Up on the News
The press release states, "Both parties also recognize
that with the many challenges yet to come, the District may
be best served by a change in the administrative leadership.
While both parties recognize that a change in administrative
leadership is desired, the school board is also cognizant that
many improvements have been made during Dr. Ford's tenure as
In June the board did not renew Ford's contract that was due
to expire June 2011. No reason was given for Ford's early departure.
In the Central office on Thursday July 8, a resolution was passed
unanimously that approved the terms of a separation agreement
with Ford. Five board members were present; absent were Trustees
Donna Flayhan and Rob Kurnit. The public section of the meeting
lasted nearly three minutes with no comment given except that
the agreement awaits Fords signature.
During a phone conversation, School Board President Laurie Osmond
said she could not comment on specifics.
"I signed an agreement that limits my comments to what
is in the press release," said Osmond.
Ford also offered no comment for this story.
Details on monetary and benefit settlements were also not made
available. A Freedom of Information request (FOIL) is pending.
However, Osmond did explain that the board would appoint a part
time acting Superintendent for the summer. A press release stated
that the board would meet Wednesday July 14 with the purpose
of appointing someone. Because of scheduling and vacations,
the most likely candidate will be Assistant Superintendent for
Business Victoria McLaren. The board also intends to act upon
hiring an interim Superintendent in the coming weeks.
Osmond said they plan to act quickly on a Superintendent search
utilizing a BOCES service free of charge. Interviews will be
conducted through a shared decision team consisting of community
members, administrators and teachers.
Ford began her three-year contract in February, 2007 at a salary
of $155,000. It increased to $160,040 with an extension added
to her contract by the previous board. An additional $40,023
came in the form of benefits.
Ford initially worked in California and was hired following
a national search as agreed upon by a district wide shared decision-making
process. She was hired in a six-to-one vote by a previous school
board. Mary-Jane Bernholz was the sole no vote based on concerns
stemming from the teachers union over Ford's lack of experience
with New York State education laws.
A majority of the board during that time supported a plan that
would work toward consolidating the district. This was designed
to address declining enrollment and a plan was introduced that
would update the facilities on two elementary schools (instead
of three), as well as the Middle and High school. When the board
recommended closing Phoenicia Elementary, a new board was elected
in 2008 primarily to preserve the community's much beloved school.
With a majority of the school board not in favor of consolidating
the district, a level of mistrust between the board, parents
and Ford bubbled. Incidences occurred where actions were taken
that caused board members and the public to look upon Ford's
actions with suspicion. This became apparent this past June
when the administration merged two kindergarten classes into
one at Phoenicia Elementary. Accusations from the public and
board members were made that any overflow of students would
be transferred to Bennett. Ford would not immediately answer
the board when asked if the decision to combine kindergartens
was already made before the final student count was in. This
was followed by public accusations that Ford had an ulterior
motive to close Phoenicia School by diminishing its enrollment.
At a July 6 board meeting, the administration led by Assistant
Superintendent of Curriculum Katie O'Brien said the plan to
merge the Phoenicia kindergarten classes was put on hold until
there is a closer count of what the classroom sizes will be.
According to Shandaken officer in charge James McGrath, shots
were fired at one of the beavers and the active beaver dam along
the creek was destroyed while searching for the animals. That
search was suspended after dark and was to resume Wednesday
morning with DEC personnel expected to take the leading role.
It is extremely rare for a beaver to attack a human; most beaver
attacks occur when the animal is rabid. For example, in 2005,
a rabid beaver bit three people playing in the water at a state
park near Bel Air, Maryland.
Beavers are typically social and peaceful animals, with a strong
family structure based on monogamous mating for life. However,
to protect their limited food supply, a beaver will not allow
unrelated beavers to inhabit its pond. To mark their territories
they surround their ponds with scent mounds. Scent mounds are
piles of mud with the adult's castor oil mixed in.
Beavers slap their tails loudly as warning when they feel cornered.
Adult beavers will defend their territory by attacking other
beavers from outside its family who enter their territory. However,
other than such territorial disputes or self-defense, they appear
to have a strong inhibition towards biting and are not known
to attack humans.
The Local Regional
Luc and Pika moved to the Route 28 corridor from Belgium a dozen
years ago, via a stint in New Jersey. They wanted a place filled
with natural beauty, where they could (and have) raise a family.
In that way, theirs is a familiar story.
In how they've afforded their dream is something original and,
in the final rounds, quite inspirational for others thinking
big about local business writ regional. And at the same time,
a key to the larger area's repositioning of itself in a newly
sustainable climate that's drawn great attention from state,
federal, and increasingly universal officials looking for things
to champion in the push for a new economy.
"We got the keys here on November 19 of last year,"
Roels is saying as he leads us through his very busy yet still
rapidly evolving 20,000 square foot facility. "Basically,
it was scary when we got here. It had been raining in the building
for 15 years."
The Roels had spent eight years not only making their own products
but chili and pickles and other fare as well, renting out commercial
kitchen space and taking their clients from idea to distribution.
Over time, Luc realized there was no way to cover the volumes
he needed to make his business efficient and profitable.
He also saw an opportunity for helping other independent-minded
types like he and Pika to finally bring the localized food products
long touted as a natural for the Catskills and Hudson Valley
He hooked up with a like-minded soul, Jim Hyland of Winter Sun
Farms, a CSA-styled preparer of locally-grown frozen vegetables
and berries, and Farm to Table Co-Packers came to life.
They started looking for suitable spaces by answering ads. Looked
at old factories in Arkville and down in the Route 209 corridor.
Finally, a deal was worked out at Tech City, the long-dormant
major plant that's been looking to become a home to new regional
businesses for 14 years now.
Loads of renovations and equipment purchases, new and used,
plus the employment of over 30 people later, the company's become
a literal "soup to nuts" center where food products
gets produced "for a whole bunch of customers."
There are plenty of steam jacketed kettles, double rack ovens,
140 quart mixers, dough portioners and pie presses, slicer dicers
and 40 qt food processors, band and vacuum sealers and shrink
wrappers to handle the food being produced in Ulster County...
and beyond. Roels proudly shows off the ways in which the old
IBM dishwasher was reconverted into a heavy-volume vegetable
washer, how the old cafeteria line was remodeled as a bottling
line with fillers and cappers.
Now, all he needs is a nitrogen blast freezer that, added to
existing refrigerators and storage freezers, would allow this
facility to start adding new value to local produce by making
it better storable, and hence usable for everyone from major
supermarket chains to local school districts... as well as the
many farmers markets, specialty stores, and similar operations
There's a separate space being developed for a full incubator
kitchen, where would-be food companies and those already producing
can try out new recipes and get them market-ready. Plus ties
in to the Ulster County Small Business Center and other avenues
one can take to get ideas to market.
"If we can alter the flow of produce by creating a local
demand instead of vegetables being flown in from Asia and other
places,, we're all better off," Roels said of his dream
come true. "Using your common sense brings you far."
Talk about a big leap forward. For more on what's happening
at Farm to Table Co-Packers, besides their continuing farmstand
and CSA presences, visit them online at farm2tablecopackers.com,
call them at 383-1761, or visit them down at Tech City, at 750
They're our region's future, but also our local verve proved
And they may very well be the way we all end up getting ourselves
healthier, as a society, in the long run...
For The Laterals?
Of special note this month was a letter the Town had been waiting
for, from New York City... the formal acceptance of the plans
and documentation for several of the components of the Boiceville
Wastewater Treatment Plant and Sewer District. Specifically,
the Sanitary Collection and Stormwater Systems, the Wastewater
Treatment Plant and to formally acknowledge the satisfactory
performance test results that were completed in March - also
known as a clean water test.
Additionally, four volumes known as the Town of Olive, Boiceville
Sewer District, Operations and Maintenance Manual for Wastewater
Collection and Treatment System, dated April 2010. were also
acknowledged and accepted.
Review of all operational plans and manuals resulted in the
letter giving authorization for Startup and Performance Testing
along with lateral connections to proceed. Additional discussion
among board members revealed that residents should incur no
additional costs for lateral connections after learning that
ample funds had been obtained through grants.
No mention was made concerning commercial properties, however.
Recent letters sent out by attorneys required homeowners and
businesses to submit applications or waivers along with the
first fees to be collected by the district. Based on the information
received, funds were being collected to provide oversight for
the lateral installation.
Town Clerk Rozzelle reported that the new company hired by the
town to run the plant is setting up accounts and it might be
a while before checks are actually cashed. She also reported
that, as of now, only about 60% of those proposed to be in the
system had responded, even though the deadline was June 25.
Reminders to those who have not sent in their waivers or applications
were being sent out.
F.P. Kane, the contractor who will be hooking up each of the
specified laterals, should be contacting homeowners in the very
near future, giving 48 hours notice before starting on any specific
site. Since each home will be disconnected from their individual
septic systems as they are connected to the main lines of the
sewer system, the sewer plant had to be ready to process sewage
before proceeding to this next step.
Reports from each of the departments give updates on all projects
or just the routine services provided through our fire and police
departments. The successful start to the Recreation Department's
summer camp came at the same time as record high temperatures.
This provided a challenge for those residents looking for relief
at the town swimming pool. Please remember that Davis Park is
closed to any other activities during the summer camp program.
The pool opens in the afternoon to all residents from 4 to 8
PM - and from 11 to 8 PM each Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
Over 245 children registered for the Monday through Thursday
camp, with an average daily attendance (so far) of approximately
145 children. Councilman Rank noted that due to county street
paving on the day of the meeting, he was forced to park at Davis
Park in order to get to town offices. Camp was in full swing,
and it was not long before he was approached by one of the summer
camp counselors, whose duties include making sure there are
no unauthorized persons wandering around the area during camp.
Gino Sorbellini announced that he's putting the finishing touches
on a plan to have a sleep over at the park as part of the program
this year. This special treat has been done in the past and
is being planned as a replacement to field trips cut from the
program as a cost savings measure. Sorbellini is still working
out all the details, and hopes to announce a firm date for sometime
the end of July or early August. He was bringing this to the
attention of the board as he would likely be asking for additional
patrols of the area by Olive Police as a safety measure; one
he felt would go a long way towards helping parents realize
this will, in fact, be a very safe, fun and rewarding experience
for the kids.
One final note... In her report to the Board, Town Clerk Rozzelle
reported that the town will definitely be getting its new voting
machines this fall. Concerns had been raised that the county
might try consolidating some of the voting districts to reduce
the number of machines; however, Rozzelle reported that would
not be the case in Olive. A sample ballot was available which
will be filled out by the voter and then inserted into the machine.
The concept is that the machine reads the paper and registers
the vote before dropping the paper portion to the bottom of
the machine. There would also be special handicap accessible
The machines, ranging in price between $8200 and $11,000, have
a life expectancy of approximately 5 years and will require
delivery by climate controlled trucks to protect the more delicate
components. Cost of a presidential election under present day
circumstances might range in the area of $11-13,000. With this
new system, Rozelle estimated that cost would be in the neighborhood
Of special interest, our old machines, which were paid for with
taxpayer money in the 1970s, were being "taken." Rozzelle
requested a copy of the law that allowed this to happen. The
copy provided did state the machines would be removed. Rozzelle,
along with several audience members, could not understand how
they had any right to something that was not theirs.
Jar Of Olives
A week of ninety plus temperatures encouraged people to finally
dig out those summer clothes, lug up that air conditioner, find
those dusty fans, and move into slower summer time mode. Cold
iced drinks and simpler meals satisfy us as we search for ways
to cool off. It seems perfectly logical to call iced coffee
and an ice cream sundae a healthy meal.
Pools, Esopus stream, and local watering holes draw us like
a magnet. Suddenly we are not so self-conscious about our bathing
suit attire as we submerge ourselves to wallow in less-than-body-
temperature water that is the great equalizer of skinny and
On the very hottest day last week my husband and I drove in
an air-conditioned car to an air conditioned casino rather than
be in a house where fans were only circulating hundred-degree
air. It was, by far, the most expensive air-conditioning bill
in the state for a single day, but we enjoyed every freezing
moment of it and probably balanced the state budget and cured
the deficit all in one unlucky day.
We are fortunate in Olive to have shady spots and places to
go to cool down. The town pool is a fine place to swim or just
socialize. The Pete Tosi pool is open from 4 p.m. until 7:00
p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Labor Day. The fees for
the pool are as follows: An individual season pass is $45.00.
A family pass is $75.00. A daily pass for an adult is $3.00
and a child is $2.00. Ralph Vanacore and Jamie Johnson lead
the pool activities and oversee a veteran life guarding staff
comprised of Joseph Vanacore, Emily Vanacore, Jake Vanacore,
and Joe Friedel.
Joining the lifeguard team for 2010 are some great newcomers:
Donnie VanBuren, J.J. O'Connor, Kate Volk, Bethany Boice and
Kirsten Robyck. All of them bring a great sense of energy to
their position and will provide a safe and fun environment for
the people of the Town of Olive. The phone number for the Pete
Tosi pool is 657-6373.
Children are also fortunate to have such a wonderful summer
recreation program directed by Gene Sorbellini and his very
competent staff of assistants and counselors. Olive Day Camp
began the 2010 season on Tuesday July 6th. Olive Day Camp is
in session from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday
for a six-week period concluding on August 12th. The camp allows
children from the Town of Olive to enjoy activities such as
arts and crafts, swimming lessons, field games, contests, talent
shows, group activities and an occasional field trip. The fee
for the day camp is $30.00 for one child, $50.00 for two children,
and $70.00 for three or more children for the entire six-week
program. Transportation is provided to the children outside
of the immediate West Shokan area. Registration forms are available
at the Town of Olive Clerk's office.
Keep that automatic icemaker going and those fans running, friends,
because another week of warmth is coming our way. My husband
often quips that what I like to make for dinner is reservations.
This week it might be a good time to order out pizza or Chinese
food or eat it in some air-conditioned restaurant.
Or just have ice cream!
Now, when the Catskill Center gets together to elect new members
to the Board of Directors and present its Alf Evers Award for
Excellence to someone who's made big differences to the region,
they'll do so by honoring Dennis Lucas Sr., Supervisor for the
Town of Hunter, CWT chairman, and former state highway department
Lucas has been chosen for his outstanding leadership and commitment
to community development in the Catskill Mountain Region. And
Lucas, as has long been his way since getting on to his municipality's
town board and defeating an incumbent CWT pioneer to become
its supervisor (later regaining his seat after losing it once),
is humbly humorous about being honored.
"I was rendered absolutely silent, which for anyone who
knows me is quite a thing," said Lucas. "But this
is what candid, frank conversation, as I've tried to bring to
the Coalition over the past two years, will always happily produce.
It's all about entering partnerships to better address joint
In addition to the awards ceremony and elections, the Saturday
meeting will feature a presentation by Al Wegener, organizer
of the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway, who will share his
experiences with the Scenic Byway project and how this designation
can be a tool for tourism development in the Catskills. Participants
will also be urged take the opportunity to enjoy two featured
activities in Margaretville and Arkville that day: the Catskill
Forest Festival and a ride on the Delaware and Ulster Railroad.
First time nominees for the Board of Directors this year include
Giacomo Barbieri of Bovina Center, Susan Clark of Bovina, Laura
Hussey of Delhi, Patricia Rudge of Oliverea, and Jan Jaffee
of Pine Hill.
For more information please call 586-2611 or visit www.catskillcenter.org.