We are in times of great financial stress....lot jobs, foreclosures,
cut backs in salaries along side of increases in the cost of everything
from toothpaste to burial expenses. Our dollar has devalued to a point
that we have never experienced in our lifetime....everyone is taking
a hit or are they?
When I decided to run for public office, albeit the Olive Town Board,
I committed myself to working in the town for the town in whatever
capacity it takes. Since the election, I am still committed and so
I am continuing my quest to help our townspeople understand the workings
of its governing factors and to give out as much public information
as I possibly can, that will support this quest.
Olive Town budget hearings started before the election and continued
afterward with the final vote for acceptance of the proposed figures
tonight. All of you, but for a mere handful will not know the actuality
of this budget until after its ratified. This is indeed a shame because
this budget that increases your town tax contributions by 6% need
not be increased at all.
There are two factors that I concentrated on when I researched this
budget - medical and dental contributions and unexpended fund balances.
According to your new budget medical and dental contributions have
increase by 53% and 58% respectively. That's what it look like on
paper....the actuals are somewhere around 15 to 20%. Right there,
if the real dollars were used in your budget, your tax increase could
be decreased by 3%.
"Unexpended" fund balance is nothing more that what is left
over at the end of the year after all the bills are paid. Traditionally,
3 to 5% unexpended is built into a budget to provide a "safety
net" in case the projections fall under what is really being
spent. For the past two years, that I can see, the "cushioning"
amount has hovered around 10%. In these times of need, I would expect
your elected officials to tighten our belt alittle and keep our unexpended
figures around 5%.
Using just these two calculations would bring our tax increase to
a BIG FAT 0%.
I would like to take this alittle further. Our town employees , hired
before 2001(and that's most of them) do not contribute anything towards
their medical and dental benefits. The reasoning is that since our
contracts (highway and fire dept.) don't make a contribution, then
as one towncouncilman put it "it's only fair that everyone gets
the same as the contracts". Since 2001, anyone hired must contribute
a certain percentage towardstheir medical and dental and that seems
fair to the town. But our town has negotiated at lease one other contract
since 2001 and has not tried to include any contributions from those
employees. It seems to me that what's "fair" for our employees
should somehow go across the board and include us - the employers.
A real and accurate budget would be fair to us....no tax increase!!!!
And what would be better is a strategic projection that would bring
our employees in line with the rest of the world....I take that back....most
of us are paying for all of our benefits.....I don't want to take
anything away from anyone but in a era where we are struggling just
to stay afloat, shouldn't everyone have to carry at least one bucket?
This is for all our Ulster County Legislators...
Congratulations on your respective wins and to those continuing in
office, welcome to the next levels of stress.
The proposed law # 11 (draft #1104 - http://www.co.ulster.ny.us/resolutions/index.html)
as written, establishing Commercial and Home Improvement Contractor
Licensing for the county of Ulster, is extraordinarily destructive
to the fabric of business in Ulster County...and sets Ulster County
up to be the most unfriendly-to-small-business County in New York
While it is understandable in these economic times that there is a
need to bring in revenue (fees) to the county, it should not be in
this format, and not at the cost of jobs...which it will undeniably
cost... or the loss of businesses that will close, or go under the
radar, or not bring work to this county and thereby rob the coffers
of even the sales tax that could be garnered...
We should be encouraging these entrepreneurships that are the backbone
of any community, for both the labor it provides and the relief it
provides to those who need services.
It seems that larger businesses are aiming at pushing out the smaller,
without realizing how this will affect Social Services in the County,
as people need more aid to survive; forcing choices between work and
fees and food. For a small business to meet the minimum fees would
be at least a week’s work to pay them...and in seasonal businesses,
which many of those listed are...that can be devastating. The outdoor
season for building and outdoor services is not long enough in the
Northeast as is...and look at last summer...it has knocked so many
business out of the running already...and that is not taking into
account the desperate straits of the economy in this field at this
point in time.
And don’t be fooled by the argument that the work lost by some
businesses lays at the feet of those smaller, single-owner/worker
type businesses. Those larger business will NEVER see the work that
is done by those kind of marginal firms...those people who need to
avail themselves of that kind of work don’t have the funds that
the larger firms demand...
There has to be levels of choice in a vibrant community...you take
away that choice, you take way income and sustenance on so many levels
that this has to be regarded as the beginning of the slippery slope
to the destruction of the stability of this county’s to sustain
different levels of society...it is unsustainable at best for so many
now...and this law effectively puts the rest out of business...period.
If the goal is for a few to control the destiny of all...you have
it in this law...
Please consider tabling or denying this to go any further in the legislative
process...instead of pushing it out right after the election for a
consideration before the end of this year and term... it would be
to all of our credit to do so.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to several
people. I am very grateful to the voters of Olive for the trust that
they have in me, I will work hard to earn and keep that trust.
As many of you know, I am involved in local theater and I could not
help but compare campaigning to a theatrical production. At the end
of the rehearsal time all the audience sees are the lead characters,
those who appear on stage, but the people behind the scenes are what
make it possible for the leads to work their magic. In a campaign
that is also true, there are so many people I want thank for all the
help they gave to me and my team mates. The most important person
I want to thank is my husband, Fred, Without his support I never could
have accomplished what I did, between making and hanging my signs
and helping hang my team mates signs to driving us all over Olive
so we could knock on your door to meet you to ,the day after election
day, removing all the signs!
Fred has been my most ardent supporter and the greatest of husbands!
I am, indeed, a very lucky woman! I also want to thank Susan Horner,
who worked so very hard, Carol LaMonda who's help and support we could
not have done without, Ann Leifeld who was always there helping in
whatever needed doing, and feeding us too! Ben Rounds deserves a special
thanks for all the work he did and he even wrote us a song! Henry
Rank for all of his support .John Parete, Mike Pantliano, Ternice
Winne, Jeannie and Bill Bachor, Donny Beesmer , all the Olive Democratic
Committee were instrumental in putting forward the best campaign that
we could and they deserve our thanks and appreciation. I know that
,as there is in a theater production, I must have missed someone because
there were a lot of supporting players in our campaign and I will
ask those who I missed to please accept my deepest gratitude for all
you did! Lastly I want to thank Berndt Leifeld, Bruce LaMonda, Tim
Cox, Sylvia Rozzell, and Jimmy Fugel for campaigning with me, putting
up with me, and for being my friends. I am looking forward to working
with these friends in January for what is in the best interest of
the Town of Olive.
Thank you again Olive, I will work hard for you!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of the
Town of Olive for re-electing me to serve another four-year term as
your councilman. I would also like to thank everyone who worked so
hard to make this happen. Without the help of all the volunteers and
the Olive Democratic Committee this would not have been posssible.
Now that the campaigning and election is over, it's time to forget
partisan competition and once again come together as a commumnity
to work for the good of everyone.
Bruce La Monda
I’d like to thank Olive voters for reelecting me their Town
The support that you, the voters, gave me is very much appreciated
and I am humbled. For the next four years I will strive to live up
to that trust and keep our Town Court a place where everyone is treated
fairly and equally. As a judge, except at reelection time, I can’t
be political. I can’t write letters to the editor, and I can’t
help out with fundraisers. So except for seeing me around town, at
a concert night at Bennett or buying the newspaper, you may not hear
much from me until I again ask for your vote in four years from now.
But rest assured that I’ll be working with my fellow Town Justice,
Ron Wright, to continue to make the Olive Town Court the type of Court
you expect and deserve.
I’d like to share with you one of the many exciting opportunities
for students this school year. As part of our Strategic Plan, the
staff identified the need to provide students with early foreign language
instruction. We identified this strategy as one of many to increase
the successful graduation of all students from our district. In response,
the elementary schools have adopted Rosetta Stone as an initiative.
Elementary students are able to absorb language in an immersion system
at an accelerated rate. Rosetta Stone was provided to every elementary
school as a pilot enrichment activity. Enrollment in this before or
after school program is offered to students who sign up by grade level
priority due to limited seats in the computer lab. Enrolled students
may access the program at home as well.
Bennett teacher Kelly Downs reports the positive atmosphere of their
morning program: “Kids who have a hard time getting up in the
morning are now here, working independently. We haven’t seen
kids getting bored, since this is a high interest, fast paced program.”
Parent Felice Castellano shared that her son Jake is very enthusiastic
about studying language, and enjoying the program.
Students greet teachers during the day with their acquired language
skill: Bon jour, Guten tag, Hola, Shalom, Ciao, Yia Sou, Hoi, Konnichi
wa! Thanks to the support of Principals Mr. Buono, Ms. Schnell and
Mrs. Sella, students have their choice of fourteen languages to study.
Those students who plan to study French, German or Spanish at the
high school can build a solid language foundation. This program offers
an entire year of challenge for our elementary students.
Dr. Leslie Ford, Superintendent
Onteora Central School District
On January 13, 2010, at 7PM, the Onteora Music Department will proudly
host an evening of alumnae and student musicians to celebrate the
renovation and rededication of the Harry Simon auditorium at the MS/HS
building. High School band, chorus, and Orchestra alumnae musicians
are invited to contact us if they would like to participate in this
concert. We are greatly excited at the possibilities this renovated
hall will provide to us – and to the Onteora community –
which is home to a wealth of artistic talent.
We anticipate that our December/January winter concerts will be played
in this hall as well. And, these concerts will be just the beginning
of what we expect to be a wealth of artistic performances. The school
board has formed an Arts Committee to further this goal, among others.
We are grateful to the Onteora community, our administrators, staff
and the school board for making possible this renovation.
Alumnae musicians, please contact us at 845-657- 2677 mail box #410
or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wini Baldwin (retired), Erica Blum, Harvey Boyer, Krista Cayea,
Melissa Glover, Dave Laks,
Karen McKenna, Steve Murphy,
Paul Schubert, Dave Thomas
The Onteora Board of Education must have made an error by accident
in regards to not notifying the public of a BOE meeting on Wednesday,
November 4th at the Phoenicia Elementary School. The following board
members were present Laurie Osmond, Ann McGilluddy, Tony Fletcher
and Rob Kurnit along with an administrator sitting together in a room.
I must warn the Board of Education members of the Open Meeting Laws
that they’re bound to adhere as elected public officials. According
to Robert Freeman, “A “meeting” is a gathering of
a majority, a quorum, of the members of a public body for the purpose
of conducting public business, even if there is no intent to take
action, and irrespective of the manner in which the gathering is characterized.”
It’s my understanding that a quorum in our district is when
four members are present such as the situation that was observed on
I ask the Board of Education trustees to keep their ethical code of
conduct intact in regards to being transparent therefore I request
minutes of this meeting to be posted on Board Docs. and for future
meetings to be posted publicly.
West Shokan, NY
Ternice Winne cannot understand how the Town of Olive Democratic Committee's
illegal receipt of in-kind benefits from the Town of Olive might possibly
be a campaign issue. Likewise, she cannot understand how the Democratic
Committee's failure to report receipt of these benefits to the New
York State Board of Elections might be considered to be improper.
As well, she cannot understand how a fundraiser on behalf of the Democrats
might be construed as partisan. It seems that the Olive Democrats
have been stealing for so long that the Democratic partisans have
concluded that stealing is moral.
A public service is one that is not for profit. The Olive Democrats
use a public park, do not pay their fair share, and pocket the proceeds.
A butcher performs a service when he sells meat, but his business
is a for-profit business because he pockets the proceeds. Likewise,
the Democrats might put on an entertaining fundraiser (one that crowds
my block and one that I have never attended) but they pocket the proceeds.
Olive Day is a partisan fundraiser for the Democratic Committee. We
Republicans should not be forced to subsidize a partisan event, and
forcing us to do so is corrupt.
Nationally, the Democrats have shown that their moral leadership has
offices in the Goldman Sachs building on 85 Broad. The corruption
of the Barack Obama administration is greater than that associated
with Jay Gould, John D. Rockefeller, Willie Durant, the Teapot Dome
Scandal, insider trading during the 1920s, Richard M. Nixon and Enron
combined and multiplied by 20. Obama's four trillion dollar bailout
of his bosses on 85 Broad reminds us that the Democrats have always
had but one chief concern: Wall Street.
While at the national level we watch the Democrats suck the nation
dry with the most corrupt presidential administration in the nation's
history, at the local level we read Ms. Winne's claim that a partisan
event involving illegal public subsidy of a partisan entity is not
partisan because people she knows benefit from it.
Can Democrats do anything but steal?
Mitchell Langbert, PH.D.
West Shokan, NY
As always, big tobacco has its eye on new cigarette-buying customers:
our children. The Federal Trade Commission reports that each year
big tobacco spends $12.8 billion, more than $35 million a day, to
market their deadly and addictive products. After all, they need to
replace the 400,000 U.S. smokers that die each year with new, replacement
New York has done a good job shielding our children from big tobacco
- while most states have seen a slowing of youth smoking declines,
New York's rates have continued to decline steadily. The rate of smoking
among New York high school students went down from 32.9 percent in
1997 to 13.8 percent in 2007. Current smoking among New York high
school students has decreased by 58 percent since 1997.
The Federal Trade Commission recently released their reports on cigarette
and smokeless tobacco sales, advertising and promotion. In 2006, in
New York State alone, big tobacco spent $429.6 million to hawk their
products, an increase of 20.4 percent from the 1998 baseline. If the
tobacco industry can spend over $1 million a day in New York State
to peddle their products, can't the state spend more than the current
$68 million a year to protect our kids from big tobacco?
Last year the New York tobacco control program was cut by 20 percent.
This cut far exceeds that experienced by most state programs and was
significantly larger than the across the board budget cuts applied
since the beginning of the state's fiscal crisis.
Big tobacco is spending more to market their products in New York
State and New York State is spending less to protect our kids from
the tobacco industry. This is a deadly combination that will likely
erode the excellent progress made in youth smoking over the past decade.
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids estimates that the budget cut imposed
on the state's tobacco control program last year will result in 15,980
New York kids growing up to become addicted adult smokers and an increased
future health care expenditures to be $279.6 million, of which $77.8
million will be paid for by the state Medicaid program. These are
human and financial increases that are costly and preventable.
We want to increase the number of kids who don't ever start to smoke.
We can do this with continued funding for smoking prevention and cessation.
Ellen Reinhard, Director,
TFAC-Tobacco Free Action
Coalition of Ulster County
Lake Katrine, NY
I am badly bent out of shape!
I told the young woman not to take up smoking. It helped end my daughter's
life at age forty eight. She had COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease, it affects women more than men. She said "I've been
smoking for ten years." "You don't look that old."
"I'm eighteen, I'm trying to stop."
Mt. Tremper, NY
I am writing in response to the two letters in your November 5th edition
decrying the fate of Gaza Palestinians. The first writer charges Israel
with “racism” although Palestinians are not a “race”
and cannot be victims of racism. But let’s get to the facts.
Israel tried an experiment in 2005; it simply withdrew from Gaza,
leaving Palestinians in full control of their destiny. Gazans soon
after elected Hamas to run their mini-state, despite that undeniably
terrorist organization’s deep hatred for Israel with a charter
that refuses to recognize Israel’s fundamental right to exist.
If you have any doubt, look at the charter of Hamas. Here are two
examples of the extremism Hamas represents:
Article 32: The Islamic Resistance Movement calls on Arab and Islamic
nations to take up the line of serious and persevering action to prevent
the success of this horrendous plan, to warn the people of the danger
emanating from leaving the circle of struggle against Zionism. Today
it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist
plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand
from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region
they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their
plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”,
and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.
Article 28: The Zionist invasion is a vicious invasion. It does not
refrain from resorting to all methods, using all evil and contemptible
ways to achieve its end. It relies greatly in its infiltration and
espionage operations on the secret organizations it gave rise to,
such as the Freemasons, The Rotary and Lions clubs, and other sabotage
Rotarians, Lions, and Masons, beware. You are next. And I bet you
never thought you were part of a global Zionist conspiracy.
Since Hamas took control of Gaza by force, several thousand rockets
have been fired at Israel. Tell me what nation would tolerate this
abuse for as long as Israel did? If Mexican revolutionaries started
firing rockets into El Paso, how long do you think it would be before
the U.S. launched an invasion? If Georgians fired a single rocket
into Russia, it would be merely hours before Georgia was overrun with
But when Israel retaliated with an invasion intended to prevent Hamas
from arming itself with longer-range missiles, the world demanded
“restraint” and “proportionate response.”
Not a word about “proportionate response” when we are
talking about Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Tibet, or the Sudanese
south. Fewer than 3,000 Americans died on 9/11, but to date, we have
caused about 100,000 “documented” civilian deaths in Iraq,
a country that had nothing to do with 9/11; talk about “proportionate
Your letter writers want to attribute all the ills of Gaza to Israeli
actions, but in fact the spectacular corruption of first the PLO and
now Hamas is what is most to blame. I recall that during the summer
of 2008 the BBC did a story on the shortage of gasoline in Gaza, of
course blaming the Israeli blockade. When the reporter asked why there
was a shortage if 1.5 million gallons were in Gazan storage depots
under Hamas control, the UN spokesman quickly changed the topic, and
talked about the no longer relevant “occupation” of Gaza.
Hamas is an international criminal enterprise that the people of Gaza
happily chose to lead them. Blaming Israel for all the evils in Gaza
is like blaming South Korea for the vastly more monstrous depredations
of the leadership of North Korea. Israel has a right to defend itself
against what is perhaps the world’s most formidable terrorist
machine. It is time for the people of Gaza to take control of their
own destiny and put in place a leadership that cares about them instead
of terrorists and racketeers who kill and steal under the guise of
faith. Until then there will be no peace in either Gaza or Israel.
West Shokan, NY
This disgraceful standoff on health care insurance reform will be
looked at by other countries as the American way, I fear. That is
to say, that money is the dominant feature of our society. Many hundreds
of millions of Americans were and are passionately hoping for a Universal
Health care program to develop to right the multitude of wrongs of
our present non-system. We were aware of the billions of dollars of
our money that the private, for profit Insurance companies and HMOs
have been and are putting into the defeat of our hopes. They have
promoted lies and negative ideas about the universal Health care system
on a constant basis for as many years as the private companies have
been in the driver's seat. Millions go to out elected officials in
Washington. These people have excellent insurance coverage, pretty
darn good incomes, yet money always looks good, doesn't it? And it
must have cost quite a bit to back the vociferous outbursts at many
of the hearings. Of course folks who have not been touched by the
health care problems and haven't learned the facts about our health
rating amongst the nations, our spending on health care is about twice
the amount spent by other countries, the effect being that the health
care costs drive up our taxes, and that the cost of employee benefits
prevent competitive fairness between our manufacturers and other nations.
Oh, no, and then that partisan monster raises its ugly head and lets
Americans behave like sheep instead of people with minds. Here we
are with the Congress passing a health care bill which has help for
many more Americans but will keep the cost high and we still face
a battle in the Senate.