This is an open letter to the Trustees of Onteora School District:
Judging from the feedback at the Community Forum held on Jan 26 at
Onteora High School, and ongoing conversations, it seems like a vast
number of people in the Onteora School District are still not sold
on one or more of the following three issues that are pushed upon
1) A Grades 5-8 Middle School, that puts 9 year olds in the same building
as 13 year olds.
2) The closure of another elementary school
3) The need to spend anywhere from $65-$85 million to upgrade our
Respectfully, I believe that until you can convince the public about
these issues, you’re going to have an uphill battle on your
hands. That would be a shame because we do need to spend money on
our infrastructure, and we do need a more distinct Middle School,
with at least one extra grade. And yes, we are dealing with declining
Each of you carries the title of trustee. I assume this means that
you are entrusted by the School District. But surely you’re
also entrusted by the public, the parents, the tax payers. We need
to be able to place our trust in you too. And at the moment, because
of your lack of clarity, you’re not earning that trust.
Last spring, you took a late night, split vote in favor of a Grades
5-8 configuration for a Middle School. Some of us believed that to
spell the death of another elementary school, but despite our vocal
fears, we were continually assured that such a vote had not been taken.
A vote has still not been taken to close another elementary school.
But at the Board Meeting on January 15, when KSQ Architects presented
their Middle School designs, all options involved the closing of another
Elementary School. So, our suspicions were founded, and the vote for
a Grades 5-8 configuration turned out to be a back door vote to close
another elementary school. Those of you who voted for Grades 5-8 never
had the courage to come forward and tell the community as much. You
betrayed our trust.
We know your job is not easy. In fact, it looks difficult bordering
on thankless. But each of you chose to stand for the role of Trustee,
and you are therefore accountable to the voters. Had you put forward
an actual vision for the District a year ago, maybe we’d all
be in a different place right now. Had you said to us then: ‘We
want to create a separate and distinct Middle School for Grades 5-8,
it will mean the closure of Bennett as an Elementary, but these are
the reasons it’s the right thing to do and this is how we can
make it cost effective,’ then maybe you’d have brought
the public along with you. But you didn’t. And although such
a plan is now on the table, we can’t assume that’s your
intention because this board is unbalanced: a full five of the seven
trustees live in one of the three towns that makes up this school
district. As such, and because of its recent upgrades, we know that
Bennett will stay open one way or another; we do not know that Woodstock/West
Hurley and Phoenicia will stay open one way or the other. You have
never looked us in the eyes and made us that promise. You put the
cart before the horse and the result is that people in the district
are confused and angry. You’re dividing us when you should be
Over the last several months, at Board Meeting after Board Meeting,
you have been presented with multiple requests to reconsider your
vote. You were presented with reams of evidence relating to the educational
and cultural value of rural community schools. Yet the material on
the School web site justifying Grades 5-8 is ludicrous: a one-paged
typed memo from a Steering Committee followed by pages of documents
belonging to the National Middle School Association, none of which
specifically endorses the Grades 5-8 configuration. There were limited
copies of a pamphlet available at the Community Forum, but most people
only saw the quarter page justification on the welcome sheet, which
is too little, too late.
The analogy as I see it is that last year you voted yourself authority
to go to war. And having given yourself that authority, you’re
now going full steam ahead with your war – unwilling to acknowledge
that we, the public, have not been sold on this war. We’re worried
about the cost, we’re concerned about the justification, we’re
confused about the goal. As trustees, you have a responsibility to
sell us your vision – to lead us, to bring us along with you,
to explain why this war is worth it. You’re not doing that.
At this moment, despite all the figures, there are only two options
on the table, each of which calls for the closure of an elementary
(A) Turning Bennett into a separate and distinct Grades 5-8 Middle
(B) Keeping Bennett open as an elementary, cramming a Grades 5-8 configuration
into the current Middle School, and closing Phoenicia or Woodstock
Some of us who speak up frequently at Board Meetings have been led
to believe that the only way to save the District’s outlying
elementary schools is to get behind (A), and campaign for Bennett
as the middle school. Not only does this pit us against those Bennett
parents who want to keep the school as an Elementary, but we’re
unwilling to do so because we don’t know that you, the Trustees,
also believe in this plan. Do you? And if so, when will you come out
and say as much? Three of you are up for re-election this year; we
have a right to know your vision for the district.
Respectfully, then, I say that there is enough opposition from the
public for you to rethink your plans. Be brave. Reopen the issue.
Take a full evening out to debate why Grades 5-8 is the perfect plan.
Then go home, absorb all the information, and come back and vote on
it again. (After all, two Trustees are so new to the Board that they
didn’t participate in the previous debate or the vote. Indeed,
we have yet to hear them express their thoughts on the subject.) Tell
us straight up, one trustee at a time, your vision. Be honest with
us. Look us in the eyes and tell us what you’re thinking and
why. We’ll respect you all so much more for it. Convince us
that you know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing
it, and you have a chance to bring us along with you. Otherwise, we
end up in a community at war, the cost of which – socially as
well as economically – will outweigh any possible benefits.
Mount Tremper, NY
Mark Twain: "In the first place, God made idiots. That was for
practice. Then he made school boards". It's easy to throw stones
from the sidelines...but you do what you have to. We elect our officials
to make the tough decisions while we scrabble for a living here in
the land of summer homes and a stagnant service economy. However,
as elected officials, we do expect you to explain and defend your
positions and votes.
You have decided with little input that our ten year old fifth grade
children should be schooled and bussed with the eighth graders (and
This is one big decision. The result/reason of this is probably another
school closing. Lest you think that a closed school costs us nothing,
run the numbers on West Hurley. West Hurley has some serious deferred
maintenance problems. Deferred maintenance is just that, deferred;
not non-existent (unless, of course we just sell it off to a developer
for, say, another dentist's complex or bridge building facility).
I urge our school board members to take another look at the numbers.
The shrinking enrollment may no longer be shrinking as NYC continues
to expand its suburban limit. Federal leadership and the funds and
testing mandates that flow from it will change, probably drastically.
Bond and budget votes 'round these parts suffer seriously from taxpayer/voter
backlash and outrage. As tax payers we deserve a full explanation
and defense of any potential school closings before we pass a bond
or budget. I personally also don't think fifth and eighth graders
have all that much in common.
Someone needs to explain why the grades five through eight need and
will benefit educationally by being combined and what one less open
school truly gets us for our dollars while sitting there sucking them
As reported Onteora’s Superintendent Leslie Ford said at the
last forum held at the school that there will be a bond proposal no
matter how subsequent meets go. That doesn’t sound like anyone
that’s too concerned about how much floating a bond will affect
tax payers in her district for years to come. KSQ architects have
put out plans that could cost upwards to 80 plus million dollars.
It appears that the school and the Board of Education members are
really pushing for a bond vote. What’s that all about? The last
I looked I didn’t see any of the school buildings anywhere near
collapsing, but there are two empty school buildings in West Hurley
just sitting there costing tax payers plenty of money. From all reports
no one wants the Woodstock or Phoenicia schools closed so why not
take the less expensive option and open the West Hurley Schools.
With the declining student population and the district still owing
a Debt Service for principal and interest payments associated with
previous building projects the Board of Education members must start
to show some fiscal discipline. According to the 2007-2008 proposed
school budget the district has paid or will pay close to a million
dollars in this school year in Debt Service. The district probably
will still owe more Debt Service payments from previous building projects
that would have to be paid for by district tax payers.
The Onteora Board of Education members should close their book on
how to spend and open a book on economics and the effects that raising
school taxes have on seniors and everyone living on fixed incomes.
Board members ought to get out from underneath the School’s
Administers wings and start thinking seriously about some cost effective
measures. There are ways to be more cost effective. An example would
be out sourcing or sub-contacting all or part of the Maintenance and
Many retirees continue to have fewer finances to incorporate into
their budgets. With everything costing more money including increased
taxes, health insurance, medications, food and gas prices leave retirees
with less spending money and the ability to save for their taxes.
Some retirees that are fortunately enough to receive a retirement
check see their pensions reduced year after year because their health
assurance costs increase every year. The Feds trying to avoid a recession
cut rates twice in eight days. Apparently School Board members are
oblivious to the financial state of this country and what they do
to retirees when they say yes to everything that’s proposed
by the school.
At the last forum Board President Mary Jane Bernholz said, we as a
board realize we have to do a better job in the community and getting
feedback, and be more open to feedback. We want the information. If
the board’s President is serious about getting feedback from
all the tax payers in the district she should conduct a district wide
opinion survey or a questionnaire. Taking the opinions of a couple
of hundred people that attended the recently held forums is not a
very good assessment of how district wide tax payers feel. Because
of what all of Onteora’s tax payer’s will go through from
the decisions made by the members of the board, all tax payers should
have a say in their financial future.
I was reminded last week after reading in OFP’s last issue an
article in which functional literacy was being discussed about a couple
video clips I saw a few months ago from CNNN’s What’s
This Weird Old Thing Called The World, in which the British host comes
to the good old USA to interview “average” Americans to
find out just how much us locals “really know about the world
that [we] run.”
For those of you who may not know, CNNN is a news and current-affairs
channel owned and operated by ChaserCorp. It was founded in 1983 “to
counteract liberal bias in the media,” and is the cornerstone
of a television network that contains over 40 different channels,
spans 294 countries and reaches “a potential cumulative audience
of 100 billion people per week.”
At first blush, I thought, surely these videos are some sort of hilarious
or not so hilarious—depending on your point of view and gravity
of mind—spoof. They are not. Little digs at Americans? Perhaps.
Laughs at our expense? Decidedly. (Deserved? You decide.)
What is shocking about these interviews is not that they demonstrate
how little we Americans embrace the world around us, but the reluctant
knowledge that the participants in the interviews just might, indeed,
represent the average American. The interviews for both video clips
were conducted in Washington, D.C. Granted, only a couple dozen people
were interviewed for each of the videos. But . . . still . . . In
any case, the participants—black, white, Hispanic—range
in age from early to mid 20s to a few in their early 60s. All looked
to be about middle class—a couple lower, a couple upper. Participants
appeared to range from college students to working stiffs to professionals
and everything in between (no snot-nosed bleeding heart old lefties
or ultra-conservative shock-jock right-wing nut jobs). The interviews
for both videos were taken throughout the city.
What is disturbing about these interviews is also the reluctant knowledge
that close to half of Americans of which the participants are purportedly
representative of are going to vote in this year’s “high-stakes”
presidential election (as if there’s any other kind). As well
they should. But while the two videos may draw some unbelievable laughs,
they also demonstrate what I would seriously argue could be defined
as bordering on “functional” illiteracy. And that ain’t
no laughing matter.
In one video the CNNN host asks Americans on the street which countries
the United States should invade next in order to curb terrorism. Many
interviewees couldn’t even find the so-called “terrorist”
states they named—including Canada, France and Italy—on
the map. Nobody questioned the morality or wisdom, not to mention
legality, of invading another country. It was merely taken for granted
that we should and would.
But it is the other video that causes perhaps even more serious pause—or
should. Here are the questions and answers:
Name a country that begins with ‘U’: “Yugoslavia,”
“Utah,” “Utopia.” Who’s in the Coalition
of the Willing?: “No freaken idea,” “Afghanistan,
Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan.” What’s the religion of Israel?:
“Israeli,” “Muslim,” “Islamic,”
“Catholic, probably.” What religion are Buddhist monks?:
“Islamic . . . I don’t know.” Who won the Vietnam
War? “We did . . . wait . . . were we even in the Vietnam war?
Yeah? Oh, good.” Who’s Fidel Castro?: “A singer?”
How many sides does a triangle have?: “Damn . . . four?”
“No sides . . . one?” What is the currency of the United
Kingdom?: “What is the United Kingdom . . . I don’t even
know,” “Possibly American money,” “Queen .
. . Elizabeth’s . . . money? That’s all I know.”
And, as the CNNN host posits, who says Americans aren’t switched
We may still be asking ourselves how the H we elected Bush II, not
once but twice, but I think the cat’s out of the bag, and the
rest of the world is pretty clued in even if we are still running
in circles chasing our tails.
There has been thousands and thousands of media words written about
the proposed Crossroads Ventures LLC Resort at Highmount. Crossroads
has carefully crafted a liaison between themselves and NYS (Re: taxpayer
owned) Belleayre Ski Center. I have viewed very little media attention
to the reality ofthis “connection at the hip.” The rhetoric
by the Resort representatives would have us believe that everyone
skiing at Belleayre will benefit from this arrangement.
Belleayre Ski Center has AL WAYS touted that it was a family-orientated
facility. The fact is that lift tickets have always been priced below
competing neighboring private slopes under the guise that the average
citizen would also 1ike to ski but can’t afford to; Belleayre’s
defense to this accusation is that they have the physical terrain
that can be utilized for accommodating novice skiers. Once these novices
become accomplished skiers they will meld into the neighboring ski
facilities and ALL win benefit. Many years ago a neighboring Facility
successfully won a lawsuit that forced Belleayre to raise its price
of lift tickets. Like other NYS owned and operated facilities, Belleayne
Ski Area is supposed to accommodate the average taxpayer. I suspect
that the ,average John Q. Public and his family will in fact be afforded
less consideration if this “ski in-ski out” proposal is
implemented. We must assume that “ski in- ski out” users
will be either people with enough wealth to afford slopeside housing
accommodations or their guests.
We need to scrutinize the physical location of the defunct Highmount
slope in relationship to the existing Belleayre facili1y. We find
that whi1e the summit of both to be in acceptible proximity that the
loading areas are separated by a reasonably lengthy and precipitous
stretch of County 49A Highway. Connection of these base areas for
workers and guests will need shuttle transport. Also if we look at
a map we can see that ALL of the Highmount slope descends toward the
West Side Resort Site. This appears to me that the Resort will have
its own set of trails, ski lift, snow making, grooming and all ancillary
necessities paid for by TAXPAYERS. -
The question is - who will get first preference of summer trail maintenance;
yes, the brush grows in and needs to be cut back from time to time
and the trails have to be mowed to abate the growth of brush. snow
making and the winter maintenance; yes, water lines and hydrants freeze
from time to time and need maintenance; snow grooming, yes.. grooming
equipmen1 breaks down from time to time and there is a need to prioritize
trail needs. Does anyone reading this correspondence actually believe
that John Q. Public will be afforded these considerations before the
“Rich & Famous?” Actua1ly if you are aff1uent or just
an “Average Joe” you already know the answer!
That’s all I am going to say on this topic!
Jerry A Fairbairn
The web site supporting the "Belleayre Resort at Catskill Resort"
erroneously lists the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
( DEC ) as one of the agreeing parties to the Agreement in Principle
( AIP ) brokered by the Governor and his Deputy Secretary to the Governor
for the Environment, Judith Enck.The NYS DEC is even the first agency
listed on this web site as agreeing. But no representative of the
NYS DEC signed the Agreement in Principle. This error is serious and
misleading to people looking at this web site for accurate information.
The NYS DEC already has a conflict of interest as a co-developer of
the complex, as the lead agency for the project and as the arbiter
of the State Environmental Quality Review of the proposed public-private
co-development. If the DEC were to be a signatory agency to the AIP
their conflict of interest would be even greater. I called the number
listed on the web site and requested that the sponsor check their
facts and if they found that it was an error to remove it. The person
who answered at the phone number listed on the website did not think
that checking the facts would be necessary and that it would be a
waste of their time. I guess it makes me wonder which of the facts
on that web site were worth checking and which would be a waste of
I would like to publicly thank the Olive Town Board for their many
efforts to keep the cellular tower from being constructed and then
later, to stall it’s actual operation, on South Mountain. With
Supervisor Leifeld’s leadership along with Bruce Lamonda and
Helen Chase’s help, they managed to delay construction of this
tower for six years. I especially want to thank them for freely using
our tax dollars in the many unsuccessful legal fights which ensued.
Who knows? If we had you guys around in the 1930's, we might not have
these unsightly telephone and electric poles gracing our view shed.
West Shokan, NY
We want to let you all know that we will be closing East Village Collective
at the end of February. We will miss having the gallery and want to
thank you all for your support.
We have met many creative, talented & wonderful people over the
past two years and will miss you all.
We will be having a sale and closing reception for our last show Comfort
& Joy: Paintings by Cathy Nichols and Marisa Haedike.
This will take place Presidents Day weekend, February 16, 17 and 18
from noon to 6 p.m. Please come by and see this beautiful show and
visit with us. Thank you.
Serena, Bahram & Aziz
West Shokan, NY
Periodically Oil & Gas companies come through New York attempting
to entice landowners to sign land leases for exploration. Members
of the CATSKILL LANDOWNERS ASSO. [CLA] have recently been approached.
CLA urges its members and all landowners in the region to be extremely
cautious before signing such a lease. While a term of five years with
rents and royalties may appear enticing the lease becomes an encumbrance
on the land. A landowner will encounter difficulties upon a sale or
mortgage. These companies rarely take the appropriate steps to terminate
the lease of record so the problem remains many years later.
The leases contain many onerous provisions which can extend it beyond
the stated term as well as permitting easements across lands to serve
the transport of oil or gas from a neighbors property. If you are
approached we strongly suggest review by your attorney before entering
into such a lease.
CLA is dedicated to the proposition that enlightened private stewardship
has and will continue to provide a most effective method of preserving
the aesthetic and environmental integrity of Catskill lands. For more
information please visit www.catskilllandowners.org.
John J. Wadlin
Big Indian, NY
Former President Eisenhower warned that the greatest threat to our
country could eventually become the military-industrial complex. Nevertheless,
most politicians have managed to convince most Americans that a loosely
organized band of third world criminals are the greatest threat our
The former head of the bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, wrote: “It’s
about the impact of our policies in the Islamic world. And because
we won’t talk about that here in America, we’re not adequately
defended.” However, my Democratic representatives in Congress,
Senators Clinton, Schumer and Rep. Gillibrand refuse to mention that
our past and present policies in the Middle East endanger our safety.
They ignore the fact that our CIA brought twenty-five years of tyranny
and repression upon the Iranian people, which concluded with the Ayatollah
Khomeini’s revolution. That covert operation helped convince
many people throughout the Islamic world that America was its mortal
enemy. They avoid mentioning the fact that in 1980, Iraq’s president,
Saddam Hussein, invaded Iran and was supported our tax dollars. Eight
blood-soaked years later, hundreds of thousands of young Iranian men
and boys had been injured or killed.
We’re not adequately defended, because they refuse to talk about
how our past and present policies impact the Islamic world. They won’t
acknowledge that our military has been ordered to commit horrendous
acts, which has caused needless tragedy in the lives of millions of
people. Yet, they've never suggest that America spend less on its
military, whose primary mission is to protect the assets of the very
wealthy or admit that most of the anguish, which our country suffers
from can be traced to militarism and imperialism.
Those Republicans and Democrats in Congress that depend on contributions
from arms dealers and the military industrial complex are endangering
If anybody thinks it is easy to write these notes on February 5, which
is being done, you have another think coming. Can't get any ideas
to come alive as the brain is dominated by thoughts of today's primary.
Never before has there been such an eclectic collection of aspirants
running for the same post. When that the number had dwindled to only
four it still offered four singularly different people. It seems to
me that these four had each proven by their words and by their past
records that they were capable and issue minded. Hopefully the voters
will have been. It would be a sad day for America if the votes, the
results of which we all know now, had been influenced more by the
sex, age, race, or religion than on the candidate's ability objectives,
We have other very troublesome concerns coming with the Presidential
election. We all believe that every vote counts and we are troubled
by the fact that the voting machines to be used just may not count
all the votes. When we get a chance to speak out about our voting
machine concerns let's hope we do. Of course with our peculiar and
to many of us downright wrong way of determining who wins a election,
the Electoral College system, we face another potential obstacle to
a truly democratic process. Looks like we need to do a lot of work
and get a dose of optimism to use along the way. We must get out of
the economic, environmental and societal upheaval we are in. Let us
hope that whoever leads us can get results.
It has been twenty years since my father last wrote one of these annual
letters, asking your help in allowing us to stock Woodland Brook’s
fly fishing stretch. It hardly seems possible that it has been that
long. Tempus Fuget awful fast. In one way or another, the message
has been the same each year. In memory of my father, and to get the
request for alms out once again, I’m reprising the letter I
first sent in 1989.
Here it is:
I have the sad duty to report that my father, Paul O’Neil, who
has written these letters for many years, died last spring. The prospering
of the Woodland Trout Fund and its result—the annual stocking
of a 2 mile fly fishing only stretch of one of the East Coast’s
loveliest trout streams—was one of the uppermost things on his
mind in the final part of his life.
I have been asked to carry on in his stead. I would have killed, if
I hadn’t been granted the honor. I know about the physical effort
of stocking, having helped for the past twenty years—that part
is not new to me. This part of it is. I’ll do my best.
Let me share a few things with you. When I was young, I would cringe
when my father walked up to a stranger fishing Woodland Brook to talk.
Besides wanting to chat, my father’s other purpose was to see
if the person’s line was attached to (A) a fly, (B) fleshy bait
of some sort, or (C) a dangerous metal lure. If it was a fly, he would
put the gentle touch on the angler (ask the person to become a contributor—the
world being divided into two camps, you see, contributors and all
those others). If it was the dreaded (B) or (C), Pop would be kind
but firm in his advice. “Go down to the Esopus,” he’d
tell them. “ It’s a much better place to fish with a rig
like that. You won’t catch anything here.” This embarrassed
me terribly. “Damn,” I’d think, “here we go
again. He’s going to ask them for money, or he’s going
to tell them to get the Hell out of here. How can he DO that? Different
strokes for different folks, right man?”
Of course, at the same time I was terribly proud of him for the way
he carried off this exercise. Whatever the message the visitor received,
it was delivered with a lightness of spirit and equanimity that was
the very breath of soft mountain poetry. When I was even younger,
and before the fly fishing only idea was promoted and put into operation
by Fred Muehleck and his friends, I would commonly use any device
to pull trout out of Woodland. If I’d been privy to dynamite,
I’d have used it. Though one trout catching art I was keen to
master kept eluding me—the ancient practice of tickling trout
(now highly illegal, according to New York Statute, by the way).&n
bsp; But the beautiful Trudi Miller knew how to do it—having
been taught by her father Paul, a past master of everything a kid
would consider useful—archery, gunnery, etc. I was madly in
love with Trudi, but that emotion was tempered by pangs of heartfelt
jealousy. After all, was it fair that she should have this magnificent
talent, and that I should never master it? Tickle them? It was hard
enough to entice the little darlings with worms, grasshoppers, crickets,
and the gallery of other things that I used (which I will certainly
not list here). So the advice my father would give interlopers years
later about the uselessness of plying that kind of angling on Woodland
Brook was not completely on the mark. But, as Huckleberry Finn said,
it was mainl y the truth. On certain steamy summer days with the water
low, I defy anyone to catch a trout from Woodland, outside of tickling
them or using dynamite.
My conversion to the divine pursuit of fly fishing came at the hands
of my father who took me down to the brook when I was twelve, equipped
me with the second best fly rod in the cabin (my mother’s nicely
balanced Shakespeare glass rod) and started me out with a Royal Coachman
dry with white bucktail wing (Chile Allam’s favorite fly). On
my ninth cast I hooked and caught a 14 inch wild rainbow. “JESUS!!!”
my father intoned loudly, “keep the tip up, Mike, keep the line
tight!!!” I did, and I’ve been a fly fisherman ever since—with
strong ties to Woodland Brook, which become steadily more indelible
as I age.
Now—I will not be coy. And, I will suffer no youthful attack
of embarrassment as I ask you to contribute to this year’s stocking
fund, and perhaps dig a little deeper than you might have otherwise
as a memorial to Paul O’Neil.
The exact number of fat, healthy, spirited Brown Trout that we put
into the stream will be defined to some extent by your munificence
in response to this letter. Your generous and prompt response will,
as always, be greatly appreciated.
To help us stock the stream, please send a check, made out to THE
WOODLAND TROUT FUND, to Mike O’Neil, 101 Rambling Road, Vernon,
I want to take the time to thank everyone at the Mountainside Residential
Care Center. The people there were absolutely wonderful and gave us
the best care that we could have asked for. And when the time came
they went over and above from what was expected of them! Thank you
very much for everything that you did for us!
I also, want to thank our friends, family, Al’s Restaurant (Paul),
Riccardella’s Restaurant (Mike), Michelangelo’s Pizzeria
(Mike and Kim) and Phoenicia Wines and Spirits (Declan) for everything
that they have done to make this time a little easier.
Thank for all your love and support.
I am writing this letter for one simple reason. to thank all those
who have been there for me in my community. I am a freshman at Elmira
College in Elmira New York, and the truth is I wouldn’t be here
without the help of those in my hometown of Phoenicia, New York, the
community of Shandaken and those beyond throughout Ulster County.
Without the encouragement of everyone, getting into and being able
to afford an amazing school like Elmira College, would have been difficult
if not impossible.
I want to thank so many people for helping me get to this point in
my life. First and foremost, my family, Diane Gehermy Methodist Youth
Group leader, Pastor Richard of the Phoenicia United Methodist Church,
and the rest of those in the church who helped me get to where I am.
I’d also like to thank the ladies in the Thrift Store and Food
Pantry, especially Ruth Houska and Hope Gilsinger, not only did they
give me a generous amount of money for the purchase of books, but
they gave me kindness and great advice. The Phoenicia Library Association
was no different, thank you Molly Kilb, Debbie, Regina Johnson, and
Judith Singer. I’d also like to thank the Shandaken Theatrical
Society, for their generous contribution and their help in building
my character; this includes the help of Dorothy Toman, who directed
the first play I was ever a part of, thank you Sparrow and Violet
for helping me with the art of theater and acting, and for your advice.
Thank you to Tania Barriklo, Cole, and Sophia, a family I could always
count on for their support. I also want to thank Liz Potter, Don Bucher,
Lulu, and Gingy, who gave me so much advice, support and kindness
before I left for schooL The ladies at Ulster Savings Bank, Jodi Reyes,
Jackee Dragun, Janine Miller, Jane Booth thank you for helping me
maximize my finances for college and giving me great advice. Robin
and Ray Kirk ftom the Nest Egg, Ice Cream Station, and Video Store,
thank you so much for the job experience and for your support. Finally,
to a great community, school, and all the wonderful people in it,
thank you so much for your support) your advice, and your encouragement.
Thank you all so much!