Follow Up on the
Trout Unlimited is a national organization with
more than 150,000 volunteers organized into about
400 chapters from Maine to Montana to Alaska. With
a mission to conserve, protect and restore North
America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds,
this dedicated grassroots army is matched by a staff
of lawyers, policy experts and scientists, who work
out of more than 30 offices nationwide. These conservation
professionals ensure that Trout Unlimited is at
the forefront of fisheries restoration work at the
local, state and national levels.
The Catskills Mountains Chapter has been in discussions
with State Department of Conservation about making
a section of the Esopus Creek, from Phoenicia downstream
to Boiceville, a "catch and release" section
of the waterway.
On Wednesday, May 19th at the Gander Mountain Lodge
in Kingston, at the Catskills Mountains Chapters
monthly meeting, the proposal was expected to be
under discussion with special guest speaker Mike
Flaherty, DEC's regional fisheries manager.
Flaherty, according to information provided by the
Catskills Mountains Chapter, has been polling anglers
in the area and reports that his agents on the Esopus
are asking people about their opinion about a catch
and release only section on the Esopus. The Catskills
Mountain Chapter believes that word is starting
to spread that catch and release is now a serious
consideration for future management of the creek.
To aid the discussion, Flaherty will also have available
some information from his most recent studies.
Expected to attend the session are members of the
Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimted.
That Chapter is not so sure the catch and release
plan is a good one, according to Vice President
"Our Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of
Trout Unlimited was alerted to the issue, and we
addressed it at the monthly meeting of our Board
of Directors' she said Monday. "As a result,
our Board is drafting a formal position statement
on Catch and Release, specifically related to this
proposal. At this time we do not support catch and
release on the mainstream Esopus due to the unique
character of the communities, watershed and fisheries.
We do not believe catch and release is the best
management system given these considerations."
Some fisherman feel that catch and release cannot
be practiced while bait fishing for trout. Bait
caught trout are much more likely to swallow the
offering and have higher mortality rates after release.
Others feel that sensible fisheries management needs
to be based on reliable scientific data on the system
under consideration and that DEC would need to be
flexible in the approach to catch and release laws,
using trial and error to arrive at a solution which
the vast majority of anglers are happy with.
Still others want to simply enjoy a good trout dinner
after a day of fishing, and are prepared to go elsewhere
to fish to maintain that tradition.
Nothing has been decided yet. DEC is the agency
that will rule on the matter, and public hearings
on the topic are expected.
house, someone comes to the door with a shotgun, a machete,
or a whistling 3/4 horse weed whacker. Everybody's miffed.
I like to call this the "Miffed Myth". It's
not true! Oh, sure a NRFU runs into a few grouchy folks
but mostly everybody that's home likes to talk. About
Some people believe the darndest things. Like refusing
to answer a couple of questions will protect your privacy.
Hah! A NRFU on computer can watch you from the sky.
See, for example, if a car is parked in the driveway.
Privacy? We lost that a long time ago. Ironically, with
all this information we are getting dumber. The census
can't simply get all it needs from the Post Office,
IRS and telephone company. Sort of like how the CIA
can't talk to the FBI. The answers you give to a NRFU
are between you and NRFU and God. $150,000 fine and
years in the pokey for the unfortunate NRFU that spills
But with responsibility comes privilege. Did I mention
my G-Man status? The NRFU always rings twice. I can
ignore private property signs more confidently than
Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger put together.
A big myth is that "This is costing too damn much
money." I truthfully don't even know how many millions
or billions. But every census that comes back marked
"occupied" gets something like 1500 Federal
bucks for the hometown to help with schools and roads
and such. I estimate that so far, I've raised about
60 grand for Shandaken. Yeah, it costs the Feds about
$65 to follow up on every household that didn't mail
back the census. However, a good chunk of that money
goes back into the community in the form of decent wages,
$16.50 per hour and 50 cents a mile. The NRFU enumerator
also helps the economy by buying local shock absorbers
and transmissions after criss-crossing Cross Mountain
Road and the Shin Creek Expressway. The economics are
Not a myth: The census makes a difference. NY State
and California will probably lose representation and
Texas is likely to gain. Some people might think getting
rid of a few politicians is a good thing. I tend to
go along with that. But it will surely change the balance
of power of the mightiest military machine on the face
of the Earth. So by failing to cooperate with your confident,
sunny, persistent yet polite neighborhood NRFU, you
might help determine which country gets bombed next.
Think about it.
A big part of the training is in safety. A NRFU must
avoid becoming dog chow. We are advised to wear comfortable
running shoes for the spontaneous 23 skiddoo, but never
to run from dogs or mountain lions as that will make
it more likely for one to get partially consumed.
Our area has just about the worst response rate in the
country. So we must be a bunch of refuseniks, right?
Nope. Half or more homes around here are second homes
where no one's home. The sun bleached red & white
census bag still hangs on the knob, only to be found
in spring after the glacier has retreated. But we can't
simply assume no one's living there, as common sensical
as it might sound. We have to talk a human being first.
Which I don't mind doing. Can we talk? Thanks, Joan
Rivers. Seems like a lot of people have lost their Census.
For example, why didn't Mrs. McGillicuddy get counted?
The Enumer ate her.
It really helps to have a sense of humor. See you soon!
of yes votes came to 1179 versus 925 no votes. The only
town to reject the budget was Olive/Marbletown, 296
yes to 353 no. Other towns saw Shandaken/Lexington go
236 yes to 163 no; Woodstock, 358 yes to 200 no; and
West Hurley, 289 yes to 209 no.
The proposition requesting $35,000 for the purchase
of a vehicle passed a narrow 1058 to 1015. Once again,
Olive/Marbletown was the only town to defeat the purchase,
244 yes to 402 no. Other town tallies were Shandaken/Lexington,
215 yes to 178 no; Woostock, 331 yes to 214 no; and
West Hurley, 268 yes to 221 no.
With the exception of last year's 2009 budget vote,
the town of Olive has traditionally voted against the
school budget over the last decade.
In the Middle/High School Teachers conference room,
there were very few people awaiting results, mostly
administrators and board of education members.
With the budget passed, Superintendent Leslie Ford said,
"I would like to thank the community for coming
out to vote, this means a lot to the students to have
this budget pass during these difficult economic times
and I really appreciate their support." This is
Ford's third successful budget year.
Tom Hickey and Rob Kurnit, the two candidates on the
ballot running uncontested, enjoyed voter support. Hickey
gathered 1257 votes in his favor with Kurnit coming
in second at 1150. There were also a few write-in candidates.
In Shandaken/Lexington, Hickey received 230 and Kurnit
193. Past school board member Rita Vanacore had one
write-in vote and Edward Cahill also received one write-in
n Olive/Marbletown, Hickey received 354 and Kurnit 322.
Vanacore received one write-in vote and Richard Wolff,
who resigned from the board last year, gained seven
In Woodstock, Hickey received 365 votes and Kurnit 335.
In Hurley Hickey received 318 votes and Kurnit 300.
Board members congratulated the two. Trustee Tony Fletcher
said, "You are now officially elected." The
two were appointed following the resignation of Michelle
Friedel and Wolff in July 2009.
As the results were coming in, Fletcher noticed that
the turnout increased compared to 2009 results. By the
end of the evening all four polling stations revealed
voter town out at a slight increase. Olive/Marbletown
showed the highest increase, an additional 137 (99 of
those in no votes) compared to the previous year.
The Onteora School district has approximately 11,560
registered voters in Ulster County, not including the
small slice of voters in Greene County.
As part of procedure, School board president Laurie
Osmond called a board meeting for the acceptance of
the election results.
It was passed by a unanimous vote.
A Firetower All His Own
We are up 43 feet in the back portion of the 15 acres
Knight's lived on since his father moved to a property
along Route 28A to take an IBM job in 1955, when young
Barry was but five years old.
We are up on Barry Knight's very own fire tower, which
he moved from Schoharie County and rebuilt for his
pleasure, and inspiration, by himself over a four
year stint from 2002 to 2006.
"My quest for a view has always been to get higher,
to see something from an angle you can't see from
the ground," he says, jumping up onto the highest
point on his tower for a moment and spreading his
arms like a bird. "It's a different perspective
from up here."
Knight, who ran his own color photo printing business
out of his West Hurley home, not far from the Olive
and Marbletown borders, for a quarter century, notes
how there was a time when he "saw the world in
my dark room."
"I used to figure out where I wanted to travel
from printing other people's travel photos,"
he says of the business he ran until the digital revolution
convinced him it was time to retire and follow other
dreams he'd been holding his whole life. "When
I came up with this idea about the fire tower, my
girl friend thought I was crazy..."
Knight tells about being up on Overlook Mountain one
morning a few years back and talking with Dick Voloshen,
one of the key movers and shakers of the revival movement
that's seen five local towers brought back to life,
including Overlook, Mt. Tremper, Hunter, Balsam Mt.
and Red Hill. The fact that there were sometimes old
fire towers available for sale, especially up in the
Adirondacks, stuck with him.
"A light bulb went off in my head, and not just
a 25 watt but a 100 watt bulb," Knight recalls
of his initial Eureka moment. "I knew I wanted
one of them."
Knight had Voloshen call Marty Podskoch, whose Purple
Mountain Press book on the history of local fire towers
led to the movement that resulted in the five resurrected
towers. Podskock, in turn, gave Knight "a number
and a name" for the owner of one.
"It was a 1944 tower that was changed to use
as a communications tower in 1983 and then taken down
in 1999," Knight explains of what we're standing
on. "It had been up on a mountain near the Schoharie
County town of Summit until this gentleman, Al Moulin,
took it to his property with plans of putting it up
on another mountain near Esperance."
When he got up to see what Moulin had, he continues,
the tower was in pieces overgrown with weeds in a
field. All its bolts were in a pile, half-buried in
"I asked Al how much he wanted for everything
and he said his wife just wanted him to get it out,"
Knight says. "I went up there with some friends
and brought it all back here in a 24 foot truck."
Back home, the former photo processor set up his front
yard as a workplace and started scraping down all
the 60 year old aluminum. He washed each piece, and
bolt, down with mineral spirits and then primed it
all with metal etching paint. Finally he painted everything
in aluminum weather proofing paint.
As for getting the various pieces from his front yard
to the rise where the completed tower now stands,
Knight earlier showed his path. He'd carry the main
pieces on his shoulder, one at a time, up through
scrub oak and blueberry bushes to the place he and
his sisters used to call their mountain when kids,
and he's set up as a picnic and party area, complete
with outhouse, cabin and firepit, in his adult years.
He rigged a wheelbarrow for the 60 bags of cement
needed for his footings.
Those footings, he adds, were dug down to bedrock,
with 3/4 inch rebar attached deep into the earth's
surface for stability. He put the tower's corners
in each of the key directions; ran a hose up 375 feet
from his house to mix the concrete.
As for putting the actual tower up, including the
new central stairway he fashioned from what had originally
been a 68 foot high structure until telecommunications
equipment buckled the lower levels, Knight explains
how he did it all himself, layer by layer... making
platforms in between each stage. Then disassembling
them to get to the next level.
"I only had to replace 13 pieces,: he says. "Altogether,
the entire thing ended up costing me $4,000. Not including
labor, of course."
He adds that he chose to do it all alone because he
realized, early on, that with all the work at great
heights, "it was important not to be distracted
in any way."
We talk about what it's like to have lived a lifetime
in the same place and what changes have been most
notable over the past 50 some years. Knight speaks
about traffic on Route 28, which used to have a 65
mph speed limit and no lights. He talks about the
benefits of zoning, and his own need for a height
variance for his fire tower. He brings up the May,
1963 crash of two jets over the reservoir and how
one could find detritus from it for years.
He notes how much he wished his father and brother
had had a chance to see things from this perch.
"Can you believe how long I've lived up here
and only now get to see THIS view," he says.
You know what I wish? That I had a time machine and
could go back to the 1980s and look out on this Esopus
Valley now under the reservoir back when the trains
were running its length, when it was all filled with
farms and life..."
We silence before the sea of green, the Ashokan ribboned
in its midst. Only two percent of the earth's surface,
I'm told, has been disturbed by man. And yet the hum
we hear behind the wind is of cars from distant highways.
There's a bird sailing our direction. Knight identifies
it as a young turkey vulture. He notes how if we were
to duck out of sight it would circle overhead. But
then he flutters his own arms, his face lit up like
the boy who once dreamed of this vision a half century
"You know, ever since man was alive, they've
wanted to do that," he says, eyes on the bird.
"How can you do that?"
It's time to descend back to earth. We start down
the stairs of Barry Knight's fire tower.
"You know, Al Moulin and his girlfriend came
here once," he said of the man he'd bought this
dream-come-true from. "She took me aside at one
point and said, 'You know what you've built, don't
you?' And I said, 'What?'"
He tells me to watch my head, then locks the gate
to his treasure shut.
"You've built HIS dream," he ended his story.
"With all the trouble in the world, this is a
good place to retreat."
And a great dream to have realized...
Jar Of Olives
It is amazing how quickly the human body adjusts and accommodates.
I am adept at eating left-handed and have discovered a wardrobe
of "clown clothes" that pull-up, slip on, or go around
a cast. Decades of Olive Day t-shirts have been called back
into wardrobe duty. I quickly revised my priorities; comfort
and ease trump style. I can stare down cobwebs and decided to
pass off my bright-red wool carpets collecting fur as expensive
mohair. Manana is my mantra! Maybe even the day after that!
Since I can't drive, I have become a tag-a long and have deferred
shopping and cooking to my husband. I like that part of my recovery.
On Saturday I went along to the first Babe Ruth game. Bruce,
Bert Leifeld, Linda Burkhardt, John Parete, and Michelle Friedel
threw out opening pitches. It was encouraging to see a new generation
of volunteers helping youth keep active and fit. There was an
entourage of coaches, parents and friends tending the newly
refurbished field, manning the refreshment stand and cheering
on these 14-16 year olds. Don Downes, Fred Perry, Scott Kelder,
and Peter Friedel are carrying on the baseball tradition as
the next generation. By the way, the refreshment stand will
be open at lunchtime at Davis Park most Saturdays. Stop by and
support the teams. Also, buy a raffle for a limousine trip to
a Yankee game.
May and June are months that seem to run at a quickened pace.
Our calendars crowd up with social and civic events. Boy Scout
Troop 63 will have a pancake breakfast on Saturday, May 22,
7-11, at the Olivebridge Firehouse. It is an all-you-can-eat
event that costs $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $ 4 for kids
under twelve, and free for children under four.
The Olive Recreation program is in need of a refrigerator. If
you know someone upgrading to a new one, they would be happy
to accept one in good working order. Contact Gino Sorbellini
or Linda Burkhardt.
It is the time of yard sales like the Friday and Saturday Memorial
weekend sale at he Reservoir Methodist Church in Shokan. The
Tongore Garden Club has its annual plant sale on Dolly Denman's
lawn on Route 28. The Memorial Day parade will lead off at 9:00
a.m. from The Good Stuff Cafe on May 31 and wind up at the Town
Office Building by Davis Park. I'm sure Ed Swenson will be there.
Serious illness doesn't deter his service to Olive. The American
Legion named Ed Citizen of the Year at its annual dinner on
The Celebration of Cindy's Life is on June 12 from noon on.
June seems to capture so many of life's celebrations. It is
a time for weddings like Jen Vines to Tom Vasta on June 26.
On the next day, the 27th, Bruce and I will celebrate our 45th
anniversary-that is if he doesn't tire of his newly acquired
duties as caretaker to a fledgling southpaw.
June is also a time for retirements. Dorothy Negron, Linda Schultz,
and Wendy Lorzing-Wilmoth will leave their careers at Onteora
and join the ranks of retired people who know what it is like
to have every day be Saturday. It is also a time of graduation,
and this class would be the last ones who could have had Mrs.
La Monda as an English teacher. I feel such pride when I hear
their future plans. Caitlyn Murphy is off to play softball and
study at Cobleskill. Good luck to her and all of her classmates