Correcting the Record: Hatchet-hurling Location Correction

PORT JERVIS, N.Y. — Yes you read the tile correctly. Viking Hatchet Hurling, Inc. is coming to the city of Port Jervis. At least it hopes to make Jersey Avenue its home.

The proposed B.Y.O.B. event venue is planning to make the former Port Jervis Marketplace its home. The vacant old Save-a-Lot by Family Dollar is in a mainly residential area, but optimistically diagonally across from the Venture Inn.

Sounds like an adventure waiting to happen. We’ll see how the new Open Container law in progress fits with this plan as well as the new promenade by the Fox N Hare Brewery.


Mirrors for Mayors: The Press, Opinion, and Freelance Writers

PORT JERVIS, N.Y. — Less than a week after his hopeful State of the City Address for a Port Jervis “that still needs nurturing to succeed,” Mayor Kelly Decker has, as many in the city would characterize, came out of his face.

Monday, in a letter-made-public-rebuttal on his Facebook Page, to a Sunday piece by the Times Herald-Record under the editorial tagline “Our Opinion,” entitled “A methadone clinic is not a crime scene,” Decker not only calls out the Record’s editor, Barry Lewis but also calls the newspaper in.


While plausible arguments are made by the Port Jervis Mayor, he goes on to completely flout arguments such as this one:

“Numbers, percentages, and statistics can be skewed in many different ways depending on the presenter’s angle.”

Mayor Kelly Decker

By leading with this aside before what should be the meat and potatoes staple of his argument, Decker builds up a strawman, an easy target to set ablaze. A simple reframing to make the dominoes fall easier, per se.

Nonetheless, those dominoes fall in both directions.


As Decker goes on to “assert that [Lewis’s] math is wrong” he has already given readers contrary to his viewpoint an out. Whatever math he cited, became all methed up, when he cast doubt upon mathematics as a whole prior to playing the Texas sharpshooter. He lost those that he needed on his side as he attacked the publication.

Yes, the letter was “a response” to the editor of the Times Herald-Record, Lewis, regardless, here a few factors that make this more of a political attack:
  1. It was an opinion piece, and as such, didn’t necessarily merit such an official response as taking to the Elected Official Page that his Facebook is. Perhaps simply a letter-made-public-rebuttal on his personal page would have sufficed.
  2. Decker’s political, elected official position put him at a disadvantage for a fair fight against the editor of a counterbalance of government.
  3. Decker’s logical argumentation in his letter is riddled with fallacies.

Lewis, the editor of the Times Herald-Record deals in a world of changing opinions and changing headlines. It’ll be perceived as a political attack from the Mayor’s office not only because of these three factorss but most of all because of public opinion.


One: Opinion

In the end, shouldn’t matter to the Mayor, as many who read opinion pieces have already made up their minds, they’ve already voiced their own opinions and they have already signed their positions’ petitions.

“Once formed,” the researchers observed dryly, “impressions are remarkably perseverant.”

The New Yorker, Feb. 27, 2017


Two: Authority

Now the inseparable quality of their positions immediately puts Decker at a disadvantage: Mayor of Port Jervis versus Editor of the Times Herald-Record. Not a pretty fight. Nor a fair fight.

Though it didn’t have to be a bout.

The majority of Port Jervis constituents would likely agree, that Donald J. Trump as President could teach mayoral successors a thing or two about responding to the media:

  • When put into a defensive position, don’t show it:
    Deny, deny, deny.
  • When refuting statements, as there’s no option for denial: use keywords that fire up your base and monosyllabic words and arguments that are guaranteed to win public opinion.


Don’t do as Decker did. But don’t do any of the above either. The media is wise to it all. Readers, listeners, and viewers, too.

Not responding at all, would have been the denial. Yet, Decker chose to tear off his suit, snap his Port Pride singlet and dive headstrong into the muddied ring for a political King-of-the-Hill match.


Three: Logic

Although the location has already been ruled out, there were, and still are, three positions available in the methadone clinic debate. As a reporter, here not discussing either of the former, being of the latter position: for the clinic, against the clinic, and neither for nor against the clinic.

This writer puts aside the journalist hat now and dons the hat that she studied in college: philosophy and linguistics. Mostly philosophy as logic is delved into here past the Texas Sharpshooter data cherrypicker argument. This is the writer’s playground, and those in politics could learn from this and avoid unnecessary future debate and compunction.

Editor of the Times Herald-Record, Barry Lewis: making positions for the cure of addiction, for the clinic.

Mayor of Port Jervis, Kelly Decker, coming from a position of the war on drugs: on record, against the clinic.

While most readers opposite to Decker’s view may stop at his first paragraph, they’re surprisingly not alone. Even those that agree that a methadone clinic is unnecessary in the city stop at the argument that he presents. It’s a no true Scotsman argument that precedes a genetic argument.



A genetic argument is one that means most of the following logic relies upon the first clause. That first clause here is an argument similar to an ad hominem, or an attack on one’s character rather than their argument: it’s a no true Scotsman argument. It’s an argument that focuses on the purity of one’s position, which sounds a lot like Nikki Minaj.

That’s not even including the child-human shield appeal to emotion argument ending the tu quoque “Let’s begin with this question” paragraph where the critique is turned 180 from Decker to Lewis.

“What do you know about Port Jervis? Clearly, you hardly know nothing about us at all! Except for one public forum about the opioid epidemic in our community, you have been non-existent in this community for at least the last 4 years. You didn’t even have the decency to respond to an email that I sent to you back on June 12, 2017 that said how dismayed I was with your paper and their lack of coverage for our Soap Box Derby. This is a kid-friendly event that brings thousands of people to our city each year and there was not one mention of it in your paper. However, now you feel compelled to write about a free or reduced pay clinic that wants come to our city? Your priorities are clearly miscued.”

Mayor Kelly Decker

To the point within the no true Scotsman argumentation by Decker, I have to insert my agreement. Indeed, the newspaper requires more coverage of the “city that is on the move.” If it’s of any solace to either party in this regard, I offer my services as a freelance writer and reporter.

Paragraph Two

Again, Nikki Minaj. Since she’s so relevant here, enjoy a video:

The following paragraph is the foremost example of the Texas Sharpshooter logical fallacy. The one referenced above is a muddled example to heat up the conversation about logic. Decker would have been better off simplifying this letter down to, or at least, leading with this second sentence in his fifth paragraph:

“I have never said ‘No.’ I said put it in a medical facility, especially one with detox and mental health.”

Mayor Kelly Decker

Decker may have also done very well leading with the knowledge that he personally has. Rather than trying to chop up the data that was served against him. For instance, without condescension:

“… your [claim] that I am making the situation more dangerous. […] it’s called Mens Rea, or the guilty mind of criminal intent, and then acting on that criminal intent is Actus Reus. The majority of Cornerstone’s clientele are heroin attacks. Heroin is illegal. [….] Therefore, these patients not only have Mens Rea but also Actus Reus and those are the people I don’t want invited to our city […]”

Mayor Kelly Decker

The next few paragraphs are called a bandwagon argument. It’s not that critical and really only acts as a public support rallying cry. Trump is great at using this, however, Decker should steer clear of it, and stick to the simplest of facts. He doesn’t need to reassert his position as an elected official in this way, especially not so deep into an already messy argument, but perhaps could have opened with some of his own facts rather than refuting those offered by Lewis.

Before his closing paragraph, he sets up a nice strawman argument against the Editor. The alcohol and criminality strawman. If the Mayor had used alcohol and criminality statistics, along with his own facts, in a second paragraph, he would have solidified a solid logical argument.

In closing, Decker uses another purity, or, no true Scotsman argument. He follows it with my favorite logical fallacy: the loaded question. This writer is going to do him a service, free of charge: reorganize and rescue what can be in a whole new letter:


Letter to the Editor:
re: “A methadone clinic is not a crime scene.”

For starters, “I have never said ‘No.’ I said put [the methadone clinic] in a medical facility, especially one with detox and mental health.”

“Your [claim] that I am making the situation more dangerous [is unfounded…] It’s called Mens Rea, or the guilty mind of criminal intent, and [to then act] on that criminal intent is Actus Reus. The majority of Cornerstone’s clientele are heroin [addicts]. Heroin is illegal. [….] Therefore, these patients not only have Mens Rea but also Actus Reus[,] and those are the people I don’t want [to be] invited to our city[.]”

“[I invite you to hire more reporters for our growing city to see that there’s more than only an] opioid epidemic in our community[. For instance, there could be more coverage of city revenue-driving events, such as] our Soap Box Derby. This is a kid-friendly event that brings thousands of people to our city each year[.]”

Short and sweet.

Power in Numbers: Second Port Common Council Meeting

PORT JERVIS, N.Y. — Of words disyllabic and greater used in repetition at the Monday, Jan. 22, Common Council meeting,  petition was the word on the mouths of many.


The meeting started off to a great start with a reflection on the last meeting when the first local law of the year was passed.

The wrong local law.

The Trade Shops Law while requiring no remaining work in committee was originally preceded by a Sandwich Boards law. The latter still required committee attention. Therefore, it was a happy mistake remedied with a vote to pass the same first local law.


This followed quickly with a Public Comment period of five minutes per person. A line had surely formed in the minds of those residents that were speaking. There were many present with something to present, namely petitions.

As many residents and councilpeople had expected, the methadone clinic debate was taken to the podium. However, before sides were presented, Kurt Daniels asked for more information regarding what the Mayor knew about the impending clinic.  From there Denise Conklin Billman presented her case for it and then William Mann and another, against it.

[Article on the subject, forthcoming.]


After the methadone clinic section of the Public Comment line, Jill Lindner delivered her experience of canvassing the Fourth Ward in support of her idea for a community garden. Her petition garnered 52 signatures and volunteers. After she had finished it was back to business as usual without comments from the Council regarding the community garden plan.

[Here’s the full story behind the petition.]



  1. A “pre-audit” will be underway starting January 23.
  2. The Tri-State Bridge project is almost completely funded, with only another $7-8 million needed to be raised.
  3. County Shared Services update will be this next Common Council meeting.
  4. 15 Second Street, similar to the firehouse had to be demolished and have asbestos removed.
  5. A Resolution for funding of travel costs Incurred by the City Assessor as they commute for education
  6. There was a Longevity Calculation error in the Police Benevolence Association (PBA) contracts.
  7. A Resolution to sell surplus firehouse equipment was passed.
  8. Approved the Waiving of Education Fees to certify a Department of Public Works employee.
  9. Approved the removal of trees along Main Street in accordance with the New York State Department of Transportation Roadways Expansion program.
  10. Christmas Trees will cease to be picked up by Department of Public Works after this week.
  11. Mayor Kelly Decker made quite a few appointments to committees, the full list will be updated in a separate article and linked here, after appointments are approved.cropped-1cd0e-22637633_137440200232384_6089219884250562560_n.jpg

Former Cuomo Aide Indicted for CPV Bribery

NEW YORK — Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. a court proceeding began that has many Orange County residents and some from Sullivan Co. protesting, as well as citizens across the state concerned.

A former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Joseph Percoco, is finally seeing trial over a year after a subpoena calling for his indictment on the charges of accepting bribes for official favors.

Organizations such as Food and Water Watch – New York, Concerned Citizens for the Hudson Valley, and Protect Orange County organized to further call attention to these charges, the corruption of Albany and the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) plant transporting fracked gas into the Hudson Valley.

The bribes, from 2012 to 2014, as well as in 2015, recurringly came bank accounts set up by a shell company of Todd Howe, a lobbyist who first met Percoco and Cuomo while he was working Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo. Howe is now cooperating with prosecutors after having pleaded guilty to multiple felonies of a similar nature in September 2016.

Activists in the region are pointing to a particular instance when CPV paid over $287,000 to Percoco. Former CPV executive, Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr. was charged with arranging the payments. Now, Protect Orange County, wants to see the CPV fracked gas-fired plant removed from the Hudson Valley, and they aren’t alone.

The trial is expected to be ongoing for the next four to six weeks. Syracuse developers, COR Development executives Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, were also charged in the Percoco trial, as well as another, for their arrangement of nearly $35,000 in payments to help with economic development.

Susan Lerner, Common Cause Executive Director, believes that the evidence in the trial will “be eye-opening for the public” in terms of the “pay-to-play aspects” of government economic decision-making.

The trial is being held at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in Foley Square in New York City. Many have already gathered in protest. Footage from Protect Orange County’s Facebook Live feed is below.

The Buffalo News reporter Tom Precious said Saturday that the “Percoco corruption trial is as much about Cuomo as it is the defendants.” In the article, Executive Director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), Blair Horner, agrees with Lerner that prosecutors are “going to illustrate Albany’s pay-to-play culture, and it’s not going to be pretty for New Yorkers to see.”

Assemblyman Ray Walter, an Amherst Republican, takes it a step further.

“I think we’re going to see the inner workings of the Cuomo administration and how the economic development model he’s developed as governor leads to this type of corruption,” he said.

Tom Precious, The Buffalo News. Jan. 20, 2018

Chair of Protect Orange County, Pramilla Malick, has not yet responded to calls for comment. To be Updated as the trial continues.

2018’s Port Jervis Women’s March

PORT JERVIS, N.Y.  — Yesterday, Saturday, Jan. 20, over 200 individuals came in respects to sister marches happening across the state, and around the nation, in solidarity with disempowered women and especially those most at-risk with the current Presidential Administration.

“Ignite people into action.”

Patty Baughman

St_PetersAt the St Peter’s Lutheran Church in Port Jervis an estimated 250 individuals gathered for the first anniversary of the March. Last year, in sheer protest of President Trump’s inauguration, 800 demonstrators, according to organizer Patty Baughsman, packed the streets for the 1.5-mile march through Port Jervis. This year, in respect to those less able to make the hike, the March route was cut short to a tenth of a mile, with handfuls staying behind at the Church.

Get another idea of what it was like here.

Here you’ll find the top five greatest signs at Port’s Women’s March.

First organized, last year, as the brain-baby of her friend, Gaye Hartwig, the March was pulled together by Baughman a week before the event.

In addition to suggesting the work of Sojourners, a faith and political organization in Washington, D.C., when asked what Hartwig would hope people took away from what she had to say Saturday, she answered that it could be summed up by verse:

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:40, New International Version

A half-dozen women spoke across several topics all including the importance of getting involved, supporting those that are marginalized, and of course, getting out the vote. Pastor Aaron Baughman closed the preceding speeches before the event-goers moved to the street to demonstrate and protest.

The women who spoke ranged from members of the Church and the community to local activists and politicians. After Patty Baughman opened the floor this was the lineup:

  • Gaye Hartwig
  • Aileen Gunther — New York Assemblywoman  D-Forestburgh (keynote speaker)
  • Melissa Martin — full-time mother and community activist
  • Pramilla Malick — Protect Orange County Chair, and a recent candidate for office
  • Julika von Stackelberg — Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County, Parenting and Family Life Educator
  • Michele McKeon — RECAP, Chief Operating Officer

Audio samples, so that you can be there without being there, and transcriptions, for continued discussion, forthcoming.

An Ending Note here:

It was interesting to see many women, children, and men (sadly no doggos tho) wearing pink, eared hats. The Pussyhat (like “pussycat”) as a number of ralliers had relayed, including member of the local activist group DemBones, Linda Louise, that the hat was a response to “grab them by the pussy,” a statement made by Donald Trump as “locker room talk” prior to the 2016 Presidential race.  However, this topic was avoided in the recent Times Herald-Record article about the event, avoiding the controversy of the word. Louise commented that the hat is to fight back against the misogyny of Trump, and not to perpetuate transmisogyny as someone she follows on Twitter, Tamela J Gordon, believes.

This post is in addition to Silence and Strategy, the Weekly Photo Challenge by the Daily Post, as well as their Daily Prompt, respectively.




Port: 2018’s First Common Council Meeting

 PORT JERVIS, N.Y.— Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall at 20 Hammond St, regular Common Council meeting hours began again for the new year.

A familiar face returned: Dominick Santini IV. The Port Jervis Republican who ran in 2017 for the First Ward replaced the city’s resigned predecessor, Sarah Hendry whose comments on leaving can be found here.

“I too would like to welcome my new partner in crime.” 

Regis Foster


Save-a-Lot and nail salon are both coming
to the strip mall by Burger King and Rite Aid,
by Mar. 31 of this year.

Kelly Decker

After the youth report, a short discussion about dog parks in the city, the “Great American” building’s progress report and the Christkindlmarket discourse between Mayor Kelly Decker and a resident, public comment concluded with a reading of a seven-minute open letter to the city, elected officials, and most of all, the Fourth Ward.

2017 Fourth Ward candidate for Common Council and local activist Jill Lindner read the letter during her time at the podium for public comment. In her piece, she outlined the benefits and importance of a community-owned garden that not only revitalizes the aesthetic of a neighborhood but would educate and feed neighbors, making an area taken off the tax rolls worthwhile in doing so. You can read the full letter here, courtesy of Ms. Lindner and

What can’t be read in Lindner’s letter, yet she spoke of at the meeting, was that residents of the Fourth Ward who she had spoken to about the idea, were in support of not allowing the Salvation Army to simply purchase the plot and remove it from the tax rolls. Lindner also said that the North Street community garden in the Fourth Ward, that Siegel had suggested later in the meeting was slated for clearing, to make room for the Waterpark Project, and that the garden idea had been receiving a negative spin from the representative since her meeting with Decker and Lisa Randazzo, urging her to consider the Front and Seward cross street corner property which is planned to be demolished.

“Not sure that site would be in the best interest of anybody.”

Stanley Siegel


Following the outset of the meeting with public comment, minutes were approved and the council jumped right into committee reports. Beginning with Siegel and following to pay the bills ($296,913.29) with the Third Ward’s very own Finance and Insurance Liaison, Kristin Trovei concluding with numerous. resolutions of gov housekeeping.

  1. Designating Officers
  2. Newspapers, Radio & Television — The Times Herald-Record is where official documents will be publicly published.
  3. Banking and Depositories
  4. Standard Workday and Reporting for Retirement Benefits
  5. Dual Signature Requirement for Disbursements
  6. Community Development Agency Shared Service

Full resolution documents or details
should be made available through the city website.

Of notable news, Christmas tree pickup is continuing, parking is still blocked from streets until Apr. 1, as well as the Department of Public Works pickup calendar — should similarly be made available through the city website. Additionally approved during the report by George Belcher, councilman for the Second Ward, were the project resolutions for the bridge over the Neversink River and roadway to the city line. A multi-million-dollar cross-funded project to re-engineer the highly trafficked street.

Regis Foster, a councilman for the First Ward, reported for the Police Committee and rattled off several impressive policing statistics.

Mayor Decker moreover updated the council on an upcoming Deerpark-Port Jervis Annexation meeting. “The old Dick’s Concrete” location is to be annexed by the city. This meeting will certainly be covered by this journalist. 

The State of the City Address
is set to be held
in the Council Chambers,
January 24



Afterword a section called old business was held, in it, many condolences were expressed to Councilman-at-Large, David Bavoso. His family is in a period of bereavement. Many “well wishes” came from roughly everyone.

Port Jervis is “a community
and there’s always something to rally around.”

David Bavoso

Besides in old business, Fourth Ward Common Council representative Stanley Siegel, regarding the award ceremony for the Patriot Pen, Voice of Democracy contest at the VFW Naval Ship said that it was “really great,” with youth speaking about democracy, “to listen to their vision of America.” Port Jervis not only has been hosting the event since 1970 but the venue is the only one like it in the country confirmed by Decker and Siegel.

Siegel ended his OB segment with a note on local activism. On Saturday, “two dozen” people met to protest for an accessible train station, with Siegel calling on Senator Chuck Schumer directly to no avail. He also had a note an upcoming taxpayer’s group with details coming in the following days, and an update on the warming station which needs volunteers and supplies.

This journalist is also a recognized Voice of Democracy, receiving commemoration for her Patriot Pen January 17, 2010.

Fun Fact About the Author


Document Request or Tip?

2 Women Dead in Warwick Car Accident

Police say four people were inside the car when it rolled over into a yard. The two women were pronounced dead at the scene, while the two men were taken to area hospitals.

via Two Women Dead After Crash In Orange County, New York — CBS New York