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Along with Kent's Christine Blossy, I attended the opening of the Aery Theater's annual 20/20 series at the Depot Theater in Garrison last Friday evening and Putnam County was more than well represented. Patterson's Bryan Caprari and Garrison's William Burns starred in Cold Spring's Pearse Columb's "Nothing Important" which was directed by Putnam Valley's Judy Allen. Other plays in the series also had a heavy representation from our fair county with Patterson's Virginia Reynolds as the playwright for "Kissing Will" and Kent's Kathy Freston and Cold Spring's Kurt Lauer in "Duck Talk". The series continues over the next few weekends at the theater in Garrison. Tickets are $15, there isn't a bad seat in the house and the cakes and pies at intermission are killer and sliced for two. For all the nice things I have to say about the festival this year and last you'd think they could toss a couple comps my way? Come on guys!
Yesterday saw Kent's annual Community Day celebration and while the cool, cloudy weather kept some people away, Bill Heustis and his crew managed to pull things off without a hitch. In between the politicians which were as thick as mosquitoes on a July night, the crowd, easily numbering more than 1000, enjoyed the usual fare. Tables and tents from the Town's Stormwater Committee, the Library, Boy scouts groups, the county's Office of the Aging, the Kent Chamber of Commerce and others all attracted large crowds but the kids most enjoyed the bouncy houses and other static rides that are always their favorites.
Last week when State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef announced her intention to run for re-election in NY's 90th Assembly district she did so on the banks of the Hudson in Cold Spring. Surrounded by officials from that burg she was also presented with the endorsement from the New York League of Conservation Voters. Local League chair, Nanette Bourne said, "... Sandy understands that environmental sustainability is not a luxury – it is the best way to lower costs, improve our economy and fight climate change. Westchester and Putnam Counties need strong leaders in Albany to represent our interests." For the record, Sandy was essential in the effort to save Mt. Nimham from being logged off back in the day.
The PrimariesWell, well, well. This year's primary elections are finally here and I cannot tell you how happy I will be once it's all over about 36 hours from now. Political careers will have been made, broken, or ruined and the near-future for Putnam County will have been decided. The races to watch are:
Governor: Republicans Rick Lazio vs Carl Paladino. Paladino, a wealthy upstate businessman is the Tea Party insurgent provable by his often 'difficult' remarks, statements and positions and has been able to win major Republican support away from party favorite Rick Lazio. The winner will face Andrew Cuomo in November, the best Republican policy can buy. But, if you want to see the race turn into a 3-ring circus, vote for Paladino. He's a candidate that should ruin NY's reputation faster than you can put a homeless person in jail.
Attorney General: Democrats Richard Brodsky vs Eric Schneiderman vs Sean Coffey vs Eric Dinallo vs Kathleen Rice. Not being a Democrat I've really not been following the race other than the flurry of emails that come in supporting one over the other. Personally, I'd vote for the one who looks like he'd mow your lawn which, by the way, is the very best method of choosing candidates ever devised. With all that said, my more progressive friends, The Village Voice and Pete Seeger, are liking Richard Brodsky.
US Senate: Everyone on the planet is running against Kirsten Gillibrand for reasons I don't really understand.
Congress 19th CD: Republicans Neil DiCarlo vs Nan Hayworth. On the one hand you have a fundamentalist bible thumping tea bagger while on the other, a wealthy darling of the health insurance/care/provider industry who parrots the National Republican theme of the day as if they've got a wireless speaker shoved up... well, you get the idea. I have not yet heard a single original idea from the latter candidate since entry into the race, just the same tired misinformed tirades you can hear on FOX or WABC talk radio. It's as if Rush Limbaugh was a transvestite passing himself off as a Sue Kelly clone. And if I hear her say "Nancy Pelosi!" one more time I will call Bellevue... obsessions do not good policy make.
NY Senate 40th: Republicans Mary Beth Murphy vs Greg Ball. Greg, I think, is sure to win this one. He's fine-tuned his message, has been operating like a machine in over-drive since he settled into this race and Mary Beth? Hello!?? Where have you been? I mean, she's not even in this race and when she does make the rare appearance Greg simply buries her. Considering all the blather coming from the mainstream Republican Party about their support for her, their own internal divisions have made them an ineffectual force against that well-oiled, handsome-as-heck tea bagger. The winner of this race will face Mike Kaplowitz in November, my personal choice for the seat and eminently more qualified than either of the two horses in this primary. If you can't make up your mind who to vote for in the race you need your meds adjusted.
NY Assembly 99th: Republicans Jim Borkowski vs Steve Katz. It's the Tea Bagger Dog Doctor vs the Handsome Judge. I'm not even sure what to say and I have no idea how this one is going to turn out but you have to give the Doc credit for running a hard, presentable race and then ask Jimmy B if he's been hiding out with Mary Beth Murphy in the Caribbean or something. The winner will face Yorktown's amiable Brendan Tully in November.
Putnam County Executive: MaryEllen Odell vs Vincent Leibell. Okay, this is the race that will make or break careers like no other - maybe even yours. Here we have a career politician responsible for the f*ck up that we call Albany, whom the Fed is more than a little interested in, can build bridges to nowhere using state tax dollars in the form of pork, gets in on land deals that would humble Harold Lepler, runs local political parties with a titanium fist and who, for reasons that aren't exactly clear, can't seem to enter a candidates forum and come out standing. On the other hand we have a county Legislator who is connected at the hip to Greg Ball and has taken notes from his playbook by being more than prepared for her public appearances and has, if you'll watch the video tapes, given that career politician a good ass kicking every time they face each other.
All I'm hearing in this race is that you want to Vote For Experience! Well, look at Albany. That's a genuine experience akin to root canal without anesthesia while having needles stuck in your eyes.Putnam County Legislator 9th District: Republicans Anthony Fusco vs Anthony DiCarlo. Yeah, it's the Tony Awards! My money is on Fusco (which is probably his death knell), but I do trust party members to return one of two radicals to the Legislature this year. Lord knows that body needs all the shaking up in can get and Mr. Fusco has been a voice of concern and question that that body sorely needs. So, it's up to Mahopac to either vote for political independence or the machine robot. Oy vey!
The full list of candidates found on the ballot tomorrow is here.
My promised article on the Putnam County Consumer Affairs Division is currently on hold while more information comes in. The problem is that each time I think I've got it nailed down someone comes up with information about an instance that happened to them, personally, and the end-result just gets stranger with each incoming testimony. The other problem is that I simply cannot get anyone to talk on the record which underscores is the level of fear in this county while the old guard divvy up the spoils and protect their turf. If you think it's about consumer "protection" we are sadly misinformed. While that may have been the case early on much has changed over the years and it's not been change for the better. Just ask your local contractor for his story and be prepared to have your hair curled.
Putnam County's annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day will be on Saturday, October 2 from 9AM - 1PM and, as is usual, pre-registration is required. Waste will be collected *only* at the Health Department at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster. Call 845.808-1390 x43150 for more information and to register. There's a flyer here. (PDF)
And Now, The News:
Resale Fees That Only Developers Could LoveMichael Houghton for The New York Times
REBECCA AND TRENT DUPAIX of Eagle Mountain, Utah, spent a year searching for their dream home. The couple, who have five children, considered 15 to 20 houses before finding “the one.”
Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times
Justin Ailes of the American Land Title Association, with the Congressional aide Kelly A. Dixon, says that the idea of charging a 1 percent resale fee on homes “doesn’t pass the smell test.”
They were thrilled when they closed on a $227,000, rock-and-stucco home with five bedrooms and two and a half baths in March 2009.
But four months later, when a local television reporter was doing a story on housing taxes in their subdivision, the Dupaixs discovered that their sales contract included a “resale fee” that allows the developer to collect 1 percent of the sales price from the seller every time the property changes hands — for the next 99 years.
White-nose syndrome threatens brown batsBy Greg Clary
NY Journal News
If you happened to be riding on one of the country roads along the Putnam-Connecticut border in June, you might have seen a car in the early evening going 20 mph — the speed that bats fly.
Sitting inside that vehicle were special instruments designed to record and track the winged creatures as they bounce their sonar-like sounds off potential prey.
The effort marked the second year of the state's acoustical surveys of 50 locations across New York, and the results are scaring wildlife experts more than a Bela Lugosi movie.
"One thing was obvious: the little brown bat used to be the most plentiful, but they've declined drastically," said Carl Herzog, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "We saw that last year in Albany, when we couldn't find them."
Paladino Uses Scented Mailing to Make a PointDavid W. Chen
New York Times
There could be a surprise waiting in your mailbox this weekend, courtesy of Carl P. Paladino, a Republican candidate for governor. Not the front of the brochure, which states that “Something really stinks in Albany.” Nor the back, which features images of tarnished Democrats like Gov. David A. Paterson, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and former State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi.
But open it up, and you will be greeted by an unmistakable odor: rotting vegetables.
The tactic is emblematic of the in-your-face and unconventional insurgent campaign that has been waged by Mr. Paladino, a Buffalo businessman, against Rick A. Lazio, a former congressman and Wall Street lobbyist.
Mr. Paladino may have begun as a long shot with a knack for making insensitive remarks. But with a big financial advantage — he has pledged to spend $10 million of his own money — he has gained in recent polls and even persuaded some Republican leaders to abandon Mr. Lazio.
Pentagon Plan - Buying Books to Keep SecretsBy Scott Shane
New York Times
WASHINGTON — Defense Department officials are negotiating to buy and destroy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of an Afghan war memoir they say contains intelligence secrets, according to two people familiar with the dispute.
The publication of “Operation Dark Heart,” by Anthony A. Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, has divided military security reviewers and highlighted the uncertainty about what information poses a genuine threat to security.
Disputes between the government and former intelligence officials over whether their books reveal too much have become commonplace. But veterans of the publishing industry and intelligence agencies could not recall another case in which an agency sought to dispose of a book that had already been printed.
Army reviewers suggested various changes and redactions and signed off on the edited book in January, saying they had “no objection on legal or operational security grounds,” and the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, planned for an Aug. 31 release.
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