Public Hearing Needed Re: MidHudson Civic Center-- Skaters Not Trump Should Be Priority

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Please sign this petition and share it widely if you agree with noted author Joanne Michaels and Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner (Clinton/Rhinebeck) that previous lower rates/hours and community programs need to be fully restored for Hudson Valley residents/skaters at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, and that the Dutchess County Legislature needs to publicly pressure and work with the Mid-Hudson Civic Center on this starting with a public hearing soon on all this (Joanne was a guest on Joel's 1/6/18 WHVW.com 950 AM Saturday morning show and delved into all this in great detail).

[UPDATE: note-- scroll down all the way to bottom of this petition to read Mar. 28th letter hand-delivered to NYS Red Cross Regional Chief Executive Officer Gary Striar re: serious concerns regarding current MHCC President, signed by Alison Gregor (figure skater/Poughkeepsie), William Hiemcke (hockey skater/Poughkeepsie), Janice Hendricks (figure skater with daughter who skates in Poughkeepsie), Joanne Michaels (author/figure skater in Poughkeepsie & Newburgh), Joann Papcinski (daughter figure skates in Newburgh), Jennifer Thompson (figure skater/Poughkeepsie), Ann C. W. (figure skater/Poughkeepsie), and Joel Tyner (Dutchess County Legislator, D. #11: Clinton/Rhinebeck)]

See http://www.JoanneMichaels.com -- Intrepid investigative journalist "Joanne Michaels, formerly the editor-in-chief of Hudson Valley Magazine and host of The Joanne Michaels Show, is the author of many books, including Hudson River Towns, Hudson River Valley Farms, The Hudson Valley & Catskill Mountains: An Explorer's Guide, Let's Take the Kids, Famous Woodstock Cooks, and The Joy of Divorce. She is the coauthor, with renowned photographer Hardie Truesdale, of Hudson River Journey and Adirondack High. She lives in Woodstock, New York where she is an editorial consultant."

Note as well-- you can find out more about this issue through the official MHCC website ( http://www.MidHudsonCivicCenter.org )-- and yes, send polite/courteous emails to MHCC Pres. Danielle Anderson on all these concerns as well-- I did; her email address is danielle@midhudsonciviccenter.org; let's not let 2018 go by without getting to the bottom of this (and without getting justice).

Pass it on-- if you care. If you dare.

Joel Tyner, Dutchess County Legislator, Clinton/Rhinebeck 324 Browns Pond Road, Staatsburg, NY 12580 joeltyner@earthlink.net 845-464-2245 http://www.DutchessDemocracy.blogspot.com

p.s. Update-- the Poughkeepsie Journal reported 4/8/18 that the Trump campaign paid $23,502.90 for use of MHCC for April 2016 campaign rally.
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On Sat, Jan 6, 2018 at 10:00 AM, Joanne Michaels <jmichaels2@hvc.rr.com> wrote the following to all 25 members of the Dutchess County Legislature at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov (pls follow up with your own to help us build pressure on this sooner rather than later):

Dear Legislators:

I am writing to you, as requested by your colleague, Joel Tyner. I was a guest on his radio show this morning. He is to be commended for caring about a venue that SHOULD BE run in the public interest and improve the health and well-being of county youth.

I repeatedly tried to contact Danielle Anderson, wife of Butch Anderson, Dutchess County Sheriff, now manager of the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, after the departure of Laurie May, who was an excellent manager over many years. After several called and emails to Mrs. Anderson, she emailed me and said: “write me a letter.” I did just that.

The letter (see below) was hand-delivered in hard copy to Danielle Anderson on June 30, 2017. It was both HAND-DELIVERED to her office and EMAILED. After two weeks of NO ACKNOWLEDGMENT or response, I sent a follow-up email containing the letter to her personal email. Again, there was no response.

Over the course of 3 months, I repeatedly sent the email asking for a response, before contacting the publisher of the Poughkeepsie Journal and Marc Molinaro, County Executive. NEVER WAS THIS LETTER ACKNOWLEDGED by your county executive OR by the publisher of the PJ….as if ignoring it would make it go away. I presume the physical health of young people isn’t of interest to the county executive….not enough money involved. Just wondering.

I’m the author of 10 books (including 2 guidebooks to the Hudson Valley in print for over 25 years; W.W. Norton publisher) and a working journalist, as well as a small business owner who distributes regional books throughout the Hudson Valley.

What is going on at the ice rink is shameful. I urge all of you to investigate the issues raised in the attached letter since the current "non-manager" cannot even respond to a letter.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: What are her qualifications for this position? Was the job ever advertised? According to my sources, she is earning $125,000 per annum.

I would like to re-gain respect for your county government. It wasn’t long ago that one of your previous county attorneys spent time in jail.

Thanks for your prompt attention to this situation.

Sincerely,

Joanne Michaels
http://www.JoanneMichaels.com

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Danielle,

As you suggested, I am writing with questions that need to be answered sufficiently before I can consider retaining listings in the new editions of my guidebooks (LET’S TAKE THE KIDS and THE HUDSON VALLEY EXPLORER’S GUIDE) for the ice rinks at the Civic Center in Poughkeepsie and Ice Time in Newburgh.

1. I have been skating at both McCann and Ice Time for 22 years. In all that time, fees to skate have been extremely stable with the expected small increases due to inflation affecting operating costs. A financial surplus was maintained by the rinks. After Laurie May’s departure earlier this year, and her leaving was quite sudden after decades, there was close to a 50% increase in skating school fees. I would like to know WHAT HAS CHANGED to create such a dramatic change?

2. Do the funds taken in (or the operating losses) from events at the Civic Center impact the operation of the ice rink at McCann?

3. How much did the Trump Campaign pay the Civic Center when an event was held there last year? WAS THAT MONEY COLLECTED OR IS IT STILL OWED? I was told Trump stiffed Dutchess County the same way he stiffed hundreds of electricians, plumbers and contractors who worked on his buildings. Over 1000 lawsuits are pending against him in the U.S. court system at this time. Are you using legal means to collect what is owed? If you claim the campaign paid, I would like that verified by the County Treasurer.

4. What promotional efforts have been made to raise revenues at the ice rinks by increasing attendance, rather than exponentially increasing admission prices?

5. My understanding is the Civic Center is a non-profit entity run in the public interest. The hourly rate for public sessions is now nearly as high as rates at the Sky Rink in New York City. How can that be fair to taxpayers when the average income in Dutchess County is less than half of what it is in Manhattan? Why the dramatic raise in fees? Is the ice rink making up for losses at the Civic Center?

As you know: skating has been proven to combat the current obesity epidemic among young people which imposes substantial health costs on Dutchess and Orange counties. Surely all taxpayers would like more skating and lower health costs in our region. If you make entry costs prohibitive, fewer county youth will be able to afford skating.

The mission of the Civic Center is to revitalize the downtown area and instill a sense of community. The sharp price increases will have the opposite effect and will create a death spiral effect on revenues: only the wealthiest will continue to skate. Is this policy of exclusivity desirable in a public venue?

6. There is no on-site management at this time at either rink and this situation has been creating enormous discontent and an array of problems. The Dutchess Figure Skating Club members have no idea what the skating program will be like in the fall—or even if there will be one. NO ONE ANSWERS QUESTIONS NOR HAS ANYONE (YOU, THE MANAGER) RESPONDED WITH ANSWERS TO REASONABLE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WHAT WILL BE HAPPENING IN THE FALL. I have heard this repeatedly from several individuals. People who have supported the ice rink for decades have been left hanging. Several need to save and organize their finances for fall programs,but have gotten no prices for their childrens' programs so far. Adults don’t know if the Coffee Club will exist in the Fall. In past years information was AVAILABLE at this time of the year. This is simply plain, lousy business and is alienating loyal customers.WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? WHO IS MANAGING?

Since your position is to manage these properties, I am sure you can answer these straightforward questions within the next seven days. It would be a great time-saver for me not to have to go elsewhere for the answers. The people I would be asking are exceedingly busy running Dutchess and Orange counties.

Many thanks for your time and consideration. BTW——According to my connections in Dutchess County government, I was informed you haven’t been a presence at either rink on a regular basis due to the fact maternity leave is being taken. It would have been better for everyone concerned if this situation had been explained to patrons of both rinks.

Sincerely,

Joanne
http://www.JoanneMichaels.com

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 From: Joanne Michaels <joannemichaels@icloud.com> 
To: Joel Tyner <joeltyner@earthlink.net>
Subject: FACTS from PRESIDENT OF DUTCHESS COUNTY FIGURE SKATING CLUB (one-hour phone conversation)
Date: Jan 9, 2018 10:41 PM

Hi Joel,

Gerri Basler, president of the DCFSC, called me tonight, January 9th, and reported the following FACTS:

1. There were close to 40 members of the figure skating club last March when Danielle Anderson, the Sheriff’s wife, became director of the Mid-Hudson Civic Center and the McCann Skating Rink. Anderson is NOT an ice skater, unlike Laurie May, the former director for decades, an instructor and an accomplished skater who gave lessons. (In June 2017, when the annual ice show was held, this is the number of young skaters participating.)

2. There are now 14 members of the DCFSC. 24 people pulled their children out of the program when they were hit with an exorbitant rate hike last September at Labor Day weekend WITH NO ADVANCE NOTICE OF THE INCREASE. (Gerri is sending me a copy of Danielle Anderson’s “notice” which blindsided the parents.)

4. The parents were informed in the Fall of 2017 they would have to pay $1000 extra for UNLIMITED ice time for their children. Several parents PAID THAT AMOUNT.

5. SOON AFTER THAT TIME, DANIELLE ANDERSON CUT THEIR ICE TIME----AFTER THEY PAID THIS MONEY, DESPITE THE FACT THE COMMITMENT WAS TO UNLIMITED ICE TIME. (I asked why parents didn’t file a lawsuit or complain and was told “they didn’t know what to do.”)

6.. Michael Lahey, a retired Dutchess County police officer, is Vice-President of the Civic Center and is currently a zamboni operator. I am quite sure he is on the payroll of the Civic Center; you should find out what his qualifications are and how much he is making and how many hours he puts in at the rink. (Apparently, nepotism extends farther than just the Director’s position.)

The parents of these young skaters wouldn’t have been unfairly hit on for outrageous fees at the beginning of the school year with NO ADVANCE NOTICE.

One of the hockey players called me after your radio show Saturday and told me they were hit with a 30% increase in fees, also with no advance notice (as others were).

I thought you would want to be aware of these facts; just some of the mismanagement at the facility that was once a jewel of Dutchess County.

Due to this situation, I am reluctantly being forced to remove the McCann Ice Rink from both my travel guides with a notice to readers in the Dutchess County chapter explaining why there is such a glaring omission.

Sincerely,

Joanne
http://www.JoanneMichaels.com

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 From: Gerrie Basler <gbasler@hvc.rr.com <mailto:gbasler@hvc.rr.com>>
Subject: From Gerrie
Date: January 9, 2018 at 10:39:01 PM EST
To: Joanne Michaels <contact@joannemichaels.com <mailto:contact@joannemichaels.com>>

 Hi Joanne,

Attached are the fliers for the skating program. Note the difference: one of the fliers includes skating on Mondays, which was very popular and an opportunity for the young basic skills skaters to see the advanced skaters. That was taken away from us.

During the meeting with parents and management, an offer was made by Danielle Anderson: pay an additional $1,000 for unlimited ice for practice. That was bait and switch. Unlimited became very limited to Tuesday (3-5), Thursday (3-5), Friday (4-5) ans Saturday (7:15-8:15). Most of the kids are in school and cannot make it to the rink by 3 pm and school bus drop off is at home, not the rink. Parents have to then rush kids to the rink for their lesson and practice.

As stated, attendance in the program has declined drastically since Laurie May departed and the skating school director is a parent that neither skates or has any background in running a skating school. All inquiries are directed to Debi Knauss, a lovely person, but unqualified to fill Laurie May’s position.

I hope you find this information helpful. Please compare the fliers to what you see on the website. I'm only sorry that I don't have a flier from last year, as I was unable to participate due to my mother's cancer diagnosis.

There isn’t much left to salvage the program. Only a handful of skaters remain and the morale in the building is dismal. I would like to have hope.


I thank you for your efforts,

Gerrie

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[Joanne sent this below to me Jan. 4th] 

To: Joanne Michaels <jmichaels2@hvc.rr.com>
Subject: Re: TOPIC FOR YOUR RADIO SHOW--MID-HUDSON CIVIC CENTER MISMANAGEMENT & NEPOTISM

Both Jennifer Thompson (another figure skater who signed the letter sent to the newspapers, Marc Molinaro, etc.) and I are interested in calling in to your radio show to discuss the deteriorating situation at the Civic Center. We are both quite over-committed on weekend Saturdays through December, but January will work for us both. We would also need time to tune in and listen.

The mismanagement at the Civic Center is a complicated situation to explain in a sound bite; so I was wondering how the topic would be handled on your show. Perhaps you and I can meet briefly at some point during the month of December to discuss this. (Most people believe the Civic Center is owned by Dutchess County. It is not. The Gartland Corporation owns and operates the place.

Tomorrow (Friday, January 5th) would be a good day, if you want to discuss the situation at the Civic Center and perhaps set a date to highlight what is going on there on one of your Saturday radio shows in the next month or so.

FYI-None of the publishers (Poughkeepsie Journal & Middletown Record) or County Executive Marc Molinaro answered what several prominent Dutchess County citizens (Frank Castella, President of the Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce & Maureen Kangas, Manager of the Poughkeepsie Grand) think is a situation deserving of immediate attention.

FACT: The Civic Center is rapidly deteriorating; both the physical plant and youth programs.

Apparently, many people in Dutchess County are afraid of saying anything against Trump-Lover Sheriff Butch Anderson who installed his unqualified wife as manager of a major county facility....

The public should be aware of what is going on at a county facility supposedly operated in the public interest. Doubling fees for families of young figure skaters and hockey players due to incompetence of management goes against the mission of the Civic Center.

I'm not sure how packed your schedule is during the next week, but thought to get in touch again.

Happy New Year; may the Crotch-Grabber-in-Chief be impeached... and may all of us be proud of our country again,

Joanne
http://www.JoanneMichaels.com

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From: Joanne Michaels <jmichaels2@hvc.rr.com> 

To: Joel Tyner <joeltyner@earthlink.net>
Subject: LETTER TO RED CROSS CEO and Regional Director re HONORING A DISHONORABLE PERSON at May 10th dinner
Date: Apr 10, 2018 9:35 PM

THIS LETTER WAS HAND-DELIVERED on March 28, 2018 to Gary Striar and sent to the NATIONAL CEO of the AMERICAN RED CROSS, Gail McGovern, in Washington D.C. All citizens of Dutchess County who are concerned about the deterioration of the Mid-Hudson Civic Center over the past year will be interested in reading it:

GARY STRIAR
REGIONAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
NEW YORK STATE RED CROSS
33 Everett Road
Albany, New York (BY HAND—MARCH 28, 2018)

Dear Gary Striar,

We, the undersigned, learned your are honoring Danielle Marxer Anderson at your annual dinner Thursday, May 10, 2018. As citizens of the Hudson Valley who have skated for several years at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center and/or Ice Time in Newburgh (and have children who have participated in skating programs at both venues), we are seriously concerned.

Since Danielle Marxer Anderson took over management of these two facilities in 2017, several fine, diligent people who have worked at these ice rinks for years have been unjustly fired or forced to resign due to her gross incompetence. Her decision to practically double fees for the 2017-2018 season, with virtually no notice to parents, placed an undue financial burden on several families with children skating at these facilities: most reluctantly dropped out of the youth skating programs which have dwindled.

A number of faithful patrons over many years (adult skaters) have simply stopped skating at both facilities and now skate in Saugerties, despite the additional distance and travel time. The deterioration of this facility is an enormous loss for the community and the City of Poughkeepsie. It is diametrically opposed to the mission of the Mid-Hudson Civic Center as a community resource.

Additionally, a serious matter has come to our attention regarding Danielle Marxer Anderson withdrawing funds from a mentally disabled woman’s bank account when she was employed by the Lutheran Care Home in Poughkeepsie (a police report from June 2016 is attached to this letter with the particulars and dates of the withdrawals from TD BANK). Anderson kept this money and used some of these funds to repay a personal HELOC loan.

At the Police Hearing, held in Orange County, NY, Danielle Marxer Anderson’s husband, Dutchess County Sheriff Butch Anderson, stated he would make restitution of the $10,052.00 she removed from Victoria Stanton Amberger’s bank account.

IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY THE SHERIFF WOULD DO THIS VOLUNTARILY UNLESS THERE WAS WRONGDOING. HOWEVER, TO DATE, DESPITE HIS PROMISE TO MAKE RESTITUTION, THIS MONEY HAS NOT BEEN REPAID BY SHERIFF ANDERSON. Ms. Amberger, who has an IQ of 63, has no recourse to obtain what was taken from her.

You should also know Danielle Marxer Anderson once organized a fundraiser for herself after telling people she had cancer and needed the money for treatment. Several people in Dutchess County donated funds to her. IT IS A FACT SHE NEVER HAD CANCER. The money was NEVER RETURNED to those who “donated” under false pretenses.

We know the Red Cross is a pillar of the community and protects and provides comfort to those in dire circumstances. Our experience and knowledge of Danielle Marxer Anderson are contrary to these principles of high integrity. We are extremely concerned honoring this woman will damage the Red Cross’s reputation as the facts highlighted in this letter (and attached Police Report) are shared in a wider platform to the entire Hudson Valley community—and the world—in an online petition.

We urge you to reconsider holding this event: your reputation is at stake.

Sincerely,
In Alphabetical Order:

Alison Gregor—figure skater—Poughkeepsie
William Hiemcke—hockey skater—Poughkeepsie
Janice Hendricks—figure skater with daughter who skates in Poughkeepsie
Joanne Michaels—figure skater—Poughkeepsie & Newburgh
Joann Papcinski—daughter figure skates in Newburgh
Jennifer Thompson—figure skater, Poughkeepsie
Joel Tyner—(Dutchess County Legislature)
Ann C. W.—figure skater, Poughkeepsie

ATTACHMENT—Police Report

 



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