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Letters to the Editor

We encourage letters on topics of direct interest to the Hudson Valley but will accept contributions on any subject.

This column may include "Opinion" pieces, submitted by public officials, and "Letters", submitted by citizens. These submissions are presented as opinions only, not as news or confirmed facts.

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of MidHudsonNews.com or anyone associated with this website.

Letters are published as received. We do not correct spelling, grammar or syntax, but may edit for excess length. (Our suggested limit is 250 words)

We do not publish annonymous letters or letters submitted by persons other than the author. All letters must contain the author's full name and hometown (both published) and phone number (NOT published) for possible verification.

You may contribute one letter per 30-day period.

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Israel and Palestinians

Israel is a rogue nation which repeatedly violates international law,  UN resolutions, and the human rights of Palestinians and Bedouins.   This outlaw and criminal  behavior  would not be possible without the  support of the United States and our taxpayer dollars ( $3.8 billion per year).  Since 1967 Israel has demolished 55,000 Palestinian homes - in 1948 Israel demolished 60,000 homes and terrorized  850,000 Palestinians into abandoning their land and homes.  Since 1967 the Israeli army (IDF) has militarily occupied  Gaza and the West Bank, and imposed a brutal blockade on Gaza,  intentionally causing shortages of food, water, electricity, and medical supplies.  This  year peaceful, non-violent  border protests by desperate Palestinians  were met with Israeli army sniper fire that killed over 200 Palestinians  including journalists,  medics, and  disabled demonstrators  in wheelchairs - IDF snipers  severely wounded  more than 20,000 protesters!

With the relentless, violent and illegal theft of occupied Palestinian lands, homes, and farms  to build apartheid, Jewish only settlements  there are now over 500,000 Jewish settlers occupying over 200 settlements, outposts, and neighborhoods.   Israel has been condemned widely by the international community for it’s brutal ethnic cleansing and creation of an apartheid state where only Jews have full citizenship and rights. 

The non-violent BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions)  movement is attempting to pressure Israel to end it’s military occupation, secure equal rights for all (Jews and Arabs), and to allow Palestinians to return to their  stolen lands.  A boycott ended South African apartheid - hopefully, BDS will end Israeli apartheid.

Eli Kassirer
New Paltz
April 20


Trump's shame is endless

    Trump reprehensibly continues to tarnish the memory of John McCain as a US senator and soldier. Trump claims POWs , as McCain was, are not heroes. Captain McCain was a hero. At the Vietnam War's outbreak he volunteered for combat duty as a naval fighter pilot who flew 22 missions until shot down over Hanoi sustaining two broken arms and a broken leg. Released in 1973 he was held captive for 5 1/2 years at the 'Hanoi Hilton', a prison known for its brutality. For meritorious service McCain received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. 

    Senator McCain was not an ideologue who strictly followed the party line. He was a man of integrity who voted his conscience that at times put him at odds with Trump's policies both domestic and foreign. He did not bend to the will of Trump unlike his fellow Republican colleagues. The senator stood steadfast behind America's values and democratic principles that he fought and sacrificed for as a combat soldier. McCain, not a Trump puppet, was a frequent target of Trump's vitriol even after passing. 

     Trump, a draft-dodger, received a dubious 4-F medical deferment for  bone spurs in his feet permanently exempting him from military service. While POW McCain was subjected to torture, Trump, in a radio interview with Howard Stern, said avoiding sexually transmitted diseases while dating was his ' personal Vietnam. '  Such a man continues to denigrate the valor of a true American patriot. Is there no end to Trump's shamelessness !

John Lown
April 19


Voting rights for parolees

Long ago, New York State abolished its debtors’ prisons.  Locking debtors up virtually guaranteed that their debt would remain unpaid.  Today the state has the opportunity to do away with another form of outmoded punishment by restoring voting rights to felons who have paid their “debt” to society and are released into community supervision (parole).  Because this latter status can last for years, these ex-inmates remain locked out of their ability to act as responsible citizens.

Currently, a bill has been introduced in the NYS Senate (S1931) with a matching Assembly bill (A4987) that would restore voting rights to parolees as has been done by 14 other states.  For the past ten years, I have taught in a college program run by Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison.  In this period hundreds of inmates, having achieved either Associate or Bachelor Degrees from Mercy College, have been released back into the community.  They have not only “paid their debt” but also used the opportunity to educate themselves in the field of Behavioral Science, making them ready and willing to participate as productive, tax-paying citizens.

They deserve to have their voting rights restored both to re-integrate them in the body politic and to restore the dignity they should enjoy as free of debt and able to exercise a fundamental right of citizenship.

Paul E. Dinter, Ph.D.
April 15


Bright new day in Dutchess County

It is a bright new day in Dutchess County. Some of our most important leaders are joining forces to link the county and its educational institutions to the "only democracy" in the Middle East, Israel.

Important things happen when great minds get together. The president of Vassar College seems to have discussed plans with the Deputy Consul General during her trip to Israel. Now, many more leaders on on board, including our county executive, and decision makers at the Culinary Institute and IBM. Here are some suggestions for how this visionary group might partner with the apartheid state.

Israel already trains many U.S. police forces in military tactics and weaponry. Maybe the police in Poughkeepsie and Beacon could patrol in armored vehicles rather than on bikes. Checkpoint technology might also benefit these communities. People of the wrong color or religion could be made to wait in long lines and be inspected before they travel out of their areas. Israel's high tech surveillance industry could be used to track goings on within these inner city ghettos. 

On a cheerier note, Dutchess County could benefit from all the Israeli products that support the occupation, like Jaffa oranges, Ahava cosmetics, Sabra hummus and Psagot wines. Nothing like the taste and feel of products that come from appropriated territories. The Culinary Institute could even create a "settlement restaurant" where diners could experience the thrill of being overlords in the Promised Land.

You would have to be a real anti-semite not to be enthused.

Fred Nagel
April 12


Dog Park disowned by the Town of Gardiner

A recent email sent to residents of Gardiner by the Town Supervisor was both disturbing and puzzling.  The email outlined some needed minor repairs and upkeep to the town Dog Park, and ended with a statement that if volunteers did not perform the needed maintenance, the dog park will need to be closed.  The threat of closure is the disturbing part, but the idea that all upkeep and maintenance needs to be by volunteers, is the puzzling part. 

When the dog park was created through the 100% efforts of volunteers in 2012, both with the physical effort and fundraising for materials, it was done under the supervision of the Parks and Recreation Commission.  The dog park is on town owned land, and was absorbed there after into the town parks umbrella, the same as Majestic Park or the Rail Trail, with town resources going to care and maintenance.

It seems that recently, with the induction of the current town board, the board and supervisor have disowned any responsibility of the town to provide routine care and repair, such as fixing a gate, refreshing some entryway gravel, and mowing (the same as the surrounding ball field).  Those who enjoy the dog park are puzzled by this shift in attitude, and hope that the Parks and Recreation Commission restores some minor funding to maintain the park in the future.  You may add your name to a petition to support our effort at Change.org

Letter submitted by:
Pamela O’Dell
April 8

Other signers:
Nancy Barrett (former P&R Commission member)
Ed Barrett
William Barrett
Robert Davis
Micheline Tilton
Ashley Sadler
The Papp Family
Moira Clune

And 76 other names that have signed via Change.org


Measles in Orange County

In response to your article concerning an “Uptick in measles cases in Orange County”---

I work in Rockland and live in Orange County, where my town, Monroe, shares its border  with the new “Town of Palm Tree,” created out of the Village of Kiryas Joel. There is already a petition in court to form a new village twice the size of the new town---a  super-growth phenomena going on in the Rockland County Town of Ramapo as well.

I guesstimate we have about 40,000 Ultra-Orthodox Haredi  living in Monroe and perhaps an even larger number in Rockland.  Rockland County has declared a state of emergency due to the number of cases reported (over 150) Despite free vaccine, not as many  people as hoped coming forward to be vaccinated.

Please, Orthodox neighbors, get your children  and yourselves vaccinated if you have not already.  The MMR vaccine is  protection from these diseases—similar to j the polio vaccine, which Dr. Jonas Salk (son of Jewish immigrants)  discovered  n 1953  Do a mitzvah  for your families, neighbors and yourselves—get vaccinated!!!

Good wishes for the upcoming holidays to all.

Kathy Kahn  
April 4


Orange County Partnership CEO Maureen Halahan OpEd on Route 17


Day of silence

It started as a plea for societal tolerance. Nearly fifty years later, it has become a demand for advocacy — by minor children.

On April 12, student members of pro-homosexual clubs in public schools may choose to remain silent for the entire school day to entreat sympathy for students who feel same-sex attraction and/or gender confusion. This “day of silence” seeks to promote the LGBTQ image as normative adolescent sexual development, thus encouraging a “gay” identity at an early age.

Meanwhile, young people aged 13–24 years accounted for an estimated 22% of all new diagnoses of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in the United States in 2014. Most new HIV diagnoses among youths occur among males who have sex with males. www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6505a2.htm?s_cid=mm6505a2_e

Schools and parents who allow this event are doing a disservice to our youth.  Odds are a 13 - 17 year-old with HIV is being sexually abused. Given the HIV incubation period,  an 18-24 year-old could have been infected while a minor. Does it make sense to advocate for a lifestyle choice proven to shorten one’s lifespan?

Interestingly, as this “day of silence” stumps for sexual minorities, it does not acknowledge or affirm former homosexuals. So, Voice of the Voiceless exists to advocate on their behalf. www.voiceofthevoiceless.info.

Linda Cebrian,
April 1, 2019



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