Road clean-up

April 10, 2021

A group of Union Vale Dems cleaned up West Clove Mountain Road. Many people walk or run on this stretch of road, so we hope this adds to their enjoyment of our beautiful town. We plan to work on part of Pleasant Ridge Road on or around Earth Day. 

The Union Vale Dems will be collecting non-perishable items to support the Trinity United Methodist Church Food Pantry on April 24, 2021 from 2:00 – 5:00. Personal hygiene items, such as soap, shampoo and feminine products, and household cleaning products are greatly needed. Please consider donating some items. We will be in the parking lot of the church, so you can drive through and drop off donations. We look forward to seeing you there.

Tyler Irish- Candidate for Dutchess County Legislature District 24

Tyler joined our February 24, 2021 Union Vale Democratic Committee meeting. He outlined  his major interests in running for the district which encompasses all of Union Vale except District 1:

Bring sustainable businesses to the area

    • Leverage farms, hiking
    • Geotourism
    • Provide more access to basic services for residents

Climate

    • Seeks way to promote clean environment
    • Worked to have all lighting in Dover be LED’s

Constituent Contact

    • Transparency
    • Communication with constituents

Prior to the meeting he submitted this brief bio to help us understand his commitment to this area.

“I’m 35 years old and a lifelong resident of Dover, NY. I grew up in the hamlet of Dover Plains. I still live in the heart of town with wife Alexandra. Growing up here, I witnessed firsthand the impact the closing of both state hospitals had on our area. I don’t feel Dover ever really recovered. Our district desperately needs sustainable and equitable economic development. A lot of people from my generation have left for greater opportunity, and I think we risk losing a lot more young people if we can’t provide quality employment here. 

I currently own and operate a small residential painting business. I also try to be as active as possible in my community. Unfortunately Covid prevented a great deal of that last year, but I will include a list of community organizations I am a part of below.

I am a board member on The Harlem Valley Chamber of Commerce.

I am president of Solutions For A Better Dover. We are a community run organization with the goal of improving Dover through volunteer projects.

I am a member of The Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Committee.

I am a member of the Sustainable Dover Task Force. We are an organization focused on writing a sustainability chapter or guideline for our town’s updated comprehensive plan.

I am also group administrator on the ‘Support Harlem Valley Businesses During The Covid-19 Pandemic’ Facebook group. I have been trying to promote as many local businesses as possible during the pandemic, and have been encouraging others to do the same.”

The Union Vale Dems endorsed Tyler and encourage others to support his candidacy.

 

January 2021 Update on Town of Union Vale Issues

As we move into 2021 and look forward to a new administration at the national level, there are a few things that deserve our attention at our local level:

  • Library Update: Town of Union Vale residents are under restrictions at our nearby libraries since our town board decided not to renew the contract with the Mid-Hudson Library System, which would have allowed unrestricted use of Beekman, LaGrange, Millbrook and Dover Plains libraries. The town has provided alternate services via the internet, but they do not meet the same needs to which many library users have grown accustomed. Repeated inquiries have been made as to what the future plan is for library services for Union Vale residents, however the response remains that a group of volunteers is working on it. No plan has been shared.
  • Annexation of Property: A public hearing was held about the annexation of Tymor Park property that lies within Beekman’s borders. Beekman residents spoke up against the annexation since they are leery that Union Vale would pursue building a cell tower there. Our town board, along with some UV residents noted the positive aspects of allowing all of Tymor Park to fall within our town borders.
  • The Furnace Pond Dam: The Furnace Pond Dam has been studied by engineers and the town board will soon make a decision whether to repair and maintain the dam or to get rid of the dam and let the area that is now a pond revert back to its natural form.
  • Town Board Meetings: The Union Vale Town Board meets twice a month. The first Thursday is a workshop which has no agenda and is not taped for viewing by residents. The meeting on the third Thursday of the month is available on YouTube, and currently on Zoom by request. The agendas have been made available close to the day of the meeting. There is a three minute time limit on public comments. The town board does not respond to any comment, nor do they answer any questions. Some residents are frustrated by these limitations.
  • Lack of Transparency and Responsiveness: Overall, it seems there is a lack of transparency on the part of the Union Vale Town Board. Questions are asked multiple times at meetings and in writing and either no response is given, or it is vague and pushed off to a future time.

If these issues concern you, or if you have other topics that you want to bring to the attention of the town board, we urge you to speak up. It is important that new voices and points of view be heard.  You can reach us at:  email the committee

Town Board members can be reached at:

supervisor@unionvaleny.us

councilmanfrazier@gmail.com

CouncilmanDurland@Unionvaleny.us

CouncilmanMcGivney@unionvaleny.us

CouncilmanJohnWelsh@gmail.com

 

 

Forwarded from Anne McCabe

Anne McCabe, our former Union Vale Democratic Committee Co-chair, forwarded this from a group she works with near Albany, where she and Bill are now living. 

We’re asking for you to make one phone call and send an email letter to ensure that Automatic Voter Registration becomes law and that hybrid voting machines are banned in New York. Please do this before the weekend.

Thank you,

Voting Reform Committee

Urgent Actions for Voting Reform

(1) From Let NY Vote: Call the governor

Governor Cuomo needs to hear from you RIGHT AWAY! Please call 518-474-8390 [press 1 if after 5 pm, press 2 if 9 am-5 pm] and leave a message [1 is recorded, 2 is an “agent”] that you want Governor Cuomo to sign the Automatic Voter Registration (S8806/A8280) into law this week.

Background: In July 2020, the New York State legislature passed automatic voter registration (AVR), a landmark policy that would address the state’s consistently low voter turnout and add over 1.1 million eligible voters to the rolls. The bill has been with Governor Cuomo since Friday, waiting to be signed. York! That’s why we’re counting on you to help us remind him by reaching out to him by phone. New York has consistently ranked among the lowest states in terms of voter registration. The latest count ranks the state in the bottom four states in the country. That’s an embarrassment.

(2) From SMART Elections: Write a letter

Send a letter to Governor Cuomo and the NYS Board of Elections demanding that hybrid voting machines be banned in New York. There’s real concern that the New York State Board of Elections will certify the use of unsecure voting machines during their January 7 monthly meeting.

Below is a letter template, and instructions. This can be done via email.

SMART Elections Letter Template to Governor and NYS Board of Elections (BOE) 12-2020

Please send this letter, or your own comments on hybrid voting systems, to the following email addresses today. This will reach the NY State Board of Elections Commissioners and SMART Elections will receive a copy and we will publish your letters:

Todd.valentine@elections.ny.gov

Robert.brehm@elections.ny.gov

pio@elections.ny.gov

contact@SMARTelections.us

Then copy and paste it into this form to reach Governor Cuomo:

https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

Please sign your name and where you live at the bottom.

Dear Governor Cuomo, and the NY State Board of Election Commissioners,

You must ban hybrid voting machines in New York. Hybrid voting systems that combine a ballot-marking device, printer and scanner functions have the ability to add fake votes to paper ballots and steal elections without detection. Election security experts are calling these systems a “disaster.”

Please watch this investigative report https://smartelections.us/ and read this paper by three election security experts https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3375755 to learn more.

I deserve to know that my vote will be counted accurately, and I do not want to vote on a hybrid system.

One hybrid voting machine from Dominion called the ImageCast Evolution or “ICE” machine was certified last fall and is in use in at least fifteen NY counties. Another hybrid, the ES&S ExpressVote XL, is being reviewed for New York certification currently.

Regarding the Dominion “ICE”: The state’s own testing lab said that if an attack did occur, “then a forensic analysis would be needed on all ballots in question to determine if a human or machine made the mark. Such a process is unlikely to be trusted by the public.” It rated the impact of such an attack as “Very High.”https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PrFLQqvDLZm3mBpDF3s3xHU1mPRpuljc/view?usp=sharing (page 12)

There are numerous additional problems with hybrid voting systems.

  • The ExpressVote XL uses a touch screen. Touch screen systems have many security risks, and if not calibrated correctly, can change votes. NY has never approved them.
  • The ExpressVote XL counts votes with barcodes. Voters cannot read barcodes and barcode readers can be hacked to change votes. The barcode-based setup “makes a mockery of the notion that the ballot is ‘voter-verifiable,’” said Duncan Buell, a computer science professor at the University of South Carolina, because “what the voter verifies is not what is tallied.” – Politico
  • Hybrid systems are among the most expensive on the market. Estimates from other states show them being two to four times as expensive as standard digital scan machines, when one includes maintenance, storage and the fact that more machines are necessary per polling place. For example, one touch screen voting machine can serve far fewer voters than a digital scanner, increasing costs exponentially.
  • Hybrid voting machines, can cause long lines at the polls if there are not enough machines. A lack of adequate voting machines has been found to unequally disenfranchise communities of color.https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/09/upshot/why-long-voting-lines-today-could-have-long-term-consequences.html

Voters with disabilities must be able to vote privately, independently and comfortably, but their votes must be counted accurately. We need both accessibility and security. Focusing on properly maintaining, setting-up and training poll workers on our current ballot-marking devices, will help more than certifying expensive, dangerous equipment that we do not need.

New York can be a national leader on this issue, as they have been in the past, demonstrating what strong election security protocols look like. We want to continue voting on durable, hand-marked paper ballots, with ballot-marking devices for voters who need them. That process is working, because it allows for elections to be audited with a hand-count of trusted paper ballots. I want to have confidence that my vote will count and I do not want to vote on a hybrid. Please de-certify the “ICE” machine and refuse certification to the ExpressVote XL.

Sincerely,

 

Early Voting Starts October 24th!

Early Voting- October 24- November 1, 2020

Dutchess County residents can vote in any of the following locations:

Rhinebeck Town Hall          80 East Market St. Rhinebeck

Millbrook Fire House          20 Front St. Millbrook

DC Board of Elections        47 Cannon St. Poughkeepsie

Boardman Road Library     141 Boardman Rd, Poughkeepsie

Fishkill Town Hall                807 Route 52, Fishkill

Times:

Sat. October 24- 12-5PM.                      Sun. October 25-12-5PM

Mon. October 26- 9AM- 5PM              Tues. October 27- 12- 8PM

Wed. October 28- 9AM-5PM               Thurs. October 29- 12- 8PM

Fri. October 30- 9AM-5PM                  Sat. October 31- 9AM-4PM

Sun. November 1- 12-5PM

Democratic Candidates:

Biden/HarrisI don’t think I need to say anything more.

Antonio Delgado for US Congress.   Antonio has done a great job over the past 2 years and he was just endorsed by the NY Times. He is responsive to his constituents and has worked hard for the needs of his district. Antonio has advocated for universal affordable health care and a tax code that works for working and middle class families.

Karen Smythe for NY Senate– Strong supporter of a clean environment, veterans’ needs and women’s reproductive health rights. She believes in the benefits of quality early education as well as providing students with different pathways to a career.

Laurette Giardino for NY State Assembly– Laurette supports universal background checks and commonsense gun laws, an increase in alternative energy and better protection for victims of domestic violence. She also will advocate for an increase in trade schools and programs and housing to assist veterans, low income families and senior citizens.

Jessica Segal for Dutchess County Judge Former Senior Assistant District Attorney who is committed to high ethical standards and has been a defender of victim’s rights. She will strike the balance between when firm sentencing is called for and when treatment programs are more appropriate.

 

Library Update

Most of the September 3rd working Town Board meeting was dedicated to outlining the library services the town is providing in an attempt to substitute for the loss of services Union Vale residents are currently experiencing since the Town Board refused to sign a contract with the Mid-Hudson Library System. It is difficult to see how contracting with two companies will replace the ease of using our neighboring libraries and having access to the resources of the Mid-Hudson Library System.

Kathi Wellman, the new Library Services Coordinator described the following services:

Kanopy– each Union Vale household will receive 10 play credits per month with which to rent videos. Most videos are 1-2 credits. Children’s videos are handled differently through Kids Kanopy, and are basically unlimited.

Baker and Taylor– this service will provide audio books, e-readers, bound books, CD’s and DVD’s. Hard copies of items will be requested through Kathi Wellman and will take about 48 hours to ship. Residents will then pick them up at Town Hall. This company will provide access to 7,000 magazines and newspapers. Baker and Taylor offers virtual book clubs and has partnered with Highlights to provide families with access to over 190 eBooks from Highlight’s social emotional bookshelf.

There will also be links on the Town of Union Vale website to the following two resources which are already free and available.

Project Gutenburg– this is a free online library of eBooks, mostly older books and classics. It is available to anyone by visiting the Project Gutenburg website.

New York Public Library– all New York residents may apply for a library card from the New York Public Library and gain access to all their digital resources, as well as physical resources. This is a free resource.

All Union Vale residents will need to apply for a Union Vale library card to access the Kanopy and Baker and Taylor resources. Plans are moving forward to develop plans for a Union Vale Library. Two architects have been contacted and one resident is paying for an inspirational drawing. How the town will fund building and supporting a library in difficult economic times remains unknown.

If you care about maintaining our relationship with our neighboring libraries and if you are impacted by the library restrictions, please let your voice be heard. Contact all town board members and Supervisor Maas.

If you choose, you can send a copy of your letter to: UnionvaleResidentFeedback@gmail.com.

You can also email the committee if you have any questions.

 

 

Make a Plan to Vote

There are 3 ways to vote in the 2020 election:

Mail-in Voting– anyone can request an absentee ballot:

Call 845-486-2473 or go to absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov

Request absentee ballot by mail by October 27, 2020 or in person by November 2, 2020

Early Voting- October 24- November 1, 2020

Dutchess County residents can vote in any of the following locations:

Rhinebeck Town Hall          80 East Market St. Rhinebeck

Millbrook Fire House          20 Front St. Millbrook

DC Board of Elections        47 Cannon St. Poughkeepsie

Boardman Road Library    141 Boardman Rd, Poughkeepsie

Fishkill Town Hall                807 Route 52, Fishkill

Times:

Sat. October 24- 12-5PM

Sun. October 25-12-5PM

Mon. October 26- 9AM- 5PM

Tues. October 27- 12- 8PM

Wed. October 28- 9AM-5PM

Thurs. October 29- 12- 8PM

Fri. October 30- 9AM-5PM

Sat. October 31- 9AM-4PM

Sun. November 1- 12-5PM

Vote on Election Day – November 3, 2020

On Election Day, you must vote in your Polling Place. All Polling Places are open 6AM- 9PM.

Get Involved!

The Union Vale Democratic Committee continues to transition from the former leadership of the McCabes to the new leadership of the Tucci’s. Heidi and Mike are bringing new energy and ideas to the committee. Recently they suggested coming up with a new motto and one of the suggestions was:

                        Get yourFree Picture Of Democratic Donkey, Download Free Clip Art, Free ... in gear!

Not sure if this will remain as the “official” motto, but it does speak to what Democrats need to do right now. Many of us continue to spend most of our time at home, but there are things that can be safely done right now.

Of course, reach out to the Biden campaign. Closer to home, connect with the campaigns of Laurette Giardino, running for NY State Assembly, Karen Smythe, running for NY State Senate and Antonio Delgado, running as the incumbent for US Congress, NY 19. All would appreciate your support financially, but also any time you can give to their campaign. Reach out to see what their campaigns need.

https://www.giardino4assembly.com

https://karen4nysenate.com/biography/

https://delgadoforcongress.com

Stay informed about what the Dutchess County Legislators are doing for our county. They worked hard to rescind the bonds for the new Dutchess County jail, which is unnecessary at this time. Their efforts were defeated but they continue to fight for social justice and better options to incarceration.

http://dutchessvoice.com/subscribe/

Keep informed about what is happening in our town. Currently, it is unclear what is happening to our library services. No contract has been signed with the MHLS, and no replacement services have been offered.  Residents are seeking more transparency in our local government, clear business plans for proposed projects (such as a new library and the use of town buildings), and greater communication with residents.

If you are concerned about these issues, please email the town supervisor and members of the board with your thoughts and ideas.

supervisor@unionvaleny.us

councilmanfrazier@gmail.com

CouncilmanDurland@Unionvaleny.us

CouncilmanMcGivney@unionvaleny.us

CouncilmanJohnWelsh@gmail.com

****The Union Vale Democratic Committee is currently accepting submissions for a new logo. The contest rules and information are below:

 

Union Vale Democratic Committee – Logo Contest Rules

  1. The design must work well against an “Old Glory” Blue background.
  2. The design must relate to the theme – We The People.
  3. The final deadline for submission of your design is August 31, 2020.
  4. Please submit your design to unionvaledems@gmail.com
  5. ALL contestants will be notified of the winning design by September 4, 2020.
  6. The contestant whose design is chosen, will receive a t-shirt with the design on the front and a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies!

 

 

 

Update on Library Service from May 21 Town Board Meeting

Peter Krulewitch presented the plans of a committee which has been formed to raise funds to create a Town of Union Vale library. Some of the highlights of his presentation include:

  • They would form a 501c3, allowing them as a non-profit to be a tax-exempt, charitable organization.
  • He mentioned disagreements with Beekman Library, along with wanting more control over library services and finances, as the reason why the town is pursuing building their own library.
  • He mentioned that an architect has looked at the town buildings and gave a broad estimate of $250,000 to convert a space into a library. It is not clear which building would be converted nor whether this architect is familiar with the space requirements of a library.
  • He mentioned it would be a good employment opportunity for Union Vale residents. It is not clear if there are qualified residents who would be interested in a position in the library.

Many of us were left with more questions than answers, such as:

  • What resources, including print materials, media and computers would be included?
  • What would the qualifications of hired staff be and how many staff would be hired?
  • What programs would be offered?
  • Would the library be part of MHLS?
  • When would a business plan be available so residents can compare the services already provided by having a contract with MHLS with what would be provided by a new town library?
  • How will ongoing costs, such as staff, resources, utilities, maintenance, etc. be funded? How much will that cost per year?

Here is a link to guidance provided by the NYS Education Department:

No information was provided about interim replacement services that would be provided to Union Vale residents until the new library is created.

Four Union Vale residents wrote letters to the board about their concerns and attended the meeting via Zoom, but they were not allowed to read their comments.

If you are concerned about losing the library services you currently enjoy, and if you are concerned about the cost that the town will incur by forming their own library please contact the Union Vale Town Board members. Visit the Town of Union Vale website to find out how to attend upcoming meetings (June 4th- working meeting and June 18th- Town Board Meeting).

Here is the link 

 

Important: Upcoming Union Vale Town Board Meeting- Library Services

The next Union Vale Town Board Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held via Zoom.  If you would like to attend the meeting on Zoom you must submit a request via email to the town clerk by 5:15 on Wednesday, May 20. townclerk@unionvaleny.us

It is expected that the future of library services in Union Vale will be discussed and a resident of Union Vale will address the board with a plan to raise money to form a town library. In the meantime, $15,000- $20,000 will be spent on library services, such as streaming contracts. The remainder of the $80,000 originally targeted to contract with  Mid Hudson Library Services will be used to offset revenue lost due to the pandemic. Town of Union Vale residents are expected to have restricted services at local libraries.

There are many unanswered questions which should be a concern to all, such as:

  • What happens to library services in the interim while money is being raised and a library is being formed?
  • Where will the money come from for staff salaries and continued library updates? How much will this cost?
  • Will there be library programs available? Will they be free?
  • Will this library be part of MHLS?
  • How difficult will it be to raise money in this time of uncertainty and many of us are targeting contributions in other ways?

If this matter is of interest to you, please consider attending the meeting via Zoom. If this is not possible, please reach out to town board members and let them know your concerns and/or questions.