from December 7, 2006)
It is unfortunate that Rev. James David Audlin misunderstood
the Olive Jar column in the October 26 issue of the Olive Press.
We would like to clarify some misinformation that was written
in his November 9 letter to the editor. On October 12, the seventh
grade humanities classes invited parents, board members, and
local press to observe a Native American Mock Museum presentation.
The students played the role of curators and explained the significance
of the pre-Columbian artifacts that they had researched. The
essential question posed to the students was, “How does
the environment affect the development of a culture?”
Six separate pre-Columbian Native American culture regions were
used as the basis for their research. The students did an outstanding
job of presenting their research and making connections to their
individual theories. The opportunity to speak to an authentic
audience and the feedback they received was exciting for them.
Our “visitors” also enjoyed the experience commenting
that it was very informative and a fabulous way to help the
students gain confidence with public speaking. Our next student
public speaking opportunity will be a Publishers’ Convention
in mid-December. We welcome all community members to attend.
Mary Ann Bruck
Onteora Middle School
We are writing in response to Reverend Audlin's letter, which
appeared in the November 9th edition of The Olive Press. Reverend
Audlin expressed concern that someone who was not a Native American
was asked to speak to the seventh grade Humanities class at
the Onteora Middle School about Native American culture.
As parents of a seventh grade student, we would like to assure
Revered Audlin that the only speakers who made presentations
at the native American Museum were the seventh grade students
themselves - and a fine job they did! In each of the three Humanities
classes involved, the students were divided into teams. Each
child was responsible for researching one aspect of life of
the particular group of Native Americans that he or she had
chosen. When the individual research was completed, team members
worked together to develop a presentation to share what they
had learned with the other members of their class and the school
community. The seventh grade humanities teachers, Mrs. Mary
Ann Bruck and Mrs. Laura Loheide, invited not only the seventh
grade parents to participate, but also fellow students, teachers,
school administrators, members of the Board of Education and
representatives from the local newspapers. Perhaps that is where
the confusion occurred, as the columnist to whom Reverend Audlin
referred would have "participated" by attending the
Native American Museum to listen to the students' presentations.
As parents, we applaud the Native American Museum project for
many reasons. First, it was a wonderful way to introduce the
students to public speaking. They were in their own classroom,
with an extremely supportive audience of classmates, parents,
and school officials - a group in front of which it was safe
to take those first public speaking steps. Second, we were impressed
by the abundance of knowledge these students had gained on Native
Americans over the course of their research. Third, it offered
an opportunity for school administrators and Board of Education
trustees to attend one of the District's fine educational programs.
We know that Middle School Principal Gayle Kavanagh, Interim
Superintendent Jack Jordan and at least one member of the Board
of Education, Herb Rosenfeld, accepted the invitation. We know
because we saw them there, taking time from their busy day to
acknowledge our children and their efforts. Last, we sincerely
appreciated the fact that Mrs. Bruck and Mrs.Loheide reached
out to parents by offering us an opportunity for involvement
in the educational activities of our children.
We do hope that this information, from our perspective as parents
who attended the Native American Museum program at Onteora Middle
School, has helped clear up any misunderstanding.
Mary and Alan Hornung
The Island of Shokan (Reservoir Rd. and Van Steenburg Ln.) is
seceding from the Town of Olive since we don't receive any of
the tax benefits that the rest of the town receives. Snowplowing
is the only benefit and that will be supplied anyway from NYS
DOT unless we deny them usage of our roads as thoroughfares.
I'm sure that we can, through secession, barter flood control
for usage of our roads.
Since my phone conversation with Mr. Tim Weiner of DOT this
month, I realize that NYS DOT has no plans to alleviate the
flooding situation on the lost Island of Shokan. Hell, most
of us are just senior citizens anyway - not worthy of the cost
of remediation. It's easier to have the
fire department use their resources and volunteer manpower to
pump our basements out every time it rains hard or the ground
My sump pump runs for days after a heavy or lengthy rain. Water
springs into my basement from many spots all around the perimeter
of the basement floor. If it weren't for the influx of chipmunks
this year, I'd have to deal with worms and slugs in my house
and garage from all the flooding. Musty odors emanate when the
hidden mold spores plume their mycotoxins.
My rear entry utility room greets me with a lineup of several
pairs of different height waterproof boots. The living room
is storage to boxes that would normally be housed in the garage
if it weren't for the river that flows through it when it rains.
One neighbor lives on the second level of her house because
of that same river. Another neighbor has a pretty lake that
takes command of her driveway and front yard after the skies
Besides the nice ring that "The Island of Shokan"
has to it, we may capitalize on our new status by going into
the mini-moat drawbridge business.
As always, nature gives me a look into my emotional whereabouts,
and this week was right on schedule. As I was pondering how
long I'd be celebrating the takeover of the Congress by the
Democratic party, I caught, out of the side of my eye, the most
magnificent young deer bounding through the fields. His white
tail was pure as new fallen snow, and his leaps, I estimated
at more than 20 feet long.. For about 30 seconds, I watched
in wonder, with a long ecstatic inhalation. Then, as I began
to exhale, I realized that it was hunting season and It was
back to reality for me.
Reality for me was the realization that even if the Democrats
began to change everything, one step at a time, it will take
years to restore democracy. The day before my encounter with
Bambi, I felt the effects with a very costly experience in court
against Central Hudson. To sum up, there is a law put in place
around 2003, during the past government take-over, which basically
holds them harmless for anything caused by electrical damage
to your home or person.
So, along with Bambi, I too hope that I will get through the
winter. As the mystery of life continues to evade me, I am thankful
that I am blessed to live in the Catskill Mountains, with KTD
sitting above me, and a community of people surrounding me who
are also seeking the answer to how we can live in peace. With
gratitude in my heart for that, and for the wonder of nature,
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
It has recently been reported that Eliot Spitzer said Medicaid
reform will involve closing some hospitals. He also said, “Which
hospitals will be affected will depend on a ‘bunch of
This is an issue of concern to all in Ulster County as well
as citizens of nearby counties who use our hospitals. Nine years
ago I was part of a group that worked to save The Kingston Hospital
from merging with Benedictine. The merger would have forced
Kingston Hospital to be subject to the Catholic Directives which
prohibit access to in-hospital reproductive healthcare. The
community learned details of the planned merger only when it
After a lengthy campaign to educate the public that included
a petition with almost 10,000 signatures, the hospitals realized
their mistake and decided not to merge.
We’re told these two hospitals are once again considering
some form of cooperation, possibly even a merger, which, like
the original proposal, will leave the people of Ulster County
without much-needed services.
This is happening at the urging of the government via the New
York State Commission on the Future of Health Care Facilities
in the 21st Century. It is commonly referred to as the Berger
Commission – or the hospital closing commission because
it is widely expected to close hospitals to save money. The
Commission is not telling the community anything, nor is the
administration of either hospital.
We don’t want another experience like that of 1997, where
“final” decisions were sprung on us. The community
must have input during the consideration of these issues so
that administrators will consider the real needs of the community.
After the decision not to merge in 1998, The Kingston Hospital’s
Mission Statement was changed to reflect its commitment to secular
values. The administration held several forums to dialogue with
people around the county. But we are concerned about this commitment.
The Berger Commission has held public hearings around the state.
When they came to New Paltz, we made clear our concerns about
The Kingston Hospital merging with a religiously-governed hospital
because of its restrictions on certain healthcare services.
The hearings, which included ten-minute presentations with no
questions or opportunity to reply, are not enough. The community
must be a part of the discussions between the hospitals.
Mildred M. Meyer
High Falls NY
Like many other American, I am outraged by the money spent in
the last election and the corrupting influence of money in our
politcal system. But with the election of Eliot Spitzer to be
our next Governor I am more hopeful than ever that we can end
this terrible threat to democracy. Spitzer has been talking
about full public funding of campaigns with a Clean Money Clean
Elections system ever since 1998, when he first ran for Attorney
General. He also talked about Clean Elections throughout his
campaign for Governor. And he showed his strong commitment to
it by chosing as his Lt. Governor David Paterson, who is the
prime sponsor of the Clean Elections bill in the NY State Senate.
With Clean Elections, we can get back good jobs, have universal
healthcare, clean up the environment, and make sure all children
are well educated, because those elected can then feel free
to serve all the people without worrying what their big contributors
want from them.
But Spitzer and Paterson cannot do it alone. They need to know
New Yorkers are with them. Go to http://www.transitionny.org/
and click on "Participate" to tell them you want Clean
Money Clean Elections so that we can stop the corrupting influence
of money in New York politics.
The United Nations World Health Organization did an in-depth
study of health care systems throughout the world. Guess which
ones had the best systems? France, Italy and Japan! The United
States was number 37! In the U.S., special interests make us
sick. Insurance companies, HMOs and drug companies are standing
in the way of us having the best health care system in the world;
they are more interested in their profits than in our health
care. Their goal: profits before people. We need a non-profit
system that provides the following: 1) it has to take care of
everybody. It must cover all of us equally, under the same plan,
and not be tied to employment or age or where one lives; 2)
it has to cover all the health care we need, determined by providers
and patients, not insurance companies; 3) it has to be affordable;
4) it has to allow us to choose our providers; 5) it has to
be publicly accountable, with changes in the system if it needs
Two examples of how desperately we need universal health care:
a new group - Central Hudson Amputees Providing Support - is
mad as hell because they are denied coverage from insurance
companies. Many vets coming home are facing these problems also.
A fundraising effort is currently in force at Adams Fairacre
Farms to raise money for medical bills for a small child with
cancer. Why should this be happening in this country? Why should
the rich get the best care and the rest of us have to have bake
sales to raise money for health needs? Health care is a right.
We need to get really mad and demand that we become number one
regarding health care. There is money to help the airlines,
the banks, the super rich, with tax cuts. I encourage everyone
to scream out their windows: "We're mad as hell and we're
not gonna take it anymore!" And then do something about
Governor George Pataki two years ago proposed closing hospitals
and nursing homes as a means of balancing the New York State’s
Medicaid costs. Medicaid when it first became law helped elderly
people in their final stages of life. Over the years the program
has been further regulated and several times cut by all parties
concerned. The federal, state and county governments are all
trying to balance their misspending and war credits equaling
billions of dollars. The profits made as a result of the war
in Iraq and other countries during the same period Medicaid
has been in existence. This is true with the exclusive Medicare
program for the elderly and disabled. Instead of planning a
national health plan the government instead embraces the neo-conservatives
and their myth of free market capitalism extended to stocks,
mutual funds, insurance companies. Because they are no longer
taxed for any capital gains tax. All of this are protected interests
and earnings designed to promote the wealthily, becoming more
So the goal is to dismantle our health care system all over
New York State as to balance the government deficits. Once again
the people must suffer from the need f appropriate medical care.
So the existing hospitals the bedrock of the Health systems
and drive up the costs of home health care by for all with same
access to any such appropriate health treatment. The recent
document speaks of closing down hospitals and nursing care homes
as a solution. At the same times these cuts are designed to
make accepting Medicaid into a liability. The Medicaid program
is just about worthless, and recipients cannot locate doctors
willing to accept assignment.
If hospitals are closed then the poor, elderly and people with
disabilities will have to travel long distances to get their
medical services or hospitalization. The alleged duplication
of services and the cost savings of closing down such institutions
is a myth. Most of these institutions when they finally obtain
technology it is already obsolete. Yet this is called a duplication
of services. Before this recent report is accepted as being
truth I recommend the Governor Elect Spitzer and the NYS Legislature
do a more complete investigation. In the past Governors of New
York appoint real policy and research analysis rather than self-serving
committees designed to rubber stamp the rubric of neo-conservatism
and policy analysis without any justification
Cries of "More, More" greeted the end of each musical
set at New World Home Cooking on Sunday afternoon as we enjoyed
a too short but very successful party/fundraiser in support
of the Kings Mall 7. The terrific New World Home Cooking appetizers
kept coming, warming bellies. Betty McDonald called herself
stage manager but was truly the gracious hostess, warming hearts.
Murali Coryell led a world class musical line up and gained
the rapt attention of the audience, not easy in a chattering,
bustling Ulster County group. Bob Lusk, one of the Kings Mall
7, sang an original song which could become the Iraq War lament
with a strong, from the heart, baritone. Betty McDonald, Jim
Curtin and Peggy Stern made music which stopped me in my running-around-attending-to-everything
tracks. Such deep beauty and wild wisdom.
Julie Parisi Kirby and T.G.Vanini's songs were alternately witty
and soulful, both with impeccable musicality. Mikhail Horowitz
and Giles Malkine must have written new work for this sophisticated
crowd. They topped themselves and had us doubled up, helpless
with biting hilarity. Peggy Mulligan piped some plaintive bag
pipe offerings for "healing." Yes, Bagpipes! And then
the chairs disappeared like magic from the sheer force of the
need to dance to Rennie Cantine and Rip Van Ren. If you weren't
there but thought you felt an earthquake Sunday afternoon, it
was that rocking group.
Sincere thanks to all of the above. It was the happiest fund
raiser ever. And the celebratory mood was enhanced by an announcement
of the Kings Mall 7's attorneys, Stephen Bergstein and Alan
Sussman. The New York ACLU considers this case important enough
for their over loaded docket. They will join the appeal! As
WWII Vet Joan Keefe told the supportive crowd, freedom of speech
and assembly is not limited to two hours a week.
Enlist For Peace
Legal Defense Fund
News from Family of Woodstock tells us that the many invaluable
services, which includes a homeless shelter along with vitally
needed services to those in society who most need them, is going
strong. We are proud that there are big hearted people like
Michael Berg with his vision as well as the many volunteers
who are there for the many who would fall through the economic
cracks without them. This society with its "vigorous economy"(?)
contains a record number of homeless and hungry people as well
as many very troubled people who desperately need the kind of
help that Family provides. This summer the rainy weekends were
responsible for a decrease in expected income that Family depends
on because HITS, Horses In The Sun, could not have its shows.
The annual Thanksgiving dinner, which Family provides for Woodstock
folks will go on as usual. There is no organization in Ulster
County more deserving of our support than Family Of Woodstock,
PO box 3516, Kingston NY, 12402. Family operates in Kingston,
Ellenville, and New Paltz as well as Woodstock. This message
doesn't begin to touch the many services provided.
Did you know that in early October 2006 the Onteora School posted
a FOIL request form on their Web Page? A Foil (Freedom of Information
Law) request allows you to obtain just about any information
that you’re interested in. If you compare Onteora’s
foil request form to the Rondout Valley Schools foil request
form Onteora’s form doesn’t appear to be complete.
Onteora’s form doesn’t tell you that you can request
a reproduction or a copy of what you’re interested in
researching. That way you do not have to go to the school. If
you prefer not to go to the school to read the record the school
must send you a copy of the record that you’re requesting.
The school will charge the standard 25 cents per sheet.
It would be nice if Onteora’s FOIL request form contained
more information, but it isn’t really all that important.
Most tax payers do not go to the School Board meetings so we
the tax payers of the Onteora School District now have an uncomplicated
way to get involved. We can find out how our tax dollars are
being spent. We can obtain information about any part of the
budget at budget time to find out what the School Board is going
to charge us compared to other schools. I say charge us because
basically when they set the budget they charge us by way of
our taxes. Of coarse there is other information that you may
be interested in. At the present time there is some very big
spending being discussed.
To access the form go to the School’s Web Page, hold your
mouse over community at the top of the first page and click
on foil request. It’s that simple. If you’re not
on the Internet ask your friend or relative to print the form
for you. You can also obtain the form the school. If you’re
concerned about Onteora’s cost per student being the highest
in Ulster County and beyond get involved and get the facts.
As a lifelong registered Democrat and past committeeman, [Richmond
County] I am dismayed, discouraged and disappointed with the
debacle in Albany. Alan Hevesi has brought shame and question
of integrity on himself, not to mention those who voted for
him in spite of his confession(s). Elliot Spitzer is weakened
as Governor in that as Attornry General he failed to begin the
legal process that is being pursued by Albany County DA David
Soares. Attorney Gen. elect Andrew Cuomo has likewise demonstrated
timidity in his silence as to enforcing the NY State Civil Service
Laws and/or Fitness for public office when he fills his new
The lame excuse by many for voting for Hevesi is that they "did
not want a 'failed and inexperienced' person [Callahan] however
trusted and honest to oversee NY State's contracts, expenditures.
thievery and cost over runs". Others have stated on Radio
and TV that Hevesi won and should be installed as the choice
of the voters. That logic escapes me totally.
Needless to confess, I did not vote for any or all of the above.
I hesitate however, to follow the practice of those who do not
vote for anyone. I prefer to vote for Mr. or Mrs. "Clean"
when confronted at the ballot box by a choice of an able but
greedy candidate or an inexperienced. less profficient nominee.
A few months ago I pontificated on the value of candidates being
"as clean as a hounds tooth" as it was when I was
a boy in Olive. It was difficult for my parents and grandparents
as they agonized over the choice of either Republican or Democrat
for a certain office. Today one or the other makes it quite
simple by their personal core beliefs and behavior. Quite often
both/all smell bad.
Now it is a game in which none of us will select/elect the Comptroller
but rather the Senate will reach into their bag of tricks. In
any even Mr. Callahan will not be the Controller. He has been
politically deprived of legitimate election by allowing a confessed
felon to remain on the ballot. The felon will now collect a
third pension. It's not even democracy and Mr Hevesi has given
new meaning to "Hutz Pah" in his defiance! Can I rob
a bank to feed my family, however noble without consequences?
Glenn T. Anderson
Last Wednesday morning (11/29) our 10 year old dog, a Sheppard
-Boarder Collie mix, was killed by a large animal trap while
walking through our woods with our 10 year old son.
The trap was on private property within view of our neighbor’s
house. It was hidden under dry leaves and was apparently scented.
Our dog, Alyja, on a lead, pulled free from our son, Brandon,
and ran to the trap. Brandon heard Alyja cry out and ran to
see his dog jumping and barking with pain and fear. The large
trap had clapped around the dogs head and neck, choking him.
Brandon< frozen with terror and helpless, witnessed his beloved
friend strangled to death in front of him. His mother ran to
the cries of Alyja and Brandon, desperately tried to release
the trap but she could not remove the choke clamp of the trap
from the dog’s neck and head. She could only helplessly
hold our dying dog and cry with her son, alone in the woods.
The Police were called and we learned that this was an illegal
non-release kill trap, with no identification tags, placed on
private property without permission. The property owner, our
neighbor, was contacted and she said she had no knowledge of
the trap, did not believe her husband granted permission and
that he did not trap.
The town police and the DEC officers on the scene could not
release the trap. Together both officer’s tried and failed
to compress the trap spring and finally resorting to cutting
the trap off the dog with bolt cutters. The officers on the
scene also conducted an investigation for evidence to the identity
of the individual(s) who committed this cruel in-human act and
if found could be prosecuted.
Anyone who enjoys a walk in the woods is vulnerable to this
random tragic act. Our woods and walking trails no longer feel
safe. Shouldn’t state land and location of traps require
warning signs of this hidden danger? I have started learning
more on the use of animal traps on private as well as state
land. Steps need to be taken to protect our pets, our children
and ourselves. If you would like to become involved establishing
better regulations and controls over trapping please contact
me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Shokan, NY
Congratulations to Andrew Ugolino of Onteora for being the first
Onteora runner to win the MHAL championship, as reported in
your November 8 issue.
MHAL (Mid-Hudson Athletic League) was created in the early 80's;
prior to that time Ulster County schools (with the exception
of Kingston) formed the UCAL - Ulster County Athletic League,
dating back to 1953. It consisted of Onteora, Wallkill, Pine
Bush, Red Hook, Coleman, Highland, Marlboro, Saugerties, Ellenville,
During the "UCAL days," Onteora had several Championship
Meet winners - Kurt Hahn in 1956, Craig Hubbell in 1967, Dorianne
Lambelet in 1976, and Lisa Hardy in 1978.
While Andrew Ugolino is the first Onteora runner to win the
MHAL Championship meet, there were four other Onteora runners
who also excelled in UCAL Championship meets.
Onteora Cross Country Coach,
1954 - 1984
For those of you who haven't yet heard the news, after a decade
of service to The Catskill Center, I will be moving on to accept
a position closer to home beginning at the start of the new
year. I've made so many friends and had a chance to work on
many exciting projects during my tenure here, and it is gratifying
to know that my work has made a difference.
Beginning in January I will be joining the Gerry Foundation
as part of its "Sullivan Renaissance" program. Sullivan
Renaissance is a grant program and beautification initiative
designed to spruce up Sullivan County and instill a sense of
community pride and volunteerism. I will be providing planning
assistance to communities throughout Sullivan County, helping
them take their beautification efforts to the next level and
incorporate aesthetic improvements into a broader vision for
their future. To find out more about this program, go to http://www.sullivanrenaissance.org/
It was a difficult decision, but the shorter commute and smaller
service area will enable me to spend more time with my family.
I will forever cherish the relationships that I have built over
the years and The Catskill Center will always hold a special
place in my heart.
The Catskill Center
for Conservation & Development
Hello, we are a new community service group made up of 6th graders,
called the Helping Feet. We would like to help the community
in any way we can. If you know someone that needs their leaves
raked, snow shoveled or anything else you can think of that
we can do please contact us. We are open to any suggestions
but we do not want to make any promises that we can not keep.
If you have any ideas you can send a letter to
P.O. Box 240
Highmount NY, 12441