Much has been made lately about the notion of “transparency”
with regard to the conduct and actions of national and community leaders.
However, public forums of discourse try to strike a balance between
openness and decorum at best to avoid unseemly or rude behavior, or
at worst, libelous transgressions.
In service to those polite protocols and with respect for our new
school board members who may not be privy to the following, I will
speak allegorically here since I am raising allegations. It seems
fair that if we demand transparency, we also work with leaders to
advise them of issues that are important to a given community.
A dedicated, bright, highly competent young man, a symbol to many
in the community of compassion and commitment, and most importantly
a fine teacher, seems to be unfairly, and perhaps even illegally,
in the crosshairs of forces that may represent nobody-is-watching-what-we-do
Moreover, where is the ethical, and pedagogical, wisdom in taking
away (by way of a teaching assignment intra-district transfer) a beloved
teacher and perhaps in the fallout, an important program? Doesn’t
sound very prudent (although, it could possibly be a chapter in the
horse-hockey-”Manual for Demoralizing Students”).
And perhaps this whole affair will make an interesting sequel if the
program fails: take away something the students excel in and someone
the students love, make them distrust administration, show them the
naked contradiction of insisting they be ethical, moral, and kind
while demonstrating that that is something adults say to young students
but don’t practice, and when it’s all said and done, blame
the kids, the teachers, the parents, anyone but those in charge, when
the students are apathetic and don’t “perform.”
(But, not before throwing thousands of dollars at a Skinnerite consultant
to explain why).
The community’s allegations are as follows: (Please note here
that the truth is most often spoken by the citizens who live outside,
and take the non-rhetorical wallops from, the official structure of
1. Community discourse asserts that our allegorical hero complained
to school administrators several times about dangerous conditions
that affect student safety. Conditions were not addressed. For his
diligence in reporting them to the state, he was rewarded with a letter
of disciplinary action that was added to his personnel file. Allegations
posit that administration is trying to silence an “upstart”
2. Speculation is that a reason to remove this teacher was perhaps
contrived, based on “need,” so that a more favored instructor
could be rewarded or a troublesome teacher needs to be shuffled to
a less visible spot, perhaps one where there will be fewer complaints
or opportunities for liability cases based upon incompetence or irresponsibility
with regard to student safety.
3. A person in a temporary position of authority may be making frivolous
and unfair decisions, no matter how well they may be buttressed by
those with ultimate authority, that vitally affect a teacher’s
career and most importantly, programs and staffing needs that directly
affect student activities, well-being, and education.
4. Allegations have been made that a disproportionate amount of budgetary
funds were slated for disbursement for programs favored by a person
in a temporary administrative position thereby shortchanging programs
that affect a far greater number of students.
5. Community members are raising questions about the employment status
of a temporary administrator. Under Section 211 and 212 of the New
York State Teachers’ Retirement and Social Security Codes, did
this administrator become employed at least six months after retirement
from the district which originally employed the individual (Onteora)
and still pays into the individual’s retirement funds, and was
required Commissioner of Education Approval for such employment obtained?
Is there an active search for an individual to permanently fill this
position? One considerably less expensive than the customary $550.00
to $750.00 per diem paid to temporary administrators?
If this temporary administrator earns above the allowable $27,500.00
before retirement funds must be paid back, will the district be liable
for renumeration to the retirement system?
I appreciate the opportunity a public forum provides, and I am personally
and professionally supportive of our district’s administrators
and teachers when they are serving ethically, morally, and responsibly.
However, this allegory reserves for me the right to speak publicly
and to dispatch information not yet proven.
West Shokan, NY
Oh boy, oh boy. I can hardly wait for Shandaken Day, when all of those
tourists will come here and see Phoencia's greatest landmark - the
gargantuan mass of debris where the Phoenicia Hotel used to stand.
By golly, if anything will get tourists to come back and back again
to visit our scenic little town, it will be one look at the South
Bronx of the Catskills.
I'm considering going out to Route 28 the night before the celebration
and putting up road signs saying "Come for the tubes, stay for
This eyesore must be in violation of some town ordinance. I would
suggest that somebody start fining the owner ever single day - every
single day - until the site has been cleaned up.
I could not believe what I received from Partner for Progress addressed
to Postal Patron. What a shameful, false and misleading advertisement.
PFP must think that people here are really stupid. The return address
read PFP but was covered with a blank mailing label. The postage was
paid by non profit permit #773. The same permit number used by Fleischmanns
First's mailings which is sponsored by the Mark Group.
This certainly has the appearance of impropriety and conflict of interest
on the part of the past Executive Director and the Board of Directors
of the Mark Group..
The errors in Peter DiModica’s letter published on 7/31 mandate
a response. His allegation that the Agreement In Principle (AIP) caused
Greene County to attack Belleayre is so wrong it’s laughable.
The Greene County attack on Belleayre Mt. was already well underway
in 2006, and the Greene County Legislature passed its first attack
resolution in July 2007, two months before the AIP was developed or
announced. That’s a matter of public record. So for Mr. DiModica
to allege that the AIP caused the attack is flat out wrong.
Next, New York State is not, as he alleges, spending $45 million in
taxpayer funds to provide ski in/ski out access to the Resort. The
state is spending that money to expand and improve a ski center it
opened in 1950 after a state-wide, voter approved constitutional amendment
allowed it – and after a second (1987) state-wide, voter approved
constitutional amendment mandated its expansion. For 20 years, until
the Belleayre Resort proposal came along, the ski center’s expansion
plans gathered dust.
In negotiations that led to the AIP, it was the state who promoted
the public/private partnership concept. We at Crossroads had been
working to place half of the resort on some 1240 acres of privately
owned lands lying adjacent to the ski center for nearly a decade and
Crossroads had already invested nearly $15 million in development
plans when the state offered its inducement to abandon those plans
in return for allowing the lodging facilities of the resort to be
connected to lifts and trails at the ski center. The land being purchased
by the state would have generated many millions of dollars of revenue
over the life of the properties that would have been built there and
giving that up was not something we wanted.
Contrary to Mr. DiModica’s ill informed assertions, the proposed
Belleayre Resort is not a risky real estate venture. Perhaps he should
take a ride up to Windham and Hunter to see how mountainside lodging
development has brought economic prosperity to Greene County. Perhaps
Mr. DiModica forgot or never understood that Belleayre was created
for two reasons. It was created to provide a top-quality, affordable
recreation experience for the people of the state and it was created
to serve as an economic catalyst to our region.
Mr. DiModica tries to make readers believe the state’s investment
will only benefit the resort developer. In reality, Belleayre Resort
is now a public private partnership that will create no less than
474 permanent full time jobs, provide sales tax revenue to the state
and bed tax revenue to the county, pay property taxes to schools and
municipalities and payroll taxes to federal and state governments.
That means the investment by the state benefits everyone in the state.
The former Supervisor and long-time opponent of any Crossroads proposal
has made no complaint about a similar public/private partnership at
Gore Mountain that will put five hotels adjacent to that state-owned
ski center. He made no complaint about the millions the state invested
in the Bethel Performing Arts Center in Sullivan County. He has not
complained about the state’s involvement in a $1 Billion project
in Sullivan County or about the state investment of $65 million with
IBM in Dutchess County. How about the public/private partnerships
that restored Times Square to prominence in New York or those that
are creating huge technology factories in Albany? It would appear
that the only public/private partnership that gives him a problem
is the one in his back yard.
During his tenure as Shandaken supervisor, Mr. DiModica offered no
alternatives for economic development is his town, nearly 80% of which
has already been bought by the State or the City and turned into forever
wild property. He made no effort to support the ski center either.
Now he has determined that a 200 to 300 room hotel would have been
ok and says it would have just been a rebuild of what was there before.
Wrong again. The Grand Hotel had 400 rooms all by itself, to say nothing
of the dozens of others that provided several thousand rooms within
4 square miles here. There were also two golf courses in Shandaken,
not one. Let’s get back to the issue of state’s responsibility
to insure the public welfare, provide recreational opportunity and
create economic development incentives that make it economically competitive.
That’s what this is about and Mr. DiModica should know that.
Joan Lawrence-Bauer, PR Director
The Emerson Resort
Mt. Pleasant, NY
If you live here, were visiting here, or had occasion to be here after
the fact, you probably heard about the mini-flood that occurred on
July 23rd. This event was just a little more than a heavy rain. Our
rivers, streams and their tributaries were full and chocolate in color.
The professionals call this "storm water". This storm water
carries tens if not hundreds of tons of soil and other debris. This
can't be good for the people at the other end of this water supply
who . expect a clear potable water coming from their taps!
Fact - - July 23rd - - Trees, grasses and all other vegetation in
our area are at the peak of their growth cycle. This means that the
ability to absorb water and also to slow the rate of flow of the storm
water along the ground surface should be at its very greatest. '.
, Now imagine a denuded construction site comprised of tens, if not
hundreds, of acres on up to 20% grade at elevations of 2500' and more.
The additional storm water ''run-off,''' while it can be calculated
to some extent, can not be imagined. The same construction site once
completed should be benign with good water quality, but, the Resort
roofs, walks, parking lots and roads are impervious surfaces. Not
only do you have the same storm water run-off but now you have petroleum
residue from the vehicular traffic and other associated chemicals
as water contaminates.
The Resort people will tell you that storm water issues have been
addressed and mitigated and that there are absolutely no problems.
Ask an excavation contractor what they think of silt fences, storm
water ponds and other means of run-off control. I hope you won't be
surprised to discover their opinion will probably be much different
than the individual who sat in the office and designed the "storm
water" protection plan. .
Fact - the July 23rd rain event is not my opinion but is documented
by the media, your neighbor or the store clerk that you bought your
newspaper from. You may care little about my comments but please listen
to the people who live and work here.
The Crossroads Public Relations people and the Partners for Progress
supporters continuously inundate us with hyperbolic insinuations.
Could it be that they are insecure about their project due to the
resignation in Albany earlier this year.
I know after people read this letter, I will definitely be labeled
a commie; I hate America; if you don’t love it then leave. Well
This is for all those decals on cars and SUV’s: God Bless America,
and Proud to be an American. Are those slogans like "Mission
Accomplished" in May of 2003, Bush wearing a flight suit or in
the Rose Garden with Karzai in June 2004, "Today, the Taliban
has been deposed, al Qaeda is in hiding, and coalition forces continue
to hunt down the remnants and holdouts. Coalition forces, including
many brave Afghans, have brought America, Afghanistan and the free
world its first victory in the war on terror. Afghanistan is no longer
a terrorist factory sending thousands of killers into the world".
My question to you, why are you proud to be an American. I could see,
maybe 200 years ago, or after world war 2, but now, how can you be
proud. You no longer have a constitution to be proud of. Your rights
have been taken away(you know that small thing, the Bill of Rights"),
we torture "suspected terrorists". Whatever happened to
innocent until proven guilty? We invade countries based on lies. Ask
the Vets at the V.A. hospitals, they will tell you what they think
of Bush & Cheney. We rank so far down the list of admired countries,
that we don’t count anymore. If I hang my flag upside down,
it is not out of disrespect, but S.O.S. This country is in deep distress.
We even screw the veterans, I know you have heard me say this before,
but it’s true. You better hide that decal too.
Finally, why is it God Bless America, doesn’t anybody give a
moments thought to the rest of the world, especially those countries
we have destroyed or help destroy.
I welcome your comments, because this is one I really want you to
explain to this communist sympathizer, and unpatriotic so and so.
In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah (5:13) laments, “Therefore
my people have gone into captivity because they have no knowledge.”
Today, people are very concerned about our poor economy. However,
most are unaware that it was caused by their lack of knowledge and/or
unwillingness to do something about it.
Most citizens are not very familiar with the marvelous system of government
that our Founders gave us. We are a constitutional republic, not a
democracy that many people believe we are. Visit www.thenewamerican.com
All federally elected and appointed officials take an oath to obey
and uphold our U.S. Constitution and then most promptly ignore it.
If we had enough informed citizens, we could quickly make the officials
strictly obey our Constitution.
For example, the federal government is allowed to coin money but it
is not allowed to print fiat money. Therefore, the unconstitutional
Federal Reserve Bank would be eliminated and we could get back to
the gold and silver system that made the dollar the world’s
safest money. We could then get rid of the inflation that is caused
by paper money not backed by gold or silver.
Also, we could eliminate foreign aid and many other unconstitutional
programs. Each state would then be responsible for any necessary programs
as the original 13 states planned when they established the federal
Dominick J. Odorizzi
Porter Ranch, CA
HalfAPercentDonation.org urges people to help a little when they can
help the most.
If you’re selling real estate, chances are you’re about
to get a check for more money than you ever thought you’d see
in one place at one time in your whole life. Whether it’s $50,000
or $500,000 or $5 million, viral philanthropy, www.HalfAPercentDonation.org,
is looking for people to donate one half of 1% of that sale price
to charity. On a $100,000 sale, for example, the seller would donate
The donation takes place at the closing where individual and corporate
sellers simply direct their attorneys to write a check (out of the
escrow account) and send it directly to the selected charity beneficiary
along with a short donation form downloaded from the website.
HalfAPercent takes no money or administrative fees; it is not an organization
or an intermediary or a 501c-3, it’s only an idea, a call to
action. 100% of the donation goes to those who need it.
HalfAPercentDonation.org is rolling out this new concept in giving
with HalfAPercentForAIDS.org, which launched July 1. It’s the
first site up and running in what they hope will eventually be the
largest charitable donation scheme ever, benefitting charities, non-profits,
and disaster relief efforts worldwide. The initial beneficiary charity
selected by the website HalfAPercentForAIDS.org is AIDS Global Action
(www.aidsglobalaction.org), a clearinghouse for global AIDS non-profits
dedicated to education, treatment and comfort, and finding a cure.
The amazing thing is that no one has ever before shown up asking for
donations at this particular point in time when people are feeling
In 2007, residential real estate sales totalled $1.34 trillion dollars.
If every seller donated 1/2 of 1% the total would be $6.72 billion
dollars. Now suppose that only 1/2 of 1% of people donated, (one seller
out of 200) that would still raise $33.6 million dollars.
Not a bad way for ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference.
Visit our philanthropic website at www.HalfAPercentForAIDS.org for
Lake Hill, NY
I'm proud of the business community in Mount Tremper. We have five
lodging , nine shopping, six dining establishments and a slew of services
of plumbers, electricians, welding, lawn care, plowing, a sound studio,
and entertainers that rival those anywhere. Additional services
include a Monastery, a Church and a Firehouse. I'm proud of anyone
who attempts a business in Shandaken. We work hard, we contribute
to our community, pay high taxes and live peacefully with our neighbors.
I am shocked at the antagonism lobbed at the businesses of Mount Tremper
by three men at the August Town Board meeting over a sign that merely
mentioned business with these four words: shops, services, dining,
lodging. A municipal sign welcoming everyone to Mount Tremper and
Mount Pleasant, located on DOT property, with permission. Not only
did they disparage businesses, they seemed to live in a world of their
own design, unaware of what is offered in Mount Tremper. The hostility
shown to the business community by these men is a disgrace.
Rose Dorn, Owner
Catskill Rose Lodging & Dining
Mt. Tremper, NY
This is in response to Mr. Klinger’s letter (July 27) to the
Editor regarding burn barrels. He said that it was puzzling to him
why I want to maintain a burn barrel because cereal boxes, cracker
boxes, etc. are recyclable and are free at the Town of Hurley’s
land fill. Then he went on to say that it leads one to believe that
I don’t burn garbage and that I don’t hire a private hauler
to collect my solid waste. He just doesn’t seem to get it. He’s
right when he said that I don’t burn garbage because you cannot
burn garbage, but going to a land fill is not exactly free. It does
cost money to drive to the land fill. Of coarse cereal boxes, cracker
boxes etc. are recyclable, but burning them along with paper towels,
tissue paper and the like does help to reduce many trips to the land
fill. Considering the price we have to pay for gas and everything
else that we have to buy, it helps to save money by reducing the number
of trips to the land fill site. If burning trash was eliminated it
would force many to go to their land fill sites once a week. In my
case it would cost me at least five dollars a week for gas or force
me to pay for a private hauler to pick up my weekly trash.
Mr. Klinger also said that any smoke that I generate wafts away in
the breeze or settles down on neighbors at a lower altitude. Smoke
always goes up and I’ve never seen it go down. I live exactly
900 feet above sea level so it’s very doubtful if any smoke
settles down on anyone. If he considers me his neighbor and can smell
smoke from my residents he must have the best nose on earth. I never
knew that smell alone was harmful to anyone. I wonder if Mr. Klinger
smells the exhaust from some of those big trucks that come plugging
along up the mountain blowing out that black nasty smoke when they
Not too many years ago people in the country were able to compost
their garbage. That’s no longer possible because of the bears
that continue to be annoying or even dangerous in some cases. For
several years the DEC has protected the bears. Maybe the DEP and the
DEC ought to find a way to agree to eliminate some of these pesky
bears so we could go back to being able to compost garbage and save
tons of garbage from being brought to our land fill sites.
It becomes more obvious that our current county leaders do not have
the taxpayers’ best interests in mind when they are gambling
with our hard-earned incomes.
We need a county government dedicated to lowering taxes and creating
jobs. The current leadership led by a county administrator (and county
executive candidate) Michael Hein, a Republican turned Democrat who
switched parties after the Democrats won control of the legislature
and has failed to protect and create jobs in Ulster County.
In neighboring Greene County, they have a technology park and are
in the process of building another. Orange County is knocking down
old buildings near Stewart International Airport and is building a
brand new office park.
Why does Ulster County have the reputation of being “unfriendly?”
Our neighboring counties are way ahead of us on recruiting new business.
Economic development in Ulster is almost non-existent. It should not
be this way.
Ulster County has fallen down when it comes to job creation efforts
and has failed miserably in attracting new businesses. The lack of
job growth relates directly to the high taxes we pay. Instead of having
a vibrant business community, homeowners are left to shoulder the
high tax burden.
Ulster County leadership should be more responsive to the middle class
citizens who are struggling to survive paycheck to paycheck. Perhaps
if Michael Hein spent more time as county administrator instead of
being an aspiring politician, taking advantage of making cameo appearances
(for photo opportunities), we might see some progress.
Voters want results, not rhetoric; accomplishments, not grandstanding;
integrity, not politics as usual. I encourage the media to start asking
our incumbents the tough questions that need to be answered: Why are
our taxes so high and what have you, in al your years of government
salaried “service” actually accomplished to reduce our
taxes and create jobs in Ulster County?
During a public hearing on the ‘Ulster Tomorrow” economic
development plan this past Wednesday, August 6th, the Republican County
Executive Candidate Len Bernardo showed a complete disconnect when
claiming he had his own plan and was against the Ulster Tomorrow plan
as a guide line for economic development. That disconnect was clear
when he said, “The Ulster County Development Cooperation should
have found out what the towns wanted.” It is too bad that he
didn’t pay attention, listen or participate in the process that
took place over the past 18 months because that was one of the main
thrusts to the many things the UCDC did during their intensive fact
finding mission in creating the Ulster Tomorrow Plan. So for the sake
of information he should be made aware of the following:
Approximately 200 citizens from around the County participated in
formulating the goals, strategies, and actions in the plan. It is
the most intensive study of this kind ever done in Ulster County with
citizens that represent a very diverse cross section of the community,
with almost every conceivable viewpoint and interest group included,
from environmentalists to manufacturers, from artist to car dealers,
from the most liberal to the arch conservative.
Thousands of person-hours have been expended reaching consensus on
the elements of the plan.
Town supervisors were specifically asked for their views and priorities,
along with the priorities of their specific neighborhoods which resulted
in the Steering Committee thoroughly discussing the varying needs
of individual communities.
The process involved a systematic investigation of obstacles to development,
and the strategies were designed to tackle as many of these as possible
– while still continuing to welcome any constructive ideas on
how to better address them.
Solid supportive research by professional economic experts was done
on the County’s economy, trends in our community and in the
larger global marketplace, along with how environmental changes will
have an effect.
Dozens of open meetings, probably scores, have been held over the
last 18 plus months – with abundant opportunity for anyone to
give input and get involved
The Ulster Tomorrow’s consensus goals and alignment of purpose
have already produced “wins” such as the bipartisan support
for The Solar Energy Consortium and the Shovel Ready infrastructure
jobs projects in Saugerties and Lloyd which will bring 100s of bread
winning jobs. The formal adoption of the plan in a bipartisan manner
by the legislature would bolster several current major projects involving
hundreds of jobs – both retention and creation, while increasing
significant state and federal grant opportunities.
Len Bernardo was awarded many opportunities to get involved and participate,
or at least get an understanding of what was being done, why and how
it would effect our county. He chose not to. I respect that not all
people have the time or desire to volunteer. I only ask him not to
insult all those that did volunteer their time and all the work that
went into this comprehensive plan. It would be foolish to lose this
once in a lifetime opportunity for Ulster County to create a united
front in our economic development efforts because a candidate didn’t
know the facts.
As someone that was once a strong critic of the UCDC, I applaud them
and all the volunteers for their work and will ask for the formal
adoption of this plan to be done immediately to show that Ulster County
is not content in discussing and arguing the plan details and approaches
indefinitely, but is ready for action to create good jobs now.
David B. Donaldson, Chairman Ulster County Legislature
Once again, in connection with green affordable housing I pulled the
following information about (green) jobs from the internet:
1. Industrial machinery mechanic - nine percent projected growth.
Installs solar panels and repairs wind turbines. $42,350 median annual
2. Electricians - seven percent projected growth. $44,780 median annual
3. Line workers - seven percent projected growth. $52,570 median annual
4. Welders - 5 percent projected growth. $32,270 median annual income.
5. Engineers - 11 percent projected growth. $44,790-$145,600, depending
on specialty. Concerning solar energy, there is a lot going on at
Tech City, the old IBM place in Kingston. (A local architect told
me that now when people talk to him about building a house, it's always
green housing.) Most of these jobs are skills that don't require a
college degree but they do require training/apprenticeship. Local
community colleges offer some of this training.
Another fact, wind energy grew by 45 percent last year. Traveling
through southern California last summer I saw miles and miles of windmills
that power millions of homes. The green affordable RUPCO housing that
is coming to Woodstock will actually be using geothermal heating (and
cooling.) There is actually a lot going on in this country involving
renewable energy. I just don't hear it on the news nearly as much
as where we need to drill next for oil or offshore drilling or opening
up a wildlife refuge in the last pristine part of the world. What
are we thinking? Why is the news so focused on oil (and coal and nuclear
energy) when it's polluting the planet that we live on and already
making life unbearable for millions of people? And do you know what
happens when I keep listening to this news. It makes me fearful. Fearful
not just for this little planet that we live one but for my own survival.
How will I be able to afford to keep warm (electric radiant heat)
and drive my car to work (carpool), and buy decent food (cold weather
crops in the community garden, eat simply.) Fear also keeps me from
thinking creatively and being resourceful. I/we don't see the silver
lining in this energy crisis as it affects my/our spending power.
That maybe this is the only way that our country can make changes
that are truly needed, not only in our use of energy and resources
but in how we educate our children and ourselves, how we deal with
our health issues. How do we make life rich and meaningful without
Barbara Adrienne Rosen
Recently, articles in your newspaper have described the potential
for this winter to be extremely difficult for people of fixed and
low income who will not be able to afford to fill their gas tanks,
their oil tanks, buy food and fill their prescriptions.
Ulster County governmental officials, town supervisors, non-profits
and many others are taking a leadership role in working together to
help people this winter.
Assembly Energy Committee Chairperson Kevin Cahill brought the issue
to the forefront by sponsoring a packaged bill that offers a series
of innovative initiatives aimed at long-term solutions to New York's
rising energy costs. The package, which has passed the Assembly, calls
for recapturing lost tax revenue currently withheld by big oil companies
and redirecting it toward the Home Energy Assistance Program. Other
parts of the package include weatherization initiatives, consumer
protections at gas pumps and more.
The Resource Center for Accessible Living applauds Assemblyman Cahill
and all others who are working hard to help the people of Ulster County
this winter and beyond.
Fran Wishnick, Resource
Center for Accessible Living
What did we expect? We put our tax money into a war with Iraq while
tax breaks for the wealthy held firm, so it was our money, not theirs,
that funded the war. Maybe our representatives should have paid more
attention to the bills they approved before voting on them. Now, We,
the folks, will be paying the price, and if you've been looking into
your oil contracts for the upcoming winter, you'll see that your heating
bills will double this year.
Then we have the bailouts that We are funding: Fannie Mae, Freddie
Mac, the complicated, but still 'out of Our pockets' deal with J.P.
Morgan and Bear Stearns, and surely, more to come. Furthermore, IndyMac
Bank was not the only bank failure. There were four others this year
so far reported by the FDIC for 2008. They are: First Integrity Bank,
NA, Staples, Minnesota, ANB Financial Bank, NA, Bentonville, Arkansas;
Hume Bank, Hume, Missouri and Douglass National Bank, Kansas City,
Missouri. If you'll forgive me for quoting the much maligned New York
Times, for reporting he facts, they reported that "future bank
failings, will be delayed until after the election, but they are sure
Now, let's look at the "Maverick's" participation on the
economy. First, I'd like to tell you where his nickname came from.
Samuel Maverick was born in S. Carolina, as the son of a plantation
owner. He moved to Texas to become a land owner of his own. For a
brief time, he lived in Matagorda Bay, an island off Texas, and there,
he bought a herd of cattle. When he returned to San Antonio, to expand
his landholdings, he left behind his small herd of cattle in the care
of his slaves. As one might suspect unsupervised slaves might do,
they allowed the herd to wander and this gave rise to the term Maverick.
It denotes an unbranded calf. In 1854 Maverick and his two eldest
sons rounded up the cattle took them back to Texas, and sold them,
so don't go looking for a happy ending to this little piece of history.
But I digress. The Maverick continues to know how to grow his own
wealth, an easy task, when working in Washington. As The Maverick
always begins his speeches with "My Friends", let's name
a few: Vickie Iseman, lobbyist for Dow Chemical; Rick Davis, lobbyist
for Verizon, (my personal favorite, but that's another story); Tom
Loeffler, lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Industry, (another one of
my personal favorites). Then there's Charlie Black, lobbyist for Lockheed
Martin, Occidental Petroleum and dictators around the world. It's
clear to see where McCain stands, and it seems to be "more of
the same," which is a certain nightmare.
As for Obama, we don't know clearly where he stands, but one thing
is for sure. He simply is our only choice. With him, We stand a chance
of organizing ourselves around real change, by doing the one thing
we can do, and that is to vote out, or campaign to vote out all Republicans
and Democrats that have shown themselves to be against Us in the House
and Senate. If we want our country back, we need to participate, in
whatever way we can. Only 3 months to go. Good luck to us all.
The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming reported
on July 31 that ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips and Chevron
demonstrate how all time high oil prices are translating into record-breaking
corporate profits. As consumers suffered declines in real income and
purchasing power, profits for the big oil companies topped $123 billion
in 2007 and are projected to be over $160 billion in 2008. ExxonMobil
alone repurchased $31.8 billion worth of its own stock, distributed
$7.6 billion in dividends to shareholders, increased compensation
for its top five executives to $76 million (a 170 percent increase
since 2001) and spent $100 million on propaganda ads across the country
to convince the people that, in spite of their windfall profits, they
are really not that rich. Then, to appease the people, they spent
a mere $10 million on renewable energy alternatives.
All this greed, and not a peep in defense of the people from the Oil
Barons who live in “our” White House. The silence from
the Bush administration is deafening! The next time you fill up your
car with $4 per gallon gasoline, ask yourself who in my government
really cares enough to speak out in my defense?
Cheney? No, he had to divest himself of millions of dollars in Halliburton
stock before he could run for office.
Rice? No, she had to have her name removed from the Exxon tanker before
she could accept her state position.
The reason we are not hearing from these people is because this is
their plan and we, the American people, are not part of it.
On Friday, July 25, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on
C-Span about impeaching the Bush administration for high crimes and
misdemeanors. Any American who did not see these hearings should request
a copy from C-Span. The concept of “government of the people,
by the people and for the people” could not have been more articulately
presented then it was by none other than our own U.S. Rep. Maurice
Hinchey. Maurice was so eloquent in expressing all the reasons that
Bush and his cohorts should be impeached for “high crimes and
misdemeanors.” However, because he is so outspoken, he is being
targeted for removal by all the NeoCons who just happen to be on the
receiving end of this Bush master plan of government of big oil, by
big oil and for big oil and to hell with the people.
After you review the C-Span tape, you will agree that we can’t
afford to lose our voice of the people, Maurice Hinchey.
I am greatly saddened by the shootings which took place on Sunday
July 27 at a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Knoxville, Tennessee.
My heart weeps for all those affected: those who lost loved ones,
those who were present in the church and whose lives will not be the
same, families and friends, helpers, and the shooter himself, who
thought that he had to kill people because he disagreed with their
social policies. As a Unitarian Universalist minister serving a congregation
in Kingston, this tragedy particularly touches me, although I am well
aware that people attending many other religious services have had
a similar terrible experience. We turn to one another and ask, what
can we do? At the core, I do not believe that any religion teaches
its practitioners to kill people who hold different beliefs and values.
Yet it happens all too often. How does anyone make sense of this?
Yet amid our helplessness, incomprehension, anger, fear, and sadness,
I think there are things we can and must do. Practically, we can find
out what help is needed and plug into that, (see www.uua.org for help).
Emotionally, we can offer friendship, support and comfort to those
affected, as well as to ourselves and each other. Public tragedies
of this nature often awaken memories and feelings from our own experiences
and we might require some help in dealing with them.
We can re-dedicate ourselves as agents of peace. Educate ourselves
regarding what other people believe and value and why. This with the
goal of greater understanding and even respect. We can share our knowledge
as widely as possible. We can speak up when groups of people are insulted
in our presence. We can speak out against violence and be more aware
of the level of violence we let into our lives through the media,
the news we watch, the people we hang around with, our own words and
Spiritually, we can draw the courage to do this from that which we
believe to be most true about life, about ourselves, about God, however
we understand that word. People can do great damage to one another,
yes. But people can also do great good for one another. We cannot
forget that, even now. This is a time for us to put more good into
The Reverend Dr. Linda Anderson,
Congregation of the Catskills
This obesity epidemic is probably the most pernicious plague that
has occurred in our history. Every fat person is automatically less
fit physically than persons of normal weight. Obesity reduces mobility
and physical independence making the management of the body more difficult
when afflicted with conditions such as arthritis, other orthopedic
problems such as fractures more difficult as well a increasing their
incidence. Obesity contributes to circulatory disease, cancer and
many other conditions. Except for the fact that excessive eating doesn't
cause second-hand problems, which smoking does, it is as destructive
to health as smoking.
Perhaps the weirdest thing about the problem is that people can't
accept the fact that the cause of obesity is eating more food than
their body needs. Instead they are continuing to eat all they want
and believe that the type of food eaten is the cause rather than the
amount. If you need a certain amount of food, say 1,800 calories and
eat hundreds more calories, you are going to put on weight. You can
find out how many calories your body needs and you can read the very
well labeled foods you buy and plan meals that will not exceed what
This carbohydrate nonsense that one type of sugar is so much more
fattening than another is irrelevant. No sugar - be it from starch
or sugar - is going to make enough difference in fat production to
sneeze at, it is the amount.
It is shocking to realize that Americans are now adding hundreds of
calories a day to their diets by replacing water, tea, and coffee
with liquids containing sugar! Adults are using Pepsi and Coke with
their meals and children given Kool ade or other sweetened drinks
when thirsty. Many dry cereals are now loaded with sugar. People frown
at a teaspoon of sugar added to plain cereal not realizing that a
teaspoonful of sugar has only 16 calories and is an insignificant
amount compared what is added in the making.
There are many who don't overdo on the carbohydrates but more than
overdo in fat. Fats are consumed in large quantities in fried food-fries,
batter fried foods (so delicious!) The dips, crackers, cheeses eaten
before meals, the oils and avocados in salads, and the desserts laden
with sugars and fats mount up fast in calories. Forget the nit picking
approach to sugars. It won't make much difference whether it is fructose,
levulose, galactose, glucose or what it is not, what it is, or how
much. To me the whole picture is lachrymose (tearful).
Re: your “Opera at Belleayre” note on page 12:
Amelita Galli-Curci was a a very popular opera singer in the early
years of the 20th century, and one of Shandaken’s best-known
part-time residents. But, she was not “America’s female
answer to Enrico Caruso.” Like Caruso, she was born in Italy.
Galli-Curci originally studied to be a concert pianist at the Milan
Conservatory of Music, but after meeting Italian composer Pietro Mascagtni,
followed his advise to study voice. Her first operatic role was in
1906 in Trani, Italy, where she sang the role of Gilda in Rigoletto.
She had a fluid coloratura soprano voice that made her instantly popular.
For the next decade, she performed in Europe and South America, before
coming to the US in 1916.
Galli-Curci performed with the Chicago Opera Company from 1916 to
1924, and made recordings for Victor Record Company. In 1921, she
first appeared at the Met in the role of Violetta in La Traviata,
and continued to perform at the Met until she retired in 1930. It
was during that time that she came to the Catskills and built a vacation
home on the road now named for her in Highmount. She died in 1963.
It’s still possible for opera lovers to hear Amelita Galli-Curci
sing, because her recordings have been re-mastered and are available
on CD through Nimbus Records.
Patricia L. Ellison