The popular annual event come to be known as Shandaken Day
is set for this Saturday and organizers promise it to be better
This year the fun plays out in Big Indian Park alongside Route
28 in the Big Indian Hamlet, where all the attractions of
previous incarnations of the celebration will be offered.
But this year, according to organizers, Shandaken Day will
take on a flavor more unique to the hamlets hosting it.
This year the hamlets of Big Indian and Oliverea are being
showcased. To kick things off a new 14 foot tall statue sculpted
from a log in Big Indian will be unveiled at 10AM, the beginning
of the event, in honor of “Winisook” the “Big
Indian” of local lore. The statue will be placed as
a welcoming figure along the RTE. 28 corridor for years to
come. Also, Native American groups attending from throughout
the Hudson Valley will open and close the event with special
ceremonies. Those same groups will also host folk song and
lore of the valley and region all day.
Live music is planned for the entire day, featuring Rayla
Suzan-Hart, Ben Rounds Band and the Earl Pardini Band.
Pride of Shandaken awards will be given to Phoenicia resident
Ruth Houska, known for her volunteer efforts with the Phoenicia
Methodist Churches thrift store, and Former Pine Hill resident
Florence Hamling, a founder of the Pine Hill Community Center.
Hamlet hero awards will be presented posthumously to Laura
and Archie Aley. Jane and John Rossitz and Robert Kalb, known
for their community efforts and political activities, will
receive Hamlet hero awards as well.
Ulster County Area Transit has offered free shuttle service,
in a continuous loop, during the event, from the Big Indian
Park all the way to Slide Mountain and Giant Ledge trailheads.
Local businesses are offering specials including bike riding
and Zip lines (courtesy Catskill Outback Adventures).
There will be an “Epic Bike Race” of 20 miles
(34 for pros) starting at the firehouse at 8:30 AM, a walking
tour of the Rudge home at 10:30 Am (with transportation provided),
an afternoon Fireman’s Tug of War, and plenty of sack,
tube and other kiddy races throughout the day, along with
loads of of food and games, square dancing, and good old country
comfort and charm. Awards are at 4:00 PM.
Shandaken Day will be held rain or shine and ends at 6:00
PM. So just head out Route 28... and be there!
In an effort to streamline the Ulster County budget, County
Executive Michael Hein has said he would offer an early retirement
package to any of the county’s 1,550 CSEA employees
who are eligible. In recent weeks, he made the offer to 31
county employees. Now, he said anyone who may be eligible
may apply for the program and each person will be considered
on a case by case basis.
“We recognize the realities that are facing all municipalities
around New York State. In Ulster County in particular, we
are facing upwards of an $8 million shortfall in sales tax
as well as an additional $4 million increase in retirement
system payments to New York State,” Hein said.
There are 376 employees who are 55 or older and are vested,
making them potentially eligible for the program. Decisions
as to an applicant’s eligibility to retire under the
program will be based on criteria such as the overall needs
of the county and the necessity to backfill the position.
The Central Catskills Collaborative (CCC) will meet this Thursday,
August 27. and begin the development of the Corridor Management
Plan for the nomination of a 50-mile stretch of Route 28 as
a Scenic Byway. The meeting will feature an overview of the
Scenic Byway nomination process, the steps in completing the
plan, and the opportunities for community involvement. An
open discussion will follow.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting, which will be
held at the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development
on Route 28 in Arkville on Thursday, August 27 from 6-8 PM.
Refreshments will be provided. To learn more about Catskill
Regional Planning, please contact Peter Manning at (845) 586-2611
or visit www.catskillcenter.org. For more about the Central
Catskill Collaborative, please visit www.centralcatskills.org/ccc.
The management and drivers at Arthur F. Mulligan, one of Onteora
School District’s transportation contractors, will be
directly addressing school bus safety issues at the upcoming
Olive Day taking place in West Shokan on September 12. One
of their key issues: Parents seem to feel that their obligation
is to get the child to the bus on time, regardless of any
cuts to safety that may ensue.
In a recent press release, the company has announced that
it, “has decided to become pro active in dealing with
this growing problem and has started the AFM S.A.F.E Team.”
This is a group of volunteers organized to provide education
in preventive measures and evacuation training involving accidents,
fire and emergencies along with providing general safety instructions
regarding daily transportation of students. Dave Croswell
is the team leader and says he wants to address the public’s
impatience with school buses, and student behavior while riding
the bus. The goal of the S.A.F.E Team, Croswell said, is to
help parents understand that they play an important role in
their child’s safety while riding the school bus.
“We would appreciate it if parents would remind their
children that any distraction can be disastrous.” He
said, singling out such things as seat hopping and camera
flashes. “The driver is only human and although they
are fully trained and qualified a distraction cannot be ignored
all of the time. All it takes is a split second.”
Visit myyellowschoolbus.com for more information.
And be sure and drive safely…
A $500,000 grant recently announced by Governor David Paterson’s
office brings total home buying and home repair resources
currently available in Ulster County to $1.6 million in direct
spending for the purchase and post purchase re-habilitation
of Ulster County homes. Rural Ulster Preservation Company
officials, who will be administering the funds, believe that
the latest grant announcement plus other resources in-house
will help them top last year’s total investments of
$1.8 million spent for 34 new homeowners and 75 rehabilitated
The Affordable Housing Corporation grant will provide an average
of $20,000 each to approximately 25 homeowners to help cover
down payments, closing costs and post-purchase rehabilitation
projects that might be essential on the homes they are able
to afford. RUCPO Executive Director Kevin O’Connor noted
that “at least 51% of the grant must be spent on the
rehabilitation portion of the equation, which is good not
just for the buyers but for everyone in the county. This helps
to keep our overall housing stock habitable,” he added.
“Something that isn’t always easy in this economy.”
Kathy Germain, Director of RUPCO’s Neighbor Works Home
Ownership Center, agreed with O’Connor and said that
the latest grant would be leveraged with other resources already
available at the center to provide maximum benefit possible
to clients and to the county and with mortgage financing from
Because all of the RUPCO grant programs have different eligibility
requirements, Germain urged everyone who might be interested
to contact RUPCO to review their circumstances. Call 331-9860
or visit www.rupco.org.
Applications for the Town of Olive Senior Recreation Programs
are being accepted from residents 55 and older. Lessons in
Art will be held on Monday’s from 10 to 12 noon at the
Reservoir United Methodist Church in Shokan. Painting supplies
are available. Two exercise classes will be offered: Senior
Mild to Moderate Yoga will be held on Thursday evening, 6:30
to 7:15, and new this fall is a Gentle Stretch, Strength,
and Balance class,which will be less physically demanding
than yoga. It is geared to seniors who wish to stay limber,
improve their balance, and maintain strength, and may have
physical limitations. Many exercises will be from a seated
position. This class is offered on Wednesday mornings, 9 to
10. Both exercise classes will be held at the Olive Free Library,
West Shokan. All classes will start after Labor Day and run
for 15 weeks. The fee for each series of classes is $40 apiece.
For further information contact, Judith Boggess, Art Instructor
at 657-5817, or email email@example.com, and Kathy Carey,
Exercise Instructor may be reached at 657-8028, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Onteora school board will be taking a long hard look at
the problem of class sizes in the district over the next few
months, and acknowledge that one solution may be redistricting.
At an August 18th meeting, many board members as well as some
administrators agreed that the best class size for the district
would between 18 and 22 students. It was noted however, that
in some cases, such as the fifth grade at the Phoenicia School,
there would be 28 come the start of classes next month.
Trustee Dan Spencer pointed out that recent elections have
shown the community wants to keep the three elementary schools
open rather than consolidate students in two schools. One
way to accomplish the goals of reducing class sizes and keeping
all the schools open, he and fellow trustees discussed, is
to redraw district lines through population clusters instead
of municipal borders.
“We seem to have the right amount of kids and the right
amount of buildings,” Spencer said.
It was agreed that the Board would begin taking a look at
possibilities by first accumulating information on district
lines and population, expecting that Dave Moraca, the District’s
director of transportation, will provide the board with maps
and grids so they can start at the September 22nd meeting.
Board president Laurie Osmond said the issue should be examined
from a point of view that puts students first.
“It’s very important that we approach this from
an educational standpoint and how class size affects our kids
and which kids it affects,” she said.
Join On Up!
The Board of Education of the Onteora Central School District
is seeking committee members for the following committees/task
forces: Arts Task Force (created to further interaction between
community members in the arts and our students), Audit (state-mandated,
seeking persons with financial backgrounds), Communications,
Facilities, Green, Policy, as well as the District Health
and Wellness Committee and the District Technology Committee.
Committees generally meet monthly, (the Green Committee has
been meeting twice-monthly), and are task-driven. Committee
members from the 2008/2009 school year are encouraged to re-join
Interested persons are asked to contact the District Clerk:
email@example.com or 845.657.6383 x264
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
has adopted new dam safety regulations following an 18-month
review and revision process, emphasizing and detailing the
responsibilities of dam owners to keep structures in a safe
condition and, to be consistent with the statute, enhance
NYS DEC’s authority to help ensure the responsibilities
are fulfilled. The statutory amendments explicitly authorize
NYS DEC to adopt regulations requiring dam owners to prepare
safety programs including inspections, monitoring, maintenance
and operation, and emergency plans, where failure of the dam
could cause personal injury, substantial property damage or
substantial natural resource damage.
A single paper copy of the regulations, or a single CD of
the entire rule adoption package, are available by writing
firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (518) 402-8151.
Fred Waring of West Shokan first got the idea for his great
new foundation during a trip to Cambodia with his wife Tracey,
in 2001, when they witnessed the needs at one of the troubled
nation’s orphanages. Upon his return Fred began his
grassroots campaign to help the children he saw by soliciting
in-kind and cash donations. In 2005, he then incorporated
The Fred Waring Foundation, Inc., allowing him to expand his
vision to include the construction of a new center and manufacturing
facility using Cambodia’s natural resources to create
products for export. The plan is to offer to employ orphanage
children when they are forced to leave their orphanages at
age 18, so that they can learn a trade, earn wages, have decent
housing and hope for a great future.
Since 2001, Waring, the grandson of the big band-leader, Congressional
Gold Medal recipient, and inventor of the Waring Blender,
has made 3 to 4 trips per year to Cambodia and each time brings
donations of vitamins from GNC and medicines from New York
doctors. The Waring Family has been donating toys, sporting
goods, school supplies, and crafts.
They are currently looking for old laptops to be used in the
classrooms of three different orphanages that house over 500
children and young adults, and in the midst of a fundraising
raffle whose cut-off date is September 21, and whose prizes
include a trip for two to Angkor Wat.
For further information, visit www.fredwaringfoundation.org
Construction has begun on a $1.5 million project to pave 3.5
miles of state Route 28. The project will include milling
and resurfacing state Route 28, beginning at the west side
of the bridge over the Esopus Creek at the state Route 212
intersection, to the east side beyond the bridge over the
Esopus Creek at the state Route 214 intersection.
Daily lane closures are expected with restrictions in place
during peak travel hours.
The contract was awarded to Callanan Industries Inc. of Schenectady
and is being funded under the federal economic stimulus program,
formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
of 2009. The state Department of Transportation has received
$1.1 billion for highway and bridge projects under the stimulus
program, with $167 million of the funding expected to be certified
for Hudson Valley communities.
Construction of this project is expected to be completed in
late December 2009.
End of Season
The Belleayre Music Festival at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center
is closing out its somewhat soggy but still boisterous 2009
season with a pair of upcoming concerts sure to pull a certain
type. On Saturday, August 29, Mary Wilson of The Supremes
will be on hand to sing Motown favorites; while on the following
Saturday, September 5, an ABBA tribute band will capture the
same feeling caught in last year’s film hit, Mamma Mia.
Visit www.belleayre.org for more info. And start counting
down to Octoberfest and more...
Shot In Groin
An early morning struggle on Sunday, August 16 ended in a
gunshot to the groin for one man inside a home on Route 214
in the Shandaken hamlet of Phoenicia. Kyle Manny, 25, was
being treated at Kingston Hospital for his injury, according
to state police at Ulster. Police said Manny was struck in
the groin by one bullet fired from a 9mm semiautomatic handgun
after getting into a fight with another person inside the
residence at state Route 214 in Phoenicia.
During the altercation, the owner of the home, John S. Rymer,
68, armed himself with the handgun, which police said is a
legally registered weapon.
A prepared statement by police states that in the course of
the ensuing altercation one round was discharged and struck
alleged assailant Manny in the groin.
Police said the investigation led to the arrest of Richard
Manny, 27, who had been staying at the residence with Kyle
Manny. The older Manny was charged with criminal mischief
and endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors. Police
said the criminal mischief charge comes due to Manny doing
considerable damage to the home. Further charges against Manny
may occur. As for the endangering the welfare of a child charge,
a child was present in the home at the time of the incident,
The Manny’s were friends of Rymer’s daughter…
The suspect was arraigned in Town of Kingston Court. He was
released without bail. The investigation surrounding the firing
of the weapon by Rymer and the actions of Kyle Manny is continuing,
police said. Should the District Attorney’s office convene
a grand jury and that jury decides that Rymer should be charged,
police said, then charges would be leveled against Rymer.
Flu, Round 2
The global spread of swine flu will endanger more lives as
it speeds up in coming months and governments must boost preparations
for a swift response, the World Health Organization said last
week. There will soon be a period of further global spread
of the virus, and most countries may see swine flu cases double
every three to four days for several months until peak transmission
is reached, said WHO’s Western Pacific director, Shin
“At a certain point, there will seem to be an explosion
in case numbers,” Shin told a symposium of health officials
and experts in Beijing. “It is certain there will be
more cases and more deaths.”
WHO has declared the swine flu strain a pandemic, and it has
killed almost 1,800 people worldwide through last week. International
attention has focused on how the pandemic is progressing in
southern hemisphere countries such as Australia, which are
experiencing winter and their flu season. But it is in developing
countries where the accelerated spread of swine flu poses
the greatest threat as it places underequipped and underfunded
health systems under severe strain, Shin said.
WHO earlier estimated that as many as 2 billion people could
become infected over the next two years - nearly one-third
of the world’s population.
Health officials and drug makers are looking into ways to
speed up production of a vaccine before the northern hemisphere
enters its flu season in coming months. Estimates for when
a vaccine will be available range from September to December.
The annual picnic and general meeting for The Neversink Association
will be Sunday, August 30, at noon on the Meadow across from
Lake Cole at Frost Valley YMCA. The featured speaker is Lisa
Rainwater, Executive Director of The Catskill Center for Conservation
and Development, who will discuss four invasive species, such
as didymo, that threaten the health of the Neversink River
and Valley. The purpose of the organization is to protect
the Neversink River watershed and the conservation of the
flora and fauna of the Upper Neversink Valley. All are welcome
The Hudson Valley took another hit between July 2008 and July
2009 with the loss of 17,900 jobs. The state Labor Department
released the latest figures recently, showing a 2.3 percent
loss in jobs bringing the total number of unemployed to 745,100.
The greatest loss of jobs was in trade, transportation and
utilities, which lost 5,500 jobs, while professional and business
services lost 4,200 and manufacturing shrunk by 4,100 jobs.
The government sector also declined by 400 jobs.
Employment gains were in education and health services, which
picked up 3,700 jobs.
The report noted that the July jobless rate for the region
increased to 7.6 percent from 5.2 percent a year ago, the
largest July over the year increase on record since 1991.
At the same time, reports are also out noting that the weekly
cost of feeding a family of four in Ulster County in the past
weeks was $200.64. That was an increase of $1.65, or one percent,
above the previous survey week, ending August 7.
The Ulster County Consumer Fraud Bureau, which conducts the
surveys, said prices increased primarily because of fewer
sale items in the meat and fish category.
New GI Bill!
SUNY Ulster has been recognized for its policies and outreach
to recruit military veterans and facilitating access to new
Post 9/11 GI bill benefits by G.I. Jobs magazine with the
“Military Friendly School” designation in 2010.
The local college was ranked among the top 15 percent of all
colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide for embracing
America’s veterans as students based on a survey that
reviewed policies, efforts and results of military recruitment.
SUNY Ulster will be listed in the magazine’s “Guide
to Military Friendly Schools” that publishes in September
SUNY Ulster has been conducting informational sessions on
the Post 9/11 GI Bill that went into effect Aug. 1 and provides
financial support for education and housing to eligible veterans.
The bill expands benefits and provides tuition, housing and
book stipends, and tutoring.
SUNY Ulster will conduct workshops on the Post 9/11 GI Bill
on Sept. 14 and Oct. 19, both starting at 10 a.m. at the Dewitt
Library on the Stone Ridge campus; and Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. at
the Business Resource Center in Kingston. College representatives
will be available to discuss programs of study, transfer credits,
VA tuition benefits and campus support services. These events
are free and open to the public.
Meanwhile, it turns out that the successful RISE program at
SUNY Ulster may be going statewide. The collaboration between
the college and the Department of Social Services has been
successful at taking candidates that are eligible for high
school diplomas or GED diplomas and getting them out of the
cycle of dependency in social services and moving them on
into the college format,” he said. Funding for the students
in the program comes from state and federal grants.
For more information, call 687-5022 or visit www.sunyulster.edu.
Rights For All!
A California-based federal judge being asked to declare gay
marriage a fundamental constitutional right has set a January
2010 trial date and denied attempts by gay and conservative
advocacy groups to join the case, already top-heavy with high
About 30 lawyers crowded into a San Francisco courtroom hearing
the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 same-sex
marriage ban recently, a high-risk venture that will set court
policy for years, if it reaches the U.S. Supreme court. Ted
Olson, the lawyer whose Supreme Court arguments put President
George W. Bush in the White House, and David Boies, his opponent
in the 2000 case, joined forces to overturn Prop. 8, arguing
precedents showed they could win.
Gay rights groups had avoided federal court in favor of a
state-by-state battle for fear conservative Supreme Court
justices would deny their cause. A handful of U.S. states,
mostly in the northeast, have allowed same-sex marriage, but
the overwhelming majority forbid it.
In respectful tones, Olson told federal district Judge Vaughn
Walker participation by gay groups and social conservatives
would only slow the case. Walker, clearly eager to focus and
speed arguments, denied the groups’ motions but added
the city and county of San Francisco to the case as a government
representative. Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has
signaled his administration will not actively join the case.
“I am surprised by the governor’s position in
this case,” Walker told a state lawyer, telling him
to urge Schwarzenegger, who personally favours gay marriage,
to get involved. “This is a matter of some importance
to the people.”
Walker set a January 11, 2010 date to start the trial, an
aggressive schedule. Two same-sex couples represented by Olson
and Boies say marriage is a federal constitutional right which
they are being denied.
Social conservatives led by lawyer Charles Cooper say the
people of California had the right to limit marriage to a
man and a woman, since it is in the state’s interest
to limit marriage to couples of opposite sex.
Assistant Secretary of the Interior Larry EchoHawk was set
to come to Sullivan County and the Catskills to meet with
people on both sides of the casino issue as this issue was
going to bed. EchoHawk, who heads the Bureau of Indian Affairs,
will be in town at the invitation of Congressman Maurice Hinchey,
who said the secretary has no preconceived opinion about whether
there should be Native American Gaming.
Under the previous administration in Washington, the BIA refused
to approve placing land in trust which would have paved the
way for Indian gaming. Supporters are hoping to pursuade EchoHawk
to reverse that and allow for land in trust.
Three Native American tribes want to build gaming casinos
in Sullivan County.
Meanwhile. the Seneca Nation, which has been eyeing Sullivan
County for development of a Native American gaming casino,
said last week that it may purchase the entire Concord Hotel
property from Louis Cappelli, who had planned to redevlop
the site for a hotel-resort conference center with a racetrack
and video lottery machine gaming operation with Empire Resorts.
Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach personally delivered
a check for $61,486.90 to Town of Wawarsing Officials Thursday
evening. The check represents monies owed to the town from
a 2007 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) from the Nevele Grande
Auerbach uncovered the money during an examination of payments
made to the county which revealed that $24,341.88 was owed
to Wawarsing’s General Fund and $37,145.02 was owed
to their Highway Fund.
The comptroller continues to pursue over $600,000 owed by
the Nevele to Ulster County, the Town of Wawarsing, the Village
of Ellenville, the Ellenville Central School District and
the Ellenville Library.
Four inmates at the Ulster County Law Enforcement Center have
been charged with gang assault for allegedly beating up another
inmate because he refused to give them some of his food. The
incident occurred in the jail recreation area of A-Pod on
Friday, August 14. The four inmates attempted to coerce the
inmate into giving them some of his food and when he refused,
they attacked him, the sheriff’s office reported. Once
the assault was over, one of the inmates then told the victim
that he should tell corrections personnel he received the
injuries as the result of getting elbowed during a basketball
The victim suffered contusions and lacerations to his head,
face, neck and chest.
Authorities have charged Tarrance Daniels, 17, of Kingston;
Devante Knox, 17, of Kingston; Shaquille Moore, 17, of Poughkeepsie;
and Lee Gray, 18, of Kingston, with gang assault in the second
degree and assault in the second degree, both felonies. Gray
was also charged with intimidating a victim or witness in
the third degree, also a felony.
Old Time Days
At the 10th annual “Turn of the Century Days”
in Roxbury, there's always something new coming to 1898. This
Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5-6, a gala fireworks display on
Saturday evening will cap a full day of old-fashioned base
ball, mountain music, period fashion, children's pastimes,
history and architecture, horse drawn carriage rides, beer
garden and all the authentic country victuals you can eat.
All Labor Day weekend, the Harry M. Keator vintage base ball
games will be afoot in Kirkside Park with the hometown Roxbury
Nine hosting the Mountain Athletic Club of Fleischmanns and
the Bovina Dairymen, and from the gritty city, the Brooklyn
Atlantics. Games start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5 and
at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
All weekend, you'll be serenaded by roving minstrels and Roxbury
Brass marches. The Children’s Tent will be humming with
hand crafts, old-fashioned activities and toys like hoops
and stilts. At the popular Teddy Bear Tea on Saturday afternoon
at the original Gould children's playhouse, girls and boys
can bring their teddies and dolls on a high society date.
There will even be demonstrations of how to make Victorian
On Sunday afternoon, there will be a Fashion Parade of 19th
century dress, from haute couture to work-a-day wear.
The decade-long Labor Day “Turn of the Century”
festivities helped Roxbury earn the prestigious “Preserve
America” designation by the White House in 2005, for
its ongoing commitment to preserving and revitalizing its
historic heritage and for bringing "all the agreeable
pursuits of 1898" to life with painstaking authenticity.
Call 607-326-3722 for more information.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County’s Eat
Smart New York Program is pleased to announce a new program
“Healthy Nutrition Habits”, a free six part series
will run continuously every Monday, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm.
Sessions will take place at the CCEUC Extension Education
Center located at 10 Westbrook Lane in Kingston.
This program is open to all food stamp participants and low
to moderate income families and individuals residing in Ulster
County. Sessions will include various topics including food
budgeting, serving sizes, learning about food groups, eating
healthier by making better food choices, food safety and more!
Participants will gain valuable kitchen skills through hands-on
food demonstrations with CCEUC Nutrition Program Educator,
Danielle J. Garris. One on one session’s in the home
can be arranged for those without transportation.
All participants who complete six sessions of the program
will receive a Certificate of Completion from the Cornell
Cooperative Extension Ulster County’s Eat Smart New
For more information or to attend please call Barbara Grumberg
There aren’t just fewer jobs in a recession. There are
fewer babies, too. U.S. births fell in 2008, the first full
year of the recession, marking the first annual decline in
births since the start of the decade and ending an American
The downturn in the economy best explains the drop in maternity,
some experts believe. The Great Depression and subsequent
recessions all were accompanied by a decline in births. And
the numbers have never rebounded until the economy pulled
out of it, according to historians.
It’s not clear that it’s the only explanation,
however. Another expert noted a recent decline in immigration
to the U.S. may also be a factor.
The nation recorded about 4,247,000 births last year, down
about 68,000 from 2007, according to a new report from the
National Center for Health Statistics.
This recession began in December 2007, and since then the
economy has lost almost 7 million jobs. Housing foreclosures
worsened in 2007 too, and fell into a state of crisis in 2008.
The largest decline in births were in California and Florida,
two states hit hardest by the housing crisis.
Of course, 2007 was also a year in which more babies were
born in the United States than any other year in the nation’s
history. In the past, a fluctuation of births by 1 or 2 percent
would not be seen as very significant, especially from such
an unusual year.
The cost of tackling climate change will be paid for by benefits
that would come from better energy security, employment and
health, Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, is saying. Measures needed to tackle
global warming could save economies more money than they cost.
Until now, estimates of the price of preventing dangerous
climate change have all indicated significant costs. The most
authoritative study, the 2006 Stern report, concluded that
1% of global GDP would be required, and he has since said
2% is now more likely.
Funding for reducing and adapting to climate change is one
of the most difficult issues in the negotiations towards a
global deal at a UN summit in December in Copenhagen. But
Pachauri argues that if the costs are negative, then “inertia
and vested interests would be washed away. As the Americans
say, it would be like dollar bills lying on the sidewalk.”
The associated benefits Pachauri pointed to include better
energy security, protecting consumers from oil price spikes,
new employment in green industries, more productive agriculture
and lower air pollution, and cutting health costs. He said
one good example was insulating draughty homes and installing
better energy control systems. “This can yield very
high rates of returns, with pay back in one year.”
Meanwhile, photos from US spy satellites declassified by the
Obama White House provide the first graphic images of how
the polar ice sheets are retreating in the summer. The effects
on the world’s weather, environments and wildlife could
The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency
of George W Bush, were declassified by the White House this
month. President Barack Obama is currently trying to galvanize
Congress and the American public to take action to halt catastrophic
climate change caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide in
One particularly striking set of images - selected from the
1,000 photographs released - includes views of the Alaskan
port of Barrow. One, taken in July 2006, shows sea ice still
nestling close to the shore. A second image shows that by
the following July the coastal waters were entirely ice-free.
Disappearing summer sea ice poses considerable dangers, scientists
have warned. Ice shelves are used by animals such as polar
bears as platforms for hunting seals and other sea creatures.
Without them, they could starve. In addition, ice reflects
solar radiation. Without that process, the Arctic sea could
warm up even more. The phenomenon threatens to set off runaway
heating of the planet, say climatologists.
The latest revelations have triggered warnings from scientists
that they no longer have the funds to keep a comprehensive
track of climate change. Last week the head of the US’s
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Professor
Jane Lubchenco, warned that the gathering of satellite data
- crucial to predicting future climate changes - was now at
“great risk” because America’s ageing satellite
fleet was not being replaced.
The NOAA is under additional pressure to provide environmental
data because of the re-emergence of the El Niño climate
phenomenon, where warming of the tropical Pacific causes heatwaves,
droughts and flooding around the world. June’s land
and sea surface temperatures were the second hottest on record,
and scientists are predicting this will be the warmest decade
in recorded history. The last major El Niño was in
1998, the hottest year in recorded history.
Help The River
The Hudson River Watershed Alliance is accepting nominations
for the 2009 Watershed Stewardship Award, seeking individuals,
organizations, or government officials that exemplify leadership
through successful local watershed protection, management
and restoration of the Hudson River watershed. The purpose
of this award is to recognize the efforts of local partners
that contribute to the protection, conservation and restoration
of the water resources of the Hudson River basin. The award
will be presented at the State of the Hudson River Watershed
Conference, scheduled for September 29-30, at The Henry A.
Wallace Center at the FDR Museum and Library. Nomination forms
can be found online at http://www.hudsonwatershed.org . Nominations
submitted for last year’s award should be re-submitted
for the 2009 Watershed Steward Award. For questions, call
Also, in response to the Quadricentennial Commission’s
call for a continuing dialogue to advance a vision for the
future of the Hudson Valley in the next 100 years, the Hudson
River Watershed Alliance is sponsoring an online forum called
OurHudson.org. Talk about getting involved easily…
Regan, a retired police dog who had served the Ulster County
Sheriff’s Office for nine years, died on Thursday, August
20, according to Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum.
The second dog to join the Sheriff’s Office, on March
1, 1999, Regan was partnered with Deputy Tom Lattin for his
entire career and continued to live with Lattin after being
retired last August.
The sheriff said a public memorial is planned.
On Monday afternoon. police came out to the Ulster County
Fairgrounds to pay their respects to New Paltz K-9 Zeus, who
died as a result of injuries he sustained during a car accident
while on patrol July 31st. Zeus was just shy of eight years
old when he died.
Zeus, from the Czech Republic, was donated to the NPPD in