I have often marveled at the levels of misunderstanding laid out passionately
in these letters to the editor. To stake out a position and be able
to coherently marshal the facts to support and advance that position
is an art and a joy to read. The letter from Carol Shalaew representing
Jen Holz as a writer whose "column
is inappropriate for your newspaper and especially for the eyes of
innocent and impressionable children" strikes me as about as
far from my long time appreciation of Jen's writing as possible.
Jen's commitment to children's appreciation and understanding of the
care and compassion for animals is beyond question. I can assure you
that Jen Holz supports and promotes animal responsibility at a level
that has made a real and profound impact on my family through her
devotion to animal care education, especially the 4H Cloverbud program.
I'm sure that Carols work as a "rehabber" is noble and of
real service to the community and I'm sorry that she wasn't able to
appreciate the nuance of Jen's piece ("Kitty" Phoenicia
Times July 16th). The level of antagonism in her response however
makes Carol's misunderstanding that much harder to understand.
Darnit Jen, you made me cry again! Jennifer Holz's columns in this
paper have been inspirational, contemplational, and downright profound
for the past several years. Every time I read one I learn something
about farming or animal husbandry. But frequently I learn something
about human nature, about the ties that bind, about that spirit inside
us all that makes our heart pound or our eyes tear, about my self,
I wrote that paragraph on July 17 2009. saving it to find the words
to finish it. Now I find myself defensive of this pure hearted, compassionate
person who was recently attacked in this letters column for that same
article. The writer of that letter obviously doesn't know Jennifer
or has not read her columns carefully. Yes, we all love innocent creatures.
But nature takes it's course. Should we call DEC every time our cat
kills a vole, or a mouse, or a rat? Maybe they're not so cute, so
don't bother. Maybe they are beyond saving. Jennifer Holz is the most
caring, but realistic person I know. She raises chickens and sheep
and goats... and children ( one her own, and many 4H'rs). Last year
a bear and foxes killed most all her chickens. Please read her column
of July 16 again and feel her sympathy and pain for that poor bunny.
Cats are predators. Humans are predators. Get used to it. That's life.
This letter didn't turn out the way it started or I intended it. Read
the first paragraph again please, and keep that. Forget the rest.
The Jen Holz I know and read is one of the most loving and principled
woman I know. Her commitment to her family, community, and friends
is, without question, remarkable in this cynical age. Keep her columns
Stephen H. Foreman
West Kill, NY
I am writing to tell you that I was deeply offended by the letter
recently published written by Carol Shalaew. It was highly inaccurate
and misleading. I moved from Mt. Tremper to Rural PA several years
ago but read your paper weekly and have always totally enjoyed and
been enlightened by the columns written by Jennifer Holz. Her columns
have always been thoughtful, knowledgeable, clearly written and obviously
written with a great deal of emotion and sincerity. I am certain that
the vast majority of your readers feel the same way. It would be a
shame if Ms. Holz ever decided to stop contributing to your wonderful
paper as a result of a few uninformed letters such as that written
by Ms. Shalaew.
I'm writing in response to the delusional letter by Carol Shalaew
about Jen Holz's column in your last issue of the paper. First of
all, she totally missed the boat on what the column was even about.
It was a beautifully written story with a cat and its prey as a metaphor
for life and death. Ms. Shalaew completely twisted Jen's story to
fit her agenda. There is nobody that loves animals more then Jen.
She and my son take loving care of at least 60 different animals each
day on our farm (sheep, goats, dogs, cats, chickens etc) and the occasional
baby bird that falls out of the nest that they rescue and take care
of as well. During lambing season, there is usually a bottle fed lamb
living in our house. She advises people all over the country on how
to take care of their farm animals, She has gone out in the middle
of the night to help a friend's animals in need or to bring them an
emergency antibiotic. As a 4H volunteer leader, Jen Holz opens her
heart and home to our Phoenicia 4H kids on a weekly basis for Dog
Club, Vet Science, regular meetings and county fair preparation. She
takes great pride in mentoring our youth in different aspects of farm
life and animal husbandry. The kids have witnessed the beauty of birth
and the sadness of a stillborn. These are realities of farm life.
Carol Shalaew suggested that Jen not be able to continue writing her
column anymore because the content is too graphic and scary for our
children. Does this mean we should also ban James Herriot's book "All
Creatures Great and Small" from the school libraries? Our kids
are stronger for this dose of reality and knowing where their food
comes from. The only thing that brought tears to our son's eyes was
returning from a great winning week at the Ulster Country Fair full
of blue ribbons and pride, only to open the Phoenicia Times and read
Carol Shalaew's hurtful letter about his mother.
. As far as cats go, they hunt instinctively both inside and outside
the house. Ms. Shalaew want us to keep our cat inside. We attempt
to do that because we have many predators which are dangerous to them.
We have lost a cat to a predator. However, our cats kill a lot more
mice in the house and the barn then any rodents outside. I have a
question for Carol. Is a mouse's life more precious that a rabbit's
life? Should we call you the next time our cat has caught a mouse
in the house? What about the countless mice caught in traps throughout
our area each day? You suggested we call you or the DEC. I really
doubt the DEC will come out to take care of a mouse. Putting a collar
on a cat is dangerous. We almost had one of our cats strangled by
getting her breakaway collar caught on a tree limb. She was dangling
from the tree. The internet is full of such stories and warnings.
I do respect what a Wildlife Rehabilitator does, however I don't respect
or appreciate the misguided and hypocritical written attack on my
wife. Lastly, Carol Shalaew should check her facts and read Jen's
columns more carefully, Jen has never killed or written anything about
killing her goats. And Jen's last name is
spelled Holz, not Holtz.
Woodland Valley, NY
I don't agree with the philosophy that anyone who wants to can just
"vent" in the paper. Good journalism doesn't mean giving
slander and hate the same space as intelligent writing.
I think that an intelligent, or literate observation/criticism might
be welcomed, but this was very much a hate letter. Not only did this
letter have quite a few lies, but it ruined our day and took up alot
of energy. After all that we do for the town, the kids and our world,
I don't see why we deserve this.
Josh Holz, Age 12
Woodland Valley, NY
The fate of the health care system seems to be doing a balancing act.
Such a shame that the powers against reform have had so much of our
money to oppose the establishment of a single payer, universal health
care reform which would just about cut in half what is being paid
per capita for health care insurance in the U.S. today yet fails to
cover so many millions. We know that many millions of Americans want
genuine reform but there are so many millions who don't know what
is happening and believe those purveyors of private, costly programs
which make a profit with an enterprise that is viral to all and should
provide huge profits to no one. We all can contact our senators and
Congressman to support the reform.
Paul Rakov was just named director of business development and marketing
at the Ulster County Development Corp. (UCDC). Mr. Rakov spent years
as spokesperson lobbying for Crossroads Ventures, LLC, the company
behind the controversial Belleayre Resort real estate development
proposal. Mr. Rakov’s appointment raises questions about the
appearance of a lobbying/government agency revolving door.
It could appear that he has gone from aggressively lobbying Ulster
County elected officials, employees and agency board members on behalf
of his former employers (Dean Gitter, Spotted Dog, Emerson Inn, Crossroads,
etc.) including UCDC and UCIDA who control grants, tax abatements,
PILOT’s etc., to being an employee of an agency his former employers
want something from.
No one begrudges Mr. Rakov a job—assuming he was the best candidate.
But to reassure the public Mr. Rakov should be instructed to recuse
himself completely from any and all conversations or meetings having
to do with his former clients, or the proposed Belleayre Resort for
which he lobbied so aggressively. Anything less would underscore the
appearance of revolving-door government favoritism. UCDC Executive
Director Lance Matteson, also CEO of UCIDA, should ensure that Mr.
Rakov’s efforts do not favor his former clients and their private
investors' interests at the expense of taxpayer interests, or the
interests of other, less well-connected businesses and industries.
The following was recently sent to Dr. Leslie Ford, Supreintendent
of the Onteora Central School District...
The Onteora Central School District certainly has become a lightening
rod for dissention, disruption, scandal and criticism. Of course the
equal opportunity contributing groups within the District are the
School Board [and members] and District management [all of you incl.
Office crew]. A lightening rod is that negative point that attracts
a destructive high voltage positive charge.
How dare anyone in the District Office or on the District Board with
any responsibility not return a legitimate inquiring phone call to
any taxpayer or resident of the District? It seems the Trustees are
as perplexed as the community members. Why no written response or
public [Olive Press] statement? It must be that old police adage,
“when you are explaining, you are losing. Good thinking, Dr.
I am referring to folks who desired an explanation as to whose brilliant
idea it was to have the school give “shot”, er; double
shot glasses to the HS graduates at their prom celebration. I understand
the “gift” in 2008 was a glass “goblet” for
wine and brandy while for 2007 it was a glass beer “stein”.
Someone stated these items of “memorabilia” were not paid
for by the [District] tax payers. Pray tell, Dr. Ford; what group
or individual did pay for them? Then before distributing these “Christmas”
like gifts why did no one in the chain of authority or command classify
them as “unfit” for teenagers below the legal [alcohol
consumption] age. True; they were empty. So, who’s got the juice?
I am tempted to apply for a position on the District Board but if
seated I can think of no better graduaton gift next year than a pornographic
DVD or a “Drugs for Dummies” manual.
Now, let’s see. What would the Kindergarten kiddie-poos appreciate
prior to entering first grade? Their graduation is an extravaganza
To be sure there are parents who were also asleep. But then, this
was a well kept secret. Even MADD was unaware. Too bad.
Glenn T. Anderson
Global warming proponents use false temperature readings.
For many years, thousands of scientists and other technical people
have stated that humans do not cause global warming. Nature does.
The official record of temperatures in the USA comes from a network
of 1,221 climate-monitoring stations overseen by the National Weather
Service. Anthony Watts, a 25-year broadcast meteorology veteran, recruited
a team of more than 650 volunteers to visually inspect and photograph
more than 860 of these stations. They were shocked to find that 89%
stations failed to meet the requirement that stations must be 100
feet or more away from artificial heating, radiating, and reflecting
Even worse, they found major gaps in the data record that were filled
in with data from nearby sites. Their conclusion was that the U.S.
temperature record is unreliable and should not be used to promote
unsubstantiated global warming theories. Much more information is
available at www.surfacestations.org.
Richard and Gloria Hampton
Dear Editor, The Resource Center for Accessible Living, as a non-profit,
community based service and advocacy organization run by and for people
with any type of disability, is pleased to see three, new insurance
reform bills pass the New York State Legislature. One new bill extends
COBRA coverage from eighteen to thirty six months for workers who
are laid off, spouses that become separated from the worker, workers
who become disabled and children of workers who are no longer dependant.
This extra time allows workers and their families a chance to find
a job that provides health insurance. Another bill provides dependents
the opportunity to purchase coverage from the parent’s plan
after reaching the age of 18 until they are 29, become married or
can be covered under another employee health plan. The children are
eligible to pay for coverage under their parent’s plan even
if they are no longer dependent. A third bill contains a number of
new protections. It requires insurers and HMOs to provide healthcare
providers with 90 days notice of any adverse reimbursement change,
and allows the provider 30 days to terminate his contract with the
insurer or HMO. It requires insurers and HMOs to pay claims submitted
electronically within 30 days. It prohibits insurers and HMOs from
denying claims because they are coordinating the claim with another
insurance company. It gives health care providers at least 120 days
to submit claims. It prohibits insurers and HMOs from denying claims
from participating hospitals because the provider is non- participating,
or from participating providers at non-participating hospitals. It
provides for one day or 72 hour utilization review for home health
care coverage following hospital stays. These healthcare bills are
important for New Yorkers because they provide for more healthcare
availability. We urge the governor to sign these bills into law. Fran
Wishnick, Advocacy Director CARA Kingston, NY Dear Editor, I would
like to take this opportunity to notify seniors that New York State
has increased the prices for sporting licenses for the 2009-10 season.
One of the major changes is that the senior license age requirement
has been increased from 65 to 70 years old. This means that the seniors
who fall below the age of 70 will have to pay for a regular license.
The price is $29 for fishing or $47 for sportsman license, versus
the current $5. This is why I am strongly suggesting to people who
fall into the 65-69 yr. age category purchase a lifetime fishing or
sportsman license for $50 while they qualify. After Sept. 30, a person
will have to be 70 years old and the same lifetime license will cost
If this reminder is helpful, please visit your friendly neighborhood
town or city clerk’s office for further assistance. We give
great service. Jason Cosenza
Ulster Town Clerk
Dear Editor, I have noticed now more than before that when people
sign their name it is completely and unbearably illegible. In school
you were taught to write neatly and even to sign your name neatly.
However, it must have went in one ear, out the other, because people
sign their names however they want. While at work, I see a lot of
people's signatures and they are simply little loops or a loop with
a line or dash attatched. That is clearly not a way to sign your name.
It is generally, though there are some women, men that do it. And
if you pay close attention, the higher up in social status you go,
the sloppier the signature is. Doctors do the whole loop thing all
the time. Do people sign their names like this becauss they feel more
important? Sedcondly, do you think the way people that sign their
name with a loop or a line sign their social security card or tax
information with such a mark? Quite frankly, it should be banned or
unacceptable to sign like thatm, especially for banks or legal documents.
While lots of people would argue that they do this because they don't
have time to do it any more neatly, it only takes a second for somebody
to steal your identity. Honestly, how hard is it to have your signature
forged when your signature is only a circle? My 3 year old cousin
could forge your signature! Well, I would just like to know your opinion.
Or do you sign your name with a circle or a loop as well? Trevor Myers
The Watershed Advocate the newsletter of the Catskill Watershed Corp.
in its recent edition of Summer 2009 had a front page article about
the opening of the Cannonsville Reservoir for recreational boating.
This was a positive article about a great step forward by NYCDEP.
I do want to comment on a specific point in the article, “there
have been no enforcement problems thus far, and only a small amount
of trash has been generated”.
I would like it be known that when a number of Catskill Mountain Club
members, including myself, went for a paddle on the Cannonsville about
a month ago we noted a very large amount of accumulated trash around
the banks of the reservoir. It was obvious that this trash had accumulated
over the years since the reservoir was built and caused by natural
flooding events. Should not NYC attend to this unsightly and potentially
polluting mess? We, Catskill Mountain Club, Tremperskill Hunting and
Fishing Club amongst other local groups have participated in a number
of clean ups around the Pepacton. I believe that it would be incumbent
for NYCDEP to initiate their own clean ups in the future and on their
A final comment, which I did not mention in my letter praising the
opening of the Cannonsville, is the fact that we, all five paddlers
did remove a lot of flotsam that we encountered and piled it neatly
for appropriate pick up and removal at the launch site. Included in
this was a plastic gallon jug half filled with used motor oil. I do
hope that NYCDEP does recognize the fact that canoe and kayak paddlers
do not generate trash and are not prone to discarding trash on the
waters that they cherish and enjoy recreating on.
Again, thank you NYCDEP and the others involved in providing this
Jack McShane, Board Member
Catskill Mountain Club
To the people of the town of Shandaken and to our regular visitors
as well, The Rotary International Club of Phoenicia wishes to thank
all those who supported our 20th Annual Krazy Quacker Duck Race held
on the Stony Clove Stream in Phoenicia on Sunday, July 26th.
Your participation and assistance was significant to the success of
this event. All of the raised funds go to our club's commitment to
local community and international needs. A sample list of how those
funds are used is attached.
We hope that all who attended enjoyed the afternoon of community fun
Congratulations to those who were the lucky winners and we look forward
to an even bigger and better afternoon of fun next year.
Thank you again.
Rotary Club of Phoenicia
What's wrong with THIS picture?:
In place of the large clump of monarda I had planted for the hummingbirds
in my roadside garden on Silver Hollow Road in Chichester, I found
a hole, a couple of broken stems, and an empty shopping bag.
I have hung the bag from a post at the spot with a sign: "YOU
have stolen food from my hummingbirds, left a hole in my garden, and
left as litter your '100% recycled materials WHOLE FOODS' shopping
bag. Somehow, you don't fit the profile".
Every time I try to make sense of this I am left holding my head in
disbelief: someone who had a 100% recycled materials paper shopping
bag from WHOLE FOODS has just stolen a clump of plants from my garden
and left the bag as litter...
The next day a neighbor reported having seen an older couple in an
expensive dark car pulled up alongside my garden.
As my neighbor approached them, the woman, who now had an armful of
my plants, smiled and got into the car and drove off. She had brought
the bag for the booty and when caught in the act, left as quickly
as possible, not taking the time to put the plants into the bag or
to retrieve it.
This is the third time someone has brazenly stolen plants from my
garden in broad daylight.
I want to ask these people -- who could certainly afford to buy these
plants -- how they rationalize stealing them instead, and especially
from someone who obviously has so much less than they do. And will
they be back for another go at my garden themselves, or will it only
be others just like them?