Friday, December 3, 2010

News That Matters - Friday, December 3, 2010 - Things To Do Edition

News That Matters

News That Matters
Brought to you (Almost Daily) by PlanPutnam.Org

'It's hard for me to see the future at this moment but I think Jeff Green would do a fine job as County Executive in my place and I encourage you to support him.'

Good Friday Morning,

The weather report for the weekend is as typical of winter around these parts as one can get. Highs around 40 with lows in the mid-to-low 20s and mostly sunny. Trust me when I say that this is the time to take a hike in the woods. The leaves are down so you can see some distance through the trees, the rise and fall of the land, the rocky outcroppings that underlay our landscape, old foundations, ponds... the usually hidden base fabric of the Highlands.
A note of warning though: it's still hunting season thus you either wear blaze orange and carry a police whistle or venture to discover our State Parks such as Wonder Lake in Kent/Patterson, Fahnestock in Kent/Philipstown and Putnam Valley, or Hudson Highlands State Park that runs the length of Philipstown from north to south. There's also Donald Trump State Park at the very foot of Putnam Valley. These crisp, clear days allow good walking without too much sweat.

Wear layers. Tell someone where you're going. Bring your camera and have some outdoors fun.

The End Of An Era

For those who have been in Iceland studying the interior of a volcano whose name no one can pronounce, it was reported in various sources yesterday that Senator Vincent Leibell is no longer a State Senator (as of today) and will not be taking office as County Executive come January 1st. That job will be held by whomever the County Legislature appoints. I'll bet the "Democrats For Leibell" are a little red-faced this morning and if Greg Ball and Anthony Scannapieco are gloating right now, well, they kinda deserve it. What I want to know is if the Senator knew about this during the campaign. If so, there's a real problem on top of everything else.
Anyway, I've volunteered for the position and though I did come in a solid third in that race I'm pretty sure they've got their eyes elsewhere. Off the top of my head I would hazard a guess between MEO or Sam Oliverio or Frank DelCampo, though Sam does have other full time obligations. And I'll bet Bob Bondi, who is 'consulting with his family' is hoping for an extension and possibly even his sidekick, John Tully, is hoping for the appointment. My personal preference would be Dan Birmingham but I'm guessing that's not in the offing. If they'd just give the job to Paul Camarda they could save everyone a lot time.

Vinnie is going down. Bill Hustis is going down. Bondi went down but now may be back. Charlie Williams went down. Everyone is going down but there are no happy endings. It sure is strange around here.
There's been slight chatter about taking down road signs and "un"naming things that have the Senator's name on them but I would use caution here: Like him or not, his political power and largesse has made much happen here that would not have happened without him and those signs are credits to his name and should remain as such. It would be foolish to erase that history as we do owe the guy the credit he deserves for the good things and the millions of pork dollars he's brought to the county.

Petitioning Carmel

A group has begun an online petition directed at the Camarda Carmel Town Board to deny zoning changes that would permit developments such as Union Place. You can find that petition online here. The copy reads:
"We the undersigned residents of the Town of Carmel oppose any/and all zoning changes or variances requested by the applicant, related to “The Smart Growth Village” in the Town of Carmel, Putnam County, New York, referred to as “Union Place”; located on 300 acres of undeveloped land and which is comprised of a mix of uses including rental (180 units), market rate & senior housing (300 units), corporate, professional and retail space (total 1,043,600 sq ft nonresidential floor space). The project is a marked departure from the Carmel Comprehensive Plan, is zoning code non-compliant and presents a project that will eliminate the last piece of Mahopac’s historic and cultural past, named Mahopac Farm, and irrevocably change the face and landscape of the gateway to our community. "

Unemployment Benefits

Please don't see this as partisan as it's only a fact: If you've been downsized, laid off or otherwise not working and you and/or your family have been living on unemployment, thanks to Republicans in Congress your life is about to suck even worse than it does now.
Holding unemployment benefits hostage until Democrats agree to give multi-millionaires tax cuts, Republicans refuse to budge on the matter using you as pawns in their game. If you were un- or under-employed on election day and you voted for Nan Hayworth I'll bet you're feeling a bit like a Log Cabin Republican today. No, don't bother writing them - they never write back.

Julian Assange

The wonderboy at Wikileaks is being sought out over an alleged rape charge in Sweden that we all thought had been killed the last time he released a bunch of information, that time about the war in Iraq and how we were doing such a fine job of dealing with the enemy and losing control of that country city by city, town by town.
In his latest foray he has caused a world-wide diplomatic embarrassment epidemic and those in power cannot abide by being told they just held a press conference with their fly's open.

While the prospect of a car accident, small airplane crash or a fatal mugging are on the lips of embarrassed diplomats and heads of state everywhere, even US members of congress have called for his head - and his death. What amuses me most is that in one quick stroke he's done more for freedom of information and transparent government than the 'baggers have done in the last 18 months of their incessant campaign for... open and transparent government.

This guy should be winning awards and support from anyone who believes the workings of government should be open to all. After all, as I reported the other day, it's become apparent that - for a change - the US comes out looking pretty good.

So what if we think Russia has become a mafia state? It's true! and anyone will tell you so. So what if every Arab nation has encouraged the US to launch a military attack against Iran? And we learned that Iran was smuggling weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon - in Red Crescent ambulances. It's true, no? So why the embarrassment?

If you'd like to see the full range of diplomatic cables released for yourself, and you should, visit this website which is active right now. This may change as the US Government has tried to suppress this information and does so on a daily basis. The harassment has gotten so out of hand that Senator Joe Lieberman, no friend of freedom, has introduced legislation that would make it illegal to release the name of any US intelligence source. The legislation being so broad that any journalist who reported on US diplomatic activities would come under the law thus shutting the door on truth.

Here's an example: In a cable dated February 2009, from the Kuwaiti Interior Minister on how to deal with prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay:
Jaber told the Ambassador:  "You know better than I that we cannot deal with these people (i.e. the GTMO detainees).  I can't detain them.  If I take their passports, they will sue to get them back (Note:  as happened with Al-Ajmi.  End note.)  I can talk to you into next week about building a rehabilitation center, but it won't happen.  We are not Saudi Arabia; we cannot isolate these people in desert camps or somewhere on an island.  We cannot compel them to stay.  If they are rotten, they are rotten and the best thing to do is get rid of them.  You picked them up in Afghanistan; you should drop them off in Afghanistan, in the middle of the war zone." 
But Wikileaks has been cautious in that it has regularly redacted people's (read: sources) names from the cables it's been releasing this time around so the law makes no sense other than to pressure others.

Lastly, the rape charge. It's clear - and it's been clear - that Anna Ardin, the woman at the center of all this, has admitted that she's been making the whole thing up, even to the point of deleting Tweet messages praising Julian just before she charged him. Why, then, one might ask, are European governments all in a rush to persecute Mr. Assange? That's a silly question! Because they're all standing around with their pants around their ankles looking as stunned as Senator Larry Craig caught in a gay porn video.


A little holiday music from Roy Zimmerman:  See the video here and yes, it's more than safe for work.

What's Going On?

Friday, December 3

Follow the Waters: Educational Workshop

10:00 AM – 3:30 PM You are invited to an educational workshop about laws and regulations related to water resources, designed to provide an introduction to the legal framework surrounding water in NY State. This workshop will provide an overview of selected Federal, state and local laws affecting water resources management.  This information will be presented in the context of several case studies about local watersheds illustrating challenging water resources management and protection issues in the mid-Hudson region.  It is designed for an audience of interested decision-makers and citizens who do not have formal legal training.  The results of this workshop, including feedback from participants, will be used to guide future development of related educational programs and online resources. We will trace the flow of water through local watersheds to examine which laws and regulations apply at various points along the way.  This project was made possible through financial support from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. Space is limited.  RSVP to Simon Gruber,  There is no charge for this workshop. Location: New Windsor, New York

Sea2Sea Summit Winter Edition

6PM Bates Dining Room - Sarah Lawrence College - Performances, Open Mic at 7PM at the Black Squirrel. Saturday, December 4, workshops and performances beginning at 9:30AM and running all day. See for more information.

[Ed note: the website is impossible to read thanks to college students thinking they're cool. But, if you press CTRL-A on your keyboard the lettering and words will appear a little easier against the background.]

Greg Brown - Live at the Towne Crier

8:30PM at the Towne Crier in Pawling. It's $40, $45 at the door assuming you can get in but I have to tell you, had I known Greg was going to be in town I would have sold the dog to get the do-re-mi for the tickets. Rarely does a performer grow so well and age so lightly as has Greg Brown. Formally best known as a frequent guest on "A Prairie Home Companion" as that show remained its sappy, stale self, Mr. Brown forayed off into a folks/blues style of performance that is a rare find. The last time Greg was in the area was in April of 2008 and here's part of the review I wrote of that show:
At just around 9PM Greg took the stage. Yes, funky hat, red bandanna,
dark glasses, over sized pants, baggy jacket and all and from the moment
his fingers touched the guitar and the vibrations from his vocal chords
hit the electronics in the mic, the rest of the evening was magic. It
was a much better show than I had anticipated and as his set ran for
almost 2 hours, more than fulfilling.

"The blues are just bad people feeling good" - GB

For the next two hours it was story song after story song with a few
older melodies dropped in here and there but you had to pay attention
sometimes to recognize what they were for their recorded forms were
altered to a degree giving the impression that they too were in the
evening's story song pattern. And the early folkie stuff? Now it's all
blues. The aged standard "Good Morning Coffee", his second number, was
interwoven with a story about waking his wife up one morning with a
fresh cup of coffee that kept us all laughing and wondering, is Iris
DeMent really that rapacious in the mornings? Pour warm water over the
beans so they don't scald? She must be tough.

Sometimes it was hard to tell when his intro to a song ended and the
song itself began and all the while his blues guitar rang true. Brown
claims he doesn't work from a set playlist, that it doesn't work for him
and that all the patter was nothing but filler giving him time to decide
what to play next. True fans would have known from the way he tuned what
was coming next even, as I wrote before, if the folk was relegated to
history and the same songs reborn as the blues.
The rest can be found here.

Saturday, December 4

Santa in Peekskill

Noon - On the streets in downtown Peekskill. A Ferris Wheel for rides, a tree lighting and choral music at 4:30, Santa with live music and hot cocoa at 5:30 and the film, "It's a Wonderful Life" at the Paramount at 8PM. See for more details.

Holiday On The Lake

Noon- 8:15PM - Carmel. Christmas stories at noon at the Reed Library, Caroling, face painting and more at Cornerstone park, at 3:30, a Christmas Concert at Drew Methodist at 5:15, parade through the Hamlet at 7PM and tree lighting at Lake Gleneida just after.

Lecture with Art Cohn

5PM Lecture with Art Cohn, the co-founder and Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Join Putnam County Historical Society for a lecture with Art Cohn, the co-founder and Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at Basin Harbor Vermont. Cohn's talk will outline the significant chapters of the region's history and illustrate what is currently known about the collection of shipwrecks in Lake Champlain and the just emerging story of shipwrecks in the Hudson River.

The Putnam County Historical Society & Foundry School Museum is located at 63 Chestnut Street in Cold Spring. Free for members and donors, and $5 for the general public. Space is limited; reservations are strongly suggested. Please call 845-265-4010 or email.

Brewster Tree Lighting and Holiday Concert

7:30PM - Holiday Concert at the United Methodist Church 83 Main Street, Brewster, NY following the tree lighting at 5PM at the Southeast Museum. Join the Putnam Chorale and a Brass Quintet in a musical celebration of the season. Carol singing for the audience. Child friendly and free. For information call 845 279-7500

Sunday, December 5

AMVETS Breakfast

9AM - Noon. A variety of breakfast foods including pancakes, grits, brownies, eggs , french toast and more. $10 for adults, $5 for kids. VFW Post 9257, 4 Fairfield Dr. Patterson

Sterling Forest Hike

Hike the entire Sterling Ridge Trail from Route 511 to 17A at fast pace, about 9 miles. Visit the fire tower with great panoramic views.  Leader: Barry Skura 914-779-0936

Frozendale Days

11AM - 6PM Community celebration of winter and the holiday season, with free movie at Rosendale Theatre, live music, food, origami and ornament making, puppets, library lighting, art exhibits, Santa, and much more fun for all ages! Plus the Annual Winter Gift Sale with one-of-a-kind, locally hand-made gifts including pottery, jewelry, art prints, eco-savvy fabric gift bags, knitware, hula hoops, note cards, coloring books, chair massage and gift certificates, and more!  Skip the mall and support community and local art and commerce! Downtown Rosendale.

Memorial Concert for Art Kamell

2PM - 5PM With David Amram, Pete Seeger, Congressman John Hall, Rick Nestler, David Bernz, Chris Ruhe the Howland Wolves and others! At the St. Lukes Episcopal Church gymnasium, Rte 9D, Beacon.

A Memorial concert to benefit the organizations Art Kammel loved: Doctors Without Borders, Pastors for Peace, School of the America's Watch and the United Farmworkers. We are working on the details, the musicians' line-up, etc. but the flyer won't be ready till next week and I wanted you to know NOW about this very special event. So please put Sunday, Dec. 5h, 2-5 pm on your calendar and come out to enjoy great music and memories of one of the most wonderful people it has been my pleasure and privilege to know. Contribution: $20 (though no one will be turned away.) Contact Judy Allen for more information.

Forum and documentary "Gasland"

5PM - Rock Tavern, NY. A forum and documentary about with natural gas drilling process called ("fracking" or "hydrofracking"). This is a controversial topic in New York State. The State Senate has issued a temporary moratorium in New York State and the Assembly has yet to vote.

There is an optional potluck at 5:00pm, with the forum and film to follow.

Speakers at the forum represent both sides of the issue. They include Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper; Paul Hartman, representing Chesapeake Energy Corp.; Nadia Steinzor, Marcellus Shale Regional Organizer; Laurie Stuart, Upper Delaware UU Fellowship; and meeting chair, Michael Edelstein of Orange Environment.

"Gasland" (2010, dir Josh Fox, 107 min, )

A prize-winning documentary exploring the health and environmental risks associated with natural gas drilling.

From the movie blurb: When "... a gas company offered Fox $100,000 to lease his family's Pennsylvania land, he decided to educate himself on the topic of natural gas drilling. What he discovered shocked him into filming a documentary. Flammable tap water, chronically sick citizens, and contaminated air were among the ills found in communities where natural gas fracking has been occurring."

There is limited space, so RSVPs are recommended. Contact / RSVP: Verne M. Bell at 845 569-8965, or via email address below. Cost: Free. Location: Unitarian Universalist Meeting House, 9 Vance Rd (off Rt. 207) Rock Tavern, NY 12575

Into The Future

Tuesday, December 7

PC Leg Vote on Peekskill Hollow Road

7PM - From PVRC: Well folks, this is really the final vote (approval) by the Put Co Leg on the PHR. The full leg meeting on Tuesday, Dec 7th at 7PM will see the fruition of all our hard work and victory for historic designation and protections for the PHR. The certification (of residents along PHR) of far over the requisite 50% plus road-frontage has been given to the real property department and accepted at the 11/16 physical services committee meeting, along with the thru-truck ban, which has a great chance of passing as it has gotten good support and recognition as a critical part of protecting the PHR and the residents who live along and travel on PHR. There have been several near disasters recounted by Sam Oliverio caused by huge speeding trucks over-the-line that I think brought the real danger of their presence to the other Leg members, and his continued support among others in the Leg has been important.

Please save the date and plan to attend this historic implementation of the Put Co Historic Protection Law we got passed last year re: including PHR under that law; I’m sure other roads will follow if the public works for their roads to be protected as well as PHR. Our future strength will be gauged by attendance and our resolve to continue to watch and work to protect the PHR from idiotic and wasteful attempts to make it into a high-speed “urban minor arterial” in gov-speak gibberish; it is our neighborhood road and we will not accept any other way of characterizing it or as a widened and straightened “escape” route for the Indian Point nuc plant or thru-truck by-pass.

Please try to attend, bring a friend and tell/email others about the full leg meeting date and time to be a part of this victory. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 8

Public Hearing on Incentive Zoning - Putnam Valley

6PM at Town Hall. From PVRC: The attached revised Incentive Zoning Law will be open to public discussion at Town Hall on Wednesday, December 8 at 6:00 P.M.  This law will forever impact the development of the remaining large tracts of land in our town.  We urge you to read the attached document and come to this meeting to comment on its content.

Saturday, December 11

Community Free Day at Dia Beacon

11AM - 4PM - On Community Free Days, residents of neighboring counties Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, and Westchester are invited to visit Dia:Beacon free of charge. Please bring a driver's license or other government-issued ID for entry into the museum.

Programs are also open to the general public and are free with museum admission.

Introducing Dia:Beacon
Susan Sayre Batton, Managing Director, Dia:Beacon will discuss the transformation of Dia:Beacon from a Nabisco Box Printing factory to a museum and introduce key aspects of Dia's renowned collection and distinctive history.

Guided tours and family tours
Tours will include recently reinstalled galleries dedicated to the work of John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Imi Knoebel, Agnes Martin, and Robert Ryman, as well as the special exhibition, Franz Erhard Walther: Work as Action.

Premiere screening of "New School," a film on contemporary Hudson Valley artists, followed by a conversation with the filmmaker and featured artists Ty Marshal is a filmmaker who currently serves as the coordinator of Creative Arts Academy at the Community Folk Art Center in Syracuse, New York. Through a series of brief interviews, Marshal has profiled over twenty Hudson Valley-based artists ranging in background from emerging to established.


2PM - A Reading of a new play by James Sheldon by "The Two of Us" production company and directed by Thomas Gruenwald. At the Hudson Valley Academy of Performing Arts on Route 82 just east of the Taconic Parkway (Ancram, Hudson exit) in Taghkanic. Please RSVP by e-mail or phone (845-677-4446) as admission is free but there is limited seating.

1)   The Aztec god of lightning and regeneration who led the first humans to earth from the underworld.
2)   A species of Mexican salamander that retains its juvenile features, including gills and fins, into adulthood.
3)   A new play by James Sheldon set on a remote island in the western Pacific where ancient meets modern, loyalty meets temptation, and myth meets illusion.

Holiday Potpourri

7PM - The Holiday Show - Performances by children and adults. Ogden Nash’s Bestiary, Music of the Season In Santa's Password bad boy Jace wants to get the Christmas he thinks he deserves, so he hacks into Santa's list of who is naughty and nice and the results surprise him. At Arts on the Lake 640 Route 52 Lake Carmel, NY

Phil Ochs Night

7PM - Phil Ochs, born in El Paso, Texas on December 19, 1940, grew up in a non-political middle class family.  He formed his political beliefs while in college and started putting them to music, eventually dropping out and heading for Greenwich Village.  In 1966, after years of singing at open mikes and passing the hat, he performed a sold-out solo concert at Carnegie Hall.  Most of Phi's topical songs were very political, some humorous and some very serious.  Among the best-known are: "Changes," "There But For Fortune," "I Ain't Marching Anymore," "Draft Dodger Rag," "Small Circle of Friends." and "When I'm Gone."

Phil performed and traveled around the world.  While in Dar Es Salaam, he was mugged and lost the top three notes of his vocal range. This event seemed to send him on a downward spiral.  His last years were troubled ones. He suffered from manic depression plus an affinity for the bottle.  He committed suicide on April 9, 1976 at the age of 35.

Come hear performers- John Flynn, Joe Jencks, Magpie (Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino), Nancy Tucker, and Pat Wictor as they keep alive the music of Phil Ochs.

Contact Walkabout Clearwater for more information.

Sunday, December 12

Shaupeneak or Black Creek Hike

Esopus. Hike or snowshoe, depending on weather conditions. Specific length of hike and location will vary according to group and weather conditions will range between 2-4 miles. Please e-mail Leader: Mary Trish Cina, 845-339-7170 for meeting time and place.

Monday, December 13

Conference on Water Resources and the Regional Economy

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Hudson River Estuary Program, in partnership with the SUNY New Paltz Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach, the Hudson River Watershed Alliance will host a conference on Water Resources and the Regional Economy. Confirmed Speakers are Maurice Hinchey, Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck, and NYSDEC Assistant Commissioner for Water Resources James Tierney. Expected audience: Municipal staff, engineers, planners, environmental groups, and volunteers involved in green infrastructure and low impact development planning projects. For more information and regular updates visit:, or email and put "Water Conference" in the subject line. Location: SUNY New Paltz, Student Union Building, Multi-Purpose Room. Fee, $35 includes lunch.

Overview: The conference will seek to create a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities confronting the Hudson Valley as we manage our water resources. It will foster a dialogue among the many partners whose engagement can help us move forward in a positive direction for the benefit of the region, its watershed and its people. We will look for opportunities to both support the economy and conserve the environment, recognizing the many ways that water contributes to human wellbeing. The conference will focus on two key questions:

1. How can our water assets and infrastructure be
part of a strategy for economic prosperity and
quality of life in the Valley?
2. What actions do we need to take to safeguard our
unique water assets so they are sustained and not

Friday, December 17

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

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.
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