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ChroniC The Hudson Valley

BECAUSE SOMEBODY’S GOT TO DO IT

volume 3, no. 2 • July 2010

INSIDE:

Seeger Talks Gay Rights! Guerilla Radio in Hudson! Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Poetry! Oppositional Defiance in Kingston! Maps, Graphs and Other Helpful Visual Aids! No Sudoku!

ON thE Web at hvChronic.com

The Magnificent 11

Can anyone beat The Steamroller, Part II?A bevy of challengers from across the visible, geographic and political spectrum, including two progressives from the Mid-Hudson Valley, take a look in the mirror and say: ‘Why not me?’

An Internet promo for HBO’s “GasLand” documentary, which along with the continuing BP oil disaster is shaking lapsed environmentalists out of a decades-long torpor.

What the Frack? Battalions of Halliburton clones may soon be tearing up the Catskills to get at stubborn seams of trapped ‘natural’ gas By Jane Doe

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Continued on Page 4

Top row: NY State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (with his dad, former Gov. Mario Cuomo) is flanked by his hopeful primary challegers, Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner (top left) and Andi Weiss Bartczak (to Mario’s right). At top right is Guilderland attorney Warren Redlich, the Libertarian Party nominee. Middle row, left to right: Eliot Spitzer’s former madam, Kirsten Davis, who has formed the “Personal Freedom Party”; former congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Rick Lazio is the GOP nominee; Buffalo developer and Tea Party hopeful Carl Paladino is also trying to bump Lazio in a primary. Bottom row, left to right: Green/Socialist nominee Howie Hawkins; Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron, who has severed ties with the Democrats and started the new “Freedom Party”; Constitution Party candidate Jan Johnson; and Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who lost the GOP convention nod to Lazio. See story on page 8.

‘Your Vote Has Been Optically Scanned (Beep.) Next’

A professional election inspector assesses the impact of the new electronic voting machines

Photo by Paul Joffe

s fossil fuel resources within the planet dwindle from extreme over-mining, we are being presented with a frightening prospect for the near future. Like a benzene-crazed junkie wielding a poison-tipped dagger, the gas drilling industry is poised to lunge wildly at the western flank of this region, part of an ancient Appalachian fossil formation called the Marcellus Shale deposit. Drilling has already begun, fouling large swathes of land and groundwater in the hunt for what is estimated by a Fredonia State College professor to be more than 500 trillion cubic feet of CH4 methane, the highly combustible gaseous remains of our marine ancestors, trapped in tiny crevices in the ancient rock. In New York State, all the dying and desperate fossil fuel cabal needs is the go-ahead from a fractious and self-defeating state government that last fall rushed through a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that seemed to ignore concerns about the contamination of New York City’s watershed. According to Celeste Katz of the New York Daily News, insiders say the EIS “was rocketed through the process thanks to pressure from high up in the Paterson administration. [The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)]’s mining division sent its 804-page draft to all the other divisions on a Thursday and Friday, and asked for comments by Monday.” Still the state DEC managed to put the drilling on hold temporarily, and is currently wading through more than 14,000 comments on both sides of the issue in anticipation of making a decision on the rules drillers will have to abide by. Meanwhile the industry’s high-paid lobbyists are pushing hard for the unfettered expansion of drilling in the state, because the gluttonous U.S. market is literally drying up and prices are expected to rise through the roof. Drillers stand to make trillions in relatively easy, risk-free profit while potentially contaminating much of the watershed beneath the Allegheny Plateau and the western Catskills. The contamination will come as a major side effect of “hydrofracking,” or hydrofracturing, a blunt-force technique that uses copious amounts of water, sand, untested chemicals and drilling mud to fracture the deep shale deposits and eke out the natural gas trapped within them. The process is a chemically tainted catastrophein-waiting for regional water aquifers and natural habitats. Scientists and local landowners fear that thousands of small water sources, including many subterranean aquifers in New York State, will be tapped to support the drilling industry, legally or illegally. The concern is that lots of small withdrawals will have a large impact. The water supply needed for drilling a single “frack event” can be up to one to two million gallons of water, and a horizontal well can use more than twice that amount. That’s right, it would be the local environment in which the drilling takes place that would supply the water, causing

89 Ulster County polling places, awaiting the decisions of voters. They’ll be there again in November for the general election, and won’t be going away for a very long time. Some people will be surprised and confused, and some of them will be angry and upset that the county’s trusty old AVM lever machines won’t be recording their votes with the familiar mechanical “clank-zip” and the ritual opening of the curtain. In my humble opinion, however, developed through years of dealing with the old machines and many months watching the new process develop, voters needn’t worry. It’ll be all right, and if you happen to mark a slip choosing “Joel Tyner,” he’ll get your vote.

A long time coming

Way back in 2002, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) went into effect, proUlster County Deputy Election Commissioner Jay Mahler checks the viding funds to states to replace mechanical voting systems and establishing miniImageCast tape after a spate of practice voting. mum elections administration standards for federal elections. It came as a surprise By Ann Hutton to many of us that such standards were not already his September, just in time for our two homein place, and certainly the contentious presidential grown state governor hopefuls Joel Tyner and election of 2000 focused national awareness on probAndi Weiss Bartczak to do primary battle lems with mechanical voting systems. The “hanging with each other and Andrew Cuomo should they get chads” of incompletely punched holes invalidated enough signatures, scores of new ImageCast elecmany votes, and in other cases poorly designed baltronic optical-scanning voting machines will sit in Continued on Page 6

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The Hudson Valley

ChroniC

Page 2 • JULY 2010

My (non)-interview with Pete Seeger on gay and lesbian rights By Jay Blotcher

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ack in 2004, I took part in a protest against the GOP Convention in NYC. As the march neared Madison Square Garden, I noticed legendary activist Pete Seeger marching nearby. Thrilled, I asked him to pose for a photo with me and my pal David Cohen. Soon afterwards, I hatched the idea of interviewing Seeger about gay and lesbian people in the Civil Rights movement. (I had never seen this topic addressed by him before.) By now, I lived in the Mid-Hudson Valley. I would see Seeger in passing every now and then. (I greeted him at a Ladysmith Black Mombazo concert and again thanked him for his humanitarian work.) But I was reluctant to approach him on the subject of an interview. I did, however, review the 2008 PBS film about him, The Power of Song, as well as two Seeger biographies in 2009, for Chronogram magazine. This revived my dream of one day interviewing him. That dream finally came within reach last year, when I met a co-worker of at The Culinary Institute of America named Andra Sramek. I learned she was very close to Seeger. (He had been best man at her

wedding.) Andra kindly offered to pass on my request for an interview on gay and lesbian politics, which she brought to Seeger during Thanksgiving at the Seeger homestead in Beacon. It was six months before I heard from Seeger. He left a message on my answering machine and invited me to meet him in Beacon on May 7 for an interview at the combination Clearwater meeting and hootenanny. My wish was finally coming to fruition. From the text that follows, however, you will see that Seeger had little awareness of gay and lesbian issues. It was to be expected; political scholars acknowledge that for all of its far-reaching agenda, the Left of the ’60s had overlooked gay and lesbian people in its campaigns for social justice. Seeger was, alas, just part of that zeitgeist. My purpose in sharing this interview is not to pillory Seeger, but to simply drive home the sobering realization that even our allies had a blind spot to the gay and lesbian struggle. To avoid any unintentional editorializing that might come from editing, I herewith include the interview verbatim. JAY BLOTCHER: Thank you for allowing me this time with you. The questions are about the gay and lesbian political movement. PETE SEEGER: The what? BLOTCHER: The gay and lesbian people in the civil rights movement. SEEGER: I don’t know much about it. BLOTCHER: Well, did you have friends in the movement who were gay and lesbian? SEEGER: I wasn’t conscious of it. BLOTCHER: Did you know that Bayard Rustin was a gay man? SEEGER: Yes, that I heard. I’d read. BLOTCHER: Right. But he had never discussed anything like that with you?

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CHRONIC The Hudson Valley

Editor & Publisher Steve Hopkins

Associate Publisher Emeritus Paul Joffe Contributors Jay Blotcher, Jennifer Brizzi Jane Doe, Molly Maeve Eagan Ann Hutton, Harry Seitz Bryan Bopp Advertising info@hvchronic.com Steve Hopkins

Contact us at: phone 914-388-8670 fax 866-800-4062 steve@hvchronic.com Photography Paul Joffe Fionn Reilly Andy Uzzle Steve Hopkins

The Hudson Valley Chronic PO Box 709 Pleasant Valley, NY 12569

SEEGER: I never discussed anything with him. I didn’t know him that well. BLOTCHER: Oh, okay. Okay. The subject of my questions are the fact that whereas the Left embraced the downtrodden, the poor, the — you know – maligned, for some reason there was a — that kindness and that support was not extended to gay and lesbian people. And it’s just a puzzlement as to why that was. And I was wondering if you were aware of gay and lesbian people who had their rights truncated -– who had troubles just living their lives. SEEGER: No proof. No proof at all. My guess is leaders of the Communist Party, when they laid down the rules, said that, ‘We will concentrate on the working class’ and not on the general subjects such as sexual liberation. They were slow to admit women. I mean, most of the Communist leaders — Elizabeth Gurley claims the exception that proves the rule. Mother Jones was another exception. Lenin, possibly Stalin, they all assumed that women would support the men who would win the revolution. BLOTCHER: But there was a sexism in there as well, right? SEEGER: I have no proof, but I suspect that’s right. BLOTCHER: The gay and lesbian people in your life, did they talk to you about the hardships that they faced as second-class citizens? SEEGER: No. I can’t remember once ever having a discussion on this subject. BLOTCHER: Wow. SEEGER: At age 10, one of the boys in my school said, Don’t you wish you had been born a girl? I said, No. And he never brought up the subject again. BLOTCHER: There was a priest named Grant Gallup ... SEEGER: Grant who? BLOTCHER: Grant Gallup ... SEEGER: How do you spell it? BLOTCHER: … G-R-A-N-T G-A-L-L-U-P, who went down South to work with Dr. King. And he said that many of the priests who worked with Dr. King were gay. But, you know, there seemed to be a block against gay people in the Civil Rights move-

ment that, you know, they remained closeted even as they were marching to Selma, even as they were doing the work for all. SEEGER: Hmphh. I was aware that among Native Americans a man who was gay lived in the teepee . he had and was supposed to have extra talwhich ents, because he could know what men do and he know what men wouldn’t do. BLOTCHER: They’re called alternatively berdache or two-spirit. SEEGER: Yeah. I forget where I read that, but ... BLOTCHER: Now, you’ve worked with [singer] Holly Near who did her work for gay and lesbian rights. You’re close to [singer] Bernice Johnson Reagon, whose daughter is named for your wife. And she was a lesbian — she’s a lesbian. But there was never any discussion about how they coped with persecution in the United States for being gay or lesbian? Sometimes it is confounding. For instance, in the 1950s, the ACLU supported the ban on gays working for the federal government. The ACLU! So, it’s rather surprising sometimes that the most enlightened part of our country, that the Left, they too were not fighting for the rights of gay and lesbian people. So anyway, that was just the gist of what I wanted to talk to you about, whether you happened to know any gay or lesbian people and whether ... For instance, when the Stonewall Riots happened in 1969, did that have an impact on you? Did it pique your curiosity as to what ... SEEGER: Like many people, it was an education for me. BLOTCHER: Right. SEEGER: But my guess is that if there’s a human race still here in a hundred years — which is a toss-up, as you know; I say there’s a 50-50 chance — I would like to see all these various movements find ways to talk to each other. One of the big mistakes of Socialists and Communists is not talking to each other. In Germany, if Socialists and Communists talked to each other, Hitler would then have never come to power. In the election, Socialists had 30% of the votes, Communists had 25% of the votes, Hitler had 33% of the votes. So he took over. But if they worked together, they would have had 55% of the votes. And in this very, very dangerous period which we are in now, I would like to see gays and non-gays talking to each other, as well as Socialists and Communists and people that think that free enterprise is what should be supported all over. Although often words fool us. We think we know what we mean by a word like Socialism. Or we think we even know a word “gay”. I’m sure there are different kinds of gays. I think we all need to learn. I doubt I know, for example, to what extent homosexual men and homosexual women talk to each other. BLOTCHER: Yes, that remains a problem, certainly. Do you have any thoughts for this recent push for gay people’s right to marry? SEEGER: Oh, I think it’s fascinating. I look forward to every state in the union –- maybe except one [laughs], maybe except Sarah Palin’s Alaska -– allowing gays to marry. And to raise families. What’s your time now? BLOTCHER: It is now ... SEEGER: It must be about 7, isn’t it? BLOTCHER: It is 7:01. So anyway, I want to thank you very much. I just thought I’d ask you that question. I wasn’t sure whether you had any background in it, but I thought I’d go for it anyway. Unfortunately, history does show that even the Left had a blind spot when it came to upholding the rights of gays and lesbians. Either they were blocked, or they were not interested. Unfortunately, they fell in lockstep with everyone else who felt that gays and lesbians should be demonized or shouldn’t have the same rights as other people. Well, anyway, thank you very much. [Conversation occurs off tape; tape recorder turned on again] BLOTCHER: Well, perhaps that ignorance comes because people did not confide in you back then when they were living their secret lives. Because to be a gay and lesbian person meant you were vulnerable to being thrown out of your job, thrown out of your house if your landlord didn’t like you. There were no rights -– there were literally no rights. PETE SEEGER: Yeah. BLOTCHER: So perhaps they felt very vulnerable and didn’t feel they could confide.


The Hudson Valley

Chroni C

JULY 2010 • PAGE 3

photos FIONNREILLY•COM

Radio Heads

WGXC, Columbia/Greene’s new FM upstart, is really cool and needs your help!

T

he City of Hudson is brimming with new and exciting initiatives, not the least of which is WGXC: Hands-on Radio, a f ledgling, soon to be full-power, 3,300-watt community-run radio station. Having obtained the rights to broadcast on 90.7-FM, the station is a potential powerhouse whose founders — in particular executive director Galen Joseph-Hunter, her program director/husband Tom Roe, and their studio manager, Kaya Weidman — understand the healing power of cognitive dissonance. You’ll find no bland, one-note programming here. These media pioneers are re-imagining radio as an innovative, determinedly inclusive platform for local participation from all walks of life and points of view. An audio soul mate for the visual Chronic, WGXC is intended to be an on-air agora in which individuals with different and even conf licting points of view can come together to share perspectives and feed off each other, creating tension, drama and, hopefully, enhanced understanding. A planned “barn raising” the weekend of September 24-26 is being organized with the help of the Prometheus Radio Project, a national group that normally specializes in aiding much smaller stations with tiny, 100-watt transmitters. “This is the first such event, however, that will involve setting up a full power station — 3,300 watts,” gushed the Prometheus PR department. “This new station will be uniquely decentralized with three main studios spread out across the listening range, allowing broader participation from residents of … Greene and Columbia counties.” Indeed, the signal will be strong enough to reach upwards of 78,000 fortunate listeners in those counties. Drawing on the Hudson/Catskill region’s eclectic mix of artists, writers, musicians, visionaries and deep thinkers, the noncommercial, 24-hour station is the main project of a nonprofit arts organization — free103point9

— which will be holding special exhibitions and events, performing media training for the community’s youth and adults, and maintaining a news blog and a local calendar of events, meetings, and other resources. Like the Chronic, the station hopes to fill the yawning alternative media void with programming that once was the province of daily and weekly newspapers. We wish them luck and success …

Give, give, give!

… Oh, wait. Success is not guaranteed — in fact, it is in serious jeopardy and there’s an extreme sense of urgency, so please try and pay attention. Presumed beneficiaries of a $71,000 grant from the U.S. Commerce Dept. to acquire the sort of big-ticket equipment needed to run a 3,300-watt radio station — transmitter, antenna and other stuff — WGXC will get nothing unless it raises another $71,000. That’s right, it’s a matching grant, with an expiration date of, let’s see, right now! They’ve raised what under other circumstances would be a healthy $41,000, but are 30 grand short, with just about no time left. They hope to raise much of this figure through underwriting, letting local businesses support community radio in exchange for on-air announcements about that support. So if you run a local business and think you could benefit by underwriting on WGXC, please go to http://www.wgxc.org/underwriting. And if you’re not a potential underwriter and just want to help out, you can become a Founding Member, receive special rights and have a real say in how WGXC sounds. The impact all of our actions and efforts will have on the future of this region is monumental. So get with the program and give it up. Go to http://www.wgxc.org/, and click on “Donations” or “Membership” for more information about how you can help bring community radio to Greene and Columbia counties.

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The 2010 Poughkeepsie Main Street

Farmers’ Market is back!

Fridays from 10 am to 3 pm, June to October Fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruits. Ethnic food court, music, special events and entertainment. In funky Mural Park on Main Street, 1/2 block east of Market Street For info and updates, visit

http://farmproject.org/content/farmers-market


The Hudson Valley

ChroniC

Page 4 • JULY 2010

What the Frack?

From Page 1

water shortages and potential full-scale contaminations to local aquifers and habitats for humans and animals. The number of potential “frack event” sites in the New York Marcellus shale is in the thousands; leasing applications are on an exponential rise, and the plan for expansion could very well thrash and contaminate much of the state’s watershed. Yet the most disturbing consequence of hydro-fracking is not the quantity of the watershed left behind, but the quality of the water. According to the federal Department of Environmental Protection (EPA), the one consistent problem that accompanies “frack event” sites is surface spillage and the resultant contamination. The byproduct of this drilling technique is called “produced water.” According to the EPA, produced water is an industrial waste product that is among the most hazardous substances attributable to the fossil fuels industry. There is a double whammy with produced water: the drilling process introduces into the environment toxic chemicals like diesel fuel, methanol, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, cadmium, arsenic, and heavy metals such as mercury, copper and lead; not to mention hydrocarbons and hydrogen sulfide. In addition we have to be prepared for the release of radioactive materials from within the Marcellus shale. There are many more chemicals used in the drilling process that are undisclosed to the public and environmental institutions due to the out-ofdate regulations regarding natural gas drilling and the industry’s position that these chemicals are trade secrets. Sorry boys, not this time. These regulations need to be updated and in place immediately. As of now the situation is stacked in favor of the energy companies. Thanks to Dick Cheney and the Bush administration’s energy policy in 2005, the gas and oil industry is currently exempt from environmental laws that were put in place to protect the public — laws that if heeded would most certainly have shut this industry down. This egregious dereliction of responsibility is called the “Halliburton loophole,” and allows the toxic, rapacious campaign of gas and oil drilling companies to flourish unchecked. Drilling proponents also point to the economic “benefits” outweighing petty environmental concerns. Indeed, the act of paying landowners handsomely for leasing rights looks attractive in a dragging economy, particularly to the Tea Party faction. The state will also benefit from the taxable income

The photo above, courtesy of the Maryland Geological Survey, was presented on a pro-drilling website, accompanied by a a caption that states: “Appearance of a producing gas well in Allegany County, Maryland, showing limited environmental impact (about the same as home construction).” The photo below shows a more reasonable wide-angle view of a well’s impact.

Another typical “ fracking event” takes shape in a clearcut swath of deciduous Northeastern forest.

A drilling opponent makes his sentiments known at a recent rally in front of DEC Region 3 offices in New Paltz.

on all sides of the project — and let’s face it, New York is broke. The state has cut funding to the very organization that would be in charge of the oversight of these “frack event” sites. The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 3 office in New Paltz doesn’t even have the staff to sort through the citizen comments of the proposed drilling plans; how can they be expected to monitor and uphold the regulations for protection against environmental impact? Oh wait, that’s right, there are no strict updated regulations in place for natural gas drilling. The companies are not required to disclose all the chemicals they use in the process, which should absolutely, in a sane universe, be 100 percent public knowledge. This is our local habitat, our environment, and we deserve to know what is going into it. Of course, we also have to be aware of the potential emergence of produced water and deposited elements within the Marcellus shale that are harmful to the human body and to the environment. According to the Shale Gas Report written by Lisa Sumi for the Oil & Gas Accountability Project, which focused on the Marcellus shale: “Subsurface formations may contain low levels of radioactive materials such as uranium and thorium and their daughter products, radium 226 and radium 228. Shale may contain radioactive elements. For example, in Ohio, naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) typically appears in trace amounts throughout the state. In Ohio, radioactive material is found not only within shale, but also within glacially deposited granitic and metamorphic rocks. Other Devonian-age shale has enough radioactive material to have been considered as potential low-grade resources of uranium 88 The Marcellus is considered to be ‘highly radioactive’ shale.” As everyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows these days, spills are an all-too-frequent consequence of the environmentally unfriendly fossil fuels drilling industry. Directly on the heels of the BP oil disaster, this new wave of drilling in our corner of the country has already pissed toxic industrial waste all over the landscape in Pennsylvania. According to Anya Litvak of the Pittsburgh Business Times: “On June 3, a blowout at a Marcellus Shale well owned by EOG Resources spewed at least 35,000 gallons of wastewater for 16 hours. EOG, formerly known as Enron Oil & Gas Co., was subsequently banned from drilling and stimulating wells until [Pennsylvania] state Department of Environmental Protection investigators give it approval to resume.” So already in this young drilling bonanza we’ve seen the potential for catastrophe in a local environment from a single well. What will happen when we have thousands of wells pin-cushioning New York State? The answer is simple: we will undoubtedly have

more spills, and more toxic industrial waste will be spewed into our environment that will make its way into our water supply. It should be re-emphasized that the company responsible for the Pennsylvania disaster is EOG, formerly Enron. Let me be clear folks, they have only changed their corporate brand; they still look, smell, and taste the same. Even when not being blasted all over the map in a blowout, the “produced water,” as it is so lovingly called by the industry, is a major issue: only 60 percent of the water is returned from each well, meaning 40 percent of the chemically-enhanced industrial waste is seeping into the ground. As for the produced water that does get collected, the noxious stew is placed in an openair evaporation pit, allowing all those toxic chemicals to be introduced into the air. In my opinion this is the most pressing issue facing our state at this moment. We may be broke, education may failing, and people may be unhealthy with little option for health care outside of the emergency room, but if we set the precedent for environmental regulation of this industry or acquire an outright ban of their activities, it will be a major victory for the real change this country needs to experience in order to be a republic of, for, and by the people. Corporatism can no longer be allowed to rule our nation. The one characteristic large corporations all seem to share is that they lie, cheat, and steal to further their growth; they are concerned with the bottom line, not environmental impacts that have occurred and will again. The push for alternative fuels is on and it needs support, from you the local citizenry, and from a state and federal government that must pull their grime-ridden hands from the corporate cookie jar. We must not be hesitant or cynical; we must push our demands to the forefront and be heard. Local community and environmental welfare are more important than corporate profits. Look at what industrial corporate manufacturing has given us in terms of our food and energy supplies. The factory food industry has given us a sickeningly tainted food supply loaded with chemicals and additives that are not currently required to be on labels so the public can be informed about what they are eating. All the while, we see commercials and print ads with images of the family farm producing “homestyle” goodness for you to eat. The reality behind the image is one of unprecedented filth and vileness, which is chemically “cleaned” before it goes to market. The energy supply industry has lobbied Congress with tens, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars to suppress alternative fuel production and continue to expand their rape of the environment. The game may be rigged and the chips stacked against us, but we cannot let this go on; we can change the scenario through community action by all of us standing up and protesting, signing petitions, and making calls


The Hudson Valley

Chroni C

to the local political leaders urging them to halt the drilling until we have a complete, independent review of all the environmental impacts that have already resulted and could possibly result from this process. The opposition seems to believe that any intrusion into the earth’s crust or waiting evaporation pit full of highly toxic industrial waste water is an isolated event within the biosphere, carrying acceptable risks that can be mitigated and fixed by some other toxic process we don’t need to come into our lives. I will remind them that

biosphere is symbiotic harmony that is connected across the spectrum, involving a multitude of interwoven relationships that all have an effect on one another. There is potential for massive harm to our natural groundwater supply, which will then affect the entire ecosystem. Water is life’s most abundant component, and every living thing will be affected by its contamination. I urge you to follow This recent blowout of a Pennsylvania gas well owned this issue, do some reby EOG Resources (Enron!) resulted in the gushing of search on it, and know at least 35,000 gallons of toxified wastewater onto the the environmental facts ground over 16 hours. about hydro-fracturing. I urge the state of New York to demand no less of the natural order of the this industry, and to check every fact from every previous contaminating event under their watch. The public demands to be informed.We cannot be ignored, nor will we be the guinea pigs for untested chemicals introduced into our environment. Give us the information first, and then we’ll talk. Such were the demands from a group of concerned citizens that attended a gathering in front of the state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 3 office in New Paltz on Tuesday, June 15. The questions we have are valid and painfully needed. There are more and more of us asking them. DEC gatherings like this happened across the state, with support from local environmental groups like Clearwater. The speakers were wellversed on the issue and laid out the problems effectively. The major issue they are having is with the environmental impact statement (EIS) that the DEC issued last fall, which has The Marcellus Shale formation in New York (within the dark gray line been determined to be “fatally flawed above; the smaller, lighter gray line denotes Catskill Park) extends eastand highly inadequate to deal with ward nearly to Woodstock and Saugerties in Ulster County, and up as far the impacts of hydro-fracturing.” The as the Helderberg Escarpment near Albany. It encompasses all or nearly all primary concern, other than toxic inof cash-poor Sullivan, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego counties, as well as dustrial wastewater, is that the EIS most of the Southern Tier west to Erie and Chautauqua counties. document contained no comprehensive water consumption analysis for the inevitable millions of gallons of water that will be needed for all of the drill sites. Again, there is no estimate as to the impact to human or wildlife communities as a result of the water consumption! This is something we need British Petroleum to know. What happens to the highly toxic produced On top of the world the man in charge water? Where is it deposited or transported to? What Announces he “wants his life back” are the chemicals used in the process that are hidden BP man, as big as my heart may be behind the corporate veil of “trade secrets?” I repeat: It does not bleed for you These are the things we need to know. The informaDoes not concede nor understand where tion on this is not a hot topic in the media for a reaYour comfort matters at all! son. I believe when people discover the facts they will stand up against this, but when opinions are plugged Your billion dollar profit margin – not enough into mainstream television they are difficult to reach. Your promises of safe and secure – not enough Follow this issue and tell your friends. I will continue Your blaming and crying, pointing the finger to explore every twist and turn it takes in the coming – not enough to save the world… months — someone has to. The limited quality and capability of the local The world within our world media to get this story out to the public, along with Our galaxy of life the deafening silence from mainstream corporate The life from which all life has come media, means that in the meantime people are busy Mysteries and answers barely understood being distracted by those same sensationalist corpoTapped like a keg at your gigantic frat party rate media manipulators, the F.allacious O.rating But not foam soiling the carpet of your dorm X.enophobes and the C.ertified N.itwit N.etwork, The filthy mess of man along with ABC, CBS, NBC and other pawns of Spewing into the mouths of fish industry. Combined they are a hydra-headed FranMouths of a million birds kenstein monster that willfully manufactures public The mouths of teams of whales opinion. Because, let’s face it, that is their game now. Nonetheless, a group of citizens managed to buck Ask Louisiana if they care for how you sleep? the tide, gathering to make the DEC aware of growAsk the endless beaches ing public concern over regulation and oversight of The fishing towns and families the drilling sites. The group leader called Governor Ask the earth Herself if perhaps she needed Paterson’s office to make our collective voice heard. Her oil for something else The very courteous assistant to the governor lisSomething greater than my car tened intently while making note of our concerns for the boss. Calls went out to Albany from all over the Maybe there is a plan beyond your diagram state, both to the Governor’s office and to the DEC, To lubricate the plates on which we stand which is aware we are out here. The capability to Maybe it’s all supposed to be… monitor and oversee all aspects of drilling and disBeneath the sea posal of wastewater, while being vastly under-fundBeneath the crust ed, is the crucial issue being exploited by the fossil Within the world within worlds fuel industry at this very moment. We do not have beyond our understanding to allow it to happen. We can make communities important again, learn to conserve and live locally Try as I might The bloody sight of blackness spreading wide within our means. We can change the way business With no end in view is done, in New York State and the United States. The silence cries of life snuffed out Become the change you want to see. No, my heart does not bleed for you (Editor’s note: ‘Jane Doe’ is the freely chosen pseudonym for a pretty well known individual who leads a —Maureen Winzig 5/31/10 double life.)

Poetry Niche

JULY 2010 • PAGE 5

What you want to do requires energy

Qigong is the practice of perceiving and cultivating energy. 3 Jewels Qigong

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The Hudson Valley

ChroniC

Page 6 • JULY 2010

Voting machines

From Page 1

Photos by Paul Joffe

lots caused votes to be marked mistakenly. But change came slowly, especially in New York State, the last in the nation to comply with HAVA, and only then in response to a federal court order. “The process has changed dramatically since the HAVA,” says Ulster County’s Republican Elections Commissioner Tom Turco. “We are in the midst of rolling out 120-plus new voting systems this year, the full replacement of lever machines having been mandated by a federal judge with a deadline of September 2010. There was no way to make 50 states conform to one voting statute, so Congress proceeded with voting machines because of the controversy in Florida — and found that’s as far as they could go.” Turco is referring to the fact that although Congress originally intended to standardize elections procedures nationwide, it became apparent that such an act would infringe on states’ election laws. Instead, it was decided that these minimum standards would best be attained through mandating that states implement new voting systems. The states have had eight years to purchase and begin using machinery that meets certain basic requirements: that voters have the opportunity to change the ballot or correct any error before their vote is cast and counted, and that the new machines produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity for election verification. Turco explains that the original push was to go to all-electronic machines with no paper involved. But

Deputy election commissioner Jay Mahler marks her ballot in the semi-private voting area.

tually break down with no original sign the poll books as usual, then will be given paper manufacturer in existence to turn to ballots to mark at a private station and directed how for repairs. More often than some poll to insert their ballot into the electronic optical scanworkers care to remember (this writer ning machine. The optical scanner is programmed to included), the levers have gotten stuck alert the voter if he or she has inadvertently marked or the paper on which the mechanicaltwo names for one position, and up to three opportuly tallied results appear has jammed or nities to correct the ballot is offered in such a circumis practically illegible, causing the enstance. The paper ballots remain in the machine’s tire voting procedure in that polling locked housing, to be retained for auditing should an place to be stalled, albeit temporarily. election result be contested. Meanwhile, the optically And there’s also the matter of no paper scanned votes are tallied on a program that spits out trail to audit, should a hand count be totals on a strip of paper at the end of the long day. necessary. The process has been streamlined for both voters and Election inspectors, who are traelection inspectors, leaving little room for a voter to ditionally recommended by party accidentally err in making his or her choice, and no chairs or town clerks, undergo annual room for interpretation of the results. training sessions to keep up-to-date Another major change has to do with the consolion procedures. Turco says the Board dation of polling places this year, a reduction from of Elections might advertise in local 105 sites in the county down to 89. Turco emphasizes newspapers if positions at various pollthat process is key to having an election run smoothing places become available. Turnover ly, and consolidating sites will bring a minimum of is slow — it’s a paid position, after four to eight additional inspectors into those polls all — but the board is always on the with combined districts. Inspectors are trained to lookout for qualified people to serve as perform all requisite tasks, but with additional peoelection inspectors. When the ballotple at these sites, poll workers will gravitate to spemarking device was introduced three cialized jobs, like managing the poll books, assisting Deputy election commissioners Jay Mahler and Judy Horvers show pride years ago, many longtime inspectors voters in the privacy area as they mark their ballots, in their new machine. expressed doubts about being able to assisting at the voting machine and so on. “We look continue working at the polls. “Many were already for it to fall into place once the inspectors are at the realizing the potential for computer hacking and vipetrified from what ruses, the necessity for a paper ballot re-emerged. they’d heard,” says TurIf an election is close — within .5 to 1 percent apart co. “Every year we’d — then a hand count is demanded for certification say ‘We’re not going to of an office. be using the lever machines next year,’ and they’d say ‘I’m not comGetting to know you ing back.’ But they have HAVA also provided funds for states to improve warmed up a bit, and voting access for individuals with disabilities in a we definitely don’t want manner that gives them the same privacy and into lose people who know dependence that non-disabled voters have. If you’ve their voters and are faexercised your right to cast a ballot in recent Ulster miliar with the districts. County elections, you might have seen the new balWe’ve trained on the lot-marking device standing next to those familiar toughest challenge of AVM lever machines. Previously, sight-impaired this new machine [the voters were dependent on election inspectors to help ballot-marking device them mark their ballots, literally being escorted befor disabled voters], and hind the curtain in bipartisan support to get the job don’t expect any issues done. The new ImageCast ballot-marking device ofwith the machines.” fers audio and tactile interfaces that allow voters to complete their own ballots. Also, a “Sip-N-Puff” or paddle device allows voters with limited hand dexKeeping it simple terity to mark their ballots independently. Doing so Turco and his Demotakes a little more time and requires the voter (and cratic Party counterthose bipartisan election inspectors) to follow simple part, Commissioner instructions. Any kid could figure it out. Kathleen Carey Mihm, Still, many of us resist change, even when such along with their depuchanges might result in greater efficiency and acties, have been hard at countability. Those ominous black boxes have fairly work developing prolurked at polling places, threatening citizens — votcesses simple enough for ers and poll workers alike — with adjustments they all of us to comprehend aren’t sure they want to make. The old why-fix-it-ifand implement. The it-ain’t-broke mentality prevails, especially since the new ImageCast votquestionable results of a presidential election didn’t ing machines are being hang by our local chads. And many of us who work rolled out as we speak, the polls have been doing the job for decades and bringing us into compliare naturally leery of unfamiliar machinery that inance with HAVA’s Pubvolves computerized procedures, optical scanners, lic Law 107-252 and all electronic printouts and such. its provisions for greater An improperly completed voting sheet, like the one above, will result in an error message The old AVMs have not operated without their voter independence and and an opportunity for the voter to repeat the process and get it right. This will be good news challenges, however. The machines are practically accuracy. Voters will to certain future candidates. antiques, prone to having parts that stick and even-


The Hudson Valley

Chroni C

poll site,” says Turco. “The training will be very in-depth, hands-on training. We have to track every paper ballot we print — used, unused, or voided — so keeping that flow moving smoothly with multiple voters handling their ballots at once is key.” Deputy Commissioner Jay Mahl-

40 regular optical scanners — may be somewhat offset with greater efficiency, as ballots from multiple districts can be serviced by one voting machine. “It’s all about efficiency and trying to keep the costs that are going to go up down,” she says. “We’re always shooting for something; in this day and age every penny counts.”

Voting rights, voting duty

As does every vote, so make sure you register, as whatever you believe yourself to be, and get out and cast your ballot, at least in November when it really counts. Out of just over 143,000 citizens of voting age in Ulster County, there are currently 112,000 active registered voters, and the largest voter turnout was more than 80,000 in the last presidential election. “You want as much participation as possible,” Turco says, “because Instructions can be converted into Spanish to aid Latino voters that’s your right as in making their choice. an American. That voting right sets up er points to cost reductions that coneverything else you have in this counsolidation will bring, citing the example try: education, opportunity. Without that Kingston is going to save $900 to that right to vote, the current society $1,000 in rent costs alone. The expense as we know it doesn’t exist. Look at of purchasing new voting machines — other countries throughout the world 89 ballot-marking devices, plus another and see how things are different when

I was polled, and it hurt By Don T. Askington

I

wish to respectfully disagree with the stupid idiot editor who runs this paper and never takes my calls and gave the article ‘Your Vote Has Been Optically Scanned (Beep.) Next’ better placement in this publication than any of my letters or text messages. Voting is neither a right nor a privilege; it is a conspiracy engineered at the highest levels of government to spy on the thoughts and opinions of a bamboozled electorate too quick to trust authority. Sometimes it makes me so mad I turn red and yell at squirrels. They know why. Call me a conspiracy nut, but when I’m asked to vote I say: Who wants to know? Why is the government so interested in me all of a sudden? Where were they when my cable TV didn’t work? How come I have to submit my innermost thoughts on paper to a government agency at a specified date and time? Intrusion? Is an anal probe inserted by a space creature an intrusion? Yes it is, although it is more fun then I expected. Voting machines? Is voting mentioned in the Constitution? What about machines? And why do they

spell choosing “chusing”? If the writers of the Constitution wanted us to vote they would have had spellcheck. I know you won’t print this, but I feel it is my duty to write this letter and register my complaint. Wake up to the Hell on Earth that voting has unleashed. Don’t submit to the interrogation that is voting. Take a stand and stay home, or just outside your home in the back where nobody can see you and make squeaky noises like a liitle yellow plastic duck — which, by the way, used to be made out of rubber before someone at the duck company voted for plastic. (Editor’s note: While the letter writer’s name and the accompanying photo have been falsified owing to his innate cowardice, his actual existence, his writing, his expressed opinions and his undisguised enmity toward me when not taking his meds are very real. He is one of the Chronic’s 6,500-odd Facebook associates, a man who evinces symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder and is therefore a reliable source of dissenting opinion whose rantings will be utilized from time to time to engender debate on an issue.)

JULY 2010 • PAGE 7

they don’t have that same democracy that we have.” To help make that right a continuing reality, voter education is an ongoing activity at the BOE. Citizens are invited to visit the Ulster County Board of Elections at 248 Wall Street in Kingston, where a new voting machine is set up in the lobby for testing. The commissioners have also scheduled a “road show” in July and August, taking the machine to various town offices in the county for people to give it a trial run. For further information about this schedule, finding

your polling place or getting any other questions answered, call 845-334-5425 or visit the website at: www.voteulster.org. The State Board of Elections website is: www.elections.state.ny.us, and information about the type of voting machine in use in every New York county is at: www.vote-ny.com. And if after reading this you are interested in participating in the elections process as an election inspector, contact the Board of Elections or fill out the interest space on the voter registration form. Get involved.

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The Hudson Valley

ChroniC

Page 8 • JULY 2010

The Governor’s Derby

One prohibitive favorite and 10 wildly diverse longshots make this one of the more interesting races in state history By Steve Hopkins

T

here are three things for sure about this year’s New York State gubernatorial election season. 1) Nobody four years ago could have predicted this. The man once known as “The Sheriff of Wall Street” and “The Steamroller,” subsequently identified as “Client #9” and now “Disgraced Former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer,” is now a CNN talk show co-host, sharing the limelight with a blonde-helmeted, pearl-bedecked right-winger. His death match with former State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and their spectacular symbiotic flameout put the state on track toward the current slowmotion train wreck we’ve been witnessing. His handpicked heir, David Paterson, got himself slammed so fast and so often that he smartly recused himself from the re-election process, leaving the door open for the long-salivating pretender to the throne, Andrew Cuomo. 2) With Paterson out of the way, the race is Cuomo’s to lose. Following eerily in Spitzer’s footsteps, Cuomo as state attorney general has positioned himself as another crusading hard case, going after the low-hanging fruit of easyto-despise, easy-to-prosecute rip-off artists and corrupt officialdom. As a candidate, he’s staking a claim as a reformer and Albany outsider. If anything, though, he’s genetically linked to the old school Democratic state machine, and, as The New York Times is for some reason fond of pointing out, is taking in bagfuls of campaign money from entities he purports to be ready to cut off when he gets in office. None of the bad press has had any effect on Cuomo’s poll numbers, which consistently have him 30

points ahead of the nearest contender. 3) There are an awful lot of hats in the ring, most belonging to virtual unknowns and a few of them having come from atop some very weird heads. The perceived power vacuum has emboldened individuals from an almost comically wide ideological spectrum to make a name for themselves floundering in Cuomo’s dust. At last count (and please, someone, correct me if I’m wrong), there are 11 contenders, including Cuomo, who will be flanked about equally on the right and the left if everybody gets their 15,000 signatures in on time.

Blue Dog swap meet

Cuomo’s mainstream competition will naturally come from perennial fresh-faced lightweight Rick Lazio, a Republican who could easily be mistaken for a Blue Dog Democrat if it weren’t for his uncharacteristically soft position on gun control. A trio of no-nonsense white male candidates to the right of Lazio are gunning for the Tea Party vote, and will probably manage to splinter it into fractions. They are: • Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who in fact was a Blue Dog Democrat before switching to the GOP to try and steal the nod from Lazio at the convention, a gambit that backfired miserably. He’s weighing his options, which include trying to run as a Tea Party or Taxpayers Party candidate. He’s also staked out his turf in the growing political tug-of-war over natural gas mining in the state, sounding a bit like a born-again Sarah Palin with his “drill baby, drill” mantra. • Crusty, foul-mouthed Buffalo developer

Carl Paladino, running as a Howard Beale figure yelling “I’m mad as hell” and admitting to crazy antics like sending dirty, racially charged e-mails to his cronies, has a petition drive going to get on the Republican primary ballot and is involved in jumpstarting his own band of Tea Partiers. Besides Lazio, he’s the only one running to clock more than 25 percent in polls against Cuomo. He also has a ton of money, and is refreshingly specific about how much he’ll be spending: $10,362,444.75. • Joel Tyner is not the lowest-ranked elected official trying to leapfrog into the governor’s mansion without paying some political dues. That dubious honor belongs to Guilderland town board member Warren Redlich, the Libertarian Party nominee who like Paladino is gunning for a spot on the ballot against Lazio in a September primary.

Swinging for the fences

There are other more fringe-worthy candidates on the right as well, both of whom happen to be women. They are: • Kristin Davis, a.k.a. “The Manhattan Madam,” whom Redlich bested for the Libertarian nod, inspiring her to start her own party: the “Personal Freedom Party.” She’s for all the requisite hands-off stuff, including legalizing marijuana, prostitution and same sex marriage, and keeping guns in the house. She may not look like the brightest bulb in the bunch, but at least she’s on record as realizing she can’t win. • One blogger maintains that Jan Johnson, a staunch anti-abortionist and conspiracy theorist is the first statewide candidate the rightwing Constitution Party has ever fielded.

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On the left, things are just as interesting, with an added hopeless quality to the fund-challenged campaigns of people who care about the poor and dispossessed. Our own Mid-Hudson region has spawned not one but two progressive Democratic candidacies for the mainstream media to ignore. The planks of Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner’s and chemist/environmental toxicologist Andi Weiss Bartczak are remarkably similar. They’re both populists who think the solution to the state’s budget problems is to increase the tax burden on the wealthiest 5 percent. Tyner has been on a 150-mile walking jaunt for the past week, calling it a “Walk for Main Street, Not Wall Street.” I met up with him at a house party in Woodstock just before he left, at which there were five other people, two of them gutter journalists and one of them Jeff Cohen, the alternative media maven who started F.A.I.R. (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) and produced the Phil Donahue show. He was there to donate a box full of signed books to Joel’s cause. Joel asked for donations and I gave him a few bucks. I have yet to run into Andi, but hope to at some point. She’s a big booster of newspapers, the sort that used to stir things up as opposed to parroting the party line. I think we’d get along.

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The Greens have put forth a viable candidate in the form of Howie Hawkins, who actually co-founded the party in 1986 and is second only to Ralph Nader in vote-pulling clout. The Green Party is trying to reposition itself as the true home for people who call themselves Liberals. and are fond of characterizing Democrats as sellouts to right-wing ideals, which they often are forced to contemplate when the voting public skews rural. Hawkins also predictably nailed the state Socialist Party nod. Further afield, Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron, an original member of the Black Panthers, has renounced the Democratic Party and started his own, the Freedom Party, from which to assault the political process. He’s running for governor to give his fledgling party some statewide credibility. That’s all I could really get a handle on. I may have missed one or two stragglers who weren’t making any noise, but you get the idea. There’s much more that can be said about each of these people, and I suggest you do your own research before pulling a lever — er, feeding that ballot into the scary black box. Happy voting!


The Hudson Valley

Chroni C

JULY 2010 • PAGE 9


The Hudson Valley

ChroniC

Page 10 • JULY 2010

Fear from above

The true foundation of a strong home is its roof By Steve Hopkins

A

mong any homeowner’s most unsettling fears is that of not having a solid roof overhead. The assumption that your home’s lid is in good shape, even after experts checked the thing inside and out and pronounced it sound for at least another 15 years, is never a foregone conclusion. A small, secret leak from a torn shingle or loose piece of flashing can wreak havoc, letting in moisture and causing mold problems and widespread interior damage. In many cases there may not be a discernible leak at all, but an unseen structural anomaly that leads to one of the most common forms of roof woe: ice damming. Imagine how your heart would sink upon waking up on the first day of winter after a big snowstorm and finding water and icicles dripping down the insides of your walls. This condition, which can be caused by any number of contributing factors including insufficient attic insulation and/ or ventilation, an excessive heat source in the attic, leaf-blocked or otherwise inefficient gutters, an underbuilt roof, a modestly sloping roof structure — or all of the above — can lead to your spending many thousands of dollars you don’t have in rebuilding significant sections of your home, even before repairing or replacing the roof. It’s something you want to deal with now, in the summer, not in the winter.

A cautionary tale

The above nightmare actually happened to my wife and me a little over a year ago after we’d bought a lovely four-bedroom colonial nestled atop a parklike, twoacre knoll on a dead-end cul-de-sac just off the Taconic Parkway in Pleasant Valley. We had contracted with a person we’ll call Harry to perform a $15,000 update to the house — interior painting of all the rooms, new toilets, a tile floor in the front vestibule, reinforcement of the full-length deck in the back and ripping out the previous owner’s moldy, shag-carpeted basement hot tub party room, among other things — and were about three days into the process when disaster struck. “Come in here,” said Harry one afternoon,

ushering me into the half-spackled small upstairs bedroom that was to become my office. A big 1950s-style government-issue metal secretarial desk, a heavy Lshaped affair the old owner had conveniently left there along with a fairly new HP desktop computer, had been pulled away from the right-hand exterior corner to make way for the spackling job. “Check this out,” said Harry, and as he pushed at the plaster at the base of the wall you could see daylight and the back yard. “There’s nothing behind it,” he said. “The whole frame is dry rot.” After tearing the siding off the back of the house, it was determined that the damage was nearly total from years of leakage along the lip of the back wall siding beneath the almost nonexistent eave. Along with the moisture, mold and dry rot, carpenter ants and termites had been chewing on what was left of the framing to the point that nearly the entire three-rooms-wide back wall of the upper story offered no structural support. We bit the bullet and agreed to spending an extra $35,000 to rebuild the rear wall along with some ceilings, new floor joist extensions, floors and windows. The price included getting rid of the vermin and wrapping the whole house in new siding. We were now up to about $50 grand on top of what until then had been a very good real-estate deal at the bottom of the market for what would have been a half-million-dollar house before the crash. Harry even went back over the roof with a fine-toothed comb, inside and out, and seconded the building inspector’s original opinion: “At least the roof’s OK,” he said. “Thank God for that.” God apparently had nothing to do with it. A few days before Christmas, on the night that we were packed and ready to fly to Ohio to visit the in-laws, the abovereferenced Dec. 21 snowstorm dumped a foot of snow on our twice-accredited roof, trapping the heat inside and causing snow to melt and pool along the newly reconstructed eave at the back of the house, freezing at the edge and causing an ice dam. Melting snow then began to leach up the roof, up over the tops of the lower ranks of shingles, and from there down into the infrastructure of the roof and interior walls. Our first inkling that this was happening was in the morning as we watched buckets of water and ice dripping through

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the ceiling into the kitchen from above a sliding glass door frame. Harry was predictably aghast, and offered to put a tarp over the roof and tinker with the problem while we were away. We said no thanks, and called in the heavy artillery, who in this case happened to be Brian Squire of Victorian Builders, my mother-in-law’s go-to guy for the top-to-bottom renovation of a 19th-century Village of Rhinebeck Victorian she and her husband had bought as a Hudson Valley pied-à-terre. When Brian came over and took a look at what was happening, he just stood there and shook his head. “I’ve never seen ice damming this bad,” he said. “Icicles as thick as my wrists are hanging down inside your walls.” Brian Squire is well over 6 feet tall, and has pretty thick wrists. This time the bullet we had to bite tasted more like the unexploded ordnance from a 155 mm Howitzer cannon, and felt about the same in our stomachs. Brian had no good news to tell us upon our return from Christmas “vacation.” We would need a new roof framed out, with extended eaves, adequate insulation, and a rubber barrier. Ideally, the new roof would be sheathed in metal, as opposed to shingles. If not, the grade would have to be steepened considerably. We would also need a new, less hardworking and less wasteful heating system, as well as all new ductwork. This all had to be accomplished before even considering how much damage had been done to the walls, ceilings and floors. With luck, insurance would cover some of it and the walls could be opened up and dried out with fans. Now living in my wife’s parents’ Rhinebeck Victorian for the foreseeable future, we decided to eat the potential $150,000 additional cost, realizing that at the end of the day, we’d have, as Brian said, “one hell of a house” — albeit for the total price of the same house at the zenith of the now evaporated housing bubble. At least, went our thinking, it would now be actually worth it. Things did work out marginally better than expected. The insurance did indeed cover the cost of the interior and exterior water damage, which turned out to be minimal. We opted for a state-of-the-art three-zone heating system with central air conditioning, and a metal roof which, because we chose the natural unpainted aluminum version, was not much more expensive than a high-end shingle roof and will last many years longer. We’re back in our wonderful house, happy, warm and safe, even though the new roof might be the only thing in Pleasant Valley that’s visible from space. Anyway, here are a few tips to live by, which may or may not save you from the fate that befell us. First, have your roof inspected by a professional twice a year to be on the lookout for obvious problems, especially with concern to deteriorating or uprooted shingles; cracked, worn or peeling flashing; bad gutters and signs of water damage. These inspections should always happen in the absence of ice and snow, which necessarily means during the spring and summer — but never on a hot day. The tar in warm shingles doesn’t adhere as well to the stone granules, and they’ll come loose when trod upon, shortening whatever life the roof has left. Speaking of life-shortening, if you’re over 30 and even marginally unsteady on your feet, stay off of roofs, superman, and leave it to the professionals. It’s not worth breaking your neck over. Regardless, by doing a little preventative maintenance, they say, one can prevent the big expenses and trouble from happening later. If your trusty inspector finds flashing issues, have him/her nail down any loose or warping pieces and be sure nails of the same metal type are used, to avoid rust and corrosion. If there’s a chimney, make sure the area where the flashing meets the roof is checked. If there are gaps from cement or tar shrinkage, have those areas repaired with the same sealant type to prevent future leaks. If any roof flashing or shingles are bulging, it might be that there’s water damage beneath the area and the wood itself has swollen. First, however, have your roof person try placing a piece of wood on the bulging area, and hammer on the wood to flatten the material (rather than hammering directly on the shingle or flashing). If this doesn’t work, it may require replacement of the damaged wood beneath. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll be faced with the same sort of overhaul we had to do. Whomever notices problems with your gutters should by no means attempt to fix them from atop your roof. He/she should make note of the problem locations and tackle them from a ladder firmly planted on the ground. Someone should also check your attic to see if it’s insulated and ventilated properly, and is not prone to the sort of heat loss that can create a problem when your roof is blanketed in a foot or more of early season snow. If you have hot air ducts snaking through your attic, they need to be insulated as well. Good luck, and while you’re looking up at that roof, you might as well lift your head another notch and say a little prayer to whatever entity might be sitting on a nearby cloud shaking his/her craggy head at what a piece of spongy, waterlogged wood and tar is wedged between your sleeping family and the elements every night. That prayer and a couple of hundred thousand dollars might buy you a cup of coffee when it’s all over.


The Hudson Valley

Chroni C

JULY 2010 • PAGE 11

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The Hudson Valley

ChroniC

Page 12 • JULY 2010

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White Zinfandel

SALE

Beiler (Provence)......................................... $11.99 $9.49 Chateau du Rovet (Provence).............. $13.99 $12.89 Les Agaves (Provence)............................. $17.99 $9.99 Chateau du Rovot (France)............... $13.99 $12.89 Chateau d’Oupia (France).................. $13.99 $11.89 Los Vascos (Chile).................................... $10.99 $9.49 Muga (Rioja)................................................. $11.99 $9.99 Nedurburg................................................ $10.99 $8.99 Seignouvs de Borgorae.............. $10.99 $9.49

OUR REG

PASSPORT

Dewar’s 1.75 Lt. ..........................$ 43.99 ..........$ 41.99 $ 35.99 Jack Daniels 1.75 Lt. .............$ 46.99 ..........$ 44.99....$ 40.99 Jack Daniels 1 Lt. ...................$ 32.99 ..........$ 30.99....$ 28.99 Gordon’s Gin 1.75 Lt. .............$ 23.99 ..........$ 20.99....$ 18.99 Bacardi 1.75 Lt. ............................$ 26.99 ..........$ 24.99....$ 22.99 Bacardi 1 Lt. ..................................$ 17.99 ...........$ 16.99....$ 15.99 Black Velvet 1.75 Lt. ..............$ 19.99 ..........$ 18.99....$ 16.99 Captain Morgan 1.75 Lt. . .$ 32.99 ..........$ 31.99. . . .$ 28.99 Captain Morgan 1 Lt. ........$ 22.99 ..........$ 21.99....$ 19.99 Canadian Club 1.75 Lt. .......$ 25.99 ..........$ 23.99....$ 21.99 Tanqueray Gin 1.75 Lt. ........$ 46.99 ..........$ 43.99....$ 38.99 Beefeater Gin 1.75 Lt. .........$ 41.99 ..........$ 35.99....$ 33.99 Kettle One Vodka 1.75 Lt. ..$ 48.99 ..........$ 45.99....$ 43.99 Svodka 1.75 Lt.................................$ 22.99 ..........$ 21.99....$ 20.99 Smirnoff 1.75 Lt. ...........................$ 23.99 ..........$ 22.99....$ 20.99 Johnny Walker Red 1.75 Lt. . $ 43.99 ..........$ 42.99.....$ 37.99 Absolut Vodka 1.75 Lt. .........$ 39.99 ........$ 37.99......$ 34.99 Jose Cuervo Gold 1 Lt. .....$ 22.99 ..........$ 21.99....$ 19.99 Korbel Brut 750 m. ..................$ 13.99 ..........$ 13.99....$ 10.99 Frexienet Brut 750 m. .........$ 11.99 ..........$ 11.99..........$ 8.99

Sale Ends July 31, 2010 • No further discounts on sale items


HV Chronic Vol III No 2  

Sowing the Seeds By Ann Hutton By Jane Doe Battalions of Halliburton clones may soon be tearing up the Catskills to get at stubborn seams of...

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