It seems that 2009 may go down as the Town of Olive’s
most boisterous election year in, well, years. In the latest
developments since last you read us, the town’s Conservative
Party has weighed in with a mixed bag of its own candidate
endorsements. And a wild card independent candidate entered
the race, complicating what would have been a straight partisan
At the Conservative’s September 3 gathering, the light
turnout (under 40) picked GOP candidate Vince Barringer, a
former town supervisor, judge and Democrat, as its choice
against longstanding incumbent Bert Leifeld; Republican candidates
Craig Grazier and Donnie Van Buren over Dems Bruce LaMonda
and Linda Burkhardt; Democrat incumbent Jimmy Fugel over GOP
candidate Chet Scofield for highway superintendent, and the
town Democrats’ incumbent judge Timothy Cox over Republican
Earla Van Kleeck
In the surprise move, Rita Vanacore, a former Onteora board
member and key player in the Olive Matters grassroots effort,
has announced her candidacy as an independent, citing “the
need for the infusion of new blood and new ideas into the
executive decisions for the Town of Olive.”
Vanacore sent out a press release stating that she feels that
“new board members are needed to learn the workings
of the town and to hear the needs of its citizens,”
making for “a smoother transition when the inevitable
retirements begin to happen.
“After observing the ‘closed door’ politics
of both the Democratic and Republican parties in this small
town of approximately 6,000 residents, I decided to run without
the support of any party,” she wrote.
She says she has filed the needed number of petitions with
the Board of Elections and will be on ballots under the moniker
of her own "Olive Branch," with a peace dove as
We’ll let you know in the next issue when the biannual
Meet The Candidate event will be held...
The Central Catskill Planning Alliance is ready to take the
next step toward securing a scenic byway designation for the
Route 28 Corridor, and they want some help to do it.
“The last meeting was the kickoff,” said Peter
Manning, Regional Planner for the Catskill Center for Conservation
and Development and the advisor to the Alliance, referring
a to a recent session on August 27 where it was agreed to
put the word out that volunteers are needed to help start
accumulating all sorts of information about the corridor from
Olive to Andes.
Old photographs, history, anecdotes about people and places,
and just about anything that will help paint a picture of
what makes this corridor special is welcome.
Manning said that volunteers are needed because the collaborative
is proceeding with a shoestring budget. A $200,000 state grant
has not come through as planned, due to last year’s
budget pull-backs, so the Catskill Watershed Corporation put
up $50,000 to get things moving.
Manning said the collaborative could accomplish what it intended
to do with the once-expected $200,000 with volunteer help.
Another bright spot is the possible merger with a Main Street
Planning effort in Shandaken, which Manning said would be
For now, all interested are encouraged to start thinking about
everything that makes the communities along the route 28 corridor
unique and begin compiling anything they might have or know
about to support that.
Next month the collaborative will prepare a preliminary visions
and goals statement following an input gathering session where
residents get to help shape both.
Yet another local high school has closed up its varsity football
franchise in the area recently, indicating a shift in the
region’s, and perhaps even the nation’s sports
profile. According to reports, it was health and safety issues
stemming from a player shortage that prompted the Rondout
Valley Central School District to cancel its upcoming varsity
football season in recent weeks… even while athletic
directors expressed disappointment over “the unfortunate
situation and hardship placed on seniors unable to play football.”
With younger students now coming up through junior varsity
teams from the junior, senior and freshman classes, the current
decision is expected to be for one year only… at least
A similar situation in the Onteora School District several
years ago has yet to be reversed, with parents now pushing
extracurricular Pop Warner and similar league play for elementary
and middle school players as a means of rebuilding the region’s
In June, Rondout experienced a turnout of 72 potential players
attending an organizational meeting, although it was determined
that between 20 and 25 lacked any experience within the program.
When weekly workouts started in July, however, participation
dropped immediately to the point where only 14 players showed
up for the opening day of practice.
As part of the enacted 2009-10 State Budget, drivers’
license and vehicle registration fees increased by 25 percent
on September 1. Additionally, effective April 1, 2010, all
registered vehicles will be required to get new license plates
and renewed registrations. This will require all New York
State motorists to pay not only the increased fees but also
an additional $10 fee for the new license.
Stay tuned for more rising costs… and folks trying to
make political hay out of all that’s become necessary
to keep our governments working as we’ve all become
Trail Mix Time!
Trail Mix Concerts will be hosting the opening fall concert
of their annual season on Sunday September 20th at 2:30pm
with Vista Lirica, a chamber ensemble combining music with
environmental consciousness. Neil Rynston, clarinet, Lawrence
Zoernig, cello, Beth Levin, piano and guest artist violinist,
Laufey Sigur<eth>ardóttir will perform works
by Khachaturian, Simic, Zemlinsky, Ives and Brahms.
Other concerts coming up include an October Classical Jam
concert and an event in November with Ensemble Caprice, who
recently won the prestigious 2009 JUNO Award for Classical
Album of the Year. Winter concerts include three duos —
Cello & Piano with Amy Sue Barston and Ieva Jokubaviciute
in December, a Two Piano program with Babette Hierholzer and
German pianist Jurgen Appel in January, and a dramatic young
Violin & Piano duo, Guy Figer and Anna Khanina in February;
while the series’ spring concerts start in March with
pianist Inna Faliks returning with a beautiful program of
Chopin and Schumann, followed in April with one of the crown
compositions for the piano, Beethoven’s Diabbelli’s
Variations, performed by pianist Beth Levin. Trail Mix’s
final concert, in May, will be an afternoon of Brahms with
pianists Ami and Pascal Rogé.
For further information on this sparkling locally-originated
and based series, which takes place at the Olive Free Library
on Route 28A in West Shokan and is run by the same folks behind
Woodstock Pianos, call 657-6864 or visit www.trailmixmusic.org.
Hundreds of candles were lit by Catskills residents protesting
the possibility of natural gas drilling into the Marcellus
Shale that underlies the region along the Delaware River in
Sullivan County’s Narrowsburg recently, timed to affect
the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s
deliberations over a potential ban on the controversial new
technology. Reportedly, thousands of people from New York
State and adjacent Pennsylvania communities gathered in protest
Sunday night, September 6, lighting candles at 22 spots along
Registration is now open for the Ninth Annual Catskills Local
Government Day, to be held Thursday, Oct. 15 at Belleayre
Mountain Ski Center. The Catskill Watershed Corporation will
sponsor the event, whose theme this year is “Climate
Change Made Local.” To see the agenda and register electronically,
go to www.cwconline.org. Registration materials may also be
obtained by calling toll free 877-WAT-SHED, or 845-586-1400.
Elected and appointed government officials and employees,
economic and environmental planners, and interested community
members are welcome to attend. Space is limited; registration
deadline is October 9. A $10 fee includes all presentations
and workshops, as well as lunch.
The event will feature presentations on the science of climate
change along with discussions of its potential impacts on
municipal and community infrastructure and on the economy
of New York and the Catskills. Examples of area municipalities
that have already taken steps to address flooding hazards
and insurance costs, reduce energy use and minimize their
carbon footprints will be highlighted.
Members of planning and zoning boards may wish to take advantage
of a two-hour training session on “Promoting Climate
Protection Through Land Use Tools.” A workshop for town
board members, highway department heads and other municipal
officials will focus on examining the vulnerability of community
infrastructure – from buildings and parks to sewer plants,
water systems and street lights. “Green Means Business”
will look at how businesses can save money using sustainable
practices, and the potential for jobs in the renewable energy
The featured lunchtime speaker, Mimi Katzenbach, will explain
the Transition Movement by which communities work towards
locally-based energy, economic and social systems –
not unlike the Catskills of the pre-World War II era —
as a strategy for meeting a future of weather extremes, fossil
fuel depletion and other challenges.
Local Government Day is being planned with the environment
in mind. Promotion, outreach and registration are being handled
electronically to reduce paper consumption. Those unable to
register online will receive materials printed on 100% recycled
paper. To encourage car pooling to the conference, CWC will
give bottles of local maple syrup to all those who arrive
in vehicles occupied by two or more people.
Belleayre Ski Center, the venue for the event, has been working
diligently for the past few years to cut resource and energy
consumption and to recycle waste. Attendees will have an opportunity
to view plans for the new “green” lower lodge
being planned at the state-run facility. Belleayre management
and its food service purveyor, Boston Concessions, are working
in collaboration with CWC consultant Hospitality Green to
address potential areas of waste and redundancy at Local Government
Currently expansion of the ski center, plus a conjoined proposal
to build a mega resort on its borders, has been held up, in
part, because of the state-mandated requirement that its review
include ample data about possible effects of climate change,
as well as possible mitigation elements.
The Onteora School District still has its new 2009/2010 school
calendars held up at the printers and wanted to remind folks
of several interim calendar items: Middle School physicals
and a Phoenicia PTA Back-To-School Breakfast for staff and
bus drivers on Friday, September 11; Middle and High School
fall photos, and a Phoenicia Elementary School book fair,
on Monday, September 14, and Tuesday, September 15; and a
3:30 PM Audit Committee meeting on the 14th; a Middle School
Back to School night event on the 15th; Middle School Physicals
and a Phoenicia PTA meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 16; a High
School Alliance meeting and Phoenicia Open House on the evening
of Thursday, Sept. 17, and a Bennett School Welcome Back Picnic
on Friday, September 18.
Living At Home
A new AFL/CIO survey, “Young Workers: A Lost Decade”
has found that about a third of workers under 35 live at home
with their parents, and they’re far less likely to have
health care or job security than they were ten years ago in
a similar 1999 survey,
A quarter of young workers surveyed said they don’t
earn enough to even pay their monthly bills, a 14% rise from
1999. 35 percent are significantly less likely to have health
care than older workers, only 31 percent make enough money
to pay their bills while putting anything aside in savings,
and almost half are more worried than hopeful about their
The 100,000 young workers surveyed also strongly prefered
public investment to create jobs over reducing the deficit.
And by a 50 to 23 percent margin, they think workers are better
off with a union. They support Obama and identify with Democrats
much more strongly than older workers.
Only 65 of every 100 men aged 20 through 24 years old were
working on any given day in the first six months of this year.
In the age group 25 through 34 years old, traditionally a
prime age range for getting married and starting a family,
just 81 of 100 men were employed.
For male teenagers, the numbers were disastrous: only 28 of
every 100 males were employed in the 16- through 19-year-old
The Martin Murder
Daniel L. Malak, 29 of Kerhonkson, but jailed in Attica for
years now, was indicted by an Ulster County Grand Jury on
the charge of second degree murder for the killing of Joseph
Martin, then 15, on March 25, 1996. Malak is currently doing
time for an unrelated murder and is the second suspect charged
with killing Martin, who was murdered near the intersection
of Schwabie Turnpike and Samsonville Road in Kerhonkson. Alexander
Barsky pled guilty a year ago to a reduced charge of manslaughter.
He was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
Barsky agreed to testify against Malak, as part of the plea
deal. He claims Malak was the ‘mastermind’ of
a ‘revenge plot’ to kill Martin.
For more than a decade the Joseph Martin matter has been the
subject of intense investigation by the New York State Police.
District Attorney Holley Carnright said, in announcing the
The County DA’s office said Malak was to be transported
from the State Correctional Facility at Attica to Ulster County
for arraignment following the Labor Day weekend.
Ulster County has submitted an application for $4 million
in federal stimulus money to build a high-speed, wireless
broadband system to provide Internet service to unserved and
underserved areas of the county. County Executive Michael
Hein said the entire county needs access to the global economy
Targeted areas of Ulster County would include the towns of
Rochester, Wawarsing, Denning, Hardenburgh, Woodstock, Shandaken,
Shawangunk, Olive and other areas. The total project would
cost $4.8 million with the funds not covered by the federal
money picked up by other non-county sources, said Hein.
Also on the stimulus front, Ulster County Planning Commissioner
Dennis Doyle has proposed the county seek the designation
of Recovery Zone for the sole purpose of maximizing the flexibility
of funds from two new bonding authorities made available through
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
According to Doyle the term “Recovery Zone” as
defined in the ARRA is, “any area designated by the
county having significant poverty, unemployment rate, home
foreclosures, and general distress.” To designate the
entire county “gives the maximum amount of flexibility
and allows you to look at funding regional projects.”
Doyle explained that what these two bonding authorities would
make available is the allocation of about $6 million in economic
bonds and about $8.8 million in facility bonds. The benefits
of utilizing these bonds, he added, would be to lower bonding
costs to the county and potentially lower bonding costs for
economic development projects.
While everyone else in Ulster seems aimed at governmental
stimulus funds, the board of directors of the Ulster County
Development Corp. has undergone a shakeup that shifts the
weight of membership more toward the private sector than the
public sector. Ron Marquette, the head of community relations
at Ulster County Community College and chairman of the UCDC
board for nearly two years, said 15 of the board’s 25
voting members are now from the private sector, and that the
move is designed to “make the UCDC more relevant”
and increase an emphasis on private enterprise in Ulster County.
Paul Rakov, the agency’s marketing director and a former
top level employee at Dean Gitter’s Emerson Resort and
Belleayre Resort developments, said the board’s new
members are Ken Davenport of Heritagenergy; John Gill of Gill
Farms; T.N. Thompson of Millrock Technologies; and Paul Hakim
of Wilbur National Bank.
A new “Balanced Growth Committee” has been set
up to help businesses that want to move into the area and
create jobs “by educating the public about developers,
providing a voice at public hearings and assisting them through
any logistical problems with moving into the area,”
according to Rakov, quoting Marquette. The committee will
“help people move faster” and serve as a resource
center for prospective businesses, he said.
The creation of more shovel-ready sites for new businesses
will also be a priority, according to UCDC officials.
A new alert from the State of New York Department of Health
concerns a “health advisory” for an intestinal
infection called vibrio parahaemolyticus, which has seen an
increase from NYC up through Albany County since June 1. Vibrio,
they’re saying, is caused by eating raw fish OR undercooked
fish such as seared tuna. Symptoms can occur within hours
to five days but the usual set of stool tests do not include
the one for vibrio.
Also, it seems there is no treatment for relief, although
the infection is self-limiting and does require constant hydration
of your system.
The faxed notice was sent to all hospitals, healthcare providers,
laboratories, and local health departments.
Watch that sushi, for the time being at least…
Tax Junk Food?
One of the most detailed investigations ever carried out into
obesity in the US has proposed increased taxes on junk food
and heavily-sweetened soft drinks, a move that will be aggressively
resisted by the multibillion-dollar beverage industry.
The report, Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood
Obesity, written jointly by the Institute of Medicine and
the National Research Council, says: “In the United
States, 16.3% of children and adolescents between the ages
of two and 19 are obese. This epidemic has exploded over just
three decades ... The prevalence of obesity is so high that
it may reduce the life expectancy of today’s generation
of children and diminish the overall quality of their lives.”
It suggests state legislators, governors, mayors, community
leaders and others take action rather than waiting for a lead
from the federal government. These actions include offering
tax credits as an incentive for grocery stores to open up
in poor neighborhoods, building pavements to encourage walking,
creating more bike trails, and reducing video games and other
sedentary pursuits in preschool and afterschool clubs.
“Childhood obesity poses a serious threat to health
in the United States,” the report says.
Congress, while drawing up a bill before the summer as part
of President Barack Obama’s drive for health reform,
proposed a federal tax on soft drinks.
The Congressional Budget Office, set up to provide members
of the House and Senate with independent advice, estimates
that a three-cent tax would generate $24bn over the next four
years, which would help pay for health reform.
But it appears to be backing down in the face of an intensive
advertising campaign backed by the American Beverage Association,
which includes Coca Cola. The association in July set up a
new lobbying group, Americans Against Food Taxes. The group
says: “Discriminatory and punitive taxes on soda and
juice drinks do not teach our children to have a healthy lifestyle
and have no meaningful impact on child obesity or public health.”
The group has been running an aggressive advertising campaign
over the summer that shows a family enjoying soft drinks on
a camping holiday, with a voice-over saying “this is
no time for Congress to be adding taxes on the simple pleasures
we all enjoy.”
US obesity rates rose 37% between 1998 and 2006 to the point
where more than 26% of Americans are now obese.
Obese children and adolescents are more likely than their
lower-weight counterparts to develop hypertension, high cholesterol
and type 2 diabetes.
Obesity-related health spending has grown to $147 billion
a year, double what it was nearly a decade ago, according
to a study published by the journal Health Affairs.
Obesity-related health problems account for 9.1% of the total
US health budget, up from 6.5% in 1998. Obese people spend
40% more - or $1,429 more per year — in healthcare costs
than people of normal weight.
Help On The Way
The Rural Ulster Preservation Co. (RUPCO) and Family of Woodstock
are teaming up to assist the homeless and those at risk of
homelessness as part of a housing program that’s being
financed with a state grant totaling $1,019,242. Both Kevin
O’Connor, RUPCO’s executive director, and Michael
Berg, who holds the same title at Family, say the partnership
will make services for people who are homeless and nearly
homeless more effective.
The two agencies worked together in applying for the grant
from the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
The local award — formally designated for RUPCO —
is among $25 million that has come to the state from the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly called the
federal stimulus package.
In the new effort, Family will provide case management services
— including finding out whether a person needs job training,
whether they have health issues, how a person can get needed
services and whether they should go back to school so that
they can get a “living wage” job.— and RUPCO
will be dealing with the housing side.
The joint effort is called the Homeless Prevention and Rapid
Re-Housing Program and some of it will focus on people who
are at the brink of becoming homeless.
New York State, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the
City of New York recently announced an agreement providing
temporary additional releases of water from three New York
City reservoirs to the Delaware River in anticipation of a
future shutdown of the Rondout to West Branch Tunnel. Under
the terms of the agreement now in effect, total supplemental
water available to be released from the Cannonsville, Pepacton,
and Neversink reservoirs, which all feed the Delaware River,
could be as high as 50 billion gallons over the course of
this program that is scheduled to expire on May 31, 2010.
These temporary releases will be in addition to water that
will be released under the Decree Parties’ September
2007 Flexible Flow Management Program (FFMP) agreement that
was amended in December 2008.
The supplemental releases will be based on National Weather
Service (NWS) long-term probabilistic reservoir inflow forecasts,
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP)
historical inflow data, and the water supply condition of
each reservoir. Acting in cooperation with the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation, NYCDEP will determine
which shutdown supplemental release quantity to use for the
three reservoirs. The release amounts are expected to be reevaluated
on a weekly basis in conjunction with the issuance of updated
NWS probabilistic forecasts and be adjusted accordingly.
The 45-mile-long tunnel transports water from the city’s
Rondout Reservoir to its West Branch Reservoir in the Croton
Watershed. This tunnel is in need of repairs in order to improve
the reliability and long-term sustainability of the city’s
drinking water supply system.
The releases will not effect any of the reservoirs most of
us know here within the Ashokan reservoir basin.
Assistant Secretary of the Interior and head of the Bureau
of Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk toured the three sites of
proposed Native American casinos in Sullivan County a couple
of weeks ago, but would only say he was on a fact-finding
He will have to make decisions about those three and other
proposals around the country, including elsewhere in the Catskills
possibly including the lower Catskills, that would like land
placed in trust so that tribes can build the gaming facilities.
Senator Charles Schumer made it quite clear that he supports
gaming and what it would do for the tribes and the region.
Before the tour, EchoHawk met with Congressman Maurice Hinchey,
Schumer, New York Senator John Bonacic, Assemblywoman Aileen
Gunther and a number of local officials in separate closed
door sessions with a group of people opposed to casinos and
a group in favor of them.
Meanwhile, the recently closed and bankrupted Nevele Resort
outside Ellenville was sold to unnamed developers in recent
weeks and the watchdog group Catskill Mountainkeeper has started
sending out alerts about what they’re dubbing “the
Catskills casino scheme.” The latter notices point out
how new financiers behind the Concord, and possibly the Nevele
land ownership shifts included the same Malaysian company
that financed the startup of Foxwoods Resort and Casino in
Connecticut and the Seneca Niagara Casino in New York.
“The casino scheme is massive and unprecedented,”
Mountainkeeper claims, pointing to the casino proposals’
estimates of over 6 million visitors a year. “A new
‘Casino City’ with multiple casinos - 3,4,5 even
6 tribes and multiple independent sovereign nations, police
forces and interests will be created. So where is the cumulative
economic, environmental and social impact study for this?
Where is the traffic study? Where is the impact study on crime,
addiction, healthcare and emergency services for this new
Casino City? The answer is that there is none.”
Argentina and Mexico have taken significant steps towards
decriminalizing drugs amid a growing Latin American backlash
against the US-sponsored “war on drugs”. Argentina’s
supreme court has ruled it unconstitutional to punish people
for using marijuana for personal consumption, an eagerly awaited
judgment that gave the government the green light to push
for further liberalization.
It followed Mexico’s decision to stop prosecuting people
for possession of relatively small quantities of marijuana,
cocaine, heroin and other drugs. Instead, they will be referred
to clinics and treated as patients, not criminals.
Brazil and Ecuador are also considering partial decriminalization
as part of a regional swing away from a decades-old policy
of crackdowns still favored by Washington.
“The tide is clearly turning. The ‘war on drugs’
strategy has failed,” Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a former
Brazilian president, has said. “The report of the Latin
American Commission on Drugs and Democracy has certainly helped
to open up the debate about more humane and efficient policies.
But, most of all, the facts are speaking by themselves.”.
Reform campaigners have long argued that criminalization enriched
drug cartels, fuelled savage turf wars, corrupted state institutions
and filled prisons with addicts.
The Star Effect...
The enacted 2009-10 State Budget eliminated the STAR Rebate
Program (at a total of $1.6 million), which provided an average
rebate to homeowners in the Mid-Hudson Region between $104
and $1,186, depending on each home’s individual assessment
Enhanced STAR recipients received even more to reflect seniors
with moderate to low incomes, decreased ability to pay property
tax bills, some of which reach $10,000 or more in this area.
In total, the loss of the rebate check is what’s made
those school tax bills look so big. .
On Wednesday, September 23 at 8:00 PM, Trout Unlimited’s
Ashokan Pepacton Watershed Chapter will be presenting a session
on the pilot program currently underway for boating on the
Cannonsville Reservoir at the Boiceville Inn on Route 28.
John Vickers, who is Chief of the Western Operations Division
of the Bureau of Water Supply for the New York City
Department of Environmental Protection, will give a presentation
about the program that was recently introduced and includes
the daily use of sailboats, kayaks, canoes, and sculls on
This is the first time New York City has opened their reservoir
property to recreational boating.
The Chapter1s monthly meeting
begins at 6:30 pm with a fly tying demonstration, followed
by a short business meeting. The presentation begins at 8
pm. The entire evening is open to the public at no charge.
For more information, please visit www.apwctu.org
Olivebridge resident David Delisio’s months-long fight
over the way he kept his dogs, and property, reached a denouement
in Olive Town Court recently when Town Justice Ron Wright
agreed to his request for an Adjournment Contemplating Dismissal
instead of taking the 18 counts of animal cruelty brought
against him by the Ulster County Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals to trial. Under the ACD, all charges
against Delisio will be dismissed in six months unless he
gets arrested again. Also as part of the sentence, Delisio
agreed to one announced inspection of his property by the
SPCA. Brian Shapiro, executive director of the SPCA, said
he was optimistic that, as a result of the court action, Delisio’s
dogs would be cared for in the future. On April 8, the SPCA
seized 18 dogs from Delisio’s property after the agency
received a tip about the dogs’ living conditions. Among
the dogs were six puppies and a number of purebred Rhodesian
ridgebacks. On April 15, Wright ordered the dogs returned
to Delisio, who retrieved them from the SPCA two days later.
Shapiro characterized Delisio as cooperative and said the
problems that led the SPCA to seize the dogs had been rectified.
In reporting the recent news, however, he sent around copies
of a press release that charged Delisio was found “guilty”
in the ACD proceedings. A daily newspaper that reported the
same, utilizing the SPCA press release, was later forced to
correct its story. Friends of Delisio said that the dog owner
had wanted to fight his case until his attorney deserted him
and the cost of hiring a new lawyer proved prohibitive...