Last Sunday February 17, 2008 my twenty-one month old daughter Tamara
died suddenly in the arms of my wife in our house in Boiceville, New
York. She was not sickly. She was not expected to die. She contracted
a common stomach bug in the morning and around ten hours into the
sickness she looked up at my wife and said "hold me". My
wife held her and she died within seconds. 911 helped us to conduct
CPR. The volunteers came, the ambulances came. The medical workers
were amazing but nothing could be done. We rushed to Benedictine hospital
In Kingston. I had to drive myself (where incidentally my cellphone
did not work most of the way because of our unfortunate lack of cell
towers). My wife was in the ambulance with our daughter. Nothing could
be done at the hospital. Tamara was declared dead. My wife and I lost
our most precious love, the light of our world, in an extremely short
period of time. There was no real explanation as she was not dehydrated,
they did not think it was the stomach bug, etc...We only know this
now after an autopsy. We will most likely never have a concrete answer
according to the medical professionals that have been involved in
this case including Tamara's pediatrician, the kind Danielle Cigliano
from Pine Street Pediatricians.
I am writing to explain what happened right after she died in the
hopes that nobody will ever have to go through what we went through.
We were interviewed immediately after her death by a detective, Mario
Restivo, with a note pad at the hospital. Mr Restivo was decent but
it was clear that he needed to investigate why such a terrible and
unusual thing had happened. My wife and I were not allowed to leave
the hospital. The police requested that we go to the State Trooper
Station so that they could take a report that very night. It had to
be that night. We drove ourselves in our own car behind a trooper
car to the State Trooper Station on Rt 209.
Immediately upon getting to the police station they separated my wife
and I. It would be hours before I would see my wife again. They kept
me in the waiting room. There was no one there for any type of support
-- no social worker, no counselor. There was no phone. There was no
water cooler. Not even a police person sat with me to try to comfort
me. The simple ironic request was for me to "relax".
Eventually, investigator Restivo brought me into a little room with
a desk and had me go through the entire story. I did my best thinking
that I would be able to get back to my wife at some point soon. The
investigator eventually left the room to print out the report which
he had me read and sign. This process took about an hour. I was sent
back to the waiting room.
I asked investigator Restivo if I could see my wife: "no"
and was told she had actually just begun the procedure of giving her
report. An unidentified police officer brought me water at my request
- the smallest size dixie cup that exists. He left immediately after
handing me the cup.
I was left back in the waiting room and told once again to "relax."
There was absolutely no help from the State Troopers - but not just
that. They still would not let me see my wife for even a minute.
I was going insane waiting for my wife and finally I begged the officer
at the window to get me any help he could. He held up a sign with
a phone number on it so that I could call on my cell phone (he mimed
me talking on a cellphone). It was the Woodstock Help Line from Family.
I spoke to a woman Julia on that line who literally saved my life.
Family is the most wonderful organization I have ever encountered.
My cell phone battery died eventually and the same trooper who gave
me the numbers brought me to a big room full of troopers where I was
allowed to use the phone for the next hour of my wait for my wife.
I sat and talked to Julia desperate to hold and see my wife. I was
shaking. I was in shock.
My extremely distressed wife was released about five hours after our
most precious baby had died. We got back in our car - turned around
and saw the empty car seat. My wife and I were absolutely devastated
as we drove 35 minutes alone on a dark rainy road to our now empty
home. There was no follow up. No one to meet us. No one to even check
that we made it home okay.
I understand the police obligation to investigate. I appreciate that
Investigator Restivo has worked tirelessly to try to find an answer
for us since the horrible loss. I personally paid a very high price
psychologically for the police treatment immediately following Tamara's
passing. The police hurt me more than I can explain with words by
isolating me so cruelly. I have been back with my wife, our friends,
our community, and our families and we are trying to put our lives
back together piece by piece. I do feel hope that my wife and I can
heal with a lot of help and time.
I feel an obligation to anyone else that ever has a catastrophic loss
to try to protect them from the unfortunate police treatment that
wounded me so deeply. I believe that compassion has a place in all
As Chris Johansen went to so much trouble to "Thank" Olive
Town Board members, Supervisor Leifeld, and board members Chase and
La Monda (Olive Press February 14, 2008 Letters to the Editor) I felt
compelled to share the "Facts" of this issue, something
Johansen failed to consider. First, the reason for the federal lawsuit
over the proposed cell tower was initiated by the applicant because
they refused to attend one additional Planning Board meeting to resolve
a zoning issue. This was again offered as a solution by Supervisor
Leifeld and myself at a meeting with the applicant and a federal Judge
acting as a mediator. The applicant again refused. To the best of
my knowledge, no board member was opposed to the cell tower. Their
only concern was that the process be followed as is required by the
OOPS! wrong again, Chris.
The town's liability insurance company retained the services of an
attorney for the ensuing lawsuit at their cost.AT No Cost To the Taxpayers
OOPS! wrong again,Chris.
When the decision of the court was to issue the permit to the applicant,
it was done immediatley upon request by the applicant.
OOPS! wrong again, Chris.
Verizon's attorney attended a town board meeting to request the location
of their aentenna on the cell tower, and the request was granted at
that same meeting. We have no control over the scheduling of Verizon
and the present cell tower owner.
OOPS! wrong again, Chris.
Whatever the delay is in Verizon "getting on line" has nothing
to do with the Olive Town Board. We have met all our obligations and
are as anxious to be able to use our cell phones as everyone else.
By the way I believe that telegraph/telephone poles predated the 30's
OOPS! wrong again Chris.
Bruce La Monda
Councilman, Town of Olive
From my Pine Hill home, I have enjoyed the magical beauty of seeing
bear, deer, beaver, fox, turkey, heron, and hearing so many songs
from a variety of birds. On behalf of our local wildlife whose very
existence is in grave danger, I will be their voice!
Plans are already on the table to build a huge resort along with hotel
and other amenities of great size, to attract more people here. We're
not Vail, Colorado that can handle many enterprises at once. How much
more taking of natural resources, habitats, and the magnificence of
the Catskill Mountains are going to be plundered? Ongoing entertainment
in a radius of 20 miles, are facilities for skiing, swimming, picnicing,
hiking trails, lodges, spas, motels, campgrounds, restaurants, and
golf. What's next, a mall for rainy day sport?
If this project goes through, get used to more complaints over bears
feeding at dumpsters and garbage pails and a lot of roadkill!
We have to protect the order of life, human and creature coexistence.
Without one, the other can't survive!
Our voices are needed to stand up to the challenge of preserving,
containing and maintaining our wildlife and natural resources. We
can do this with continued vocal presence on the project, media involvement,
more town meetings, "Save Our Wildlife" signs - also on
tee shirts and bumper stickers, these are just a few ideas.
Our legacy to the next seven generations will be a more peaceful way
of life, without noise, exhaust fumes, and an overcrowded Route 28!
The Eagle Waits.
Pine Hill, NY
The announcement of a $700 million plan to build “an entertainment
city” on the site of the long- closed Concord Hotel may not
be a cause for celebration for everyone but there probably won't be
much organized opposition, either. Homeowners knew that the hotel
complex down the street was only dormant and could erupt into an active
destination resort at any time. The site has all the prerequisites
of a successful resort development. It is within 90 miles of New York
City and is minutes from the future interstate Route 17. It is near
local population centers and there is a large available labor pool.
The community already has a suburban feel, the terrain is gently rolling
and there are few environmental obstacles. Contrast this situation
with the plan for a mega-development west of Belleayre Mountain Ski
Center. The Belleayre plan calls for intensive construction on steep,
mountain slopes in an unspoiled, rural setting. The site is 140 miles
from NY City and 36 miles on local roads from the Thruway. The population
and available labor surrounding the site are both low. This precedent
–setting development would be built in the constitutionally
enshrined Catskill Park adjacent to the “forever wild”
Catskill Forest Preserve and in the heart of the NY City watershed-raising
myriad environmental red flags. If the reincarnation of the Concord
is “smart” development, the proposed Belleayre Resort
is the opposite. This contrast explains the friendly reception the
Concord proposal will likely receive versus the intense local and
national opposition to the oversize and ill-conceived Belleayre Resort.
Matthew Frisch, coordinator
Highmount Preservation Association
I want to share NY Council TU activities concerning the proposed Belleayre
Resort project in the central Catskills and on the planned expansion
of the state-owned Belleayre Ski Center. I would like to share our
continuing involvement in scrutinizing these projects, as we have
proceeded so far contrary to some beliefs.
I. The Belleayre Resort AIP
As you will recall, in September 2007, Governor Spitzer announced
an Agreement in Principle that would serve as a framework for advancing
a lower-build alternative resort development project adjacent to the
Belleayre Ski Center on the border of Ulster and Delaware counties
in the Towns of Shandaken and Middletown. The Agreement in Principle
was signed by the Governor, the developer, the New York City Department
of Environmental Protection and seven environmental groups including
representatives of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development,
Natural Resources Defense Council, New York Public Interest Research
Group, Riverkeeper, Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, the Zen Environmental
Studies Institute and Trout Unlimited.
I signed the Agreement in Principle on TU’s behalf, after consultation
with our Catskill Mountains Chapter representative, Roy Hochberg,
who had participated in the negotiations with the environmental coalition.
I did so because I believed that the Agreement in Principle held the
promise for significant new actions to protect cold water fisheries
in the Catskills. First and foremost, the Agreement in Principle,
if successfully implemented, would insure the transfer of more than
1,200 forested acres just east of Belleayre from the developer to
the state for inclusion in the Catskill Forest Preserve as “forever
wild.” That action, in turn would completely protect the beloved
and threatened Esopus Creek, which feeds into New York City’s
Ashokan Reservoir, from the proposed resort development.
In addition, the Agreement in Principle provided a framework for a
lower-build alternative on a portion of the smaller parcel to the
west of the Belleayre Ski Center. Among those benefits, if the Agreement
in Principle is fully implemented, are requirements directing that
no individual lodging units in the new lower-build project be constructed
on slopes steeper than 20 percent, a mandate that the single golf
course be operated as organic, and the transfer of a 203 acre conservation
easement from the developer to the City of New York. In total 86%
of the entire 1,960 acre site (combined east and west parcels) now
owned by the developer would remain undisturbed. (Of course, there
are still some water quality issues of concern with respect to the
lower build alternative development proposed for the parcel west of
Belleayre; I discuss them further in Section III of this memo.)
Another important part of the Agreement in Principle was the public
participation process that it created. Specifically, the Agreement
in Principle committed the state to undertake a full supplemental
environmental review of the Belleayre Resort lower-build alternative
project, take whatever mitigation measures may be necessary and insure
compliance with all laws and regulations before finalizing the supplemental
environmental impact statement or moving ahead with the issuances
of permits for any lower-build alternative. The Agreement in Principle
also allows TU to fully participate in the public comment process
on the draft supplemental environmental impact statement. And as noted
later, we fully intend to do so.
II. Belleayre Ski Center Expansion
The Belleayre Resort Project is also related to a second project that
has long been on the drawing boards – the creation of additional
ski trails at the state-owned Belleayre Ski Center. DEC has stated
that it is currently operating 14.5 miles of trails. But it has long
been planning to add approximately 9 miles of new trails. Under state
law and previously approved amendment to the State Constitution, DEC
has existing rights to expand the existing ski center up to a total
of 25 miles of trails. So it has been inevitable that some expansion
of the ski trails was going to occur, sooner or later. Indeed, it
is likely a Ski Center expansion proposal would have been released
years ago, but for the ongoing dispute about the proposed Belleayre
Resort project. In any event, the details of that expansion and the
possible water quality impacts of such a move have yet to be released
or analyzed by the public. And of that we are very concerned.
The Agreement in Principle provided a framework for the Belleayre
Resort’s lower-build alternative proposed Highmount Spa project
to connect to the Belleayre Ski Center via a “ski –in,
ski- out’ trail. But the Agreement in Principle dealt with the
Belleayre Ski Center expansion only briefly. And it specifically indicated
that a draft Unit Management Plan would have to be released in which
the details of the proposed Ski Center expansion would be outlined
and subject to public review and comment.. And once the Ski Center
expansion proposal is released (in the form of a draft Unit Management
Plan; UMP), the public (including TU) will have the opportunity to
review the specifics of the proposal and its possible impacts on water
quality and quantity in detail.
III. Next Steps
I want to emphasize that, despite our significant success in helping
to facilitate the transfer of 1,200 acres now owned by the developer
to the state for inclusion in the Catskill Forest Preserve and our
similar advance in getting New York City committed to acquiring a
conservation easement on another 200 acres of the developer’s
land on the west, we still have considerable work to do to insure
that the Belleayre resort lower-build alternative and the proposed
Belleayre Ski Center expansion do not jeopardize Catskills water quality.
The comments prepared on the Belleayre Resort Supplemental Draft EIS
by Norman Turner and TU’s Catskill Mountains Chapter are as
well written and in detail as the first EIS and subsequent hearings.
They are a wonderful set of comments and concerns that again raise
many important questions and highlight many critical issues that we
believe must be covered in detail in the Supplemental Environmental
Impact Statement and forthcoming Draft Unit Management Plan.
When the SDEIS is released, we expect to again prepare expert technical
comments – once again in great detail. We plan to again ask
the hard questions and raise every legitimate environmental question
related to protection of cold water fisheries. One particular concern
that TU and the six other environmental groups that signed the Agreement
in Principle have relates to potential stormwater impacts from the
one portion of the roadway in the Highmount section of the proposed
lower-build Belleayre Resort lower build alternative project that
would have slopes greater than 20%. We have continued to raise questions
about that piece of the plan, as well as the 29 individual lodging
units that might be built on or above that portion of the road.
In addition, the proposed Belleayre Ski Center expansion raises a
host of water quality questions that have not been the subject of
TU review to date. Many of these ski center expansion issues have
been addressed by the Catskill Mts. Chapter of TU. We would also plan
to review these plans and their water quality impacts with great scrutiny,
when the draft Unit Management Plan is released and testify as to
our findings and concerns at the public hearings that would follow.
As was the case when I signed the Agreement in Principle, the focus
of our attention in all these future comments and testimony would
not be on traffic or social impacts or other areas outside of our
expertise, but limited solely to protection of cold water fisheries,
which is of course TU’s mission. It was the impacts on cold
water fisheries that was our sole focus during our previous involvement
in this matter and it is that issue that we want to guide our continuing
participation and review of these Belleayre projects.
On this basis, I affirm that the New York State Council of TU through
our local chapters will continue our preparation of detailed comments
on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the lower-build
Belleayre Resort alternative project and on the Draft Unit Management
Plan for the proposed Belleayre Ski Center expansion. There is a great
deal of expertise within TU on the issues of protection of Catskill
cold water fisheries and we want to utilize that expertise in a productive
fashion in coming months to secure the protection of 1,400 acres of
lands now owned by the developer and to insure that whatever development
does occur on the west and whatever expansion of the Ski Center does
move forward are done in ways that are fully protective of local trout
water streams and their aquatic ecosystems.
Ron Urban, Chairman
NY State Council Trout Unlimited
Port Ewen, NY
The Ulster County Legislature will soon adopt new benchmarks for the
Ulster County Development Corporation (UCDC) to meet before it receives
funding from the county. While not perfect, the benchmarks are a good
start in creating an effective economic development model that is
accountable to taxpayers.
Throughout my tenure in the Legislature, I have been part of a vocal
minority calling for a change in how Ulster County approaches economic
development. In my opinion, our structure of government created a
vacuum in leadership that allowed other counties to zoom ahead of
us in the competition for high-paying jobs. Until just recently, UCDC
and county officials were reluctant to accept change. But now, with
our ineffectiveness painfully apparent to all, both sides had no choice
but to embrace the new accountability standards.
Hopefully, the new benchmarks will bring a badly needed sense of urgency
to our economic development efforts and help us create new job opportunties
for this, and future generations of Ulster County residents.
Joe Roberti, District 4
Ulster County Legislature
A dramatized commercial for the National Guard began running during
the holiday season at our Hudson Valley Mall Regal Cinema.
The clever ad is pitched to a natural desire of adolescents to challenge
their physical endurance and strength of character. It appeals to
their idealism. Yet it exploits those very qualities by distorting
the reality of National Guard service today.
Promised education benefits, bonuses, valuable skills, non combat
opportunities and heroic service are the bait. Yet both the letter
and spirit of the enlistment contract are being broken, over and over.
For example, the longest serving National Guard Unit was sent home
after 729 days in Iraq. That is one day short of the 730 days needed
to qualify for education benefits. Other loopholes result in only
a small percentage of vets actually using education benefits.
Veterans with physical and mental injuries are often denied adequate
medical care. More than 22,000 veterans suffering from PTSD have been
denied medical benefits as the military blames their symptoms on "pre-existing
personality disorders." PTSD is a logical result of urban warfare
which includes killing innocent people, even children, in a constant
state of fear and uncertainty about who is the 'enemy.' Also, 20,000
cases of brain trauma are omitted from the official Iraq casualty
Inadequate rests between deployments to combat are destroying lives
and families. Enlisted women are speaking out about rapes and sexual
harassment from fellow soldiers. Neither the VA nor the DOD admits
the danger to our soldiers and their future children of our toxic
and radioactive uranium munitions and vehicle armor.
The war is not 'almost over." 2007 gave us more U.S. soldier
deaths - almost 900 - in Iraq than any on the previous five years.
The National Guard is not glamorous. It is a backdoor draft, destination
If you, like us, do not go to the movies to watch and ad for this
Administration's war, speak to the theatre manager or call Regal Theaters
headquarters at 877-835-5734.
Enlist For Peace
Joan Keefe, Jane Van de Bogart, Linda Leeds, David Bruner,
The passing of Jane VanDeBogart is a loss to more people than we could
ever possibly imagine. She touched so many peoples' lives as a humane
caring person, and as a fierce fighter for peoples' rights. Her sincerity,
selflessness, and courage for all the right causes made a difference
for us all locally, and far beyond. She had the ability to challenge
ideas and points of view; then break them down to their basic components.
Jane had the inner strength to take an issue, own it, nurture it,
and watch it grow in the people she came in contact with.
One of Jane's recent major accomplishments is in the process of coming
to fruition. Her work, along with other dedicated people, had a direct
impact on Women's Reproductive Rights in the merger of Benedictine
and Kingston Hospitals. Her legacy will live on in the lives of people
she touched. Jane we will miss you.
Don and Linda Gregorius
I would like to thank the teens and parents in our community for coming
out and supporting adding education to the Social Host Law.
To all who voted yes to pass the Social Host Law without the educational
component, your silence spoke louder then you realize.
I do want to thank the 2 legislators who support the educational component.
Bob Aiello - Thank you for listening to the facts and standing up
for what is right and not caving to politics. It was refreshing to
see your honesty in explaining how many of our legislators go across
the street and drink and then drive home after the meetings. Any one
that drinks and drives could end up in this same position.
Jeanette Provenzano- Thanks you for being the only person to let the
rest of us know we aren't crazy. It felt like we were in the twilight
zone. You told it like it was! We are very big in numbers and have
many 18 year old voters in our group. You can bet we will be supporting
you in any way we can in the next election along with candidates that
support these views.
You both helped our youth to see that it is ok to speak out for the
right reason no matter how much peer/political pressure is out there.
We have the next generation trying to make a difference. They have
volunteered their time, some for 2 years.
Why is it that although our former District Attorney has been involved
on an underage drinking prevention team for 10 years, Ulster County
is still 55th out of 55 counties with the highest incidences of underage
drinking, DWI's and deaths in ALL OF New York State? Why is he opposed
to an educational component?
Why did it take a group of teens, losing a friend, to create the Alcohol
Program for judges to use? The NYS ABC law gives Judges the option
of choosing a sentence of $100 fine and/or 30 hours community service
and/or completion of an alcohol awareness program.
Not only did we not offer the Alcohol Awareness Program in our county
until these teens presented the idea with the help of a clinical supervisor,
and also created a phenomenal peer to peer program. We also have no
educational component for enabling parents. The group has a qualified
professional ready to offer her services at NO COST to our taxpayers.
Why then did the former DA say NO and feel the need to use our tax
dollars to reinvent the wheel?
We need to seriously consider his motives.
The teens have been working with Senior Class President Rose Hallinan
and Stephan Bielecki, Administrator of both AWARENESS Teen Mentoring
and the newly formed ALCOHOL AWARENESS Group. The AWARENESS MENTORING
GROUP, formed in October 2006, involves High School students mentoring
Middle School students to have fun without substance/alcohol use.
Regardless of reports to the contrary Zephyr Dresser-Peck has never
been a mentor or involved with the AWARENESS Mentoring Program).
The Alcohol Awareness Program, which was started when Stephan Bielecki
reached out to his friends in the car after the fatal prom night crash
to try to impact these situations. Zephyr Dresser-Peck chose to help
and is shown as an example of a teen making a very bad decision and
suffering the consequences involved. He is NOT a mentor. Dresser Peck
has spent countless hours researching and taking additional courses
including NYS OASAS certified programs to educate himself and his
peers about this subject to help create the best Alcohol Awareness
Program possible to break the cycle of these senseless underage drinking
deaths each year.
How can the former DA vilify a teen such as Zephyr Dresser-Peck when
he is the person who has to wake up every day knowing his best friend
is dead because of a bad choice.He already is serving a life sentence
for this. Even in his sorrow he has come out and tried to do all he
can to help tackle the issue of underage drinking and has brought
tremendous public AWARENESS to this problem.
Any parent could be woken in the middle of the night and told that
their child has died in a car crash or that their child was the driver
in the car. We know that 68% of high school students drink and everyone
makes bad choices when they are under the influence of alcohol.
Please help us change society, punitive consequences have been proven
not to work. We need to educate and change the culture by having teens
teach each other because we adults have been totally ineffective.
Who better to teach our teens than those who have made these life
changing mistakes that affect us all!
West Hurley, NY
My name is Rose Hallinan and I am a Senior at Onteora High School.
I am an active member of my community and I am the class president
as well. About a year ago I helped Marie Shultis form the group called
Awareness. This is a group of high school students that mentor middle
school students through activities and trips to show that we can have
fun without alcohol or drugs. This group was created to try and change
the drinking pattern in our community.
A few months ago we also created Awareness II a separate group that
once a month holds an educational program. Teens who have received
underage drinking tickets are mandated to attend. This group was created
to make a step between a ticket that for many holds no significance
for many, and a serious tragedy that can occur when kids do not realize
the consequences of their drinking.
By working as a mentor I have been able to plan group activities for
us to do and interact with younger teens. We have gone on many trips
, such as to a basketball game, hockey game, and to a corn maze. We
also have had many meetings where we play games and do fun activities.
I hope that the time I have spent in this group has changed the way
some of the kids think, and I know that with the continuance of this
program we will be able to reach out to even more kids. In the future
I hope that we will have a dramatic impact on our community to change
the culture of drinking once and for all.
Recently, many members of the group have become active with the passage
of the Social Host Law. I believe that an education component should
be added to the law. I don’t think that $250 and or fifteen
days in jail is enough for hosting a party with underage drinking.
People sixteen years or older who break this law will continue to
have parties if this is the only consequence. The amount of money
is nothing, kids will start charging for parties to pay for the fine
later! People should be forced to attend an education program related
to alcohol awareness, because this is the only way to change behavior.
This is why I was extremely disappointed when the law was passed without
an education component.
At the board meeting, attention was turned away from the matter at
hand to the accident that occurred last May. The accident should have
nothing to do with the matter, not one person in the room was opposed
to the law. The item in question was if there should be an educational
component. Passing the law now or in one month to allow for more time
amending the law would truly have no effect. I believe that if the
law is left how it is now, in reality it will not change anything.
Some people will continue to have parties regardless, and the only
way to change this is by teaching people about the danger of parties
with underage drinkers, not enforcing meaningless consequences.
In closing, I hope that an educational component will be added to
the law as soon as possible. I plan to continue being a member of
the group and hope to continue to help middle school students. As
the president of my class I feel that it is my responsibility and
obligation to change prom this year. I am working on an after prom
event and hope that we can change the stereotypical prom night.
West Hurley, NY
My name is Erica Beesmer and I am in the 10th grade at Onteora high
school. I helped Marie Shultis form the first awareness group in October
2006. I was one of the first awareness mentors. The group awareness
is a bunch of high school students that mentor middle school students
by doing fun activities in hopes that they will realize you can have
fun without drinking. Our group tries to meet once a month and we
play fun games or go on trips to basketball games, hockey games, and
After me and some other kids at my school heard about the after prom
accident we came to Marie hoping to make a difference and change the
way something this horrible happens almost every year! We then formed
the group awareness II. Awareness II created a 5 step program that
can be used as part of the sentence when teens get a ticket for underage
drinking(not drinking and driving) We were trying to get the legislators
to add a similar component to the Social Host Law. This educational
component would be for parents that let teens drink to teach them
of the dangers and in turn have them teach parents of teens that are
given underage drinking tickets.
All of the teens and I were very confused as to why only two of the
legislators listened as we told them the law as it is now is not strong
enough. No one is going to be effected by 15 days in jail or a fine
of $250.00. If it's a teen they may think it is cool to go to jail
and what kind of things might they learn there that could impact them
to be a worse person after returning to society.
We are hoping to change the law so when teens are drinking,caught
and charged with DWI's,or even get in a car if they are drunk that
they can go through the educational course which I feel will effect
them way more then any other punishment. At the legislative meeting
last Tuesday I was very upset to see the ways adults were personally
attacking an 18 year old boy. I felt that it was very unnecessary
at the moment and was uncalled for. As if living with such a horrible
mistake for the rest of your life is not enough!
I hope people reading this letter will help us change the laws. If
a teen is not old enough to drink then one mistake should not force
them to be sent to state prison to be with hardened criminals.
West Hurley, NY
Here's to all our friends, neighbors and owners of ugly pants for
making the First Annual Ugly Pants Contest in Phoenicia a success!
Almost 100 people were in attendance at the fundraiser on Fri., Feb.
8 to strut their stuff and support the Listen to Me Youth Theater's
production of Narnia, which will open at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock
on March 28 and run through March 30 (for ticket reservations call
(845) 688-2068 or email: email@example.com).
With Uncle Rock wailin' tunes, DJ Rick Schneider from WKZE emceeing
the event, an amazing spread of wine, cheese and baked goods, along
with 40 ugly pants contestants of all ages, it was a night filled
with fun and laughter! Dave Channon filmed the event and immortalized
it on youtube! To check it out, just go to youtube.com and type in
"Ugly Pants Contest"!
And the best is yet to come...we will be exhibiting an entire wall
of Ugly Pants Contest photos at the next Arts Upstairs exhibition:
"All You Need is Love", which open this Sat., Feb. 16 in
Phoenicia!!! So come have a look and see the glamorous photos we snagged
of your favorite contestants! All sales benefit the Listen To Me Youth
Theater. What better gift for your Valentine than a picture of you
(or him/her) in your most flattering attire?!
A special thanks to all the moms, kids, and friends who baked delicious
treats for our bake-sale table, Wendy Helm for event planning and
design, Uncle Rock for a night of great live music, Rick Schneider
for slick emcee-action and publicity, Elaine Cruickshank for ticket
sales, The Arts Upstairs Gallery for hosting, Viva Fraser, Christina
Byron, Babs Mansfield, and Vanessa Burke for planning and support,
Tania Barricklo, Tom Fraser, and Phil Mansfield for photography, Dave
Channon for video, the Peekamoose Restaurant for first prize donation,
and the Wine Hutch, Woodstock Liquors and Hurley Ridge Market for
See you at the Arts Upstairs Gallery AND here's to making next year's
contest even bigger and uglier than ever!!!
It's ironic, I find myself saying "what did you say" more
often as time rushes by on its inexorable journey to who knows where.
Words become muted but there is a sound that is constantly in the
background that becomes clearer and more predominant every year; the
intangible audio signature of time passing.
Perhaps it's because as I age my life is less cluttered with superfluous
fluff, a luxury allowing for focus on things that, in my core, really
matter and are worthy of expenditure of my time. The delineation between
burdensome activities and those that are accompanied with a smile
is now stark. I try and broker my time judiciously.
I'm cautious about taking on new projects as I sift through my procrastinatory
pile of good intentions. (Quite a task if I must say so!) I am constantly
hearing my Dad's sage advice, "If in doubt, throw it out."
I dare not focus on the facets of each unfulfilled project as I chuck
it over my shoulder, for that would defeat the purpose, rather I revel
in the clarity of the present it is bringing.
Things in my present field of vision include Karen, my wife and best
friend. An unsought gift recognized first by my heart then by every
fiber of my being. Our existence is timeless as our Love evolves in
the moment…a true blessing.
Watching my daughters negotiate the minefield from adolescents to
adulthood; never judging, always there and offering pearls of wisdom
when called for is a source of constant smiles.
My home in the country with its mountain views and grounding perspective
is my foundation for sanity.
All in all life is wonderful. I sense creeping cantankerousness, but
it makes me smile. My body is telling me use me or lose me so I figure
it's time to heed the warning.
So if you see someone appearing to drag his feet to slow the circle
down that'll be me; stop by and say howdy, we can share a smile.
Family of Woodstock's hotline and walk in center is located in the
heart of Woodstock. As you might know, we are mainly a volunteer organization,
relying on a network of people to serve the public by coming to Family
each week for three to four hours to answer the hotline phones and
to help walk-ins with whatever we can. During a typical day we might
help an angry teenager, an exasperated parent, a lonely shut-in, someone
who needs help with social services, a family that needs food, clothing
or shelter, or a person who just wants contact with another human
It is the volunteers who are the front line of this exciting work.
It is they, through their skills in dealing with a multitude of issues,
who offer the community the wide range of services that Family provides.
Volunteers learn the skills necessary to listen and respond to others.
Our training encompasses elements ranging from basic listening skills
to helping people in a variety of crisis situations.
In March, we will be holding a new volunteer training. If you are
interested in joining us, and we hope that you are, please call 845-679-2485
to set up an appointment.
Family of Woodstock