Friday, December 17, 2010

News That Matters - Friday, December 17, 2010 - Things To Do Edition

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This article makes it sound like there will be no preliminary meetings and that they are just going to get together and vote on Jan. 1, 2011. Does anyone know if and when the Legislature will meet between now and then?  Shouldn't their deliberations be done in public?  This already sounds like more "business as usual" to me.  They seem to be making this decision in the back room, without even considering public input. Once again politics trumps the People.
- Patty Villanova

Good Friday Morning,

For those reading this edition of News That Matters who have not helped support us you owe a debt of gratitude to those that did and continue to do so. You can assuage your guilt by clicking here. I would do so today.

It was 5.7º this morning out here in the Free State at 7AM. That is 7 degrees colder than what was predicted. In Lake Carmel it was 12.7º and a balmy 18.6º in Putnam Valley. Yet, the dog is unbothered by the glacial temps, laying outside, belly in the snow, happily masticating his morning rawhide under the bird feeder where the chickadees and cardinals swoop in and then out with provided morsels of carbohydrates and fats. Still, would someone please turn off the AC?
The Weather service promises we'll hit a high of 32 today under clear skies. Tomorrow they claim we'll hit 35 by mid-afternoon but Sunday into Monday poses a question: There's a storm getting it's act together over the Carolina's and poised to head up the coast that could bring a little snow - or a lot. It will be cold enough, that much is certain, but the path of the storm is not.

Destafano, Borkowski and another brewing scandal

You just can't get away from it in Putnam County these days and though it is rather convoluted it appears that yet another political scandal is brewing. It's also hard to explain and so the very best way to understand what's going on is to read it for yourself. This link will bring you to a document filed by Andrew DeStefano outlining the events surrounding his on again/off again election last year. In essence, Mr. D is charging judge Borkowski with making false statements regarding his moving to NYC thus forcing his name off the ballot for Sheriff. But as usual, things are not that straightforward and the web of intrigue runs deep.

Big Money Donations to Vinnie's Campaign...

I received a call yesterday from a Putnam Valley resident asking what we could do about campaign finance reform and what the prospects were for positive change in that regard as it pertains to New York State. While there are many organizations out there fighting for this very thing they aren't making any headway. There's always promises of reform but then the wealthy get involved and scuttle anything that comes down the pike.
To seek an example of power and influence we got to thinking; who might benefit from a particular candidate getting elected and decided to take a look at campaign contributions to Vincent Leibell to see how many donors either already had contracts with the county, were thanking the former Senator for his assistance in the past or who hoped to get contracts with the county should he become  County Executive.

What we found was a stunning list of regional organizations, corporations and businesses, few of whom have names that are not overly familiar to anyone following government in Putnam County.

I decided not to publish the names of most individuals who donated to the Senator, just the Big Money donors. The lists are published here:

PAC Contributions
Committee Donations
Corporate Donations

Total donations and transfers from PACs etc.,: $139,510
Total donations from individuals: $52,845

For the record, the top individual donations came from;

William Gilberti, an attorney from Syracuse, NY,
Joshua Heintz of Syracuse, NY who works for Mr. Gilberti's firm and,
Thomas Kavaler of NY, NY who works for the Cahill law firm

 You have to go way down the list before finding an individual contribution from someone in Putnam County.

 When you scroll down the lists just think about how many tax dollars are going to these companies and how many more were going to... Take a look. Do you think we common peeps have a chance against the corporations and the wealthy? With this kind of money being tossed to well known politicians do you think we stand a chance at getting heard?

PS: For the record, Maryellen Odell's largest single contributor was one Gary Prato ($5000), owner of Bedford Fence Company and co-owner of Garon Fence Company ($2500). Mr. Prato held a fund raiser for.... Greg Ball this year and donated $5000 to Ball's campaign. And, on August 30th, the Committee to Elect MEO donated $200 to Ball's campaign. Nah, there's no connection. None at all.

And also for the record, the vast majority of Ball's money came from well outside the district.

With all this going on you have to ask, which side will they be on? Ours, or those who have the money?

Okay, okay. Here's the answer: look at Albany and you tell me.


If you're reading wikileaks' releases this mirror is still active. Actually, it appears that the attack against mirrors by the US Government has been scaled back quite considerably as the number of mirror-sites has now grown. Just for curiousity, here's what the US had to say about the death of Vilma Espin, wife of Raoul Castro of Cuba:
¶3. (C) Although we doubt Fidel Castro cares very much about the loss of Vilma Espin, or much else beyond his own personal legacy, we expect that her death will have a significant impact on Raul Castro. Yes, both Fidel and Raul Castro are mass murderers and cruel leaders, but Raul always has had a parallel reputation as a family man.
Mass murderers and cruel leaders? Of course, they weren't on our side. I wonder how we've praised Augusto Pinochet or the former Shah of Iran? Lovers of culture and democracy? Men who bestow free will and liberty on their countrymen? Alright... don't get me going.

Parks Master Plan

A few weeks ago I mentioned that the State is preparing a new master plan for Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks. As a reminder, public comments are due by December 24th. You can read the proposed plan here.

On Wednesday evening the Putnam Valley town board voted 4-1 to adopt what they call "incentive zoning" over the objection of all but one person who spoke against it - including members of their own planning board. There's clearly someone or some project Bob Tendy has in mind for this law - now we'll find out who or what.

Putnam Freecycle Subject of the week: "Taken, wood stove with crack in Mahopac" You gotta love a freecycler who gives away crack with their old woodstove.

The FOX Thing Again

I know, I know, it's the FOX News thing again. I keep saying that those who get their news from FOX are selling themselves short (which is a nice way of saying they're not all that well informed, which is a nice way of saying... cripes! I'd better quit here.)

Well, here's the proof from a University of Maryland poll:
Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:
  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
  • 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
  • 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
  • 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
  • 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
  • 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
  • 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)
If you can tear yourself from Bill O'Reilly long enough you can read the rest here and here.

Have you learned anything new in this issue of News That Matters? Will you attend one of the events listed below? Well then, you owe it to yourself - and to the rest of the community - to help keep this coming by clicking here.

What's Going On?

Friday, December 17

Rick Bondi Photograph Exhibit

Through December 30. The Third Floor Gallery at the Mahopac Library. Rick Bondi's photographs quietly and elegantly capture the sere beauty of our area - from Hyde Park ti Highland, from Patterson to Poughkeepsie - they are intimate portraits of the Hudson Valley landscape. Mr. Bondi has been a Putnam County resident for more than 40 years, having cycled, hunted, sketched and photographed in virtually every area in the Hudson Valley. Call the Library at 845 628-2009 for more information.

A Christmas Carol - a New Adaptation

7:30PM - Pied Piper Children's Theater. Staging the holiday classic for the second year in a row at the White Pond Center, the Pied Piper Players will be performing an original adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” in December, 2010. John and Bonnie Ryerson, veterans of stage and screens large and small lead a cast of local actors in this fun, fantastical romp through one of the most revered stories of the season.

John Ryerson delivers a forceful performance as Ebenezer Scrooge, the man forever changed by ghosts of his past, present and future.  Seasoned actor Andrew Walters reprises his role as a pitch-perfect Bob Cratchit. Jessica Bulzacchelli, a PPYT veteran youth actor, returns as the Ghost of Christmas Past with her usual exuberance and sense of fun.  Peter Alexander lends a sense of mystery and foreboding to both Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come again this year.  Jeff Davis also returns as the bombastic Ghost of Christmas Present, and Bonnie Ryerson rounds out the lead players as the wonderful Belinda Cratchit.

Primarily a youth ensemble company, the Pied Piper Youth Theater will treat audiences to performances by adults in this production, many of whom are parents of the young actors in the troupe.

Repeats Saturday, December 18 at 7:30PM and Sunday, December 19 at 3:00PM. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 children 10 and under. For more information or to set up an interview, please contact Bonnie Ryerson at 845-878-9780 or email Bonnie at

Fred Gillen Jr and Matt Turk

7:30PM at the BeanRunner Cafe, 201 S. Division Street in Peekskill. Fred Gillen Jr. cut his teeth as bassist in the popular roots-rock band Rain Deputies before going solo in 1997. He has released numerous CDs and was voted "Best Folk Artist" for 3 consecutive years by readers of The Westchester Weekly.

Matt Turk is a soulful vocalist, who plays the guitar, mandolin and lap steel. He adeptly combines various musical styles and was inspired to write songs of social justice by Pete Seeger and by his three-year stint working for God's Love-We Deliver. Matt has released a number of highly acclaimed albums.

In 2008, Gillen & Turk released their first duo CD, Backs to the Wall. Their song, Fall Down, appeared on CMJ's 10,000 copy 2008 Player Compilation CD and they were featured on NYC Soundtracks on the MSG network.

Admission: $5 pp

Saturday, December 18

Breakneck Ridge Hike

Difficult. Hosted by Scenic Hudson. The most rigorous rocky routes up Breakneck Ridge.  Please contact leader for details: Skip Doyle at Location: Route 9D, Beacon

Gallery Talk: Larissa Harris on Andy Warhol

2PM: Andy Warhol, Shadows, 1978-79 at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, Free with admission. Larissa Harris is curator at the Queens Museum of Art, where she is developing programs to take place during and after the museum's planned expansion, to be completed by 2012. From 2004-2008, she was associate director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT where she worked on new projects by Michael Smith, Damon Rich/the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), John Malpede, and John Bell; and established new initiatives including a visiting artist series, student residency program, and a residency for Boston-area artists. She is also half of a partnership called The Steins, which produces occasional, extremely brief exhibitions in basements in the Lower East Side.

Sunday, December 19

Annual Holiday Ice Skating Show

12:45PM Brewster Ice Arena. Admission is Free. Reception with great food follows. Performances by more than 20 skaters, in costume, to music, from little kids to high level competitors. See double axels, triples, spins, and holiday magic. For more information, contact the Brewster Ice Arena at 845-279-2229. Brewster Ice Arena, 63 Fields Lane, Brewster, NY

Jewelry Sale - Open House

2PM - 5PM 126 Wiccopee Road in Putnam Valley. See what jewelry designer Denise Leaden has been up to this year for your last minute holiday gifts. Hand made necklaces, bracelets and more all at prices you'd be surprised you can afford!

Tribes Hill’s 8th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration

3PM This year’s Winter Solstice is an auspicious one. It’s the rare combination of the longest night of the year and a full lunar eclipse that promises a blood red full moon. What better reason to gather together and sing back the sun with friends and family. The Celebration gathers musicians from around the Hudson Valley in the lodge-like Beczak Environmental Education Center to create inspired, spontaneous music at the spiritually charged moment of the Winter Solstice.  Featuring Spuyten Duyvil, Milton, The YaYas, and many others. $10 suggested donation. Bring food to share; sponsor Captain Lawrence provides the brew. For more info, contact / (914) 377-1900 ext. 13. Location: Beczak Environmental Education Center, 35 Alexander Street, Yonkers, NY 10701.

Into the Future

Tuesday, December 21

Full Lunar Eclipse

In the early morning of December 21st, at 1:33AM, in fact, North America begins it's descent into darkness as the light of the moon is blocked by the earth's shadow in what will be a rare total eclipse of the moon, at least for our region. Totality, that point where the moon is completely blocked will be at 3:17AM. See this for more information.

Wednesday, December 22

Jeff's 53rd Birthday

Save the cards and good wishes. Send cash, food, quality single men or tickets to Puerto Rico.

Friday, December 31 - New Year's Eve

The Folkadelics 3rd Annual NYE Party

7PM at Kenny's Castaways. 157 Bleeker Street (Btw Sullivan and Thompson). Join Putnam Valley's Gavin Cummings. Come ring in the New Year with the Folkadelicks. For the third year in a row The Folkadelics will be hosting NYE in NYC! This years line up is especially fantastic featuring NEVERGREEN (Rochester, NY), the CHARLIE RIVER BAND (Boston, MA), and STEF LEAL performing music from her new EP!!

Expect new Material and some special guest appearances!

ALSO!! Stick around for a 3AM LATE night Jam with everyone back on stage!!! Who knows what will happen!!!

Michelle LeBlanc

Spend New Year's Eve with Putnam Valley's Michelle LeBlanc at the Hudson House River Inn, 2 Main Street in Cold Spring. Call 845 265 9355 for more information.

Saturday, January 1 - New Year's Day

Day of Mindfulness

9 AM - 4PM - at the Chuang Yen Monastery on Route 301 in the Free State of Western Kent. With hearts established in mindfulness, we are truly present. Be Truly Present at our Day of Mindfulness. Inter Faith Ceremony, sitting, walking meditation, chanting and much more… Suggested $15/a day to Chuang Yen Monastery includes a delicious and lovingly prepared vegetarian lunch.

2nd Annual New Year's Day Hike

Noon - 2PM at Fahnestock State Park. Join us for the second annual New Year's Day Hike into Fahnestock State Park. We'll take an easy stroll on the first day of the year, probably not more than 2 miles or so. Dog and child friendly. Meet up location will be sent a little closer to the event but will most likely be at the parking lot at Sunken Mine and Dennytown roads. Write for more information. Heavy snow or extreme cold cancels.

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