Thursday, December 18, 2008

Woodstock Concert postponed; pantry needs food

Hi All,

We are sorry to inform you that the Leslie Ritter/ Scott Petito concert scheduled for Friday, Dec 19th, 8 PM, at the Woodstock Community Center to benefit The Good Neighbor Food Pantry and Woodstock Area Meals on Wheels has been canceled due to the impending winter storm.

The Good Neighbor Food Pantry is still in need of provisions to service the Woodstock Community this coming Holiday Season....the need is great!

Please feel free to drop off non-perishable goods at the Woodstock Area Meals on Wheels Kitchen, located at 16 Tinker Street (the lower level BEHIND the Dutch Reform Church on the Green), Mon thru Friday from 8 to 10:30 AM.

We hope to re-schedule in warmer weather!
Many thanks to all who have supported this event!!

With Warmest Regards for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Woodstock Area Meals on Wheels
Good Neighbor Food Pantry

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How would you fix health care?

President-elect Obama has made it clear that health care reform is one of his top priorities and the Obama-Biden Transition is asking people to contribute their own thoughts and ideas for how to fix the system at Health Care. They've asked people to organize Community Discussions all across the country.

Ruth Wahtera, a member of AAUW, Kingston Branch, signed up with the Transition Team to host a Community Discussion, and we thought you might want to come.

The Transition Team has put together a few questions they'd like us to discuss and then send them feedback. It will be low key - an exploration, not a debate.

DATE: This Saturday morning, December 20th
TIME: 10 - 11:30 am
LOCATION: The Muddy Cup
516 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12443

RSVP NOT REQUIRED but appreciated:

And here's a 2 1/2 minute video of Senator Daschle discussing the health care initiative.

P.S. If you can't make it Saturday but would like to host or moderate a discussion before December 31st, you'll find the details and sign-up at the Transition website here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Friday Concert to Benefit Woodstock Food Pantry & Meals on Wheels

Ellen Osgood reports that the Woodstock Food Pantry and Meals on Wheels really need our support. Their big fundraiser/concert is Friday night, so do turn out, make an contribution of food or money.

Here are the details:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Overturn Proposition 8 with Laughter

Here's a humerous and on-target look at Proposition 8:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tell the US Chamber of Commerce to Get Out of the Way of Fair Pay

AAUW Dialog recently noted that the Out of the Way of Fair Pay campaign points to a recent study that reports women lose $434,000 over a lifetime of work due to the gender wage gap. Watch their one-minute video featuring Batgirl, Batman, and Robin.

Click here to send a letter to the US Chamber of Commerce protesting their opposition to pay equity reform proposals in Congress -- the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

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Local Author rings bells for bookstores

Aloha, This witty posting came from my writer's union, The Author's Guild. Hope you enjoy it and remember the local bookstores this season.

"I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
Authors Guild

This message was sent to Garnette Arledge as a member of the Authors Guild.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Public Discussion of NYS Voting Machines

Hacking DemocracyImage via WikipediaWhat's Up With Voting Machines in New York?

  • How does a mandated switch to op-scan computers in 2009 square with the Constitution?
  • Can we save our levers---and millions of dollars, too?
  • Can op-scan voting be trusted?

These questions will be covered in a public forum

7 pm, Tuesday, December 9

at the Kingston Library, 55 Franklin Street

The forum will begin with the video "Hacking Democracy", which shows how optical scan computers, even with paper ballots, can be secretly hacked without a trace.

The video will be followed by attorney Andi Novick's explanation of why op scan, or any other computer voting, does not square with the NY State Constitution, which demands an "observable, transparent, and secure" system that computers cannot comply with.

She will also update the public on a pending legal case to ensure that legislators adhere to the Constitution and will detail the enormous costs a switch to computers would entail now and over the years vs keeping our levers.

Sponsored by the American Association of University Women, the program is free, and questions from the audience will be encouraged.

For more information: contact Irene Miller at 518 678-3516
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Woodstock Historical Society Holiday Exhibit and Sale

Holiday Exhibit and Sale
Join us at our newly renovated building decorated for the holiday season. There will be an exhibit of Christmas cards from the Historical Society Archives as well as baked treats, ornaments, and books for sale.
Saturday, Dec 6 2008, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Eames House, 20 Comeau Drive.

Woodstock OPEN HOUSE

Friday December 5th from 5-9 PM
stroll along the streets and visit the beautifully decorated shops in
Woodstock NY

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How to Encourage Your Child's Philanthropy

Piggy bank from German bank HASPA, around 1970.Image via WikipediaBeth Kanter practices what she preaches. She blogs about how nonprofits can use social media, raising money for causes she cares about using social media, proving to the old-school skeptics that it can be done.

Today, she posted about Kids and Philanthropy: Teaching your child to be charitable. I encourage you to read the whole post and I've reproduced her parenting tips here:

Parenting Tips To Encourage Your Child's Philanthropy

1. Help Them Learn More About Nonprofits: YouthGive is a site that helps young peole and their families easily donate to charities while learning more about the organizations. The organizations listed are profiled by other young people.

2. Let Your Kids Choose: Kayta Andresen from Network for Good has fantastic idea last holiday season, "Give with your kids day" She suggests giving your child or someone else's child $25 to donate to a charity. "You can give them money to spend at Network for Good (which has every charity based in the US) or Global Giving (which has a bunch of international projects). Let them choose how to spend it, either by letting them pick the charity or by designating their donation to a special project. Spend it together online, checking out pictures and project descriptions."

3. Offer a Match: Blogger Marion Conway,whose children are now grown, recommended the book Raising Charitable Children by Carol Wiseman. With her children's fundraising projects, she and her husband offered to match what they raised because they both worked for companies that matching gift programs.

4. Set up a Spend, Give, and Save Allowance Policy: Celeste for the studio 501c3 blog suggests this piggy bank, with separate slots for investing, saving, spending, and donating is a great way to teach kids about devoting a portion of their income to

5. Encourage Them To Give Their Time: Laura Hecht shared a wonderful story about a class project where students made cards for some elderly residents of a group home. They had to work hard to spare the time for the effort, but when the residents wrote moving letters of thanks, the kids felt great. As Laura notes, "This prompted a sincere discussion about giving the most valuable thing we possess - ourselves."

How do (did) you teach your kids about philanthropy?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Celebrate StoryCorps' National Day of Listening Friday

Everyone has a story.

This Friday, yes, Black Friday, you can join thousands of us across the country in the first annual National Day of Listening. Spend an hour recording a conversation with someone you care about.

This holiday season, ask the people around you about their lives — it could be your grandmother, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood. By listening to their stories, you will be telling them that they matter and they won’t ever be forgotten. It may be the most meaningful time you spend this year.
The Story Corps site offers a Do-It-Yourself Guide, a question generator, teacher and library toolkits, and wonderful excerpts from the thousands of stories they have collected for the Library of Congress over the last four years.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holiday Sale and Exhibit at Historical Society of Woodstock

I just atteneded a lecture at the Eames House 20 Comeau Drive in Woodstock and I am excited to share with everyone that the Historical Society will have a Holiday Exhibit and Sale on
Saturday Dec. 6th 10 am - 3 pm
their web site if need be, their email

The town historian, Richard Heppner has put together a collection of essays from the archives of the Historical Society, Remembering Woodstock. It is part of AMERICAN CRONICLES, a history press series.
It is a lovely book, one that all Woostockers would love to see under their holiday tree

A few of Janine's Passions

Janine Fallon- Mower has launched a blog that will support her monthly TV show
View From My Kitchen Window. Watch Wednesday night at 8 30 PM on Woodstock channel 23 or view live via ustream at
The blog address-

I look forward to seeing you all at the AAUW meeting Tuesday Nov 18th.
I will be bringing copies of Images of America - Woodstock, Woodstock Revisited, American Tapestry, the Mowers of Maple Lane to sell at the AAUW fundraiser.
I will also bring along an assortment of beautiful Irish Linen tea towels and a selection of
AVON products for purchase. Cash or Checks accepted as payment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Want to Attend the Inauguration?

From GovGab -- the US Government Blog (and a great addition to your RSS reader)

presidential_transition_and_inauguration: "There's no hotter ticket in town than one for Obama's inauguration. To get a ticket you have to contact your Senator or Representative of the 111th Congress. Realize though the 110th Congress will be in session until early January, so if your current Representative or Senator is leaving office after this current term, you will have to contact your newly-elected member. Tickets will be handed out the week before inauguration and have to be picked up in person. Tickets are free, so beware, anyone who claims to have tickets for sale is probably trying to scam you."

So, raise your hand -- I mean, call Congressman Hinchey for a ticket. Hmm... what about tickets to the ball?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Give Thanks to All Our Veterans; Remember the Often Forgotten Women Who Serve

The fact that today is Veterans Day has hovered in the background as I worked. I knew I wanted to post something in remembrance but the words weren't there yet.

I found myself thinking about Mary, a colleague of mine years ago, and the other nurses I know who served in the Vietnam War. After the war, they seemed to gravitate to assignments in the Emergency Department or the Intensive Care Units -- places where their competency and composure, well tested under fire, kept the daily threat of chaos at bay. These fine nurses served us well as soldiers and continued serving us as civilians.

As I reflected on them this afternoon, two things happened.

First Patty Hankins, a professional photographer and AAUW member in DC, posted a link to her memorial photos. They included her lovely photo of the Vietnam Women's Memorial sculpted by Glenna Goodacre honoring all the women who served in the Vietnam War.

Then, I saw this brief slide show:

President-elect Barack Obama and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth shared a moment of silence at 11 a.m. this morning after laying a wreath at the Soldiers Memorial in Chicago.

These images captured what I wanted to say.

Today women stand side-by-side with their male colleagues in many military roles unavailable to women in Vietnam. We fought for the right for women in the military to take their place alongside men, just as we fought for the vote and continue fighting for pay equity, comparable worth, Choice, and childcare.

Today we honor and remember all our veterans -- men and women who serve us at great personal sacrifice. May we keep you in our minds and hearts everyday and care for you as you care for us.

Many thanks to Patty Hankins for permission to use her photo in this post. I encourage you to visit her site to see more of her photos available for sale.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Give Thanksgiving Food Box to Local Food Pantries

Turkey, Stuffing, Gravy, and Cranberry Sauce -...Image by Old Shoe Woman via FlickrLet's make this Thanksgiving food collection a special project for November open to all who wish to brighten local hungry.

Locally, Hanneford's food store's pitching in to help the urgent needs at our Food Pantries. I know Rondout Valley Food Pantry expects to provide 150 meals, a huge jump from last year.

So together with the Kingston Public Library, AAUW members (and pass this on to friends also) can purchase these Thanksiving food gift boxes for ten dollars while doing their own shopping. Hanneford's (I don't know about the other groceries, maybe, ask!) has a prepared holiday box with *everything* except turkey for Thanksgiving. Cans of corn, green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce; boxes of stuffing and brownie mix, plus spaghetti and tomato sauce for another meal.

When you come to shop for your holiday, you also pick up the very visible box in the front of the store. When it comes time to pay your own bill, the charge of $10 for each box can be added at the register. Final step, then you bring the gift box to Kingston Library.

Margie Menard, the Library director, is an AAUW member and will alert the staff to accept the boxes.

For those of you planning to come to book club or branch meeting, you can deliver the gift box upstairs to the book group at 1 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 18 and to the branch meeting that same night at 7 p.m. in KAL.

The boxes will be distributed to People's Place in midtown Kingston, and to the Rondout Valley Food Pantry that serves Stone Ridge, Accord, Marbletown and south residents.
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Alice Walker Writes to President-Elect

Reading and talking about Image via WikipediaFrom new AAUW member Lyn Mayo:

Author and poet Alice Walker (The Color of Purple and many others) The eloquent prose might have been titled: "Please remember to stay human while being the President of the U.S."

Nov. 5, 2008

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker
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Campaign Withdrawal? Keep tabs on the Transition

From Ruth Wahtera:

If you're suffering from campaign withdrawal, try subscribing to It's the Obama Transition Team's official site.

Maybe you're over on msnbc's site telling President-elect Obama what you think he should do. Here's the link to an invitation to share your opinion about the two or three things you think should be at the top of Obama's list.

Or maybe you're focusing on the holidays.

What are you doing with all your free time now that the election is over? Share in comments, please.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Women Determined to Vote in 1871

Victoria WoodhullImage via WikipediaN.Y. Suffragists Took the 14th to Polling Booths in 1871

By Louise Bernikow
WeNews historian

Nov. 7, 1871: New York women, determined to vote, confront election officials.

(WOMENSENEWS)--Victoria Woodhull and her sister, Tennie Clafin, truly maverick spiritualists, stockbrokers, publishers and political activists, always commanded public attention. When they called the press to their apartment on Election Day, 1871, reporters responded and listened as the sisters and 10 other women announced that they were about to become the first women to vote in the city of New York.

"Unterrified, indomitable," one reporter wrote, "each determined female unsheathed her parasol and swore to vote."

At the crowded polling place, the inspectors refused the women's ballots. Woodhull demanded to know if it was "a crime to be a woman" and began reading aloud from the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, to no avail. The group left to begin work on a lawsuit that they hoped would become a test case against the government for preventing legitimate citizens from casting ballots.

The action was neither spontaneous, nor unique to the flamboyant Woodhull. Confronting election officials was part of a new national strategy. Since the first convention for women's rights in 1848, an organized and growing movement had tried petitions and speeches, legal arguments, lobbying and withholding tax revenues, without success.

Now they leaped on the language of the post-Civil War constitutional amendments, particularly these words from the 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States, and of the State wherein they reside." The new tactic was to announce that women were citizens and already entitled to the vote.

In April 1871, women in Washington, D.C., including Belva Lockwood--the first female attorney to argue before the Supreme Court and, in 1884, a candidate for the presidency herself--had attempted to register and tried to cast ballots. After being barred, they filed cases at the District of Columbia Supreme Court against the Board of Registration and the election judges. While Woodhull was marching to the New York City polls, Matilda Joslyn Gage was confronting local registrars in upstate New York.

And in Rochester, N.Y., Susan B. Anthony was organizing for another assault, which would take place a year later. In 1872, while Victoria Woodhull was audaciously campaigning for the office of president, Anthony also read out the words of the 14th Amendment at her local polling place. She and 14 other women were rejected, but Anthony would stand trial for trying to vote. Hers would become, while not exactly the test case the women with Woodhull and Lockwood hoped for, a media and legal spectacle that brought women's citizenship claims even more intensely to the nation's attention.

Louise Bernikow is the author of seven books and numerous magazine articles. She travels to campuses and community groups with a lecture and slide show about activism called "The Shoulders We Stand On: Women as Agents of Change." She can be reached at

Women's eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at
(Used with Fair Use from the web).
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Monday, November 3, 2008

So it's finally time to VOTE

Here's some information we hope you won't need tomorrow when you vote.

Know Your Rights
If you are an eligible voter, you have the following rights:

  • If your name is not on the official voter list but you believe you are eligible to vote in that precinct, even if an election official challenges your vote, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot.
  • If you are in line when the polls close, you are entitled to vote no matter how long it takes to get to the booth.
  • In many states, employers must allow you time to vote at some point during the day. You can't be fired for being late due to long polling lines. Check your personnel policies with your employer.
  • You have the right to vote without being intimidated by anyone.
  • Visit the Election Protection website at for more information on your rights.

What if Something Goes Wrong?

First, document it. If there are specific individuals challenging your right to vote, intimidating voters, or interfering with the process, try to get their names. Write down exactly what happened, including the time of day, descriptions of the people involved, and any other details you can remember. A cell phone camera could be very useful in this process, if you have one.

Then, report it. There are many organizations that will be working to respond quickly to complaints of voter intimidation, suppression, and fraud. Here's who to call.

  • 1-866-OUR-VOTE. This hotline has been set up by the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. They have hundreds of lawyers standing by to immediately respond to problems at the polls. Call as soon as possible after you encounter problems.
  • Share your experiences with others and ensure that the media and watchdog groups are aware of any problems by using the citizen-driven election monitoring platform Twitter Vote Report.
  • Voters who believe they have been the victim of racial discrimination in voting should contact the U.S. Department of Justice at 1-800-253-3931 in addition to the 866-OUR-VOTE number.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Do you understand this change: analog to digital tv

From Betsy Tuel:
This could be us!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hear From State Legislative Candidates: Kingston CATV Friday

Last Friday the Kingston AAUW branch hosted a "Meet the Candidates for NY State Legislature" event. Kingston Community Access TV filmed the event and you can watch it Friday evening, October 31st, from 7-9 pm.

The candidates addressed the state budget crisis, pay equity, green jobs, health care, education, and campaign financing.

Candidates who attended include:
  • Greg Ball (R), NYS Assembly District 99 (Dutchess)
  • Don Barber (D), NYS Senate District 51 (Greene)
  • Kevin Cahill (D), NYS Assembly District 101 (Dutchess, Ulster)
  • Larry Delarose (D), NYS Senate District 39 (Orange, Ulster)
  • Timothy Gordon (Ind.), NYS Senate District 108 (Greene)
  • Pete Lopez (R), NYS Assembly District 127 (Greene, Ulster)
  • Anne Rubin (D), NYS Assembly District 103 (Dutchess)
  • Jonathan Smith (D), NYS Assembly District 102 (Dutchess)
Candidates who committed but didn't show up include:
  • Steve McLaughlin (R), NYS Assembly District 108 (Greene)
  • Robin Yess (R, C, I), NYS Assembly District 101 (Dutchess, Ulster)
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Help for Hudson Valley Folks Facing Foreclosure

Half million dollar house in Salinas, Californ...Image via WikipediaThere's a new service in the Hudson Valley to help those facing possible home foreclosures: Hudson Valley Foreclosure Prevention Services. 1-888-377-7713. All the services are free.

The organization will have offices in Poughkeepsie and Kingston with satellite offices in Orange and Sullivan counties.

“There are many people who have lost their homes. We are trying to save people in their homes,” said Gail Webster, executive director of Hudson River Housing, one of the sponsoring nonprofit agencies.

The others are Rural Ulster Preservation Co., or RUPCO, and Legal Services of the Hudson Valley.

The program will be in full force as the next wave hits. Kevin O’Connor, executive director of RUPCO, said, “We know that the worst of the foreclosures are still ahead of us, with the peak in 2009.”

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Meet the Candidates - Ulster, Green, & Dutchess Counties, NY

The Kingston Branch of the American Association of University Women is sponsoring a "Meet the Candidates Night" featuring candidates from Green, Ulster, and Dutchess counties who are running for the New York State Legislature. The meeting is being held as a public service to permit candidates to state their positions on campaign finance reform, pay equity and comparable worth, health care, and other state issues, which will be followed by interaction with voters from each of the counties.

Join us at the Saugerties Senior Center, Friday, October 24, at 7 pm.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Want a Simple Explanation of the Current Economic Crisis?

If you find the current economic situation confusing, here's an interesting video from Marketplace that explains the crisis and the bailout.

The credit crisis as Antarctic expedition from Marketplace on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty in Ulster County

Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)Image via WikipediaAll over the blogosphere today -- Blog Action Day -- people are posting about poverty -- we thought we'd share some facts about poverty in Ulster County.

First, let's put poverty in context:
The federal government puts the poverty threshold at $20,614 for a family of four. However, a 2000 poll revealed that a majority of Americans believe it takes at least $35,000 annually to provide adequately for a family of four. (Poverty Pulse, CCHD)

So, how many Ulster County residents live in poverty? (Source: US Census)
  • 10.6% of individuals in Ulster County -- 7.5% of those over 65; 12.2% of children meet the Federal definition of living in poverty
  • While only 6.8% of Ulster County families live in poverty, almost one in four single moms and their kids -- 25% of families with female head of household -- meet the poverty criteria. Single moms have a tough time making ends meet.
But, how many are trying to manage on less than $35,000/year?
  • About 32% of households have less than $35,000 in income
  • The mean retirement income is $23,272.
In fact, if you work full time at a job that pays NYS minimum wage ($7.15/hour) you will only earn $14,872 a year. Try to raise your children on that.

We share these figures with you, not to say how bad things are in Ulster County. We know many communities are much poorer. Rather, we want you to be aware that people all around us contend with poverty every day -- the person waiting on you in the corner store, the retiree who sees their savings shrinking, never to be replaced again, the mother who can't risk or afford time off from her job for parent-teacher meetings.

Today, take a minute to think about what you can do to help. Person to person, community-wide, politically, nationally, internationally. Poverty has many faces and needs many different strategies.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Supreme Court Hears Harassment Case « AAUW Dialog

Supreme Court of the United StatesTwo important cases are on the Supreme Court docket this session. Like the Lilly Ledbetter case, they underscore how important the Supreme Court is when it comes to issues that are central to women's safety, economic security, and equity.
Supreme Court Hears Harassment Case « AAUW Dialog: "Vicky Crawford, an employee of the Nashville Metro School District, was asked by her employers to cooperate with an internal investigation of sexual harassment allegations made against her boss. Crawford was later fired and believes she was terminated in retaliation for substantiating the sexual harassment allegations under investigation. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 contains an anti-retaliation provision, two lower courts narrowly interpreted the law and found that an internal investigation is not protected by Title VII."
And, from Alexis A. Moore, President & Founder, Survivors In Action
Another important case coming up for cert with the US Supreme Court is Martin v. Howard University. Attorney Dawn V. Martin is seeking justice. While Martin was employed at Howard U as a law professor she became the target of a campus stalker and was later fired when she asked Howard U to implement there security measures.
As 'leciaimbery' points out in her AAUW Dialog post, so many recent cases have been decided by 5-4 rulings that we cannot underestimate the importance of each high court justice. Our elected officials nominate and appoint them.
The confirmation of extremist, activist judges to the federal bench undermines a fair and balanced judiciary and could turn back the clock on decades of progress for women and girls. You can read AAUW’s position paper on federal judicial nominations and visit AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund Resource Library for more information.
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Unofficial Passions: Open Studio: Doris Licht

Unofficial Passions: Open Studio: Doris Licht

Open Studio: Doris Licht

AAUW member Doris Licht is opening her studio next weekend, 11am - 5 pm. Be sure to drop by, say hello, and check out her great work. Maybe even start your holiday shopping!

Click on the image to read the directions. Doris is #11 on the Woodstock Studio Tour, but you don't have to take the tour to stop by.

Friday, October 3, 2008 FactChecking Biden-Palin Debate

Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator J...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeFrom Ruth Wahtera:

The researchers tell us that people vote their emotions, not the facts, and I believe it. But, I still like to know the facts. When it comes to the presidential and vice presidential debates (actually, to any national election), I count on to sort out truth from fiction. They research the claims, explain the issues, and provide their sources.

Here's the beginning of their analysis of the debate last night: FactChecking Biden-Palin Debate: "FactChecking Biden-Palin Debate
October 3, 2008 The candidates were not 100 percent accurate. To say the least.


Biden and Palin debated, and both mangled some facts.

* Palin mistakenly claimed that troop levels in Iraq had returned to “pre-surge” levels. Levels are gradually coming down but current plans would have levels higher than pre-surge numbers through early next year, at least.

* Biden incorrectly said “John McCain voted the exact same way” as Obama on a controversial troop funding bill. The two were actually..."
You can subscribe by email, RSS, or visit their website. They also provide a quick video every week and after each debate, if you'd rather watch.

I encourage you to learn the facts. Check them out.
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Register and Vote -- Need We Say More?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

10/1 Public Hearing on Proposed Smoking Ban

The No Smoking sign, designed by one of the me...Image via WikipediaFrom Ruth Wahtera:

As many of you know TFAC and the American Cancer Society have been working with the County Legislatureto pass a law that prohibits smoking on all county owned or leased property. It looked like all of the Dems supported the resolution until just recently when another watered down resolution was proposed by Legislator Ronk. His proposal is only a ban within 50 ft. of county building entrances and a much weaker penalty system.

There will be a public hearing held on Legislator Ronk's weaker law on October 1st at 6:30pm in the Ulster County Office Building. We need speakers to come and support the full smoking ban
proposed by Legislator Rob Parate, Majority Leader Brian Cahill and the Public Health Committee.

There was also some discussion about exempting Ulster County Community College from the law.

If you can come and speak, you will need to sign-up prior to the public comment session. The sign-up sheet is in the front. Your speech should be short ( less then 1-2 minutes long). I am hoping to have everyone that came to the public hearing last month speak as well as some other volunteers.

Thank you for helping to make Ulster County a healthier and safer place to live and work!



Danielle Heller
Regional Director, Prevention and Early Detection
American Cancer Society
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Watch PBS's New Documentary on the Uninsured

PBS logo (1971-1984)Image via WikipediaTonight, a documentary that should be required viewing for anyone interested in the great health care debate of our time will air on the Public Broadcasting System. Titled "Critical Condition," the film follows four average Americans suffering from a variety of ailments and struggling to get by without health insurance.

From the AAUW Public Policy Committee:
The NYS Health Foundation sent this email information about a new documentary being aired this month on PBS
Numbers alone provide ample evidence that we must reform our country's health insurance system: 47 million Americans are uninsured; uninsured cancer patients are 25% more likely to die than insured patients; and uninsured Americans cost employers $130 billion annually. The ill, uninsured Americans who filmmaker Roger Weisberg tracks for a number of months are heartbreaking examples of our system's failings.

No matter your position on top-of-mind health insurance topics such as universal coverage or market improvements, this film will serve as a valuable educational tool concerning the holes in the system and what can be done to remedy them.

"Critical Condition" premieres Tuesday, September 30 at 9 p.m. and will re-air on Wednesday, October 1 at 7 p.m.; Thursday, October 2 at midnight, 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and Sunday, October 5 at noon. Please click here for more details on the program.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

How to use social media to support your learning

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via WikipediaMichele Martin has offered everyone an opportunity to learn about how to use social media. Michelle is a great blogger I follow who focuses on nonprofits and lifelong learning. Here's a quick overview:
The Bamboo Project Blog: "On Monday, September 29, Harold Jarche, Tony Karrer and I are opening the doors on a free 6-week learning event that will help people get up to speed on social media and how it can be used to support learning. The 'course' is sponsored by Work Literacy and the eLearning Guild, in part as a run-up to DevLearn 2008. But don't worry--everyone is welcome.

Each week we will share new activities that will allow you to explore different Web 2.0 tools and discuss their implications for learning. The activities can be done at your own pace and will be hands-on."
You can read the details and how to sign up on her post.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Critical Day for Your Volunteers - 27 Cents is Not Enough!

Chuck SchumerImage via WikipediaFrom Ruth Wahtera:

If you volunteer anywhere, depend on volunteers, or just believe that volunteers shouldn't lose money when they give time, read this message and take action.

"Ask your Senator to Co-Sponsor the GIVE Act

Under federal law, paid employees can be reimbursed 58.5 cents per mile when driving their cars. But volunteers can only deduct 14 cents per mile. This harmful discrimination against nonprofit volunteers must end.

The GIVE Act of 2008, (S. 3429) introduced on a bipartisan basis by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and John Ensign (R-NV) and now co-sponsored by thirteen (13) other Senators, would eliminate the disincentives that prevent charitable volunteers from doing what they really want to do, which is to help the needy in their communities.

Unfortunately, momentum is building behind an alternative that is inadequate: S. 3246 (the 'Cardin/Snowe/Mikulski' bill), with its new companion bill, H.R. 6854, introduced in the House by Representatives Lewis (D-GA) and Ramstad (R-MN). While this alternative approach would make many of the fixes in the GIVE Act, it would only raise the charitable mileage rate to 27 cents a mile; (or 46% of the standard business mileage rate) as opposed to the GIVE Act's rate of 41 cents a mile, or 70% of the standard business mileage rate.

27 cents is not enough!

Nonprofit volunteers should not be treated as second class citizens, less worthy than business or government employees. Please take action. Support GIVE. "

And, thanks, Senator Schumer, for sponsoring Give.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How Did Your Members of Congress Vote?

AAUW has issued its annual Congressional Voting Record on issues important to women. We're fortunate that our Federal elected officials support key legislation. But, if you have family or friends who live outside Ulster County, you might want to forward them a link so they can check out their representatives.

How Did Your Members of Congress Vote? « AAUW Dialog: "The good new is that this Congress was noticeably more supportive of AAUW’s positions in the areas of education, economic security, and civil rights, with more than half the representatives and senators supporting AAUW’s issues on at least 80 percent of the votes in this voting record. However, we know that barriers still remain and that AAUW must continue to work to break through those barriers. With the November elections just around the corner, we urge you to hold your elected officials accountable for their votes and to know where the candidates stand on issues that are important to women and their families."
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Klyne Esopus Amazing Concert

From Anne Gordon:

Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 2 pm
at the Port Ewen Reformed Church
Salem St., Port Ewen

The Story of Sacred Music in Esopus

The Association of Native Americans in the Hudson Valley
Ulster County Outreach Community Choir
The Bruderhof String Quartet
The Klyne Esopus Concert Chorus

Under the direction of Linda Bresnahan McCarthy
Guest organist Rev. Kenneth Walsh

Benefits the Klyne Esopus Museum. Suggested donation: $10 person. Free Refreshments following the concert.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Shop for a Cause Saturday, Sept. 20th

From Marjorie Regan:
Let's support the local domestic violence shelter.

All Macy’s stores nationwide

Macy’s celebrates a national day of support for

local non-profit organizations in our community.

It’s as simple as purchasing a $5 shopping pass through Family Domestic Violence Services

100% of the ticket price benefits

Family Domestic Violence Services

Call 845 331-7080 ext.127 or email to order your shopping passes.

Shop For A Cause Savings Passes provide all day savings with 20% off* most of your purchases storewide, 10% off* select home purchases.

Your shopping pass also includes a

*EXCLUDES: Cosmetics and fragrances, fine and fashion watches, designer and bridge handbags (including Coach, Dooney & Bourke, Juicy Couture and Marc by Marc Jacobs), designer and bridge shoes, Louis Vuitton, Polo/Ralph Lauren, Lauren and Tommy Bahama, Lacoste,

28 Shop, Oval Room, Martha Stewart Furniture, Lauren Ralph Lauren Furniture, Waterford , Lalique, Baccarat Tempur-Pedic, All-Clad, Henckels, and Wusthof. Not valid on EDV, Macy’s Gift Cards and Gift Certificates, special orders, previous purchases, restaurants and nonmerchandise-related services, Gift Registry kiosks, gift wrap, selected licensed departments or as payment on credit accounts. Discount will be deducted from the current price (regular, sale or clearance, as applicable). Cannot be combined with another savings pass or discount offers, except for new accounts (subject to credit approval). Valid Saturday, September 20, 2008 .

**No purchase necessary. One entry per customer, please. See shopping pass or store for details.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ten Years to A Green Economy Conference Sept 19-20

Emilie Hauser, a Kingston environmentalist colleague asked me to pass this on to you:

Folks, it's about 2 weeks til Sustainable Hudson Valley's third annual conference, Cool Communities/ Living Economies: Ten Years to a Green Economy. The program is published, and online registration is now available for your convenience, at This regional gathering is set for September 19 – 20, 2008, at the Seven21 Media Center, 721 Broadway, Kingston, NY.

With green opportunities bursting into view, and the need greater than ever, this spirited annual gathering brings together business, government, educational and civic leaders to strategize for an accelerated transition for our region.

Generously sponsored by Chronogram, the Ellenbogen Group, the Hudson River Estuary Training Program, and Prism Solar Technologies, the conference brings together entrepreneurs, industry and civic leaders, funders, educators and engaged citizens for a practical exploration of the ways we can work together to accelerate the region's transition to a green economy.

In this bulletin:

Strategies for a Green Economy: Local Sourcing
Final conference program
Speaker profile: Stacy Mitchell

Strategies for a Green Economy: Local Sourcing – commentary by Melissa Everett from a forthcoming "Clearwater Moment" to be aired on WAMC Northeast Public Radio on or about September 8, 2008

Ten years to a green economy! The goal is daunting – or motivating. But one of the most promising strategies is actually the closest at hand: strengthening the existing local business base.

We can't abandon fossil fuels overnight, but we can reject the most frivolous uses of them. Take a mind-walk through your supermarket, and visualize those apples from Washington and Chile and China. Join me in saying, "No more."

In the Hudson Valley of New York, like many regions in transition, the food and farm industries are leaders in nurturing local markets. They "brand" communities with signature events – Meet me in Marlboro, Columbia County Bounty, the Ellenville Blueberry Festival. They give rise to vibrant local markets. They inspire cookbooks, like the gorgeous one recently published by the Wallkill River School. Our Hudson Valley is rich in economic support infrastructure that is helping farms stay viable and people to nourish themselves on local foods – from Valley Table Magazine to the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation.

These supports help grow real businesses – including scalable ones like Winter Sun Farms, which freezes local produce for year-around consumption.

What would happen if we set about creating similar supports for other key industries – green building, water quality, native horticulture? Imagine the native plant festivals and horticulture trainings… green building salons at the local hardware store… renewable energy projects to stabilize farms …

What makes "local-first" such a strong platform for green development is not just the enterprises it can grow, but the spirit of innovation it sparks.

Cool Communities/ Living Economies 3: Final Conference Program

The finalized program is now available at! We're walking the talk on "local first" with many speakers who are leading figures in sustainable development and business from our very own region.

Supplementing these, we have three featured speakers representing key strategies and success models with nationwide significance:

Angie Vincent, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability
Visionary local leaders are a major force in the wakeup to more sustainable strategies for development. The movement of local and state governments responding to climate change now involves roughly half the U.S. economy. Local Governments for Sustainability is a worldwide membership organization that provides technical assistance, sophisticated consultation and the solidarity of peers to help local leaders take the necessary steps for sustainable communities. Angie Vincent, northeast regional director, will address financing strategies to help communities go green cost-effectively. (

Stacy Mitchell, Senior Researcher, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance ( is a premiere research and technical assistance organization that, for thirty years, has helped communities build resilient economies from the ground up by capturing waste and shifting production toward renewable resources. Stacy Mitchell focuses on policy and market strategies for building sustainable economies on a foundation of independent business especially a strong retail sector.

Jay Gilbert, Co-Founder, B-Lab
B-Lab is the center of the fast-growing movement to re-define the legal structure of businesses using the vehicle of the B-Corporation, with a charter oriented toward environmental, social and financial bottom lines. B-Lab works closely with a number of sustainable business alliances around the country to help accelerate their members' greening while promoting financial success. (

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Support the Give Act to Support Volunteering

Internal Revenue ServiceImage via Wikipedia
Take Action Now!

From Ruth Wahtera:

The vitality of our community rests in large part on our volunteers. Many community volunteers are retirees on fixed incomes. They really feel the impact of rising prices. The Give Act, if passed, will ease the financial burden on all volunteers.

CCSNYS, an association of nonprofits, forwarded this request.

Why the GIVE Act Matters:
This is an issue affecting REAL NONPROFITS including CCSNYS Members. Read more (including 2 of our members' stories) here.

What's At Stake:
The GIVE Act of 2008, introduced August 6, by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY)John Ensign (R-NV), addresses the adverse impacts on volunteers of high gas prices and discriminatory tax policy towards nonprofits by eliminating the disincentives that prevent charitable volunteers from doing what they really want to do, which is to help the needy in their communities. We are pleased to report that Senator Schumer is working dilligently to make sure this bill is passed.

The GIVE Act, as introduced, would
  1. raise the charitable mileage deduction from 14 cents to almost 41 cents;
  2. eliminate the need for nonprofits to seek new legislation every year by setting the charitable volunteer rate at 70% of the standard business mileage rate as adjusted by the IRS; and
  3. exclude from any income tax consequence actual mileage reimbursements made to volunteers.

These features not only address economic pain being felt in America's communities, but also recognize the vital role the nonprofit sector plays in coordinating volunteer efforts to meet human needs.

It's Easy to Support the GIVE Act: Click here to take action
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Governor Planning to Cut Libraries

From Doris Goldberg:
Attention library lovers: read the following from the director of the New York Library Association:

The state legislature is being recalled to Albany on Tuesday by Governor Paterson for a Special Session to consider $1 billion in additional cuts to the 2008-09 State Budget to address the state's fiscal situation. Included in the proposed additional cuts is a 6% reduction in Library Aid (on top of the 2% that was imposed back in the Spring). The library community has already done its fair share in shouldering the burden of the state's fiscal situation and now it is time for others to do their part.

If you have not already done so, please contact your state legislators to urge them to reject further cuts in Library Aid. Visit <> and click on Contact your Elected Officials button to send a letter today.

Thanks for your cooperation.
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