In Pine Hill...
The Shandaken Town Board took a big step toward okaying a
controversial sewer extension plan for Pine Hill at its June
6 meeting, a move that some say could cause the town some
headaches and cost Pine Hill residents some money.
On Monday, the Board -- minus supervisor Rob Stanley, who
was away on family matters -- passed a resolution to hold
a public hearing on a proposed sewer use law, legislation
that needs to be in place before the town moves forward with
the plan to add 14 properties to the already existing Pine
Hill Sewer District.
The hearing, set for Monday, May 3rd at 6pm at Town Hall,
will be a chance for town residents to weigh in on the idea
of fiddling with the status quo.
Peter DiModica, a Pine Hill resident and former Shandaken
Town Supervisor, was on hand before the resolution vote to
warn the current board that this could be a bad idea.
"It's keeps coming back again like a bad dream,"
DiModica warned that by passing the sewer use law, the town
was signing up for the enforcement responsibilities in a district
that at this point is, and always has been, the full responsibility
of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
In exchange for New York City paying for the construction
of the extensions and then giving those new properties free
sewer service in perpetuity, the City wants the town to be
in charge of monitoring to district.
That means, DiModica said, paying someone to do it.
Furthermore, by getting involved, the town now opens itself
up to liability and lawsuits, which would also need to be
The Village of Margaretville participated in the same program
several years ago, DiModica warned. Recently that village
was fined $25,000 due to violations that occurred at the City-owned
" We need to be careful," said DiModica.
He went further, stating that back when he investigated the
issue as a supervisor he was told by attorneys that since
the extension plan did not benefit the existing district,
the State Legislature needed to authorize the project.
"I think the process here is flawed," he said.
Shandaken resident Robert Stanley, the supervisor's father,
said that he thought the sewer extension was a separate entity
from the Pine Hill Sewer District and therefore would not
have impacts that DiModica feared. It was agreed that the
proposed plan would be reviewed to find out for sure.
But Deputy Supervisor Vince Bernstein said that Monday night
was not the time to talk about these issues.
"All we are doing is setting up the public hearing,"
Bernstein said. "These things can be brought up at the
The proposed sewer use law can be viewed online at the town's
website, www.shandaken.us. Look for it under heading "notices."
Mount Tremper resident Kathy Nolan noted that the website
does not provide the sewer extension agreement. It is expected
to be posted soon.
In other town board news from the April 5 meeting, Councilman
Jack Jordan said that he has been in touch with the SHARP
and RUPCO agencies about having both search for grants and
loans to build a new municipal complex somewhere in an "existing
community" to house a new town hall, the ambulance department
and also a community center.
Noting that securing funds was hard these days, Jordan said
Shandaken has an ace in the hole: The Good Neighbor Fund,
which contains over a half a million dollars, could be put
up as matching funds. This, he said, could help convince grantors
to give to the town.
"The Good Neighbor Fund could go a real long way,"
In related news, Councilman Vin Bernstein announced that a
$4,000 septic system was going to be installed in about two
weeks at the town hall, where last month the old one failed.
Also, the town sold a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria for $227.17.
Chuck Perez, who operates a towing business, told the board
that they could get almost twice that amount just by giving
the car up for scrap metal. The board agreed to sell the car
anyway because the new owner was prepared to come and get
it whereas the town would have had to find a way to get the
car to the scrap heap.
It seems that Ulster County was billing the city of Kingston
for Social Services clients who actually lived outside the
city. As a result, the county is now looking into setting
up a new means of determining where welfare recipients live,
using the county Real Property Tax Services property locator
to verify the municipality of addresses given by clients enrolled
in the countywide Safety Net program.
The push for the Safety Net program changes arose after Kingston
Mayor James Sottile discovered the city had been billed for
a number of clients in the program who had Kingston mailing
addresses but actually lived in the town of Ulster and other
towns that share Kingston's 12401 ZIP code, adding up to between
$25,000 and $40,000 in overpayments per month.
The Town of Ulster is saying that it's prepared to fight such
a move and negotiate for the county to take over the entire
program instead of charging it back to individual towns. Some
housing advocates have said the way the Safety Net program
is paid for now significantly impedes the growth of affordable
housing in Ulster County, especially outside of Kingston.
The Safety Net program is mandated by the state and provides
welfare benefits to single individuals with no children and
to families who have exceeded the 60-month lifetime federal
assistance limit. In an arrangement unique to Ulster County,
the City of Kingston and county towns must reimburse the county
for one half of the county's share of the benefits paid out.
Attempts to force a county takeover of the program have been
unsuccessful primarily due to opposition from communities,
largely rural (such as in our neck of the woods), that currently
pay little or no money toward the program.
New York City Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway
announced this week that updated Watershed Regulations for
the protection of New York City's water supply, now part of
the New York State Health Code, have gone into effect as of
Monday, April 4, amending existing DEP regulations covering
the upstate watershed to align them with changes made in federal
and state law over the past ten years. The prior regulations
were adopted in 1997 as part of the Filtration Avoidance Determination
issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, which allowed
the City to continue operating its unfiltered drinking system
from the Catskill and Delaware watersheds after completion
of Upstate/Downstate negotiations reached the 1996 Memorandum
Fourteen sections of the Watershed Regulations have been updated
to prevent contamination to and degradation of the City's
surface water supply, including:
Enhanced standards for the control of stormwater runoff from
certain construction sites. For example, in commercial areas
with a large amount of impervious surfaces, the revised regulations
will require additional stormwater treatment, such as construction
of larger or secondary detention basins.
New provisions to allow for sewage treatment plants in certain
areas of the Croton watershed.
Updated criteria defining the quality of drinking water reservoirs
consistent with state and federal standards, specifically
concerning stricter phosphorus limits for select basins.
DEP started the process of revising the Watershed Regulations
more than five years ago. They received approval in February
2010 for final publication in the City Record, which occurred
on March 3.
Public review of the new regs, including Upstate input, took
place throughout 2007 and 2008.
A Sullivan County man shot and killed a large adult black
bear that was menacing his daughter at her home Sunday, the
state DEC has reported. The woman was inside with her four
children when the bear attempted to break into a bedroom window
of the home and swatted at their dog on the porch. DEC and
State Police were called to the scene, but before they arrived,
the woman called her father, who came over. He fired a warning
shot, but the bear did not budge, so he shot and killed the
DEC officials later said the bear was tagged and had been
a nuisance to others before. No charges were filed against
the man who shot the animal.
The DEC has advice for people to help deter bears from wandering
near their homes: Wash out trash cans with ammonia and put
them out as close to garbage pickup as possible, and pay attention
to where you hang birdfeeders.
Time to be careful...
Local skiing is having its last hurrahs for the season as
weather conditions, and public perceptions, shift to full
Spring mode. At state-owned Belleayre Mountain Ski Center,
final race days were set for the coming weekend, with a special
"ski bump" contest on Saturday, April 10, followed
by a golfing long drive shoot-off from the slopes on Sunday,
Stay tuned in the coming week's for a season wrap up on how
things went this past year, following a late start, as well
as all the great hopes and spin we're sure to hear about the
region's winter sports future, no matter changes in the overall
climate (or perception of such).
Last Saturday, March 28, the fourth annual Belleayre Mountain
Hall of Fame celebration was held in the ski center's main
lodge, honoring individuals who have contributed in extraordinary
ways to Belleayre Mountain, the surrounding Catskill region,
and to winter sports. This year, recipients included Lou Grocholl,
Meg Monell, and John Fishkind for their "efforts to promote
Belleayre and the sport of skiing in general."
The Onteora CSD Board of Education is holding what promises
to be an informative and possibly transformative "Local
Environment in Education" event on the afternoon of Thursday,
April 15, to coincide with Environmental Education Week and
the lead-up to Earth Day. The forum, rescheduled from a snowed-out
February date, will be held in the newly renovated Harry Simon
Auditorium in the Middle School/High School building on Route
28 in Boiceville, NY from 4:00 to 5:30 PM.
A variety of local environmental organizations will be represented,
including The Catskill Watershed Coalition, Cornell Cooperative
Extension Master Gardeners and Ashokan Watershed Stream Management
Association, The Ashokan Center, The Woodstock Land Conservancy
and The Catskill Center For Conservation and Development.
Speakers will present an overview of their organization's
educational initiatives, addressing both their current involvement
with local schools, and additional educational opportunities
their organizations have to offer.
Discussion will be followed by an open question and answer
The Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) will once again support
groups and individuals who clean litter and other debris from
streambanks in their neighborhoods.
Youth and school groups, church organizations, civic and business
associations, neighborhood groups and teams of friends are
encouraged to scour stream and riversides for trash and to
dispose of it properly.
The CWC will provide trash bags, gloves and tokens of appreciation
for those who choose to serve their communities in this way.
Call Mary Jane Oppenheimer at 586-1400 to arrange to get these
Volunteers might wish to do a cleanup in observance of Earth
Day April 22, or to coordinate their efforts with National
Stream Clean-up Days sponsored by Trout Unlimited April 17
or June 26. Those wishing to connect with a local TU group
doing a stream cleanup are invited to email Ron Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Rivers is also calling for groups to participate
in a National River Cleanup effort this spring. To register
your cleanup activity and to get more information, go to www.americanrivers.org
and click on the "Take Action" tab.
The Obama administration has ended public input for a federal
strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing some
of the nation's oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even
inland waters as a means of preventing both overfishing, and
the spread of invasive species of various sorts that have
harmed increasing amounts of water habitat in recent years.
Opponents of any further regulations regarding such matters
are using recreational fishing economic date, including employment
figures, as a tool, as well as trying to prove collusion between
environmental groups and the government.
Could get interesting...
No More Levers
The push towards new voting mechanisms that replace old lever
machines in our area with new touch-screen digital voting
machines is continuing to run into opposition statewide.
Based on the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 put in
place to deal with the problems inherent in the still-controversial
2000 Presidential election, new laws require, in part, that
all states update their voting systems in order to enable
individuals with disabilities to vote independently and privately.
New York has since adopted the Election Reform and Modernization
Act of 2005 as a way to implement the federal measure. But
in recent months, Nassau County filed a lawsuit challenging
the constitutionality of the state's act, claiming it violates
the New York Constitution by introducing voting machines that
are inaccurate and subject to tampering.
Locally, officials noted that the voting act does not mandate
a switch to computerized voting machines, only the state law.
Dutchess and Columbia counties are currently seeking to join
and amend the existing lawsuit, while election officials in
Greene and Ulster counties have said the legal effort is too
The state Election Reform and Modernization Act calls for
all lever voting machines in New York state to be replaced
in time for this year's primary and general elections. The
new machines are so-called "optical scanners."
If Nassau County's litigation were successful, all counties
in the state could be allowed to continue using the old machines.
Part of the current lawsuit is based on the fact that the
state Board of Elections only certified the new style of machine
on Dec. 15, 2009, leaving counties an insufficient amount
time to make the transition from the lever machines to computerized
voting. Amendments under consideration also state that the
Election Reform and Modernization Act does not fund the replacement
of the lever machines.
The New York State Association of Towns passed a resolution
in February stating the continued use of the old machines
was in the best interest of the public.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently released an audit
his office conducted of 11 municipal highway projects in the
Hudson Valley that have used federal stimulus money and said
they were all bid and awarded appropriately. Altogether, they
totaled $24.6 million in stimulus money.
The largest federal award in this group was for over $12.1
million for a bridge replacement in Westchester County. Replacement
of the Ulster County bridge known as the Herbert Poppel Bridge
over the Rondout Creek in Kerhonkson received $4.7 million.
Also local, a grant of $1.1 million went to rehabilitate the
Beckley Drive Bridge in Ellenville, and the city of Kingston
got $200,000 for a pedestrian waterfront walkway.
Still coming are funds for repairs along Route 28, and purportedly
for local rail trail construction projects, as well.
Farm and food businesses focused on the development and promotion
of local products are encouraged to apply for funding through
the Pure Catskills Sustainable Agriculture and Education Grant
Program, sponsored by the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC)
and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection
in order to advance the WAC's mission to support the economic
viability of agriculture and forestry through the protection
of water quality and the promotion of land conservation in
the New York City Watershed region.
Funding will be awarded in three categories: For product development:,
including the purchase and installation of equipment and supplies
for activities related to adding value to a local farm or
food product; for marketing, including promotional expenses
related to sales of local farm and food products; and outreach
and education, including public events and activities that
educate the regional community about local farm and food products.
Eligibility requires a current membership in the Pure Catskills
buy local campaign, which is made up of include farms, retailers,
farmers' markets, restaurants and food-related organizations
that support the local food system within Delaware, Greene,
Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster Counties.
Up to $5,000 is available to each applicant with a 25% match
required. Projects and events of diverse scale and scope will
be considered; large production volume or event attendance
will not make individual applications more apt to receive
Request for Proposals are available through the Pure Catskills
website, www.purecatskills.com. Applicants are strongly encouraged
to access application materials online. Grant proposals must
be received by April 15, 2010. For more information, contact
Challey Comer at email@example.com or (607) 865-7090.
Is junk food as addictive as heroin or cigarettes? Previous
studies have shown similarities between drug abusers and compulsive
eaters, but a new study published in Nature Neuroscience provides
evidence that those who are addicted to junk food experience
similar cravings as drug addicts, require increasingly larger
amounts of food to feel good and even have a harder time quitting.
Paul M. Johnson and Paul J. Kenny of the Scripps Research
Institute in Florida gave certain rats food with high-fat
content such as candy bars, bacon and cheesecake. These foods
triggered the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the
brain that acts as a chemical reward system. In order to feel
good, the rats came to depend on higher quantities of the
junk food - just like drug users who need to increase their
intake to get high - because their dopamine receptors were
Rats that had junk food available to them throughout the day
not only became obese, but they also turned into compulsive
eaters and would not stop eating even when they knew they
would get electric shock. But perhaps the most disturbing
finding of the study was that, while it took only two days
for the depleted dopamine receptors in rats addicted to cocaine
or heroine to return to baseline levels, it took two weeks
for the obese rats to return to their normal dopamine levels.
The new study is expected, now, to enter the growing discussion
regarding whether or not the government should control the
junk food industry in some way? Narcotics are outlawed unless
prescribed by a doctor and while alcohol and tobacco are legal,
they carry restrictions and are often taxed heavily to deter
people from indulging.
Obesity-related health issues cost the U.S. an estimated $150
billion each year, according to a recent study by the Department
of Health and Human Services. An estimated two-thirds of American
adults and one-third of children are obese or overweight.
And some studies suggest that, by 2020, 45% of Americans will
Sign On Up!
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, 2010 from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm at Belleayre
Mountain's Overlook Lodge in Big Indian, NY.
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 stormwater.
For further info, and registration, visit at www.ashokanstreams.org
or contact Cornell Cooperative Extension at 688-3047.
Up to a third of breast cancer cases could be avoided if women
ate less and exercised more, researchers are saying, renewing
a sensitive debate about how lifestyle factors affect the
Better treatments, early diagnosis and mammogram screenings
have dramatically slowed breast cancer, but experts said the
focus should now shift to changing behaviors like diet and
Figures released from the International Agency for Research
on Cancer European at a breast cancer conference in Barcelona
last month showed that 25 to 30 percent of breast cancer cases
could be avoided if women were thinner and exercised more.
The agency is part of the World Health Organization.
The new research is in line with recent health advice that
lifestyle changes in areas such as smoking, diet, exercise
and sun exposure can play a significant role in risk for several
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. In Europe,
there were about 421,000 new cases and nearly 90,000 deaths
in 2008, the latest available figures. The United States last
year saw more than 190,000 new cases and 40,000 deaths.
A woman's lifetime chance of getting breast cancer is about
one in eight. Obese women are up to 60 percent more likely
to develop any cancer than normal-weight women, according
to a 2006 study by British researchers.
Many breast cancers are fueled by estrogen, a hormone produced
in fat tissue. So experts suspect that the fatter a woman
is, the more estrogen she's likely to produce, which could
in turn fuel breast cancer. Even in slim women, experts believe
exercise can help reduce the cancer risk by converting more
fat into muscle.
The American Cancer Society Web site says the connection between
weight and cancer risk is complex. It says risk appears to
increase for women who gain weight as adults, but not for
women who have been overweight since childhood. The cancer
society recommends 45 to 60 minutes of physical activity five
or more days a week to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Drinking less alcohol might also help. Experts estimate that
having more than a couple of drinks a day can boost the risk
of breast cancer by 4 to 10 percent.
After studies several years ago linked hormone-replacement
therapy to cancer, millions of women abandoned the treatment,
leading to a sharp drop in breast cancer rates. Experts said
a similar reduction might be seen if women ate healthier and
Meanwhile, the federal Food and Drug Administration announced
in February that it would take stringent action to regulate
"the most potent forms of medical radiation," particularly
those from increasingly popular CT scans, as another means
of reducing breast cancer rates.
Cancer Prevention Coalition Chairman Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
commended the FDA for warning that such radiation is unsafe
and equivalent to that of about 400 chest X-rays, 0.4 rads
(radiation absorbed dose), and "can increase a person's
lifetime cancer risk."
However, says Dr. Epstein, "the FDA remains strangely
unaware that radiation from routine premenopausal mammography
poses significant and cumulative risks of breast cancer."
This warning is contrary to conventional assurances that radiation
exposure from mammography is trivial, about 1/1,000 of a rad,
and similar to just that from a chest X-ray. However, Dr.
Epstein explains, the routine practice of taking two films
of each breast results in exposure of about 0.4 rads, focused
on the breast rather than on the entire chest.
"Thus, premenopausal women undergoing annual screening
over a ten-year period are exposed to a total of at least
4 rads for each breast, at least 8 times greater radiation
than FDA's "cancer risk" level," Dr. Epstein
calculates, warning, "Such high radiation exposure approximates
to that of Japanese women living approximately 1 mile away
from the site of the Hiroshima atom bomb explosion."
This alarming information is not new, explains Dr. Epstein.
In 1972, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences warned
that the overall risks of breast cancer increase by 1% for
every single rad exposure. This totals a 10% risk from 10
years annual premenopausal mammography.
A 1993 Swedish study involving 42,000 women showed that those
under the age of 55 who received regular premenopausal mammography
experienced a 29 percent greater risk of dying from breast
Sales of existing single-family homes in the Hudson Valley/Catskill
region continued to fluctuate in February, according to the
New York State Association of Realtors. In Sullivan County,
sales fell by over 23 percent when comparing February 2010
numbers to the same month last year. That was the biggest
decline in the region.
Realtors' spokesman Salvatore Prividera, Jr. said February
weather added to the somewhat slow sales.
"What we're seeing in some of the data, some of the smaller
counties, some of the northern counties are doing a little
bit better than, perhaps, the southern part of the Hudson
Valley," he said. Prividera also noted the weather in
the Hudson valley, with its back-to-back snowstorms, slowed
down home sales.
The least expensive homes in the region in February were in
Sullivan County, where the median selling price was $95,000.
The highest was in Westchester County where the median price
Ulster County seemed in the middle of the trend, with lower
than expected sales and a slight dip in year-to-year costs,
but still a rise since the fall.
The first of several British investigations into what was
dubbed Climategate last fall, involving e-mails leaked from
one of the world's leading climate research centers, has largely
vindicated the scientists involved. A similar investigation
into the work of a leading U.S. scientist working at Penn
State has similarly been cleared, despite continuing cries
of foul by dedicated climate change deniers.
The House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee said
last week that they'd seen no evidence to support charges
that the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit
or its director, Phil Jones, had tampered with data or perverted
the peer review process to exaggerate the threat of global
warming - two of the most serious criticisms levied against
the climatologist and his colleagues.
In their report, the committee said that, as far as it was
able to ascertain, "the scientific reputation of Professor
Jones and CRU remains intact," adding that nothing in
the more than 1,000 stolen e-mails, or the controversy kicked
up by their publication, challenged scientific consensus that
"global warming is happening and that it is induced by
The e-mails' publication ahead of the Copenhagen climate change
summit sparked an online furor, with skeptics of man-made
climate change calling the e-mails' publication "Climategate"
and claiming them as proof that the science behind global
warming had been exaggerated - or even made up altogether.
Phil Willis, the committee's chairman, said of the e-mails
that "there's no denying that some of them were pretty
appalling." But the committee found no evidence of anything
beyond "a blunt refusal to share data," adding that
the idea that Jones was part of a conspiracy to hide evidence
that weakened the case for global warming was clearly wrong.
In a briefing to journalists ahead of the report's release,
Willis said the controversy would ultimately help buttress
the case for global warming by forcing the University of East
Anglia - and other research institutions - to stop hoarding
"The winner in the end will be climate science itself,"
Now, to speed up the shifts in energy consumption and retooling
of the economy first raised as part of the issue, which we
in the Catskills now seem to be ahead of the curve on...
Despite the fear put into the Internet world this week by
court rulings against the web's unfettered freedom, Ulster
County seems poised for increased use of the essential modern
tool. County Executive Michael Hein announced this week that
he has submitted an application for the Google Fiber for Communities
Program, a privately-funded initiative offering to build out
an ultra-high-speed (1 gigabit/second) fiber network for one
or more communities across the country. Such a network would
offer speeds at 100 times faster than the average broadband
connections currently available. It would provide a tremendous
and unique competitive advantage, in terms of attracting and
creating new businesses, to any community that was able to
build and offer it.
"High-speed conductivity is essential infrastructure
for business activity," Hein said. "As a county
that has a rapidly growing high-tech renewable energy manufacturing
sector as well as the best city for artists and the coolest
small towns in America, we are poised to take full advantage
of a network like the one offered by Google Broadband is the
backbone of the modern digital economy."
The Google program sought communities of at least 50,000 as
applicants. The County Executive made application for some
of the most populated area by combining Kingston, Town of
Ulster and Saugerties into a regional application. The Ulster
County application was matched by applications from community
groups including Kingston Digital Corridor, Tech City, The
Solar Energy Consortium and What's the Big Idea.com
"This application by Ulster County represents a unified
effort to bring a needed service to our local economy. Broadband
is the backbone of the modern digital economy. Significant
applications from community groups indicate the level of widespread
support for this project," said Fred Wadnola, Chairman
of the Ulster County Legislature.
Ulster County has also vigorously pursued funding for wireless
broadband funding in areas of the County un-served by any
service and recognizes that broadband is required for business
Dean and Deborah Palen, the former county health director
and his wife in the news elsewhere in these pages this week,
have been paid $142,000 in back pay owed them since their
sudden dismissal from county employment last year. County
Executive Michael Hein said the payment was money owed to
the couple for unused vacation, sick and holiday time.
The county paid $109,115 to Dean Palen, the county's former
public health director; and $32,802 to Deborah Palen, Dean's
wife and assistant at the Health Department.
Hein called the payouts "outrageous" but said that,
under county policy, the county was obligated to pay the money
to the pair.
Hein ousted Dean Palen as public health director last June,
citing the county charter's requirement that the Health Department
be led by a medical doctor. But the next day, county officials
discovered more than $33,000 in uncashed checks and unissued
permits locked in a safe behind Mrs. Palen's desk.
Hein then called on County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach to
conduct an investigation into what the executive called "financial
irregularities" in the Health Department, and he froze
the "separation pay" to which the two were entitled
pending the outcome of that investigation. Ulster County District
Attorney Holley Carnright also conducted an investigation
into Dean Palen's oversight of the Health Department.
"I refused to make that payment until the comptroller's
report and the district attorney's investigation were complete,"
Hein said. "It was important to make sure no criminal
wrongdoing was found."
Hein said if the county had paid the Palens the money, and
then discovered legal wrongdoing, it would have been difficult
to recoup the funds.
Auerbach, a Democrat like Hein, ultimately issued a report
in which he said the Palens ran the Health Department "as
if it were their personal family business." But Carnright,
a Republican, found no criminal wrongdoing and characterized
Auerbach's report as "highly politicized."
It's National Library Week, a time to celebrate the contributions
of libraries, librarians and library workers in schools, campuses
and communities nationwide.
The Olive Free Library is kicking off National Library Week
with an Afternoon Tea at the Library on Saturday April 10th
from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. All the members of the community
Libraries are the heart of every community and our library
helps our community thrive. At your library, people of all
backgrounds come together for community meetings, lectures
and programs, to do research with the assistance of a trained
professional, to get help finding a job or to find homework
help. We have concerts, Book Clubs, Story Hour and lots of
other activities for the entire family.
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national
observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA)
and libraries across the country each April.
For more information, visit the Olive Free Library, call 657-2482
or see the library's Web site at http://olive.westshokan.lib.ny.us/
Ulster County Women's Network presents "Green Design:
How to Design, Organize and Clean Using Recycled and Green
Products," Tuesday, April 20.
From "green" paint to a natural window cleaner to
free cat litter to yard sale treasures, Cher Laughlin, of
Cher Laughlin Design, will demonstrate how to be creative
and earth-friendly on a budget at the monthly meeting of the
Ulster County Women's Network.
The program will also feature a Spring Women United Cirle
ceremony. Members and guests are invited to bring spring flowering
branches and stems for the ceremony. Participants in the potluck
dinner are encouraged to share food prepared from last year's
stored crops: for example, squash, potato, leek, garlic, onion,
apple and dried fruits, along with new young greens, ciders
and dried herbs. Each dish should include the recipe with
the cook's name - and may be submitted to the evening's cooking
UCWN's gathering begins at 6 pm for networking; dinner around
6:30, followed by a short business meeting and the evening's
The program will be held at the home of Angel Ortloff, vice
president of the Ulster County Women's Network.
For directions and to R.S.V.P., please contact Ulster County
Women's Network President Melody Newcombe: 845-688-5472 or
melody at melodynewcombe.com.
Onteora Central School District's "Visiting Artists'
Series" will be presenting a special performance by internationally-recognized
opera singers Maria Todaro (Opera Nacional di Rio di Janeiro),
Louis Otey (The Metropolitan Opera), Kerry Henderson (Opera
Australia), and special guests Native American composer and
musician, Dennis Yerry, and the Onteora High School vocal
ensemble, Sounds of Jazz, directed by Krista Cayea, on Sunday,
April 18, 2010 at 3:00 pm in the MS/HS Harry Simon auditorium
Concertgoers will be treated to an afternoon of best-loved
operatic arias and duets, highlights from Broadway shows and
vocal treasures from the world of song.
The concert will serve as a prelude to The Phoenicia Festival
of the Voice slated for August 13th-15th on the Parish Field
in Phoenicia, a reprise of last summer's successful and hugely
popular Opera In The Park event there.
The festival is being organized by Ms. Todaro and Messrs.
Otey and Henderson and will promote the human voice as an
instrument of healing, peace and artistic expression, through
performances of opera, choral music, lieder and sacred song,
as well as music theater and the vocal arts of indigenous
Admission to the concert is free. For further info please
The Phoenicia PTA is an additional sponsor of the event.