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New Baltimore Elections: No Choice. The Sequel. (And Coeymans, too!)

Election Day is just a few days away and you need to start thinking.

There are a number of candidates in New Baltimore asking for your vote but are running unopposed.

Please see our article
No Choice! Unopposed Candidates? Here’s the Plan…
If you haven’t already

It’s not so simple as an “easy decision” as reported by Columbia-Greene County Media; it’s a question of democratic process and having a choice, not being handed a no-choice candidate; that’s called tyranny, not democracy. That’s how dictators work, no competition!

On Thursday, November 2, 2017, one of our contributors contacted the Town Clerks of Coeymans and New Baltimore with the question: “Can you please tell me which candidates in your town are running for election unopposed and for which office(s)?” Both Clerks Diane Millious and Bonnie Keyer (Coeymans) and Barbara Finke (New Baltimore) responded almost immediately.

The Town of New Baltimore has three candidates running unopposed:

Jeff Ruso (R) for Town Supervisor. Ruso is running unopposed; the New Baltimore Democraps couldn’t come up with a candidate to run against him. Ruso ran once before with competition for Town Supervisor and lost. He later ran for New Baltimore Town Board and was elected to the board. He has since been Deputy Supervisor alongside Supervisor Nick Dellisanti. Our experience with the Dellisanti-Ruso team has been less than satisfactory, and we must admit that they have fallen flat on their faces in terms of dealing with the New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, Denis Jordan (D), who, we understand is allegedly under investigation for abuse of office, maladministration, malfeasance, and misfeasance. Jordan’s deputy, Scott van Wormer, may also be implicated in some of the activities under investigation. We mention this Highway Department issue and Denis Jordan because it’s a very serious matter and the current Town Board (Dellisanti, Ruso, van Etten, Irving, Brody) have had opportunities to shine but ended up with egg on their faces and may be held liable, along with corrupt Denis Jordan. Please do not cast a vote for Ruso so that he doesn’t get the numbers; he’s running unopposed so if he votes for himself he’ll have one vote and that will elect him.

Barb Finke (R)  for Town Clerk. Barbara Finke is the current incumbent New Baltimore Town Clerk. We want her to get all the numbers she can, because she’s been doing a stellar job as Town Clerk. She’s competent and efficient. She’s also knowledgeable and very helpful. In general, our local town clerks are very hard working and don’t get the credit they deserve. Although Ms Finke is running unopposed, we’d like you to show your support by giving her the numbers. Your vote is your voice!

Diane Jordan (R) for Tax Collector.Diane Jordan is running unopposed and we have no problem with that. The problem we do have is that Ms Jordan is married to the incompetent New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, Denis Jordan (D). We also have a problem of possible conflicts of interest in that Ms Jordan is also a deputy town clerk; we are uneasy with that situation given the problems with her husband, Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan. Tax collector is not the most glamorous job in the world and Ms Jordan appears to be good a licking stamps and sealing tax bill envelopes. We have no objection to her continuing in office but we do ask voters not to cast a vote in her case; not casting your vote will send a protest message regarding her husband but will not affect whether she is re-elected. The same applies to her as to Jeff Ruso, above: even if the only vote the get is their own, they’ll still be elected. Don’t give her the numbers.

We’d like to mention the candidates for town board.
Shelly van Etten (R, C, I), incumbent town board member. Ms van Etten is up for re-election. We support her re-election if only to keep her where she is in order to see what happens in the Denis Jordan case. Nick Dellisanti has backed out of New Baltimore politics but Jeff Ruso will still be around; we’d like to keep as many current people in place for accountability purposes. Ms van Etten has a firm foothold in New Baltimore both as a resident and business owner (van Etten Excavating).
Three newcomers are seeking election to the New Baltimore Town Board, two of them are Democraps: Jacob Colwell and James Eckl. Kelly Downes (R, C, I)  is the other newcomer.
We would argue in favor of a mixed party board but in our experience in New Baltimore and Coeymans, the minority party’s only interest is to mess with the majority party and stymie any progress. It’s the same sour grapes attitude we find at the state and national level politics. The little fish like to think they have power to stop the big fish but the only ones they hurt and punish are us residents.
Jacob Colwell is youngish and has a family. We say he should stay home and be with his family, raise his children, and stop playing the stupid egomaniac game. We do not support Colwell for those reasons. A further reason is that he’s a school phys ed instructor and coach. Those are time-consuming activities — or they should be — and we don’t think that would work out very well. Finally, his main interest seems to be a bit childish: the town newsletter. The newsletter is a nice but not a necessary; besides, that’s what we have local newspapers for, isn’t it? Maybe Mr Vinciguerra and Ms Dempsy of Columbia Greene Media (Johnson Newspaper Group) could invest a bit more time in New Baltimore, so that we don’t have to waste time and resources on Mr Colwell’s pet project. Mr Colwell also wants to bring “transparency and diversity” to the board. The current board is already quite transparent and open; usually very forthcoming and no big secrets. That’s fine with us. So Colwell wants to bring something we already have, transparency. Now this “diversity” thing is a bit scary, since Colwell hasn’t mentioned what he means by diversity. Bottom line: Nix to Colwell.
James Eckl is 71 years old and running as a newcomer. Eckl is retired from that incompetent and corrupt state entity, the Department of Environmental Conservation. Right there we have a negative because most of those people at the DEC are a bit weird, and we don’t need any more weird in New Baltimore town government than we already have. At present, we’re O-D’ing on weird. Eckl serves on the New Baltimore Zoning Board of Appeals but he says that if elected to the Town Board, he’ll bring some different views into the town. You’d think he’d already have done that being on the Zoning Board. We covered some issues concerning the New Baltimore Zoning Board of Appeals several months ago and we were not impressed with how they were operating. We don’t need to infect the Town Board with that virus by electing Eckl to the Town Board; we don’t need undefined “new views”, whatever that means.
The final face we’d like to discuss is Ms Kelly Downes (R, C, I), who is also a newcomer running for election for Town Board. Ms Downes claim to fame is — NONE. We met Ms Downes a couple months ago at a Town Board meeting and we were not impressed; in fact, she came across as defensive and not very friendly. She is employed by the state as an “internal auditor” and has been a NB resident for 30 of her 52 years. That in itself is not a qualifier but at least she’s been living in New Baltimore for as long as Jacob Colwell has been potty trained (Colwell is 34). One major issue we have with Downes is the fact that in a recent piece published in Hudson Valley 360, a publication of the Register Star and Daily News, the paper reports that when they tried to get in touch with her for their candidate’s intro piece, “Downes did not return multiple phone calls for comment.” If that’s the way she’s going to conduct her campaign by not returning the media’s calls, we don’t have much confidence in her performance as a future board member.
That’s our take on the three newcomers asking for your vote to put them on the New Baltimore town board. We have no real preference because the choices are so bad. We have serious doubts about Jacob Colwell and we are strongly suspicious of James Eckl. Kelly Downes may work well with the members on the current board, and she’ll balance out the board by adding a woman’s voice. While her plumbing is not a serious criterion for election, it’s worth thinking about, given the overall poor choices.

Town of Coeymans


Diane Millious

First of all, we are really very, very sorry to see Diane Millious leaving town service as Town Clerk. Diane has been a model of integrity and professionalism in Coeymans Town Hall for more than a quarter century. She’s seen the best and she’s seen the worst, but she’s always kept her eye on the ball; she’s always been there to serve the residents and visitors of the Town of Coeymans. How do you thank someone like Diane Millious enough for her exemplary service and devotion to Coeymans. Here’s an idea: Make the numbers count. Write her name in as a write-in for Town Clerk. If she wins as a write-in it’ll show how much Coeymans loves her and is grateful to her. She can then refuse to accept the vote, and then the runner-up will take the election. You’re not wasting a vote and you’re sending a very special message!

 The Coeymans Candidates and Our Recommendations

Last election voters in the Town of Coeymans sent raw sewerage into Coeymans Town Hall by electing disgraced town justice Phillip Crandall to be Supervisor and recycled losers like Jim Youmans, Tom Dolan, etc. to be Town Board members. Big mistakes. The ballots for this Tuesday, November 6, aren’t much prettier.

Town Supervisor

  • Philip A. Crandall: ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! When asked to tell us what his accomplishments were as Town Supervisor, Crandall refused to respond; he had no accomplishments. Apart from being forced to resign as town justice for corruption, Crandall was rebuked by the board of elections for having misused signatures on his ballot petitions. Crandall’s response: “I didn’t know.” Bullshit! Crandall has been in politics long enough to know the rules, he just doesn’t like rules. On a more serious note, Crandall recently allegedly misused some confidential police information by turning over to the individual being investigated. It’s not yet known whether he’ll face charges on that account. Bottom line: Get the garbage out of Coeymans Town Hall. Give Phil Crandall the boot!
  • Keith E. Mahler, Jr.: Not much to say about this dud but anything’s better than Crandall!

Town Councilman

  • Michael J. McGuire: Newcomer. Very little information on him. If they’re not open on the campaign trail, we don’t need them in Town Hall. If you know anything about him, please share with us so we can let voters know.
  • Neil E. Porlier: Newcomer. Very little information on him. If they’re not open on the campaign trail, we don’t need them in Town Hall. If you know anything about him, please share with us so we can let voters know.
  • Daniel D. Baker: Newcomer. Very little information on him. If they’re not open on the campaign trail, we don’t need them in Town Hall.  If you know anything about him, please share with us so we can let voters know.
  • Kenneth A. Burns: Burns is running for a second term. Question is, does he have any balls. one thing’s certain: Better to keep the devil you know than to get a devil you don’t know.Town Clerk

One thing’s certain, we’ll never get another Diane Millious; she’s one of a kind. All the rest will be second rate.

Coeymans Town Clerk

  • Cindy L. Rowzee: Ms Rowzee has a history that goes back to her stint in Ravena village hall. Worse still, Rowzee has been Phil Crandall’s “confidential secretary.” That alone should raise red flags as to her fitness to be Coeymans Town Clerk. Several months ago, we asked Ms Rowzee if she’d like to talk to us about why she would be a good Town Clerk. She refused to talk to us. If that’s any indication of what kind of clerk she’ll make, forget about her!
  • Morgan B. Fishlock: Yes. Although a newcomer, she comes highly recommended. In fact, the best recommendation possible from our own Diane Milious. That’s enough for us to caller Madam Clerk!

Town Justice

  • Thomas M. Frese: Former corrections officer, local business owner. His background is too much like Crandall’s. Won’t know how to deal respectfully with people because of his career controlling criminals.
  • Charles W. Brooks: Brooks has court experience and comes on good recommendations. We would call him your honor from this point on.

Superintendent of Highways

  • Peter J. DeLuke: Newcomer. Very little information on him. If you know anything about him, please share with us so we can let voters know.
  • Scott D. Searles: Searles has been on the job for a while and appears to be doing a mediocre but passable job. Problem is that the elected Superintendent of Highways is a relatively autonomous public office and can do what he likes in general, including some really dumbass stuff. Keep an eye on him and let him know who pays the bills.

Here’s the plan.

  1. Please get your sorry asses out to vote!
  2. Check the list below of candidates running unopposed in your district.
  3. UNLESS YOU KNOW THE UNOPPOSED CANDIDATE DO NOT CAST A VOTE FOR HIM OR HER. IF YOU DON’T HAVE A CHOICE DON’T GIVE THEM THE NUMBERS.
  4. If you have a choice of candidates for a particular office, please carefully consider your choice and vote for the one BEST QUALIFIED, not your friend, your brother-in-law, or your next door neighbor. If you feel you must vote out of so-called “friendship” or family loyalties, that’s not a criterion for selecting an elected official for the rest of us. Be fair.

The reason that we are asking you not to cast a vote for an unopposed candidate is because we want you to protest not having a choice by not casting a vote for the unopposed candidate(s).

If you don’t cast a vote for an unopposed candidate, you are sending a message. Here’s how:

When you go in to vote, you sign in. That gives us a total number of registered voters who got out and voted. We can compare that number to the total number of registered voters in your district overall to see how many actually got out to vote.

Now, we can take those two numbers and look at the totals for the unopposed candidates and see just how many, what percentage, of active voters protested the no-choice situation.

We’ll report that number so you can see where the community stands on no-choice elections.

We need to make our voices heard in whatever way possible to avoid becoming a second North Korea.

Me so happy! You mellicans got no choice! You get me! You velly happy now…YES!

Bottom line: JUST DON’T CAST A VOTE FOR AN UNOPPOSED CANDIDATE.

(This doesn’t mean that the unopposed candidate won’t get into office, all it takes is ONE VOTE, most likely their own, to “win” the election.)

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Posted by on November 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Is the Town’s Plan to Exhaust Residents Seeking Justice?

New Baltimore Resident’s Message to Joe Stanzione, Greene County District Attorney:
“We, the public, pay the bills but we’re not getting delivery. As an attorney, you should recognize that this is unlawful.”

Taxpayers and Property Owners are not Means to Their End!
Tax Dollars Pay Public Employees’ and Elected Officials’ Salaries, and Provide Money for Reasonably Expectable Competent Services.
Not to damage our property and then ignore us!!!

New Baltimore insurers Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY), Trident Brokerage, and Argo Group (Bermuda) are being paid to work against New Baltimore Residents and Property Owners with good faith claims for damages. The Albany law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C. have been hired by New Baltimore’s insurers and New Baltimore to make sure New Baltimore residents, property owners and tax payers don’t get justice and fair play! Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Don’t WE pay the bills in this town? If we as private citizens damage town property our sorry asses are in jail! Maybe that’s where our Town Board, our Town Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett, and definitely our Town Superintendent of Highways, Denis Jordan, should be!

This is what our government has become!

When a government uses a taxpayer’s own dollars to screw the taxpayer, that’s downright immoral. The Town of New Baltimore pays for insurance to cover liabilities but when a liability occurs, the insurance coverage we pay for is used against us, and the town hides behind the insurance company’s lawyers. You want rights? Find another lawyer, pay him, spend years paying him or her, and when the money runs out, forget about it. You’re still paying. Why doesn’t the Town of New Baltimore wake up, accept the evidence, and stop playing games with residents. That’s not how it’s supposed to work guys and gals!

Here’s the text of a local resident’s letter to the insurance companies covering the Town of New Baltimore’s liability risk. It seems that New Baltimore’s Town Board (Jeff Ruso, Shelli van Etten, Chuck Brody, Scott Brody), Supervisor Nick Dellisanti,  and other elected officials are really missing the bus when it comes to doing what’s right for residents and taxpayers. The problem is that we elected these people who are spending so much time screwing us than they are making life better for us. No exceptions! From the SupervisorDellisanti, Deputy Supervisor Ruso,  to the town board members (Shelli van Etten, Chuck Irving, Scott Brody), to the Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan, to Gordon Bennett, New Baltimore Tax Assessor, who, rather than look at a piece of damaged property for reassessment, tells the property owner to ask for a form!!!

Here’s the full text of the letter to the Town’s insurance company:

Dear Insurance Specialists:[1]

Mr Thomas Rickert, CPCU, ARM, ARM-P, ARM-E, ARC, ARe, VP, Head of Marketing, Trident, ArgoGroup[2]
Joshua Bouchez , Territory Marketing Manager, East Coast[3]
Claims Reporting, Trident[4]
Ashley Heline, Communications Coordinator, ArgoGroup[5]
ArgoGroup Underwriters[6]

It has always been my understanding, and I would reasonably presume that of the general public, that insurance was a science of risk management, control, mitigation but our understanding has changed radically over the past two years on the example of ArgoGroup’s, Trident’s and Marshall & Sterling’s “risk management” in the Town of New Baltimore.

It seems your operations are more attuned to “risk aggravation” or “risk perpetuation” than to “risk management,” and this fact is borne out by a brief review of some of the reports published on a local watchdog blog, Smalbany Blog, which has been covering the incompetence and the abuses operating in the Town of New Baltimore, most specifically in the New Baltimore Highway Department under the direct supervision and authority of its Superintendent, Mr Denis Jordan. For your convenience, several of those links are provided at the end of this communication. You are encouraged, in your own interests, to review the contents of those articles.

Our Town Government at Work for Us.

In terms of fair play, justice and fiduciary obligations, ArgoGroup, Trident, the agency Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY) in collusion with the law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C.(Crystall R. Peck, attorney of record in this matter) and the Town of New Baltimore, you all get failing grades in terms of ethics and fair play. Furthermore, on objective and subjective moral assessment, your conduct is immoral.

It is very much in your interests to review the links provided below which provide a very clear picture of the real risk situation in New Baltimore and how the rights and interests of taxpayers, residents and others, including your shareholders, are being misused and abused.

The facts are indisputable, the evidence clear and convincing, the wrongful acts ongoing, and the damage to the public and to private interests substantial. This is bad press for you and your collaborators indeed.

Poor stewardship of public treasure, abuse of office, and indifference and incompetence at the state level (Mr George Amadore, NYS Senator, 46th Senatorial District), the county level (Greene County, NY; Greene County District Attorney, Mr Joseph Stanzione), and at the local, town level (Town of New Baltimore Town Board; Town of New Baltimore Highway Department, Highway Superintendant Denis Jordan; Town Attorney Mr Tal Rappelea) with the self-interests of Trident/ArgoGroup’s legal prostitutes Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis, & Peck P.C., are jointly, severally and individually traumatizing every concept of justice, fair play, professional ethics, good government, and abusing the fiduciary obligations and duties of local, county, and state elected officials, whose obligations are to the public weal, and to the individual uniquely concerned.

It is our well-founded observation that none of the parties listed in the above paragraph are complying with the basic tenets of ethics and the standards we, the public, expect of regulated enterprise, licensed professionals, elected officials; in fact, it is our observation, not our opinion, that Marshall & SterlingTridentArgoGroup, state senator George AmadoreGreene County officialsTown of New Baltimore officials, and the law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis, & Peck P.C.are making a public mockery of public and professional ethics, good government, responsible stewardship in government, and the notions of justice, fair play and fiduciary obligation to the citizen, resident, and most of all to the taxpayers of these communities.

As it now stands, the taxpayer and property owner is exposed to tenfold jeopardy[7]:

  • Jeopardy situation No. 1: As a property owner, one is obliged to pay substantial taxes on one’s property to support government and education; accordingly, the property owner, by and through their taxes and assessments, pays for the services of government. Forsaking all else in order to ensure timely payment of assessed property taxes, the property owner remits.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 2: When the services of government, including the wages and salaries, the goods and services required for operation, etc. operate contrary to the interests of the taxpayer, the taxpayer is harmed. The taxpayer/property owner is deprived of his reasonable expectations issuing from the payment of assessed property taxes.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 3: Included in the allocations of taxpayer dollars, that is, the taxes paid by the property owner, are set aside for the purposes of payment of the salaries and wages of individuals who are either indifferent or incompetent, and those individuals in the course of their employment, harm the taxpayer, those tax dollars are used ostensibly to harm the taxpayer. This is an egregious abuse of the notion of trust and fair play.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 3: When the competent government offices are served with notice of the above situation, and those authorities do not exercise and implement every available option to cure the defects and deficiencies, those authorities are derelict and guilty of misprision.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 4: When the harm done to the taxpayer/property owner is ongoing and attributable to the constructive operations and knowledge of the local competent government offices, each of the instances constitutes a new claim and a new harm to the taxpayer/property owner. Given the fact that the local government and the competent offices are duly notified, each instance constitutes a separate act of negligence/dereliction.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 5: The taxpayer/property owner not only is being deprived of reasonably expected level of competent services for his tax dollars, he is being deprived of good ethical government services, both of which result in financial damage to the taxpayer/property owner in terms of his good faith investment in his community and his reasonable expectations of financial advantage resulting from his investment. This deprivation is tortious.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 6: When the beneficiary local government by its negligence, indifference or incompetence then ignores the taxpayer/property owner’s good faith notice and demands for cure of the defects and deficiencies, and for compensation of the harm done, the local government ignores the claimant and, instead of fair response, hands the matter over to an underwriter, who then hands it over to a hired-gun law firm.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 7: Given the situations above and given the fact of Jeopardy situation No. 7, the taxpayer/property owner is confronted by a situation comparable to Buridan’s ass[8]: The choices available to the taxpayer/property owner to obtain justice are: (1) rely on the good will of local government, (2) proceed at law. A third option is merely to throw one’s hand’s into the air in despair, and lapse into anger and apathy. Conspicuously, option (1) is absent and unavailable to the taxpayer/property owner, and option (3) is unacceptable by any standard of assessment. This leaves Jeopardy situation No. 8.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 8: The taxpayer/property owner, while still obliged to pay his property taxes and other assessments to the delinquent and derelict town government and town officials, is compelled to seek out and to pay for legal services necessary for obtaining justice. This may be a calculated strategy deployed by the delinquent and derelict town government in collusion with their insurance underwriters and their attorneys, clearly expecting that the matter will have to endure a protracted course in pretrial procedures and, if the victim is persistent, then to endure the trial procedure. This normally lasts for a decade or more and can cost the harmed property owner hundreds of thousands of dollars. Regardless of the endurance of the harmed property owner in terms of financial resources and tenacity, he is still in jeopardy situation No. 9.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 9: The clear strategy of the town is to hand over the matter to the underwriter, who has almost limitless resources, who hands it over to a local law firm, who is on retainer by the insurance company. The combination of very deep pockets and a law firm on retainer and obliged to represent the interests of the insurance company over and against the interests of the property owner, regardless of the factual situation, encourages the insurance company and the law firm to keep the matter in the courts for as long as possible, ostensibly in the expectation of exhausting the property owners will, energy, and resources, causing him to withdraw.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 10: The interests of justice and the public weal are defeated, as are the interests of the property owner. The entire community and society at large are damaged, injured.

Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t.
Why are they doing this to us?

As the situation enumerated above clearly shows, the current situation is immoral and represents an insult to the precepts of ethics in government and the professions. We are demanding investigation and prosecution of the particular matter and the general situation in New Baltimore.

I reasonably expect that as this situation develops there will be commensurate and appropriate public outrage, a justified outrage that will manifest itself in a multitude of ways.

This communication will be submitted to the Smalbany Blog for editing and publication.

I look forward to your response and comments.

First of all, given the performance of these elected officials, they don’t deserve to be in office and should be booted out next election. Secondly, these crooked insurance agents and brokers should be boycotted and investigated by the regulatory authorities. As for the shysters, the prostitute law firms like  Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis, & Peck P.C, they should be drummed out of the profession; they’re whores practicing law and abusing it.

Well, we’ve done our homework and have researched the law and other applicable court decisions as well as opinions on the subject matter handed down by the Office of the New York State Comptroller. Apparently, New Baltimore Town Attorney, Tal Rappelea, although he claims to specialize in municipal (town) law, hasn’t done his required reading for this course. We’ll be happy to provide him with our Memorandum of Law at the next New Baltimore Town Board public meeting. We’d like him, Mr Denis Jordan (New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways), Mr Scott van Wormer (the “new” — or he will be — New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways), Mr Joe Stanzione (Greene County District Attorney), Ms Crystall Peck (Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C.), and the Greene County Press (Johnson Newspaper Group, Mary Delaney), and Ken Gray or Jean Valk (Marshall & Sterling Insurance) to be there to hear what we have to say, and maybe to comment, too. Maybe Greene County Sheriff Gregory Seally (R), “Mr Cold Case” Seally, will bring a couple of deputies and cuffs for the Town Board and Mr Jordan. We”ll also publish the Memorandum before the meeting so that the whole community can see what can and should be done to correct the disgusting situation in New Baltimore, and other towns like it.

Speaking of lawyers, here’s a bit of humor to take the edge off:

Question: Why does New York have all the lawyers and New Jersey all the toxic waste?
Answer: New Jersey had first choice.

Sign on New Baltimore Town Hall front door.

Enjoy your day!

The Editor

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Notes

[1] This communication was also cc’ed to Nick Dellisanti, Supervisor, Town of New Baltimore; Jeff Ruso, Deputy Supervisor, Town of New Baltimrore; Barbara Finke, Town Clerk, Town of New Baltimore; Mr. Joseph Stanzione, District Attorney, Greene County; Tal Rappelea, Town Attorney, Town of New Baltimore; Crystall R. Peck, attorney representing Trident/ArgoGroup (Town of New Baltimore); Ken Gray, Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY);  Jean Valk, Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY).

[2] Thom Rickert, CPCU, ARM, ARM-P, ARM-E, ARC, ARe VP, Head of Marketing, thom.rickert@tridentpublicrisk.com

[3] Joshua Bouchez, Territory Marketing Manager, East Coast, joshua.bouchez@tridentpublicrisk.com

[4] Trident Claims Reporting, claimsreporting@tridentpublicrisk.com

[5] Ashley Heline, Communications Coordinator, Argo Group US, ashley.heline@argogroupus.com

[6] The Argo Group is the parent of the Trident Insurance brokerage, and is located in Bermuda. Wonder Why? that is? Could it be for tax avoidance? (Argo Group, 110 Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke HM 08, Bermuda. info@argolimited.com

[7] Jeopardy is defined as being or being placed in a situation in which someone or something is exposed to possible injury, loss, or evil.

[8] Buridan’s ass is an illustration of a paradox in philosophy in the conception of free will. It refers to a hypothetical situation wherein a donkey that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. As used here, it represents a situation where the choices are equally good or equally bad; damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The donkey in the illustration is hungry but dies because it can make the choice of which bale to eat. The illustration relates to the situation in New Baltimore in that the options for the property owner are all going to cause more harm or more suffering no matter which choice he makes. The only good choice is for the Town of New Baltimore to choose to do what is fair and right. But they have chosen not to do so. Thus, the property owner is in the unfavorable situation he finds himself in.

 

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Argo Group, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Chuck Irving, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Conspiracy, Corruption, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, David Louis, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Diane Jordan, Diane Lewis, DOT, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, Eric T. Schneiderman, FaceBook, Fair Play, George Amadore, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County News, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory R. Seeley, Hearst Corporation, Incompetence, Independence Party, Investigation, Irene Beede, Irresponsibility, Jean Horne, Jean Valk, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Ken Grey, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Melanie Lekocevic, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New Street, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Open Letter, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Public Corruption, Public Safety, Ravena News Herald, RCS Community, RegisterStar, Retaliation, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Town of New Baltimore, Transparency, Trident, Trident Insurance, Uncategorized

 

No Choice! Unopposed Candidates? Here’s the Plan…

Election Day is just a few days away and we need to have a plan.

There are a number of candidates asking for your vote but are running unopposed.

This means that the so-called political parties are undermining the democratic process by not providing voters, you and me, with a choice as to who we want running things. In other words, it’s turning into a no-choice system.

(Please see our article Democracy is Dead! If you haven’t already)

Here’s the plan.

  1. Please get your sorry asses out to vote!
  2. Check the list below of candidates running unopposed in your district.
  3. UNLESS YOU KNOW THE UNOPPOSED CANDIDATE DO NOT CAST A VOTE FOR HIM OR HER. IF YOU DON’T HAVE A CHOICE DON’T GIVE THEM THE NUMBERS.
  4. If you have a choice of candidates for a particular office, please carefully consider your choice and vote for the one BEST QUALIFIED, not your friend, your brother-in-law, or your next door neighbor. If you feel you must vote out of so-called “friendship” or family loyalties, that’s not a criterion for selecting an elected official for the rest of us. Be fair.

The reason that we are asking you not to cast a vote for an unopposed candidate is because we want you to protest not having a choice by not casting a vote for the unopposed candidate(s).

If you don’t cast a vote for an unopposed candidate, you are sending a message. Here’s how:

When you go in to vote, you sign in. That gives us a total number of registered voters who got out and voted. We can compare that number to the total number of registered voters in your district overall to see how many actually got out to vote.

Now, we can take those two numbers and look at the totals for the unopposed candidates and see just how many, what percentage, of active voters protested the no-choice situation.

We’ll report that number so you can see where the community stands on no-choice elections.

We need to make our voices heard in whatever way possible to avoid becoming a second North Korea.

Me so happy! You mellicans got no choice! You get me! You velly happy now…YES!

Bottom line: JUST DON’T CAST A VOTE FOR AN UNOPPOSED CANDIDATE.

(This doesn’t mean that the unopposed candidate won’t get into office, all it takes is ONE VOTE, most likely their own, to “win” the election.)

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Open Letter to Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione

Greene County District Attorney Joe Stanzione (R):
“I cannot comment on the matter at this time as it could compromise a pending investigation.”

If there is an investigation, pending or in progress, don’t you think that our elected officials owe it to us to tell us Who? is being investigated and What? It’s just days before elections for chrissake! Don’t you think we should be told these things?

IT’S OUTRAGEOUS

Greene County District Attorney Put on Notice to Take Action in New Baltimore

New Baltimore Resident Confronts the Greene County District Attorney asking WHY? is the Situation in New Baltimore Allowed to Go On. Demands Action, Investigation.

On October 31, 2017, after numerous attempts to get the New Baltimore Town Board to take responsible action and to do what’s right with regard to New Baltimore taxpayers, property owners, and residents, and faced with the refusal of the New Baltimore Highway Department to correct dangerous conditions created by it, one resident confronted the Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione, a Republican, and demanded that Stanzione do his job and take action, at least to launch an investigation as to Why? the New Baltimore Town Board has taken no action against the New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan, and Why? instead of ensuring the rights of residents and property owners and ensuring fair play and justice, the Town Board hands matters over to its insurance company and its attorneys, forcing residents and property owners to spend thousands in court and attorney’s fees or simply to give up, when they should be getting help and relief, not to mention justice, from their elected officials. This is not democracy at work, it’s cowardice and dereliction of duty. It’s downright wrong.

The letter was cc’ed to New Baltimore Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, Deputy Supervisor Jeff Ruso, Town Clerk Barbara Finke (for recording), Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan, and to Town attorney Tal Rappelea and Town insurer’s attorney Crystall R. Peck, to ensure that all parties are fairly informed.

Here’s the full text of the e-mail communication to Mr Stanzione:

Dear Mr Stanzione:

I am writing to you in your official capacity as the chief law enforcement officer in the County of Greene.

It is inconceivable that you would be unaware of the situation in the Town of New Baltimore, and on that presumption, even more inconceivable that the Office of the District Attorney has not inaugurated some level of investigation into the dereliction and abuse of public office that is going on not only in the operations of the New Baltimore Town Board but most egregiously in the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department.

The specious and spurious indifference of the Town Board with regard to the abuses and incompetence, even corruption in the New Baltimore Highway department is tantamount to criminal. The Town Board, very well informed by residents of the activities of the New Baltimore Highway Department and its Superintendent Denis Jordan, have done absolutely nothing by way of response, fair play, justice, or compliance with their fiduciary duties to the taxpayers and residents of this Town.

The situation is not one of demands for special treatment or for extraordinary service, it is a situation that affects residents’ investments in their property and community, responsible stewardship of public treasure, observance of oaths of office, questions of competence, and even abuse of public office and corruption.

Much of what has been reported — please review the links below — has been in the eye of the public and is common knowledge in the Town of New Baltimore, and totally ignored by our elected officials on the Town Board.

It’s no wonder that the claim “Democracy is Dead” has become a slogan; regrettably, Justice predeceased Democracy in this town and its environs.

The real tragedy in this tragicomedy is the fact that because the Town Board refuses to do what’s right, and the Town Highway Superintendent has his way no matter what, the taxpayers and residents pay to suffer. The fact that our elected officials refuse to do their jobs, refuse to take steps to avoid the doing of injustice, are indifferent to what is going on in this town, and the deleterious consequences create an environment of distrust, anxiety, apathy and misconduct verging on criminality. Those who find it necessary to defend their interests and right, far from getting the needed and reasonable support from those entrusted with the public weal, are forced either to go into debt to defend their rights at law with representation, or, as is the case in the majority of instances, simply throw their hands into the air in despair! This is an abuse! This is not what democratic government is about…or is it?

I am putting you and your office on notice of these facts and the current situation in anticipation of your taking an interest in this case and taking action to relieve us and to see that the law is enforced and justice is done.

Let’s see if you and your office are up to the challenge.

I would appreciate a response once you have reviewed the facts in the attached links.

Yours very truly,

[redacted]

Links of interest:

[For security reasons we are not publishing the author’s name and details.]

We are watching the developments very closely and are very interested in seeing what Mr Stanzione has to say; whether he has the balls to do his job.

If you enjoyed this article, please copy and paste this link https://wp.me/p2jPFe-31V and email it to your friends, family, and contacts. Keep everyone informed.


Editor’s Update: We have received information that Mr Stanzione, Greene County District Attorney, declined to comment on the resident’s letter saying “I cannot comment on the matter at this time as it could compromise a pending investigation.” Looks like something is brewing in New Baltimore. We’ll keep readers posted as things develop.


We also have a similar letter to the Insurance Agency who handles the Town of New Baltimore’s liability insurance,  Marshall & Sterling Upstate (Leeds, NY), and the insurance brokerage they use, Trident Insurance Brokerage, Stay tuned for further developments on this issue.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Power, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Ashley Heline, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Callanan Industries, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Corruption, Daily Mail, Dangerous Conditions, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Diane Jordan, DOT, Elected Official, Fraud, George Acker, George Amadore, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County News, Greene County Sheriff, Harassment, Hazardous Conditions, Hypocrisy, Incompetence, Indifference, Intimidation, Irresponsibility, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joshua Bouchez, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Misconduct, Misdemeanor, Misdemeanor, Misinformation, Mismanagement, Misuse of Public Office, Nepotism, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New York, New York State, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Official Misconduct, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Peckham Materials, Peckham Materials Corp., Peckham Road Corporation, Precision Roads and Driveways, Professional Ethics, Professional Misconduct, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Public Safety, Ravena News Herald, RegisterStar, Retaliation, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Tal Rappelea, Thomas Rickert, Town of New Baltimore, Transparency, Trident Insurance

 

We didn’t have the “green thing” back then…

The Green Thing

We just republished an article on how the funeral industry is greenwashing this new disgusting body disposal technology called alkaline hydrolysis. One of our readers just provided us with a priceless little gem of Wake up! Dumbass! wisdom. We’d like to share it with our readers just to show how stupid and wasteful we’ve become in recent decades, and how tunnel-visioned ignorant young people are.

AMEN!  Wouldn’t it be great to see some of these young people try to live the way we did? This is priceless!!!!

Plastic Bags…

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.

The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing‘ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

The older lady said our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day.

Wooden six-pack carrier in the old days, not plastic or cardboard!

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

And how fresh they smelled!

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the”green thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off… Especially from tattooed, multiple pierced dumb asses, who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much.

So this is for you, Droopy-Drawers, and your green thing (and I hope it’s not in your boyfriend’s underwear)!

Please forward this on to another “selfish old person” who needs a lesson in conservation from a “smartass young person“.

Special thanks to Ms AnnMarie Vadney of New Baltimore for sharing this gem with us and with you!

(Cut and paste this link: https://wp.me/p2jPFe-31p )

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

URGENT Advisory to Trick-or-Treaters on New Street, New Baltimore

This is a Public Service Announcement in the Interest of Your Safety and the Safety of Trick-or-Treaters on October 31, 2017, who will be on New Street in the Town of New Baltimore.

Dangerous Conditions on New Street in the Hamlet of New Baltimore!!!

Parents, Accompanying Adults, Trick-or-Treaters along New Street in the Town of New Baltimore may be at serious risk due to dangerous situations caused by recent roadwork and paving done on by the Town of New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department on New Street and other streets in the National Historic District of New Baltimore.

Please be aware of the following serious hazards along New Street, which will be particularly dangerous after sundown.

At the corner of Madison Avenue East and New Street, there is a dangerous unmarked drop-off. The Town of New Baltimore Highway Department has been asked numerous times to mark this hazard but has refused to do so. Please, when making the turn onto New Street from Madison Avenue East, make the turn tight!

On the river-side (East) just past the end of the guardrails, there is a dangerous unmarked drop-off. The drop-off is about 18-24 inches and poses a real danger if someone steps off the street and falls; there is a steep slope after the street drop-off. The recent paving operations by the New Baltimore Highway Department supervised by Denis Jordan raised the old roadbed about 18-24 inches at this point, creating this hazard. The Town of New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department have been asked several times to mark the hazard or to correct the defects but they have refused. There is also the possibility of a vehicle’s wheels going over the edge and tipping over! Please be careful and watch children very carefully in this area.

This hump in the road at the top of the stairs can cause tripping and falling injuries. Please be careful and step carefully over it. Small children may be especially at risk.

At the front entrance of No. 18 New Street, there is a raised hump of blacktop above the top step. The Town of New Baltimore Highway Department placed a 7-inch high raised hump of blacktop at the top of the steps leading into the main entrance of No. 18 New Street. The hump was created when the Town paved New Street in June, and residents have asked that it be cut down level with the street to avoid accidents or injury. The Town Highway Department and the Town of New Baltimore have done noting to fix this defect and now it is dangerous to the children and adults trick or treating. Please also be aware that beyond the steps there is a 8-12 inch drop-off created by the Town’s paving operations. This can be dangerous and may cause falls and injuries if you are not careful. There is no really safe way to get to the entrances of No 18 New Street so PLEASE BE CAREFUL and watch children very carefully in this area.

Please be aware of this hole; avoid stepping into it or driving into it!

Farther down New Street, opposite the Green House at No. 11 New Street, there is a deep hole approximately 30 inches across, 30 inches long and 15 inches deep. There is also a sharp-edged vertical grate installed in the hole. This hole was created by the New Baltimore Highway Department for totally unknown reasons (all other drains in the area are horizontal). This large hole presents a serious hazard to pedestrians and to vehicles. A person can break a leg and a vehicle can lose a wheel in this hole. The sharp edges of the grate pose another serious danger. Residents have repeated asked that the drain be redone so that it is flat with the road or at least that it be marked so that it is clearly visible. The Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department have refused to mark the hole and so it continues to be a serious danger to persons and vehicles. Please be careful and watch children very carefully in this area.

When driving down New Street this ditch will suddenly appear. Your vehicle’s wheels can end up in it and your vehicle left hanging.

As you approach the end of New Street there is a deep unmarked ditch on the right side of the street. This ditch will come up on you suddenly if you are driving, and if you’re not real quick, your right wheels will be in the ditch and your vehicle hung up. On Halloween night after sundown, this ditch will be very difficult identify unless you know beforehand that it’s there. Again, the Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department created this hazard when paving the street in August 2016 and in June 2017. They have been asked a number of times to fix this defect or at least to mark it. They have ignored all requests. Please be careful and watch children very carefully in this area.

We are publishing this information at the request of residents who are seriously concerned about the safety of trick-or-treaters on New Street this Halloween. The Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department, Mr Denis Jordan, have been made aware of these hazards a number of times, and have been asked to correct the defects or at least to mark them to ensure safety and to protect the public. They have refused and so now it’s necessary to provide this WARNING to motorists and pedestrians.  Please make your children and other adults aware of these serious hazards along New Street, which will be particularly dangerous after sundown, and be alert for similar hazards in other areas of the Hamlet of New Baltimore, especially in the National Historic District!

[Editor’s Note: At about 10:30 a.m. on October 31, 2017, the Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department were notified of these hazards and dangerous conditions on New Street, and were provided with the link to this posting.]

Please Watch Your Step on New Street in New Baltimore!!!
Happy Halloween!
The Editor & Friends of the Smalbany Blog


Editor’s Update

At about 10:45 a.m. on October 31, 2017, the following message was sent to New Baltimore Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, New Baltimore Town Deputy Supervisor Jeff Ruso, Town Clerk Barbara Finke (for the purpose of records), and Town of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan. Copies were sent also the Town Attorney Tal Rappela (Tal Rappelea Esq/RappeleaLaw) and to the attorney for the Town’s insurance company, Crystal R. Peck (Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Albany, New York) to ensure that their attorneys are fully informed in the event of accident or injury.

Dear Mr Dellisanti, Ruso, Jordan, Rappelea, Ms Peck:

The Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department have consistently and regularly been notified of the existing and continuing dangerous conditions created on New Street in the Town of New Baltimore, a roadway owned by the Town of New Baltimore. The Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department and its superintendent, Mr Denis Jordan, have ignored all notifications and have refused to respond to all requests to correct the existing defects created by the Town’s operations or at least to mark them in the interest of the public’s safety.
Given the above circumstances and the Town’s indifference to the safety of residents and visitors, especially in view of the Halloween season and the approaching snow season, the Smalbany Blog has been considerate enough to publish a Public Safety Warning for Halloween Trick-or-Treaters and their accompanying adults.
You may inform yourselves as to the content of said Public Safety Warning at the blog site, URGENT Advisory to Trick-or-Treaters on New Street, New Baltimore (the link to the site is provided for your convenience).
 

The Greed and Insanity of the American Funeral Industry: Dissolving your dead.

Editor’s Forward

From Deathcare Professional to Disposal Professional

At some point in time, the American funeral director has gone from deathcare professional to disposal professional. It’s really gotten out of hand and it’s time the American people started thinking better about themselves and started telling the government and the corporations to stop treating us like so much municipal waste. This doesn’t happen without the involvement of legislators and government. If funeral directors are forced into providing an immoral but legal service, who’s to blame them? We can boycott them and refuse to use them, and send our loved ones to someone who can treat them with human dignity. It’s our choice and we’d better start thinking about it before someone else makes the choices for us. This new movement in the funeral industry is just disgusting!

The Editor


Excerpt from the article by
Republished with Permission of the Author
Rev. Ch. Harold W. Vadney, BA, [MA], MDiv
Interfaith Bereavement Chaplain/Thanatologist

Dissolve and Flush: Funeralized Alkaline Hydrolysis.

The Newest Technology for Disposing of Dead Human Beings.


In the West, interment, inhumation, entombment have been the traditional  methods of disposing of dead human bodies, that is, prior to the late 19th century with the revival of cremation as an alternative. Until about 1880, cremation was anathema, unless, occasionally, at times of extraordinarily large numbers or dead, such as during war time, during epidemics, or following natural disasters, mass graves or incineration of the corpses was preferred to avoid further catastrophe in terms of public health. Fire cremation was revived in the West as a quasi-pagan option attributed to non-Christian freethinkers and masons or simply to anti-social elements but then took a different tack by appealing to the public health and environmentally conscious elements in conventional society. Today, economic concerns both consumer and industrial take precedence. The dominant market economies in the industrialized West, particularly in the USA, UK, and some Western European countries, as well as the insatiable appetite of post-modern, post-Christian cultures for novelty and individualism, have left the door ajar for the entry into the funeralization professions of an industrialized process called alkaline hydrolysis (AH), an industrial process invented in the late 19th century as a way of dissolving in strong chemicals farm animal waste for use as fertilizer.[1]


“Omnes homines terra et cinis” Sirach 12:32
[“All human beings are earth and ashes”]

In a particularly beautiful description of how the pre-Vatican II Church thought of the human being, and in poetry that was possible only in a more sensitive epoch of human history, one reads:[2]

“The old Church holds on to her dead with eternal affection. The dead body is the body of her child. It is sacred flesh. It has been the temple of a regenerated soul. She blessed it in baptism, poured the saving waters on its head, anointed it with holy oil on breast and back, put the blessed salt on its lips, and touched its nose and ears in benediction when it was only the flesh of a babe; and then, in growing youth, reconsecrated it by confirmation; and, before its dissolution in death, she again blessed and sanctified its organs, its hands and its feet, as well as its more important members. Even after death she blesses it with holy water, and incenses it before her altar, amid the solemnity of the great sacrifice of the New Law, and surrounded by mourners who rejoice even in their tears, for they believe in the communion of saints, and are united in prayer with the dead happy in heaven, as well as with those who are temporarily suffering in purgatory. The old Church, the kind old mother of regenerated humanity, follows the dead body of her child into the very grave. She will not throw it into the common ditch, or into unhallowed ground; no, it is the flesh of her son. She sanctifies and jealously guards from desecration the spot where it is to rest until the final resurrection; and day by day, until the end of the world, she thinks of her dead, and prays for them at every Mass that is celebrated; for, even amid the joys of Easter and of Christmas, the memento for the dead is never omitted from the Canon. She even holds annually a solemn feast of the dead, the day after “All Saints,” in November, when the melancholy days are on the wane, the saddest of the year, and the fallen leaves and chilly blasts presage the season of nature’s death.”[3]

The Church of bygone days frequently used prose poetically and quoted liberally from the Church Fathers and even from the ancient philosophers and historiographers like Plato, Seneca, Socrates, Cicero many of whom, though pre-Christian, did not eschew the notion of the immortal soul.  St Augustine writes, “We should not despise nor reject the bodies of the dead; especially we should respect the corpses of the just and the faithful, which the Spirit hath piously used as instruments and vessels in the doing of good works…for those bodies are not mere ornaments but pertain to the very nature of humankind.”[4]

Cremation made an occasional appearance in isolated periods of Western history or in outlier regions where Christianity had not yet attained dominance; cremation was largely associated with non-Christian, pagan cultures.

In the East, in places where Hinduism and Buddhism had a firm foothold, cremation was and continues to be the norm. In some geographical areas such as in parts of Tibet, where the ground is unfavorable to interment and wood is a scarce and valuable resource, exposure of the corpse or dismemberment of the corpse and consumption by carrion-eating birds, so-called sky-burial or, in its form where the dismembered corpse is cast into a fiver for consumption by fishes, water burial, is practiced.

A similar practice of exposure is found in Zoroastrian communities in Iran, in the so-called towers of silence or dakhma, where the dead are brought, exposed, and consumed by vultures; the skeletal remains are then later collected for disposal.

While isolated instances of cremation are reported both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, burial or entombment was conspicuously the norm. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, burning of a corpse was a final act of abomination, reserved for only the worst elements of society.

One of the common misapprehensions of the Church’s aversion to or discouragement of incineration of the human body as a routinely available option for final disposal is that it was associated with pagan or freethinker practice, or with attempts to dissuade believers from faith in a bodily resurrection. While this might have some historical substance and may be represented by some early writers, it is but a minor hypothesis.

Ancient flame cremation practiced by the ancients.

As Eusebius describes early Christian aversion to flame cremation in a statement that still holds plausible, “” they (the Pagans) did this (cremated) to show that they could conquer God and destroy the resurrection of the bodies, saying, now let us see if they will arise.” In other words, cremation was a challenge to the belief in bodily resurrection as taught and believed in the early Church.

Furthermore, no less a figure than Cicero advances the notion that incineration was of ancient practice in Rome, and suggests that inhumation was a practice that predated the Roman practice of cremation. In fact, some noble Roman families never permitted their bodies to be burned, and Sulla is said to have been the first Roman who ordered his body to be cremated after death, lest his bones should be scattered by his enemies.[5] The pontiffs of pagan Rome would not acknowledge a funeral to be complete unless at least a single bone cut off from the corpse, or rescued from the flames, had been de posited in the earth.

Ancient Greece and Rome did practice cremation at various points in their histories but the ultimate disposal of the remains continued to be burial; either a part not consumed by the flames or the “bones” of the cremated corpse were ultimately buried in the earth. Cremation was by no means consistently the norm or the preferred method of disposal in Greece or in Rome.

Pope Boniface VIII forbade all violent modes of disposing of the dead as savoring of barbarism. “The respect due to the human body requires that it should be allowed to decay naturally, without having recourse to any violent system;” so says Grandclaude. A forcible argument against cremation is also found in the Catholic custom of preserving and honoring the relics of the Saints and putting their bodies or portions of them in the altar. It would be no longer possible to have the most important relics of future Saints if their flesh were to be consumed by fire.

That brief sampling of ancient teachings and beliefs regarding the question of incineration of human remains, arguably a “violent system” of disposing of human remains, should suffice to provide a background for the remainder of this discussion. For a more detailed discussion, I refer the reader to the Reverend Bann’s article cited above.

It was only in the late 19th century that a cremation movement came into being, and then only owing to the deplorable conditions in the cities which were rapidly outgrowing their boundaries due to immigration from rural areas, and the resulting encroachments on the previously outlying churchyards and, with population growth and densification, poor sanitation, and high mortality rates, consequent overfilling of existing cemeteries literally to the point of overflowing.

The urban slums of the Industrial Age.

Such were the conditions that gave rise to the public health concerns of reformers who claimed that the dead in the cemeteries were evil, that their miasmas leached out into the water and the spaces of the living, causing disease, suffering, and death. It was the evil dead rotting in the earth and their juices that were public health enemy No. 1. The open sewers and living conditions of the larger cities, and the putrid waters of the rivers flowing through them, of course, were not to blame.

And so, an alternative method of disposal of the dangerous and filthy dead had to be found, one that did not threaten to gobble up valuable real estate, and one that could be justified in the face of Church and religious objections. Cremation was the most obvious answer for purifying the unclean corpses. After all, since time immemorial fire was the great purifier.

In the beginning, therefore, the initial impetus was the miasma theory of pestilence, and corpses were to blame. Then, around 1880, the germ theory of disease was born. It debunked the established miasma theory of disease, and stated that disease was caused by specific organisms, germs. No problem for the cremationists, who were quite agile in dropping the miasma theory and accepting the germ theory but corpses were not yet off the hook, so to speak.

If germs were the cause of many of the diseases afflicting the population, wouldn’t the putrid rotting corpse be germ heaven? And if you have all those corpses lying about doing nothing but what corpses do, that is, rotting and defiling the air with the aromas of putrecine and cadaverine. Those same rotting corpses were breeding grounds for pestilence and a simple hole in the ground was not very likely to contain the little vermin. Cremation, the great sterilizer, would be the cremationists’ next slogan. But it didn’t last long.

The interests of the economic-minded would carry the day both in terms of the environment and the economy, and that campaign agenda is with us to this day. Basically, the dirge goes: “Why allocate so much valuable land to the dead when the living can profit by it?” Land for the living! After all, as corporations like StoneMor can confirm, cemetery real estate and the real estate occupied by the cemeteries represents a vast fortune. Someone has to tap into it.

The countries of Europe afflicted with the spirit of rationalism had no problem dealing with cemeteries; they just overruled the Church and legislated that the state had ultimate control of the citizen in life and in death. The Church could fall back on canon law but ultimately had to acquiesce to the state’s overwhelming power, and so the cemeteries were secularized. Once secularized they were emptied and their occupants relegated to ossuaries or catacombs en masse, and anonymous in their tens, even hundreds of thousands. In many instances, their eviction from the cemeteries and relocation to the quarries was done under cover of night, in order not to offend the living or present an obstacle to commerce.

France was one of the first Western nations to desecrate consecrated ground and defile the dead.

In countries where the Church, Roman Catholic or mainstream Protestant dominated, the faithful were expected under established sanctions, to obey the doctrines of their faith. For most mainstream Christians, and for all Orthodox Jews and Muslims, cremation was an abomination, and burial in the earth or entombment were the only acceptable methods of sepulture. And so it remained until 1963, when the Roman Catholic Church relieved it’s ban on cremation and, while not encouraging cremation, did not censure those who opted for incineration as their preferred method of disposal. Upto then, those choosing cremation were pro forma classified as apostates, atheists, pagans, free-thinkers, or Masons.

The 1960’s was a decade of revolutionary reform in practically every aspect of life: politics, religion, morals, education, all of which ultimately found expression in attitudes towards life, death, dying and after-death.

Alkaline hydrolysis (AH)[6], aquamation[7], resomation[8], biocremation[9], call it whatever you like it all literally boils down [no pun intended] to taking a dead human body, placing it into a pressure cooker, adding water and chemicals, heating, cooking, draining, rinsing. The dissolved flesh and organic matter is then flushing into the sewer system. What is left is bones and any metallic or synthetic material in the body (artificial joints, pacemakers, sutures, etc.). The metal such as artificial joints etc. will be recycled or “repurposed.”  The bones will be dried and ground up into a sandlike powder and returned to the family or otherwise disposed of.

The actual patented process, alkaline hydrolysis (AH) is a process developed for waste disposal. “Waste disposal” is the actual term used in the patents. AH was developed for disposal of infectious or hazardous waste by dissolving it into a “safe and sanitary” end-product. In fact, the actual wording of one of the patents is: “it is an object of this invention to provide a system and method for safely treating and disposing of waste matter containing undesirable elements, such as infectious, biohazardous, hazardous, or radioactive elements or agents.”

AH was developed for dissolving, liquefying organic matter into a disposable liquid that can be recycled as a fertilizer or simply flushed down the drain. It’s actually a technology that was developed in the late 19th century for disposing of animal waste, and which was developed in the mid-20th century for disposal of farm slaughter waste and for elimination of medical school cadavers, is now being promoted as the new eco-friendly take on cremation. Alkaline hydrolysis a.k.a. water cremation a.k.a. biocremation —  in reality just using a Draino®-like chemical to dissolve the dead human body and flush the remaining human sludge down the drain into the public sewer system — is the new rage in technology. Some funeral homes in about 14 states, where the process is now legal in the United States are now offering it as an alternative to cremation. It’s disgusting and will be a hard sell, since it will be acceptable only to the really bizarre element out there. I hope to clarify some of the issues in this article.

This is not how human beings should be treating their dead.

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Notes

[1] See also History of Alkaline Hydrolysis by Joseph Wilson. Wilson is the chief executive officer of Bio-Response Solutions, one of the first companies involved in the industrialization and marketing of alkaline hydrolysis for the disposition of human bodies. Joseph H. Wilson, The History of Alkaline Hydrolysis, e-pub, September 2013, 3, http://www.goodfuneralguide.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/History-of-Alkaline-Hydrolysis.pdf last accessed on October 29, 2017). The original patent filed by A.H. Hobson, U.S. Patent No. 394982 (1888), describes the process as a “… process of treating bones, which consists in digesting the bones in an alkaline solution in the presence of heat, then separating and concentrating the solution, thereby forming glue, gelatine, or size, in then digesting the remaining hone in a strong alkaline solution, so as to completely dissolve the remaining nitrogenous matter, and bring-the same into a more readily assimilable form…” (Claim 2), and as “certain new and useful improvements in the treatment of bones and animal waste or refuse generally for the purpose of rendering the same more suited for fertilizing purposes, and for obtaining gelatine, glue, and size…” (https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/pdfs/US394982.pdf last accessed on October 28, 2017).

[2] By way of precluding any possible suggestion of supercessionism, I would like to state from the outset that I am citing Roman Catholic writers in much of this discussion not because I am so biased but because I would rather use as my foundation a more systematized, mature, and stringent authority, which, if necessary can be attenuated or mollified mutatis mutandi in further arguments, rather than a more loose, liberal, or permissive approach as represented by the more progressive Protestant or post-Christian denominations. Although I practice as an interfaith chaplain, I am steeped in a more classical tradition than many of my contemporaries, and I ask that my readers take that subjective proclivity into consideration when reading my statements.

[3] Brann, Rev. H.A., DD, “Christian Burial and Cremation.” American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. X (Jan-Oct 1885). Philadelphia: Hardy & Mahony. p. 679. Reverend Brann provides a rather comprehensive background and discussion of Roman Catholic sources and thinking on cremation, which, in my reading, is remarkable in its tolerance, given the sociopolitical climate in which it was written (1885-6).

[4] De Civ. Dei Cap. XIII, p. 27, Vol. 41, Migne’s Patrologia.

[5] Desecration by scattering of one’s bones appears to be a thread running through much of ancient human history. Compare Sulla’s concern with the Biblical account (I Kings 31:12) of the incineration of the bodies of Saul and his sons to prevent desecration by the Philistines.

[6] US Patents 5,332,532, 6,437,211, 6,472,580, 7,183,453, 7,829,755, and U.S. Patent No. 7,910,788 (method).

[7] “Aquamation: A Greener Alternative to Cremation?” By Marina Kamenev/Sydney, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010 (http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2022206,00.html, last accessed on October 28, 2017)

[8] “Innovation in sustainable end of life choices” the slogan of the Scottish company Resomation®(http://resomation.com/, last accessed on October 28, 2017).

[9] “Biocremation. A Natural Choice.” (http://biocremationinfo.com/consumers/what-is-bio-cremation, last accessed on October 28, 2017)