FEBRUARY 2017  ARCHIVES

 Farewells and Funky Thoughts                                 2-3-2017


                     The LVPA did a beautiful job today in honoring past Chief, Dave Roden. Their service was so touching, that I found myself reaching for the tissue box more than once. I was not the only one. 

                      I had intended to go to the reception at the firehouse after the service, but I've been fighting an ear infection all week and feel crummy. It was so bad, that the swelling spread down my neck and into my temple, and I look a little like a prize fighter. Big time antibiotics. Tonight is the first night I've shown some improvement, and it's nice, believe me. 

                      Having the opportunity to see the photo collections at the funeral home was a blessing. I have lived next to Dave and Sheryl for 17 years, and never knew how diverse a man Dave was. Early pics of the two of them together were adorable, they were both beautiful to look at! Dave with all that thick, dark hair and deep dimples, and Sheryl with her adorable face and ever-present smile.  So many things I never knew, and wish I had. It's a sad lesson. So many of the people we know and love are aging and leaving us behind, and how well do or did we really know them? 

                      Now that I am somewhat responsible for Services to the Senior Citizens in New Lebanon, I will be paying more attention to who they all are, and what they once were. I want to start a Memory Book, record their most important and notable memories of America and New Lebanon. What amazing events did they witness, what changes have they seen and do they find these changes to be positive or negative? What would they do differently if they could , and what do they wish to see happen to their town in the future and why? Do they have photos they wish to share, or lessons they wish the younger folks would learn from them ? So many possibilities and too many treasures to let get away. 

                     If you or one of your loved ones would like to contribute to the memory Book, please let me know!  Also, there are smoke and CO2 Detectors available at NO cost to our Seniors and those who want one and cannot afford to buy one. The LVPA has these stocked and ready to distribute, so contact me with your request for yourself or someone else and I will see to it that you receive one. (PactJJ@gmail.com). I would also love to hear from members of the community about any ideas or suggestions you might have that benefits our Seniors or about any senior you are aware of that has needs and cannot, or may be shy about, coming forward.  I promise discretion. 

                   There will be a New Lebanon Seniors Facebook Page coming in March so that Seniors with computers can interact and share information and desires, even if it is just recipes and fishing tips. I would like to keep this blog and the Seniors Services separate, and hope the FB page can fill the need for an online forum. Also, if there are any Seniors who would like help learning to use their Smart Phones or computers more easily, let's arrange for some willing youngsters to share their skills in return for seniors sharing theirs. There are a lot of gifted older folks in New Lebanon with skills that our kids can only dream about learning. So, why not?

                   In any case, I pray for comfort for the Roden family, and hope that Sheryl's friends will drop in and visit more often once things quiet down a bit. That's the toughest time for those left behind, and the time that they need their friends and neighbors the most. 

                   Phyllis Hulbert was at the wake today and she looks terrific. She is walking with a walker and is as wonderfully miserable as ever, which means she is definitely MUCH better!  LOL!!  ( I told her so today, so I am not picking on her behind her back.) She is too tough and stubborn NOT to recover, and she should be home full-time in a week or two. Even though she is moving a little slower these days, it's still going to be hard for me to fill her shoes, but I will do my best.

                   Speaking of doing my best, I am facing a tough decision. For years, I have been an activist, an Organizer and Motivator, but I am beginning to wonder if I am beating my head against a wall when it comes to state and federal-level efforts. People are more apathetic today than I can ever recall them being at any time in my life. Oh sure, the Liberals are crying and acting the fools on the streets and college campuses, being sore losers in the Congress and Senate, not to mention in the NY State Governor's Office.  The Feminists are getting naked and acting like cheap hookers, you name it. The new America. The loonies however, are the only ones being vocal and objecting to the things THEY don't approve of. Where is everyone else? 

                    My dream is to leave this state and go to a Western state where the population is lower, kinder, gentler, and much more Constitutional. This is not a dream I see coming true, since I could never afford to make the move and find another home. Only a miracle could make this move possible. So , being a realist, I am trying to decide what it is I SHOULD do. As long as I live in New Lebanon, I will continue to be a thorn in some people's sides, but do I want to continue the state and federal work? Or, do I want to pare down the duties, give up on the people who talk the talk but won't walk the walk, and give myself the gift of time spent doing what I love, with the people I love? 

                    I am writing a book, ( very slowly due to other obligations) , and I love to paint, garden, work in my wood-shop,whittle, read, renovate, and a host of other, little things. In recent years, these things have taken a back seat or been given up on altogether. Though I am, and always will be, passionate about politics and fighting for what I believe is right and just, it may be time to take off a few hats. The question is, CAN I ? Can I make myself give up on some of these passions and replace them with quieter, more healing ones?  You see my dilemma. I'm praying on it. Wish me luck. 
 

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 NO WAY !!!!!!!!!                                                             2-8-2017



                        WELL, it's happening, just as I warned you it would! Dunkin Donuts has applied to build a stand-alone, Drive-Thru store on the lot just east of Stewarts on Rt. 20 !! Apparently, KB Chittenden finally got his finances in order and is able to sell the plot.

                         Makes me wonder if Dunkin Donuts offered him more than Stewarts did, because Stewarts has been waiting for that piece of land to become available for years so they could expand.  Here is Question #1: To WHOM do the people of New Lebanon owe their allegiance ?  Was Dunkin Donuts here to fill the gap when we lost our grocery store? Were they here to stock basic needs that most Stewarts don't carry, just to help this community? No, but Stewarts DID that for us, and they deserve to have first-shot at that location, not a national chain store like Dunkin Donuts that will absolutely KILL two, locally-owned, small businesses. Perhaps more than two. 

                       This idea was the dream of Mike Benson and Max Gitter for several years, as I told you several times in the past. However, we have a Comprehensive Plan in New Lebanon to protect the aesthetics and rural flavor of our town, and that does NOT include national chain stores with Drive-Thru Windows!  NO-NO-NO !!!!!  I know that we need businesses, but NOT Dunkin Donuts! There is a brand-new Dunkin at the Canaan Truck Stop, a 10-minute drive for folks in New Lebanon. Do we REALLY want that ugliness on our main mile?!?!?!~  Can we afford to add the extra traffic confusion to an already dangerous location?  

                     Let me now address the Liberal Transplants that are so concerned about turning our town into a "Living Museum of Rural Life", and restoring Shaker Historical sites, the Swamp that was never a swamp, and the unique history of this town that is preparing to celebrate it's 200th Anniversary;  Do YOU people want this eyesore in the center of our town? Well, if you do not get your butts to the next Planning Board Meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7:30, you might have little to say about it. If we all fail to let the Town Board know what we feel about this betrayal of Stewarts and potential blight on our main mile, we WILL have this store in our town. 

                     What will Blueberry Hill and Bucky's Bagels have to say about it?!?!? We cannot afford to allow this to happen, and we can NOT afford to allow the Secret EDC to continue to operate in the dark ! You have slept long enough New Lebanon, now is the time to stand up and SPEAK up, or forever SHUT up! You can COUNT on ME being 100% involved and vocal in fighting this, what will YOU do?  




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Meetings                                                                          2-12-2017



                  Busy week coming up,folks! I had 6 meetings scheduled for this week, but thanks to the weather, it is now down to three, possibly four. YAY!

                   Tuesday night, the Town Board meets with an early start at 6:30 for special business. The regular meeting begins at 7 as usual with the first thing on the agenda being the "Climate Smart Communities" presentation that we will be listening to for the THIRD time! GAG!!  If you are at all concerned about restrictions on how you use your own property, you may want to attend or at the very least, look up the info on this program and the Red Flag words contained within it !  It's a Freedom Stealer, believe me. 

                   On Wednesday night, Dunkin Donuts representatives will be at the Planning Board meeting at 7:30 to submit their Sketch Plan for the proposed, Drive-Thru Store .  I have taken a little time to talk to some DD workers and Stewarts Corporate Office. Apparently, Dunkin Donuts is reporting to their employees that they WILL be opening in New Lebanon in May of this year.  Stewarts is aware of this and is being very discreet about THEIR plans, except to say that THEY are definitely expanding the New Lebanon Store! LOL!  This should be VERY interesting to witness. The Battle of the Building Lot ?

                   I strongly recommend that anyone who is interested in this mess, attend the meeting on Wednesday and have your say. Hopefully, this is going to require a public hearing before anything is approved by the P.B. Keep in mind the two, local businesses that Dunkin Donuts will likely destroy and the aesthetic effect it will have on the center of our town. Anyone who really NEEDS a Dunkin Donut, can get into their car anytime, day or night, and drive 10 minutes to the new, Canaan Truck Stop. Honestly, Stewarts Donuts are better anyway.

                  There will be no Constitution Study on the 20th due to the holiday, but we will meet on March 6th at 7 at the Library as always. 

                   The snow is awesome, and my pup thinks it was created just for HER.  She is absolutely THRILLED with it. If she could talk, I think she would tell me how glad she is that Global Warming is a Hoax. LOLOL!!! 

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Paris climate agreement
exit may be imminent



The U.S. may be about to break free from the UN's awful Paris climate agreement.

Myron Ebell, a long-time friend of CFACT, headed up President Trump's transition team for EPA.  Yesterday, he told reporters in London the President will "withdraw from the Paris Agreement."

We posted details on CFACT.org.

Reuters reports that "any country wanting to pull out of the Paris agreement after ratifying it has to wait four years."

"A source on Trump's transition team said last year that there were speedier alternatives, such as sending a letter withdrawing from the 1992 international framework accord that is the parent treaty of the agreement; voiding U.S. involvement in both in a year's time; or issuing a presidential order simply deleting the U.S. signature from the Paris accord."

"Ebell said the ‘cleanest way’ would be to withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change itself."

A CFACT delegation actively participated in the UN's climate summit in Paris.  The agreement that came out of that conference was a mistake for the U.S. and the world. 

Even if one accepts climate computer models as accurate (though they never have been), the agreement will have little or no meaningful impact on future global temperature.  The costs, however, are tremendous.  The UN agreement fails any rational cost-benefit analysis.

The UN agreement would force the U.S. to throttle down its energy sector at the same time nations such as China and India are building coal plants as fast as their economies allow. 

The agreement also calls for the U.S. and its allies to transfer billions to the UN's Green Climate Fund. 

The Paris agreement is riddled with flaws.  We have detailed coverage at CFACT.org.  The agreement has always been "all pain, no gain," as CFACT has explained from the start.

Americans should cheer any steps that would free our nation from this ill-begotten UN climate regime.


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                  The "sustainability" ploy


Environmental radicals are circling the wagons to defend “global warming” as a rationale to grant them economic and political power, but they're having a tough time.

Their scientific case is collapsing.

What's a Green to do?

Pivot to an eco-campaign that defies any objective measure of objectivity whatsoever: "Sustainability."  

The "sustainability" ploy has been working its way through the UN since the first Rio "Earth Summit" in 1992 (we know, CFACT was there), was written into the UN's "Agenda 21" document, and is today quietly but steadily working its way through state and local government halls near you.

CFACT senior policy analyst Paul Driessen posted substantial details at CFACT.org.

Here are a few samples of what the Greens are saying about their utopian eco-cause of “sustainability”:

  • Building an environmentally sustainable future requires restricting the global economy, dramatically changing human reproductive behavior, and altering values and lifestyles,” said Worldwatch Institute founder Lester Brown. “Doing this quickly requires nothing short of a revolution.”

  • Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, the use of fossil fuels, electrical appliances, home and workplace air conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable,” Canadian arch-environmentalist Maurice Strong declared.

  • Minor shifts in policy, moderate improvements in laws and regulations, rhetoric offered in lieu of genuine change,” former Vice President Al Gore asserted – “these are all forms of appeasement, designed to satisfy the public’s desire to believe that sacrifice, struggle and a wrenching transformation of society will not be necessary.”

  • Environmental activist Daniel Sitarz agreed, saying: “Agenda 21 proposes an array of actions intended to be implemented by every person on Earth. Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all humans, unlike anything the world has ever experienced.”

It's the same old far-Left crowd offering the same old command-and-control solutions: Time to end that messy freedom and prosperity of yours; wiser heads than yours will restructure society for the better.

They never learn. 

Central planning is inefficient and destructive.

Whether your goal is to promote human well being, environmental protection, a bright future, or all of the above – markets are efficient and foster prosperity.  Bureaucracy does not.

We must remain alert to the efforts of those in the radical environmental movement to cloak their so-called “sustainability” cause in the color eco-green – instead of what it should be, socialist-red.



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Scientists Criticize 'Hottest Year on Record' Claim as Hype

By James Varney, RealClearInvestigations
January 29, 2017

Claims that 2016 was “the hottest year on record” are drawing sharp criticism from scientists who say it reflects how global warming has become more social crusade than evidence-based science.

The Obama administration relentlessly politicized science and it aggressively pushed a campaign about that politicized science,” said Steven E. Koonin, who served as under secretary for science in Obama’s Department of Energy from 2009 to 2011.

Koonin, a theoretical physicist at New York University who once worked for energy giant BP, also blamed a “happily complicit” media for trumpeting the now-departed Obama administration’s dubious claim.

The controversy began in mid-January when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a report declaring that “the globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2016 was the highest among all years since record-keeping began in 1880.”

NOAA fixed the 2016 increase at 0.04 degrees Celsius. The British Met Office reported an even lower rise, of 0.01C. Both increases are well within the margin of error for such calculations, approximately 0.1 degrees, and therefore are dismissed by many scientists as meaningless.

The reports, however, set the global warming bell towers ringing. Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was quoted at Climate Central referring to the past temperature record and saying “2016 has really blown that out of the water.” 

Following the lead of the Schmidt and government press releases, USA Today wrote that “the planet sizzled to its third straight record warm year in 2016.” The New York Times’ front-page headline said, “Earth Sets Temperature Record for Third Straight Year.” The article declared that the latest readings were “trouncing” earlier numbers and the planet had thus “blown past” the previous records.

Such characterizations are absurd, according to Richard Lindzen, a meteorology professor at MIT and one of the world’s foremost skeptics that global warming represents an existential threat.

It’s typical misleading nonsense,” Lindzen said in an e-mail. “We’re talking about less than a tenth of degree with an uncertainty of about a quarter of a degree. Moreover, such small fluctuations – even if real – don’t change the fact that the trend for the past 20 years has been much less than models have predicted.”

Koonin suggested the White House and the media could consider an alternative presentation of what’s happening.

I think simply by having the government press releases on the changing climate be fulsomely scientific – that is, putting in all the relevant facts – we would see more genuine science in the media discussions,” he said.

As an example, he offered a headline that read, “Global Temperatures Up 0.0X for 2016; Within Margin of Error for Last N Years.” Rather than exclaim “Sea Levels Highest on Record,” Koonin said, the press releases could encourage, and perhaps media outlets accept, one that reads, “Sea Level Rose 0.1 Inches Last Year, Consistent With Century-Long Trend.”

But would that stir public opinion or sell papers?

It’s not my job to sell papers,” Koonin said. “The White House positions, the press releases, the published stories – all of that is not exactly inaccurate but it is promoting something considerably less alarming or certain than the layperson might conclude from reading it all.”

The issue is not one of fake news or manipulated data but of emphasis.

The Times said it did not rely solely on data sets that showed a 0.01C increase. The paper’s coverage incorporated other studies that showed a greater increase in average temperatures, particularly those that take Arctic changes into account, said Justin Gillis, who covers global warming for The Times. Gillis provided a bar graph to RealClearInvestigations that showed three other conclusions reflecting higher temperature jumps than those recorded by NOAA and the British meteorology office in conjunction with East Anglia University, one of the world’s centers of global warming research.

Judith Curry, a former Georgia Tech scientist who left her academic post this month largely because of the charged politics surrounding global warming, said the other temperature data sets are less precise.

She said there are “some good reasons” why one of the British 0.01C sources elects not to extend its coverage to the Arctic Ocean. “There is little to no data, and the extrapolation methods are dubious,” Curry wrote in an e-mail.

Neither USA Today nor Schmidt replied to requests for comment.

In addition to Curry, Koonin and Lindzen, five other experts told RealClearInvestigations the layman’s understanding of the issue would improve if the Trump administration adopted a more neutral stance toward global warming stories. That would be certain to be interpreted as one of “denial” about global warming, and already several figures in the emerging Trump team have been denounced by The Times and others as climate deniers.

This rhetoric again obscures the real issue, according to the skeptics, who insist the important question for government and taxpayers isn’t global warming’s reality but rather its extent and, consequently, the best policies that can be crafted to address it. Some experts pointed with approval to the incoming administration stripping global-warming material from the White House website literally moments after power changed hands. One suggested the Office of Science and Technology Policy could be transformed and its mission redirected.

It will be a huge cross-agency effort to stem this flood, perhaps led by OSTP,” said David Wojick, a government contractor who has tracked federal spending on global warming research for years. “Alarmist federal press releases, websites and reports are very big beer indeed.”



A scientist and former Obama energy official has joined the chorus of scientists fed up with the media's "hottest year" hype.

'The Obama administration relentlessly politicized science and it aggressively pushed a campaign about that politicized science,” said Steven E. Koonin, who served as Under Secretary for Science in Obama’s Department of Energy from 2009 to 2011."

Marc Morano featured an article from "Real Clear Investigations" at CFACT's Climate Depot.

"NOAA fixed the 2016 increase at 0.04 degrees Celsius. The British Met Office reported an even lower rise, of 0.01C. Both increases are well within the margin of error for such calculations, approximately 0.1 degrees, and therefore are dismissed by many scientists as meaningless."

The article quotes MIT atmospheric scientist Richard Lindzen who said, “It’s typical misleading nonsense. We’re talking about less than a tenth of degree with an uncertainty of about a quarter of a degree. Moreover, such small fluctuations – even if real – don’t change the fact that the trend for the past 20 years has been much less than models have predicted.”

The media routinely posts sensationalist headlines such as "Earth Sizzles!" when discussing world temperature.  Koonin suggested more realistic alternatives such as “Global Temperatures Up 0.0X for 2016; Within Margin of Error for Last N Years," or “Sea Level Rose 0.1 Inches Last Year, Consistent With Century-Long Trend.”

The media has been exaggerating climate stories for years. Let’s hope some in the Fourth Estate start reporting the whole story – including the remarks of bold forthright experts like Steven Koonin and Richard Lindzen. 




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 Town Board Meeting                                                    2-14-2017



                        Happy Valentines' Day to all the sweethearts out there! 

                Tonight's meeting was a long one. It began with a Special Meeting at 6:30 that turned out to be another Executive Session that went on until almost 7:30. So we caught-up with friends and had a nice chat. 

                The highlight of the meeting was of course, the presentation by Robin Reynolds from the Capital District Regional Planning Commission. Yup, same girl who came the last two times. I had FOUR pages of counter-points in hand, ready to rebut the third proposal of the Climate Smart Communities Program, but it wasn't necessary. The proposal tonight was very different from the two we heard before. 

                Apparently, Bruce Shenker has finally accepted the fact that our Board will not swallow the bait for the CSC, and what was discussed tonight instead, is a scaled-down program that will allow towns to receive grant money for specific goals such as Solar Energy. NO Pledges or Contracts like the other program required. Much safer and far more innocuous, but I will still watch it closely, as should we ALL. 

               Just for the sake of not letting my research go to waste, I am posting the rebuttal I had prepared for the Climate Smart Communities Program, because I feel you all need to know what it involves. You never know when it might come up for consideration again, and we need to be aware of the pitfalls ahead of time. So here is what I had prepared.

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                        The OTHER Side of the Story

              Climate Smart Communities Grants range from $100,000.00 to #2 Million Dollars to fund efforts to mitigate the effects of "alleged Climate Change"  by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through waste management and "transportation restrictions ". This would include relocation or retro-fitting of climate vulnerable facilities! 

               The 2016-2017 NY State Budget includes appropriations of $300 MILLION dollars for this environmental effort that includes the CSC Program and is the dream-child of Andrew Cuomo. Of course. This is the highest level of funding for the environment in NY in History, and exceeds the 2015-2016 budget by $123 Million dollars! 

                 At a 2016 meeting, Mr. Shenker stated that New Lebanon is the ONLY town in Columbia County that has not adopted the CSC. As of today, NO Columbia County town has signed-on, and only SIX have agreed to try the new, scaled-down program that was presented tonight. They are as follows: 
 1) Ancram
 2) Chatham
 3) Copake
 4) Ghent
 5) Hillsdale
 6) Kinderhook

                According to the CSC Website, the acceptance of the CSC Program requires BROAD SUPPORT of the ENTIRE COMMUNITY, and NOT just from the Supervisor and Board. Sound familiar? One of the Hudson Valley Greenway grants received by Ruth Abram for Behold New Lebanon, carried the same requirement, but it was ignored by Abram, the Grant Providers, AND the former Town Supervisor and Board. Which of course means that the grant was obtained fraudulently. The public was NEVER consulted.

                The CSC Program also requires the following:

 1) A "Pledge" to adhere to the requirements as a "Community". Which would mean ALL of us.
 2) An internal "Green Team". 
 3) A community Climate Action Plan.
 4) An emissions inventory.
 5) Emissions Reduction.
 6) Energy audits of all town buildings.
 7) Vulnerability Assessments.
 8) A review of all existing town programs and projects to identify climate adaptation strategies.

               But WAIT, there's MORE!

       Just TWO of the many grants available via the CSC are:
 1) Up to $10.5 Million Dollars to implement Climate protection programs.
 2) Up to $500,000. for CSC Certification Projects.

   The strings attached to these "grants" include:

 1) Land Acquisition.
                 Um, New Lebanon already has FAR too many acres of land under the control of Conservation and Forever Wild protection programs, leaving very little for new home sites and agricultural uses. Not to mention the loss in taxes. How exactly would these Land Acquisitions be implemented? Eminent Domain? 

 2) Zero-Emission Vehicles and a reduction in the number of vehicles used by the town and residents. 
 3) CLEAN Transportation.  (What would THIS be? Skateboards, bicycles, roller skates?)
 4) Relocation of all climate-vulnerable facilities.  (HUH???)
 5) Recycling of all food waste, including composting sites and digester facilities. (Local restaurants will LOVE that one!)
 6) Conserve Flood Plains. ( How do you do THAT? I live in the Flood Plain, so what are they going to do, take my property and my neighbors' by Eminent Domain and tear down our homes?)
 7) Reduce ALL driving and decrease number of trips.
 8) Sign a Five-Year Contract to complete these requirements or return grant money.

                   Participating towns must adhere to the requirements and standards described in the CSC Manual.  (I.E: Government Restrictions and oversight. Scared yet?) 

                   So, WHY are we being inundated with these Environmentally Extreme programs and UNproven claims of Global Warming? (See: M.I.T Climate Change Disproven)  Well, let me TELL you why! 

 1) The wealthy elitists and liberal politicians are all deeply invested in Green Energy Companies, and there are literally BILLIONS of dollars at stake here.  The lie must be perpetrated continuously and folks like Bruce are merely pawns in the chess game to gain total control of the people.  They are being lied to and USED, and they don't even know it!

 2) To provide government with even MORE control over private properties and prevent us from using our property as we see fit. Take a look at the mid-West. 

            The Climate Change Hoax and Environmental Extremism is nothing less than another, surreptitious Theft of Freedom. Anything bearing the label of Climate, Sustainable, or Conservation, MUST be closely examined for the hidden dangers that lie within.  Free cheese is only available in a mouse trap. Question EVERYTHING! 
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    Still an opening remaining on the Planning Board. Last month, an application from Monte Wasch was voted down and the position re-advertised. Since there have been no new applicants, Monte sent a letter to the board requesting that they reconsider HIS application. It was AGAIN voted down, 4-1. "Nuff said.
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                Our sympathy to Kevin Smith who had a vehicle drive into his Pizza Restaurant last Friday. We're here to swing hammers and paintbrushes when you're ready, Kev!






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 Shadow Valley                                                                2-15-2017

                  When I think back to when my son was a little kid in elementary school, I am reminded of what the school board was like in those days. You know what? It wasn't a whole lot different than it is today. 

                   School Boards are notorious for being made-up of Snobs and people with inflated egos. LOL!!  Funny how that's always been true, isn't it? Of course there are good, down-to-earth folks who have also served but in general, it's a clique of opinionated wanna-bes. 

                    Our present, New Lebanon School Board is in need of a strong, wake-up call. The NLCS was recently cited for having "Too Much Money" lying idle in their budget, but tonight, they voted UNANIMOUSLY, to deny a tiny, school-tax exemption for our local veterans! How horribly shameful is THAT ?! How embarrassing that NLCS is the ONLY school district in all of Columbia County that does NOT provide this exemption ?!

                     Interesting thing is, that this stingy, greedy school board will be asking for a Bond Resolution of TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS this year, for fewer than 390 students in both schools, COMBINED. Yes, you read that right. They claim that the roofs need repair again, and they probably do, seeing as how some idiot decided it was a good thing to build flat-roofed schools in upstate NY. DUH. These roofs have been repaired over and over and over. 

                     With so FEW students, should we be willing to give the district MORE money ? NO! Should the school board have granted an infinitesimal exemption to soldiers who risked life and limb for their safety and freedoms? YES!  How about we use the school budget excess to fix ONE roof, and combine the two schools under it? Cut a few employees while we're at it? 

                      I sincerely hope that voting taxpayers in New Lebanon will remember the school board's treatment of our veterans when it comes time to vote on the school budget. 

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                      Our cold-hearted school board is not the only shadow hanging over our valley tonight. Hundreds of locals were aware that Dunkin Donuts would be submitting an application to the Planning Board at tonight's meeting. So where WERE you ?! FOUR members of the public attended. FOUR. Are you KIDDING me? Okay, it wasn't a Public Hearing, but it MATTERED that we had a show of interested and engaged residents. Is anyone still breathing in this town ? 

                       Well you MIGHT be interested to know that our Town Engineer, Paul McCreary, has had to dis-engage from the Dunkin Donuts issue, because he is REPRESENTING Dunkin Donuts!  I would hope that you might wonder why the interests of the Town did not take precedence for him, but do we really NEED to wonder? Isn't it a matter of which client was paying more?  So the Town has to hire an outside engineer to represent it, at the cost of the applicant, but REALLY? Oh, I forgot that the wallet trumps loyalty today. My apologies.

                         As if we didn't already know this, the fact that the building site in question belongs to K.B Chittenden and was at last notice, tied-up in bankruptcy court, was also discussed. No one could say for certain if it was Chapter 7,11,or 13, and no one was sure if the matter had been resolved or not.  So that too, must be looked into thoroughly. I DO know that Stewarts has been waiting on an expansion and new building for several years, until K.B cleared this up for THEM.

                          Family Dollar took an existing space, while Dunkin Donuts intends to build a brand-new building right in the middle of our main road.  Competition is a healthy thing for our economy, but for Heaven's Sake, we have Buckys, Blueberry Hill, and Stewarts to get coffee and donuts, and we have a Dunkin Donuts a mere 10 minutes away in Canaan. How many darn donuts can 2000 people EAT? 

                         Naturally, D.O.T will have to weigh-in as well as the Dept. of Health, but the final decision is really in the hands of the residents who bother to get involved. This proposed store will be open from 5 a.m through 11 p.m, seven days a week, year-round. There will be added traffic, signage, and lighting, an independent water well and septic system, and a Drive-Thru Window. The building was described tonight as a " Colonial Cottage" style, but in the pictures, it still looks like an ugly, uber-commercial, fast food joint.  In a town where so many residents "claim" to be dedicated to the preservation of our unique, rural flavor, is this what we want? 

                          There WILL be a Public Hearing on this issue, probably at the April, Planning Board Meeting. THAT meeting will be what decides the aesthetic future of New Lebanon. If we accept Dunkin Donuts, then we have to accept McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and any other eyesore business that applies. We will become the next East Greenbush. Do you really want to open that door?  If you fail to show up at the Public Hearing, you are surrendering your right to a choice. Plan to attend, then FOLLOW THROUGH! 

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  Here is a pic of the "Colonial Cottage" style Dunkin building.

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 School Board SHAME !                                                 2-19-2017


                       I did not attend the meeting of the New Lebanon School Board, but I have sure heard ALL about it from a number of people who DID attend!  

                       You all know what happened with the vote re: Veteran Tax Exemptions, as I posted about that on the 15th. You also know that I have been involved in more Conservative Activism and Issues than I can count anymore, at every level of government. There are SO many urgent matters that need attention, that it is impossible to address or even PROCESS them all.  I have seen and listened to things that absolutely astound me, and many things that rob me of sleep. For some reason though, what occurred at that school board meeting has cut me to the core like few other things ever have. It has truly sickened me in the literal sense of the word.

                       I'm not even going to attempt to be half-way "Nice" in this post, because the people involved don't deserve my restraint. Believe it or not, despite my refusal to be Politically-Correct, I generally DO try to not say the things I really WANT to say about certain people in this town. Yeah, all the times I have ranted and told it like it is about local politicians and candidates, I have toned it down from what you would hear if you were inside my home. There IS a line that even I  don't cross. I'm going to cross it TONIGHT.

                      It was appalling enough that our School Board voted unanimously to deny the Veteran Exemption, but it's actually far worse than the vote alone. It's probably a very GOOD thing that I was at the Planning Board meeting, keeping an eye on the Dunkin Donuts matter, and NOT at the school board meeting, because I am 100% certain that I would have been asked to vacate the premises. 

                      Gary Flaherty our Angel of Veterans, was there, as well as our Town Supervisor, Colleen Teal. A number of veterans came from all over the county to support this exemption for our Local veterans. Apparently, the Chatham Courier Rag also sent a reporter, because they have a video on their web page that will make you scream! More on that later! 

                       Let's start with one of the attendees that stood and gave a speech. An Anti-Veteran  Speech, in fact. A 2006 graduate of New Lebanon High School, made statements against our veterans that I am told were deplorable and disgusting. One of the school board members is a relative of this young woman, perhaps her father, but since I don't know the family, I cannot say for certain what their relationship is. Their last name is Brutsch.

                  

                        There was another objector that made public comments that I found more than a little surprising. Gary Millett, a veteran himself, spoke about how fortunate he and his wife, a former Army nurse, were for having served in the military. Their careers as Pilot and Nurse were the result of their military training and they have been very successful as a result. Mr. Millett stated that he felt he had no right to expect his neighbors to ease his tax burden. Well, he is right! 

                        The Milletts HAVE been fortunate and successful, and their service to this country is honorable.  However, I think they fail to consider that they are a minority, and that MANY veterans are NOT so fortunate, but are struggling and need every extra dollar they can get their hands on. Why would Mr. Millett presume to speak for THEM, or stand in the way of something that could be a blessing TO them?

                       Mr. Millett and others who share his opinion, have the choice to Opt-Out of the exemption, and it is a commendable thing to NOT take what you don't truly NEED. Yet it is DIS-honorable to oppose this opportunity for others. You can hear Mr. Millett's comments on the Chatham Rag in the video they posted. Notice that they posted ONLY his comments, and NOT the anti-Veteran rant of the young woman, or the support for the exemption by Colleen Teal , Gary Flaherty, and a good number of veterans who would benefit from it. Below the Courier video, you will see a comment made by none other than  former New Lebanon resident and teacher, Lee Kochenour, congratulating Mr. Millett on his statement.

                        Surprised? You shouldn't be. Like so many teachers, Lee has always cozied-up to the wealthiest and most successful parents in the district and snubbed the regular folks. It's just the way school etiquette works, always has. Not being a resident of New Lebanon any longer, his comments are meaningless, anyway.

                         I cannot speak for anyone else in town, but I am ashamed to live in the ONLY school district in all of Columbia County  to deny this exemption to our heroes. It is embarrassing and shameful. 

                  REMEMBER  IN  MAY !!!!!!!

                          This very school board has the moxie to be asking for a $12,000,000.00 bond in May when we vote on the school budget !!!!! They want to update the high school kitchen, do more of the never-ending roof repairs, and if I had to guess, probably stock-up on copies of Mein Kampf for the library. With only 380-something students in the entire district, I suggest we CLOSE one school and put all the kids under ONE, leaky roof! Cut Staff! Want a new kitchen? Hold some Bake Sales and Car Washes and EARN it ! While you're at it, how about obeying the State Law that requires regular, Civic Education for all students?  Apparently, the Brutsch girl never learned anything about our Constitution, or why we HAVE protected rights, or WHY we have never LOST those rights!
                         This school board was recently cited by the state for having an excess of funds in their budget, yet they cannot and will not sacrifice a few dollars to ease the burden of veterans?  Well, if that's how they want to play it, why should the hard-working taxpayers of New Lebanon give THEM anything? Give them NOTHING!  Vote NO to any budget increases and NO to their bond !!!!  NO MORE MONEY! 

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                          To the Brutsch woman, I have this to say;  

               When you stood and expressed your views at the school board meeting, you were exercising your First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech.  It is a blessing to live in a country where that right and so many others are guaranteed and protected. Few countries enjoy such liberties. Do you ever wonder WHY Americans have these freedoms, how they came to be and how we have managed to retain them for generations?

                I urge you to read the Bill of Rights and then imagine living in a country where this document does not exist. Where women are beaten, stoned, or have acid thrown in their faces for disobeying their husbands or fathers. Or a country that kills any citizen who dares to speak up. We Americans are a Free People ONLY because strong, courageous men and women risked everything, including their lives, to earn and forever preserve Liberty. 

               Millions of young Americans have left their families and safety behind to fight in muddy trenches, sweltering jungles, and scorching sand in the name of Freedom and to ensure our rights and protections for their children, their grandchildren, and for ungrateful, spoiled brats like YOU.  Yes, YOU owe your Freedom to Soldiers and former soldiers, otherwise known as Veterans, the very people you so shamefully disparaged and trod upon in your little speech.

              Thank GOD that I am not your parent, because if I were, I would be too ashamed to admit it. If it were up to me, (and be glad it isn't), YOU would be emptying bedpans at the Albany V.A for the next year, attending group-therapy sessions for veterans who suffer from PTSD, and Physical Therapy for veterans who are re-learning how to live with a missing limb or two. YOU would be forced to stand beside the parents, spouses, siblings, and children of soldiers as they come home in boxes and their families are handed a folded flag! You, would be learning about respect, sacrifice, and gratitude.

              Your sense of entitlement and ignorance of the cost of Freedom is appalling. Shame on you and shame on the entire school board. Shame on parents who raise clueless, selfish children like you. Want to make a REAL statement? Study the Constitution, research the American Revolution and the wars that followed it, then go out and TEACH others, always mindful of the debt YOU owe to every American Soldier and Veteran. For today, you owe them an apology!



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Opinions, Please ?                                                     2-23-2017



                       For the past year, we have seen a lot of improvements in our town, especially in Town Government. Believe it or not, even the Flag Project is finally getting off the ground with the involvement of our local VFW. In the next few weeks , we will have an account for folks to send their donations to. This summer, our Red, White, and Blue will be waving from many of the utility poles on Rt. 20, from Rt.22 South to Rt. 22 North.

                       The matter with the School Board has been a real negative for us, and so is the possibility of a Dunkin Donuts rising out of the ground next to Stewarts. Now, we are looking at the Habitat for Humanity Project  coming into town. Don't get me wrong, this is an awesome charity, especially since it requires the recipient of the home to actually take part in the renovation. This program has made it possible for many families to have their own homes, folks who would never have been able to dream of home ownership before! I always understood this program to be an Urban one though, not a rural one. 

                       I think it would be a nice thing to welcome a new family into New Lebanon and see them get a hand-up, but I also have some concerns about what this may open the door to. If we allow Habitat to come in, what might be next, Low-Income housing projects ? We narrowly escaped THAT horror several years ago when one such housing development was proposed for West Lebanon, and squashed by local objectors. 

                      2017 is becoming a very, scary year for this town, and we all need to be vigilant and involved. We have a school board that has zero respect for our veterans and Civic Education, a Comprehensive Plan that has been rendered impotent by the acceptance of National Chain Stores, the constant threat of Sustainable Development Programs and Climate Initiatives, Government Grants, and Liberal Nonsense like Behold New Lebanon

                       What is very worrisome, is that if we continue on this present course, we could see New Lebanon become another East Greenbush in the next three or four years. We need to decide as a Community, if we truly wish to preserve our town's rural and unique flavor, or toss it all to the wind and let anything that wants to come in, just come IN! By allowing Dunkin Donuts to build a store here, we are bound to allow any other fast-food business to do the same. By ignoring the embarrassing behavior of our school board and the failure of our district to consistently teach Civics as required by LAW, we are teaching our children that our history is of no consequence and that they owe no allegiance to their country or the people who have kept it free.

                        By welcoming the Habitat Project, we COULD be inviting development that we will forever regret. These are just MY concerns, and I am VERY interested in what others are thinking or feeling. Whatever happens will affect ALL of us, Right or Left, Young or Old, Life-timer or Transplant. What are our business owners thinking ? We NEED more business, but what are we willing to sacrifice and accept to get it? Are we going to insist that the Comprehensive Plan be followed, or simply sit back and allow the commercialization of our old-fashioned sanctuary? I am curious, and in all honesty, alarmed at what I'm seeing.

                       I love this town and I'm deeply invested in it, emotionally, financially, politically, and even spiritually. My husband was born and raised here, my son was raised here, my step-children and my grandchildren were raised here, and we have agonized over many of the negative changes we have seen over the years, mostly due to outsider influence. Change is inevitable, but it doesn't have to be negative unless we allow it to be.

                       We can no longer afford to be apathetic folks, it's time to weigh-in and have a say in the future of New Lebanon. If the majority WANTS to become a mini-city, so be it, but if they don't, there isn't much time to left to preserve what we  have left of the original New Lebanon. It's now or never. 

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 Losses and Gains                                                         2-27-2017


                   Another sad day for New Lebanon. We are all praying for Randy and Carol Lukas and their children, Meredith and Nathaniel. Losing your home and all your possessions is a horrible experience, but they know that they have the support of hundreds of us and their needs will be filled! Most of all, they are a Family of Faith, and take great comfort in their God who protected them and always will.

                   Many efforts are in place to assist this much-loved family, and I will keep you posted on donations sites and needs. Right now, clothing is probably the most serious need as well as meals. The family is temporarily staying at the Holiday Inn, using Randy's accumulated , Frequent Flyer perks  and giving themselves a little break to use a pool and a hot tub and let someone else make the beds. They need and deserve that rest, as there is a long road ahead. 

                    Please remember our LVPA members who answer the call no matter what the time or weather, and when you see one of them, thank them for fighting the Lukas fire in the bitter cold and ice this morning. It takes very special people to be First Responders, and they need our prayers and appreciation. Thank You Firefighters, for all that you do!

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                   Habitat for Humanity has clarified their program and intentions for New Lebanon, eliminating my concerns and the concerns of many others in town.  I was pleased to learn that any Habitat house in New Lebanon, will be FOR  a New Lebanon Family, not outsiders. The program is, as I said in my last post, a blessing for young families who need a safer place to raise their kids and gives them an opportunity to own their own home that would never be possible via traditional methods.  That soothes my wary soul, because for ME, New Lebanon comes FIRST, New Lebanon Residents come FIRST, and if we are to have Habitat Homes here, they SHOULD be for local residents in need. 

                  I had one family come immediately to mind for this project, and I'm sure there are many more. Nice thing is, that if this one works out, the program will continue here and house MORE local residents! In addition, there is a satellite program attached that benefits Senior Citizens , and that too, is what I love to hear! These are the types of programs I can support and champion. NO grants, NO handouts, NO left-wing agenda, and NO new regulations. Just good old, Community Caring. People helping people, and not looking to government to take "Care" of us or our neighbors.

                  Requiring the beneficiaries of Programs like Habitat to actually do some of the work, is such a positive approach! It not only instills a sense of responsibility and self-sufficiency, but at the same time, the feeling of pride and accomplishment that no Freebie Program could ever provide. We SHOULD be spending Welfare Dollars on programs like this that lift people UP and set them on their feet, rather than give them everything for free and enslave them to a lifetime of dependence and failure, low self-esteem and a a legacy of an entitlement outlook.

                  As long as we remain vigilant to any sneaky pieces that will promote public housing, Habitat should be a very good thing for us. Dunkin Donuts? Not so much. There is SO much at stake with this issue, and I hope that more locals will take a close look and get involved. 

                  I think I've said just about all I CAN say in regards to this threat, but a review might be in order, as this is going to move VERY quickly.  New Lebanon is seriously in need of some economic growth. Whether a grocery store and/or pharmacy is in our future or not, no one can say. Still, is it really so awful to have to drive to Chatham or Pittsfield for a monthly stock-up? When we chose to live in the country, we gave up some conveniences to gain so many things that are far better, like our rural scenery, farm animals, woodlands, almost non-existent crime rate, and a general, slower-pace of life. This is a great place to raise kids or to retire. 

                  So what KIND of business do we want to attract to our town? Do we want to retain our rural and historical flavor and shun commercialism, or do we, in our desperation for economic growth, ANY growth, want to water-down our original vision?  The Comprehensive Plan is much like a Constitution, and we have violated it once by allowing Family Dollar to come in. Are we now willing to render that Constitution null and void for a Dunkin Donuts?  Yes, Stewarts is a Chain Store, but they are a State chain, not a National one, and they were here before the present Comprehensive Plan was completed. 

                Family Dollar is an example of what can happen when we get too desperate, too anxious, and too careless. They sell much of what the IGA did, including housewares, some automotive care items, hardware, etc. IGA even sold Tee Shirts and paperback books! So Family Dollar is not much different from the old IGA and it took the IGA's old location, which is pretty unobtrusive. In reality, Family Dollar is pretty much a small grocery store sans the fresh meat and produce. They have filled a need to a point, but they have also put us in a precarious position by opening that door to chain stores.

                One of the coolest things about living in New Lebanon is NOT having to see a mile of Fast-Food joints like Taco Bell, McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, and yes, Dunkin Donuts. If we WANT those things, we can get them by driving 10 to 30 minutes away. Our town has managed to escape the commercial ugliness with the exception of the Midtown Mall that Ward Hatch cursed us with. Even that eyesore could be made attractive with a continuation of the wood facade that M&M has, or something similar to the quaint look of the Tilden Plaza. A little rough-cut lumber and it's a whole new world! I'm sure our local sawmill, New Britain Log and Lumber, would LOVE to have the contract!

                The Comprehensive Plan?  We screwed-up.  Question is, can we BACK-up? I don't know, I'm not a lawyer, but I think we SHOULD and wish we WOULD. I would love it if we stopped accepting chain stores of any type NOW, while we still CAN. Encourage small, privately-owned businesses by offering them their first year, tax-free, some set-up assistance and promotion, etc. 

                 Right now, TODAY, we are teetering on a precipice, and it's decision time. Preservation or Commercialization? Uniqueness or just the cookie-cutter look of most other towns with Fast-Food Freeways?  The Dunkin Donuts decision may very well be the most important one we ever make as a community, because it will decide the future of this town. If you are at ALL interested or concerned, please plan to attend the public hearing once it is scheduled.  In addition, start talking to our Supervisor and Town Councilmen NOW.

                 Whatever the outcome, it should be what a community majority decides, and not just a handful of officials, good as they are. This matter needs to be VOTED on! What the people decide it should be, it will be, and those who disagree with that decision will accept the outcome and move on, and yes, that includes ME. The aesthetic, historical and rural treasures of this town depend on our response to this issue.

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               Here's an interesting item; Remember the local vet I told you about that helped veto the School Tax, Vet Exemption ? After he made a statement at the school board meeting about how no one should have to bear the tax burden of another, he left the meeting and told other attendees that if the exemption had passed, he would have applied for it !! That isn't ALL. He DOES benefit from the Property  Tax, Veteran Exemption !  Can you say, "Hypocrite"? 

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             Speedway Moto-X issues coming up, so stay tuned. 



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