We all serve the same taxpayers and it is critical that governments expand collaboration to protect them.  Taxpayers cannot afford escalating property taxes and as government leaders, we must continually find more creative ways to provide essential services while reducing costs.  Collaborating with Ulster County’s towns on projects, like the highway shared services, is an effective way to keep taxes low and make sure the job gets done.  I also want to recognize the amazing efforts of the County and town highway workers for making this program a reality.”

This innovative “shared services” program decentralizes various highway services including snow and summer maintenance, from the County to the towns for a fee. This provides cost savings to the County and additional revenue to the towns. This program reduced duplication, and provided better services and safer roads, and is better for the environment, all while saving our collective taxpayers money.
According to Town of Saugerties Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, “Mike saw a problem with a solution that was simple on the surface, yet complex because of the need to involve different governments and agencies that usually work best because of their independence. The concept was to create greater efficiencies in snow and ice removal and general maintenance throughout the year by changing the traditional hierarchy of who plows what roads. Patiently, slowly, he built the coalition needed to get the job done.”
Despite the fact that the 2010-11 winter season ranked as one of the worst winters in the past 100 years, Ulster County received a total of 71 inches of snow, in 2011, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein was able to implement a package of reforms in the Department of Public Works, including this Intergovernmental Collaboration/Shared Services Initiative. These reforms save an estimated $2.3 million from the prior year’s budget. 

 There are currently six towns involved in the Intergovernmental Collaboration/Shared Services program. Shandaken, Gardiner, Woodstock, Saugerties, New Paltz and Hardenburgh
At least two of these towns are interested in expanding their mileage participation in 2012 and two additional towns have expressed interest in entering the program.  
County Executive Hein added, “It is my great hope that this is just the beginning. Collectively, we have created a strong foundation to build upon.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Below is a letter sent by Lawrence Delarose to our Governor Andrew Cuomo sent only a few days ago. I thought I would publish the letter on behalf of Larry to increase the odds of a response from the Governor and our State Legislators.

Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo June 9, 2011
Governor of New York State
New York State Capitol Building
Albany, New York 12224

Honorable Governor Cuomo:

This is my fourth attempt to get a response from your office on the issue of double dipping by sitting state legislators.

While I commend your efforts to bring reform to Albany with your legislation on ethics reform and pension reform it is alarming to note that neither effort addresses the issue of double dipping.

You currently have 15 members of the “club” sitting in the state legislature being paid twice with taxpayers dollars to do the same job. How to you explain this situation to the thousands of New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet in the current economic recession? The simple answer is you don’t.

I once again urge you to use the influence of your office to put an end to this “gaming” of the retirement system at taxpayers expense.


Lawrence M. Delarose


Electric cars are coming. But how much do you really know about them? How much money will you save on gas? Where and when can you charge them? What happens if you want to charge your car at a friend's house? GOOD's latest video answers all these questions and more.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Ok, I am having a problem understanding this whole June 26th thing. Did something significant happen in Kingston in our vast history on June 26? 
Sure, I'm being snarky, but how is we are celebrating our Independence a full nine days early?

If it's an issue of event competition between municipalities, what's wrong with Sunday July 3rd? Saugerties will be on the 4th! Don't get me wrong, I like a party like everyone else, but this tradition of "Last weekend in June" has it's limits.

This would be a good time to also say thanks to the brave souls at Mainetti, Mainetti & O’Connor for financing the event, as odd as it is. The big news, other than the date, is the lack of vendors and live music. Gone are the days when Starship and Scorpions take center stage at a free event in Kingston. 
Granted, all the events in the past cost a heap of money, compounded by the task of trash collection and cost of law enforcement. It did seem to entice a gathering of folks we don't regularly see at Council meetings.
The business owners have chipped in for the $4,000 estimated overtime costs for the police department. That's as much of a donation for the community as a safety precaution for their commercial property. Very smart!

Kate Cook, the city's event planner said in the Freeman, the vendor fees once covered those costs. She added: “The business owners want to bring back the waterfront to a different environment and not so much a carnival atmosphere.”

In regards to the scaled back expense of the once infamous three day celebration, Alderman Bob Senor is right... Our city just cant afford to spend precious funds on such events when we are painfully short on DPW and REC employees. His quote in the paper: “I too am disappointed, but this just comes back to a sign of the times, there is no money.” 

But one thing we can control Bob, is the date. Lets push our Independence celebration to Sunday July 3rd... OK?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


As reported: The City of Kingston Republican committee nominated first-time Alderwoman Andi Turco-Levin  Monday night to be their candidate for the mayoral election in November.

As the new fresh face for the Republican Party, Andi has plenty of work to do to reshape the image of the local GOP. It would be my assumption that those who support her intend to do just that.

The majority of the committee chose Turco-Levin over former Alderman Richard Cahill Jr., current Alderman Ronald Polacco, R-Ward 6, and former Kingston School Board President Jean Jacobs. 

Best of luck to Andi and the rest of the ticket. With the potential for Primaries as evident as they are, she may face a September date just like the rest of us. Will it be Rich, Jean, Ron or someone we haven't heard of yet, we don't know until petitions are submitted. Enjoy your victory Andi. The summer of electioneering is yet ahead.

Sunday, June 05, 2011


Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Here is a little something to make you chuckle. The ticker-tape that announces updates for "Fox News" was hacked a few nights ago. For a few short minutes, they were "Fair and Balanced".