News Briefs 10/23/2008
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
is co-hosting a “Catskills Environment and Economy Day”
along with the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development,
Open Space Institute, Watershed Agricultural Council, the
Region 3 Forest Practice Board and the Catskill Landowners
Association at the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center’s Overlook
Lodge from 8:30 am – 4:00 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 23.
The event is part of the two-day Catskill Summit, which kicked
off on Wednesday, Oct. 22, with the Catskills Local Government
Day at Frost Valley YMCA and Conference Center in Claryville.
The Catskills Environment and Economy Day will focus on ways
to balance a healthy environment while encouraging sustainable,
community-based, natural resource dependent economies. The
morning session will focus on the status of the environment
in the Catskills and will include presentations and discussions
about the many environmental issues facing the region including
climate change, acid rain and invasive species. The afternoon
session will focus on ways to foster sustainable, community-based
natural resource dependent economies.
“This year’s two-day Catskill Summit we will give
participants an opportunity to discuss the overall health
of the Catskill environment and identify important issues
that we can work on together,” said DEC Region 3 Director
Willie Janeway from his New Paltz offices..
We’ll give you a report on what happened next issue…
A chorus of complaints from parents and students in the Onteora
district Middle/High school, have resonated over the past
year or so concerning the athletic department. It finally
reached a peak when, to the surprise of the athletes who run
on the Cross Country trail discovered at the beginning of
the season that the track was closed because of safety concerns
with no word on when it would re-open.
The problem, everyone was told, was with a lack of wood chips
to provide a safe surface on unstable terrain. After a great
deal of complaining and action taken from parents it has since
been repaired and the first home match that was moved to another
school was rescheduled back to Onteora.
After all was said and done, this left parents who had kids
on the team, demanding answers, angry over lack of communication
from Interim Athletic Director Joe DiGiovanni. Parents also
contacted the school board and voiced their complaints.
This resulted in board president Ralph Legnini proposing a
temporary committee to review the problems and come up with
solutions. But the majority of the school board shot down
the idea at a recent meeting, stating that it was an added
committee when the department already had organizations like
the sports fan club.
The athletic department boasts over 600 student participants,
with 36 different seasonal programs.
At the September 23 school board meeting, Trustee Donna Flayhan
said, “We have two big problems right now, one that
we don’t have a full time athletic director and two
is that we have a phys-ed teacher transfer and those two issues
are causing all of the phone calls I am getting, all the emails…so
I don’t think a committee can solve the problems.”
High School Physical Education teacher Patrick Burkhardt will
be transferred to Phoenicia elementary once he returns from
maternity leave in the spring. He has been a much beloved
Cross Country Coach since 1998 and once transferred, he will
no longer be able to coach.
The girls and boys high school teams have enjoyed a solid
record of wins over the years he has been head coach. Currently
Burkhardt said the teams are doing “excellent,”
with girls ranked in the top 20 in New York State. The girls
are eleven-to-one, while the boys have won eight-to-three.
Burkhardt said he appreciates the support coming from the
parents and said he loves teaching High School Phys Ed. He
could not comment on whether he would contest his transfer,
a process that can only take place once he returned full time.
Superintendent Leslie Ford said in a phone conversation that
the decision to “assign,” Burkhardt to Phoenicia
Elementary was done through a process.
“Any placement of any teacher anytime is through discussion
of an administrative cabinet,” she said, noting that
such a cabinet includes principals and the athletic director…
although ultimately she makes the final decision. Ford said
Phoenicia elementary deserves the best teacher.
DiGiovanni was a high school physical education teacher and
athletic director working 30 plus years in the district. Following
his retirement in 2002, the district had three directors with
the last director on the job for four months before he was
fired. In November 2007, DiGiovanni was brought back at $400
a day. In a phone conversation, he said that it was the athletic
department’s responsibility to oversee field conditions
along with communication from the coach. He said from June
30 to August 6, he did not work for the district, believing
there was some sort of break down in communication causing
the cross-country track to go un-repaired.
“Had I known,” he said, “I certainly would
have addressed it.”
The State mandates a new position for Onteora of a Director
of Physical Education. The administration advertised it twice
but there have been few takers.
Ford added that she is now looking to share a Director of
PE with other districts through BOCES.
"Bread doesn’t make itself!” say the owners
of one of the first artisanal bakeries in the country that
just celebrated its 25th Anniversary. In 1983, Daniel Leader
built a small, wood-fired, brick oven bakery in West Shokan,
then later moved to Boiceville to become one of Olive’s
individualistic business successes. With his business partner,
Sharon Burns-Leader, Daniel Leader has expanded the operation
to three bakery cafes along with the main bakery which bakes
organic artisan breads and hand made pastries for distribution
to health stores, gourmet markets and restaurants as well
as over 50 local Farmers Markets. Additionally, Daniel’s
three cookbooks have received major awards and accolades for
the contributions they have made to bringing the joy of baking
to the home as well as to the profession.
In celebration, Bread Alone has launched a new website that,
in addition to offering over 20 different breads and numerous
“Sweets and Treats”, features a program called
the “Gift of Bread” which lets customers provide
monthly shipments of breads to their family, friends or business
associates. Gift baskets are also available such as “Bread
and Chocolate” or “Savory Picnic” using
additional products from other Catskill purveyors in an effort
to provide a true “shop local” experience.
For more information visit www.breadalone.com
The New York State Attorney General’s Office has filed
a major lawsuit in the Ulster County Supreme Court against
the not-for-profit corporation Lower Esopus River Watch, Inc.
(LERW) and members of the Environmental Management Council
(EMC) and LERW Board of Directors Rick Fritscher, R. Dixon
Onderdonk, David Straus, Bruce Duffy, Jennifer Mcleroy, and
Joel Schuman. The lawsuit was filed on Friday, October 10,
culminating an investigation by the Attorney General’s
Charities Bureau of the activities of Fritschler and the interactions
between LERW and the EMC.
The Attorney General’s investigation was initiated as
a result of an almost unanimous January, 2007 resolution of
the County Legislature which directed the County Attorney
to request that the Attorney General look into the operation
of the EMC and, in particular, its relationship with LERW
— with which the EMC had contracted to administer some
of its environmental programs. The Attorney General was also
asked to look into possible conflicts of interest on the part
of Fritschler in his capacity as Chair of the EMC.
The current charges stem from a January, 2007 audit of the
agency’s books and the legislature’s belief that
the entities were operating without proper, and legal, oversight.
NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is charging that through
the concealment of their interests, Fritschler, Onderdonk,
Strauss, and Duffy surreptitiously transferred control over
EMC’s assets to LERW, thereby causing the County to
suffer significant financial losses. In addition, the lawsuit
charges the individual defendants other than Fritschler with
“abdicating their fiduciary duties to LERW by failing
to oversee Fritschler’s use of LERW’s charitable
assets.”The period covered by the complaint began as
early as 1997 when, as the complaint states, “Fritschler
had identified LERW as a small charity he could use to divert
County funds earmarked for the EMC program. And having joined
the LERW Board he then proceeded to “funnel large portions
of the EMC budget to LERW by causing the EMC to enter into
contracts with LERW and by concealing from the County Legislature
his dual roles of EMC Chairman and LERW Board member. “
The complaint goes on to state that Fritschler effectively
controlled every aspect of LERW’s financial affairs,
and that control was well known to the other individual defendants.It
further states that since the EMC’s environmental programs
were “largely carried out by county employees and officials
on County property,” and thus offered no value.
From January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2006, LERW received
more than $1.7 million through its contracts with the EMC.
And although Fritschler represented that most of the monies
would come from grants from the federal and state governments
and other not for profit agencies, these grants were in many
cases not awarded, requiring the County during those 5 years
to use $339,096 of additional taxpayer funds to cover EMC’s
contractual obligations to LERW.
The Attorney General is seeking the repayment by the individual
Defendants to LERW of a large quantity of LERW funds.
The complaint specifically charges that during the time period
in question Fritschler made over $800,000 in “unsubstantiated
purchases” and that he used the LERW bank account and
credit card as he saw fit; that during 2002 through 2006,
he used the LERW checking account and American Express credit
card at least 950 times at delis and restaurants, spending
over $48,000 on meals for himself and others – said
payments being without any apparent valid charitable purpose.
The complaint further states that of the approximately $250,000
in cash in LERW’s bank account as of the beginning of
2007, Fritschler , during the course of that year, mismanaged
those monies, drawing down the amount to $6453 and paying
over one-third of that original amount to himself.
The complaint also notes that he used a substantial part of
the County money (almost $300,000) to purchase both land and
various items of equipment, placing them in the name of LERW
and then removing them when the County terminated its relationship
with LERW at the beginning of 2007.
County Republicans have meanwhile rushed to the defendant’s
defense, calling the charges politicized in nature.
The Center for Research Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO)
at SUNY New Paltz, whose founder and director Dr. Gerry Benjamin
has just been honored as an Ulster County treasure, has released
the first of a planned series of discussion briefs on regional
issues that takes a close look at property taxes in Ulster
County, and, in the process, highlights valuable data that
explain problems with the property tax that less frequently
For the study, “Equity and the Property Tax Burden for
Citizens in Ulster County,” the Center sought to understand
why people with properties of similar value in Ulster County
pay widely different levels of taxes. For example, property
taxpayers living in the village of Ellenville and the Ellenville
School District make almost three times the tax effort (how
much property tax is paid per $1,000 of full value of real
property) as property taxpayers living in the Town of Marbletown
and the Onteora school district.
“This and similar inequities outlined in the report
are as much a problem as the property tax level and the rate
of tax increase,” said Benjamin, director of the CRREO
and the college’s associate vice president for regional
The study showed that a variety of reasons cause these inequities:
Too many overlapping taxing entities. Ulster County alone
has 55 distinct tax burdens.
Too many tax exempt properties. The areas in Ulster County
with some of the highest tax burden, Kingston and the villages
of Saugerties, Ellenville and New Paltz are also the areas
with the highest value of exempt properties.
Both places with concentrated populations (our three villages
and Kingston) and very rural, geographically big places must
make more tax effort than the average tax effort in the county.
Places with the highest concentration of poor people require
higher property tax efforts.
While the CRREO study does not offer a single solution to
the problem of real property tax inequity, it does suggest
many things should be put on the table for discussion by the
residents of Ulster County, and the region:
Some states have found ways to share property tax receipts
among local jurisdictions.
The NYS Office of Real Property Services is seeking to ensure
that properties are assessed on the same basis.
Lawmakers are discussing a “circuit breaker” to
link a homeowner’s tax bill with their ability to pay.
One key aspect of CRREO’s mission is to bring key regional
concerns to the attention of citizens and policymakers to
support their informed discussion of the public policy problems
facing the Hudson Valley. Quality information will help us
to work together to develop our own, local solutions and advance
the need for changes at the state level.
This is the first of several discussion papers on the property
tax and other issues that we believe will help citizens and
policymakers make informed decisions.
For more information, visit www.newpaltz.edu/crreo.
The Early Bell!
Public schools throughout Ulster County will release students
approximately 15 minutes early on Thursday, November 6. Students
will be sent home early on this day as part of an annual drill
that tests the evacuation procedures of each district’s
Emergency Management/Disaster Preparedness Plan. The Commissioner
of Education has mandated that this drill be conducted annually
in all New York State Public Schools. Local Ulster County
schools ask that parents make appropriate arrangements for
the early arrival of their children the afternoon of November
All Ulster County public schools are participating in the
drill, including Onteora and Ulster BOCES student programs.
There is no difference between a coward and a killer to Dave
Grossman, an expert in human aggression and author. Grossman
talked about killers during a recent lecture at SUNY Ulster
titled “Violence in Our Schools.”
“They have never taken a tackle, hit or punch,”
said Grossman, of a killer’s propensity to avoid pain
while painlessly inflicting carnage with a gun or other weapons.
Grossman, a retired lieutenant colonel, spoke to students,
both secondary and college, police officers and law enforcement
supervisors, and zestfully described the macabre reality of
understanding the moment by moment ambush of deadly incidents
like the one that happened at Virginia Tech or of that on
the airliners hijacked on September 11 and how to respond.
“We’ve got to deal with violence like the firefighter
deals with fire,” he said. “In the last 30 years
across all of North America, how many kids killed by school
fire? Zero. How many kids killed by school violence? Hundreds
and hundreds and hundreds. Your kids are literally hundreds
of times more likely to be killed by violence in the school
then they are by fire,” Grossman said. “We have
fire exits, fire alarms, fire sprinklers, fire drills, fire
extinguishers. We’ve got to prepare for violence like
that firefighter prepares for fire. And nationwide we are
James Truitt, associate professor of nursing and public safety,
who coordinated the event, said Grossman was invited to help
citizens, Ulster County law enforcement officers and supervisors
understand the makings of violence and how to prevent that.
“This is to really understand the nature of violence
and human aggression, so they can take proactive role in protecting
their schools and their workplaces and their communities from
these violent acts,” he said.
Nina Postupack, Ulster County Clerk, and County Historian,
Karlyn Knaust Elia will host a Pictorial Postmark Cancellation
Ceremony on Friday, October 31 at 3:30 PM, on the 2nd floor
of the Ulster County Office Building. The ceremony will commemorate
the 325th anniversary of the County of Ulster, founded November
1, 1683. A United States Postal Service representative will
be on hand to officially cancel postage with a special anniversary
The County of Ulster was formed November 1, 1683 at Fort James,
New York during the first general assembly of elected representatives.
Representing Esopus were delegates Henry Beekman and William
Ashford. During the assembly, the province of New York was
divided into twelve counties and Ulster was one. Ulster County
is believed to be named in honor of James Stuart, the Duke
of York, who held the Irish title of Earl of Ulster.
The Ulster County Office Building is at 244 Fair Street, Kingston.
For further information call 340-3040.
Across The River
Representatives of the proposed Carvel golf, hotel and second
home development across the river have outlined for their
local Planning Board members a scaled-down version of the
housing and golf community.
A concept for the development, a partnership between the Durst
Organization and Landmark Land Co., initially was presented
to the Pine Plains Planning Board in 2003 but has undergone
a series of revisions after much scrutiny by project planners,
town officials and local residents. Several new consultants
have been working with developers with the goal of designing
a plan that works for developers while addressing the environmental,
social and cultural concerns of the community.
The original plan was for 951 homes divided between the towns
of Milan and Pine Plains, but after recent revisions, the
number of homes has been reduced to 648 and the planned golf
course has been scaled back from 27 to 18 holes.
Edward Clerico, an engineer with the project, said the goal
is to make Carvel “the most environmentally responsible”
project of its kind.
Pine Plains Planning Board Chairman Don Bartles Jr. asked
who would be managing the land conservancy on the site. Clerico
said he was unsure.
Bartles added that a special meeting will have to be scheduled
for the board and its consultants to review information provided
by the developers and discuss how to proceed.
Former Samsonville-area resident Alexander Barsky was sentenced
to up to 10 years in state prison for the 1996 bludgeoning
death of teenager Joseph Martin last week.
Barsky has said Daniel Malak, who’s serving prison time
for an unrelated murder, was the mastermind behind the plot
that caused Martin’s death when the boys were all in
their teens, though Malak has not been charged.
Barsky, now 27, apologized to Martin’s family for his
role in the death.
“If there was one night in my whole life I could take
back, I would absolutely undo that night,” he said.
Ulster County Judge J. Michael Bruhn said he “rarely,
if ever” had seen a defendant turn to a victim’s
family and make such a sincere apology for the pain he caused.
Martin, who was 15 at the time, left his family’s Samsonville
home the night of March 25, 1996, to meet Barsky and Malak,
who he knew from Rondout Valley High School, for a night of
comet watching. But Martin never came home, and his disappearance
remained unsolved until this past spring.
In early May, police revisiting the case went to Barsky’s
New York City home to reinterview him. Barsky confessed, and
he was arrested.
Barsky initially was charged with second-degree murder, though
he was allowed to plead guilty in mid-August to the lesser
charge of manslaughter - an admission that he intended to
harm, but not kill, Martin. At the time of his plea, he also
agreed to testify against Malak if the alleged co-conspirator
is tried in the case.
Bruhn said on Tuesday that despite Barsky’s remorse,
justice had to be served, and the judge sentenced the defendant
to 3-1/3 to 10 years in state prison - the maximum allowed
for a juvenile convicted of first-degree manslaughter. (Barsky
was three months shy of his 16 birthday when Martin was killed.)
Following the proceeding, Martin’s mother, Cathaleen
Martin-Lightstone, rejected Barsky’s apology as simply
being designed to gain sympathy from the court.
“I don’t believe anything he said,” she
said. “He just got caught.”
Martin-Lightstone said the family will hold a community memorial
service for her son from 2-8 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Rochester
Company 2 Firehouse on Samsonville Road in Kerhonkson.
Because Barsky returned years later to the wooded site where
Martin’s body was hidden - to retrieve the remains and
later dump them in garbage cans around Brooklyn - the family
has no remains to bury, Martin-Lightstone said. Instead, they
will have a memory box in which community members can place
SUNY Ulster will host the Ulster County Technology Conference
on Friday, October 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Vanderlyn
Hall, Student Lounge on the Stone Ridge campus of the college.
The conference brings together business leaders and technical
experts for a day of presentations, discussions and networking.
The keynote speaker is Lance Matteson, the president of the
Ulster County Development Corporation (UCDC), who will discuss
the state of technology business in Ulster County, focusing
on High Technology and Information Technology.
Three panels will be presented at the conference. The education
panel features representatives of local college and universities,
including Marist College, SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Ulster networking
and computer science faculty. They will discuss the many educational
options available for the study of computer science and information
science in this region. A web technology panel of web development
professionals will discuss their projects in Ulster County
and the surrounding region and pinpoint the skills that technology
professionals need for success now and in the near future.
The business and technology panel consists of regional business
owners and managers, who will discuss their web-based projects
and the future of technology in business enterprises.
To register for the conference, call James Perry at 845-687-5252
or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can a community do to rekindle optimism while we travel
the corridors of uncertainty? It can meet and talk about these
and other issues surrounding the newly formed re-localization
movement on Sunday November 9 at 5pm at the Odd Fellows Hall
on Rt. 213 in Olivebridge. Park around the corner at the firehouse.
Wood fired pizza potluck starts at 5 PM followed by a screening
of “The Power of Community,” which documents the
change in Cuba to local organic food production in response
to a severe change in the price and availability of petroleum
products in Cuba due to the collapse of the former Soviet
Union in 1991. RSVP about pizza toppings and other potluck
needs. email@example.com or 657-2030. Come out, meet
your neighbors and talk about what true security means to
President George W. Bush overstepped his authority by withholding
an FBI interview of Vice President Dick Cheney from a congressional
panel probing the leak of a CIA agent’s identity, a
draft bipartisan House report is saying. The interview may
shed light on who disclosed former CIA agent Valerie Plame’s
identity, the draft report said. The report was circulated
by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman
Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Virginia Representative
Tom Davis, the panel’s senior Republican.
The president’s decision to withhold the interview transcript
from the committee in July, “was legally unprecedented
and an inappropriate use of executive privilege,” the
The committee is investigating what role Cheney may have had
in the leak of Plame’s work in 2003. Her husband, former
ambassador Joseph Wilson, had questioned evidence used to
justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey had told the committee that
Bush’s refusal to release the Cheney interview was within
the president’s authority, under executive privilege,
to keep his discussions with advisers private.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto has objected to the report
and another one circulated by Waxman that said the administration
wrongly asserted executive privilege regarding a separate
panel investigation of climate change and Clean Air Act policies.
Fratto said the committee received “upwards of a million
pages of documents” from the administration and that
recent reports were “partisan and unhelpful.”
Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee is examining
allegations by two former U.S. military linguists that the
super-secret National Security Agency routinely eavesdropped
on the private telephone calls of American military officers,
journalists and aid workers. NSA interceptors purportedly
shared some intercepts of highly personal conversations, including
If the allegations are true, they could re-ignite a political
firestorm over the administration’s post-9/11 eavesdropping
operations and its efforts to collect vast quantities of data
about Americans’ tax, medical and travel records; credit
card purchases; e-mails and other information.
President Bush and other senior officials have repeatedly
asserted that after the 9/11 attacks; the NSA only monitored
the private communications of Americans who were suspected
of links to al Qaida or other terrorist groups without court
The allegations follow the release of a study by a government
advisory group that questions how useful communications intercepts
and another technique known as data mining are at ferreting
out terrorist plots.
Also of note to Bush administration followers of late has
been a host of internal reports from the Justice Department
calling for more investigation into cases of unethical, if
not criminal, conduct on the part of lawmakers and the White
House in regards to the politicization of the department in
recent years. Just as the recent financial mess was heating
up, the Justice Department released a nearly 400-page scalding
indictment of the administration over the controversial firings
of several U.S. attorneys in 2006.
Investigators from both the department’s Office of Inspector
General and Office of Professional Responsibility found that
political pressure did indeed drive the dismissal action against
at least three of the nine federal prosecutors abruptly fired.
At the time, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales insisted
the individuals were all dismissed for inadequate performance,
or failure to implement the President’s law enforcement
agenda. But it appears the longtime pal and adviser to President
Bush was lying. Turns out the real reason some of the top
federal lawyers were removed from the job, according to the
Justice Department report, was that either the U.S. attorneys
had the audacity to prosecute Republicans or because they
failed to aggressively prosecute Democrats.
Stay tuned, again…
Low-income beneficiaries in Medicare’s prescription
drug program have fewer plans to choose from next year in
every state except Wisconsin, raising concerns among advocates
that millions will be forced to change plans - and may find
An analysis by Avalere Health, a for-profit research firm
in Washington, found 308 stand-alone drug plans nationwide
next year eligible to serve low-income residents, down about
200 from this year. Those beneficiaries are subsidized by
the government. They pay little or no monthly premiums and
generally have lower out-of-pocket costs, called deductibles,
for drugs than do higher-income policyholders. They estimate
1.3 million low-income beneficiaries will be reassigned to
new coverage, up from 1.2 million in 2008 and 250,000 in 2007.
“This continues the incredible disruption and access
to benefits that low-income folks face in Medicare,”
says David Lipschutz, a staff attorney with California Health
Advocates, a non-profit that advocates for Medicare beneficiaries.
The changes could mean some beneficiaries may have to switch
prescriptions if their medications are not covered by their
new plans, or face other changes, he says.
To serve low-income Medicare members, insurers must keep their
premiums below a government-set median benchmark. Many insurers
raised their premiums overall for next year, so they no longer
qualify to offer the low-income coverage but will still offer
policies to higher-income Medicare members.
$538,243,391 in federal funds were released today to help
low-income New Yorkers pay for home heating costs in the months
ahead. The funds come from a bill that included $5.1 billion
for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP),
of which New York received the most funds out of any state.
The bill that included $5.1 billion for LIHEAP also allocated
$477.2 million for the Energy Weatherization Assistance Program,
which pays for a variety of energy efficient upgrades and
appliances for low-income households in order to help lower
their monthly energy bills. New York is slated to receive
an estimated $45.2 million from the program, but those funds
have yet to be released. The new funds will help weatherize
more than 190,000 homes across the country, including approximately
18,000 homes in New York, saving each household about $400
in energy costs.
Beginning November 3, low-income New Yorkers may apply for
2008-2009 LIHEAP benefits by mail, in person at their local
social services office, over the phone, or online. For further
information, members of the public may go to www.otda.state.ny.us/main/heap
or call the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3009.
The Catskill Watershed Corporation will fund a study by Cornell
Cooperative Extension to explore the feasibility of producing
and utilizing grass pellets as a bio-energy source for heating,
spending up to $195,500 from the Catskill Fund for the Future
for a three-year pilot project to examine regional production
and pelletization capacity and to demonstrate the feasibility
of using grass pellets for residential and commercial heating
applications. The project will include purchase and installation
of pellet-burning stoves in several locations in the Watershed,
monitoring their operation and gauging air quality impacts.
The CWC has consulted with Cornell agriculture professor Jerry
Cherney, an avid promoter of the development of grass pellets
as a low-tech, small-scale, environmentally-friendly, renewable
energy system that can be locally produced, processed and
Prof. Cherney spoke on this topic at the 2006 Catskills Local
Government Day, when he noted that New York State has about
1.5 million acres of unused or underutilized agricultural
land, most of which is already growing grass. Pelletized grass
biofuel, Cherney says, has the potential to become a major
affordable, unsubsidized fuel source capable of meeting home
and small business heating requirements.
Along similar lines, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess,
Orange and Ulster Counties is sponsoring an Alternative Energy
Forum on Saturday, November 8 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm at Mount
St. Mary’s College’s Hudson Hall Auditorium at
330 Powell Avenue in Newburgh. There will be several keynote
speakers on hand discussing topics like saving money and energy
conservation, the basics of geothermal, heating your home
with bio-fuels, wind and hydropower and solar alternatives.
This series of brief meetings will introduce attendees to
several of the potential ways they can begin to reach energy
independence. Some of the information provided may be put
to use as soon this winter and others will be part of a long
term plan for home, farm or business.
Lamont Engineering opened bids for the upcoming Boiceville
Wastewater Treatment plant, with contracting to start next.
With grants coming in for the project, and others pending
to cover lateral hook-ups, expect major disruptions come the
Spring... and better flushing and a hopeful economic boom
with in a few years.