The implacable hostility of certain elements of the community, exhibited
by a recent widely circulated Heritage Alliance letter to Governor
Paterson and by a November 20th editorial in the Phoenicia Times,
never ceases to amaze. Readers need to ponder the following facts:
1. Taxes are rising.
2. Municipal costs are rising.
3. Business failures are rising.
4. Tax and bank foreclosures are rising.
5. The economies of Delaware and Western Ulster counties are in deep
History records that recessions invariably hit deeper in our area
than in the rest of the nation and recoveries come later. The best
hope for the economic future of this area lies in tourism. Forty years
of studies commissioned by the State and the City of New York make
this abundantly clear.
It should be a matter of widespread local relief that the investors
in the Belleayre Resort, despite 10 years of assault by certain members
of the community, are still willing to pursue their vision of restoring
what was once a thriving tourism industry in this region and to take
the financial risks necessary to build the Belleayre Resort project.
The nay-sayers’ recent demands that the state renege on the
commitment it made in the Agreement in Principle is fraught with distortions
and outright falsehoods. The facts are these:
1. The state has never floated a figure for the improvement of Belleayre
Ski Center north of $49 million, not “as much as $70 million”
as is alleged.
2. The imminent construction of the new lodge and the improvement
of the children’s facilities are long-recognized essentials
to the ability of the Belleayre Ski Center to compete and to maximize
the potential of what are, arguably, the best beginner ski slopes
in the northeast.
3. The buy-out figure of essential lands from Crossroads Ventures
is subject to professional appraisal by no less than three independent
firms all working for either the State or the Open Space Institute.
Crossroads is not involved in that process. The acquisition of this
significant property for “Forever Wild” purposes is entirely
consistent with the 11/19 editorial in the New York Times reminding
politicians in office of the overwhelming support voters clearly signaled
for the commitment to preserving open spaces.
4. The acquisition of the Highmount Ski Center, also subject to the
same independent appraisal process, accomplishes a Belleayre Ski Center
expansion which has been almost unanimously called for by voters and
governments in Delaware and Western Ulster counties for the last 20
years. It adds considerable advanced skiing capability so necessary
to successful competition with other ski facilities outside our region.
5. It is crystal clear that expansion of trails in the direction of
the proposed Wildacres Hotel would commence only when and if ground
is broken on the Wildacres resort; and that such expansion will also
contribute significant vertical drop and advanced ski terrain to the
6. Lastly, the only direct link between the state ski center and Crossroads’
Belleayre Resort is a lift from the proposed Highmount Hotel to the
top of the Highmount Ski Center, a facility for which Crossroads has
committed itself to bear 100% of the cost.
Perhaps it’s time for the Catskill Heritage Alliance, the “Save
the Mountain” folks and the editorial writers of the Phoenicia
Times to wake up and smell the mulled wine. Tourism is our last, best
hope for economic revitalization and overnight skier visits and fine,
year-round accommodations are at the heart of any tourism initiative.
Crossroads Ventures LLC.
Mt. Tremper, NY
The Belleayre Mountain Ski Center is a wonderful economic asset to
our community and deserves expanded support from Albany. The proposed
“Belleayre Resort” is a whole different animal. Spin masters
from the proposed resort keep mixing up the two – hoping you
will be tricked into supporting the biggest bailout of big-time millionaires
in the history of the Catskills. They would like you to believe the
ski area needs the resort but nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, $5 million in State funds that were dedicated to improving
the ski center a few years ago went up in smoke while they foolishly
waited for this imaginary resort to be approved. That money is gone.
Now the developer wants us to bail him out with a cool hundred million
to float his sinking ship. This is one boat they should stop bailing
out and let sink.
Last week's letter from Richard Schaedle, Chairman of the Catskill
Heritage Alliance asking Governor Paterson to reconsider a commitment
to expand Belleayre Mt. Ski Center was both shocking and disheartening
to those who have worked for decades to see some significant economic
development effort in the region.
The Catskill Heritage Alliance inaccurately describes the proposed
expansion of Belleayre Mt. as a perk for a private resort developer,
implies that the State is giving money to a private sector property,
says the State is going to over-pay if it buys land and says that
now is not the time to be investing in Belleayre. The Catskill Heritage
Alliance has apposed any Compromise and economic development since
A factual analysis would show that people in this region were trying
to get Belleayre Mt. expanded long before the Belleayre Resort Project
ever came on the horizon. A detailed study of the region and the ski
center in 1963 concluded the facilities should be turned into a year
'round resort with golf, swimming and tennis. Keep in mind that way
back then, we still had the Grand Hotel open with 400 rooms and a
golf course. More than 20 years ago, voters across the state voted
in favor of expanding Belleayre Mt. Ski Center. Those of us here -
then and now - are still waiting.
Crossroads Ventures spent millions of dollars in engineering and environmental
reviews trying to build a resort complex with a hotel and golf course
on 1200 acres the state now wants to buy. By law, no acquisition can
take place until there is a independent appraisal completed to determine
the fair market value of the property. It is hardly a perk for the
developers to have to give all of that up in order to have any chance
of moving their project forward. However, in the Agreement in Principle,
it was agreed to let the State buy that property and make it forever-wild
so they could move forward with their project.
All other taxpayer dollars will be invested by the State in expanding
and improving the infrastructure at Belleayre Mt. Ski Center. The
improvements at the ski center will benefit everyone who uses the
facility - not just those staying at the Resort. The improvements
and the resort will also benefit us because they will create desperately
needed new jobs, currently estimated at over 500. This will provide
substantial gains in real estate, sales, lodging, state and federal
income taxes. No State dollars will be spent on private property as
purported to the Governor by the Catskill Heritage Alliance. The improvements
will further benefit us by making Belleayre Ski Center a more competitive
and attractive destination. It will draw more skiers and support more
The Delaware County (IDA) Industrial Development Agency recently commissioned
a study to determine the impact of New York City’s (LAP) Land
Acquisition Plan in the next 10 year (FAD) Filter Avoidance Determination
period on the local economy. The FAD requires New York City to spend
an additional 300 Million dollars buying land in the watershed. The
preliminary results of the study, released in recent town meetings,
show that historically lands purchased by New York City have their
tax values challenged and reduced by 50%. As stated by Middletown
Town Supervisor Len Utter in the town meeting on Thursday night, there
are 12,000 acres of developable land in the town of Middletown, of
that amount 7,000 acres, or over 58%, are owned or controlled by New
York City. When the city does implement its $300 million buyout over
the next 10 years, Delaware County can expect a job loss of 617 manufacturing
jobs and $20,707 in per person earnings in that sector. Without responsible
industry and development, how are we to carry the growing tax tab?
Over 1500 local supporters of Partners for Progress believes the Agreement
in Principle, supported by numerous environmental groups, is critical
in meeting this and other future economic challenges.
To the assertion that now is not the time to invest in Belleayre,
we say - if not now, when? Some of us have waited 45 years to see
Belleayre become a year 'round resort. Others of us have waited more
than 20 years to see the ski center expanded to its Constitutional
limit. A few of us have waited for more than 10 years for the Belleayre
Resort to be built, bringing nearly 500 new jobs and important tax
revenues to the economy.
Mr.Schaedle’s conclusions are sad and self serving, because
if you look at our true heritage, it is one that is filled by tourism
and over 10,000 beds in Delaware County alone. If Mr.Schaedle wants
to resurrect cauliflower farms and steam engines I cannot fault his
nostalgia, but his mindset is detrimental to those people who worry
about how they are going to pay to put fuel in their cars, heat their
homes, and feed their families.
The expansion of the Ski Center and approval of the Resort Project
are in the midst of a mandated review process. For the Catskill Heritage
Alliance to call for that process to be halted and rehash a bunch
of misstatements, half truths, and outright falsehoods is despicable
as well as absurd.
Our county is in great trouble, our state, our community. If our country
is to recover, we need economic development now more than ever. This
is the time to support the expansion of Belleayre Mountain and the
Belleayre Resort Project. We need the positive impacts previously
outlined to support local working families.
Lewis E. Kolar, President & Chairman
Partners for Progress
The suggestion that we refuse the money Albany has earmarked for the
development of The Belleayre Ski Center and the Belleayre Resort is
totally wacky. Many anti-development voices do so with very selfish
It sounds like the Catskill Heritage Alliance is trying to use the
present economic climate to support their position that no progress
takes place here. To suggest that Albany not give money to this area
and instead help hospitals and schools, etc., is naïve not altruistic.
Does the CHA think they can direct where the money will go if it is
Churches are closing! Classrooms are getting smaller and smaller which
will lead to schools closing and families moving away, searching for
closer schools! Stores and other businesses are closing (look at our
Main Streets)! The Real Estate market is disappearing! Our friends
and neighbors are moving away in search of jobs! The Hospital is struggling!
How many more clues do we need to understand we need an economic stimulus
here? I can't think of anything we can do without the help of Albany,
that comes near the $60 million that the state is prepared to infuse
into this area to help us. If the money is refused, does the CHA really
think that the money will be returned to us, the taxpayers?
While the CHA does not think the state should be involved in recreational
facilities, the City of New York is negotiating to buy land at a cost
of $250 million in Coney Island for development of recreational facilities
in cooperation with private companies. A similar partnership has occurred
in the Adirondacks. So why should we give up this chance?
If we turn down this economic package, what guarantee do we have that
the money isn't going to more development in the Adirondack ski area?
Or even into Coney Island recreation.
It is irresponsible and self-serving to even suggest refusing the
money. Can those pointing their fingers come up with a better, realistic
approach to help our community survive?
Big Indian, NY
Week after week I read and personally listen to the opinions of others
on how bad the economy is and how we need more viable businesses in
Shandaken and the surrounding area and I don't understand it. First
of all, Why would I want large business operations in the quiet residential
community where I live and play? Large businesses with good paying
jobs belong in the citified areas like Kingston.
If you check on-line you'll find a 35 to 85 jobs depending on the
web-site. If you ask some of the firms looking to hire they will tell
you that it is hard to find qualified people.
People who live in the Long Island suburbs travel 1 to 2 1/2 hours
to New York City if they want the high paying jobs. If they wanted
to live in the city noise, traffic, etc., they would.
I don't feel sorry for that out of work person sitting home because
he can't find a job were he can go home for lunch. Get Off Your Ass!
On Long Island I have been looking to hire a male or female with a
clean criminal and driving record for several months with no success.
The work is mostly early A.M., approximately 5 hour days with some
night work. It pays $15.00 hr. to start (training) and will increase
to $20.00 in approximately 1 year. A good running vehicle is necessary
and I pay $.45 per mile. I also pay for your travel time and mileage
to & from the job.
So, how many applicants do you think I have received? Zero!
Maybe the only people that are out of work are those that need $250,000.
per year to live.. That's why I don't know anyone out of work.
If I am correct then our next president is in trouble. Who is he going
to collect his taxes from?
Robert E. Steiner
Big Indian, NY
We may need to start referring to the highway department as the Gang
That Couldn't Route Straight. If you enter Phoenicia via Bridge Street
there is a sign as you approach Main St. that urges you to turn right
to follow a detour. (See photos attached.) However, if you turn right
on Main St., as the sign instructs, you get as far as the Catholic
church before you're warned that that road is closed!
From the same town that gave us the Phoenicia Hotel Landfill comes
our own version of the Detour to Nowhere!
Some Americans don't trust our government to take care of the poor
and needy, because too many tax dollars get siphoned off. The difference
between those conservatives and this liberal is that although I don't
completely trust the government, I will not allow myself to become
cynical, by over generalize about our democratic process. It's my
opinion that our government, through our representatives in Congress
and the White House, will be as efficient and effective as we the
voters expect them to be. In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy
in America” pointed out; “In a democracy, people get the
government they deserve.”
Too much of our tax dollars got siphoned off from our troops serving
in Iraq, because there were as many “contractors” in Iraq
as regular members of our armed forces. Hundreds of billions of emergency
appropriations never went to support our troops, but instead went
directly into the pockets of crony war profiteers, like Blackwater.
Charitable organization can't always take care of the poor and the
needy, because these organization sometimes become overwhelmed. The
most obvious example, was New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, when
both charitable organizations and our government were overwhelmed.
Before the 1929 collapse, three Republican Presidents Warren Harding,
Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover had occupied the oval office when
recession started. I suspect two consecutive terms of Bush and a third
term of McCain could have again driven this nation into a catastrophic
depression. During the Great Depression the unemployment rate reached
20% and those charitable organizations attempting to help the needy
were completely overwhelmed.
My grandfather was hard working carpenter, who was too proud to ask
help. He and my mother survived the end of the winter of 1932-33,
by eating turnips and sugar sandwiches.
The Department of Social Services is appealing to the community for
donations in order to provide the needy children, families and senior
citizens in our community with Christmas/holiday gifts, new toys,
or new warm clothing (for children, adults and seniors). Gift certificates
for teenagers would be greatly appreciated.
Families and/or children can be "adopted" and monetary donations
are also appreciated. Please make checks payable to: "The Ulster
County Children's Celebration Fund" and send them to the attention
of Laura Walzer, Dept. of Social Services, 1091 Development Court,
Kingston, NY 12401. For more information, please contact Laura Walzer
at 334-5139; Rachel Hunter at 334-5352; or Kristy Granger at 334-5298.
At this hectic time of year, we are often so consumed with our own
schedules and obligations, that we may overlook those people in our
community who may not be as fortunate as we are. In the spirit of
giving during this season, we would appreciate any assistance in making
this holiday season a special one for all. Thank you.
Laura Walzer, Rachel Hunter
and Kristy Granger
Children and Adult Services, UCDSS
Congratulations are to be given to the Ulster County Legislature on
their recent passing of the bill that will ban smoking on property
owned or under the control of the county. It is well known that secondhand
smoke is a known cause of lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis,
asthma, and low birth rate in children. After all, cigarette smoke
contains more than 4,000 known chemical compounds, many of which are
toxic. According to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, "Exposure
to secondhand smoke has been estimated to result in at least 38,000
annual deaths in the United States and over one million illnesses
Tobacco use and dependence is the leading preventable cause of morbidity
and mortality in New York. Each year approximately 25,500 New York
State residents die from their tobacco use, with an estimated 510,000
adults suffering from serious smoking caused diseases. The annual
health care cost in New York caused by smoking is $8.17 billion, costing
each household in New York State $903 in state and federal taxes.
The Ulster County Legislature has taken a bold step that will move
Ulster County residents to consider making a stop smoking attempt.
I would like to remind everyone that the New York State Smokers' Quitline
is an excellent resource that can help you develop a quit plan; provide
you with helpful quit tips; and upon completion of a telephonic interview
may provide you with a starter kit of nicotine replacement therapy.
Most New York State residents qualify. The Quitline number is 1-866-NY-QUITS
(1-866-697-8487). Last year the Quitline had 214,884 incoming calls.
Or, you may visit their website at www.nysmokefree.com.
Theresa Miller, Director
Tri-County Cessation Center
Lake Katrine, NY
Ulster County has an URGENT problem. In the past there were witch
hunts. Today it's a hippie hunt. In the past they burnt them. Now
they bust them.
The Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT) is leading
the hippie hunt. They are rounding up those peaceful rascally varmints
with a paramilitary unit, locked and loaded with assault weapons,
shotguns, handguns and all the best equipment money can buy. When
they lock them all up, the doctors, lawyers, judges, and businessmen
won't be able to get their legal ounce of pot. This is an emergency!
Politicians smoke too, you know? Stop the drug war or lock up the
Joe Barton, a.k.a. Joe Anderson
Our disgraceful Supreme Court just made a ruling that dooms countless
whales and dolphins, among other marine animals, to insanity, suffering,
and death. This notoriously partisan and uncompassionate court overturned
a lower federal court that had halted some naval sonar experiments
off the coast of Hawaii - an area that should be a sanctuary for whales
and dolphins, but instead is a place of misery and death.
Whales and dolphins may be the most intelligent species on earth.
Along with that intelligence comes compassion and empathy. There are
many documented cases of whales and dolphins saving drowning swimmers
- humans and dogs.
Cetaceans' intense sensitivity to sound waves has caused them terrible
distress when ships use sonar. Sonar confuses and upsets them. Sometimes
they follow the waves, thinking it is a distress call from another
animal. Sometimes, the cacophony of sonar waves from ships just drive
them mad, and they beach themselves to die. It is a great tragedy
that these magnificent, sapient beings are being tortured by our sonar
devices. And for what? In many cases, so we can play war games!
Shame on us for putting war and fears of war ahead of the suffering
of these beautiful creatures. We are not likely to have a naval war
any time soon. We should stop the testing, and give these precious
animals a chance to live happy lives.
If we continue to destroy them we do not deserve to be well and happy
I can only hope that President Obama will add to a caring agenda the
protection of whales and dolphins from this torture. It is bad enough
they get trapped in fishing nets and die terribly that way; it's bad
enough we pollute them to death; it's bad enough we have over-fished
the oceans so they starve - must we also drive them insane with sonar?
Sadly, even if the new administration takes action, it will be too
late for many hundreds of whales, dolphins, and other marine life.
The poorest country in the Western hemisphere and probably the world
is a close neighbor of the wealthiest country, the USA. Three recent
devastating hurricanes have wiped away what little in way of housing
and possessions thousands of Haitians owned plus cutting them off
from potable water and the wherewithal to exist.
For years Pierre Leroy of West Hurley, a native Haitian who had to
flee Haiti under the Duvalier regime, has been working to help his
people. He established the Haitian People's Support Project and we
have enabled him with goods and funding to give direct help to Haitian
people. The Living Word church of West Hurley and the Bruderhof Community
of Tillson are providing continuous help to HPSP. The project has
focused on helping communities and orphanages with buildings and physical
structure and providing education, training, and developing productive
jobs. Now that this devastation has occurred the organization is helping
where help is desperately needed, to survive and get on its feet again.
There is a desperate need for funds for rebuilding, obtaining the
necessities of life at this moment so that the work can go forward.
Our contributions will help HPSP to move forward toward a sustainable
society. Pierre's personal project is re-forestation, much needed
as the devastating mudslides on barren hillsides attests.
Other agencies are making requests for aid to Haiti. Among them are
UNICEF, Plan International, Food for the Poor, etc. Contributions
through them will give tremendous help. However, funding through Pierre
Leroy will go directly for vital aid and will allow all who contribute
to have the satisfaction of direct participation through the dedicated
hands of a person many of us know and respect. We can make checks
payable to "The Haitian Peoples Support Project" and mail
to Pierre Leroy, 74 Broad Street, Hurley, NY, 12491.
Since Barack Obama won the presidency, my son has been singing "The
Star Spangled Banner" quite a lot. He keeps trying valiantly
to master the octave-and-a-half melody. It's a tall order, but he
soldiers on, loving the work. And I'm pretty sure I know where he
got hooked on the national anthem: YouTube.
When we saw the cell phone movies of spontaneously assembled crowds
in urban areas all over the country sharing their joy and singing
"The Star Spangled Banner" I finally lost it. Perhaps because
of our rural locale, the immensity of the election results had not
yet hit me full force until I witnessed those grainy, distorted little
missives from cyberspace. My son was riveted. Like me, he'd never
seen anything like it.
"The Star Spangled Banner." Not "God Bless America",
"My Country 'tis of Thee", or "America the Beautiful"
- "The Star Spangled Banner." In Times Square, on St. Mark's
Place, in front of the White House in Washington D.C., they threw
their heads back and roared "The Star Spangled Banner."
Why that song? It's really hard to sing - probably the most difficult
melody of any American patriotic song. By modern standards, the words
are obtuse. "The Star Spangled Banner" is not about love
of the physical attributes of our country, and it's not specifically
about freedom or democracy. Rather, it's an ode to a flag that has
stood through a battle.
A little history on which my son helped me: During the War of 1812,
Francis Scott Key, District Attorney of Washington D.C., spent a long
rainy night witnessing the fiery Battle of Baltimore as a captive
on the H.M.S. Tonnant. At dawn, Key looked to the shore and saw a
flag with fifteen stripes and fifteen stars waving in a smoky haze:
Against the mighty onslaught of the Royal Navy, his fellow Americans
had held their ground. Key, an amateur poet as well as a politician,
took out a pencil and paper and made history.
It started as a poem, but Key's brother-in-law got the idea to put
the words to the existing melody of a popular drinking song. Thus
was born "The Star Spangled Banner." Within a century, Woodrow
Wilson decreed that it would be played at national events, and eventually
Herbert Hoover made it our official anthem.
So this odd, compelling mix of a jubilant poem borne in captivity
married to a drinking song has persisted in our collective soul, and
it welled up into mass consciousness on election night 2008. At first
glance "The Star Spangled Banner" may seem an unlikely choice;
in addition to the operatic tune, most folks do not know what the
lyrics are describing, and interestingly, the song begins and ends
with an unanswered question, making it feel more open-ended than most
But perhaps these inelegant qualities, the hard-to-parse text, the
difficulty in navigating the melody, the lingering questions are part
of the attraction; at their best, Americans are curious, drawn to
challenges. To those who can grasp it, the inherent awkwardness of
our political system is a point of pride. And like most drinking song
melodies, "The Star Spangled Banner" sounds tailor-made
for an exuberant crowd.
When people sang "The Star Spangled Banner" in the post-election
euphoria, there may have been no flags to salute, but the overwhelming
mood must have been similar to what Francis Scott Key felt that morning
on Chesapeake Bay: against great odds and much fierce opposition,
a battle was won, hope had survived, and even amid unanswered questions,
work could begin anew on a different version of this organic experiment
that is America. So whether or not they knew it consciously, those
election night revelers picked the perfect song. And so has my son.
Robert Burke Warren
The first monthly Olivebridge neighborhood movie and "make your
own wood- fired pizza" night held a few weeks ago was well attended
and enjoyed by many and the December gathering will be held on Saturday,
Dec. 6, 5pm, at the Odd Fellows Hall on Rt. 213 in Olivebridge. Park
at the firehouse, bring a flashlight and dress warm. Pizza starts
at 5pm and the film starts at 7pm with a discussion afterwards. Decembers
movie, "Homegrown" (2008), is about a wanna-be farm family
who chooses to live off the grid and farm their small urban plot in
Pasadena, CA, due to the prohibitive cost of buying a farm elsewhere.
The film puts a human face to the rapidly growing backyard farm movement
that is taking hold in the US and around the globe. Novembers movie,
"The Power of Community" (60min.) will be shown after the
discussion if desired as many people had scheduling conflicts and
missed the November gathering. The newly formed Olive re-localization
group will meet afterwards to explore ways to enhance community resilience
in light of the global economic breakdown.
Hope to see you there!
On electing Democratic Candidates to: Shandaken Town Board: Doris
Bartlett; to Ulster County: Mike Hein, Eliot Auerbach; to NYS State
Assembly: Kevin Cahill; to U.S. Congress: Maurice Hinchey; and our
next president: Barak Obama!
Democrats locally and nationally have worked diligently to pay attention
and respond to concerns with respect and inclusion. Now is the time
to do one thing: learn about being a citizen. Then, participate in
government, it's your right. It's our responsibility.
Get involved with the Democrats!
Do one thing locally. Get involved, volunteer for a town committee,
Work on getting the people into office, who hear concerns and act
with all, in mind. Spend time knowing your neighbors. Shandaken Town
is large, census small.
Did you know we are 120 square miles, with only about 3,300 people
Scratch those below 18, those that are here part-time (47%). You can
see that everyone can do one thing, for Shandaken. Citizens are few,
land mass great, responsiblity is all ours.
Want to know where to start?
Begin at the town hall, website -www.shandaken.us. See what Democrats
are making possible for our Town of Shandaken! Then call us!
Shandaken Democrat Committee
My name is Tara O'Connor and I am a senior at Onteora High School
and the President of SADD, Students Against Destructive Decisions.
SADD's mission is to provide students with the best prevention and
intervention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking,
other drug use, impaired driving and other destructive decisions.
However, SADD promotes other causes such as our most recent "Support
Our Troops" campaign. Causes such as this campaign helps other
people while at the same time keeps our youth busy and engaged with
Recently my uncle was sent to Iraq to fight in the war and learned
that our troops in outpost locations live in horrible conditions and
are in need of basic daily supplies such as toilet paper, wipes, toothpaste,
and soap. we have been collecting supplies and donations to send to
the troops for the holiday and will be shipping them off next week.
We received such a positive response that we would like to keep this
campaign going throughout the year and send monthly supplies to our
men and women fighting in the war. We could use your help in this
campaign by publishing this in the Olive Press and Phoenicia Times.
Onteora SADD President