Up on the News
The CCC has developed grant proposals and initiated action plans
that will help the towns and villages along the Rt. 28 corridor
develop in a manner that is appropriate to the region, although
some of the funding has been temporarily frozen due to state
deficits. In response, the CCCD and CCC are seeking new ways
to collaborate by sharing materials, services and resources
that are already budgeted and can be directed towards achieving
goals at a much lower cost.
Supervisor Martin Donnelly and some of his staff of the Town
of Andes provided a pizza smorgasbord for the meeting, which
featured a presentation by several members of the executive
committee of Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center (FCIC),
an organization founded in 2003 and now with over 220 members
dedicated to the realization of the long deferred construction
of the Catskill Interpretive and Visitors Center, first planned
and funded by New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
(NYSDEC) in the mid-1980s.
A collaboration of NYSDEC, community members, local business
leaders, political representatives and the Catskill Center for
Conservation and Development (CCCD) during the 1990s led to
the idea and concepts for the “Catskill Interpretive Center,”
to be similar in function to the interpretive and visitor centers
found at the gateways to the Adirondack Park. As a result of
the collaboration, plans were funded by NYSDEC in the 1990s
and a 62 acre parcel of land on NYS Rt.28 in Mount Tremper was
purchased by the CCCD and The Trust for Public Land and then
leased to NYSDEC, which funded significant site work including
construction of the now infamous “Bridge to Nowhere”
leading to the project site on Rt. 28 in Mt. Tremper and ongoing
At approximately the same time the project site and plans were
funded (1995), then incoming Gov. George Pataki cut the project
and focused his then-limited resources on encouraging the City
of New York and upstate watershed towns to come up with an agreement
to resolve some of the longstanding problems posed by the presence
of the NYC reservoir system. The creation of the Memorandum
of Agreement (MOA) and Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC)
took the bulk of the funding available for use in the region
at that time and The Catskill Interpretive Center was put on
hold until recently, when NYS appropriated $1 million to revise
the plans in order to ensure a more “green” design,
utilize modern information technologies to help update the interpretive
exhibits, and presumably revive the project. Recent NYS fiscal
problems have put this appropriation in question and members
of the Executive Committee of the FCIC are scheduled to meet
with Willy Janeway, Director, Region 3, NYSDEC in the near future
to receive an update as to when the funding might be restored
and see if the process can be facilitated with help from the
Jim Infante, Secretary of FCIC,presented a comprehensive slide
show detailing the history and current status of the project,
which can be viewed at the FCIC website online at www.catskillinterpretivecenter/goals.org
Included in the online slide show are portions of the renderings
and plans of the proposed center made by the NYSDEC, which features
extensive interpretive exhibits highlighting areas such as “The
Forest Preserve“, “Making a Living“, “Water
for the Big Apple“, “Americas First Wilderness“,
“Byways of Commerce“, “Inventing Tourism”
and “Forever Wild”.
A small theatre, auditorium, library, classroom, media gallery
, book store and an office/ reception area figure prominently
in the original plans from 1995. Brochures of local museums,
attractions, food and lodging would also be featured, thereby
serving as an entry portal to the many unique but often unknown
and hard to find features and amenities found in the Catskill
Infante said that, “The primary purpose of the Catskill
Interpretive Center is to celebrate the natural and cultural
assets of the Catskills; interpret these, certainly for residents
but especially for visitors, and lastly - and to my mind very
importantly - to be a public entry point to attract visitors
to the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve. The Forest Preserve
is three hundred thousand acres of beautiful land, beautiful
trails, great facilities but there is no entry point where people
can come to inform themselves about the trails, fishing, and
amenities such as the unique but not well known small museums,
historical societies, restaurants and hotels in the area. I
think the region is unique and unusual and there is a great
deal to be said about it.”
He also noted that, “The Catskill Park is the second largest
park in the state of New York and unlike most national and state
parks, does not have a center to serve local residents and tourists.”
Infante also emphasized that the Interpretive Center should
be “a public facility with free access, strategically
located within the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve and be
a provider of educational and interpretive programs for the
Park and Forest Preserve.”
In comparing the potential usage of the proposed Catskill Visitors
Center to the two visitor centers located in the Adirondack
Park and Forest Preserve, Infante pointed out that the those
visitor centers receive 120,000 visitors a year , whereas original
projections made by the NYSDEC were for 150,000 visitors per
year at the proposed Catskill Interpretive Visitors Center.
Infante also said that he believes that the proposed Center
could draw even more than that due to the close proximity of
the NYC metropolitan area.
In closing his portion of the presentation, Infante emphasized
the three major goals of the FCIC which include demonstrating
to the political leadership of the state that the project is
a priority for the region and that the surrounding towns and
the counties of Ulster and Delaware have passed resolutions
in support of the project to help assure New York that it is
indeed a priority for the region; convincing the leadership
to appropriate capital funds for the construction of the facility,
including funding for operations and maintenance; and finally
to raise $1.75 million of the budget through fundraising by
the FCIC, making it a public-private partnership that would
be of great benefit to the region.
Sherret Chase, chair of the FCIC, said that, “My hope
is that the Interpretive Center will not only serve all of the
public functions that come to mind, but will also be very much
a place that local people will treasure, a place that they could
find pleasant to have small and large meetings and concerts
in, while at the same time also serving the economic function
of facilitating people who come to the region from the outside.”
He added that, “Many meaningful jobs would result during
the construction process. This project is essentially shovel
ready and is as worthy of public monies as any project that
I know of. We need political support to push it through and
get it going. We will be meeting with NYSDEC Region 3 Director
Willie Janeway next week to find out where we stand and whether
the project can be revived”
Olive Town Board member Helen Chase, CCC representative from
Olive and an Executive Board Member of the FCIC, emphasized
the importance of retaining both the small and large auditoriums
in the revised plans to provide meeting space for the local
communities as well as the larger region.
Robert Selkowitz, CCC representative from Olive and an Executive
Board Member of FCIC as well, suggested the possibility of doing
a smaller but complementary project in the meantime such as
an information kiosk that could be made by the Shokan Boy Scouts,
Troop 63, who are in the early planning stages of a timber frame
structure project that will benefit a public space within the
Town of Olive in the near future. He cited a similar project
that was carried out with a very low budget using donated materials
at the Community Center in the neighboring hamlet of Accord,
Town of Rochester, a few years ago. Selkowitz felt that locating
the kiosk at the site of the proposed linear picnic park on
Rt. 28 in Shokan, or even at the visitor center site itself
in Mt. Tremper, would serve to direct both visitors and local
residents to the area’s many amenities. He felt it important
that something be done concretely while waiting for the larger
project funding to materialize.
All of the FCIC Board members expressed the idea that the state
has already made a substantial investment of time, money and
effort which demonstrates that the it believes that the project
would be a good investment of state resources. Essentially,
the state has been a committed partner, in the view of the FCIC
board members in attendance at the meeting.
Membership in the Friends of Catskill Interpretive Center organization
is free and more information about the group, its history and
mission can be found at www.catskillinterpretivecenter.org
In other CCC news, Peter Manning said, “The CCC is moving
forward in other areas of its broader mission and we are expecting
a favorable outcome on the grant application submitted to the
CWC for the preparation of a corridor management plan for the
nomination of Route 28 as a Scenic Byway. Designation of State
Route. 28 by New York State as a Scenic Byway will allow the
CCC to apply for state-funded community improvement grants only
available to Towns situated along a NYS Scenic Byway.”
The next meeting and presentation of the Central Catskills Collaborative
will be held at the Olive Town Hall, Bostock Rd., Shokan on
Thursday, April 23 at 6pm with details and agenda to be announced.
See you there...
With $646,601 of State aid restored and additional cuts to the
budget, voters will see a 6.47 percent levy increase, less than
the initial proposal of a 9 percent increase.
The proposed budget will top $50.1 million, compared to the
2008/2009-voter approved school budget at $48.2 million. Ford
warned that in coming years the budget will be difficult because
the CPI (Consumer Price Index) could give a very low contingent
budget calculation, resulting in a severe impact on schools.
Cuts to the district include four regular education teachers,
two support staff, one special education social worker, two
FACETS mental health counselors, the INDIE program, and one
Other reductions include the general fund for school lunch,
administrative clerical support, the board of education budget,
Increased spending includes technology, BOCES services and additional
homework help for High School students as outlined by the Strategic
Plan recommendations. Ford said that overall programming remains
rich in high school electives, honors programs, advanced placement,
sports and a variety of clubs.
Board members Donna Flayhan, Laurie Osmond and Anne MacGillicuddy,
however, expressed skepticism because their requests for additional
information went unmet.
MacGillicuddy said $40,000 budgeted for new voting machines
was not necessary and could help offset the $65,000 cost to
keep the FACETS program in the school, which many spoke in favor
of at a previous board meeting in March. The board was told
it was mandated, but she said she contacted the Ulster County
Board of Elections and discovered that only at the federal level
are municipalities required to have new voting machines.
Osmond voiced concern over the FACETS cut, as well.
“People would have to drive to Highland, Ellenville or
Kingston,” she said. “I know for a fact that there
are people in this district living outside villages who do not
have cars and these are often the people in the most dire financial
circumstances which adds a lot of stress to lives.”
Ford said she spoke with Ed Brown, the Commissioner of Ulster
County Department of Mental Health who runs the FACETS program.
“I’ve offered him a space to continue the program
where we would do kind of a push off from both sides, we wouldn’t
charge him for the space, and he wouldn’t charge us for
the services since those services are actually supported by
our taxes,” she said.
In a separate phone conversation, Brown said he spoke briefly
with Ford on the proposal.
“We’ve just had a very limited conversation,”
Brown noted, adding that no details had been outlined on the
proposal. He also explained that the program is not fully funded
by tax dollars, meaning revenue would have to be found either
through Medicaid, private billing or other providers.
In a separate interview,he pointed out how at Onteora, FACETS
social workers are accessible at the Middle/High School and
on some days at Woodstock Elementary. Students and families
are offered counseling during and after school hours.
Brown explained that students would be put at a great disservice
if the program left the district, primarily effecting students
on the western end the district.
“Onteora provides geographic accessibility and if students
must come to Kingston, the children must be brought in by their
parents,” he said, noting how this is not only disruptive
to a student’s day, but takes away from a parent workday.
Having it on site offers immediate services to a student without
missing school or work. Brown also said their services are different
from social work counseling. “Ours is a licensed mental
health treatment service,” overseen by a psychiatrist,
with counseling from social workers, he said. Students still
must travel to Kingston for the psychiatric services. A mix
of regular and special education students from all financial
backgrounds utilize FACETS. It also provides medical treatment,
a program the district does not offer. Long confirmed that district
counseling is not a “clinical model.”
Resnick said she believed the elimination of FACETS and the
social worker reflected declining enrollment.
“When you talk about FACETS or INDIE or some of those
programs being changed or realigned, I think that has to do
with real decline in enrollment that is perhaps going unrecognized,”
she said, adding that the projection next year revealed 70 less
students at the high school.
Osmond requested a vote to keep FACETS, either through restoring
it in the budget or by exploring Ford’s proposal regarding
its operation on a barter system. Trustees Resnick, Dan Spencer,
Michelle Friedel and Rick Wolff defeated the motion. MacGillicuddy
abstained, requesting more information. Osmond and Flayhan voted
Osmond voiced anger over the $70,000 cut made to the INDIE program
in contrast to proposed money folded into the Vision 21 program.
“I think it’s unfortunate that somehow these two
programs are pitted against each other because I think both
programs offer value to our district,” she said.
The board is expected to adopt a budget on April 22, with an
additional meeting added April 16.
In other business, the board passed a resolution to ask voters
to free up $350,000 that already exists in an appropriated fund
balance to pay for cost overruns on the auditorium project.
Voters approved the renovation of the auditorium in 2007, but
construction costs have increased.
Related to the auditorium project, asbestos was found under
the carpeting from the old tile floor underneath. The project
is scheduled for completion over the spring break beginning
April 6. The board also approved monies not to exceed $10,000
for the removal of asbestos in the roof of the Middle/High School.
The school budget, as well as a new and strategic plan presentation
for the district, can be found on the district website at www.onteora.k12.ny.us.
Three seats are open for the Board of Ed. Petitions can be emailed
directly by contacting the District Clerk through the Onteora
Website or picking one up at the Central Office.
Resnick said she would not run for a second term by explaining
how the position took too much time away from her family, which
includes two young children.
“I have enjoyed working with so many people these last
few years,” she wrote in an e-mail this week. “I
have tried to be a thoughtful and fair voice. I hope as we move
forward that people come together in deep discussion to advance
a vision that many can embrace.”
One current senior, Iannotti said, had asked for dibs on a box
of macaroni and cheese from the 2000 Republican Convention in
Philadelphia, given him by GOP fundraiser Julie Conway, an Onteora
alumna who worked for years on former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s
staff. The box, he pointed out, was festooned with elephants
and Bush/Cheney stickers.
“I just warned her,” Iannotti added, “that
although possibly valuable on E-Bay, she shouldn’t try
Then there were the bull and bear toys the teacher used in his
civics classes to demonstrate the idea of up and down Wall Street
markets, which he said he’d be passing on to Onteora’s
advanced civics course teacher, Brian Connelly, along with a
small voting machine.
“I’ve got closets full of t-shirts and posters,”
he said, addressing what couldn’t be seen beyond his room’s
walls full of bumper stickers and buttons, including some prized
Nixon campaign paraphernalia. “I’ll leave what’s
not taken by year’s end in a box for whoever takes over
from me. And what’s not taken gets thrown away.”
In addition to teaching at Onteora for nearly three decades,
Iannotti served as the high school’s departmental head
for social studies for the past eight years, taught the district’s
economics and government courses when mandated by New York state
in the 1990s, and designed and implemented his highly popular
integrated civics course as a means of giving his students an
involved way of meeting state requirements that he feels has
helped build up the school’s much-touted high-level of
political participation in recent years.
Talking about how he got to where he is today, and what he plans
to do after retirement in a few months, Iannotti displayed the
matter-of-fact fairness and good humor his students of all political
stripes have long praised him for… as well as a healthy
dose of pride at his quiet accomplishments. Not least among
them, an appreciation for his way of reaching, appreciating,
and leading high school seniors where others have tended to
Born and raised in Providence, RI, Iannotti describes his childhood
and early school “career” in peripatetic terms before
finally coming to Kingston where he graduated high school and
still lives (albeit technically in the Town of Ulster), when
his father found work at IBM. Later, he earned a B.A. in history
from Oneonta State, and a Masters at SUNY New Paltz.
He started teaching at a small Otsego County school before moving
to Miller Junior High in Kingston and Onteora in September,
What pulled him to social studies, first, and his innovative
brand of civics, later on?
Iannotti described a period, from 1980 to 1993, when he taught
history and served as a track coach at Onteora, spurred on by
his own regiment of jogging picked up after graduating college
feeling 60 pounds overweight. He took over the district’s
cross country team from his predecessor, Bernie Stahl, who had
initiated the award-winning program in 1952. He made himself
a team player.
Then several things started to shift his life, Iannotti says.
Back in the late 1980s, the state mandated that high schools
start teaching at least a half year course in economics. A few
years later, they also mandated what has since become known
as PIG, or a Participation in Government class.
When everyone in the department was polled to see who would
take on the new courses, Iannotti came out the winner. In regards
to economics, it turns out some undergraduate coursework in
minor- and macro-economics made him more qualified than any
of his peers in the field. As for PIG, it just so happened that
the teacher was simultaneously growing more interested, at the
time, in local government.
In 1993, Iannotti was appointed to fill out the term of a Town
of Ulster councilman. It was at the same time that IBM, his
father’s former employer, was moving out of the county.
“Call it a crash course in public policy,” he now
says, looking back. “I appreciated, immediat ely, the
integration of economics, politics, and social policy involved
in the work, along with the need to generate something real
Iannotti ended up serving out the term he was appointed to,
the running and winning two more terms as a conservative Republican
candidate, eventually serving from 1993 through 1999…
as his town’s deputy supervisor, as well as councilman
and ex-officio municipal police commissioner.
“It was over that six year period that the idea for my
civics class was born,” he says. “I decided to alter
the curriculum to address a lot of the things I was living outside
So how did his civics class get born from such humble beginnings?
“I wanted to put together a course that would look into
the structure of government at town, county, state and federal
levels, that also addressed macro- and micro-economics, that
looked into business organizations and labor history, international
trade and financial policies, monetary policies and the use
of revenues at government level. That compared economic and
government systems but also looked into the roles of interest
groups, the media, and the courts – as well as what was
involved in due process and the rule of law,” Iannotti
says of the discussions he had throughout the mid-1990s with
then-Onteora principal Frank Gorlesky about his planned course.
“I wanted to discuss political parties and what the good
citizen does in relation to the bad citizen, in terms of staying
informed and active…I wanted a forum to which I could
bring guest speakers from town boards and local businesses.
And I wanted it to be more fun for the students.”
By 1998, Iannotti was given the go-ahead for his new civics
course, which ended up augmenting the half year mandated courses
well, giving students better chances at meeting the state requirements
and easing the school’s scheduling of classes.
Now, 12 school years later, the teacher estimates that at between
100 and 120 students a year, he’s taught about 1400 kids
in total. And seen some major shifts in the political and economic
worlds along the way, as well as in the school’s own demographics.
“Back when we started the Republicans had solid control
of the county legislature. The Dean Gitter project, which many
of my students have written thesis papers on over the ensuing
years, was still merely an idea, with none of the sides yet
formed on either side of it,” Iannotti noted. “We’ve
since been through three presidential elections, the Indian
Mascot issue, and hosted a number of forums on campus, including
a 2003 gathering on the Iraq War and a 2002 Meet the Candidates
event for those running for school board at the time.”
Guest speakers who have come to Iannotti’s class have
included two district attorneys for the county, Congressman
Maurice Hinchey, legislators Dick Petro and Peter Kraft, Woodstock
town justice Frank Engel, county attorney Josh Koplovitz, and
several former students including Hinchey’s chirf of staff,
Dan Ahouse, Conway, and New York Public Interest Group lobbyist
How had the student body changed over all these years?
“When we started, during the final years of Jimmy Carter,
the district was much farther to the left than it’s been
since,” Iannotti answered. “During the 2003/2004
years, things shifted to the conservative, although more recently
there’s been a great deal of support for Obama. There’s
been a great deal of oscillation…”
And what about student involvement in politics?
That, Ionnotti said, had shifted dramatically… from an
earlier lack of interest in outside politics – a “collective
senior ennui,” as he put it – to student voter registration
percentages now being among the highest in the county. He pointed
to annual student registration for the Harvard Model Congress,
at which Onteora regularly has one of the largest delegations,
to involvement in the high school’s Student Affairs Council
and various political clubs.
Have the teacher’s own politics been effected by his teaching,
as well as his students, over the years?
“It has made me somewhat more balanced to constantly see
so many different sides to a subject,” Iannotti replied,
after charting the amount of reading and other research he has
kept up with regularly as part of his own preparations for the
class. “I guess you could say I have moved toward the
And his own future, following retirement?
“I don’t think I’m electable anymore,”
he said. “The demographics have changed…”
Would he miss ONteora?
“I wasn’t enthusiastic when I was asked to teach
them the first time but now I can’t imagine teaching any
other kind of kid,” he said. “And I came to enjoy
my daily drives on Route 28. It’s beautiful.”
Then he detoured, reading through his e-mails… from past
students now teaching, or working in business and government,
to those still in college, sharing their course curriculums
“This won’t go away,” John Iannotti said,
proudly. “These are all my friends, now.”
Major droughts are hitting the western United States and Argentina,
coincidentally the world’s largest producers of GMO crops
(106 million acres in the US & 34 million in Argentina with
third place China also facing drought), and famine looms on
the horizon, threatening hundreds of millions of people with
food shortages. As the Northeast is expected to receive above
normal rainfall, suddenly people who never dreamed of planting
a garden are starting indoor seed beds to shift outside when
weather permits. The local grapevine suggests that this grassroots
organic impulse is also happening here.
While it isn’t possible to project the true dimensions
of this activity and there could be other reasons for reported
lower than usual levels of seed supply, it is not difficult
to foresee a potential major barrier to the home garden movement
and to small farms and farmer’s markets in general.
According to a legion of organic food associations and alliances,
the “Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009,” now
being fine-tuned in Congress under the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations
Act, could crush the regrowth of local food markets just as
they’re starting to bloom. A “killing frost,”
so to speak.
Called “GMO Proliferation Bills” by Stephen Lendman,
a Research Associate of the Center of Research on Globalization
and prolific Chicago-based journalist, HR 875, S425, HR 814
and HR 759 are batched bills, crafted by the industry–not
the politicians, which organizations like the Pennsylvania Association
for Sustainable Agriculture and other critics believe are “vehicles
to let agribusiness control the entire US food supply, destroy
independent farming and end the production of healthy organic
food.” Citing PASA’s study of the bill, Lendman
notes that “code words like ‘traceability, source
verification and best farming practices with proven scientific
results’ will force farmers to tag every animal....and
use drugs, pesticides and GM seeds.”
Lendman and other analysts find the bills’ “deceptively
innocuous” text to be riddled with broad language which
would embrace NAIS–the controversial National Animal Identification
System– to tag domestic animals for monitoring by Global
Positioning Systems (as part of the “Trace Act of 2009,”
HR 814, now being reviewed by the House Energy and Commerce
Committee) and provide harsh penalties for conduct infractions
to be interpreted by industry “experts” (i.e., huge
corporations like Cargill, Monsanto, ADM, etc. who have a past
record of attempting to suppress organic competition to their
A careful examination of Section 103 of the sizable HR 875 bill
suggests that the perspective of company officials, appointed
by the US Department of Agriculture, would prevail in judging
The large and complex bill would “criminalize organic
farming without actually using the word ‘organic,’
in the words of one observer, and Section 206 is worded to include
the produce from backyard gardeners’ “food production
facilities” as subject to prosecution.. It will potentially
effect even hunters who process game for personal consumption
and seemingly violate the 10th Amendment by requiring individual
state agricultural departments to enforce federal requirements.
HR 875 is also about seed control, with the agricultural giants
demanding expensive storage facilities per line of seed, which
organic farmers cannot afford, and detailed records for vital
seed cleaning operations geared to regulations which don’t
happen to include protection from GM contamination. If your
stock becomes tainted with their patented pollen, you must pay
them, of course.
Lendman observes that “reliable studies show that rats
fed GM potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, testicles, brains,
damaged immune systems and showed structural changes in their
white blood cells, making them more susceptible to infection
and disease than other rats fed non-GM potatoes. They also had
thymus and spleen damage, enlarged tissues, including the pancreas
and intestines, liver atrophy and other serious problems.”
Such dire effects have been noted in numerous scientific studies
and scientists, individually and in groups, have denounced the
massive use of American consumers as guinea pigs to the extent
that some 80% of processed foods being sold in this country
contain GM ingredients. Critics point to a corresponding rise
in health problems as the technology proliferated since the
1980s due to the industry’s skill at political lobbying
They cite a 90% rise in diabetes within the last decade, the
recently emerged, mysterious and horrific Morgellon’s
disease which has halted song-stylist Joni Mitchell’s
career, and numerous other ills on the growth chart.
Although you’re more likely to read about it at the Institute
for Science In Society and similar websites rather than hear
about it in commercial media, biologists like the internationally
known Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Dr. Joseph Cummins have long been cautioning
about “a technology that is widely acknowledged to be
unreliable, uncontrollable and unpredictable” having been
set loose in the marketplace.
Scientists such as Dr. Richard Strolman, Professor Emeritus
at the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University
of California in Berkeley, sees it as a “crisis”
situation wherein we now know that genes exist in “interactive
networks which have a logic of their own” but have unleashed
a blind roulette food gamble with people’s lives.
“Monsanto knows this. DuPont knows this. Novartis knows
this. They all know what I know,” he continues. “But
they don’t want to look at it because it’s too complicated
and it’s going to cost too much to figure out. The number
of questions, the number of possibilities for what happens to
a cell, to the whole organism when you insert a foreign gene,
are almost incalculable. And the time it would take to assess
the infinite possibilities that arise is beyond the capabilities
of computers. But that’s what you get when you’re
dealing with living systems.”
(It is my own contention, impossible to detail in an article
this size, that we have already experienced a series of GM “mishaps,”
deftly disguised as something else to protect the hundreds of
billions laced into the industry).
Although spokespeople from government and the agricultural industry
deny that these bills are a deliberate assault upon organic
farming, the language in them leaves open that very possibility
and the track record of the Ag monsters, filled with fraud and
deception, is not reassuring.
One prominent campaigner against the bill, Linn Cohen-Cole,
expresses direct and simplistic ideas about the timing of the
legislation “...organic food and a rebirth of farming
were winning. Not in absolute numbers but in a deep and growing
shift by the public toward understanding the connection between
their food and their health, between good food and true social
pleasures, between their own involvement in food and the improvement
in their lives in general, between local food and a burgeoning
local economy... Slow food was right–limit your food to
what comes from your region and from real farmers and slow down
to cook it and linger over it with friends and family, and the
world begins to change for the better.”
In the next issue, we’ll take a closer look at the provisions
of the bills, their architects and implementers and how their
potential impact is being perceived locally.
Jar Of Olives...
How Much The Woodchuck?
A Closer Look At The Inanities Of News
I just loaded two logs into the woodstove because the weather
forecast is for cold, rainy weather for the next week. There
is really nothing nicer than a woodstove’s warmth. Ours
is in the living room, and it heats the whole house although
the bathrooms are at the far end of the house, so grooming and
daily constitutionals are a bit Spartan. This week of woodstove
use will take us to a full half year of burning wood. The only
time it went out was the delightful week we spent in Mexico
Beach in the panhandle of Florida with cousins Sue and Roy.
Who was it that said the Catskills have one month of summer,
one month of spring, six months of winter, and four months of
late fall? That person called it right this year.
My husband has turned into a woodchuck. He bought two tractor
trailer loads of logs and is in the process of turning that
mountain range of logs into hills and heaps of smaller wood
pieces. He figures it will get us through two winters, Catskill
style, in case the heating oil goes through the roof. As he
was cutting logs into chunks, I was using the wood splitter,
and we both stacked the truck to move the firewood up to the
house. As I was hefting and throwing chunks of ash and oak,
I began to count the number of times that wood would be handled
before it actually produced some BTU’s of warmth. They
say wood warms twice—once when you handle it and once
when you burn it. Well, it isn’t twice. It’s more
like seven or eight times.
Someone cuts the tree, then it is cut into chunks, then it is
split, then loaded into a truck, then unloaded, then stacked,
and then brought into the house. It’s finally loaded into
the proximity of a stove and joyfully loaded into a woodstove.
Our woodstove is the focal point of our living. Our chocolate
lab Diva curls up on a pillow beside it; our cat flash stretches
out on the bluestone hearth that our friend Jan Wullum designed
when he built our fieldstone walls in the corner of the living
My husband was telling our grandson, who has been helping us
with our “wooding”, that this would help him when
he grows up and has to cut wood. Nicky and I both responded
to that with, “Gramps, when Nicky grows up, woodstoves
will be a novelty. People will keep warm with solar or wind
or some other alternative heat source.” Let’s hope.
My joy this week has been connecting with former students out
and about town. Check out www.kylewarrendogs.com to see the
story of how Kyle became involved with K-9 training. I was delighted
that Kylene Thomas is almost a neighbor in the new home she
bought in Shokan. Kylene teaches in Saugerties. Nicky Chartrand
made the Dean’s List. Evan Kellogg was driving heavy equipment
along with his dad T. J. Kellogg building a driveway. I asked
him if he would go into business with his father, and he replied,
“No, I will be his competitor!” One of the joys
of being a retired teacher in the district where I live is that
I get to see the end product. I see Shannon Klitzel at Kasey’s
Café and can joke with her and remember what a good writer
she is. I get to enjoy the end product of a person I saw in
Middle School as a “work in progress.”
Former students are graduates or about to graduate this year.
Each teacher, each parent, each neighbor and each friend helps
to shape them into the adults they will become. Judging by the
young adults I am meeting, Onteora and Olive have done well
by producing some fine grown-ups. I’m betting one of my
former students comes up with a new and efficient way to produce
energy. Until that time, I will continue to schlep wood around
knowing that, in my old age, I can rely on some alternative