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Crazy year, 2010. Sitting here gazing backward, it’s tempting to try to make one of those end-of-the-year Top Ten lists, sorting twelve months into ten moments, an ultimately unsatisfying enterprise for any who attempt it. So much crap this year: the oil spill, Haiti earthquake, the Tea Party phenomenon. And more to come: at this moment, Republican senators have unanimously signed a letter to the President, stating that they won’t consider anything—at all—until all folks are allowed to keep their Bush tax cuts. This while denying unemployment payouts and talking about raising the Social Security retirement age. The head-sized dent in my keyboard deepens…

But, aha! There’s also been some good news. Thanks to the tenacity of informed New Yorkers working the phones, the moratorium (until May of next year) on hydrofracking passed the state Senate and Assembly with a solid majority. Regardless of your opinions about hydrofracking—where deep oil shale formations are fractured by explosion, and billions of gallons of chemically-laced water injected to harvest natural gas—it has become increasingly clear that research about its long-term effects require more independent study. It’s only a temporary stay, but the point is that if you’re loud enough, your representative might actually hear you. We’ll have to be especially loud with Governor Cuomo and the Senate/Assembly this coming May, because the oil companies—and their paid hacks and flacks—will be screaming.

Want more good news? We’ve got some right here in your hands. One thing that hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years is how hard it is to be an independent dairy farmer, where the price the milk industry pays for milk is LESS than the cost of production. The farmers at Hudson Valley Fresh decided to buck that trend, and formed a co-op with the idea of selling high quality milk at its actual real-world price, doing their own marketing, production, and distribution. Turns out that folks don’t mind paying a little extra, the business is a success. See our Roll Community section this month for more.

And we caught a lucky break this month, getting some personal face time with the irrepressible Wavy Gravy, who has a new documentary coming out, courtesy of Hudson Valley director/filmmaker Michelle Esrick. While many of his Merry Prankster/Woodstock 60s peers spun off into either the straight world or hippie oblivion, Wavy morphed into his now-famous clown persona—he had found out early on that cops had a hard time bashing on a clown, or being seen doing so anyway—and continued doing good works for others, bringing “positivity” all around the world. He’ll be at Upstate Films in Woodstock for the screening (12/11, 4 PM).

You want even more? You came to the right place. We’ve expanded our website to include video of our featured artists. Our listings go to great lengths to include everyone and everything that’s happening in the area. And we have some plans for the new year…oh, we’re just getting started with this Roll thing, folks.

But we are making one big change right off the bat that we need you to know about. One of the main things we hear from Roll readers is that people prefer their monthly magazines to come out on the first of the month.

So the next issue of Roll you will see will be on February 1st, 2011. We will be keeping the online calendar updated in the interim, so bookmark, where you can check listings both by town and by date. (Please note the listing deadline will be January 15.)

We’d like to wish a Very Happy Holiday to you and yours, from all of us at Roll, and Best Wishes for 2011. We’re gonna definitely make 2011 an improvement on 2010, which really shouldn’t be too hard—with your help, Dear Reader. See you February 1st!

Cheers, Ross Rice
Editor, Roll Magazine

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