from October 12, 2006)
It is not every day that a liberal Democrat and a conservative
Republican agree completely on an issue. But when it comes to
the proposed Ulster County Charter we agree that it is a document
on which the people of the county should vote a resounding –
NO- come November 7th.
The proposed charter has been characterized as a “Politicians
Charter,” and rightly so. The proposed charter creates
over 40 political patronage jobs, plus other “goodies”
for the political establishment.
It has been said, “That if it sounds too good to be true,
it proposal is too good to be true.” The voters of Ulster
County should remember this truism when they go to the polls.
The political establishment is trying desperately to sell the
proposed charter to the voters- they love the “goodies”
wrapped in the charter package.
When you go to the polls in November be sure that you fully
understand the fine print in the charter and what the proposed
charter will do. Hidden in the charter are opportunities for
To view a draft of the proposed charter visit www.co.ulster.ny.us/charter.html.
William R. West, Former Chairman
Ulster County Legislature
Toni Hokanson, Supervisor
Town of New Paltz
I am writing in answer to letters responding to previous letters
about Israel Palestine Lebanon.
I have been a member of Woodstock Women in Black for several
years and stand with them in Vigil on the Woodstock Green Sundays
1-2pm where all are invited to join us. We wear black in mourning
for victims of violence and stand for peace and social justice.
We support full exploration of non-violent solutions to conflict
at home and internationally and ask people to think about our
country’s on-going crimes in Iraq and the militarization
of our country in particular. Peace and justice are hard work
that we think worth en in Black is an international movement
that began in Jerusalem in 1988 when Jewish and Palestinian
women stood together in the belief that: “We can live
together. Our children are being killed in unnecessary hostility.
We oppose the occupation that is causing violence to us all.”
Each Women in Black group is a spontaneous gathering of women
who stand against violence and each group chooses its own agenda.
Woodstock WIB has recently given out information on depleted
uranium and the military in our schools.
Now this is myself talking and not Woodstock Women in Black.
I cannot believe what happened to Lebanon and what is continuing
in Gaza and the West Bank. It seems so absolutely contrary to
Jewish tradition which I see as prayer, talk, dialog, discussion,
argument repeatedly to find truth and wisdom, fairness and solutions.
I can not believe with all the anger, fear about Islamic fundamentalism,
two of the countries most devastated by US-Israeli policy were
the most secular – Iraq and Palestine. I can not believe
my country and Israel are using Weapons of Mass Destruction
– ‘depleted’ uranium and cluster bombs. And
I ask: is this killing and devastation essentially about oil,
about pipelines and control of energy sources (http://www.globalresearch.ca/)?
The US supports Israel with an estimated 8 million to 16 million
dollars every single day. Is Israel being used by the US or
is Israel taking advantage of US empire-building to secure the
ends of its own extremists? How can this benefit the people
of Israel in the long term? It is so unfair, so contrary to
any moral, ethical way of being. We need to strengthen the UN
or some federation of nations. Hezbollah and Hamas have ignored
some UN directives but the US and Israel have ignored so very
many more. Where are we going?
Remembering Martin Luther King’s words “We begin
to die the day we keep silent about things that matter,”
I must speak out. These questions are worthy of acknowledgement
and discussion. Thank you for your consideration.
We would like to thank everyone who made the 3rd annual Family
Farm Festival a success. Over 2,000 people came out on September
10 to celebrate New York family farms, sustainable agriculture
and grassfed meats. The winner of the popular Celebrity Chef
Competition was Francesco Tonelli, followed closely by Ric Orlando
of New World Home Cooking and Anita Eisenhauer of the Culinary
Institute's American Bounty Restaurant. Many thanks to our sponsors:
Chronogram, Rondout Valley Growers Association, Slow Food and
the Weston A. Price Foundation. Our volunteers and local businesses
who helped make the day a success deserve a great big thank
you: Tim Allen, Beacon Sloop Club, Charlie Blumstein, Depuy
Canal House, Linda Brook Guenther, Teal Linardakis, Prudential
Nutshell Realty, Marbletown Business Association, Hasbrouck
Farm and Saunderskill Farm. And a big thank you to everyone
in the community who came and enjoyed the day with us. Planning
for next year's festival is already underway. Save the date,
Sunday, September 9, 2007. If you would like to get involved
in making this wonderful community event happen, please see
our website: www.familyfarmfestival.com
Everybody loves donuts but not when it comes to their prescription
drug coverage. On Sepember 22, most of the 7 million seniors
and disabled Americans enrolled in the Part D Medicare Plan
fell head on into a "donut-hole" trap. Instead of
the lower drug costs they expected by enrolling into the Part
D program ballyhooed by the Bush Administration, enrollees whose
yearly drug bills are between $2,250 and $5,100 now have to
pay the full cost of their medicines on top of their monthly
premium. With their prescription costs averaging more than $3,000
a year, a great many New Yorkers who enrolled in Part D have
fallen into the trap.
Even more distressing is the study in the New England Journal
of Medicine showing that with such exorbitant drug costs many
people simply skip doses, are less likely to seek care, and
How did this happen? One place to look is the money contributed
to political campaigns. In the last election cycle alone, the
drug industry gave $21.7 million to Republicans and $7.6 million
to Democrats while the insurance sector gave $25.9 million to
Republicans and $11.7 million to Democrats. How do those contributions
line up with how "our" elected officials voted to
produce this outrage on senior and disabled Americans? The Republicans
who voted yes got more than 3 times as much as Republicans who
voted no. And the handful of Democrats who voted yes got more
than twice as much as Democrats who voted no.
New York's Congressman John Sweeney, along with Tom Delay, played
a major role in role in getting Congress to pass part D and
its trap. I would like to know why Mr. Sweeney would do this
to New Yorkers. Was it the many thousands of dollars he got
from drug companies for his 2006 campaign?
It's time to stop this kind of political bribery by enacting
Clean Money Clean Elections so that those elected can feel free
to work for all New Yorkers rather than big contributors. We
can't pass Clean Elections as loners. But there are many organizations
fighting to enact this bill. A good place to start is with Citizen
Action of New York at www.citizenactionny.org. Or call 518 678-3516.
How does political change happen? In the race for NYS Senate
we have an incumbent with seemingly bottomless pockets trying
to hold his seat against a challenger, Democrat Susan Zimet,
who has far less funding. Is the outcome a foregone conclusion?
No! No, for at least two reasons:
First, the people desperately want change. Property taxes in
NYS have increased three times faster than the rate of inflation
in the past five years, and 50 percent faster than the national
average. Also, in per-pupil spending on education, NYS stands
third highest in the nation for making local budgets carry the
cost, as compared to the state budget. I'll just add one more
item from a much longer list: the Business Tax Climate Index,
which measures the overall burden, complexity and compliance
costs for doing business, ranks NYS dead last. The incumbent,
Republican John Bonacic, was in office the entire time that
this record was created.
Second, Susan Zimet brings the personal and professional qualities
we need to effect change in Albany. I'll quote from a letter
to the editor, written by a Republican at the time of Susan's
re-election campaign for Supervisor: "As a resident of
New Paltz for the past 20 years, I have observed a number of
New Paltz administrations. Susan Zimet's administration has
been the most vibrant and successful of them all. Susan is an
extremely responsible, innovative, dedicated and tireless individual.
She has corrected problems left by previous administrations,
improved the morale at Town Hall, successfully worked with members
of the opposing political party, kept business in New Paltz,
helped to bring new business to the Town, been a leader in bringing
... a long-overdue and desperately needed recreation project
for local youth, and has been responsive to the needs of our
over-taxed community by holding the line on property taxes."
Although the public has seen only broad outlines of Crossroads
Venture's revised and supposedly reduced resort proposal - the
details have been shared only with selected invited audiences
- it's clear that the new concept is just as damaging to the
environment and our economy as the original. We know that the
proposal does eliminate the golf course (previously considered
crucial for economic viability) and the time-share units and
other buildings associated with the Belleayre Highlands section
of the east side.
These changes do not eliminate the environmental problems of
the East Side. According to the draft proposal presented to
the EPA and DEP, a large development on the Big Indian Plateau
would still be in place. In fact, instead of 55 time-share units
on the ridge there would be106, almost twice as many buildings.
The number of hotel rooms would be decreased by 30, but the
Spa would be increased in size and would encompass space previously
set aside for a golf clubhouse.
The proposed time share units would be spread along the entire
Big Indian Plateau and would require a paved road around the
entire ridge and clear cutting a substantial number of trees.
The steep access road from Route 28 would be expanded. All this
construction would require many new stormwater runoff controls
even though the developer states this project is reduced in
size. The old erosion controls were deemed inadequate. Will
the new be any better?
In sum, the new concept, like the old, still plans massive development
on a high-elevation mountain ridge in the heart of public lands
mandated as "Forever Wild".
Alan Hevesi, New York State Comptroller, pointed out last month
that the economic viability of the old project was highly suspect.
The Catskill Heritage Alliance sees nothing in the new concept
to indicate it is any more economically viable than Crossroads'
original proposal. Previously, the developer said that the golf
course was essential to make the project financially successful.
Now that the golf course is eliminated, financial success depends
on the sale of the 306 undeveloped acres of the Belleayre Highlands
and an expanded spa. Is this forecast any sounder than the first?
If, once started, the project fails, the community would be
left with a scarred landscape. If the supposedly revised project
goes forward, the outlook is even more dire. The viewshed at
night would still be ruined with additional lighting and, in
daytime, there would be a visible eyesore for hikers, hunters,
fishermen and homeowners north of Route 28. Water quality would
be challenged from additional use and increased runoff. The
unique character of our communities would be lost due to sprawling
growth and increased traffic. Further, the reduced development
would still require increased municipal services such as fire,
police, ambulance, schools and social services. Studies have
shown that increased taxes from such development do not cover
the cost of the increased services, and therefore everyone's
taxes will rise.
The revised resort would still dominate the area and threaten
the "Forever Wild' nature of the Catskill Park - and these
are just the problems of the reduced size east. The west-side
Wildacres project adds to all these problems and presents problems
of its own.
The Catskill Heritage Alliance maintains that the only viable
solution is to not have any development on the East Side and
to proceed on the west side only if an environmentally friendly
solution can be found.
Richard Schaedle, Chairman,
Catskill Heritage Alliance
Pine Hill, NY
Several letters have circulated recently, most notably from
the Catskill Heritage Alliance, making the claim that new plans
for the Belleayre Resort, which call for the elimination of
an 18-hole golf course, 88 time-share units and 30 hotel rooms,
will somehow have MORE of an environmental impact. Does this
make sense to you?
They will tell you that we have more buildings than originally
planned. That is true. However, the buildings are smaller, one-family
units instead of the multi-unit buildings that have been eliminated.
The smaller footprint of each building means less disturbed
land, and that is the fact they have ignored to suit their purposes.
The simple fact is this: our new plan has reduced the amount
of disturbed land by 49 percent on the eastern side. Only 150
acres will be disturbed on a parcel of land that is more than
1,200 acres in size. The rest will become permanent open space.
No golf course means no clear cutting, no daily watering, no
pesticides and no fertilizers. Our expanded spa will occupy
space originally designed for the pro shop so, there is no change
to the footprint. There will be no roads needed to access the
eliminated time-share development nor will a bridge to get there
over Giggle Hollow be required. And reducing the total number
of lodging units by one-third will eliminate the need to tap
into any Pine Hill water sources.
Nearly 50 percent less disturbed land. Elimination of an entire
golf course. Fewer roads and no bridge. Reduced daily water
usage. Doesn’t that seem like less of an environmental
impact to you?
Paul Rakov. VP, Public Affairs
Crossroads Ventures, LLC
Mt. Tremper, NY
President Chavez should not have referred to The Pretender as
"Devil," since even if "The Devil" existed
as anything other than the dark side of all humans, it would
be an insult to the devil. The President is not intelligent
enough fill the role. Since I do not believe in "The Devil,"
in my opinion Bush could not possibly be such an entity, even
though he apparently puts forth his best effort
Speaking of evil, I am angered, saddened, and disgusted by small
animals being deliberately run over on our roads. When a crushed
animal is lying in the middle of where the car's wheels would
have passed, then although it is possible that the driver swerved
to avoid the killing but the victim dashed under the wheel in
an attempt to escape, there are far too many little smashed
innocents in the middle of tire tracks or, more indicative of
deliberate killing, crushed at the extreme right side of the
road. This is sport? C'mon, watch cage fights, or better yet
enlist in the National Guard, which "His Majesty"
is sacrificing in an illicit "war" in Iraq, and enjoy
killing women and children if you get the chance.
In recognition of such strong legislative support, New York
Farm Bureau recently released a listing of State Legislators
included on our annual "Circle of Friends" list. The
award is provided based upon an individual lawmaker's record
of support for New York agriculture and the Farm Bureau. As
president of the New York Farm Bureau, I am pleased to report
that this year Assemblyman Kevin Cahill has been recognized
as a member of the Farm Bureau's "Circle of Friends."
This award is reserved for those state Legislators, such as
Assemblyman Cahill, who had superior voting records on issues
and showed strong support for New York agriculture during the
2006 state legislative session. Each member of the Farm Bureau
"Circle of Friends" has demonstrated an understanding
of the important issues impacting farmers and the considerable
impact the industry has upon the our economy and quality of
New York Farm Bureau, the state's largest general farm advocacy
organization, works closely with the State legislature to strengthen
and enhance the agricultural industry in New York State. This
year's legislative session proved to be a challenging one for
farmers, but with significant support from key legislators in
the Senate and Assembly, agriculture will continue to be one
of New York's most important industries.
New York Farm Bureau is a non-partisan organization and does
not endorse elected officials or political candidates. We are
pleased, however, to provide the "Circle of Friends"
designation to Assemblyman Cahill as a way to show our sincere
appreciation for the Assemblyman's hard work on behalf of agriculture
in New York State.
John Lincoln, President
New York Farm Bureau
HH the Dalai Lama is more than a head of state, more than a
Nobel Prize winner, and more than the global face of the world's
fourth largest religion. He is the only world leader who is
brave and honest enough to articulate the truth of the human
dilemma. His visit to Woodstock and Phoenicia was a gift to
us all, an auspicious reminder of just how important it is to
be kind and how possible it is for each of us to become more
compassionate. Many thanks to Menla and KTD for organizing this
West Shokan, NY
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has claimed from the start
of the U.S. war against terrorism that prisoners are "treated
humanely and in a manner consistent with Geneva Conventions."
In direct contradiction to Rumsfeld's assertion, President Bush
has always claimed that "since the war on terror was not
a conventional war, unlawful enemy combatants captured in the
fight against al-Qaeda would not be considered POWs and thus
would not be afforded protections of the Geneva Conventions."
In the newly edited U.S. Army Manual, torture and degrading
treatment of prisoners is banned for the first time, specifically
mentioning "forced nakedness, hooding, beating prisoners,
sexually humiliating them, depriving them of food and water,
performing mock executions, shocking them with electricity,
burning them, causing other pain," etc. Furthermore, the
Army Deputy Chief of State for Intelligence claims, "there
is no secret section." Whatever that means.
The manual applies to all the armed services; it does not, however,
cover the CIA, which also has come under investigation for mistreatment
of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan and in thousands of secret
prisons throughout the world.
This is appalling, is it not? Sadistic treatment of men taken
in combat is no longer allowed - except those taken in CIA-governed
actions and held in secret detention centers throughout the
I have two questions to ask. Is this Army manual meant to be
retroactive? Will those prisoners who have already been abused
now be accorded some sort of recompense? An apology at the very
And secondly, will this have an impact on the cruel and inhuman
treatment of the thousands of men and women in prisons inside
the U.S. who were incarcerated not because they were involved
in Bush's war against international terrorists but because they
got caught breaking some local law? The detention of immigrants
is an example that comes immediately to mind, the prisoners
incarcerated in patently terrible prisons in the South, etc.,
Lake Katrine, NY
Do you think you'd rather be safe than sorry? Think again. In
quest of safety, you might be sacrificing your liberty and that
loss has been considered by some patriots a fate worse than
Habeas Corpus was a part of our constitution. To quote, it says
that "the Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall
not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion
the public safety may require it." Legislation suspending
habeas corpus for "enemy
combatants" has just passed in the House and the Senate
and is now waiting for approval by our leader. That means that
a suspect can be put in prison without the right to a trial
by his peers. Suspects cannot even represent themselves, but
must accept a military lawyer as their defender. This is where
our our country is right now.
The definition of "enemy combatants" (a recent term)
currently applies to foreigners living inside or outside the
United States but does not rule out the possibility of designating
a U.S. citizen as an unlawful combatant.
So, when is a rebellion considered a risk to public safety?
Well, for now, it is when our leader considers it so. Let's
take, for example a letter to American soldier in Iraq. Suppose
someone wrote a letter
to a soldier saying that the rush to war was based on proven
untruths? Does that put the American public at risk? Maybe.
Suppose someone demands a recount of an election during wartime....
(which is now a permanent state in our country). Does holding
up our leadership during a time of war constitute a threat to
public safety? Maybe. Our leader has consistently labeled protestors
against his policy as threats to our security.
To quote our "could have been President", Al Gore:
"If George Washington could see the current state of his
generation's handiwork and assess the quality of our generation's
stewardship at the beginning of this twenty-first century, what
do you suppose he would think about the proposition that our
current president claims the unilateral right to arrest and
imprison American citizens indefinitely without giving them
the right to see a lawyer or inform their families of their
whereabouts, and without the necessity of even charging them
with any crime.
"All that is necessary, according to our new president
is that he - the president - label any citizen an "unlawful
enemy combatant," and that will be sufficient to justify
taking away that citizen's liberty - even for the rest of his
life, if the president so chooses. And there is no appeal."
He goes on: "How long would it take James Madison to dispose
of our current President's recent claim, in Department of Justice
legal opinions, that he is no longer subject to the rule of
law so long as he is acting in his role as Commander in Chief.
"I think it is safe to say that our founders would be genuinely
concerned about these recent developments in American democracy
and that they would feel that we are now facing a clear and
present danger that has the potential to threaten the future
of the American
The above quote by Al Gore was said before Congress approved
giving more power to the president this past week.
Now, here is the earlier part of Patrick Henry's quote on liberty
or death: "We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful
truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms
us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great
and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the
numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears,
hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal
salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost,
I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and
to provide for it."
I apologize for the length of this letter, however, this is
such an important matter, I wanted all to know what is at stake
in the upcoming election. Regardless of what you think of the
Democrats, you must vote for them, or you may well be living
under something other than democracy very, very soon. It's up
In the last week, the attention of the whole world was focused
on the Amish school in Pennsylvania where five girls were killed,
five others critically wounded, and the shooter took his own
Charles Carl Roberts IV was angry with God, angry with himself,
and haunted with guilt. Each time such violence occurs, relatives,
journalists and other people ask the question--where was God?
How could he let this happen?
God was and is there the whole time. As the old spiritual goes,
"He's got the whole world in his hands." He is against
all violence and all killings. Yet he will never impose his
will on people, because he wants voluntary service. As a result,
tragic events like the Amish shootings will continue to happen,
as long as we all do not face the violent nature that is in
each one of us.
God already is using the death of these five girls by turning
it into something positive. They opened up to the whole world
the Amish way of life, and their deep faith, which is able to
overcome any tragedy. A lot has been written about the Amish
response to the shooting--to forgive. Their response, "We
want to forgive...that's the way we were brought up--return
good for evil." These are not just noble words. One day
after the massacre, the local Amish community started a charity
not only for the victims' families, but also to raise funds
for the gunman's widow and children.
Roberts is dead, and some people are asking, "How can justice
be done if the perpetrator is dead?" Other questions arise,
such as: "Is the gunman in heaven or hell?" That is
completely superfluous. He is with God. That is all that matters.
No amount of human justice would have replaced and redeemed
the tragic loss of these five girls. We forget that God said,
"Vengeance is mine, I will repay." The gunman is in
the hands of the best judge, who will see that true justice
will be done--justice that is combined with love and with redemption,
both for the victims and the shooter himself.
School shootings and other acts of violence will continue. Each
time they occur, let us remember the lives of these girls, the
example that they gave, such as the oldest victim, Marian Fisher,
and her sister Barbie, who wanted to be shot first, to hopefully
save the others.
If we truly want justice, let us ask why we cannot follow the
example given us by the Amish. Why shouldn't it work for us
too? In our violent society, we look too quickly for human answers
to stop school violence. No amount of frisking and metal detectors
and educational summits will stop it. The Amish are right in
not expecting additional security such as locks on schools.
If we want our children to be safe, we all have to look to God
for the answer. He alone can protect us and our children.
Forgiveness is for everyone--not only for the Amish. It is the
universal answer to breaking the cycle of violence that is destroying
this world. Forgiveness is power, not a weakness. It can heal
both the forgiver and the forgiven. It will change the world
if we allow it. In short, we hold the keys of forgiveness in
our hands, and we must choose whether or not to use them every
Johann Christoph Arnold
Each time I decide to take a "break" from my self
imposed obligation to write to you [and all my friends] I find
a news item that needs our attention. In the last edition of
the Olive Press I pointed out, rather sadly the "other"
casualties of the so called "war" in Iraq. There are
more in addition to those we hear and read about daily around
the world. Britain certainly has had their share along with
France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
But what of Iraq itself? There are [according to our own intelligence
figures] 800-900 terrorist attacks each week in Iraq. That is
over 100 per 24 hour day which equates to one attack each hour,
average. Each event results in approximately 20-30 civilian
casualties [death or worse] plus another 1-3 American service
personnel. This is so much unlike any war we have engaged in
at any time. Our forces were always able to give as well as
My question to the military "wizards" in Washington,
including our illustrious Commander in Chief is, how many enemy
combatant prisoners have we taken on the field of battle? Who
is our enemy? How do we identify them? Who orwhat do we shoot
at? Where is their colors or uniforms?
We can ask questions that just cannot be answered with any substance
or content. All we get is "spin" or an arrogant response
that, "as long as I am president we will remain there"
Now we have a few unrelated questions for some "misfits"
that think they represent us in the conduct of national business.
As I did a Google search for Rep. Mark Foley of Florida's 16th
District I find his office is "vacant" already [Oct
2]. Mr. Foley has checked in to a rehab center, the latest trick
in avoiding prosecution. Sort of like giving back the money
after being apprehended in a bank robbery. He is going into
rehab for alcoholism, not perversion. Some "smoke screen"!
And of course he was molested by a clergyman which started it
all. Here's the kick in the butt for the taxpayers; he will
continue to receive full pay and benefits. Mr. Foley as a member
of the majority party was a co-chairman of the [prey and predator]
House Caucus on Missing and exploited Children to insure that
old perverts don't get to our young teens and sexually molest
or corrupt them. Foley if properly prosecuted will be a convicted
felon. The old school teacher, Speaker Dennis Hastert knew of
all this months ago and now pleads ignorance. He belongs in
Wait! I'm not done yet. What ever happened to the Maurice Hinchey
"gun on the plane" incident? "Loaded gun on the
plane as I remember". At least Harry Connick, Jr got community
service for the same offense but a Congressman or other "dignitary"
gets a "pass". Hinchey along with Foley is also a
felon according to federal law.
Just trying to insure that the Pledge of Allegiance doesn't
end with, "liberty and justice for..... some".
Glenn T. Anderson
In this age of information there is a concerted effort on the
part of policy makers to limit a particular type of information
to the public. This is especially true of the present administration.
Listening to a series of interviews on NPR brought this thought
into sharp focus for me. They interviewed a soldier who was
an Army interrogator who described the various techniques they
were allowed and the efforts by his supervisor to exceed them.
He spoke of isolation, hooding and the use of dogs, all legal
as well as hypothermia and mock executions which are illegal.
Hearing this, I think anyone with a sense of decency would recognize
it as torture. Yet when the theoreticians spoke about it, it
lacked that clarity. Hearing this story it became clear just
what happened at Abu Ghirab and how the soldiers accused there
were scapgoated. He not only described the mental destabilization
of the detainees but the isolation and loss of moral compass
of the interrogators.
It is just this lack of access to unfiltered information that
allows the war to be abstracted. I remember as a child seeing
pictures of WWII in Life magazine and elsewhere that showed
the fighting from an experiential perspective that even then
impacted me. It is exactly this lack of information (ignorance)
that allows the American public to view torture, illegal detention,
and rendition as appropriate responses. This is a failure of
Let me start off by saying that first I am an American, which
constitutes a universal vision, and then I am an ashamed member
of these united-by-fear states of the union. Had this government
realistically put the people of Iraq to work after its "completed"
invasion, as all of us envisioned happening, our USA would have
been the pride-and-joy superheroes of the Middle East. Instead,
we have become the world's hated ones due to the direct atrocities
brought about by G.W. Bush on behalf of the globalized petrochemical
cartels that have taken control of our pentagon and military.
This administration has set a precedent with the trial of Saddam
Hussein. The world should now have the opportunity to watch
George Walker Bush being marched out of the Oval Office and
put on trial for treason and crimes against humanity.
One nation, under God - spreading peace and democracy with the
winds of war - never was and will never be the American way.
A major step in reducing the hatred that is causing the terrorism
would be to get off their land.
New Paltz, NY
Most of us have probably seen the campaign signs by our roads
for Kevin Costello, who is the Republican candidate for Ulster
County sheriff. These signs are not legal, as the aspiring sheriff
should know. In this town as well as others, there are regulations
that designate the days on which these signs may be displayed,
beginning with ten days before and after the primary election
(Sept. 12). They must be taken down by the 22nd and may be displayed
again 30 days prior to the Nov. 7 election. In this period from
Sept. 22 to Oct. 7, no political campaign signs are permitted
but, sad to say, Mr. Costello's signs are everywhere. Where
is the respect for law?
The Rev. Finley Schaef
I would like to tell your readers about the FACETS program.
F.A.C.E.T.S. stands for Family and Child Early Treatment Service
and it has operated in the Onteora school district for eleven
years. It is in danger of being cut from the district because
of a 2005 Pataki legislation chapter 513 law 414.
My family has benefited enormously from FACETS. All three of
my children along with my husband and me have been involved
in Counseling at the school. My Son also got involved with “Kids
Together”, an Ulster County Mental Health program that
helps kids with the intricate socialization skills that some
teens need. This was another amazing benefit to which we never
would have known was available without FACETS. If this wonderful
program was not available right at the school, either during
school hours or right after, my husband and myself would have
had to choose between our hours at work or our child’s
mental health. This is no choice at all.
Of course we both would have taken time off to do any thing
for our children because they come first. As I’m sure
most parents do. But that’s not to say that the added
financial burden would not have contributed to the stress at
home. In turn this creates a circle of one stress after another
and possible guilty feelings on the child.
I never want to tell my children they can’t have something
they want, let alone something they need. In the years my husband
and I struggled financially, which we are still doing, albeit,
we can say yes more than we say no these days, we said no to
many of the costly extras kids want just to keep up with their
more privileged friends.
My Husband and I did not fully comprehend the huge pressure
on our kids to come up to the media standards they are bombarded
with day in and day out. With the high profile lives of the
rich and famous how can our kids from the Catskills compete?
Add in hormones, plus the social anxieties of coming of age
and all other stresses of being a teen in the twenty-first century
and you have a great recipe for disaster among our community’s
Ulster County Mental Health in conjunction with the school runs
an early treatment program that works within and without the
conventional guidelines for developmental disabilities and 504
plans. It also stretches the financial boundaries of Medicaid
and employee benefit packages by making it possible for all
kids in the district to receive counseling regardless of their
family’s ability to pay. Without FACETS we as a school
and a community will pay the price later. We owe it to our kids
to keep this profound and positive program in place.
Right now Onteora is embarking on a redistricting project that
could run as high as seventy million dollars. We are currently
running an Indie Program that costs an estimated three million
dollars. The FACETS program provides three full time counselors
and one psychiatrist through Ulster County Mental Health for
a mere ninety thousand dollars a year. It provides counseling
at the schools in the district even during the summer for the
kids who need it.
To not find a way for the district to pay for this program would
be a grave disservice to the families, students, and community
who rely on FACETS. Onteora is a rural district with many families
living at or below the poverty-line. Studies show that without
the immediate availability of counseling most troubled teens
will experiment with other ways of dealing with their feelings.
Obsessive compulsive behaviors such as cutting, anorexia, bulimia,
along with drinking and drug use can all be ways our children
try to deal with their problems.
Let me sum up with a few statistics. In 2002 the U.S. dept of
health and human services documented 900,000 cases of child
abuse, 51% of which was due to neglect, the other 49% taken
up by cases of physical abuse. Depression affects 17% of the
population in the U.S., and is considered to be a gateway to
drug and alcohol abuse if left untreated. Lastly, suicide is
the third largest killer between the ages of fifteen to twenty
four and the fifth largest between the ages of five through
Let us find a way to pay for this vital and life saving program.
Emily A. Scully