Follow Up on the
wide election will take place on May 18 at local elementary
schools. Voters will be asked to approve the budget
that will raise the tax levy by 3.9 percent.
At that time, two board seats will also be up for election,
although at present there are no challengers for the
two incumbents seeking reelection.
The deadline for handing in board candidate petitions
was April 19 and other than the two incumbents Rob Kurnit
and Tom Hickey, there were no other petitions handed
The school board appointed the two in September 2009,
after two seats were vacated by the resignations of
Michelle Friedel and Rick Wolff. Kurnit and Hickey's
names will be on the ballot, but because there are no
other candidates, they will automatically continue for
an additional three years.
Kurnit lives in the town of Woodstock and is married
to an Onteora teacher. Hickey lives in Pine Hill and
currently has two children attending school in the district.
At Tuesday night's board of education meeting at the
Middle/High school board members thanked the administration
for their hard work and last minute changes.
Marching Band and Color Guard was restored. Half of
the Gifted and Talented budget was restored and BOCES
will continue to run the program.
Board members plan to look into a homegrown district
enrichment program for the following year. Initially
these programs were eliminated from the budget during
the Superintendent's recommendation a week ago. but
funding was found through teacher retirement savings.
Overall, 11.5 teaching positions will be eliminated.
This includes GED, Speech, special educators and a middle
school team. Out of the eleven full time teachers, six
retired and two resigned. Three teachers will be laid-off.
Of the full time non-teaching group, twelve positions
will be eliminated. Of this group, only one has announced
a retirement, but they have until April 30 to take advantage
of retirement incentives. Other cuts include, a librarian,
high school after school homework help, INDIE, technology
In a six to one vote, the board approved a ballot proposition
that would allow voters to decide on $35,000 to purchase
a new seven-passenger vehicle. This will replace a 1999
model with 200,717 miles clocked on it. Trustee Donna
Flayhan voted against the proposition.
On April 13, Superintendent Leslie Ford unveiled the
2010/2011 Onteora district school budget with a similar
recommendation of a .31 percent budget increase and
said the budget hike is being driven by increased health
insurance, retirement contribution and contractual salary
increases. Cuts in State aid and earned interest revenue
also add to the mix.
At the April 13 board of education meeting at the Middle/High
School, several parents and students spoke in protest
of program cuts. Over the previous weekends, several
color guard members demonstrated on the Woodstock Village
The district was presented with an offer from BOCES
to restore part of the Gifted and Talented program.
Instead of a budget of $224,357 it would be cut roughly
in half to $112,000. Assistant Superintendent Kathleen
O'Brien was not overly appreciative of the offer stating
that it was, "too much money for too little (program)."
O'Brien voiced concern about how much hands-on time
kids would receive with instructors.
Under board direction, additional administrative costs
were reduced from the budget, which helped to restore
some of the programs. Athletic teams, JV sports and
the music teacher have been reinstated into the budget.
Three Middle/High school clerical workers will be eliminated
at a savings of $92,161; Overtime pay will be reduced
at a savings of $27,480; Attorney fee reduction will
save the district $25,000 and paying off debt for an
2008 bus purchase saves $43,306.
If voters rejected the budget two times, a contingent
budget would have a levy impact of 2.85 percent. Other
cuts would include Volleyball, Golf, and JV sports,
as well as after school homework help at the Middle
"I have to applaud the board for getting it down
to 3.9 percent because this really makes sense for the
community to support," Ford said.
She asked the community to "think locally,"
and support the children and noted that she, Assistant
Superintendent Victoria McLaren and board members will
be presenting the budget at town board meetings in the
the great charm of New Genesis performances is that their
casts are adolescents and teenagers, and while proving
a great occasion for exalting in that energy it also proved,
as was this production's intent, that Shakespeare's age-its
challenges and promise-remains our own.
To New Genesis Director Lesley Sawhill's credit, the performances
by the New Genesis cast were resonant, weighty, hilarious
and memorable. Eli Soruich looked a king as Henry, and
his eve-of-battle soliloquy weighing what "hard condition"
distinguishes that role carried a tingling pathos. Henry's
counterpart, the Queen of France, performed by Lachlin
Brooks was statuesque and always center-stage: They both
proved grounding to the production's energy, as was Tiffanie
Delozier's Hostess, among her other roles. Further, Brooks
playing the French court's herald was terrifically sardonic
and cocksure, making the reversal in her last, post-battle
appearance to request a truce, "That we may wander
o'er this bloody field/To look our dead, and then to bury
Marley Alford's performance of Katherine lit on the exuberant,
particularly in the closing suitor scene with King Henry.
All the "French" cohort spoke with a convincing
accent: A good decision, not only distinguishing them
but also lending many scenes a happy levity. Brandon Sawhill-Aja's
Westmorland was also large in that: In fact, over-the-top
madcap. Among the younger players, Sammy Furr added vast
humor and scope as Pistol-a heart conqueror with a gutsy
angelic voice-and Jermey Brownstein's laconic Burgundy
was terrific. The same for the performances of Dante Cantor,
Helena Ojarovsky and Joey Dragon-feisty and moving-as
well as Asa Spurlock, who with the above noted Furr captivatingly
held up Henry V's ecclesiastical wing.
Particular commendation should go to Finnian Shaw in his
role as Chorus: Seated at stage edge to relate the play's
historical frame, he achieved a glowing audience intimacy,
even while maintaining a wonderfully ancient weariness.
That was helped a little by Shaw limping as he came on
and off down stage, and Henry V's blocking, in general,
was strong including aisle sweeps, mosh battle scenes
and the deft use of upstage action. These circumscribed
movements caught a great part of Shakespeare's compass-"within
this wooden O the very casques/That did affront the air
Of course "casques" are helmets for which bike
helmets served in this production.
In fact it was in the cast's collaboration with Jen Dragon
in idiosyncratic costuming that the contemporary verve
and life of Shandaken teenagers manifested, including
the charming use of cell phones to tell time. While in
part humorously disjunctive, it gave a little bite to
the "possible future" the New Genesis players
sought to glean.
This might have also informed Ron Aja's stage design of
grey outcrops: "I see you stand like greyhounds in
the slips,/Straining upon the start." It is a vision
bleak, sharp-edged but veined with vitality.
The production further began around questions of Henry
as hero, with a nod to Obama's Nobel speech: "...peace
entails sacrifice." Setting aside by what logic our
current American sacrifices, such as they are, might build
peace, Henry went to war over questions about female secession
and squabbles over lineage.
Underlying all these, of course, is the real, seemingly
eternal, war rationale: Power; or the struggles of groups,
each defined by whatever hokum, to wrest it from another.
To whatever degree an answer to hero question this production
borne, it seems also to point to another in which what
power is innate to us is shared, and by New Genesis wonderfully
This July will see New Genesis outdoor productions of
The Tempest and Romeo & Juliet at the Little Globe
Theatre in West Shokan, and the call has gone out for
players to join their performance workshops, "designed
to train young actors (ages 7 to 17) in the collaborative
process of creating theater."
For how to join, scheduling information and more, please
alight and visit www.newgenesisproductions.org.
While fostering young talent and vision is in itself fantastic,
behind a play's production is the building of a people;
namely, the actual "collaborative process" is
the real thing, the vibrant mettle. Underscoring the importance
of the arts in forming community, a people are defined
by how they work together, more perhaps than what results
from such close work-which happily for the New Genesis
players appears consistently rich.
In supporting these ventures, the people of Shandaken
and Olive also prove themselves such.
Mike Jonker presented his firm's proposal (LVDV Operations,
Inc.) and informed the board that a clean water start
up was successfully completed on March 16, with all equipment
functioning properly. He stated that his company has been
operating for 15 years and runs wastewater treatment plants
in Cobleskill, Roxbury, Prattsville, Hobart, Bloomville,
and Hamden. It is expected there will be three (3) full
In other business on April 6, the board met and discussed
with Kevin Young, attorney, who stated an amendment was
needed for the Sewer Use Law which addresses charges for
new hook ups and a Special Benefit Assessment. It was
also noted that the town will take over the Wastewater
Treatment Plant on July 1, when the town will become responsible
for property insurance, telephone, etc. as these costs
will no longer be born by the Catskill Watershed Corporation.
The Town Board regular meetings of April 12 (Audit) and
April 13, were decidedly 'different' because Leifeld was
not in attendance due to recent back surgery, which was
the meeting's first topic of discussion.
Three resolutions were passed, the first having to do
with the needed Special Benefit Assessment law for properties
whose sewer use is greater than expected. If your usage
falls higher than the allocated Gallons Per Day, the new
law states, a Special Benefit Assessment shall be levied
in the amount of $5,000 per EDU for households (all single
family residences are assigned one EDU which is equivalent
to 300 gallons of water use per day). or Non-household
connections, if your use is greater than or equal to the
Table A GPD, a Special Benefit Assessment shall be levied
in the amount of $1,250 per 75 GPD above the Table A GPD.
Of special note: For those outside the Sewer District
wishing to be connected to the sewer, provided there is
capacity that allows for new connections to the plant,
an additional charge will be required to compensate the
Sewer District for it's embedded costs... to be determined
by the Town Board at the time that a petition is submitted.
Unless otherwise specified by resolution of the Town Board,
the Special Benefit Assessment for a user outside the
district is $10,000 per EDU of proposed flow.
A second resolution approved a contract with LVDV Operations,
Inc. for the operation and maintenance of the Boiceville
Wastewater Treatment Plant, giving specific responsibility
for buildings and grounds maintenance, including lawn
mowing, snow plowing and removal, as well as structural
repairs and improvements to the buildings; all utilities,
all equipment, materials and supplies necessary to operate
the plant; to the town.
Cost of the services being provided by LVDV Operations,
Inc. will be payable at the annual rates of $251,900 for
2010, $259,600 for 2011 and $267,500 for 2012. Special
hourly rates for additional services outside their normal
scope of duties will be billable at rates rising $2 per
year from a $58/hr base.
New York City, however, will be responsible for the bulk
of the costs of the Wastewater Treatment Plant - by other
town's accounts, the percentage is 85% with the Town paying
A third and final Resolution noted National Library Week
and encouraged all residents to visit the Olive Free Library
to take advantage of the wonderful library resources available
In other business, Craig Grazier - who ran unsuccessfully
for town board last November - was appointed Recreation
Committee Chair, and Scott Kelder was appointed a member
of the Recreation Committee. It was noted that work has
been underway at all recreation fields to correct drainage
issues, clear trees that had come down with the winter
storms, and prepare for ball and summer camp, which start
Tuesday, July 6th and end Thursday, August 12.
A Town Clean-up Weekend, put together by Sue Horner, secretary
to the Supervisor, and Councilperson Linda Burkhardt will
allow homeowners to turn in debris without charge to the
Olive Transfer Station on the weekend of May 1st and 2nd....
With other events in the planning.
On a closing note, Deputy Supervisor LaMonda suggested
that a page be left blank in memory of Cindy VanBuren,
who passed away in March. Cindy was very active with many
of the Town's youth and programs - and will be sadly missed.
A celebration of her life is being planned for June 13,
2010 at Davis Park - watch for details.
Tread On Them...
"The Tea Party is a nonpartisan political party,"
Johansen started to say in introduction when a man stood
and loudly demanded, "Why, where there are certain
politicians we don't like who done us bad, when there
are certain political parties trying to screw us over...
Why don't we just endorse George Phillips?"
Continuing his reference to the GOP candidate against
longstanding Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey, the
man went on to note that "Hinchey is a piece of garbage.
If we don't endorse we're out of here."
And he left.
"I prefer we have a contract with the people we support,
similar to the way the NRA rates candidates," Johansen
continued, referring to the National Rife Association
most in the room proudly belonged to. "I think you
should make up your own minds."
As people grumbled more about Hinchey, local greengrocer
Al Higley, who supplied hot dogs for the event, noted
that such decisions should be made only after candidates
were talked to. McGee shifted back to general talk of
recent Rasmusson Polls showing a quarter of Americans
showing support for the Tea Party movement, and the possibility
of pulling in enough Democrats to really make a difference,
"The reason we're not part of the Republican Party
is because we have to be able to hold their feet to the
fire, too," she said. "We're not just a group
out to help Republicans; we're here to help our country.
It's about principals."
People stood to say why they were there.
"I'm tired of the left wing Democratic press labeling
us as racist," said a black man festooned with NRA
buttons and American flag pins. "I hate Obama not
because he's black, not because he's a Democrat, but because
he's a Democrat Socialist Communist. It bothers me that
our first black president is a commie."
"He's the pre-curser to the Anti-Christ," someone
"I'm tired of screaming at the television set,"
yelled another man.
"They're picking everyone's pockets," Higley
said. "They're taking our kids' lunch money!"
"I can see we're not going to have any trouble speaking
plain," commented Johansen.
A candidate for the Republican nod for a run for the state
assembly position held by Democrat Kevin Cahill was introduced.
Don Wise noted how he had run against Hinchey as a young
man, then spoke for an hour about the two party system,
his background, his beliefs. He made mention of how there
were people, poor and not, who "manipulated the system,"
then noted that when someone was having 7, 8, 9 kids by
three or four different fathers, something else was wrong
that needed addressing. He decried New York City's hold
on state politics. He talked about term limits, Sheldon
Silver's power. The need for an investigative service
that looked into everyone getting social service aid of
any sort, and misusing benefits.
When Wise mentioned Cahill's recent claims about bringing
new jobs to the area, someone derisively suggested it
was through the census.
Richie Ostrander asked about gun legislation and Wise
noted he was a member of the NRA.
"Good thing," a number of folks noted.
"If you're a law-abiding citizen there should be
no limits on your owning guns," he said. "God
forbid you have to protect your family in your own home.
You have to have the freedom to use that gun."
Someone brought up fishing licenses. Another raised the
idea of taxing cigarettes.
When Wise suggested that cigarette and similar "sin
taxes" might be a way of paying for what needed to
be paid, someone else asked about taxing McDonalds for
their food. When he started to suggest that might not
be a bad idea several people answered with cries of, "That's
"That's too much government for me," said one
man, loudly. "The government is not my parents."
"You had us, Don, but I think you just lost us,"
added another man.
"This country has to stop and go back to the fork
in the road," said Paul Ragonese, a former New York
City hero cop and Woodstock police chief. "We need
another Ronald Reagan."
"Now you understand how liberals do this," added
Gerry Setchko, a former head of the Shandaken Republican
Club. "They come in saying something's not good for
you... Then they start chipping away at your rights."
When Wise was finally convinced to leave the stage, Higley,
a former county legislator, gave a mini-speech about the
need for jobs. He couldn't understand why people were
fighting against gas drilling in the state, in the area,
when it could help employ people and bring riches to the
"Al, it's time for you to get back into politics,"
Everyone started to get up to leave as McGee started talking
about how "We want to help you with some simple tools."
She asked for e-mail addresses for informational alerts.
"This is a venue to come forward," she said.
"The first Tea Party candidate was Ross Perot. When
he crapped out the whole movement disappeared..."
"There's food," Johansen noted, saying they'd
need to set up some committees and setting the next meeting
for the middle of May in Shokan Park.
"We have to look into local issues," he added
as the room quickly, loudly emptied.
Jar Of Olives
Another Rock Star is Kaitlynn Murphy who pitched a no-hitter
for the Onteora Girls' Softball team. The team went on to rack
up sixteen hits against Margaretville. Softball always reminds
me of Cindy Klippel VanBuren who loved the sport so much. There
will be a memorial/ benefit held at Davis Park on June 13 from
1:25 until 9. In memory of Cindy her family and friends are
throwing a celebration of life party to remember her and all
she had done! It wil be a day full of food, entertainment, reminiscing
and laughs! Planning for a softball tournament is in the works.
There were always five people I could count on to make me laugh
when I worked at the school, and, as you could imagine, there
were days we all felt like crying instead of chuckling. Those
rock stars were: Peggy Haug, Cindy Van Buren, Joanne Stroppoli,
Megan Frandino and Lori Wright Mattison., and they were all
super-stars in softball too. Me, I played right field and never
caught a ball nor had a hit. Some of us are born spectators.
The American Legion honors their own "rock star" in
the citizen of the year award. They are now collecting names
to be honored at the annual banquet to be held at the Legion
Hall in May. They have a hard job to select just one. Olive
has many worthy recipients. Purdy Halstead (657-8494) and Angelo
Russo (657-8068 )are leaving "no stone unturned" (pardon
the pun) trying to locate veterans who served during war times.
The names of those veterans from Olive, members or not, including
those have moved away or are deceased, could be included on
the Kiosk. If you know of anyone whose name should be honored
and remembered, please contact Post 1627. Community Rock Stars,
Sylvia Rozzelle and Paula Rhodes, have a plan to publish a cookbook
entitled "A Taste of Olive From Around the Family Table."
Blank pages can be picked up at the Town Office, The Library,
and at The Good Stuff CafÈ. Submit an entry, hand-written
or typed, by June 1. Maybe Nevrus "Ike" Ajce will
submit his recipe for "Stone Soup." Academic Rock
Stars include: Cory Roberts, Trevor Brophy, John Burdock, John
Livolsi, Monica Countryman, Faith Delozier, Tony Bachor, Michael
Patrick, Christina Davis, Christine Castellano, and Tim Dupree
who are mentioned as President's or Dean's List honorees from
UCCC. Two senior running stars who "rock on" are Bernie
Stahl and Everett White. Speaking of rocks, I have begun to
garden. In my case, gardening means picking rocks and adding
soil, wood ashes, and peat moss to a patch of earth that can
support some sort of deer-resistant plant life. Check out the
on-line site called " The Best Thing About the Town of
Olive" on Facebook. There's a lot of written proof that
OLIVE ROCKS! My final mention of rocks is to say we are humming
"Rock-A-Bye, Baby" as we await the birth of another
granddaughter in five weeks.