I had my first ski day of the season at Hunter on December 3, early
for me, but amazing how much snow they had made and how good the surface
was, excellent conditions, full sun, mild, a great day. Cost me $27
on my Big Lift discount card, same price any weekday, and $27 for
locals any Tuesday, even without the card. I noticed new carpet in
the Hunter lodge and a rearranged cafeteria, where the price of coffee
has jumped to $1.84 from $1.50. Regular lift tickets are over $50.
After the Belleayre Bruhahah last Spring, and the current budget crisis...Belleayre's
monthly skier appreciation days will now be $25 instead of $15, the
$10 winter festival week is now the $20 week, and Belleayre seems
to have limited its printing to a cheap rack card instead of the full
color magazine of yore, which Hunter and Windham still publish and
give-away. Haven't been to Belleayre yet to see how curtailed their
operations have become, but will get there on one of their discount
We need Belleayre to provide access to skiing as recreation for hard-pressed
families who otherwise couldn't afford the sport.
We need the other areas to cooperate in this effort. Instead of competing
with those days Belleayre offers discounts, let Plattekill and Hunter
offer discounts on other days. Local people would appreciate the opportunity
to ski at more affordable prices, and the areas will get bigger crowds.
Belleayre's parking lots are over-full on discount days.
I was shocked to see that Whiteface in the Adirondacks has raised
its lift ticket to $77 from $66 this year...although by presenting
a Coke product on Wednesdays you can get a lift ticket for $38.
In all of the discussion over Belleayre, I never saw a budget line
about the revenue generated by lift tickets at Belleayre. Their discount
days are packed, they make money, yet the talk is always about the
state contribution and how unfair it is to private ski areas. I wonder
how much the public contributes through lift tickets? We need Belleayre
as an affordable alternative for recreation, and an economic engine
along Route 28. I'd like to see their income figures.
I took a ride alongside Windham Mountain recently, up the switchbacks
alongside the ski trails where a string of luxurious, stunning homes
climb the mountain. Windham boasts it has put $10 million into its
lodge, which was already the nicest among the Catskill Region ski
areas. Hunter has put Pinnacle condos on top of its lodge, and built
a huge Kaatskill Club condo/hotel slopeside. Still small potatoes
compared to big areas in Colorado and Utah, but significant for our
They are worried the Belleayre Resort will give them unfair competition,
if the Gitter project ever gets built. That should be no excuse for
bullying Belleayre as it now stands. Although I think the coffee at
Belleayre is overpriced at $2.50 a cup, as I recall.
See you on the slopes.
Governor Paterson has proposed a $20 million dollar cut to library
aid - a 21 percent cut to library and system funding that has been
static for a decade. If you believe as I do that libraries are a precious
community resource in these tough economic times, there is an easy
way to register your opinion with the Governor and State Legislators.
Please take five minutes to send a letter to the Governor and your
State Legislators through NYLA's (New York Library Association) automated
faxing program by going to:
http://www.nyla.org/index.php?page id=925. You can do this at your
The Governor first proposed this cut to the 2008 New York State Budget
in mid-November with only six weeks left in the calendar year. The
Legislative Session that would have voted on this was canceled but
the 2009 State Budget will be presented in mid-December and there
will be cuts proposed to close the large budget deficit. This gives
us time to register our opinions.
Libraries have already suffered severe cuts and have instituted economies.
Between 1998 and 2006 libraries and library systems received no increases,
while other educational institutions received additional funding and
the cost of living went up. The inter-library loan system which is,
in itself, an economic efficiency, is threatened with the new cuts.
Library use is up when people have less to spend: computer access,
newspapers and magazines as well as tapes and DVD's are available
to the community, as well as informational resources. Our President-elect,
Barack Obama, used the 40th St. branch of the New York Public Library
to find his job as community organizer in Chicago after his graduation
Our Public Library System is the most democratic educational (information
and culture) organization our nation has. It fills me with pride to
see active libraries across the country reflect the interests and
activities of particular communities and provide opportunities for
recent immigrants to learn English. Please help and protect our libraries.
For nearly eight years the Olive Press has allowed disappointed writers
and other malcontents to misinform our young people; namely our High
School students. The latest editions of the Press contains letters
of misinformation re: the US Supreme Court decision of December 8,
2000. According to the Cornell Law School comment there was no decision
unless one considers sending the petition back to the Florida Supreme
Court a decision. The USSC directed the Florida Supreme Court to follow
the US Constitution which under Art II states that the several states
shall manage all elections except for two provisions; The candidates
for President and Vice President shall not be residents of the same
state. Further, The election for President and Vice President shall
be scheduled on the same day/date in all the states.
The Tom Siblos and Jill Papernos have gleefully and purposely distorted
the US Constitution and many students I have spoken with take those
pronouncements as gospel. That is shameful. I believe it is the duty
and obligation to dispute false information submitted to any publication;
especially a parochial publication such as the Olive Press or the
I wonder at times if anyone thought it was lawfull to set aside the
absentee ballots of our military personnel at that time. The envelopes
were not post marked with time or date as we see on all our daily
mail. When it was ruled that those ballots would be counted, the Bush
numbers soared [AP. NY Times, etc].
Let us be clear; GW Bush was not my favorite either time as I opposed
the Iraq debacle early in the Olive Press. Sadaam Hussein did nothing
to us and he would not have allowed Bin Ladin to operate in Iraq.
He would have exterminated Bin Ladin and rid himself of any competition.
In fact I suggested releasing and reinstalling Hussein He would have
rid Iraq of all terrorists and mutants [except his own].
Now we have what many wished for. I did not vote for Mr. Obama but
I would support him as he begins to unravel the economic snare we
are in. He did promise change but so far he has appointed 31 "leftovers"
[11-30-08]. I agree with his reasoning that "where does one go
for experience?" We can certainly profit from "Willie's"
savvy but don't let him into the White House [socially undesireable].
As far as not doing anything with or for the "Big" businesses
let me remind the critics and haters of the wealthy that so goes Wall
Street, so goes Main Street; NY State/NY City.
Don't forget our schools and other public services. An increase in
our taxes is not so desireable either. Be careful of what you wish
for; you may get it!.
Glenn T. Anderson
This is in response to the recent Associated Press report published
in the Saturday Daily Freeman dated December 6, 2008. It is hard to
believe that half a million American jobs disappeared in November
2008. The United States and all throughout the global economy millions
of workers are losing their jobs. Adding to the AP report the U.S.
is heading to the hardest economic times since the Great Depression.
There is a lot more that both Congress and President George W. Bush
could be doing now. First Main Street and under Main Street the poor
are losing their food pantry's because many of the people who use
to give now need food too. The money provided to poor low income worker,
people with disabilities and the frail elderly has not had an accurate
increase since the original welfare Reform. Food stamps find individuals
who have worked all their lives receiving anywhere from $14.00 and
up. The vast majority within the lower economic range is starving
now and was starving for the past year according to Tim Wheeler of
the People's Weekly World. Hunger is stalking the people of the United
States and no one is talking about a bailout of non-Middle Class Families.
The strains on the safety-net are worse now than ever before and Congress
and Bush need to do something about it now.
The bail-out of the finance corporations and Banks of $700 billion
is assured. $15 billion dollar bridge-back loans to prevent the Big
Three car makers from going down. Why not $700.00 billion bail out
for the common hard working Americans?
Special bail-out for Middle Class foreclosures but nothing those who
are house poor or tenants who face eviction and high rents.
Instead, I see Wall Street, the Big Three but nothing for the have-nots
who through their role in production as both workers and consumers.
Those who cannot fill their oil tanks because all summer the oil monopolies
were bleeding them to death. At Abe Lincoln's second inaugural speech
he said clearly that the abolition of chattel slavery was one of two
things he sought to reform. The second was to abolish wage slavery
and this would further equality among the people of the United States.
Unfortunately the assassin's bullet of John Wilkes Booth took his
life before he could make that additional emancipation of labor proclamation.
Martin Luther King and Malcolm X saw their dream of a better America
as part of the emancipation of all working people. I am here to remind
Inasmuch we are all looking to President Obama to make the "change,"
however; one person cannot hope to do it all. He needs all of our
help by getting out there visible in the streets demanding our bail
out such as canceling all past credit cards debts, stop all foreclosures,
stop all evictions, new jobs programs with a living wage, a national
single payer health plan, hands off of Social Security it is working
and give every American a fresh start!
This is the challenge we face and every working person throughout
the world face the same. It is time to unite and when this happens
the super rich will start to finally trickle-down while we demand
Everyone has had a nightmare at some time in their lives. The worst
moment of a nightmare is when you just wake up. You bolt up, check
to see if you're alive, try to stop the pounding in your chest, and
calm down. Then, for those that have a background of psychology, you
try to remember what the story-line was, and then figure out what
the heck that was all about.
Well, I think that's where a lot of us are right now. We're taking
a deep breath, try to release the pent up energy from our stomachs,
and allow ourselves to take a break. At least that's were I've been
since the election, a few light years ago.
But now, I think it's time to concentrate on the future. How can we
collectively repair the awful damage that has been done to our country,
to most other countries, and to our planet as a whole. It's taken
me a while to figure out that now that we have a leader and I don't
have to deal with the overwhelming scope of what needs to be done.
I can now focus in on one or two of the issues that I feel most passionate
about. Now is a time that we can each concentrate on finding our own
individual area of interest and qualification.
Some families are devastated by cancer in the family, and then devote
their lives to the furthering of a cure for cancer. Some have a child
with ADD and devote their lives to that cause.
Some are animal lovers and do what they can to save endangered species,
or some have the scientific knowledge to contribute some of their
talents to green energy. I think I'd like to see a community think
tank develop in our region, perhaps under the auspices of our fine
representative, Maurice Hinchey.
We're facing crucial times. We're now officially in a recession. Maybe,
if we coordinate our talents, we may find a local business or two
or three, that could address the needs of our country and provide
a living for some of us here in the area. I would bet that someone
within Ulster County has a method of storing solar energy that needs
help in developing it. Whaddyathink?
How is it possible that the baseballs used in our national game, enjoyed
by millions and generating billions of dollars, are made by Haitians
earning a dollar a day and starving to death? In Gonaives, 25 children
recently died of malnutrition and we have seen on TV how thousands
of people are forced to eat paddies made of dirt in order to barely
After the U. S. marine military occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934, and
decades of subsequent merciless dictatorships, beating and murdering
those who spoke up, a president was, finally, elected, Father Bertrand
Aristide. But after several coups orchestrated with our tax dollars
he was finally whisked out of Haiti on an unmarked U.S. plane and
dumped into a distant African country.
Will this never end? Will Barak Obama depart from the "free trade"
NAFTA model, a euphemism for export by U.S. corporations with the
dumping of subsidized Agribizz products that has wreaked havoc on
the lives of tens of millions Haitians and Latin Americans as local
farms are abandoned in the face of cheap imports, and food, then,
gradually rises in price and become too expensive? Will the president
elect's newly appointed economic advisors, Clinton men, change stripes
and put humanity first? Or should we expect more boat people?
Haiti freed itself, the slaves rising up from France in a 12-year
struggle (1791-1803). Yet the descendants of this proud and gentle
people now suffer another occupation, one by the U.N., arranged by
our government with our taxes. It is an oppressive occupation. The
people are starving and the country is collapsing, little is done.
Thousands died in from the recent hurricanes in Haiti while in neighboring
Cuba, hit broadside, by the very same hurricane, only 4 died, without
any U.N. presence.
West Hurley, NY
The Bush bailout wantonly loots US taxpayers for seven trillion dollars
(Daily Freeman, November 26) most of the money going to a handful
of bankers who are in large part responsible for the severity of our
present crisis. As the economy continues its plunge to an unforeseeable
bottom line, the only ones with cash on hand, taxpayer cash that was
just handed them, will soon enough find the entire world on sale at
fire sale prices, encouraging banks to hold their bailout cash, not
loan it or offer credit to others.
$7 trillion roughly equates to $23,000 for every man, woman, and child
alive in the USA. That's what each of us will pay for this bailout,
not counting interest. What benefits do we reap from bankers receiving
The bailout money could instead be divided among the states, providing
money to shore up state budgets, for infrastructure, green investments,
and health, education, and welfare (remember H-E-W?...like it was
a communist plot!) States could offer direct loans to businesses and
launch a boom in alternative energy enterprises. Not only would it
be a most comprehensive economic stimulus, it would take us a long
way toward energy independence and serve just deserts to the bankers
who played casino games with the world economy.
It now appears that the politicians are not going to be strong enough
to say no to the paid lobbyists and special interest groups, and the
Detroit Three are going to get a bailout.
Hopefully the legislation can have some strong provisions. The CEO's
who "lead" their companies to fiscal ruin should first resign
before any taxpayer dollars move. The legislation should provide that
all bonus money is renounced, all golden parachutes are renounced,
and all accrued compensation and benefits are renounced, and that
successor CEO's must have prior approval of the Legislative Oversight
panel before any taxpayer dollars move.
The greedy and arrogant that created this mess should not profit from
their malfeasance and hopefully something can be done to help the
auto workers start anew.
H. Clark Bell
I know both Joe Barton and Jay Debberman intimately and I am very
supset about what happened on November 14 of this year. Whether one
believes in the use of marijuana or not, is immaterial to this situation
- these two people genuinely believe in its growing and use as a sacrament
within their religious belief. To be persecuted for one's religious
beliefs goes against what this country is supposed to stand for and
why it is one of the reasons this country was founded.
I don't know how much money was spend by the Ulster Regional Gang
Enforcement Team in investigating and then raiding Joe and Jay's home,
but I am sure that there are really dangerous people that they could
have gone after with the money spent.
As I state before, I know these two men rather well and in spite of
the law, they are kind and gentle people who will, and have, helped
others whenever they could. I know this because I am one of those
people they have helped without asking for anything in return. They
do not belong in jail! Their intentions are to help others, particularly
those who can be aided by the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
And yes, research has shown that there is an efficacious effect for
some medical reasons, which I will not enumerate here.
If possible, I would like you to print this letter in your letters
to the editor column so that the people of Ulster County can see that
these men are not rampaging monsters, dangerous criminals or marauding
terrorists. They are no different than the people of Ulster's brothers,
sons or nephews. They just want to follow the tenets of their own
personal lives in peace.
Rev. Daniel A. Barton
This year's political fever isn't over yet! Did someone get you on
the phone and give you a chance to indicate which person of about
eight possibilities you would like to see appointed as New York's
Senator to replace Hillary Clinton? I'd like to see Maurice Hinchey
named but there are many factors to be considered and we really can't
know what some of the candidates have to offer or why Maurice is needed
on the House. At least we don't have to vote - it is all up to the
Governor, poor man.
Looking at the whole election process one can't help realizing that
the way we elect our leaders is anything but free of the tremendous
influence of money in determining outcomes of all political races
and the performance of the winner in office. Clean election laws are
sorely needed if election outcomes are to be based on candidate ability
and integrity rather than on the money provided by special interests.
Citizen Action organization is working hard to help New York have
clean election laws so that public funding rather than private largesse
will be available for candidates. Other measures, such as shortening
the length of election campaigns could help, too, to make our elections
financially realistic, not wasteful extravaganzas. Let's welcome the
advent here of the Citizen Action organization.
Congratulations to Elliott Auerbach on his big win after this week's
final count of absentee ballots established him as Ulster County's
first ever comptroller. Elliot gained the lead and maintained his
position by only 150 votes. Our new Comptroller spoke with me minutes
after the final tallies and thanked Woodstock and our great Democratic
turnout for putting him over the top. As with the razor thin vote
to establish a charter form of government in Ulster County, it's the
voters of Woodstock who can actually make things happen at the ballot.
I am very proud of our voters and our town's ability to get out the
vote in important elections!
Ulster County Legislator
Your front page story written by “Phoenicia Times Staff about
Dean Gitter’s appearance in Fleischmanns has three critical
errors of fact. You say that our Supplemental Environmental Impact
Statement is on hold until a lawsuit brought against the state by
the Sierra Club is settled. You attribute the comment to State Senator
This is wrong on three counts.
We are moving full speed ahead on the development of the Supplemental
Environmental Impact Statement and it is not “on hold”
We called Senator Bonacic’s office and were told he was not
interviewed by any reporter recently and did not make that statement.
There is, to our knowledge, no pending lawsuit by the Sierra Club.
There was a lawsuit (an Article 78) filed by the Catskill Heritage
Alliance, the Pine Hill Water District Coalition and Ben & Idith
Korman but that suit was dismissed in September. It is possible that
the petitioners have appealed, but there was no “stay”
put in place that would stop either Crossroads or the State of New
York, from moving forward with the studies mandated by the Agreement
If you want to have credibility with readers, you need to get the
basic facts right.
Mt. Tremper, NY
Editor’s Note: It was I who spoke with Senator Bonacic by phone
following the New York Legislature’s November 18 Special Session.
When I asked Senator Bonacic about possible effects of the current
state budget crisis on funding for the Belleayre expansion, he brought
up the Sierra Club lawsuit and went on about it for several minutes.
Although this was the only time we have heard of such a suit, we took
the Senator at his word that something was afoot, and have since attributed
all comments regarding the matter to him... including several Nov.
20 articles on the interview that were never countered by the Senator’s
office. We are glad to hear that such matters are currently moot.
Your picture of a dead deer and hunting notice on the front page of
your 11/20 edition is a sad statement that your paper needs to appeal
to the sickest side of our society. Are you so destitute for publicity
that you must expose your readers to the sad "trophies"
belonging to those who get their kicks from hunting helpless wildlife?
The Dept. of Fish & Game which makes money from hunting licenses
and those that hunt should be banned from this "sport" which
violently kills creatures with nervous systems, beating hearts and
that care for their young. Additionally there are accidents which
also maim and kill unintended targets, as many hunters also use alcohol,
as attested to by beer cans in the woods! When newspapers like yours,
complete with photo, attempt to treat hunting as the norm and a legitimate
sport, you are doing a disservice to the animal world as well as people.