To Smaller Problems
At the November 2 board of education meeting at Woodstock Elementary,
engineer Tim Moot of Clark Patterson Lee and Onteora’s
new facilities director Jared Mance gave a report with options
for the board to consider. The new system was purchased to address
an Ulster County Board of Health violation that found high levels
of Manganese in the water of the Middle/High School and Bennett
Elementary. This type of system would remove the Manganese.
“The (new) pump unit has a computer system that shuts
down, with an error code saying that there’s voltage problems,”
Moot said, explaining that the district is in a dilemma because
the pump company and Central Hudson both deny problems. Rental
of a generator would provide a separate source of power and
begin to give an indication of where the problem is.
He also outlined another proposal as stated in a letter dated
October 19 that recommended freeing up $10,000 for an in-depth
electrical investigation. This proposal could be the second
step to figuring out what is wrong. He said this proposal is
based on a theory that “…the root of the problem
may not be associated with the pump, but may be associated with
the electrical supply in the building, with these old dry core
“I see three possible problems here,” Trustee Tom
Hickey said. “Either there is something wrong with the
pump, something wrong with the power source coming in from the
utility, or there is something wrong with our transformer equipment
Trustee Tony Fletcher asked, “If it is our electricity,
then why does everything else function?”
Moot said the new system has a safety feature that shuts the
pump down if the voltage reads imbalanced.
Mance added, “There may be other things going on that
we are not aware of, which is the reason why I recommend we
do this investigation so we know the root cause of this problem.”
In December 2008 the board approved $118,000 to install the
filtration system. Board President Laurie Osmond said finding
a solution to this problem will cause the costs to overrun.
At its last October 20 meeting, the board plowed through topics
at great speed before discussing non-teacher contracts trhat
are still pending. Trustee Anne McGillicuddy made plans to meet
with Superintendent Leslie Ford and Interim Business Administrator
Don Gottlieb to reviewnext year’s 2010/2011-school budget
and board members voiced concerns over possible mid-year budget
cuts a proposed by Governor David Paterson, including a possible
$485,000 slashing of the district’s existing year’s
Gottlieb reminded everyone that the Senate and Assembly must
approve all proposed cuts and have meetings coming up soon regarding
the budget. If mid-year State budget reductions become a reality,
he added, it could create a deficit that would affect next year’s
fund balance and impact the tax levy. Although, he added, the
board could also consider reducing funds for this year.
Other discussion in Phoenicia on October 20 included talk about
a proposal for the opening up of the Onteora junior.senior high
school campus to senior students during lunchtime, per a student
proposal, the better to visit restaurants and stores across
Route 28 in Boiceville.
A child safety zone was established around the school in 2008,
therefore restricting students from walking across the street.
Also in 2005, there was a similar proposal from seniors that
was supported by the administration at that time, but rejected
when the insurance company called it a high liability risk.
As an alternative, Holmquist suggested that seniors be allowed
to drive across Route 28 during lunch period, which is now 42
minutes instead of one half hour. High School principal Lance
Edelman has expressed concerns that such a policy would discriminate
against students who don’t drive and also create a liability.
In other business this past week, the board crafted a survey
that will go out in November’s school newsletter and be
The school board set a board meeting for students during the
afternoon of November 9, provided the new auditorium is ready.
This will be their second annual meeting for students. Expected
topics to be raised by the student body include redistricting,
student rights, open campus and girls wrestling.
On Saturday, Nov. 14, the board will hold its first “Coffee
Chat” at Casey’s Café, across Route 28 from
the Middle/High School, from 3 to 5pm. Board members will be
available for conversation and to address concerns regarding
Battle Moves West
are not going to develop those leases, we are not taking any
more leases, and I don’t think anybody else in the industry
would dare to acquire leases in the New York City watershed”
said Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake’s CEO. “Why go
through the brain damage of that, when we have so many other
McClendon was referring to health effects of chemicals used
in gas drilling and their history of turning up in surface water
and people wasn’t immediately clear. But his announcement,
timed to precede the first scheduled public hearing on the State’s
recently released regulatory guidelines for the industry drew
a cautiously positive but generally measured response.
state Department of Environmental Conservation issued a brief
statement indicating they’d anticipated such developments,
noting that “the web of interrelated regulatory requirements”
was “likely to present significant practical challenges”
for any company seeking to drill in the watershed.
Gennaro, chairman of the New York City Council’s Committee
on Environmental Protection, was more forthcoming, saying drilling
in the watershed “doesn’t make any business sense
and it doesn’t make environmental sense. I think Chesapeake
understands this and I’m happy they have come to that
decision. If only we could get the state government to come
to the same realization. It is strangely ironic.”
was referring to the 809 pages of draft drilling guidelines
released by DEC September 30. Those guidelines did not prohibit
and only superficially restricted drilling within the City’s
nearly 2,000 square mile watershed. Since its release, the Department
has been widely criticized for what many believe are inadequate
review procedures and protections contained in the document.
Amongst the agency’s conclusions were that gas drilling
in the watershed presented “no realistic threat”
to the safety of the City’s drinking water.
City’s agency in charge of that water is for now keeping
a low profile; Mayor Blumberg has declined to comment until
a full report on drilling impacts being prepared by their consultants
is released in December. That report is widely expected to be
highly critical of the state regulators’ analysis and
conclusions. But the agency did on Friday provide a terse comment
on Chesapeake’s withdrawal:
company’s voluntary moratorium at this point, “
said DEP spokesperson Mercedes Padilla, “ is not a substitute
for thorough analysis by the New York State DEC and the New
York State Department of Health, to determine the potential
of gas drilling failures in the NYC watershed and the damage
to critical infrastructure in surrounding counties.”
at the first of four public hearings being held statewide on
the drilling process, an overflow crowd of more than 300 people
showed up at Sullivan County Community College last Wednesday.
Even with testimony limited to 5 minutes and most speakers taking
less, the meeting ran five and a half hours with about 85% of
the audience and 75% of the speakers significantly critical
of DEC’s new guidelines.
County Planning Director Luis Aragon was the first of many speakers
to protest the agency’s lack of any requirement for cumulative
impact analysis or socio-economic impact studies. He called
for a ban on drilling in all floodplain zones and on all open-pit
storage of toxic waste, said that towns must have the right
to review drilling applications, and that the county legislature
remained deeply concerned that the drilling might have “unprecedented
and profound effects” which state regulators had no intention
Adams, Executive Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, said “The
DEC has said they couldn’t put cumulative impact requirements
into the draft document because they didn’t know how to
do it. If they can’t do a cumulative impact assessment,
we question whether they should be in the business of regulating
gas drilling in the first place.”
Swol, however, of the Sullivan-Delaware Property Owners Association,
said that “a robust new gas industry is the only hope
we have” and that “what we have here,” referring
to the packed hearing venue, is a small vocal group of environmental
radicals.” He said his association which represents 70,000
acres in Sullivan and Delaware Counties “totally supports”
DEC’s draft regulatory framework and called for the immediate
approval of 24 pending gas well permits in the town of Hancock.
Rotruck, VP of State Governmental Relations for Chesapeake Energy,
told the Phoenicia Times that “we can drill safely anywhere
but we will not drill in the NYC watershed” where “we’re
the only ones with any leases.” Rotruck said “It’s
a business decision” and that its 5,000 acres here were
not meaningful in comparison to the 1.4 million acres the company
holds leases on regionwide.
Adams countered that “We respect Chesapeake’s public
relations acumen” but that the announcement had “no
teeth” and that the watershed remains vulnerable until
DEC bans drilling here.
Chesapeake’s new position does appear, at least for now,
to enhance the prospect of continued safe drinking water for
NYC, the fate of the adjoining Delaware River Basin to our south
appears if anything, even more tenuous. Over the past four years
the massive Millenium natural gas pipeline which parallels the
Delaware on its New York side has been completed to its southern
Orange County where it joins the existing distribution infrastructure.
Future plans call for connection to an as yet unbuilttransshipment
facility in the Long Island Sound to move gas from the Catskills
around the world, with ground zero for gas drilling now centered
on the Sullivan County towns of Hancock, Walton, Bethel, and
Callicoon. Whether future regulatory actions amongst the three
impacted states will adequately protect the 10 million people
in New Jersey and Pennsylvania who rely on that watershed is
ALS is a degradation of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal
cord that control voluntary muscle movement. Only 20% of patients
survive more than 5 years after diagnosis, according to the
Bruce, a Viet Nam War veteran and former avid hunter and fisherman,
is bedridden and cannot breathe without a respiratory ventilator
or eat without a feeding tube. Although he cannot speak, his
mind and senses work perfectly well. Linda is his 24/7 caregiver.
“You’re trapped in your body,” explained Linda.
“You know everything that’s going around you, but
you have no control over your body whatsoever. Bruce can communicate,
though. The veterans purchased a special computer for him. He
has movement in his cheeks, and he puffs his cheek to make the
computer work. Before he had the computer, I used to have to
read his lips. We’d get frustrated at times, when I couldn’t
understand him, but then we’d do the alphabet, one letter
at a time. The ALS Center in Albany sent me a plastic board
with letters, and he’d blink when I came to the right
letter. Now with the computer, it’s a lot better.”
A complex mechanism, involving a special cap, an infrared switch,
and a scan box, allows Bruce to spell on the computer. He has
used it to write a cookbook for his friends, using recipes for
game he learned during his hunting and fishing years. To speed
up communication, said Linda, “I’ve programmed letters
for him. NS means ‘I need suctioning.’ CS is ‘Please
get me coffee.’ He still loves his coffee.” She
puts the coffee down the feeding tube, which bypasses his mouth,
but he can taste the coffee when he burps.
Linda and Bruce grew up in Shandaken and attended Onteora High
School, where they were childhood sweethearts. Bruce joined
the Navy Seabees and served in Viet Nam for two years. Soon
after his return, they married, 39 years ago.
“Bruce and I did everything together in the community—scouts,
PTA, he was Fire Commissioner in the Phoenicia Fire District,
a fireman, Little League manager—whatever we could be
involved in when it came to our children, we did together. Bruce
worked days, I worked evenings, so the kids were hardly ever
left with a babysitter. We were hardly ever separated, except
when I went in the hospital to give birth.”
Linda worked in a nursing home as an aide for eleven years and
then, at the age of 38, decided to get her nursing degree. She
graduated in 1994. A year later, Bruce’s diagnosis came.
“When it started, it was in his right hand. He worked
for the highway department as a truck driver and heavy equipment
operator. He noticed he couldn’t hang onto stuff, he’d
drop things, and he had difficulty shifting the truck with his
arm. His fingers started to contract toward the palm of his
hand. Bruce progressed fairly quickly.”
He went to a doctor to check out the problem. “The diagnosis
was very, very, very devastating. I remember the day the doctor
came in with the folder in his hand, and I remember his words:
‘This is fine, this is fine, the EMG is abnormal—you
have ALS. Do you know what that is?’ It was as hard for
him to give the diagnosis as it was for us to receive it. I
had already taken care of two patients with it. I knew what
The Storeys’ daughter, Kristi, was eight at the time,
and their oldest son, Marshall, was already married with children.
The middle son, Chad, left college at Brockport to come home
and help take care of his father. Later he graduated from SUNY-New
Paltz and moved to a house nearby. His wife had triplets four
years ago. Linda is now the primary—and virtually the
“Now it’s routine, I’ve done it for so long,
it’s just natural,” she says. Ventilators and feeding
tubes need frequent maintenance: cleaning, replacement of parts.
The ventilator has a monitor that beeps when the connection
to the patient is broken or supplemental suctioning is required.
Many patients opt out of ventilation when respiration is compromised,
hastening death. Most ventilator patients are institutionalized,
but Linda made the decision to take care of her husband at home.
“I don’t know if someone else could do what I’m
doing. There could be a lot of resentment. There are many days
I would just like to sit and scream and yell and cry, and there
are others where I sit and say how thankful and blessed I am.
I have three wonderful children, five beautiful grandchildren,
a family that stands by me—I really have a wonderful world.
I don’t know what God’s plan is, but there must
Bruce spends a lot of time watching TV—especially NASCAR
racing and the Food Network. “He gets depressed sometimes,”
Linda reports. “But then one of the daughters-in-law will
call—Could I get the triplets off bus today from Headstart?
They run in and kiss his arm and say ‘Hi, Poppy,’
and world is wonderful again.” Friends like Helen Cordo
visit and bring good cheer. “She’s an absolute angel,”
says Linda. “There’s a place for her in heaven.”
Linda’s biggest lesson? “The diagnosis changed our
lives. All of our plans went up in smoke, our retiring years,
what we were going to do. I try to tell everyone, don’t
put off to tomorrow what you can do today. You don’t know
what’s going to happen."
Jar Of Olives...
All Good Stuff
“Tis the season when the leaf blower blends right into
the snow blower. Before we get caught up in the family dinner
planning and present shopping, there is an important holiday
that sometimes gets forgotten amidst the more commercial and
Veterans Day is approaching when the Kiosk will be dedicated
at the annual Memorial Ceremony held at the American Legion
Hall on Mountain Road in Shokan. At eleven o’clock on
Wednesday, November 11, veterans’ service will be remembered
and their names memorialized on a kiosk that is the result of
many hands and hearts. Dino Giuliano coordinated the project
with help from Lee Denman, Ed Kahil, Bruce Reynolds, Jim Fugel,
Doug Costanzo, Tim Dupree, Evergreen Mountain Contracting, Rose
Carlson and Angelo Russo.
The Olive American Legion Post also sponsors Boy Scout Troop
63, which is having a spaghetti supper at the Olivebridge Firehouse
on Saturday, November 14 from 4-7. Come to support them and
have a home cooked dinner for $8. for adults, $6. for seniors,
$4. for children 5-12, and free for the little ones. This is
a major fundraiser for the scouts.
Speaking of fundraising, the winner of the Kate McGloughlin
painting, donated to the Odd Fellows Lodge, was Marilyn Wakefield.
Marilyn was married to Bill Wakefield who taught hundreds, maybe
thousands, of Onteora Students to “Habla Espanol.”
Kate will need a bit of that linguistic ability herself as she
goes to Mexico with her art students.
The Wednesday exercise class taught by Kathy Carey is gaining
new students each week. After lifting weights and doing exercises,
we ladies head to The Good Stuff Café for coffee and
baked goods. I think we probably even out on the calories, but
we gain in friendship. Gary and Paula Rhodes are now serving
breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Dixie Chicken is a specialty,
and the alligator sausage and chicken Jambalaya sounds intriguing.
The fall to winter transition is a time of warmth. Woodstoves
simmer, sweaters hug us, and hearty stews and soups fortify
us. It is a time to hunker down, settle in and enjoy the coziness
of home and the love of family. Nature forces us to seek shelter
and the comfort of others. We bond in a common fight against
the cold, the wind and the snow. Throw another log on the fire
and put on a kettle for tea or hot chocolate.