County Executive Michael Hein spoke of coming cutback plans
while Ulster County Budget Director Arthur Smith delivered
an update to the county legislature's Budget and Finance Committee
recently, warning of impending problems for 2011. The idea
had been to comment on the effects of the state's spending
plan on local finances, although Albany's lateness precluded
Nevertheless, Smith presented a range of possibilities for
the county tax impact in five key areas including Health insurance
costs, predicted to be going up to $2.6 million; Retirement
costs, rising up to $2.75 million over the coming year; Medicaid,
possibly going up at leats $4.6 million; needed new costs
for the county's Golden Hill Health Care Center, up $4.9 million,
and the fact that the county's fund balance available for
appropriations for the coming year will be $10.5 million less
than for this year
Based on those numbers, the additional tax levy needed to
cover that would be at least 15 percent, Smith said.
Hein's budget deficit reduction plan, meanwhile, includes
plans to sell some county property, close some Health Department
satellite offices, offer a new employee retirement incentive
and eliminate a position within his own office to help close
the potential $25 million budget gap in the upcoming year.
Hein unveiled his 10-point "Taxpayer First" initiative
during a press conference on April 14, a day after Smith warned
county legislators about looming fiscal problems for 2011..
If all the measures were fully implemented as proposed, he
said the county could see a savings of as much as $8.6 million
Among Hein's cost-savings plans is the elimination of Health
Department satellite offices in Saugerties and Highland and
on Broadway and in Midtown Kingston, to be replaced with scheduled
mobile clinics. A new retirement incentive plan to be offered
to Civil Service Employee Association members could save $1.4
million, and a move away from the traditional health insurance
program to a county-run self-insured plan could save $1.2
million. Lastly, eliminating the assistant deputy county executive
position now held by Vin Martello would save $89,844 in 2011,
with Martello getting transferred to a position in the Health
Other items include implementation of a voluntary mail order
prescription drug plan, allowing county employees to buy medications
by mail from Canada, which could save $500,000, as wellas
$2 million in savings from better management of county employees,
job consolidations and early retirements. Additionally, a
freeze on the salaries of all non-union management employees
will remain in place for 2011, Hein said.
Hein also proposed creating a Conflict Defender's Office,
which would provide legal representation for individuals involved
in proceedings in Family Court in instances in which the Public
Defender's Office has a conflict of interest.
One time savings, he added, could be had by selling the county's
Certified Home Health Agency License for $1.5 million (the
program was eliminated this year); and selling a portion of
county-owned land at 300 Flatbush Ave. in Kingston for $1.6
Several of Hein's initiatives will require approval by the
county Legislature. The executive will work over the next
several months to submit to the Legislature resolutions to
move his agenda forward.
Rumors continue to swirl about the relationship between the
Onteora Board of Education and current District Superintendent
Dr. Leslie Ford.
During public commentary at an April 13 meeting, past board
trustee Rita Vanacore noted that she'd heard "that this
board has chosen not to renew the contract of our Superintendent"
and praised Ford for her hard work and diligence. She criticized
past administrators for not doing their job with staff evaluations
In a separate interview, school board president Laurie Osmond
said Ford's contract was up for a year's extension in June.
She added that the board has not met to discuss her contract
and she does not have any idea what Vanacore was talking about.
During previous March board meetings, information was leaked
- falsely, according to Osmond - regarding an ongoing harassment
complaint the district is dealing with. A resolution was passed
on March 2 that would allow a maximum of $7,500 to investigate
such a harassment charge. Due to confidentiality, the resolution
does not name the employee. The resolution stated that a particular
employee "filed a harassment complaint with the Board
of Education on or about July 7, 2009."
At the March 2 meeting, Peter Friedel complained about the
use of money freed up to investigate a complaint made by Superintendent
Leslie Ford. Friedel is the husband of previous Onteora trustee
Michelle Friedel, who resigned in July, 2009. Osmond prohibited
Freidel from speaking about employees.
In a separate interview, Osmond said she had no idea how Friedel
got the information and why he chose to mention Ford. She
would not comment on who the employee mentioned in the resolution
was. She added that leaked employee information true or false
would not be tolerated.
Ford also would not comment.
Also At Onteora...
Firefighters were on hand at Onteora High last Friday, April
16 for a bathroom trashcan fire, with an Olive teen reportedly
suspended after the fact.
On the same day, Middle/High School students were given the
opportunity to participate in a Day of Silence, the annual
event sponsored by the Middle/High School Gay Straight Alliance
Club (GSA) was created by the University of Virginia in 1996
and has since grown into a nationwide event with over 8000
Middle, High Schools and colleges participating.
Students take a vow of silence throughout the school day as
a way to recognize anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) bullying and harassment. April 16 was chosen to recognize
Carl Walker-Hoover, a boy from Massachusetts who did not identify
with any sexual orientation, but was bullied including the
use of anti-gay harassment, and committed suicide just before
his 12th birthday at this time of year..
On Wednesday, April 14, the Delaware County Board of Supervisors
unanimously passed a resolution in support of the $400 million
Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park, the controversial development
proposal slated to occupy land in both Delaware and Ulster
Counties. And while the Ulster County Legislature passed a
similar resolution last month following warnings from staunch
opponents of the plan, the Delaware lawmakers heard little.
Individual members of the board praised the project and it's
backers, with the most vocal support coming from Dennis Valente,
Supervisor of the Town of Davenport and Chairman of the Delaware
County Economic Development Committee, Len Utter, Supervisor
of the Town of Middletown, Martin Donnelly, Supervisor of
the Town of Andes and Jim Eisel, Supervisor of the Town of
Harpersfield and Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
The memorializing resolution echoes, largely verbatim, claims
made by Gitter that have been challenged by opposition groups
lincluding Save the Mountain and the Catskill Heritage Alliance.
According to the resolution, the Board of Supervisors is now
"committed to working with Crossroads Ventures, LLC and
offering any appropriate assistance to acquire permits, licenses
and/or easements to assure the development of the resort..."
Gitter thanked the legislators in a statement this week and
added that his Crossroads team is "working diligently"
to complete the plans, which he says will "assure the
public of the economic and environmental benefits of this
public-private partnership among the Belleayre Ski Center,
the environmental community and Crossroads."
"We are confident that the DEC's undertaking to expand
Belleayre in concert with the construction of the Belleayre
Resort will result in one of the most attractive ski and recreation
venues in the Northeast," said Gitter.
The previous week, Gitter denied that NYS Comptroller Art
DiNapoli's office was blocking completion of a land sale involving
1200 acres of Crossroads land originally slated for a previous
component of the long-proposed resort, while a spokesperson
from the Comptroller's office, said the sale of the land is
being reviewed, and that such review is a normal part of the
process for state acquisition of property.
Gitter also questioned the original amount offered for his
property as part of the AIP, claiming it was about $8 million,
and not the nearly $14 million mentioned in all news reports
at the time.
He added that the current $6 million figure did not include
sale of the former Highmount Ski Center, which is another
element in the 2007 Spitzer AIP. If not included in the current
sale amount, whose funds were included in a special Environmental
Protection Fund not effected by recent state budget constraints,
further hold ups are likely, given the tie-ins between the
Highmount property's development and the AIP deal being worked
towards completion, and eventual environmental review.
Looks like there's still quite a distance to go on all things
Crossroads, new or not...
Speaking at an environmental conference hosted by the Business
Council, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Director of Mineral Resources Bradley Field said the entire
process, including finalizing the pending environmental impact
statement for the proposal, and issuing permits, will be completed
by the end of 2010. The surprise announcement has met with
outcry from all of the state's environmental groups.
At the same time, this all may be moot, given what's happening
on a federal and international level regarding the controversial
A federal study of hydraulic fracturing set to begin in the
coming weeks, and currently the focus of congressional hearings
that started this week, is expected to provide the most expansive
look yet at how the natural gas drilling process can affect
drinking water supplies. The research will take a substantial
step beyond previous studies and focus on how a broad range
of ancillary activity - not just the act of injecting fluids
under pressure - may affect drinking water quality.
The oil and gas industry strongly opposes this new approach.
The agency's intended research "goes well beyond relationships
between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water," said
Lee Fuller, vice president of government affairs for the Independent
Petroleum Association of America submitted to the Environmental
The "lifecycle" approach will allow the agency to
take into account hundreds of reports of water contamination
in gas drilling fields across the country. Although the agency
hasn't settled on the exact details, researchers could examine
both underground and surface water supplies, gas well construction
errors, liquid waste disposal issues and chemical storage
plans as part of its assessment.
Plans for the study have attracted international attention
and have been the focus of intense debate among lawmakers
and the oil and gas industry. The findings could affect Congress'
decision whether to repeal an exemption that shields the fracturing
process from federal regulation under the Safe Drinking Water
Independent studies have shown more than 1,000 cases in which
various aspects of the fracturing lifecycle have affected
water supplies, including spills of fracturing fluid waste,
cracking of underground cement and well casings meant to enclose
the fracturing process, and methane gas traveling large distances
underground through faults and fractures.
The EPA hopes to complete its research by late 2012, which
means any local environmental actions involving the process
would be premature, and likely moot. Environmental officials
from New York City, who are concerned about how plans to drill
for gas in the state's Marcellus Shale will affect the city's
water supply, have also submitted comments to the EPA, urging
the agency to follow through with its ambitious plans.
The agency's conclusions could have wide-ranging effects.
Last month President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia said he would
curtail natural gas production by the state company Gazprom
until the study is completed.
On Wednesday, April 28th, the Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter
of Trout Unlimited welcomes Ramsey Adams, Executive Director
of Catskill Mountainkeeper, for a critical look at the gas
drilling system known as hydrofracking, as well as the use
of science-based regulation and permitting to prevent harms
to water resources in the Catskills and New York City Watershed.
Catskill Mountainkeeper has created an online "common
sense" petition demanding that the New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation wait to issue any permitting
guidelines until the federal Environmental Protection Agency
completes its study of hydrofracking, which is currently underway.
The TU meeting starts at 8:00 PM at the Boiceville Inn along
Route 28. See you there.
When the Ashokan Center in Olive celebrates Earth Day this
weekend, its story - and that of its principals Jay Ungar
and Molly Mason - will mirror much of our nation's history
of the past 40 years. As well as the more recent economic
ride we've all taken over the past two years.
The Center's Earth Day Open House, to take place Saturday,
April 24, starting off with a sunrise bird walk at 6:30 AM
and ending with a foot stomping concert by the Center's directors,
legendary folk musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, is but
one of several events marking the celebration started out
of the same "Back To Nature" movement that had such
an impact on all our towns in the Catskills. And continues
to shape all our futures.
Two years ago, Ungar and Mason took over what had been SUNY
New Paltz's Ashokan Field Campus since 1967. Part of the complicated
deal that allowed their Ashokan Foundation to purchase and
save the location they'd been using for their popular fiddle
and dance camps since 1980 (on Ungar's part) involved the
New York City Department of Environmental Protection's purchase
of a portion of the former campus property that had originally
been designed as a water release for the nearby Ashokan Reservoir
when it was first built in 1913. They paid an amount for the
channel property that was amended to include enough for the
replacement of five old SUNY New Paltz campus buildings constructed
in the release channel's flood plain.
A date was set to complete construction of a new campus for
the renamed Ashokan Center by August, 2012, when the City
DEP wanted to raze the old buildings.
Ungar and Mason's original plans for their new campus were
for something that would be carbon neutral in terms of energy
usage and fully sustainable, in keeping with the hopefulness
of the time.
But then the bottom fell out of the economy.
The Ashokan Center has stayed busy - very busy - ever since,
with new staff and a host of public events on hand.
Now, its $7 million plus construction plans have been shrunk
back somewhat, because of the economy, and all systems are
go for a construction start in the autumn.
Due to cost estimates coming in very high the first time around,
about $2 million over the $5 million the City was providing
for the campus' move, Ungar and Mason have chosen to take
a step back and find ways to continue with their project on
a scope and price that was within their adjusted budget.
"We're going before the County Planning Board in May
and are expecting to be through this process over the summer
and breaking ground in September at the earliest and October
at the latest," Ungar said last week. "It will then
take a year to complete our construction."
Helping bridge the $1 million gap between what they had in
hand and need to complete the new Ashokan Center buildings
being built further up the hillside on their 375 acres, over
what is now a plateau-like stretch of parking, and the campus'
collection of historic structures, Ungar said that the Catskill
Watershed Corporation had already pledged $250,000 and another
$50,000 had been brought in through private donations.
"The rest we'll get through foundations and grants,"
he added. "And we're also talking to local banks about
bridge loans for a worst-case scenario."
Most importantly, Ungar, Mason and crew have reigned in some
of their original green ideas... as have all of us, over the
past year. There will more use of natural materials from the
property, as well as nearby City road-moving projects, to
help keep down costs. And instead of being completely energy
self-sufficient, it will be a low energy campus... a compromise,
but much better than it had been.
"It's become a way more thoughtful design," Ungar
said this week. "With five to six thousand school children
coming through each year, we want the buildings to be part
of the learning experience.
"It's an inspirational property," Mason added. "We
want something that will attract other groups interested in
sustainability to use the property. There's nothing quite
like this in the region..."
Buildings will be partly built into hillsides so as to be
hidden from each other, on the one hand, but also accessed
via quadrangles whose lawns will become part of the meeting
grounds for activities.
"Best of all, the City will be restoring the places where
the buildings now are with natural landscaping, and allowing
us use of it for educational purposes when there aren't water
releases in effect," Ungar added.
"I believe it's going to end up looking like it did 75
years ago," Mason said.
The NYC DEP's plan is to utilize the release channel more
than it's presently used to help relieve flooding, in the
future, and better tamp down the turbidity that occurs in
the reservoir's west basin as waters are stored before release
to the Ashokan's East Basin, from which 40 percent of New
York City's water flows.
"When we started to put both feet into this we were still
in the midst of a big bubble," Ungar replied. "So
we stepped back. Now we're doing as much as we can afford...
we've already milled 35,000 board feet of our own lumber for
what we'll be doing."
For this weekend's Earth Day Open House, the two noted,. Highlights
will include a 6:30 AM bird walk with Peter Schoenberger,
then a string of 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM events including a Songs
of the Earth and Maypole celebration with local musician and
singer, Nancy Chusid, a nature and literature walk/talk with
poet and naturalist Richard Parisio during his River of Words
poetry walk, local flora identification with SUNY New Paltz
Adjunct Professor and former Ashokan Director, Andy Angstrom,
another plant walk with Northeast Herbal Association founding
member Dina Falconi, ample talks about the future "greening
of Ashokan" with staff members Brian Joyner and Deborah
DeWan, and then music by Jay & Molly.
"My recollection of the first Earth Days was that they
were coming out of the sixties, a time when many such good
changes were developed," Ungar recalled of 40 years ago,
when he was a member of a host of influential local bands
with a national presence. "It seemed to fall asleep,
like Rip Van Winkle, for a few decades, but now I think people
are waking up to Earth Day's ideals once again. I'm almost
shocked to think how long ago that was..."
"It's like this campus," added Molly. "It used
to be pretty insular, even our dance and music events. But
now here we are doing six or seven major events open to all
over the year."
Talk about changes we can believe in. As well as more metaphors.
Other major Earth Day events will be taking place over the
coming week at Barnes & Noble in the Town of Ulster this
Thursday, April 22 - where Onteoras students will join authors
Will Nixon and Michael Perkins for a celebration of local
hikes; and at Frost Valley YMCA Camp on Saturday, April 24...
when a morning hike is planned, along with other events.Stormy
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, a partner
of the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program, is hosting
the First Annual "Ashokan Watershed Conference: Floodplain
and Stormwater Management for Towns and Landowners" on
Saturday, May 1, from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm at Belleayre Mountain's
Overlook Lodge in Big Indian.
The conference will present tools needed for local towns,
landowners, and businesses to benefit from good floodplain
planning and low impact development.
"Knowing these tools can save time, money and hassle
in regulations, fees and property damage while also improving
water quality," said Michael Courtney, educator for Cornell
Cooperative Extension of Ulster County.
The event will provide a networking and training opportunity
for landowners, realtors, town boards, and planning boards,
developers, engineering firms, contractors and others. Municipal
training credits will be available to town officials with
local town approval.
A conference highlight includes speaker Bill Nechamen, the
State Floodplain Manager for the New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation, who will lead a workshop on
the National Flood Insurance Program: An Introduction to Floodplain
Management. Also of particular interest to town officials,
a panel of funding agencies will discuss funding opportunities
for stream-related projects. Teresa Rusinek from Cooperative
Extension and Mark Masseo of Masseo Landscaping, Inc. will
present one of the landowner-oriented workshops titled, "Slow
It Down and Soak It In," to demonstrate how raingardens,
swales and other landscape designs can help slow and filter
Be sure to register and see the full listing of the conference
sessions and materials online at www.ashokanstreams.org, Call
688-3047 for further info.
Beginning soon, the property where the Phoenicia Hotel once
stood before being destroyed by fire three years ago will
once again be a commercial venture, though not on the scale
of the historic hotel with its several storefronts.
Starting small, owner Declan Feehan has allowed an entrepreneur
to lease out a small cottage on the property for conversion
into a coffee shop. The plan has already been given the green
light by the Shandaken Planning Board.
"He doesn't need a permit, but he needed to come in for
a site plan review," said Planning Department Secretary
Marie Stutman, who explained that the property is in a Hamlet
Commercial Zone, which gives property owners the right to
have commercial activity. However, because the cottage was
a residence that needs to be converted into a coffee shop,
the planning board needed to make sure there was an adequate
septic system on the property and that there are enough parking
spaces for visitors. Stutman said the planning board's review
of the site plan determined that all requirements have been
"We also wanted to make sure the property is cleaned
up," she added.
Along those lines, the gazebo on the property will be fixed
up for use by coffee shop patrons.
Feehan does not say specifically what he intends to do on
the rest of the land. In the past he has spoken optimistically
about building a new hotel on the site with a pub, but those
plans have been put on hold as the local community wrestles
whether to build a sewer system with over $17 million in funds
offered for such purposes by New York City. At present the
Town has asked the Catskill Watershed Corporation to get involved
in the process, which they will agree to, or not, early next
Stay tuned for information on an opening date.
Two US Geological Survey scientists will share results of
their research on the effects of acid deposition on trees
and streams of the Catskills at a program to be held Thursday,
April 29 at 4:30 p.m. in Seelig Theater at Sullivan County
Community College in Loch Sheldrake.
"Acid Rain and Its Impact on Fish and Forest in the Catskills"
will feature presentations by Doug Burns, Director of the
National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program, and Barry
Baldigo, research biologist with the USGS. The free program
is sponsored by the Catskill Institute for the Environment
(CIE). The public is most welcome.
Author of more than 60 scientific papers and reports, Dr.
Burns will be lead author of a report to the U.S. Congress
due to be submitted in fall 2010.
The CIE, established in 1998, is a consortium of representatives
of colleges, institutions and individuals that coordinates
symposia and special programming to promote environmental
awareness, education and scientific cooperation in the Catskill
region. For more information, contact Dr. Morton (Sam) Adams,
For further information, call 845-434-5750, ext. 4447.
The U.S. and other nations are planning a push to gradually
cut the amount of salt Americans consume, saying less sodium
would reduce deaths from hypertension and heart disease. The
effort would eventually lead to the first legal limits on
the amount of salt allowed in processed foods, and is currently
set to be launched this year.
The government plans to work with the food industry and health
experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years
to ratchet down sodium consumption. U.S. researchers noted
in a recent study that working with the food industry to cut
salt intake by nearly 10 percent could prevent hundreds of
thousands of heart attacks and strokes over several decades
and save the U.S. government $32 billion in healthcare costs.
Eating too much salt is a major cause of high blood pressure,
which the Institute of Medicine has declared a "neglected
disease" that costs the U.S. health system $73 billion
The FDA, which regulates most processed foods, and the U.S.
Agriculture Department, which oversees meat and poultry, will
work together on the effort to reduce Americans' sodium consumption.
Manufacturers can now use as much salt as they like in products
but they are required to report the amount on nutrition labels.
Fox News has been running surveys this week linking the move
to government overreach while word is that a number of GOP
candidates are currently talking about coming out against
such health regulations by the November election.
Meanwhile, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has proposed $1 billion
in loans and grants Monday to help build 2,100 grocery stores
in areas around the nation that lack access to fresh food,
noting that the measure would help about four million New
York residents living in so-called "food deserts"
by providing the funding for more than 350 stores statewide,
many in low-income areas. Modeled on a similar program in
Pennsylvania, the legislation would provide startup grants
and loans in rural and urban areas to expand access to fresh
food and to create jobs.
The Obama administration has already dedicated $345 million
in his 2011 budget for a similar proposal. Gillibrand said
the measure would help fight obesity by making more fresh,
healthy food available.
New York City Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway
has announced the purchase of 1,026 acres of upstate land
for $2.8 million. A total of nine parcels of land were acquired,
ranging in size from 16 to 309 acres. The properties are located
in Greene, Delaware, Schoharie and Ulster counties. Since
the inception of the Land Acquisition Program, New York City
has protected over 108,000 acres of watershed land in the
Catskill/Delaware and Croton systems, which cover parts of
eight counties in New York State.
According to City officials, however, actual info on where
these parcels are is not yet ready for public consumption,
given that negotiations are still being completed. Same goes
for the requested percentages in each county.
The Catskill Watershed Corporation Board of Directors approved
a number of grants at its monthly meeting April 6. One of
them will allocate $24,750 from the Catskill Studies Fund
to allow Margaretville Telephone Company to conduct market
feasibility and engineering studies on extending broadband
service to the Towns of Gilboa and Conesville in Schoharie
County. Also, five planning grants totaling $250,000 were
awarded under the final round of the CWC's Local Technical
Assistance Program (LTAP). They will go to the Village of
Hunter to update zoning and subdivision regulations; the Town
of Hunter to complete a riparian buffer protection program;
the Town of Olive to complete a comprehensive plan; the Town
of Roxbury to update its comprehensive plan, and the Greene
County Soil & Water Conservation District to develop a
Mountaintop Better Site Design Plan to address new construction
Three projects proposed under the CWC's Special Education
Program fund were also approved. The Bronx River Alliance
will receive $7,125 to conduct a series of lectures, hikes
and field trips on various aspects of the New York City water
system for educators and the general public. The Delaware
County Historical Association was granted $1,900 to collaborate
with the Catskill Artisans Guild to conduct a series of outdoor
talks on the region's environmental and social history. And
Time and the Valleys Museum in Grahamsville will receive $12,650
to help develop a permanent exhibition on "Water: Its
Impact on the Life and Growth of the Valleys."
Rail Trail Help?
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a weekend bicyclist,
is working to give bicycling - and walking, too - the same
importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the
selection of projects for federal money. The former Republican
congressman quietly announced the "sea change" in
transportation policy last month.
"This is the end of favoring motorized transportation
at the expense of non-motorized," he wrote in his government
The new policy is an extension of the Obama administration's
livability initiative, which regards the creation of alternatives
to driving - buses, streetcars, trolleys and trains, as well
as biking and walking - as central to solving the nation's
LaHood's blog was accompanied by a DOT policy statement urging
states and transportation agencies to treat "walking
and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes."
It recommends, among other things, including biking and walking
lanes on bridges and clearing snow from bike paths.
Not so fast, say some conservatives and industries dependent
on trucking. A manufacturers' blog called the policy "nonsensical."
One congressman, Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio
suggested LaHood was on drugs.
The new policy is not a regulation and, therefore, not mandatory,
Transportation undersecretary for policy Roy Kienitz responded
But it's LaHood's view "that the federal government should
not take the position that roads and trains are real transportation
and walking and biking is not," Kienitz said. "His
view is it's all real transportation, and we should consider
it based on what benefits it can bring for the amount of money
The National Park Service has warned Gov. David Paterson's
administration that New York could lose millions of dollars
in federal funding if it goes forward with plans to close
dozens of state parks and historic sites. The agency also
warned it could request all federal funds be withheld, including
money for education and transportation.
"The public has no less need for recreation opportunities
and access to open space in times of economic hardship,"
the Parks letter stated.
The Paterson administration plans to close 41 parks and 14
historic sites because of a projected $9 billion deficit.
The National Park Service has offered to help Paterson's staff
find ways to avoid shutting the parks while still dealing
with funding shortfalls.
The Governor replied, in a letter, that he would work with
federal officials to try and prevent any damage...