School is back in session and at least for now the Onteora school
board has the required seven members. It seems that the board has
a plate full of decisions to make. How they make these decisions is
important. What's heard at the Public be Heard period at School Board
meetings and even at special meetings does not necessarily represent
the consensus of the school district as a whole. The audience at these
meetings is largely made up of teachers, employees of the school and
parents. The voices of seniors and the elderly through no fault of
their own go unheard. To use the public be heard portion of their
meetings or having a special meeting to base their decision on isn’t
the responsible way to make decisions that in most cases cost tax
payers money. Everyone that pays school taxes in the district should
have a say on how their money is spent.
In early August I made it known to Superintendent Ford that I thought
if the Board truly wanted input from the entire community that they
should consider issuing a district wide survey. A survey would be
a more accurate way to know how the total school district feels about
various programs etc. I do not know if the idea of a survey was brought
to the attention of the board, but now is the time for the board to
do the responsible thing and issue a district wide survey.
Surveys are an excellent way to know how the majority of those surveyed
feels. Tax payers should have a say because they are the ones that
pay those appalling teacher salaries, benefits and other non cost
Surveys work, but can be tricky. If the question was asked, do you
favor closing the Phoenicia School, answer yes or no, you would get
a very different answer if the question was asked, are you in favor
of closing the Phoenicia School and consolidating if there would be
a two million dollar plus saving in two years?
We know that the board certainly has the capability to issue a survey
because we all just received a calendar that most of us didn’t
need or want.
My experience as a trustee on the Onteora School Board has proven
me to be a tireless. dedicated and resourceful worker, putting the
needs of the entire school district ahead of any personal agenda.
I worked long hours, beyond any required time table, not only protecting
rights of the Town of Olive but ensuring and enhancing the educational
every child in the district.
As a Trustee, our board created an enriched programing for the district
included a strategic educational long term plan, a much improved technology
program, more self-education for our staff, a capitol improvement
fund for our sorely needed building improvements and repairs and a
fiscally responsible budget that included long range visions both
educational and financial, and policies and procedures that would
ensure a 21st century education for our students. This board, that
I was so proud to be a part of also forced district
involvement, against legal counsels advise, into the Large Parcel
litigation that saved our district millions of taxpayer dollars.
Unfortunately, our district felt that a building was more important
than a sound, well-rounded education for our students and that fiscal
responsibility was not an issue.
None the less, I continuously received the support of my town and
to that, I am forever grateful and indebted to the people that believed
I loved volunteering my time and efforts and I miss the challenge
the job encompassed. With that in mind, I would like to turn that
same energy and thirst for knowledge towards my town by putting in
my bid for a seat on the Olive Town Council.
I promise a non-partisan approach to governing, bringing to the table
of business experience and expertise, four years of research and application
into the intricate workings of government law, and an ethical honesty
to work for the needs of the entire community.
Attention Town of Olive Voters: This year we have an opportunity to
elect a candidate to our Town Board- Rita Vanacore. She has been a
resident here most of her life. She graduated from OCS, married and
raised her family here. She opened her own busines and successfully
manages it still today. She has been on the school board for a while
now and there she fought to keep our taxes down and did. She realizes
the economic and financial issues the taxpayers are facing today.
Rita will look out for us.
You will not find Rita's name on any major party line. She has no
party agenda to follow- only what's best for our town. In fact, she
wil be under The Olive Branch line. When you're in the voting booth
take a minute to look for her. It will be time well spent.
Lewis and Val Berryan
I take issue with Rita Vanacore’s claim that the Town of Olive
Republican Committee practices “closed door politics.”
As a longtime Republican but a newcomer to town politics, the Committee
has welcomed me on board. Having served on many university committees
as well as on the New York State Assembly staff, I have never met
a more congenial, open minded and transparent group than the Town
of Olive Republican Committee.
The facts are that Ms. Vanacore approached our chair, Chet Scofield,
and asked him to let her run. Ms. Vanacore is not a registered Republican.
Mr. Scofield told her that if no Republicans wanted to run we might
endorse her. But a number of excellent candidates who are long time
Town residents and Republicans did want to run. These include Don
Van Buren and Craig Grazier, both of whom are articulate, visionary,
and fresh. There was nothing closed door about any of this. Republicans
ought to nominate Republicans. The Committee’s problem is attracting
people to get involved, not closed doors or secret decisions. The
Committee meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of each month
at Snyder’s Tavern and all registered Republicans are welcome
to attend. I encourage Ms. Vanacore to enroll as a Republican.
Moreover, it was not the Town Republican Committee who moved to close
the recent Republican caucus but rather friends of the incumbent Town
Supervisor, Berndt Leifeld.
There are two critical problems facing the town: (1) the Democratic
incumbent’s environmental neglect and (2) lack of economic opportunity.
The two are linked. The decision to locate a sewage plant on the main
business street of Boiceville overlooks the importance of aesthetics
and integrated development. As well, cutting down trees to straighten
28A only to blight one of the most beautiful drives in the region
does not reflect a coherent environmental and economic vision. The
Republicans offer a thoughtful alternative.
Michael Langbert, Ph.D.
Town of Olive Republican Committee
As a Town of Olive resident I am proud that Bruce LaMonda has been
my representative as a Town Board member for 21 years. We need to
re-elect him again!
We all know Bruce as well respected for his expertise and leadership.
Bruce inspires confidence since he listens to all of our concerns
and works for positive solutions. There is no doubt that Bruce will
speak up, speak out and speak for all of us in Olive. His strong opinions
and dedication are well known.
This is particularly true when he fought against the Large Parcel
Legislation. This is also true of his leadership role in negotiating
with NYC for a ten year agreement on assessed value of the reservoir
properties that raised the value from what The City claimed and what
Olive leaders knew to be correct. His work saved Olive hundreds of
thousands of dollars in possible legal fees and repayment taxes if
NYC ever sued Olive. Bruce strongly fought to assure the stability
of our tax base.
We need to re-elect Bruce LaMonda onto our OliveTown Board to continue
to stand up and fight for all of us. He is a true leader!
I am writing this letter to tell you about a very special lady. She
is fair minded, willing to listen, more than willing to work, and
follows thru with any task she undertakes. She is strong minded, efficient,
Who is this paragon you ask?
Well, Town of Olive, you know her — she is Linda Burkhardt.
I know her even better and all the attributes mentioned above can
be said of her as a sister. I am proud of who she is and what she
Linda has a great love for the Town of Olive, and has served us in
many capacities over the years.
So please, Town of Olive citizens, take the time to talk to her. Tell
her your views. I am sure you will find her very interesting.
I’m writing to support Rita Vanacore in her bid for a seat on
the Olive Town Council. She is a hard worker with a wealth of experience
that would be of great value to the Town. Rita is dedicated to her
commitments and fiscally responsible always keeping the taxpayer in
mind. She demonstrated this when she served on our district's school
board for three years.
Rita is the owner of two successful businesses in Uptown Kingston
and has served her own professional association for over 25 years
as chairman of their educational committee. Presently, she is the
elected President of Imagine Onteora. This non-profit corporation
is dedicated to raising funding that will help and enhance the education
of the students in our district. Rita will make an excellent added
value to Olive's Town Board.
As a business person who owns and operates a landscaping company from
Olivebridge, I travel back and forth across the reservoir on a regular
basis. I would like to thank Supervisor Bert Leifeld and Councilman
Bruce La Monda for having the foresight to negotiate an agreement
with NYC in 1999 to keep at least one lane of traffic open during
the bridge construction on Route 28A and avoiding another "Traver
Hollow Bridge" type of detour.
Knowing that the arch bridge across the dividing weir is scheduled
to be redone in the near future, I checked to make sure that this
road would also be kept open. I found out that this agreement was
acknowledged by a letter signed by NYC Deputy Commissioner Michael
Principe in 2000. This is the kind of foresight we need to continue
to have on the Town of Olive Town Board.
Quality Landscape Services
I'm not sure if Carol Shalaew's latest letter to the editor represents
a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but I'll leave
that question to international law specialists. I'm more interested
in her comment that Declan Feehan made a bad business decision in
investing in the Phoenicia Hotel property.
Yes, it may have been a poor investment decision, at least in the
short run. But unless people who have a commitment to the community
are willing to "roll the dice" and invest in the town's
future, Shandaken may not have much of a future, except as a reservoir
The Phoenicia Hotel fire was far from the first blaze to destroy an
historic structure here. Just take a look at the old photos in our
Town Museum. One by one, our charming but highly flammable 19th century
structures have disappeared. If no one attempts to rebuild on those
sites, at what point will tourists not want to visit any more? And
at what point will taxes on the surviving properties become so high,
and amenities and services so difficult to obtain, that even those
of us who love the Town of Shandaken will be forced to sell out and
Having served as a member of the Ulster County Charter Commission,
I was elated to read that our Ulster County Executive Michael Hein
had the fortitude to criticize our state government for failing and
refusing to deal with "the critical long-term reforms" and
decision-making which are so vitally necessary to insure the financial
and economic security of the state, without bankrupting its municipalities
and taxpayers. When we recommended a strong county executive form
of government, we recognized the importance of having a chief executive
who could address the state as the unified voice of our citizens.
I congratulate Mike for doing that just that.
Louis M. Klein
It's impossible to avoid the stories about the upcoming flu season.
Everyday we either read or hear news about what is on the way, when
it is coming, how awful it is going to be, etc. Several people have
expressed the opinion to me that this news is all hype and the flu
is not really coming. They may be right. I hope they are right. Going
into denial about the upcoming danger of a serious flu season is no
excuse to be unprepared. I am not buying into the fear and the stress
of the upcoming flu season. I do not expect to become seriously ill
with the flu and I do not expect to die from it.
However, I plan to be prepared for the flu if it hits town. I do not
plan to be in the "Gosh, I never thought this could happen"
crowd. Especially since preparation is so very easy.
The first thing I'm doing is having about 21 days worth of food in
the house in case we are sick. Don't laugh. If the flu hits town,
even if it is not deadly, we could find ourselves with a food shortage.
Just think about it. If we are all sick for a few days, there are
not that many food stores in Woodstock and they can easily run out
of food...or close because the employees are ill. This is not such
a crazy idea. It has already happened once in our fair community.
Also, if everyone in your household is ill, who is going to go to
the store? It's best not to spread germs. Having food on hand is a
The next thing I'm going to do is make sure I have all the protection
I can get to prevent getting the flu. Sunflower sells at least two
preventive products: Well-max and Wellness Formula that can be taken
starting now to prevent the flu. Many varieties of Emergen-C are also
sold at Sunflower.
The CVS sells a variety of Emergen-C called Immune Defense. CVS also
sells Airborne in several different varieties. Rite-Aid has a large
selection of lozenges with vitamins and zinc that are designed to
prevent as well as treat the flu. Thieves essential oil is a blend
of cloves, cinnamon bark, rosemary, lemon, and Eucalyptus radiate.
You can either purchase the oil blended or you can purchase the oils
separately and blend your own.
After that, I'm following all the instructions that I read and hear
and see each day: I'm washing my hands repeatedly every day. I'm carrying
a hand sanitizer everywhere with me and I'm using it often. I'm carrying
tissues and using them when I sneeze. I am not putting those used
tissues in public trash cans. I am carrying them home and disposing
of them in my own trash. If I suspect that I am ill, I will stay home
so that I do not infect someone else.
Personally, I am going to take the flu shot. I have taken a fu shot
every year for the last 30 years. If you decide not to, that is your
choice. I feel that inoculations against disease carry a small amount
of risk and provide a large amount of protection. You may disagree
with me. That is your choice. I have lived in two third world countries
and I have seen first hand what happens when the general population
is not inoculated.
But, with all the things I'm doing, the most important is putting
the food by. 21 days of food. Please join me in this.
In reference to Eric Kollenberg's, New Paltz letter, the quote that
comes to mine is; " You hear what you want to hear; you see what
you want to see; you believe what you want to believe, but that doesn't
make it the truth."
I didn't speak to a stranger in Canada. My son-in-law came here from
Ireland approximately four years ago. He and my daughter went back
to Ireland last year. To have him tell it, the health care in the
United States surpasses that in Ireland and England hands down. He
had no insurance when he first came over here and had no problem getting
medical treatment. Nobody goes without in the United States of America.
There is a catch, though. You have to fill out forms and other paperwork
in order to get assistance. People just don't run over and give it
to you. He claims that we are about to screw up the best medical care
system in the world.
T here is one thing that has really bothered him since he has been
here. Why doesn't "Bed Bath and Beyond" sell beds? Bed is
the first word in their name!
Robert E. Steiner
Big Indian, NY
Israeli forces committed “grave breaches” of the Geneva
Conventions during the attack on Gaza earlier this year.
A United Nations fact-finding mission has found Israel committed war
crimes and possibly crimes against humanity in deliberately targeting
Palestinian civilians during the attack on Gaza earlier this year.
More than 1,400 Palestinians, over half of them civilians- about a
third of them women and children - were killed in the US-backed Israeli
assault. The head of the inquiry, Judge Richard Goldstone, said his
investigation focused on deliberate attacks ordered by Israeli commanders.
J udge Richard Goldstone: “The thirty-six incidents that we
investigated, by and large, and to the greatest extent possible, do
not relate to, as I say, ‘second guessing’ commanders
or soldiers who were in the heat of battle. What we’re talking
about is a much broader aspect of the deliberate policies that were
adopted and the military actions that were taken, not in urgency,
not in urgent situations.”
The Israeli attacks included the shooting of Palestinian civilians
holding white flags, the deliberate bombing of UN shelters, and the
killing of over 300 children. The report accuses Palestinian militants
of also violating the Geneva Conventions with rocket attacks on Israeli
towns. Thirteen Israelis died during the Gaza attack, four by “friendly
fire.” The report advises the UN Security Council to call on
both sides to probe the allegations or face investigation by the International
We the American people must speak out against such injustice and murder
which is done in our name with our money all over the world, from
Palestinian to Afghanistan to Central and South America.
We can remain silent no longer.
West Shokan, NY
I love language, I can't help it, it's where I live; I am an English
teacher. Language, and the way in which we use it reveals much about
our intelligence and character. Of the many shades of human communication,
irony is one that can either be damnably frustrating or giddily amusing.
The irony of Ms. Rita Vancore's diatribe in these pages of late is
a masterpiece of irony... her attempt to offer a mature opinion (it
must be called "opinion" because a developed intellect favors
"perspective" which is informed by fact and reason and is
a consideration of a wide variety of factors regarding any given issue)
is both maddening and amusing, even if pathetically. The irony of
course is that this mindset, one no doubt nurtured by too many mind-meld
sessions in front of the tube gaping at Bill O' Reilly or Glen Beck,
is precisely why teachers and all other working people must remember
and understand exactly why unions were formed and how working people
are harmed in the absence of a union. And it must be said that for
all the breast-beating, vilification, and sanctimony present in Ms.
Vanacore's attack, at bottom it is just another illustration of the
Peter Principle and how deeply entrenched the idea is that those with
tragically little expertise or knowledge end up in positions of importance
(I refer of course, to her former position on the school board).
Ms. Vanacore's letter is a shooting-one's-self-in-the-foot comedy
routine here because I just this evening discovered she is running
as an independent for an Olive town town board position. Wouldn't
it be a really good idea if people in public positions, school board
member, town supervisor, shrill community mouthpiece, at least know
something about the Constitution? Ms. Vanacore's opening salvo was
a "Duh!" inspiring (in the writer, not the reader) "Isn't
picketing illegal?" Unfortunately, John Ianotti has retired and
Ms. Vanacore cannot benefit from one of those "disgusting"
citizens' (teachers) real expertise because the First Amendment states:
"Congress (that's the legislative part of the gummint', Rita)
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof, or abridging (this is the important part
now) the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people
to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances."
I know Fox News tries ardently to say and make sure it ain't so, but
we DO still have a Constitution.
Furthermore, as someone seated, appropriately or not, on a school
board, the picketing punchline betrays a negligent at best and ignorant
at worst lack of understanding of "The Taylor Law" also
known as The Public Employees Fair Employment Act, which refers to
Article 14 of New York State Civil Service Law, which defines the
rights and limitations for and of public employees in New York. The
Taylor law grants public employees the right (YES! THE RIGHT) to organize
and elect their union representatives. Under the Taylor Law, which
has been very controversial with regard to the exercise of employees'
rights, prohibits public employees from striking, compelling binding
PERB (Public Employee Relations Board) arbitration in the event of
an impasse in negotiations. Picketing is not illegal. If election
of Rita Vanacore to the town board was a likelihood, community members
had better hope there is never a problem with "disgusting"
civil servants in their employ on her watch.
There is so much in the letter published that irks a teacher's soul.
Some points one at a time. "Someone just out of college with
a Bachelor's Degree..." how dare they, Ms. Vanacore sniffs, "have
a starting salary of $49.00 an hour?" Fact is, only 26% of the
adult population has a Bachelor's Degree in anything. No doubt, if
asked about the importance of a college education while on the board,
Ms. Vanacore would have waxed rhapsodic over its importance. But not
in the real world, this is a very different matter, because how dare
a student work hard and struggle through college only to expect to
be paid the salary of an educated professional. If we follow Ms. Vanacore's
logic, would those without college credentials be more deserving of
a decent wage? Her folksy invitation : "Do the math, folks....$50,000.00
for 180 days of work. Never mind that the rest of us work approximately
180 days more a year," is petty, jealous, pocket-picking and
speaks of a class-war mindset so typical of those who demand that
public employees be above reproach while being below the standard
of economic renumeration or simply evolved human respect. It is a
reflection of a mean-spirited scapegoating inspired by one's own economic
status or lack thereof. I've said in these pages before that instead
of cannibalizing the very people who work hard to help your children,
demand an accounting from the social structures that encourage a "divide
and conquer" attitude, those that really pick our pockets, like
the government agencies that bankrupt education, stage corporate financial
bailout coups de grace of our government, and degrade and corrupt
everyone's standard of living.
In further irony, Ms. Vanacore, in an attempt at wit, calls the COLA
(Cost of Living) increases in teachers' contracts under discussion,
"little." COLA is something all employees are entitled to
under law. And indeed, they are "little." Look at your own
COLAs (those of you whose employees obey the law) and you'll note
they are "little." What is so dramatic about Ms. Vanacore's
"math" when her excitement is just simple multiplication?
How unreasonable that 3.75 adds up to something over three years!
Step increases, yes, that's true, we get those and they are tied to
years of service and relate to legislated retirement contracts for
teachers all around the state. Educational increases. These are increases
granted as one obtains advanced degrees (which are mandated by the
state under NCLB-No Child Left Behind). These are one-time increases
at the conferment of each degree: increases for obtaining a master's
degree and one more for a doctorate. Gad! Why award someone for expertise?
Only 16% of the US adult population has a master's degree. Guess that,
too, is meaningless. My master's degree earned me 200.00 a month,
before taxes, and the loan ($21,000) I have to pay back costs me $286.00
Extra-duty pay for "class advisor or extra curricular activity
advisor, add a stipend of up to $4000.00 per year and where does that
take us?" Rita demands to know. The list of pay for extra - duties
is a matter of public record and I encourage you to read it as I have
and you will see that up to "$4000.00 per year" is a fable.
Where that "takes us " is the implication that teachers
not be paid for coaching, moderating Honor Society, and on down a
long of list of curricular enhancements. Most of these duties are
carried out after working hours. Ask any coach how many hours he or
she spends moderating these extra duties and ask them to "do
the math" in regard for parity of pay to effort. No doubt the
answers would be preceded with a chuckle and would conclude with a
passionate report of how wonderful it is to be involved.
Ms. Vanacore asks "...since when did a benefits plan become a
salary negotiation." Apparently, Ms. Vanacore has been living
overseas for a long time. All district costs figure into negotiations,
transparently or not, and none more so than labor. Amusingly, while
Ms. Vanacore has a bloodlessly corporate view of school administration,
this point is lost on her.
And here's Rita on tenure: "the board can't vote against tenure..."
good thing, because tenure is determined by the will of the superintendent,
and heaven help teachers if Ms. Vanacore was voting on tenure, Mr.
Ianotti might have been delegated to becoming just a board member
for daring to talk about First Amendment rights. The inception of
the concept of tenure was born in the McCarthy era and is intended
to protect academic freedom. Tenure does not make one bulletproof.
If Ms. Vanacore read and understood the laws that govern teachers
in New York, she would understand that a teacher can be dismissed
for a host of behaviors at any time, tenured or not. Again, I invite
you to read all about it. I have seen this happen; it happens all
the time. Non-tenured teachers (you remember them, the scum right
out of college who dare to expect fair pay) are observed twice a year;
tenured teachers are observed once in each school year. In the event
a teacher's performance is sub-standard, he or she is issued, under
the law, what is called a TIP (Teacher Improvement Plan) and if significant
progress is not made within a specified time, that teacher can be
dismissed "with cause." I am a tenured teacher who is observed
once yearly. During my 2008 observation, my principal, most lately
of the Onteora Middle School, fell soundly asleep during a production
of a play despite the giggles of the students and their teacher. Sorry,
Rita, teachers do NOT keep their positions "regardless of whether
the teacher is the best in the field or is just hanging on."
Despite the original intention of tenure, I have seen many teachers
fired by political maneuvering and lots of dubious latitude taken
with Teacher Improvement Plans.
Teachers, contrary to what was noted in Rita's letter, do not discontinue
to pay into their retirements after three years, we become fully vested
after TEN years....again, New York State Law. Teachers pay 3% of their
retirement contributions, the district, pays 7%. Does this cover the
"little" COLA spoken about?
With regard to the unions and Ms. Vanacore's statement that teachers
are "held hostage in order to keep their positions" the
hostage holding is done by something else. So typically of this angry,
suspicious mindset is the dagger-in-the-sleeve, "Of course, I
am not against you (teachers, in this case) but don't dare demand
rights or remind us of our selfishness and greed". Ms. Vanacore's
existential horror at those organizing for their rights, legally and
through their union, helps to paint a portrait of how teachers, public
employees and even students, with all the control and monitoring,
data mining, vitriol, and suspicion directed toward them are regarded.
The brilliant and penetrating educational observer and former NYS
and New York City teacher of the year who left public education and
refused both awards because of his different kind of disgust with
public service has said, and this characterizes Rita's point of view
"Mass society and official public structures demand tight administration,
close management to an extreme degree." Their managers, overlords,
and the denizens of mass society see them as "...undependable,
dangerous, unreasonable, childlike, and suicidal under such discipline.
Holding this contradiction requires managers and enemies of public
schooling to withdraw trust, to regard their clientele (emphasis mine)
as hospital managers might think of potentially homicidal patients.
Students, men under military discipline, and employees in post offices
and other public positions and other large systems are forced into
a condition of less than complete sanity. They are dangerous, as history
has shown again and again."
Ms. Vanacore's letter is a perfect example of this ideology. Her anxieties
about her own personal security are visited upon people whom she does
not even know but sees as a useful target, the teachers at Onteora
are foolish enough to think they can have rights, cannot do math,
have the temerity to get paid for extra-work, are incompetent gold-brickers,
are being pick-pocketed and "held hostage" by their union,
don't know (what a riot) that picketing is illegal, and are throwing
out babies (good heavens!)... what a motley lot in charge of our children.
What perhaps I do hope they were savvy enough about was the character
of a person who recently served on OUR board.
Re-read Ms. Vanacore's letter and take a glance back to Mr. Gatto
above, history has shown again and again how dangerous these people
are. Don't the teachers at Onteora know enough to keep their place
because as Rita's dire warning against them asserts: "Each year
that these many unreasonable (emphasis mine) are met, our taxes skyrocket
(remember that "little" Large Parcel Bill, Rita) and our
children suffer." She despairingly laments: "In these economic
times (the OTA didn't create them Rita, you're investing them with
a lot of power) when is the union going to say "Enough is enough"
for now and sit down with the real (remember these people are unreliable
and childlike) intent of doing what's fair and equitable for the district
and the best education for our students?"
"Fair and equitable" Rita pleads. On Fox News, lashing out
against the abridgement of rights, speaking out, disgracing the strength,
unity and brotherhood of a union, trivializing important issues that
affect all citizens is called "fair and balanced". Talk
about "fair and equitable" from this stripe of former public
servant is about as meaningful as Dracula speaking about security
for the blood bank. Ms. Vanacore's opinion is solid evidence that
those in the public sphere do work in an atmosphere that is less than
In the spirit of gauntlet dropping, which Ms. Vanacore assumed she
had the mettle to do, I'll invite her any time, on any of the 180
days that I work, to rise at 4:30 am, make the 100 mile-a-day round
trip to school, teach six classes a day with only two half-hour breaks,
answer an average of 150 e-mails a week from parents, at home for
no pay, and grade a minimum of 400 English papers a week. Perhaps
her idea about contracts that regulate working conditions would have
some air blown into it.
West Shokan, NY
Someone suggested you publish this poem I recently wrote after a trip
to your area...
phoenicia’s smile 092709-092809
we wandered down the withywindle
(whatever do they call that river?)
like us, it appears to hear the tinkers tune
but the unconcious sight of the underbelly brought bile to my lips
and i gagged slighty and recomposed
trying to identify the source
wondering if perhaps the charm had worn off so soon
woodstock, you misplaced child,
is it your fault that the peace signs are
now plastic and abused
is it your fault that i am just another
wandering your streets and blaming
my stumbling upon you?
god, may peace be with and between
me and you–
is it really just the changing of the season?
for now my hands they crave
the potter’s wheel
hell, give me a torch, let me melt
for my passions are no longer in
that virgin field
where they sang the songs of peace and love so long ago
winter now it seems to close
and yet it feels as though spring is near
where is the woodstock of yesteryear?
there is soil to turn and seeds to yet sow
hell, screw the virgins, let them sing
and so then, we withdrew slightly
i felt impotent and slightly frustrated
the roads twisted through the mountains like tunnels in a maze
like blind mice we wandered blindly until
we found ourselves back and
a shovel placed upon the street sent us climbing stairs
and so we willingly obliged
for here definitely was steel that
existed exactly as i felt
i personally liked the self portrait as a sow
and the remnant of a tire placed
upon the wall
finally an answer for all the retread threads that we find in shreds
along the highway
tack them to the walls–
and then to the first floor//
a community store//
with a host with a genuine gentle smile
a representative of phoenicia
displaying phoenicia’s smile
phoenicia, the perfect place for a writers work to begin
reminding me gently of my smith corona
and the blood that is long past
and the days that have come and gone
the days that have been
chap books in a window decades old
yet still relevant
still howling at the moon
still howling at the moon
like sharing simple words and a primitive beat with a long lost friend–
Thank you for printing this...
John Bourne Harbour
For those of you interested in cocktails, especially the martini--as
am I, the following may be of interest. Roger and Mary Sullivan and
I, old friends, were having dinner at Ricciardella's in Phoenicia
NY the other night when the subject of James Bond came up. We pondered
over the exact recipe of his famous martini which he insisted be shaken,
not stirred (an apostasy for most martini drinkers schooled in the
proper way). Neither of us, it turned out, could remember 007's exact
recipe, which he eventually called the "Vesper." Here it
is. I'm going to make one tomorrow.
The James Bond Martini Recipe -
Casino Royale was written by Ian Fleming as the first ever James Bond
book in 1953. Ian was a commander who worked with naval intelligence
in the war - he really did lead a life of high stake gambling in exotic
locations. He wrote this book from his homestead "Goldeneye"
When Bond first meets some French agents, he orders for them. The
guy gets a "fine a l'eau" - a classic cocktail of Cognac
and water. The girl gets a "Bacardi" (rum, my favorite brand).
It doesn't say that James gets anything for himself. The first drink
we see James drink is a straight whisky 'on the rocks' (quotes theirs)
in his room.
Next, in the casino, we get the first ever description of his classic
drink. Here's the verbatim text from the book:
"Bond insisted on ordering Leither's Haig-and-Haig 'on the rocks'
[a quality Scotch whiskey - Lisa] and then he looked carefully at
'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'
'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's [an English gin], one of
vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. [this is NOT vermouth - see
below!] Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin
slice of lemon peel. Got it?'
'Certainly, monsieur.' The barman seemed pleasant with the idea.
'Gosh that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.
Bond laughed. 'When I'm ... er ... concentrating.' he explained, 'I
never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one
to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate
small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This
drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think
of a good name.'
He watched carefully as the deep glass became frosted with the pale
golden drink, slightly aerated by the bruising of the shaker. He reached
for it and took a long sip.
'Excellent,' he said to the barman, 'but if you can get a vodka made
with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better.'
A short while later when he's sharing a carafe of vodka, nestled in
a bowl of crushed ice, with the female agent, he learns her name is
Vesper. He says:
'Can I borrow it?' He explained about the special martini he had invented
and his search for a name for it. 'The Vesper,' he said. 'It sounds
perfect and it's very appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail
will now be drunk all over the world. Can I have it?'
Note: My research shows Lillet Kina is a wine-based drink that has
quinine in it. Kina refers to the Kina Kina (quinquina) tree where
quinine comes from. In fact back in the James Bond days it was VERY
bitter and the entire drink would have been quite bitter. They changed
the formula in the mid-80s to have less quinine, and now it comes
in "Lillet Blanc" and "Lillet Rouge". They're
made in Podensac, in France. Technically they are "French aperitif
wines". They are a blend of wine grapes, oranges, orange peels
Vermouth, on the other hand, is a fortified wine - i.e. wine kicked
up with heavy alcohol. They then add in herbs and spices. The main
types of vermouth are dry vermouth, sweet red vermouth, and white
Woodland Valley, NY
I must respond to the September 10 front page article by Paul Smart,
Take It On To SCOTUS. In that piece, an angry town resident, Alan
Eisenson, goes up against the Olive Planning Board over zoning infractions
on an adjacent property owned by “Jonesie,” one of the
Besides the threatening letter to Eisenson and the kangaroo courtroom
atmosphere of the meeting, what really got me was Jonesie’s
later comment about helping a young contractor, Pete Estes, “who
had almost been forced out of business” having been forced to
move his construction vehicles from a residential area.
Sliwly I turned... ESTES? Why that fleet of huge road-destroying vehicles
went racing up and down my quiet little country road multiple times
per day. It was the worse thing that ever happened in the neighborhood.
And why would an operation of that size be allowed in a residential
area in the first place?
Thank you, whoever it was, who forced the beleagered Pete Estes Construction
company out of my backyard. I don’t know either party. I just
know what I and my neighbors went through. I have nothing but sympathy
for Mr. Eisenson and I wish him good luck.