Warwick citizens voice hopes, aspirations, fears and concerns for 2012

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:50

    As we close out 2011, Warwick Advertiser writers Roger Gavan and Birgit Bogler asked a dozen people for their hopes and concerns for the coming year. Some tackled large issues. Most focused on local matters, finding strength in being a part of this community known as Warwick. Here are those thoughts. Happy New Year. 'Working together’ Another year, and while I share the instinctive wishes for personal goals and achievement, my thoughts are outside that. As we collectively work through a social and economic challenge, my hopes are that humanity adopts the musician mind set. Jazz or any music presents at its highest level when the focus is on group first. Individual performance and focus always happen when the players keep their focus on the music, the by-product of working together. I’ll always believe that we move forward and grow as individuals when we live and aspire inside something bigger then ourselves. Our nation, this planet will prosper when we all remember our individual spiritual compass, which shares a common theme. That being, the consideration and well being for others. My hopes for 2012 are the manifestation of this individually expressed spirituality which re-focuses our energies and will toward the collective interests of all peoples. Steve Rubin is a Warwick resident, musician and organizer of the Warwick Valley Jazz Festival now in its second year. For the New Year of 2012 I pray: That the world may be at peace, and all our soldiers will return home. That the world economy may strengthen, that all who seek a job may find one, and that the poor, elderly, sick and unborn may be cared for. That ties that bind families in love may grow stronger. That all may experience good health, peace and joy Rev. Michael McLoughlin, pastor of the Church of St. Stephen, First Martyr 'Let’s take some steps back’ I believe that our local economy does not mirror the national economy due in part to our buy local campaign. While most of our country remains in a recession, most local businesses have been able to remain successful. So if the federal government allowed the free market to work instead of over regulating small business, we could look forward to a better year. It has been heart-warming to witness how many churches, not for profit organizations and individuals have come to the aid of those amongst us who have fallen on hard times. I pray this need will lessen this coming year. There has also been a resurgence in spirituality, religion and individual beliefs. We need to exercise our God given rights to pray as we believe and to discourage the minority forces who are attempting to eliminate our right to freedom of speech. Let’s take some steps back to a few decades ago when life was much simpler. Leo Kaytes Sr., CEO of Leo Kaytes Ford and president of the Winslow Therapeutic Center Board of Directors ' 2012 could be the yearof opportunity’ After some moments of reflection, I thought about the America I knew as a boy growing up in the City of New York. One could stroll through a park at any hour of the day or night and shop in any part of the city. A teenager could safely take a date on a subway train to Coney Island. There were no bars on windows, stealing cars was unheard of and few, if any, people even thought to lock their doors. There were schools (many now closed) where teachers taught their students moral behavior, the difference between right and wrong, self-reliance, the work ethic. Parents paid for their children’s school supplies and gave their offspring meals. Class warfare was something students learned about in other countries. God was not an outlawed word, and the Declaration of Independence was not an inappropriate document. Immigrants from other countries waited patiently to come to America. This country was then the land of opportunity and freedom. Here they could order their own lives, succeed or fail, and earn and dispose of their own resources. This was the America that no longer exists. It is the America we lost! There are those at present who believe that our country is moving or being moved in the wrong direction; that unwise programs and policies now in place will only continue to expand the scope and size of government and so become irreversible; that the federal debt will continue to increase and never be reduced short of bankruptcy. And they, of course, may be right. There is, however, evidence of a spark of goodness and sanity in many Americans that could conceivably ignite a rethinking of the plight we are in. 2012 could be the year of opportunity. Ed Scharfenberger, 91, chairman of the Warwick Taxpayers Association 'Strength and resilience’ As this year ends I look back with dismay upon the struggles of our economy and the devastating natural disasters wrought upon us by extreme weather. Yet I am buoyed by the strength and resilience of our residents. We are happy to put 2011 behind us and look forward to 2012 as the year when our town and country re-discovers its greatness. Here in Warwick, the spirit that raised more than $100,000 for farm aid or distributed more than 250 holiday baskets will be the foundation upon which we grow our local economy, encourage new businesses to invest and continue to entice visitors to our own little bit of heaven on earth. I am grateful for an engaged community that shares a love for the natural beauty and agricultural bounty that defines Warwick. I look forward to a new year filled with the promise of new visitors, entrepreneurs willing to risk their capital by launching new businesses and young families looking for a bit of small town living to safely raise their children. I look forward to the successful redevelopment of the former Mid-Orange correctional facility which will provide jobs and revenues for our town. I look forward to continuing to work with the mayors of our three villages to find more ways to cut the cost of government and deliver services. Most of all I look forward to continuing to serve and help the residents of Warwick as together we ensure that our town remains the best place in New York to live, work and enjoy nature’s beauty. Michael Sweeton, Warwick town supervisor 'Our community’ Although I’m very concerned about the on-going economic difficulties, both global and local, I have faith that our Warwick community will persevere and work together to support our local community. At WVT Communications Group, headquartered right here in Warwick, we continue our extraordinary support of our Warwick Valley residents, businesses and community groups with a commitment to giving by our Warwick Valley Telephone Company that dates back 109 years. We continue to be a good corporate citizen as we retain jobs here in Warwick by staffing to support our cloud communications acquisitions of USA Datanet and Alteva. We are tremendously proud to be the only publicly traded cloud communications provider in the USA to provide a dividend to shareholders - a continuation of a quarterly shareholder dividend that dates back 109 years, as well. So, for 2012, we look forward to continuing our vigorous support of the Warwick Valley with a solid commitment to our customers, our shareholders, our employees and our community. Duane Albro, president and CEO of WVT Communications 'Acting with sufficient courage and vision’ Hopes: That our town will find a new use for the recently closed Mid-Orange Correctional Facility and that the new occupant would provide ample employment opportunities for our residents. I would like the new facility to be a venue for entities that will train our youth, especially those interesting in starting their own innovative enterprises, especially in the area of food production, processing and distribution. Aspirations: Personally, as our official Town Historian, I’d like to engage our Social Studies teachers more fully in developing a curriculum that places emphasis on responsible citizenship, on a deeper understanding of our state and federal constitutions and on the responsibilities of citizens and their elected representatives to accountable and transparent government. An understanding of grass roots local history is an essential building block for responsible and truly democratic citizenship. In recent years, educators have lost sight of this. Fears: I fear that a sectarian conflict in the Middle East in 2012 could escalate into a major multinational war that will impact the economies of the Western world and lead to a fundamental change in the status of Israel as a nation state. I’m also concerned about the accelerating effect of climate change and of our ability to adapt to it without incurring major challenges to our physical and psychological well-being. I’m also concerned that our current leaders are not acting with sufficient courage and vision to deal with this proactively. Dr. Richard Hull, Town of Warwick Historian A return to prosperity I hope there will be a turn-around in the economy and that the Warwick Valley and the rest of the country can enjoy prosperity again. Jonah Mandelbaum, president of MJJ Builders Corporation ''Think local/buy local’ The Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce, comprised of the villages of Florida, Greenwood Lake, Vernon and Warwick, continues to grow in membership, enabling the promotion of commerce by way of mutual support. 2011 presented numerous challenges, including the stressed economy and uncharacteristic weather issues. But the chamber provided valuable resources in the way of networking, quickly becoming recognized now more than ever as a necessary tool for small businesses to thrive. We are looking ahead to 2012 with a strong emphasis on tourism for the Warwick Valley, along with reinforcing our think local/buy local concept. Information and sign up will be announced for this new Tourism initiative early in the New Year. Michael Johndrow, executive director of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce 'Blessed with generous donors’ I begin 2012 with a grave concern that our organization will be forced to limit the intake of unwanted animals due to financial difficulties and space restrictions. 2011 was an extremely difficult year with constant overcrowding, fewer adoptions, more animal rescues and a higher incidence of injured and sick animal as well as an increase in the number of unclaimed stray dogs and surrenders of litters of week old kittens, most now growing up in cages. We have been blessed with generous donors, pet sponsors, business supporters, volunteers and a dedicated, underpaid and overworked staff. It is my renewed hope that we can meet the challenges of 2012 and continue to offer each of our homeless pets a bright new beginning and an eventual happy ending in loving, lasting homes. Suzyn Barron, president of the Warwick Valley Humane Society 'Unwillingness to just settle’ Even in what has been one of the toughest economies Warwick’s Business District remains vibrant. The village is a prime example of entrepreneurial spirit. There are very few storefront vacancies, many new businesses are opening and established businesses are expanding. Warwick has one of the largest Chamber of Commerce and Merchants Guilds in the Hudson Valley. I see this only getting better. It is an example of success built on a strong foundation. Its success is also because as a community we recognize that shopping locally makes us stronger. What makes Warwick, the town and its three villages, exciting is that they have each taken a leadership role in the form of governance. There is an unwillingness to just settle but instead each of us is working to make better places for our residents. The complete picture is a remarkable Warwick Valley. It’s hardly perfect but more importantly projects, work and innovations are being accomplished. I see every repair and upgrade we do pointing to a brighter future. A village and its systems are complex. The layers of complexity also involve a great deal of human interaction and sometimes reaction. This past year I was pleased to see the helping hands of many during what seemed to be insurmountable challenges. I believe this hands-on approach is a meaningful part of country life and remains a strong part of who and what we are. It is often said to fight fire with fire, and in this case, the flood waters were diminished by human kindness. Michael Newhard, mayor of the Village of Warwick 'A distinct synergy’ here in Warwick From a national perspective, I sure wish that I had more hope than concern over the incredible inability of our government to work together to help solve some of the crushing problems we face as a nation. This is not a “right” or “left” problem, nor can our most crucial issues be resolved by one political party. These are issues we all face as Americans; more moderate and independent voices need to rise up and be heard. Our elected representatives need to get over their issues, find compromise and create solutions. There is one thing that certainly must happen in order for “we the people” to have a voice; the corruption of money in the form of lobbyists and special interests must be removed from the political system. That is a tall order, I know, but if enough voices are heard - there is always hope. I am convinced that those who call the Town of Warwick and the Warwick Valley home are very lucky and blessed indeed. There is so much for which to be thankful and I believe it begins with the leadership and vision we’ve enjoyed over the past 20 or so years, as our area experienced significant growth. There is a distinct synergy that exists between the political, business, educational, artistic, spiritual and residential elements of our community - at a very high level. I believe this to be quite unique and not found in many communities. There is an incredible opportunity for Warwick to seize in regard to the difficult closing of the Mid-Orange Correction Facility; keeping with the great vision and our ability to solve problems and create solutions as a community. I also have great aspirations about the tourism initiative being developed through the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce and the positive economic impact it can have on the Warwick Valley in the future. Our family has been reminded over this past year that when you and your loved ones enjoy good health, nothing else really matters. Garrett Durland, president of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce I’m humbled’ My hopes for 2012 are not so different than they were for 2011 or all the other New Year’s I have been privileged to ring in. I hope for the health, happiness and prosperity of my beautiful wife, much loved family and dear friends. I pray for the safety of our brave troops. I’m humbled by the trials so many people go through and I want nothing more than for the hungry to have food, the lonely to find loved ones and those suffering turmoil to enjoy peace. And most importantly of all, for the Yankees to win the World Series. Dick Wells, entertainer and local radio and TV personality 'A job well done by all’ I hope to begin the process of turning my business into a local sustainable employee-owned organization. Each participant benefits from a job well done by all and everyone in the local community benefits from the positive effect on the environment and local economy. I hope as a community we can help promote widespread adoption of the coming On Bill Financing opportunity that NYSERDA and the utilities will be making available by May of 2012. I hope we can all occupy a peaceful state of mind as we go through 2012. Pat Gallagher is a resident of Warwick and the owner of Gallagher Solar specializing in solar hot water systems. 'Inside each individual’s own heart’ My wish is for world peace, and that it begins inside each individual’s own heart and home. Leonard DeBuck, farmer and former Warwick Town Board member