from January 18, 2007)
Once again Olive's Town Board has fixed something that was not
broken. They have placed politics before common sense. On December
28 they chose not to reappoint my wife, Paula Minew to the Planning
Board after nine years of dedicated services. Mr. Leifeld came
to our business on December 29 and told Paula that the Town
Board has chosen to not reappoint her because of numerous complaints.
Yet not one member of that Town Board attended a meeting, talked
to the chairman or other members of the Planning Board regarding
these complaints. When Paula called the other Planning Board
members to thank them for the pleasure of serving with them
over the years, they were outraged. All remaining six members
decided to attend the Town Board meeting on January 2 to let
them know they where dissatisfied with this decision and wanted
On the night of the meeting they all spoke with great praise
for Paula, some even calling her the backbone of the Planning
Board. The Planning Board informed the Town Board that they
were all prepared to resign if they did not reappoint her. The
Town Board refused to take this into consideration or to reverse
their decision. The remaining six members have followed through
and submitted formal resignations.
Olive's Planning Board consisted of seven long standing residents
with experience from all political parties that were able to
compromise on issue for the benefit of the citizen that appeared
On January 5, Councilman Bruce LaMonda came into our store to
speak with Paula and myself and to assure us that he did not
vote against Paula. He stated that the three votes to not reappoint
Paula came from Councilpersons Chase, Burkhardt and Rank and
that it was pure political.
All I know is that this type of politics needs to stop. Three
years ago Paula was accused of writing an anonymous letter to
Mr. Leifeld that was proven she did not write but we were retaliated
The Planning Board will now consist of seven new members with
no experience or familiarity with the regulations it needs to
enforce. The good old boy politics in Olive needs to stop and
the people need to vote for a board that is motivated by the
interests of its citizens and not vindictive politics. Olive
residents remember this when you go to the polls in November!
West Shokan, NY
Once again, as with most controversies, there are several positions
that can be postulated. I'm speaking about the recent letters
to editors concerning trapping and the changing demographics
of our area. These changing demographics are commonly perceived
as a socio-economic evolution. There is a more insidious evolution
that was started by the drought situation of about ten years
The Pepacton was like a stream. The Ashokan lowered, hilltops
and even an old church steeple protruded from its surface water.
Bear in search of water descended to the valley hamlets where
they found not only water, but also bird feeders and garbage.
Now, several generations later, they continue to come. Phoenicia
is not a petting zoo and I cringe when tourists flock to the
dumpsters to get the photo op of their vacation. These bear
are wild and dangerous and getting aclose up of the cute and
cuddly cubs is not a good idea. It seems that nothing can be
done about the bear except to treat them with respect and common
There is a much more insidious problem with the wildlife in
the valley hamlets, and that is coyotes. Only true vegetarians
stand on the high ground in advocating the abolition of hunting.
I, on the other hand, have eaten more raccoons, opossums, and
even chipmonks than I care to think about. There are laws that
stipulate the use of traps and I am in no way defending any
violations of those laws. Violators of those laws need to be
prosecuted. It is illegal to set traps on private property without
that owners' knowledge and permission. Conversely, there are
leash laws in Shandaken, Olive and Woodstock, and the entire
Catskill Park. In these anti-trapping letters, people are encouraged
to vent their outrage to their legislators and senators. Before
anyone acquiesces to these suggestions, let me point out the
benefits these trappers provide the community.
For years, the DEC denied the existence of coyotes in this area.
It wasn't unitl it was obvious to everyone that these mangy
and sometimes rabid killers proliferated. A small pack can eat
an entire deer in one night. A few years back there were approximately
45 running free in Chichester. They kill everything they can,
both wild and domestic. Look on any store bulletin board or
telephone pole and you will more than likely see a plea for
anyone who has seen their missing cat. Anyone who has let their
cat outside is risking its death. Knee-jerk reactions that call
trapping barbaric, bloodthirsty, cruel and not-sportsmanlike
are responding with prejudice and misconception. Everyone feels
the pain of an animal owner who has had his or her pet injured
or killed. In that same breath, how many pets have been saved
by the culling of these ravenous packs? Coyotes pose a real
threat to children and pets as they roam Main Street in Phoenicia.
I hope that tragedy will not be the thing that sparks recognition
of this problem. I want to thank the trappers that are ridding
this area of as many of these carnivorous and dangerous animals
After reading Chairman of the Legislature David B. Donaldson’s
2007 State of the County, one segment that I wish to comment
on at this time is the Web Site that he claims to have “more
information to our constituents” through the efforts of
the Legislative Clerk’s Office. Actually, it would have
been more appropriate if he had referred to it as “useless
information” and I will tell you why.
Glancing at the County Directory on-line, I noticed that his
Madame Clerk had swiftly removed my name and title from the
Legislature’s listing, while leaving a deceased department
head intact. In checking further, another former Legislative
employee (who worked in that capacity for approximately one
month), appears in two different departments. In fact, there
are still glaring inaccuracies in quite a number of departments
that should have been corrected months ago. While one can appreciate
this information is speedily accessible, how useful is it, if
it is not accurately displayed?
Might I add the “Clerk” has the capability of going
right to the Web page and make the necessary corrections personally.
(This was an issue early in 2006 when she was instructed to
have direct access to the Web Page to post announcements in
a timely fashion.)
If the Chairman stands behind his statement that “we will
continue our efforts to make County Government more user-friendly
by providing information in a clear and concise matter”
(isn't it manner?), then why have these errors remained on-line
for months when the updates can be made almost daily if need
Fool me Once, Shame on You. Fool me Twice, Shame on NYS
NYS has seen the disastrous waste of money spent by other counties
nationwide on DREs (touchscreen) voting machines. All those
States fooled by vendors making billions on poorly crafted machines
that breakdown causing in some cases 8-11 hour lines, losing
votes (18,000 in one Florida county in 2006) or flipping the
vote you cast and giving it to a candidate of the computer=s
choice. Having been duped by vendors who spent many millions
to manipulate election officials to purchase these lemons, many
counties have now had to swallow their losses and replace DREs
with Optical Scanning machines (PBOSs where voters actually
cast their own vote on a paper ballot, which is then counted
by the Optical Scanner).
Unlike these new overpriced and faulty DREs, PBOS machines have
been used for two decades. Not only do they cost less than half
the cost to purchase, but the cost of running a DRE-election
vs a PBOS election has shown itself to be cost prohibitive in
county after county, costing taxpayers millions more for every
election. Further, PBOSs are less susceptible to problems (if
the DRE fails, no one gets to vote, but with a PBOS everyone
can still vote, we just can=t count the votes until the machine
is fixed –or we can count them ourselves!
Write to your State Senator and Governor and tell them: having
waited to be the last state to purchase voting machines, we
would be fools if we failed to learn from the overwhelming evidence
of the abysmal failure of DREs.
Andi Novick, Northeast Citizens
for Responsible Media
A Personal Response to our President's Address to the Nation
Dear Mr. President:
I was disappointed and frightened by your long-awaited address
to the nation about your plans for Iraq. Your words will not
leave one person in the entire world unaffected. Therefore,
I hope you will feel my love and concern in writing. The >
"> new course" that you propose for Iraq is flawed
and will lead to disaster. It will bring more death and destruction
to friends and enemies alike. Most of all, it leaves God out
of the picture.
Mr. President, I respect you deeply. You are daily in my prayers.
Even on television, it is obvious how lonely you must feel,
separated from your fellow Americans and from the entire international
community. Yet there are millions of people who would love to
help you, and pray for you, if only you would reach out to them.
This is why I want to reach out to you and humbly ask that,
in this moment of world crisis, you lead our nation by putting
your trust in God alone and not in our military superiority.
The world is full of fear because of the events that have occurred
since our country started the "War on Terror. “ And
no one has become any safer.
We cannot ignore the important lessons that are taught to us
in the Old and New Testaments. For God is a jealous God. He
will not let Himself be mocked. He wants our leaders to lead
us in humility and compassion. When King Ahab realized that
he had done wrong, he tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth
and fasted (1 King 20:27). When Jonah finally preached the word
of God to Nineveh, the king himself rose from his throne and
laid down his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth and sat
in ashes. When God saw this humility, he relented from the disaster
that He had planned to bring upon them (Jonah 3).
In Isaiah 1:5, the kings of Judah are warned sternly about leaving
God out of the equation:
When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes
from you. Even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight. Stop doing wrong.
In the same way, the words of the prophet Obadiah speak directly
to this moment:
"Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall
be utterly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is
high; you who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to
the ground?' Though you soar like the eagle, and though you
set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,"
says the Lord. (Obadiah 1:2-4)
Mr. President, you profess to be a man of God. Show the world
that the words of the prophets are still true today, and pray
with us that God will not forsake our nation even in its darkest
God wants to give more grace. That is why the Apostle James
writes, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the
humble." (James 4:6).
As a pastor who has worked with government officials for years,
I feel a special burden for your task, and would strongly desire
to meet with you to discuss these matters further.
Johann Christoph Arnold
Church Communities International
Town of Olive town board member Linda Burkhardt should be more
concerned with the lack of integrity in any of its members than
the serenity of the town. Over the past several years this board,
each and every one of them, made it possible for an unqualified
Commissioner to conduct town business and when his fitness was
challenged, you allowed this member to keep his seat for another
five years until you were dragged to the truth. On this same
commission, a well respected citizen of this town was told he
would not be reappointed because he had done something to annoy
John Parete, the Democratic Party county Chairman.
At a town board meeting on Dec. 28th, 2006, the Olive Town Board
decided to not reappoint Paula Minew to the Planning Board.
Paula has provided a service to this town for nine years as
a member of Olive’s Planning Board. The Town Board publicly
announced this was a political decision. I guess when Paula
decided to get further involved in our town by running for town
office she was no longer welcome. When the rest of the Planning
Board thought enough of Paula and was fed up with petty politics,
to resign their positions, the Town Board just shrugged it off.
This Town Board apparently is running this town for the benefit
of themselves, their business interests, their families and
the Democratic party, rather than for the Good of the TOWN.
This incident concerning Paula is an obvious conflict of interest
for more than one town board member. While Paula was a member
of this planning board, they denied an application for a subdivision
which was submitted by councilman Bruce Lamonda. Another member
of this town board has family members with business interests
in this subdivision. Town Council member Bruce Lamonda, voting
on not reinstating a board member who has voted down his subdivision,
then voting to hire her replacement doesn’t just smell
bad, it’s rotten clear through.
What you need to understand is that the rest of this town board
is well aware of this conflict. If there are any board members
that have any integrity left, please speak up. If you don’t
soon distance yourself, you will be painted with the same brush.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the town board, being the arrogant
group of bandits that they have become, doesn’t hire a
whole new planning board completely bypassing the public notice
and public meeting requirements in town law, not to mention
gathering resumes for qualified members.
West Shokan, NY
In the Jan 4 issue I; indeed we all are fascinated with the
80-90 year old account of Ms. Mescal E. Hornbeck's adventures
in the Olive Grade Schools.
Since Ms. Hornbeck began her formal education 90 years ago at
age 5 I must pause to wish her many more years in which she
might regale us with further delightful reports of her most
interesting and productive life. We are blessed with you in
our midst, ma’am.
Ms. Hornbeck endured the same difficulties and inconveniences
in those one room schools as did I, albeit 15 years later for
me in Olivebridge. I regard our experiences as pleasant memories
of friendships, education and joy.
All of her account is quite accurate with each Teacher, Trustee
and Parent embracing the same values and goals. Red Rover and/or
Fox and Geese blended nicely with our curriculum as did Phys-Ed
which were exercises and Soft Ball [hit it over the fence and
The Olivebridge M E Church was closely related to the School
in that our secular programs and religious pageantry were integrated;
a rarity today.
In Olivebridge our student body consisted of 25-40 "clients"
[ages 5-14] which was well managed and tutored by one teacher.
In 1932 I first met Mrs. Elthia Quick who was intelligent and
dedicated. She retired in June 1938 and was replaced in Sept.
by a young, pretty Carol Gridley who shortly became Mrs. Albert
Davis [following courtship on a motorcycle]. She was followed
by Ms. Ludwig, Mrs. Winchell and Mrs. Burgher.
Ms. Hornbeck recalls that many of us went to High School at
age 12 and she attributes this to listening to the advanced
classes report and recite at the front of the room. In recent
times I would accuse Ms. Gridley Davis of sending me early for
my regents exams because, "that was your way of getting
rid of me".
Our running water was filling a pail at the hand pump and running
with it. Each Halloween the pump was justifiably raised to 4
or 5 limbs in the maple tree above it. Someone else turned over
the out houses, I swear!
We also were assigned chores which included fetching an armful
of firewood, erasing the blackboard and then 'clapping"
the erasers outside to clear them of chalk. There were one and
two finger "signals" frequently implemented but nevertheless
controlled. Detention did not generate overtime for the teacher.
I would be remiss if I didn't celebrate the supporting cast.
Mr. Charles Eckert was the Trustee and so very dedicated. Bill
Lortz was our Janitor who warmed up the school with its wood
stove and swept the floor. Bill was also the local electrician,
plumber and carpenter. As resident barber he cut our hair on
Saturdays for .25 cents and caused much laughter. Our parents
were instrumental in maintaining order and discipline as they
supported the teacher no matter how wrong.
I would say, too that the Olive Press has added to our enlightenment
by its presence here. The Press has expended much print and
ink for us to express our view of current events and exchange
ideas. The Press is the information conduit between OCSD, the
politicians and we, the people. Bravo Schools and Press! .......OK,
our public servants are certainly praise worthy too.
Thank you Ms. Hornbeck. You are a local, if not a national treasure.
Glenn T. Anderson
Boy, does THIS ONE really hit home.
by Ed Higgins
It’s always about loss,
this kind of epistemology
philosophers regard with dread.
And we can fool ourselves with thinking.
Like the grandfather
I read about recently
who picked up his four-year-old grandson
in two pieces on a Baghdad market street,
after a sudden car bomb there.
And then just yesterday grocery shopping,
concentrating on which broccoli florets
out of the corner of my eye
a little blond four-year-old girl
is running to the side of my leg
yelling grandpa, grandpa, we saw your car
in the parking lot and knew it was you.
And my son and his beautiful wife
are smiling an aisle away,
near the potatoes and sweet onions,
she holding their year-old daughter
on her hip the way m others do.
And I’m so happy to see them all there
in one piece that I begin to cry,
like a foolish, foolish old man.
Woodland Valley, NY