croton blog for croton-on-hudson new york

The Beginning of the End? Or Is It the End of the Beginning?

September 14, 2008

We at Crotonblog apologize for the extended hiatus from publishing that occurred during the past month. As it turned out, we never made it to Paris or even la plage at Deauville. In fact, we never got closer to any plage other than one on Cape Cod. Sun and sand and the cleansing vistas of a serene Plymouth Bay from the windswept dunes of the Cape invited reflection.

We had a lot to reflect on. Crotonblog first saw the light of day on January 14, 2005. That’s 1,358 days or three years and 245 long days ago. We made a few mistakes (we like to call them missteps) since then. But we also learned something about the perils of publishing. Our intention when we started Crotonblog was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Some of the stories we reported had unforeseen results and seem to have “stirred up the animals,” as an unhappy zookeeper might say.

We’ll spare readers a detailed inventory of some of the incidents we have experienced that might make the milk of human kindness turn sour in anybody.

We could continue with this doleful recital, but we think you get the idea. Can we be blamed for thinking that the bloom has gone off the rose?

Perhaps readers will understand why we have spent the past month trying to decide whether the game is worth the candle. We are simply not bold enough to allow our decision to be based on the turn of a card or the toss of a coin. Two readers have already given us a glimmer of encouragement in their comments to our piece about Crotonblog’s vacation. Another longtime reader and contributor sent us an e-mail describing how much he misses Crotonblog.

So, we leave the future of Crotonblog to Croton’s citizens of good will. We’re not asking you to tell us that you love us. The big question is: Despite cowardly attempts at intimidation that are bound to continue, should we resume publication of Crotonblog? Please tell us: What would you do?

On October 3, 2008 9:37 AM, crotonmomof3 said:

I really miss you.

On October 1, 2008 9:59 PM, Mrs. Smith said:

I am not sure where your thinking might be right now, and understand how hard it is to deal with total stupidity when it comes to inappropriateness in dealings with your family, but boy, do we miss the checks and balances you have brought to bear in this village. Whatever your decision is, please know that we will understand, but also know that we will have lost a great voice of reason and truth if you choose not to continue.

On September 25, 2008 9:50 AM, LizaB said:

Let me tell you about the time I got my tattoo. I thought about getting one for 23 years. Needless to say, there was much thought involved. I planned; I researched; I found a visiting Japanese master; I thought about what effect it would have on my family. The day before my appointment, an acquaintance asked me, “But what will people say?” That was the deciding vote.

This was MY decision - not anyone else’s. This was MY life - not anyone else’s.

So what it comes down to is, look in your heart. What does it say? Do you feel that your family’s well being is at risk? Yes or no? Do you feel that this is a fight worth having? Yes or no? Is it worth it? Yes or no?

You have a tremendous amount of support in the village. You have brought much to light. For many of us, Crotonblog is the measure of local truth.

I won’t name names, but I will say that I was happy to discover that a certain person who tried to take on a local government role was as reviled by others, as they were reviled by my household. I would not have known that, if it weren’t for this forum. We weren’t alone, and we weren’t nuts. We were accurate in our judgement.

Whatever your decision, my household will respect it and you for what you have brought to our community.

Thank you.

On September 21, 2008 8:50 PM, TeaDrinker said:

One item was omitted from Googler’s public documents posted here earlier about the arrest of Maria Cudequest for damaging a neighbor’s automobiles. That is, the final disposition of her case.

The record shows that on February 19, 1997, she pleaded guilty to a charge of Criminal Mischief for which she was sentenced to three years’ probation. A permanent order of protection was also issued keeping her away from her neighbors and their property. They moved to get away from her, but they still live in Croton.

She also made restitution of $8,000.00—the amount paid to the victims to cover the extensive repairs that had to be made to the automobiles she damaged. Think of all the roast chickens she orders at Mex-to-go that would buy.

Maliciously scratching the paint on your neighbors’ automobiles with a sharp instrument is not only a dumb and very unfriendly act but it is also a very expensive hobby to have. With a record like that you’d think that would be another good reason to keep a low profile in Croton or move elsewhere. My advice is, just don’t get on her mean side.

On September 18, 2008 11:10 PM, oldtimreader said:

The Croton Bloq has served very little of intrest to the public in Croton as far as I can see. A better service wouldbe to write of current evnts. Let the people know whats going on in the community as far as Sports in the schools,little league,CYO basketball and much more. How about the bands in CET,PVC and the High School. These topics are iqnored. Trashing the community and individuals has been in poor taste. The Croton Blog would not be missed. I and I’m sure others did not lose sleep without these past weeks. Adios.

On September 17, 2008 4:12 PM, TeaDrinker said:

It goes almost without saying that persons with criminal records should keep a low profile and not call attention to themselves. This includes the subject of the fascinating true crime story posted earlier on this site by someone called Googler—an incontrovertible account contained in five pages of public records. To read them in succession, readers should click on the right-pointing black triangle at the top of the first page and each succeeding page.

Keying and defacing automobiles can hardly be classed as crimes of passion. Nor are such premeditated spiteful acts usually associated with the good-neighborly village of Croton-on-Hudson. According to boosters of this undiscovered corner of paradise, its gardens are overgrown with fragrant jasmine, its shops are bursting with rare treasures, and its restaurants serve gustatorial delights. Even the sewer system carries not sewage but clover honey.

In retrospect, it surely was the height of daring—or stupidity—to choose as the victim of your malice someone who is a police officer. Understandably unhappy, the victim quietly set up a hidden surveillance camera. Its unblinking eye caught the culprit in flagrante delicto (to use a legal term meaning red-handed). The incriminating tapes revealed someone in the act of keying the victim’s other collector-grade automobiles. Even the dumbest criminal knows better than to go back and try to rob the same bank more than once.

Guess what? The perpetrator turned out to be the police officer’s next-door neighbor, Maria Cudequest, walking her dog with a leash in one hand and a sharp object in the other. Her pathetic lies and shabby, evasive attempts to deny the incontrovertible evidence of the tapes are amusing to read. We are forced to conclude that the Croton Queen of Mean’s middle name, Denise, has an extra letter in it—the letter “i.”

In 1996, Ms. Cudequest (or is it Mrs. Rooney?) was newly arrived in Croton from New York City, where apartment dwellers often live their entire lives without once speaking to the occupants of the apartment next door. Within a few short months of her arrival in Croton, she took up the unneighborly hobby of surreptitiously keying a neighbor’s automobiles—until she inadvertently found herself starring in a taped segment worthy of the Fox Network’s TV program “Cops.”

Ever since her unintended notoriety, Ms. Cudequest has been all over Croton like a bad smell, accusing local officials of malfeasance, misfeasance and every other crime short of mopery. Her strident pursuit of Metro Enviro and her battle to the death with them raised the suspicion that she was a lobbyist in the pay of competing waste industries. If her acts as a defacer of automobiles were not prompted by spite, could she have merely been earning a little extra pocket money in the employ of a local automobile paint shop?

More recently on the dreary NCN chat room that she now almost totally monopolizes, Ms. Cudequest has been busily engaged in portraying herself as “the conscience of Croton.” Now that we know the whole story from the revelation of these public records, maybe we should make that read “guilty conscience.”

On September 17, 2008 2:59 PM, bojangles said:

Well said Oldtimer. Sounds like excellent advice. Anyone who would stoop to the level of the putrid incidents perpetrated against the Editors and their families should be identified publicly. Any “friends or neighbors” they think they may have can then blacklist them once and for all. And Crotonblog is the best place to do that. Add me to the list of those who would hate to see Crotonblog chased away by the likes of such snakes.

An additional point to consider — why haven’t the Mayor and Board expressed their personal outrage at these despicable acts. They must have known at least as much about these nauseating events as they pretend to know about the content of this blog. Where is the leadership?

On September 17, 2008 2:32 PM, TeaDrinker said:

My advice in Latin is the following: Illegitimati noli carborundum, which translates to “Let there not be carborunduming by the illegitimate.” In plain English, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” It’s evident that you’ve got a loyal following. Stand and fight. Crotonblog is worth fighting for.

On September 16, 2008 6:27 PM, PoliAnna said:

CrotonBlog has become an essential tool for Village communication and should definitely continue its good work. I do wish, however, that the editorial staff would refrain from baiting the tiger so often. Insulting and belittling language adds no light but a lot of heat. While it may be deserved, and while it may be the coin of the realm in the less mature parts of the blogisphere, it does detract from civility in the Village. It is not necessary in order to make the important points that the editors so often make, and it drives away many otherwise valuable contributors and readers. It is always tempting to go for the “zinger,” but a bit more editing would be helpful.

The website forum offered by the North County News offers an alternative of sorts, but the primary contributors there are so insufferably self-congratulatory that it is an unattractive resource. Please don’t go away. Croton needs you.

As for “what would I do,” I’m not sure anyone who has not been put through the ugliness which has been rained upon the Blog editors can really know the answer to that. But I would hope I might have the courage to continue, to keep the Croton police up to date, to keep the community apprised of what is being done, and to recognize that such juvenile antics are precisely that.

Somehow Croton needs to get past this appalling period in its civil life, but throwing in the towel isn’t the way to get there. No one ever said that fighting the good fight was always going to be easy.

On September 16, 2008 8:28 AM, TheRogue said:

Please dont shut down ! If you do then they have won!

On September 16, 2008 7:20 AM, Tom Moore said:

I think Crotonblog is now an important part of the infomation pool in Croton. People ask me why I subscribe to the our local paper. I say because I want to read the letters to the editor so I know what is really going on. Crotonblog is more then that.

I hope you stay and tweak the style a little to help your family.

On September 15, 2008 7:47 PM, weewill said:

As a long-time reader and poster I would hate to see you stop publishing. While Crotonblog was “shuttered” for the summer, village residents lost a valuable venue for providing and gaining information about things happening in our village. It’s true that in the past some people became uncomfortable reading unpleasant things about friends and neighbors. Others may not have liked hearing views opposite from their own. But that’s life. Most intelligent and open-minded people embrace differences.

The reprehensible and rotten deeds you and your family were exposed to are a whole different ball game. The sick minds who dreamed up these vile, ugly and nasty “pranks” need to be exposed. Further, if the cowards names are published they may be reminded of some ancient wisdom.

1) If you want to dance, you must pay the fiddler, 2) Do the crime and you must serve the time, 3) Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to read on the front page of a newspaper.

We need you Crotonblog. Unfortunately your Editors have taken the bullets for the rest of us/ Know that we appreciate it and will support your final decision, be it a yea or nay.

On September 15, 2008 5:00 PM, TeaDrinker said:

I am also having major problems logging into my TypeKey account.

It is unfortunate to have to deal with small minded people who cannot express themselves through honest discourse and debate, instead relying on intimidation and bullying. Nonetheless, I think that Crotonblog needs to be reflective on what caused people to react in this manner.

I am a firm believer in free speech and the service that the blog provides in invaluable to its readers. Articles on the depressing local economy to the wonderful things to enjoy about the village show how varied and informative the blog can be. That said, I feel that the blog has also behaved in a manner that has become too partisan at times and often did not hold itself accountable for articles or opinions that were mocking and disrespectful.

I am sure that a happy medium can be reached. Life is all about balance. I wouldn’t give up but a change is needed. I hope you remain and lead by example in how democratic discourse should be handled.

Mr. Red

On September 15, 2008 2:54 PM, TeaDrinker said:

I know you listed the dirty deeds committed anonymously. But I would also add the public reaming Crotonblog repeatedly got from Schmidt, Brennan and Koenig at Village Board meetings carried on TV. It was so intense that ex-Trustee Don Daubney finally had to publicly tell them to stop “wasting governmental time.” That’s another reason Crotonblog is needed. To keep them honest.

On September 15, 2008 1:36 PM, mid said:

I missed this blog while you were on hiatus and checking it every day in Sept to see if it was back up. I viewed the other blog and was frustrated so many times by the unrealistic comments. As a resident of this village, I want to be informed about the good as well as the bad that happens around town. I want to read a story and draw my own conclusions. I grew up in this village, moved away for 5 years and returned to raise my own family and I am ashamed of the intolerant behavior that has been inflicted upon you. I really enjoy everything about CrotonBlog, but I can understand where you are coming from. I hope you can find a way to continue.

On September 15, 2008 10:43 AM, TeaDrinker said:

I was trying to post this as a comment, but for some reason Typekey did not let me sign in.

We have had our differences in the past and I expect we will in the future. That notwithstanding, I strongly urge you NOT to abandon the Crotonblog effort. To do so now, after the outrageous attacks you have suffered at the hands of our intolerant and paranoid Village administration, would be a tragedy. You cannot let our Mayor defeat you in this way—because if he does the true losers will be the people of Croton.

While I can happily do without the vitriol of some of your anonymous posters, your reporting is first rate and easily surpasses the incompetence, bias and inattention of your print competitors.

There are bad things going on in our little community, and you are often the only one who documents them. No, I don’t love you. But I don’t think we can do without you.

Seth Davis

On September 14, 2008 9:05 PM, TeaDrinker said:

Since KWilly wrote about her in a previous comment, follows is a 1996 arrest record for one Maria Denise Cudequest of 84 Grand Street, Croton-on-Hudson, that I found after a recent Internet search.

My, my.

Arrest Sheet - Get more Legal Forms

On September 14, 2008 8:39 PM, waffels said:

Devils Advocate………..Bravo, well spoken……

On September 14, 2008 8:10 PM, Devil's Advocate said:

Crotonblog has become such a critical platform for the residents of Croton to hash out political issues that its absence would be a major step backward for this village. You have been SORELY missed over the last month!

However the safety and well being of your family must take top priority. I do not feel that given what you have been subjected to, any clear thinking person could blame you in the least for throwing in the towel.

Perhaps the formula for balancing your and your family’s well being with the incredible value you bring to the village is to continue but to report the stories important to the village in a non-bias, non-partisan way. Crotonblog writers are INCREDIBLY TALENTED and entertaining. Use that talent to break down and communicate complex issues of importance to the village in a way that the laymen can understand, and let the posters take positions on the issue. If you want to weigh in with your personal opinion, post anonymously as everyone else does.

I really hope you continue. Crotonblog with a couple of simple tweaks will without a doubt be the most influencial and important communications medium in this village. Only Crotonblog can engage so many in the political process that would never have the time or desire to participate otherwise.

On September 14, 2008 6:36 PM, KWilly said:

I don’t know what I would do because I don’t have to put up with the abuse that the owners of CrotonBlog have to put up with everyday, but here is why it is important for the CrotonBlog to stay open:

1) We need CrotonBlog to uncover things that are happening in Village Government that have gone unnoticed.

2) We need CrotonBlog to continue to be a consistent voice of opposition to the Greg Schmidt & Maria Cudequest agenda

3) We need CrotonBlog to make sure that the mayor can’t stonewall the Harmon Business Development Committee without going unnoticed

4) We need CrotonBlog because it does the investigations that the rest of the media won’t initiate.

5) We need CrotonBlog to provide residents who don’t subscribe to Maria Cudequest’s talking points a place to participate in the discussion of our Village Government

Kevin W. Davis

On September 14, 2008 6:26 PM, crotonmomof3 said:

I missed you when you were away. Your absence made my heart grow fonder, and made me realize how much I have come to depend on you for accurate and timely information about our little world.

When I was a child I was occasionally harassed for my parents’ political activities. It was not always easy, but it was well worth it. I was very proud of my parents, and I felt like I was part of their brave struggles to make things better for everyone.

Hang in there!

On September 14, 2008 3:56 PM, dors said:

Of course you should continue with this blog. I’ve never been a proponent of turning the other cheek and if you fold your tent and walk away ‘they’ win. There’s no guarantee if you close shop you’d be free from harrassment and idiot alcoholics. My concern is for your children but there has to be protocol to deal with stupid parents and their children. Please try and hang on for the sake of we sane, informed, and humorous Crotonites who desperately want you to hold your course.

On September 14, 2008 1:21 PM, waffels said:

Please, Please, Please… are an incredibly valuable resource and just so much damn fun……don’t go anywhere………Please!


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