Monthly Archives: July 2013

Betty and the Baby Boomers


This is Folk Music at its best! Betty and the Baby Boomers delivered at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park on Saturday evening. This Hudson Valley group of musicians/environmental educators have been perfecting harmonies and delivering their message of peace and ecology for over 25 years. Betty Boomer, Steve Stanne, Jean Valla-McAvoy, Paul Rubeo and Robert Bard brought a repertoire of classic Folk songs, river songs and some original material.

This blogger is a fan of the Boomers first album I’ll Always Sing and the group performed a few songs from that album including Jean’s beautiful rendition of Caledonia that brings tears to my eyes. A bit of local history, the song Bright Mohawk Valley performed by the group was written right here and adopted by many other places. The song appears in sheet music, titled In the Bright Mohawk Valley, printed in New York in 1896 with James J. Kerrigan as the writer. It later became popular as Red River Valley.

Near the end of their second set the Boomers expertly performed Pete Seeger’s classic peace song Turn, Turn, Turn. For a special treat, the Boomers brought along Lynn Saoirse, a harpist from Connemara in County Galway, who not only played a song with the band but also played duets with both Stanne and McEvoy.

It was great seeing old friends that I had not talked with for over 20 years. The time just melts away, like it never happened.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Grand Slambovians


The rain fell last evening cooling off the hot summer air just in time for The Grand Slambovians to perform at the Greater Amsterdam Riiverlink Park. AKA Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams, their music is being called everything from hillbilly Pink Floyd to psychedelic folk music. They truly entertained a very receptive crowd with music and storytelling.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,

A Provincial Reply


This post continues the ongoing unharmonious discourse between the Buddhist World Peace and Health Organization and the Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville, NY.

As we learned in my earlier posts Help, Belgarde Bug Out, Buddhists Move Forward Despite Jesuit Road Blocks, and  Jesuit Blocks Entrance to Buddhist Temple, Priest George H. Belgarde, S.J. has harassed the Buddhist group by erecting crude roadblocks on every conceivable entrance to the Buddhist compound and even interfering with road construction of the Buddhist owned Freedom Road.

There were problems caused by the blockade on Shrine Road including the stoppage of mail and package delivery. GPS systems brought visitors down Shrine Road only to find the road blocked. Crude signage and crime scene tape with no trespassing signs were not a very welcoming sight to visitors. The threat of arrest by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for Buddhists who set foot on Shrine property (that is otherwise open to the public), sort of upsets the peaceful nature of the setting and the people.

Attempts to resolve the issue through local elected officials failed with not one willing to touch the politically sensitive issue. Jenny Wong, the WPHO spokesperson sent a letter to the previous Jesuit Director, Father Peter Murray, S.J. with whom the Buddhists has a very harmonious relationship  that resulted in the following response,

Jennie: I did receive your letter. Thanks for that and for this reminder here, this Email, but here’s the problem:
I am no longer in charge at Auriesville, and have to  be careful not to speak out since I don’t know all the angles and needs, new problems, etc. So I must pause at the present time.
Maybe we can talk someday by phone. . .BUt at present, I must   not write any notes of “support” etc. But, I shall pray for you! I hope the rough situation can be made better, soon.
Father Murray SJ  (Very busy in Buffalo).
Jenny then sent an impassioned letter to Father Belgarde’s immediate supervisor, Provincial David S. Ciancimino, S.J. requesting his intercession. On July 17, 2013 Jennie received the following reply:
Jesuit reply received on July 17,2013

Apparently the Provincial has been lied to misled by Father Belgarde. Shrine Road is still blocked and access to the Buddhist Temple from Shrine Road is not possible because of both the barricade and threat of arrest initiated by Belgarde. This is not the kind of neighborly stance expected.

Barricade on Shrine Road photo courtesy of WPHO

Barricade on Shrine Road
photo courtesy of WPHO

A hearing in Montgomery County Supreme Court today established that an agreement between the parties was not possible and dates were set for motions and discovery contemplating a trial date for the civil lawsuit of September 20, 2013, at 9:30am.

Categories: Human Rights, Law, Politics, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours


The second of the Riverlink Park Concerts spotlights Low ‘n Lonesome as the opening band with Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours as the featured band. Low ‘n Lonesome (Rob Adkins and Phil Drum) played some of the finest old-time Blues and Ragtime to be heard anywhere.

Nephew of country icon Ernest Tubb, Lucky’s style is reminiscent to the raw, original country and honky-tonk styles of the earliest Nashville artists. After touring as opening act for Dwight Yoakam, Ray Price, and Hank III, Tubb & the Modern Day Troubadours showcase their strong traditional influences that have run in the family for years.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,

Help!


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Buddhist Master Ziguang Shang Shi
Leader of the World Peace and Health Organization

Fr George Belgarde, SJ Director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs

Fr George Belgarde, SJ
Director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs

These men are religious leaders, both having reached a certain level of authority among their devoted followers. Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi and Father George Belgarde, S.J. share the same age bracket. They are neighbors living within a few hundred feet of each other but that is where the similarities end. In reality, they are just about as different as one can get. They are from different parts of the world, have greatly differing belief systems, cultures and general demeanor. The Holy Master is jovial, kind and understanding while the Jesuit is angry, hostile and rude.

The Chinese Buddhist and the American Jesuit do not communicate and it is not for lack of trying on the part of the Buddhist. My attempts to communicate with Fr. Belgarde were also rejected. We cannot know his true motive because he refuses to communicate but it seems retaliatory and childish. His intent seems evil in nature.

The frustrated Buddhists are looking for help from whoever may be able to break through this impermeable barrier and foster the hope of a peaceful solution to this ever-increasing tension and hostility they now suffer. It has affected their overall mission and outlook on the local community. They feel the sting of discrimination and prejudice. This writer is a witness to this unholy war deployed by the Jesuit against his neighbor and fellow spiritual leader. Belgarde and his maintenance worker have erected a total of three barricades, blocking all access roads to the Western Supreme Buddha Temple and residence without any explanation or warning.

The third barricade blocked an old unused access road yesterday, July 9, 2013. Yellow crime scene tape was stretched across the road with a no trespassing sign taped on a post with duct tape. This barricade came with a Montgomery County Sheriff Deputy who threatened to arrest the Buddhists for entering the Shrine’s property. The Buddhists in turn called NYS State Trooper Ramieriez who explained that once informed by a police officer, they can in fact be arrested for entering the Shrine property. Trooper Ramierez also discussed the situation with Friendship Road, an access road built by the Buddhists that was also blocked in June by Belgarde who insisted the four-year old road was partly on Shrine property according to a survey he just had done. He placed a pole in the middle of the road forcing the Buddhists to enlarge the access road.

Feeling imprisoned on their own property, the Buddhists sought help from local government officials but nobody was willing to intervene. A civil lawsuit was filed in Montgomery County Supreme Court with Judge Felix Catena proposing a meeting between the groups to settle differences. This was described in my previous post Belgarde Bug Out

The next court date is July 18, 2013 at 10:00am.

Barricade

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Friendship Road
(after widening the road)

Friendship Road

Friendship Road

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NYS Trooper Ramirez explains the situation to the Buddhists

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Old unused access road recently blocked by the Shrine.

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Statue of Christ maintained by the Buddhists for Shrine visitors who used to enjoy praying by it. Access to this memorial has been severed by Belgarde.

Dedication on the back of the Christ statue's base.

Dedication on the back of the Christ statue’s base.

The Buddhists hope NYS Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk and NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara will intercede in this matter.

Categories: Equality, Human Rights, Law, Politics, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

Rock on Amsterdam‚ĶRock on!


The Audiostars kicked off Amsterdam’s 2013 Riverlink Park Concert Series to a delightful crowd of faithful concertgoers. The band consists of J Yager on vocals and guitar, Matt Pirog on lead guitar, Chad Ploss on drums and vocals and Bobbie Van Detta on Bass and vocals. They played high energy classic rock that pleased the crowd of about 400 who were very eager to dance!

Riverlink Park looked great despite local flooding that prevented the docks from being installed. During the concert, visible debris continued to float down the Mohawk River. People were not bothered by the minor distractions and seemed happy to enjoy the outdoor event with no threat of rain! It was a great night.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , ,

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