News Briefs 7/3/2008
The Olive Town Board is chatting it up with a variety of letters
coming and going to all points on the compass.
A letter to Olive Town Supervisor Berndt Liefeld from the
NY Real Property Board acknowledged receipt of the Town Board’s
grievance and challenge of the Office of Real Property Service
valuation of $490 million for the Ashokan Reservoir, which
triggered designation of the reservoir as a Large Parcel for
the year 2008. The unexpected designation could mean steep
tax hikes for Olive under the optional so called Large Parcel
Law. The statute as written allows for the removal of the
Ashokan Reservoir property tax revenues from Town of Olive
coffers for redistribution to the other members of either
the school district or the rest of the towns in the county
if designated by ORPS and enacted by either the school district
or the county legislature.
According to Bill Cook, Olive assessor, “If the valuation
was $525 million or higher then Olive would not meet the Large
Parcel designation criteria. We were very surprised given
the agreement reached by Olive and NYC setting the value at
A letter from David Hacker of Hacker and Murphy, Attorneys
at Law brought welcome news that NYC has signed the reservoir
assessment agreement and it is now in the hands of the judge.
A speedy conclusion is expected.
NY Senator Bonacic replied to the Town Board’s letter
expressing concern and opposition to the newly proposed NYSDEC
open burning ban and he said he supports the position of the
Town and individual property rights.
Assemblyman Kevin Cahill responded to the board’s inquiry
as to what can be done about the recurring Large Parcel problem.
He states in his letter of reply to the Town Board that “I
have made a note of your position and I thank you for taking
the time to share them…pitting community against community
is not the answer.” Assemblyman Cahill has declined
to sponsor an amendment in the NY Legislature to restore the
Home Rule provision that NY Legislators were told was a feature
of the law. Senator Bonacic has put forth an amendment to
remove the Large Parcel law from school district purview but
Bonacics’ proposed bill leaves the optional county enactment
intact. Audience members speculated as to whether Bonacic’s
proposed bill is an election year ploy.
A letter from OCSD Superintendent Leslie Ford thanked the
Town Board and Highway Superintendent Fugel for the loan and
transport of a voting machine during the school election.
Judith Boggess reported that the fall senior art class is
full at 20 students and that the spring class is still roaming
and painting at large. An art show during August is planned
at the library with an opening reception to be announced.
Resolution 10 authorizes Supervisor Liefeld to apply for the
state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Route
28 scenic byway improvement grant amounting to $43,000. Councilwoman
Helen Chase is working on the plans for the Shokan Roadside
Picnic Park to be located across from Mountain Rd. near the
old rail station.
Resolution 11 authorizes Supervisor Liefeld to enter into
an agreement with NYCDEP to codify the Boiceville Sewage plant
Maintenance and Operations agreement. Liefeld said “This
is the most important document in the whole project. We will
live with this for a long time.” Councilman Rank observed
that “the projected yearly budget for the plant will
be approximately in the $275,000 to $300,000 range.
Bid specs for the Transfer Station roof construction are being
drawn up and Supervisor Liefeld asked that qualified Olive
based builders review and bid on the project when the plans
Olive Town Clerk Sylvia Rozzelle reported that zero marriage
licenses have been issued in Olive thus far in 2008. The usual
number is about 25 to 35 per year. Rozelle said “I am
totally amazed. People cannot afford to get married!”
David Edinger of West Shokan volunteered to maintain the town
website. He said “ I’m going to work on consistency
and removing the dead links. I want to build up the Olive
Councilman Bruce Lamonda discussed the upcoming July 19th
meeting of Olive residents to discuss the Tompkins County
Relocalization Project which seeks solutions to the new energy
and financial realities. Communities around the world are
now engaging in re-localization plans to help create neighborhood
based solutions to the stresses of the huge increases in food,
heating, transportation and housing costs. The meeting will
be at 10am, July 19th at the Ashokan Center campus on Beaverkill
Rd. A wood-fired pizza brunch is planned for the gathering.
On cell phone matters, Verizon is busy installing the electronic
equipment sheds at the South Mountain tower and service is
expected to commence soon. AT&T corp. has requested permit
info for the placement of one of their antennas on the tower
The meeting was adjourned in memory of Hazel Haver, John McCole,
Olive Merrihew, Nan M. Owitz, Olive Rose and Evan Wisniewski.
In The Clear
Ken Pasternak, a partner in the Crossroads Ventures effort
to build the Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park, celebrated
recently when U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano cleared the
Fleischmanns native of all charges brought by the Securities
and Exchange Commission. Pisano ruled that the SEC failed
to prove its fraud case against Pasternak, the former Knight
Trading Group chief executive, and another former executive.
The SEC had alleged in the case, originally filed in 2005,
that Pasternak and others at Knight engaged in a scheme designed
to conceal from their institutional customers the manner in
which they were working their orders in 1999 and in 2000.
As a result, Knight failed to provide the best execution for
its clients, and the company and the defendants received profits
that far exceeded the industry norm, the SEC said.
“I am grateful to finally have been vindicated so completely,”
Pasternak said in a prepared statement. “I am looking
forward to returning the total of my focus to reengaging in
the industry with my reputation fully restored.”
According to published reports the verdict came after a 14
day bench trial.
”It was gratifying to hear the judge confirm that the
SEC did not have a case against me,” said Pasternak.
Crossroads managing partner Dean Gitter said that it would
have been easier and far less costly for Pasternak to have
just settled the case out of court to make it go away. “But
our system is supposed to be predicated on a concept of innocent
until proven guilty and this just goes to show that making
charges is one thing and proving them is another,” Gitter
said in a story announcing his backer’s win.
Knight itself paid $79 million to settle the case.
The House Appropriations Committee has approved funding for
flood control projects in the upper Delaware, Esopus and Rondout
watersheds The committee cleared $835,000 for the continuation
of a flood mitigation study in the Upper Delaware River Watershed
for the development of a flood alert system for the entire
region. House Members Maurice Hinchey and John Hall secured
$600,000 with Hinchey also winning approval for $235,000 for
the Delaware River Enhanced Flood Warning system.
“Repeated and devastating flooding over the last several
years has made it clear that serious flood control is a high
priority,” said Hall. “This study is going to
help determine the best ways to protect communities from destructive
Both measures must still pass through other legislative steps
and the funding may also face a challenge from President Bush
who has said he opposes such projects.
The Appropriations Committee also approved $250,000 for the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a feasibility study
of flood prevention work along the Esopus, Wallkill and Rondout
creeks. Hinchey requested that money, as well.
Last year Hinchey obtained the authority of the Army Corps
to engage in long-term activities within the Esopus and Rondout
basins that would repair damage caused by continuous flooding,
mitigate against future flooding and remove sediment accumulated
in portions of the lower Esopus in the towns of Hurley and
Ulster. The authorization also allows the Corps to conduct
other projects with economic benefits for communities in the
watersheds such as relocating the navigable channel in the
lower Rondout in downtown Kingston, allowing for marina construction
and clearing the way for further economic activity on the
The subject of private residents selling natural gas drilling
rights on their property drew hundreds to a pair of educational
forums last week, with a June 27 session deemed so crowded,
in advance, that it had to be moved to Sullivan County’s
Liberty High School auditorium to accommodate the anticipated
large crowd, which turned out to number over 500.
Sullivan County Legislator Jodi Goodman had asked the county
planning department to conduct the session to educate residents
about all of the pros and cons of selling natural gas drilling
rights, which has come back onto the horizon in parts of the
She said it is not just a drilling issue. There are a number
“It has to do with neighboring properties; it has to
do with value of the property that is having the drill site.
What would that value do to the neighboring person and their
taxes? Can you be robbing the neighboring person of their
gas when you drill down and then you go horizontal? Can you
truck out on roads with this contaminated water when it spills?”
Gas prospecting companies have been signing up property owners
along the Delaware River.
Thursday night, June 27, some 300 people showed up in Walton
for a panel discussion on natural gas drilling. They heard
a member of the Western Colorado Congress and Grand Valley
Citizens’ Alliance talk about whether the economic benefits
of leasing natural gas drilling rights outweighs the negative
“Yes, there will be some people who will make a lot
of money from this industry, but, look at the people and the
ways that your community is negatively impacted, and make
sure that you’ve done everything you can to mitigate
those things, so that everybody is a winner,” came the
Sullivan County Commissioner of Planning and Environmental
Management, William Pammer, noted that based on statistics
and experiences elsewhere, the high volume of Class 1 and
2 roads in Western Sullivan County areas where drilling would
occur, could factor into a huge impact on infrastructure costs.
Expect an “80 percent degradation” warned Pammer.
Another panelist noted that while some property owners have
done well, financially, with the leases, there is no guarantee
a well will be productive, or will remain productive for an
When at one point in the program, the audience was asked for
a show of hands on how many had actually signed leases, only
one hand went up.
Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director
William Janeway assumes the pressure will mount to change
that number quickly.
“With the energy issues being what they are now, it
is likely this issue will continue,” he said. “We
are focusing on making sure that any extraction that does
occur is done in compliance with all environmental conservation
The Catskills and the Delaware River Valley sit on top of
Marcellus Shale, which oil insiders are seeing as an upcoming
boon area for energy exploration. IN this region, it includes
possible drilling sites in the Delaware River area, stretching
north into the western and northern edges of the central Catskills.
Stay tuned… and vigilant.
Route 28 Trains?
A June 25 meeting of the Central Catskills Collaborative set
to get the ball rolling for possible designation of Route
28 as a Scenic Byway in the coming years raised a lot of questions
and some vague answers, as well as a state official’s
admission that state and federal entities are starting to
look at the region’s long-dormant rail corridor for
a possible revival in light of the world’s changing
NYS Deputy Secretary of State Robert Elliott spoke about byways
being one of several mechanisms for getting municipalities
to work together, a process that’s being increasingly
supported by new grant monies on a state basis. He said just
as many say towns do better when they get their town , planning
and zoning boards all into one room to share concerns, so
regions do better when all such entities start looking at
shared problems, and resources, on a joint basis.
After listing a handful of grants currently available to local
towns, Elliott spoke about New York’s current push beyond
simple employment towards quality of life jobs, and an emphasis
on supporting small businesses. And coming up with development
ideas from within the community itself.
“What you really want to sell is your sustainability,”
he said. “You are a recognizable region… Instead
of fighting against things, you need to start fighting for
what you want.”
NYC Department of Environmental Conservation official Bill
Rudge followed with an information session on scenic byways,
noting that money was available within the DEC should the
local towns want to pursue such designation. He pointed out
how a number of towns in Southern Ulster county had formed
a Shawangunks Byway, as had communities along the Delaware
River. Hunter was doing the same… there was plenty of
But did such designation mean a new web of regulations, folks
asked? Some brought up past uses of the scenic moniker to
fight unwanted development. Others talked about local antipathy
towards the idea.
Rudge said designations did not incur regulations. But later
he and others acknowledged that actual designations are made
based on the creation of corridor management plans judged
competitively, and that viable means of such management to
ensure, say, a Route 28 scenic byway not becoming lined with
self-storage units often involved regulation. Or at least
means of avoiding such problems.
Others spoke about ways in which some areas, such as Route
28 farther north in the Adirondacks, created patchworks of
regulated and unregulated sections, since the road ran through
the middle of business communities there.
“All this is is a vision, but it has to be drawn up
at a local level,” said Catskill Center Planner Peter
Manning, who chaired the recent session at his organization’s
offices in Arkville. “It’s another tool, another
shared project to look at. Education will be key…”
“Just the initiation of a byway dialogue can have impacts,”
added DEC Regional Director Willi Janeway, noting the importance
of single regional voices in bringing funding to areas like
the 28 corridor.
Everyone agreed to continue the talks and move the Scenic
Byway idea ahead.
Later, talk about progress with the resuscitation of local
railroad corridors, and rail trails, yielded further commentary
from Elliott when asked what the state was thinking about
trains these days, given the rising cost of gas.
“Remember, the whole rail trail idea goes back to the
creation of national security corridors during the Eisenhower
era,” he said, noting how the nation’s old rail
lines were to be preserved, as at least real estate, for possible
renewal in the event of an eventual disaster. “There
are lots of studies now involving mass transit, but also lots
of questions where funding would come from to bring it back.”
The news brought quiet smiles to most faces. But then the
old worry lines of concern.
New At CCCD
After a nationwide search, Lisa Rainwater has been named the
new Executive Director of the Arkville-based regional nonprofit,
The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. Formerly
the Policy Director at Riverkeeper in Tarrytown, Rainwater
will be introduced to members of the organization at The Catskill
Center Annual Meeting on July 19th and take the helm in early
“I am pleased to hear that The Catskill Center has selected
Lisa Rainwater as its new Executive Director,” said
Congressman Maurice Hinchey of the 22nd Congressional District.
“For years, she has been a strong community leader in
the Hudson Valley. It is exciting to see that someone of great
talent and background will now be working on behalf of Catskill
communities by continuing the outstanding work of The Catskill
Center at this momentous time in the region.”
Rainwater’s journey to The Catskill Center began in
the Midwestern farm community where she grew up. Coming from
three generations of dairy farmers who instilled in her a
passion for community and place and an innate connection to
the land, she fondly remembers fishing and hunting with her
father, grandfathers and great grandfathers. There she also
experienced first hand the struggles rural communities face
to survive economically and the need for people to work together
to maintain their community character during changing economic
realities and development pressures.
Infused with these core values, she went on to undergraduate
and graduate degrees in psychology, sociology and cultural
studies, and taught at the Universities of Oregon and Wisconsin.
Most recently she has served as the Policy Director for the
Hudson Valley group Riverkeeper, where she has worked since
2003 leading their Indian Point Campaign with a broad-based
Rainwater has recently joined her new husband in his Catskills
home where she found immediate connection and inspiration
in the mountains and valleys of the region. “I am so
fortunate to call the Catskills home.
“At a time when many feel isolated from one another,
the Catskill region offers us strong communities and shared
values,” she said recently. “Whether it’s
a family spending an evening at the foothills of Overlook
Mountain, children hearing tall tales from their grandparents,
or local farmers producing bounty from the region’s
soil, we hold one thing in common – to preserve and
uplift the powerful sense of place that is the Catskill region.”
Interim Executive Director Deborah Meyer DeWan who is The
Catskill Center’s Director of Policy and Program Development
noted, “We’re thrilled to welcome Lisa to the
Catskills and to The Catskill Center at this momentous time
in our nearly 40-year history.”
The worsening economy, including how rising fuel costs will
effect those already scrimping to keep up with worsening forceasts
next winter, surfaced in a new regional economic report as
well as a county forum on local poverty last week.
The Marist College Bureau of Economic Research released a
report that found that despite a growing population throughout
the Hudson Valley, there are fewer and fewer jobs to go around
in the region forcing more people to find work outside the
region. People in Columbia and Greene counties are gravitating
toward the Capital region and residents of the Lower Hudson
Valley are finding jobs in New York City, the report said,
with Ulster residents caught in between.
“We are going to see more of an integration with New
York City and therefore with New York City prices, and I think
that is basically the future, unless there are monumental
changes and I don’t know what they would be,”
said Bureau Director Christy Huebner Caridi, who authored
The report found that employment gains in the service sector
compensated for the ongoing loss in manufacturing jobs, but
service sector jobs are lower paying – by 62 percent
– than the average wages in manufacturing.
Across the region, the bureau also found the cost of buying
a home is rising faster than income. At year-end 2007, the
average selling price of an existing home in the region was
more than $601,000, or 126 percent above the national average,
and more than 73 percent above the average for New York State.
Average wages ranged from a high of $58,000 in Westchester
to $28,000 in Greene County.
“The consequence of this mismatch between income and
housing costs is increased outward migration – 28,653
households left the Hudson Valley since 2000,” said
Caridi, who added that early indications for 2008 are that
the economy won’t get better, but in fact, may get worse.
Meanwhile, at a recent panel discussion on poverty in Ulster
County held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in
Ulster, local experts in the field worried about what was
“I have greater fear for the coming winter than I have
ever had for the people of Ulster County,” said Michael
Berg, executive director of the human services agency Family
of Woodstock, who shared the panel with Rev. Darlene Kelley
of the Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church, which runs
a soup kitchen in Midtown Kingston, and Roberto Rodriguez,
Ulster County’s commissioner of social services.
“We are looking to what I believe will be a very challenging
fall and winter,” Rodriguez said, referencing strains
on the local heat assistance program he helps run. “The
challenge is that we may have more need than we have allocation
for. We’re seeing caseloads going up.”
“The impact of the cost of housing, utilities, gasoline,
the cost of food and the cost of health care are all hitting
at the same time, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign
of relief coming from the major governments,” Berg said.
“We have a lot of people that were rent-burdened three
years ago. How are they going to survive this year?”
“There’s an increasing working poor class in this
country,” added Kelley. “If you’re working
40, 50, 60 hours a week without benefits, and you can’t
feed your family, there’s a problem.”
Back From Iraq
Seventy-nine Army National Guard soldiers and dozens of their
family members celebrated their return from Iraq in March,
and late last month they were honored for their service overseas
when the New York State Army National Guard paid tribute to
Kingston’s 104th Military Police Battalion with a ceremony
at the Kingston Armory.
The detachment’s mission had been the security of Camp
Bucca, one of the largest operating bases and the largest
detention facility in Iraq. The battalion coordinated and
commanded nearly 1,600 security patrols in the Southern Iraq
region and $14 million in base defense improvements.
Guest speaker at the ceremony Congressman Maurice Hinchey
applauded the unit’s efforts. “The National Guard
operations across the country are very important to all of
us. These people are great. They do a lot of very good work.”
Hinchey focused his speech on increasing the efficiency of
veterans’ healthcare plans for both physical and mental
health. He noted a bill that is currently in Congress that
will streamline the application process and get veterans quicker
State Senator William Larkin also welcomed the unit home.
“There was not a man lost in action. That tells you
the unit was well trained and that they understood their mission.
Everyone looked out for everyone else. I’m very proud
of this unit.”
The Ulster County Office of Employment and Training (OET)
has announced that applications for the 2008 Summer Youth
Employment Program are now available. This program will provide
approximately 100 eligible youth in the County with a summer
The program is scheduled to begin on July 07 and run for 7
weeks. Youth will be paid $7.15 per hour for up to 28 hours
per week. Jobs will be at public and private not-for- profit
agencies throughout Ulster County. To be eligible for the
program youth must be Ulster County residents and have family
income that is at or below 200% of Federal poverty income
standards, and be between the ages of 14 – 20 years
Applications are available at the YMCA, 507 Broadway - Kingston
and 257 Main St.- New Paltz; the YWCA, 209 Clinton Ave, Kingston;
Ellenville, Highland, New Paltz, Onteora, Rondout, Saugerties,
and Wallkill high school offices; all town halls; youth commission
offices in Marbletown, New Paltz, Rochester, Rosendale, and
Pine Hill; Ulster BOCES and the Boys & Girls Club of Kingston
Additional information is available by calling the Office
of Employment and Training at (845) 340-3170.
Five local high school seniors received the Catskill Heritage
Alliance (CHA) writing prize at graduation ceremonies held
by the four area high schools. The winners were Anthony Mincarelli,
Andes, with a futuristic science-fiction view of his putative
great-great grandson considering the 21st century generations
from now; Brandon LaBumbard, Margaretville, writing about
a life-changing experience gained in a summer naturalism program;
Alyssa Fane, Roxbury, with an essay about how wide a world
one can find in a small town; Hannah Connelly, Onteora, in
a rhythmically lyrical exploration of what the Catskills means;
and Meaghan Harper, Onteora, with a richly poetic two-part
evocation of the harshness and magnificence of a Catskills
The prize, open only to graduating seniors, is awarded for
the best written entry on the subject of My Catskill Heritage.
Typically, only one prize is awarded per school, but this
year, says Susanna Margolis, who chaired the CHA’s jury
committee, “there were so many entries from Onteora,
and the quality of the entries was so excellent across the
board, that we felt we needed to take a more proportional
approach. In truth, we were sorry we could not award more
prizes this year.”
Each student received $100 in scholarship money and a copy
of A Catskill Woodsman, Mike Todd’s Story, published
by Purple Mountain Press.
The winning entries can be read on the CHA website, http://www.catskillheritage.org
The flexible flow management program that is now being used
to manage the water releases from the three New York City
reservoirs on the upper Delaware River must be changed immediately
to release more water into the river, according to three organizations
that say the high water temperatures could kill off fish.
Trout Unlimited, Theodore Gordon Flyfishers and The Delaware
River Foundation say with the current amount of water being
released from the Cannonsville reservoir into the West Branch
of the Delaware, water temperatures get too high and could
be lethal to some trout. Ron Urban of Port Ewen, chairman
of New York State Trout Unlimited, said more water can be
“Our modeling shows there is plenty of water still available
if we can release up to 350 cubic feet per second or even
450 CFS under a new proposal we are working with,” he
said. “This would greatly improve the habitat and protect
it, even in the hot weather. There’s plenty of water
and as we know, the reservoirs right now are around 93 percent
capacity with the Rondout about 96-97 percent.”
Resistance to increased water releases come principally from
New York City, say the environmental and sporting groups.
In recent years, the same entities pushed for less releases
into the Esopus Creek, where added water was raising turbidity
levels to dangerous levels for localized trout populations.
Plant A Row…
The vegetable growing season is in full swing, and the Master
Gardener program at Cornell Extension is looking for gardeners
to help feed people who are hungry in Ulster County by joining
their Plant A Row for the Hungry (PAR) campaign. They are
asking vegetable gardeners to grow a little extra this season
to help feed the hungry right here in Ulster County.
Fresh produce can be dropped off at the following designated
locations: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County,
10 Westbrook Lane, Kingston between the hours of 8:30am and
4:30pm, Monday – Friday; Family of New Paltz, 51 North
Chestnut Street, New Paltz between the hours of 10:00am and
5:00pm, Monday – Thursday; or the Caring Hands Soup
Kitchen, Clinton Avenue in Kingston at the Methodist Church
between the hours of 9:00am and 2:00pm, Monday – Thursday.
All donations should be washed prior to delivery.
This season’s co-sponsors include The Garden Writers
Association, The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program,
and Eat Smart New York.
For further information, call the Master Gardener Program
at Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County at 845-340-3990
or visit http://counties.cce.cornell.edu/ulster.
New INDIE Funds
The Woodstock Town Board recently pledged to help fund Onteora’s
Indie program - which, in recent years, has provided services
under a contract with the district –in its use of media
arts to help students become more engaged in academics.
Onteora school district officials have credited the 9-year-old
program with improving attendance and academic scores, but
support from Board of Education members has been mixed during
annual district budget discussions. Indie program officials
say the organization has a $220,000 budget to handle referrals
for about 115 high school students throughout the county,
including 85 in the Onteora district. Of the budget, the Onteora
district provides about $145,000 annually.
Town Board members voted unanimously to determine if a donation
could be made to the organization and suggested including
Indie programs as part of the town’s recreation budget.
Former county legislator Tara Sullivan has been busy of late
making plans for next year’s anticipated statewide Hudson-Fulton-Champlain
Quadricentennial Celebration, marking anniversaries for the
Half Moon’s voage of discovery up the river later given
its captain’s name, similar explorations down the great
northern lake given its explorer’s name, and Robert
Fulton’s inaugural voyage in a steamboat.
Among events being outlined for funding in Ulster County,
with the state receiving $45,000 to offset its own costs currently
earmarked at $70,000, will be a countywide tulip bulb giveaway
(100,000 bulbs have already been purchased), a fall planting
day, an international conference at SUNY New Paltz featuring
Dutch scholars ,and a three-site site historical exhibit and
series of special events featuring historical documents and
artifacts. There also will be various exhibits and performances,
a Dutch artist-in-residence/exchange program, a Native American
Conference and Ceremony (Kingston and New Paltz), an African-American
cultural event (Kingston), and participation in Video Legacy,
Poster Legacy and Publication Legacy projects whose details
are currently being worked out.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey, meanwhile, announced that he
has secured initial approval of $1 million in federal funding
for the celebration, for which he anticipates large numbers
of visitors to the region next year. “
We think we will be attracting a substantial number of people
from other places around the United States and from other
places around the world, particularly from Europe, and particularly
Western Europe, from the Netherlands, Great Britain, France
and elsewhere,” he said.
Of the $492,000 Hinchey has secured in federal funds so far,
the money will go toward teaching about the quadricentennial,
a trail system, posters, banners along the Hudson, a maritime
project and money for the Hudson Valley and Champlain Valley.
The largest chunk of the money — $152,000 – will
be used for the Canal Schooner Lois McClure’s Voyage
to Quebec City, Canada later this year.
Not For Oil?
The Iraqi government has set itself to award a series of key
oil contracts to British and US companies, fuelling criticism
that the Iraq war was largely about oil. The successful companies
are expected to include Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and
Total. Non-Western companies, notably those in Russia, lost
The technical support contracts will give the companies access
to Iraq’s vast untapped oil fields. Oil production in
Iraq is at its highest level since the invasion in 2003. The
Iraqi government wants to increase production by 20%, as the
country has an estimated 115bn barrels of crude reserves.
The US state department was involved in drawing up the contracts,
providing template contracts and suggestions on drafting,
but were not involved in the “final” decisions,
US officials said.
Democratic senators last week lobbied that the awarding of
the contracts should be delayed until after the Iraqi parliament
passes laws on the distribution of oil revenues.
Last year Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal
Reserve said: “Everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely
Meanwhile, the US army has told of errors, poor planning and
complacency among its own top commanders in a warts-and-all
official history of the steep descent into violence that followed
the Iraq war. In a 696-page account, army historians fault
military and political leaders for focusing excessively on
toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003 without looking towards a
broader transition towards a stable society. Actions by the
former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the top US commander
during the Iraq invasion, Tommy Franks, are singled out in
the study, which was delayed for six months to allow senior
army figures to review drafts.
“The transition to a new campaign was not well thought
out, planned for and prepared for before it began,”
says the history, On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign,
published by an internal army think tank called the contemporary
operations study team. “The assumptions about the nature
of the post-Saddam Iraq on which the transition was planned
proved to be largely incorrect.”
The blunt language used in the army’s historical study
is effectively endorsed by the force’s present chiefs.
The document is based on 200 interviews with participants
including the present chief of staff, General George Casey.
From July 18 through 20, art lovers will have the rare opportunity
to visit more than 30 Shandaken-based artists in their homes
and studios, as well as many more in galleries and shops.
The one a kind event stretches from Friday to Sunday and features
plenty of time in between to let visitors take in all the
rest that the town has to offer, organizers say.
The Arts Festival begins at 7 PM on Friday with an artist
slide show, talk & snacks at the Town of Shandaken Historical
Museum. The heart of the festival happens Saturday and Sunday
from 11-5, when you can tour over 30 artist’s studios,
starting at either The Arts Upstairs Gallery in Phoenicia
or the Pine Hill Community Center, both of which have art
and fine crafts on view.
To close the eveing on Saturday there will be an art opening
and free buffet at The Arts Upstairs gallery starting at 6
PM. Also on Saturday. At Mt.Tremper Arts, will be the group
exhibition SIGNS and a dance installation from 8-10 PM followed
by a dance party with klezmer/punk band Golem from 10 PM till
midnight. Tickets are $20.
Participating Artists Include: Barneche Designs, Joel Benton,
Durga Bernhard, Michael Boyer, Susie Brown, John Byer, Dave
Channon, Margarete de Soleil, Ric Dragon, Wendy Drolma, Bronson
Eden, Lynn Fliegel, Dana Fraser, Jim Gardner, Chip Gallagher,
Shalom Gorewitz, Wendy Grossman, Hot Stuff Blown Glass, Peggy
Kay, John Kilb, James Knight, Dakota Lane, Ken Lovelett, Mt.
Tremper Arts, Naugatuck Narragansett, James Nevin, Margaret,
Gavin and Jesse Owen, Paloma, Christie Scheele, Rita Schwab
and Salvatore Scalisi, Judith Singer, Michelle Spark, Faye
Storms, Anique Taylor, Richard Treitner, Peter Wye and Mighty
A block grant of $7.7 million to develop a community wastewater
management system for the Greene County hamlet of Ashland
was approved by the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) Board
of Directors on June 24. Lamont Engineers of Cobleskill was
authorized to conduct the pre-construction phase of the project,
involving final design of a small diameter gravity sewer with
a sand filter wastewater treatment plant. Each property in
the yet-to-be-formed septic district will have its own septic
tank where solids will be collected. Liquid effluent will
then be piped to the plant, the location of which has not
yet been determined. Lamont will also map the sewer district
and compile a sewer use law for approval by the Ashland Town
Board, write bid documents, and develop operation and maintenance
plans and contracts.
In other business, two Delaware County projects were approved
for funding under the Stream Corridor Protection Program to
mitigate or correct conditions that present an imminent and
substantial danger to people or property in populated areas,
including a $100,000 award to stabilize and prevent further
erosion of Delaware & Ulster Rail Ride property along
the Bushkill in Arkville.
The CWC Board of Directors also approved two low-interest
business loans. Carrier Enterprises (Lina and Lubov Lerentracht)
will receive a $300,000 loan to complete renovations to the
former Liberty Hospital which has been transformed into a
135-bed adult living center, medical offices and a day care
center. Donald and Marcella Hasenflue will utilize a $155,000
REDI Loan to help purchase property at 4162 Route 209, Stone
Ridge. The couple will open Cherries on Top Luncheonette and
Ice Cream Bar in the commercial space currently occupied by
Nineteen European scientists have launched an appeal to sensitize
public opinion to the risks cell phone use could pose to the
brain, notably for the young.. The scientists, mostly oncologists,
believe the risk is too great to be incurred.
“We’re in the same situation today as we were
50 years ago with asbestos and tobacco,” notes Thierry
Bouillet. “Either we do nothing and accept the risk,
or we admit that there are a cluster of worrying scientific
The scientists agree on two things: there’s no formal
proof of the cell phone’s harmfulness, but a risk exists
that it promotes the appearance of cancers in cases of long-term
A Swedish study shows that the risk of having a cancerous
tumor on the side where the telephone is used doubles in ten
years. The American BioInitiative report adds that there is
also a significant risk of increase in infantile leukemia
and neurological problems (including Alzheimers).
In a list of ten precautions to take they ask that parents
of children under twelve forbid their children all cell phone
access, except for emergencies.
The 2008 Pure Catskills Guide to Farm Fresh Products, a regional
resource for buying local food, is now available as a free
60-page, full-color guide listing nearly 200 local farms,
farmers markets, retailers, restaurants and community organizations,
as well as a searchable directory available online at www.purecatskills.com.
To have a printed guide mailed to you, contact Challey Comer
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (607) 865-7090.
Pure Catskills is a Buy Local Campaign that aims to educate
people in the community about opportunities to support local
farms and forestry businesses across the Catskill region.
Communities in Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan
and Ulster counties are served by the Pure Catskills campaign.
For more information, visit www.purecatskills.com or www.catskillwoodnet.org.