As a longtime reader, and longtime property owner in the region, I
want to makes some comments on things I have heard in regards to 'development'.
While development can be a positive thing if done well, much of it,
although claiming to be "for the public benefit', is really only
about the "money" benefit. I don't decry anyone making a
profit, but before you let anyone tell to you about how development
lowers taxes, as those signs I see along Route 28 do, take a moment
to ask a (out of town) town or city planner what development actually
Frankly, your taxes WILL NEVER go down, and building more 'tax rate-able'
buildings WILL NOT help. If that were the case, then New York City,
or Kingston for that matter, would have NO property taxes at all.
Think about it. Adding buildings and homes increases the need for
fire, police, school, water and waste waster treatment, and other
'public works' personnel. That means 'more taxes', and that tax money,
it comes from you.
Secondly, the Route 28 corridor area is a destination for tourists,
and rightly so, since it is a veritable jewel of a location. Take
a moment to 'google map' the city of Newark, NJ. No offense to the
people who have to live there, but do you think that city is a vacation
destination for anyone? How about Bergen or Essex Counties of NJ,
in general? Take a drive there sometime during the week and see what
it is like to have development that's been pushed along for many years
as 'tax solutions'. The density of people there will
make your head spin. Then go drive down 28 and realize what a gift
you have been afforded by nature.
As for 'Taxes Equal Jobs", If you need a job, then you need to
go where the work is. You can't expect to sit on the side of a mountain,
and wait till they build a Wal Mart a 1/2 mile from your house so
you can work. At that point your neighborhood will be on the road
to ruin, just like many of ours are, down here in Jersey. And it didn't
take too long, but we believed the old political lie, "It will
lower taxes...". Now we have wall to wall malls and highways
squeezing out what were once nice neighborhoods. At town meetings,
this is often called 'progress'.
I am from New Jersey, it's not a bad place to work and raise a family,
but I pay nearly $10,000 per year in taxes for a 3 bedroom house on
a 50 by 150 foot lot. I have a Wal Mart, 10 gas stations and 3 dry
cleaners within a 1/2 mile of my house, if you think that is great,
then come on down and live here. I plan on moving up in Big Indian
as soon as my child is out of college, to live the later part of my
life in peace and beauty.
(This letter was originally addressed to Dr. Ford and Dr. O'Brien
I attended the meeting tonight at the Phoenicia School. Although I
don't excel at public speaking, I did want my voice to be heard, so
I hope this email can speak as loudly as my voice would have tonight
if I'd been able to.
My son is five years old, and is currently registered for Kindergarten
at the Phoenicia School in the fall. He is a very bright child, and
I am confident that with the right education, he will go far in life.
This is one of my most important tasks as a parent: choosing and participating
in the right education for my son.
This was my first experience with this school district, and what I
observed tonight at the Phoenicia School was deeply disturbing to
me. I saw a dozen educational professionals stand up and passionately
make a case that fell on deaf ears.
There is something here that I do not understand. The board and the
teachers have a consensus. Two classes are recommended. Two classes
have been approved as a part of the voted-upon budget. Since you have
not taken their recommendation, there must be a third element that
I don't understand. What is your motivation? If it's a financial concern,
then what is it that you want to purchase with that second teacher's
salary? If you have some other purpose, why would you compromise even
one student's education to further that cause?
The idea of asking a single person to control and educate a class
of 20-25 energetic five-year-old children, 55% of which have special
needs, is beyond my comprehension. Even controlling a class of 10
children with the same challenges seems like an exceedingly difficult
task for even the most skilled teacher.
On the one hand, I feel honored to have educational professionals
that want to advocate for my child's education like I saw tonight.
I am proud to be a part of a community that cares so much about my
son. But I cannot knowingly insert my child into an environment where
those professionals are being ignored. In short, I cannot send my
child to a school that is so divided amongst itself.
I ask that you listen to the overwhelming consensus and reassess your
position on this important topic.
The taxpayers pay for public school to educate the children who can't
afford to go to private school. Why are some taxpayers so upset about
paying for the care of the elderly, disabled, or economically disadvantaged
in a nursing home? Is it that they are discriminating against these
people, or do they just not understand how the system works?
A private nursing home is in "the nursing home business"
for the profit. They care for the people who have the resources to
pay for care. They cut corners to save money. They hire fewer employees,
pay them less and give fewer benefits than a county run facility.
They keep all the profits for the rich corporation that owns the facility.
Medicare pays for 100 days of skilled nursing home care if you qualify.
They pay 100% for the first 20 days then for the remainder there is
a significant co-payment of $128. After the first 100 days the person
needing care is responsible for the payment. Once a person spends
down their money they can apply for Medicaid.
The problem the county run facilities are having is Medicare and Medicaid
reimburse the private nursing homes more than they do the county run
facilities. I don't understand why this is; maybe the private homes
pay for lobbyists to get more payment, or the state and federal government
believes that it's taxpayer money no matter where it comes from.
Where do you want your tax money to go? Do you want it to go to the
people who are taking care of the elderly and disabled, or do you
want it to go to the rich corporations who own the nursing home? I
want my money to go to those who care. They are the ones filtering
the money back into the local economy. They are the ones who deserve
it. I know the county belongs in the "nursing home business."
Mrs. Laura Barringer
I am writing to you regarding the short congratulations to Coach Burkhardt
in your recent edition of the paper. While it is nice to be acknowledged
I feel that first and foremost all congratulations and honors belongs
to the kids- Emily Waligurski and the girls of the 4X800 M relay team.
Furthermore I did not coach spring track for Onteora this season,
and while I appreciate the recognition it does not belong to me, it
really belongs to Coach Lou Chartrand and Coach Betsy Wise. They were
the spring varsity track coaches and I congratulate them on a very
Although, last year Americans paid the lowest level of taxes since
1950, Republicans and Tea Party members continue to call for tax cuts
and less government.
Keep in mind, that the primary reasons we've become a debtor nation
is Bush's two unnecessary wars, and tax cuts for the wealthy. These
folks never call for cuts to our bloated Pentagon budget or oppose
tax cuts for the wealthy, because they're committed to being cheerleaders
for greedy Wall Street charlatans. Driven by greed, dishonest special
interest lobbyist often thwarted members of Congress from considering
the common good.
Tea Party guru Rush Limbaugh wants Obama will fail, because he doesn't
believe in the common good. Neither does the entire Republican caucus
of the House of Representatives. That is the reason every members
voted against the President's economic stimulus package, which is
successfully using government to promote the common good, by restoring
the economy for all of us.
Reducing taxes translates into squeezing the life out of government
and could destroy the effectiveness of our government completely.
Many Republicans and Tea Party members aren't for less government.
They're for no government. They don't want any government regulations
and don't believe in the common good. They don't believe in shared
When, the common good wasn't a priority, we were spending one-and-a-half
times more per person on health care than any other country. Our businesses
that compete internationally, such as our automakers have been at
a huge disadvantage, because we don't have Medicare for everyone.
Furthermore, those with health insurance had been paying a hidden
tax for those without it. It's estimated to be about $1000 per year
goes to pays for somebody else's emergency room visits, and that includes
Being opposed to the common good is not profitable and as far as I'm
concerned its not patriotic.
We are indeed living in Interesting Times. Interpret as you wish,
but we are now unified in facing what lies ahead from the Earth Changes
that we've sat back and allowed corporate greed to create. Now, we
will all be victims of the ultimate in lack of vision that came from
those in power who never stopped to look up from their stock quotes
to observe how nature works.
The destruction going on right now in our waters, is way beyond my
ability to even properly report on. So, instead, I have joined with
fellow "Greenies," to see if we can at least preserve what
beauty, species, clean oxygen and water that we can. I believe that
we can maintain a "Safe Haven" in our precious Catskill
Mountains, mostly because I believe in the people here.
Two weeks ago I received an invitation to a new group of like minded
neighbors, called "Sustainable Woodstock," to come together
and see if we can have our voices heard, when threats to our environment
rear their heads, as they frequently do.
Although this group of writers, artists, musicians, contractors, attorneys
and professors each bring their own personal passions to the table,
just about all of us have one thing in common - we want our representatives
to represent us. We don't want to go to "town meetings"
and find that there is no time for our voices to be heard. We can
stay home and watch television to see candidates well financed advertising
Our common desires are to sustain the green environment that drew
us here. We are Woodstock - (and surrounding towns) Need I say more?
I enjoyed your front page article in the June 17 issue, about how
Phoenicia is becoming a cultural center for the Catskill Mountains.
You can add to the list of cool stuff happening in our town that Phoenicia
is also the epicenter of the Leaping Trout Art Trail. Twenty-seven
unique, original interpretations of a 36 inch leaping trout are on
display at public venues throughout the Esopus Creek drainage. Fourteen
of them are on exhibit right here in Main Street Phoenicia! The project
is being organized and financed by our local Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed
Chapter of Trout Unlimited, with assistance from the Ashokan Watershed
Stream Management Plan. You can get more information, view the art
collection, and access a map of the Leaping Trout Art Trail at www.theleapingtrout.com.
Or pick up a printed map and brochure at one of our local exhibitors.
This all-volunteer, community-based art project is the result of the
hard work and talent of 29 local artists, 27 exhibitor venues, and
8 Trout Unlimited organizers. That's 64 generous neighbors working
hard to make our town the great place your article spoke of. Let's
make sure they get the thanks and recognition they deserve.
Mark Loete, Chairperson
Leaping Trout Committee
I wanted to start by thanking the Shandaken Ambulance Company, the
employees of the Margaretville Hospital and Benedictine Hospital for
all of the support that they gave to my family and I when we lost
our little girl Samantha Eve Scism to a benign tumor three years ago.
In return I want to give back to so many other families who have suffered
from the various blood cancers by joining the Team In Training (TNT)
that raises money to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through
I wiill be running a 1/2 marathon September 26th around beautiful
Schroon Lake within the equally beautiful Adirondacks . I have started
training for my 13.1 mile by wearing my TNT uniform and running around
the Phoenicia area. For me running this marathon keeps my daughter's
memory alive but equally important there are several of my colleagues
within the HealthAlliance who are victims of these blood cancers and
by supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society these victims can
receive the treatments they need to win the fight against their cancer.
Please join me by visiting my TNT site http://pages.teamintraining.org/uny/adiron10/rscism
Dear Editor, I'm writing to thank everyone who helped make our Phoenicia
Library Fair a resounding success. Though it was a rainy day, it didn't
stop folks from coming out and enjoying Uncle Rock, browsing for books
protected under tarps, selecting some beautiful plants, snacking on
yummy baked goods, and bidding for cool items and gift certificates
of all types. Our annual fundraiser did remarkably well. We are particularly
grateful to those in the community who went above and beyond: Queen
of the Green Thumb and her plant posse Marvella Tannenbaum, who had
vowed to exceed last year's total and did so by over $150 (luckily,
gardeners are used to getting wet and grubby). For helping with set-up
and lugging books: The MF Whitney Hose Company, American Legion Post
950, Vince Bernstein, Sue Bernstein, Joseph Newman, Marie Stutman,
Harold Jones, Jerry Neal, and Don Bucher. The very generous donors
to our silent auction: Catskill Rose Restaurant; Aileen Schwartz;
Threads of Time; Uncle Rock; The Nest Egg; Babytoes; Barneche Design;
Tenderland Home; Frost Valley YMCA; Belleayre Mountain Ski Area; Belleayre
Music Conservatory; Sweet Sue's; Mama's Boy; Skin Flower Tattoo; Cabane
Gallery; Wendy Drolma Masks; Mark Loete Photo Studio; Phoenicia Pharmacy;
Rebecca Barry; Zen Mountain Monastery; Brian James; Catskill Mountain
Physical Therapy & Heather Roberts; Al's Restaurant; Ann Byer;
Joyce and Hawley Botchford; Oliverea Schoolhouse Maple Syrup; Sundance
& Tom Crucet; Mount Tremper Arts; Shandaken Theatrical Society;
Peekamoose Restaurant; Ulster Savings Bank; Katherine Haber; Brio's
Restaurant; Alamo Cantina Restaurant; and Ricciardella's Restaurant.
And for the delicious baked goods: Nicole Holmquist, Cathy Neal and
Amy's Takeaway. Apologies to anyone whose name I have inadvertently
left out! We hope to see many of you at the Library this summer during
such programs as the weekly story hour for young children, which runs
every Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. and includes storytelling and crafts,
and Kids in the Kaatskills, which runs Wed.-Fri. the last week in
July and the first two weeks in August. The Library is also sponsoring
a Summer Reading Program for students; and on July 12 there will be
a children's workshop on microscopic life in the Esopus Creek. On
August 2, there will be a drumming workshop for kids age 4 and up.
Stay tuned for more information in these pages!
Phoenicia Library Board
Dear Editor, I'm sure everyone has seen the commercial "what's
scarier than being in a crash?" Not having a phone! Not everyone
has automatic on star response. This is a poor county and a recession
has even made it harder for people.
Today cell phones can be had with limited minutes for a low price
and certain medicare members may be eligible for a free phone. It
is unconscionable not to have a tower that is up and running. Especially
when the reason for this is that a suggestion to give a discount to
bring in a company so other phone companies will follow is being rejected
because the town does not want to allow this.
You have to get the big picture, which is called progress and come
into the 21st century. Step aside and let Rob Stanley do his job.
It is heartwarming to be part of a wonderful project about to take
place in our beautiful town. Memorial weekend was the start of this
journey with a successful yard sale to benefit the "Shandaken
Dog Park & Agility Center" to be built in Glen Brook Park.
Residents donated goods to be sold all weekend. Many others gave monetary
donations. Bart was kind enough to let us use the 1890 House on Main
St. Tables were borrowed from St Francis De Sales, and a beautiful
sign was made by Kurt. The staff at SHARP donated much time making
signs and helping at the sale. Harry moved a lawn tractor into his
barn every evening, Tom and Dana allowed us to sell beverages at the
Phoenicia Belle. Paulette pitched-in to run the bake sale, getting
donations and then selling. Friends of Snuffy made an incredible contribution
that gave this project life at the start. All volunteers worked long,
hard hours with many of them working all 4 days.
I feel blessed to be surrounded by such a giving community.
Thank you all for everything you do.
Shandaken Dog Park Committee