asked on Tuesday why he decided to stay on, Rowe replied, "Because
they asked me to. This is going to be a very difficult year
with the likelihood that state aid will be reduced, and it's
a contract negotiation year with both the teaching and non-teaching
unions. It's better to get those things settled where we are.
It'll be easier and probably more productive for me to do it
than a new person."
said the board would make its final choice of superintendent
search firms this summer, when the search would begin in earnest
for an individual to take over, hopefully, the following spring,
overlapping Rowe’s tenure by a month or two for purposes of
Coleen Scanlan reported that her daughter and other Onteora
High School students have again come down with rashes and sore
throats since returning to school from the winter break. She
suspects the problems may have resulted from a reapplication
of roofing adhesive on December 23. Scanlan said two other parents
were planning to come to the board meeting to comment but had
to take their children to the doctor. Citing a Woodstock Times
article of November 7, in which trustee Tom Rosato was quoted
as saying the school would be tested for contaminants, she said,
"The school is unsafe. I want to know what testing has
been done. I asked for tests on chemicals and rodent feces,
which have never been tested, to my knowledge. And no one ever
calls me back." She also stated that when she visited the
school on December 23, adhesive was being used on the roof,
floors were being polyurethaned, and asbestos removal was taking
place, supposedly in the absence of children, but in fact there
were many students present for athletic practice.
research has shown that the product used on the roof, Sure-Seal
90-8-30-A, has been banned in California, according to OSHA,
although contractors asserted that the substance meets Federal
standards. The board’s student representative, Jennifer Ogg,
mentioned that several members of the Student Affairs Council
(SAC) had been approached by students complaining of rashes,
swollen glands and eyes, headaches, and sore throats, which
they attributed to the roof adhesive.
Judson of Turner Construction confirmed that adhesive was applied
to roof drains on December 23 during the school break, in compliance
with instructions from the board that the substance not be used
when school was in session. Scott Paske of Einhorn Yaffee Prescott
(EYP), the district’s architects, said his firm and Turner,
in decades of experience, had not encountered problems with
the adhesive. Turner's Scott Bridie said construction at the
Bennett Elementary School is several weeks behind schedule because
he is waiting for a decision on how to apply the roof before
he can proceed with indoor masonry. He has received a list of
nearby schools where the proposed system of mechanical roof
fastening has been used, instead of adhesives, and will be calling
those districts for feedback on the system’s effectiveness.
Rosato said a final decision would be made in discussion with
the Facilities Committee.
also proposed that a point of contact be set up for staff, students,
and parents with school-related health problems, so they could
get information, register their complaints, and generate information
for a database that would help identify specific areas of buildings
that seem to cause problems and therefore should be tested.
“We have to take these complaints very seriously,” he said,
sympathizing with the frustration people have experienced in
trying to get a response to their problems. Rowe said he would
consider the issue and come back to the board with a plan for
implementation of Rosato’s idea, probably involving school nurses
and someone from BOCES.
budget presentations began with a warning from D’Orazio that
the board will be looking carefully at priorities in a year
of expected state aid reduction due to the state budget’s projected
$10 billion shortfall. Custodial leader Pete Giambrone proposed
a non-personnel budget of $898,000, with an increase of $38,500
or 4 percent over last year. With personnel, the total comes
to $1,835,000. Giambrone highlighted new costs such as a machine
for cleaning the rubberized gym floor to be installed at Bennett,
$35,000 for replacement of lockers, and another $35,000 for
removal of asbestos floor tiles at the high school. When trustee
Meg Carey asked which items he considered not essential for
the schools’ functioning, he said all were needed for the health
and safety of students.
Marty Millman asked, "With an electric bill approaching
a quarter million dollars, what about the possibility of installing
solar panels for electricity?" Rosato knew of a pilot program
for experimenting with solar energy at schools, a project some
schools in the county are participating in, and said he would
look into the possibility of Onteora’s involvement.
head Jim O’Neill’s budget is up $42,000, or five percent, at
$861,000. Accounting for the increase are anticipated rises
in service costs such as boiler cleaning, planned repair of
ceilings district-wide, and a new contract with a thermostatic
temperature control company, which O’Neill credits with a reduction
in complaints about overheating and lowered costs for electricity
and fuel. Equipment costs remain the same except for $31,000
to replace a fifteen-year-old truck and O’Neill’s office computer.
Carey suggested checking with other departments that need new
computers in order to take advantage of bulk discounts.
Grehl presented the transportation department budget, whose
operating costs will be down one percent, or $32,000, despite
the addition of five bus routes this year. Besides the operating
budget of $2,697,000, Grehl offered a separate proposal amounting
to $206,000 to replace buses over fifteen years old, for which
repair costs have been high. Rosato said such a proposal would
require going to the voters for approval and then borrowing
money for the purchase, whereas incorporating the cost into
the budget would only raise the budget by six percent, and there
would be no interest to pay in coming years.
Advocates say the
measure is necessary to protect the health of workers and of
patrons in various establishments. "Second hand smoke is
a Class A carcinogen," said Ellen Reinhard, coalition coordinator,
citing a determination made by the federal Environmental Protection
Agency. "As far as I’m concerned, that should end the debate
right there," she said.
residents overwhelmingly support a strong smoke free workplace
policy," said County Legislator Joseph Roberti, chairman
of the county legislative Public Health committee. "The
only way to effectively protect workers from second hand smoke
is completely re moving smoking from their workplace.
TFAC provided material, which cited data they say showed that
less then ten percent of restaurant patrons prefer to sit in
the smoking section in restau- rants. And they cited data from
the Texas Department of Health that found, in a report released
in March 2000, that “no detrimental effect of clean indoor air
ordinances on restaurant revenues,” in four cities in that state
which passed such laws during the 1980s.
And they say that
a year after California enacted a ban on smoking in restaurants,
sales there showed a 5.6 percent increase over the previous
Critics of that
study say that increase came during boom times economically,
and have no relevance to the smoking ordinance. And critics
of Ulster County’s law say that it is not a wise idea economically
for a county, which is seeking to attract tourists and new business
to adopt a law that would restrict a person’s right to choose
to smoke, an activity they point out is legal.
"This is a
free capitalist society. Restaurant owners should have the right
to decide whether their customers can smoke or not," said
Michelle Tuchman, owner of the Uptown Cigar store in Kingston.
"If people don't want to be exposed to smoke, they can
choose to eat at restaurants which don't allow smoking."
co-owner of one of the most established restaurants and banquet
halls in the county, the Hillside Manor, is wary of the new
law. He said the restaurant, which currently seats 65 diners,
has eight seats set aside in a section where smoking is allowed.
"It's really not going to affect the Hillside that much,"
he said. "But me, personally I don’t like the law, because
I think’ it is going to hurt a lot of restaurants, absolutely."
At a public meeting
held last fall by the public health committee, public comment
ran about 2-1 in favor of a strong tobacco ban. However, according
to Roberti, a majority of the 33-member county legislature has
yet to be convinced to support the measure. It is uncertain
when and if action will transpire on the . law, which is unlikely
to be brought out of committee unless there is enough support
to pass it.
The Glad Kipt Kill
farm, located on Krumville road in Olivebridge, is owned by
John and Yolanda Ingram and run with the help of their daughters
Ruth, 25 and Naomi, 23 and their son John Jr., 14. Their oldest,
Caroline, 33, grew up working on the farm as well, but now is
a Kansas wheat grower.
We named the farm
after the stream that is mentioned in the farm deed," said
John, over lunch around the family’s large round kitchen table.
Glad kipt kill is Dutch for smooth rock stream, but since the
family has yet to initiate the municipal process for posting
a commercial sign, most people, he said, are unaware of its
John, who is originally
from northern New Jersey, inherited the farm in 1979 from the
late Charlie Eckert whose family first came to Olive in 1791.
(Charlie was the great-uncle of Buddy Eckert, the maker of maple
syrup featured in the last issue of this paper).
helping Charlie when I was eight years old,” said John, who
would visit his grandparents who lived down the road from Eckert
in a late 18th century stone house the Ingrams now call home.
“I would get out of the car and run straight over to the farm,
sometimes without saying hello to my grandparents."
moved into his grandparent’s home and continued to work with
Charlie on weekends while he raised a family with Yolanda, taught
vocational agriculture classes at Duchess County Boces and later
ran a sawmill.
died, he left the farm to me since he did not have any children
and no one else in his family was interested," John said.
With a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science from Cornell
University, becoming a fulltime farmer was for John both a boyhood
and professional dream realized.
Although there are
about 80 chickens, 15 cows, some goats and a passel of horses,
John describes the family operation as “mostly a pig farm. "The
majority of the pigs are raised up to 30 - 35 pounds and then
sent to New Jersey to end up in chinese restaurants in New York,"
Per federal laws
that were enacted to regulate the pork and beef industry in
an effort to keep slaughterhouses clean, animals cannot be butchered
for commercial purposes on the farm where they are raised, he
explained. The Ingrams, however, are permitted to butcher a
pig for personal consumption as well as one they raise for another
owner. This allows local families who go in on a pig together
to get fresh pork from their farm.
A typical morning
may find John and his two daughters performing chores that include
feeding the animals, cleaning the stalls, chopping wood and
spreading manure on the forty acres of hayfields - the Ingrams
cut anywhere from 5000 to 6000 bales of hay each year for their
animals. After school and on weekends John Jr. gets involved,
operating the farm’s tractors and other heavy equipment. "He's
more into the machinery than the animals." said his sisters.
Naomi, who is largely
responsible for the horses, said it’s hard to work indoors after
spending her entire life outside. Having been employed at the
state Department of Agriculture and Markets for a little over
a year, she now lives with her husband in a separate house on
Ruth, who looks
after the chickens and eggs, agreed. "I never went anywhere,"
she said. “I finished high school and kept right on working
and living here.
Ruth said the chickens
range free and produce about 36-40 eggs daily. A dozen eggs
sell for $1.50 and can be purchased at the Ingram’s home. Most
of the time the eggs sell out - there is a steady stream of
local neighbors in the know - but on the rare occasion, Ruth
said, she sells the eggs at the High Falls Coop.
Those stopping by
the Ingram home to purchase eggs will most likely be greeted
by Yolanda and the family’s two dogs, Chase and Alfie. Describing
herself as the “neck that turns the horse’s head,” Yolanda’s
role is to keep the home fire’s burning. She also makes candle
sticks in an array of colors which she sells each year at the
Olive Free Library’s annual craft sale and by word of mouth.
Future plans for
the family include providing goat’s milk, raising vegetables
and posting their sign.
Author's note: If
you should see John, Ruth or Naomi leading their cows from the
barn to the pasture across the road, please make sure to stop
your car and give the animals the right of way. It is not only
a courtesy, but a state law.