In the October 25th edition, I expressed my dismay at the proposal
of Robert and Russell Oakes to replace Petfare with eight 100 x 30
storage sheds on 2.1 acres of land fronting Route 28. I discussed
my happiness living in what I called "Scenic Shokan" for
over 20 years because I thought it was beautiful, rustic, rural,small,
friendly, and scenic. I thought that was why most people settled in
this neck of the woods. I was very upset that this endeavor would
ruin this mainly residential area in which I lived, especially since
the construction of all those sheds would likely necessitate the cutting
down of nearly all the trees on the back part of the property which
soften the view of what is behind them-- 2.5 acres of 7 or 8 storage
sheds, a garage, and miscellaneous cars. I felt that this extension
of the Oakes' storage shed business should be addressed as a 4.6 acre
proposal and not a 2.1 acre proposal. This was echoed by the UC Planning
Board's suggestion that the Oakes submit a plan describing how the
property would be integrated. The Oakes have stated that these properties
will not be integrated.
On Tuesday I went to the Olive Planning Board meeting along with about
40 or 50 other people. Chairman Drew Boggess opened the meeting and
asked the Oakes some questions about the landscaping and lighting
that were remaining from the last session. They told the PB they were
going to put up fir trees and there would be 8 lights per building
(that is 64) with glare protection. There was discussion about the
Town Map and the Town Board meeting at which the Petfare property
was changed to Highway Business. (Was this Local Law 1, 1995 which
I quoted to the Planning Board in 1999 after the original storage
sheds were okayed, when I disagreed with Mr. LaMonda's statement that
no variance was necessary because Highway Business extended not 250
feet in that area, but "750 feet from the center of Route 28?")
The meeting was then opened to comments. Highlights follow. Several
of my neighbors who have lived here for 20 years stated that placing
storage sheds in the midst of primarily residential surroundings was
wrong. Others voiced concern with lighting, safety, drainage, and
lowered property values. Owners of the house immediately west of Petfare
discussed the problems they had with septic over the last few years,
which they felt was due to the first storage shed business up behind
Petfare. Others in attendance said they felt that calling shokan scenic
in the first place wasn't quite accurate because there were a lot
of ugly places along Route 28. Several pointed out the three trailers
on the Petfare property were ugly and shouldn't be there. Some stated
that this was an inherent problem living on a highway. Others talked
about the need for commercial development to pump money into Olive.
Someone said that the current storage sheds weren't that bad and the
new ones could be attractive if landscaped. Mr. LaMonda said that
if the Oakes met all the requirements and the Planning Board did not
pass the proposal, there could be a lawsuit. I asked the Planning
Board to verify how the depth of the land would support 100 foot storage
sheds, a 50 foot setback, and a 50 foot rear setback. I questioned
the eastern entrance as more dangerous because Ridge Road, Shokan
Park Road and the entrance to Petfare are all in close proximity.
I asked where the gravel would be placed because it wasn't shown on
the map. I asked if the trailers would be removed and if the existing
sign would now have to conform to zoning rules. After patiently listening
to our comments, Mr. Boggess closed the Public Hearing.
I called Stephany the Zoning Clerk the next day. She said the proposal
had passed but they have to return to discuss landscaping. My neighbors
gave me a picture of the stretch of land which is currently Petfare.
The sun was shining and the trees were brilliant. I'm going to miss
Some 30 years ago my girlfriend, myself, and a little red dog canoed
the islands of Quetico Provincial Park. The very first thing the park
ranger said to us was that "if our dog gets into any type of
incident with a bear we should immediately get as far away from our
dog as possible.
Dog and bear confrontations are common in the Catskills. Two weeks
ago there was a 400 lb. bear in the center of the Phoenicia Elementary
School playground/ball field before dark.
I spoke with principal Linda Sella of the Phoenicia School and Jack
Jordan of Onteora High School about educating students of the necessity
to evacuate the area where a family dog gets into any type of problem
with a bear. All children should be told not to engage with their
dog during its confrontation with any wild animal. They should immediately
get as far away as possible, preferably into the house and call their
pet from a window or doorway. Both Linda and Jack agreed that education
is needed and are looking into DEC making a presentation at the schools.
I am writing in response to the article about the woman “attacked”
by the bear. After reading several articles in the press I was unable
to find anything unusual about the bear’s behavior. Yes, I do
realize that it is not only annoying but downright terrifying to have
a bear anywhere near a home. But isn’t our training in co-existent
living with these incredible creatures all about being sure that there
is nothing to lure them toward our dwellings. It seems to me that
the bear had found a good and tasty source of food and as she was
in serious preparation for her winter nap she was not about to forgo
her discovery. And a small yapping dog was certainly not going to
be a deterrent. In the Olive paper the woman claims that she ran into
the bear as it rounded a corner and it was a “collision.”
This description does not sound like an “attack.” Had
the bear intended malevolence this was certainly its opportunity.
But instead the bear turned away. So why must this bear then be caught
and killed? Where was the bear’s behavior viscous or even abnormal?
I give my great sympathy to Mrs. Pearlman. Had I been in her shoes
I would have been equally as terrified, and even grateful to be alive.
But I cannot help but ask the community and those who have the power
to decide when and if an animal should be killed, does the killing
of this bear feel right to you?
Lindsay Iya Battle
West Shokan, NY
As the details of the new Belleayre resort proposal became known,
including 240 hotel rooms, apartments and detached houses sprawling
up toand over the summit of Highmount, affected community members
and other concerned citizens have been contacting elected officials
and those environmental groups whose names appear alongside the developer’s
on the Agreement. The response from the NRDC president, Francis Beineke
is typical- to paraphrase, “It could have been worse.”
In fact, in terms of potential storm run-off to Pepacton, aesthetic
values, wildlife habitat and community character, the AIP is more
destructive than the original plan. In environmental circles, there
is no way to justify saturating high mountain slopes with commercial
development. In a locality already combating suburban sprawl such
as Rockland county, developing 700 acres while setting aside 1200
might be a victory. In Catskill Park, these numbers represent a drastic
erosion of the desired ratio of development to preservation.
Elected officials and the developers point to potential economic benefits
of the planned development. The developers and the huge construction
firms they would hire would indeed earn windfall profits. For the
rest of us, there will be only noise, congestion and higher taxes
financing a speculative venture that endangers our natural resources.
Groups opposed to the Agreement are not necessarily against all facets
of the plan. Our goals are to get intensive development off Highmount
and to limit the development to the Wild Acres section while making
sure it is environmentally responsible and economically sustainable.
Matt Frisch, Coordinator
Highmount Preservation Association
I'm not an expert mathematician, but when I add up the populations
of ULster, Delaware and Sullivan Counties, I calculate there is a
total of 306,307 men, women and children, according to the latest
figures available. Considering that the federal government has provided
$48 million for Kingston Hospital to combine services, if that figure
and my math are correct, every man, woman and child represents an
asset worth $156.71. For Dr. Kaminski's playground add another $13.
I wish I could afford $4 million for my very own facility with dubious
There are more than enough beds in the three hospitals to handle the
current rate of patient care. Where does this over-spending end? If
he is so anxious to build a separate facility I suggest that he apply
for a bank loan and erect a hospital in his own backyard where he
can play doctor, surgeon and scientist undisturbed. However, a more
serious situation deserves attention: what kind of experiments does
he plan to perform that require his isolation from the rest of the
hospital? To the best of my knowledge it is his job as CEO to run
Kingston Hospital as a full time job. Perhaps the reason he fulfills
his duties so badly is that the pressure of his dream is too much
for him. Moreover, since he has control over $48 million who is to
say that a percentage will not be siphoned off for unrelated purposes?
No one knows the nature of the experiments he hopes to conduct. What
is frightening is the secrecy surrounding the venture. I mentioned
my thoughts in my previous letter. His hand picked goon squad will
swear to anything he desires. There is no honor among thieves. While
all this is going on he is being investigated by his peers, by Medicare,
and by other organizations for previous questionable activities. It
is up to us, the taxpayers, to ferret out misconduct and correct it.
I am trying, but I can't do the job alone. It is not only money, but
lives that are at stake.
In 1976, in one classroom of the Dutch Reformed Church on the Village
Green, the Children's Annex began providing programs for children
with developmental disabilities. From the two children who began school
that September, The Children's Annex is now an established nonprofit
agency in the Hudson Valley, providing comprehensive services annually
to more than 250 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, including
Asperger's Syndrome. We began our 30th Anniversary Campaign about
18 months ago, to raise funds for capital improvements and to develop
a Staff Support Fund. We invite our friends and supporters from the
community to join us 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, November 5 from at our
Kingston location to celebrate the dedication of our new Autism Support
Center and to honor those individuals who contributed to the success
of this fundraising drive. If you have been a part of The Children's
Annex history, or are interested in learning more about the programs
and services we offer, please celebrate with us. Reservations are
appreciated at 336-2616, extension 143.
Susan Buckler, Admin.Director
Jamey Wolff, Program Director
The Children’s Center
This summer we had the happy opportunity to visit family and friends
in Germany. It's so interesting to see how life is lived differently
in another country. Where we traveled, Germany has compact towns and
villages; Houses are close together, with small yards. We saw no suburban
sprawl. At the edge of many towns, you see the plots of community
vegetable gardens; you see community gardens in cities too. Between
the towns, there was farmland, pastures, or mountains. Only when we
took the train into eastern Germany did we see open spaces that were
not being farmed.
The use of alternative energy was striking. Towns had solar panels
on houses and barns -- hot water panels and solar electric panels.
I'd say about 15-20% of the houses had them. Plus, we saw numerous
windmill clusters of various sizes in the countryside, ranging from
two windmills to the biggest cluster of about 25. Our friend told
us that when the Green Party was in power, they implemented a lot
of economic incentives for people to install solar. The use of alternative
energy is much more prevalent we see here in the NorthEast.
I found myself asking myself questions. Why are people here fighting
windmills in the countryside? To me, they are very beautiful looking.
They have a utilitarian beauty, like a silo has. And their presence
feels inspiring. They mean we are not depending on foreign oil or
burning coal or nuclear power for our energy. When is our country
going to offer incentives for alternative energy? I remember the solar
excitement after the oil crisis of the 70s, and how Ronald Reagan
gutted the federal alternative energy programs when he became president.
Almost 30 years later, and how little progress we have made. Why can't
we be world leaders in this?
In Germany, everywhere there are walking paths, and you see people
taking walks, vigorously. Any town you go to, you can always find
several paths to walk on. Most Germans seem to love to walk or bike.
Lots of people ride bikes to do errands and to go to work. Adults
ride bikes in town to get food or mail, or whatever. When we were
in Berlin, the bikers were very agressive !! There were bike lanes
on the city streets and you had to keep alert to get out of the way
of the bikes. There are no school buses -- kids ride bikes to school
or take public transportation. Public transportation is more available
than in the U.S.
I found myself thinking about walking paths in Shandaken. For people
who don't want to hike mountains, how about a walking path along the
railroad tracks from Phoenicia to Pine Hill? Or a path from Mt. Tremper
to Phoenicia? Residents and tourists all could enjoy this.
Those are a few of my reflections on how life is lived
Elizabeth Holland Kern