Follow Up on the
First Traffic Light?
"If you look at the western end of our parking lot, where
it comes out from both Bennett Elementary and the high school,
at certain times of day, it’s easy to see the problem,"
Jordan said. "If it’s possible to do something
on a specifically timed basis, we really need it when we have
dismissal and the buses have to get back on 28. It’s
certainly a safety hazard."
Jordan has taken the first step toward applying for the money
by seeking approval from town government; a resolution of
such approval is required to accompany the district’s
"Originally, before the new legislation, the school district
would have been responsible for putting (the traffic signal)
up at a cost of about $250,000, I understand," Jordan
explained. "But with the new legislation, we’d
only be looking at the maintenance of the light itself. It’d
be a big plus if we could get it.
"We don’t want to put something there that’s
going to stop traffic all the time on 28. There’s enough
of that," he added quickly. "When we have buses
leaving here in the morning, after they drop the high school
kids off around 7:35 am, you might do it for ten minutes at
the most. The same thing in the afternoon at dismissal. That’s
two separate times- the high school-middle school dismisses
at 2:30 pm and Bennett Elementary at 3:30 pm. So, just for
short periods of time..."
Ideal would be a programmable system which could operated
from the school itself but the feasibility of that kind of
arrangement is uncertain at this early stage of procedure.
Jordan had in mind, adjusting the signal to accommodate special
major functions like graduations.
"We have the backing of (Assemblyman) Kevin Cahill’s
office because I know they’ve been involved in this
process before," Jordan said. "As soon as we start
the ball rolling, I know they would step in and help in any
way they could."
be asking why would I be looking at New York,” she said
in introduction at the evening gathering. “We have been
opening up both coasts to look for a real match for what we
love — the arts, music. I would love to find education
in a school district that’s centered on the needs of
individual children, which has been my passion through my
whole career. Onteora, I really think, is a match.”
By “we” Ford was referencing her husband, a retired
Episcopal priest already living in the Hudson Valley area
and active with the local diocese – they have been married
for about a year – and her 4 children, one natural and
three adopted, as well as the more than 20 kids she’s
fostered parented through the years, from newborns to teenagers.
Ford, who is currently superintendent at Kings River-Hardwick
Charter school district in Hanford, CA, near Fresno, noted
how she began her educational career as a music teacher. The
Kindergarten-through-eight school has approxmately 600 students
with a $4.2 million budget. From 2000 to 2004, she worked
as a middle school principal at Livermore Valley Joint Unified
school district, also in California. In addition to music,
Ford said she has also taught high school social studies and
English, and worked as a guidance counselor before becoming
She told gathered parents at Friday’s meeting that she
was aware of the district’s three plans being proposed
to deal with Onteora’s aging facilities and changes
in student population.
“Every district needs to have goals based on where they
assess themselves now, and where they see themselves ten or
fifteen years in the future,” she said. “That
is sometimes a difficult thing…”
Ford added that she is accustomed to working on shoestring
Ford also noted that over the course of her day, she learned
about the district’s divisive issues, including the
Onteora mascot and large parcel legislation. But she added
that she would not give any opinion them except to say she
has been in similarly difficult situations.
Ford has a Bachelor of Arts in vocal music, a Masters Degree
in educational counseling, a second Masters in Psychology
with an emphasis in marriage, family and child counseling,
and a Doctorate of education in organizational leadership.
Back The Varsity
On the lower field, third and fourth graders in
soccer-like uniforms of jerseys and sweat pants with ribbon-styled
flags streaming a foot or so out of their sides do exercises
and take practice running plays. On the upper field, fifth
and sixth graders face off in scrimmages before the evening’s
pair of games.
Keith McGlyn, who’s been organizing the league with
help from past president Pat Murphy, points out that we’re
mid-season at games five and six of a dozen total, including
championships that were to take place Sunday, November
With two games running simultaneously each time slot,
that makes for a lot of football.
Onteora Junior Flag Football has six teams this year,
and about 100 kids playing. Asked when everything started
up, McGlyn looks over to the upper field, where Onteora
12th grader Andrew Carroll is coaching the older kids.
“How long you been at this,” McGlyn shouts
across the pitch.
Andrew replies that he’s been playing since sixth
grade. His mom, Jane Carroll, started up the flag football
league six years before that as a means of giving her
kids and their friends a sport to play.
“Twelve years now,” McGlyn muses.
The two fields, upper and lower, are surrounded with big
signs advertising all the top Olive businesses: Webers,
Shokan Square, the supermarket in Boiceville, Bread Alone.
Funding for the kids uniforms, and the handful of footballs
in use, come from business contributions, such as Belleayre
lift tickets to be raffled off for cash, and loads of
donations from local individuals.
At least two thirds of those participating – and
McGlyn predicts attendance for the season’s finale,
if not this evening, will average about 500 people –
are from Olive. The rest come in from Shandaken, Hurley
and Woodstock – even though the latter has its own
flag football league several years old.
McGlyn, fielding players’ requests for candy, drinks
and warm water to clean their mouth guards with, explains
how Murphy, who used to head the league before him, currently
does all the complicated team scheduling. Things started
up in late October and have tended to run on Sundays.
But school’s out the next day.
A man behind McGlyn, helping out, notes that Murphy’s
known as “the mayor.” He’s on his way
to ref half of the evening’s games… but then
Murphy’s kid runs up to inform everyone that his
dad’s run out of gas en route. A back-up ref is
Flag football is like tag football. There’s no tackling,
and the confusion experienced by kids on backlots claiming
no one has tagged them is decided by the flags. They’re
out, you’re down. There’s a very minimal amount
“ Look at that kid, number three,” McGlyn
says in explanation. Scanning the upper field’s
roster of running fifth and sixth graders, an oversized
boy dominates play.
“Now look for the other number three and you’ll
see why there’s no clocking,” McGlyn adds.
A petite blonde girl, half the size of her numeric doppelganger,
is running fast, enjoying herself immensely.
“The big kid doesn’t really need to block,”
McGlyn notes. “And our goal is to make it safe for
Fumbles, he says, are deadballs. Quarters are 12 minutes
long for the older kids, ten minutes for the younger.
“Everything else is regular football,” McGlyn
He talks a bit, as Murphy has earlier, about how this
league has gained new interest from parents – and
students – hoping that it will fuel enough interest
in the All-American sport to allow Onteora High the ability
to bring back varsity football to the district’s
athletic and entertainment roster.
Last year, Onteora scuttled its varsity schedule because
of lack of interest and competitiveness. There just weren’t
enough players to maintain a strong team. Emphasis was
shifted to intramural football and junior varsity, which
everyone I spoke to is showing a great deal of talent.
Murphy and McGlyn and others are hoping that the many
kids being fueled into flag football will hold their passion
for the next six years or so, like Andrew.
Or Onteora School Board trustee Cindy O’Connor,
whose late older son Kevin was a star varsity player at
the time of his death, and whose younger boy Troy is playing
this evening in the lower field’s first game.
She says she’s hoping to allow kids to train with
equipment and blocking as well as running and the game’s
basics, which dominate this league. Which would mean joining,
maybe even setting up, a Pop Warner League.
Pop Warner leagues, named for the legendary college football
coach of the Depression era who helped put a first-ever
teenagers pigskin league into the bigtime, field teams
for similarly-aged kids. But they get to wear shoulder
pads, helmets and all the other traditional football gladiatorial
Over the years, Pop Warner football, which now involves
over 350,000 kids under 16 nationwide, has been instrumental
at pushing the sport into its pre-eminence in high school
athletics, as well as helped keep it alive during times
when enthusiasm waned during the World War II years and
The closest Pop Warner league, called the Kingston Area
Junior Football League, is in the county seat, and O’Connor
says she’s in the process of finding out what would
be needed for Olive, maybe even the entire Onteora district,
to put forth a team for competitive play.
“Kevin played Pop Warner league. He was with the
Titans in Kingston,” O’Connor says of her
late son, killed in a tragic accident along Route 28 eight
years ago. “You go to Pop Warner, you get a chance
to really learn the game of football”
Pop Warner, she adds, runs in late summer before the start
of school. “It’s pretty intense but as they
say, ‘No pain, no gain,’” O’Connor
added. “That’s my goal…”
“The Onteora Football Team has been struggling to
field a Varsity and Junior Varsity teams for the last
couple of years. This past season our Athletic Director
was forced to make a decision he didn’t want to
make, not to have a Varsity Team. Due to lack of numbers
and skill ability we had to respect this very difficult
decision,” O’Connor wrote in a November 14
letter to the Kingston League’s Board of Directors.
“The athletic department is now very committed to
building up our modify and JV teams with skill and confidence
so we can field a Varsity Team… I would like to
ask the Kingston Jr. Area Football League if they would
be willing to accept another team into your league from
the Onteora area.”
Continuing, O’Connor noted how she had the support
of Onteora Athletic Director Michael Kocher and all involved,
“truly believe that this is a piece that is missing
and is needed to rebuild our varsity team and football
program at Onteora. We need to start our kids learning
the skills of football earlier than 12 and 13 when they
are able to join the modified team.”
“We consider this a building block for the future
Onteora High School football teams,” wrote Carroll,
OJFF founding mother. “These children work very
hard and our coaches are extremely dedicated.”
“You develop football at a young age and they become
more involved. It’s not just a thought,” McGlyn
says. “We’ve got two more years before we
can even think of fielding a varsity team. We’ve
got some very talented kids coming up and they deserve
to have a way to build those talents.”
He excuses himself and runs off… it’s game
time. Whistles sound from the upper and lower fields and
the kids fall into classic formations… just like
what they see on television, or remember their older cousins
and neighbors, maybe even their brothers, once playing
up at the high school.
I catch up with a youngster on the sidelines, cheering…
waiting his turn for the next round of games when he gets
A roar comes from the field of older kids up above. It
seems to bounce off the blackness beyond the bright lights
the growing crowd has gathered within.
“One of these days I’ll be up there too,”
the kid says, jumping up and down. “I can’t
wait to get to the top.”
According to McGlyn, Hickory BBQ turned out to be the
winner of the Upper Division on the 19th, with Tyler Frano
getting the MVP trophy; and Phoenicia Pharmacy won the
lower, younger division.
Pete Friedel coached Hickory, with Lance Dubois assisting;
Jameson Morton coached Phoenicia Pharmacy, with Bobby
year I am not getting caught up in the holiday maelstrom.
This year I am reducing holidays to the very least
common denominator. Since my mom has been diagnosed
with lung cancer, my sister Kathy and I have been
sharing the care giving. I spend most of my time
with mom in New Paltz taking turns with my sister
as mom turns night into day without sleep for anyone.
By the way, the beautiful blond seen locally with
my husband is my little sister Kathy who occasionally
grabs a good night sleep in Shokan while I do sleep
sentry in New Paltz! Holidays this year will be
about family and being together, sans tinsel and
trappings. Isn’t that what the holidays should
be about anyway?
One particularly busy year I sent out Valentine
cards instead of Christmas cards. Know what happened?
I got emails, phone calls, and letters from many
of my friends and family. They had the time to “reach
out.” My friend Rowena Paetow, Olivebridge
resident and Onteora orchestra teacher, once sent
her holiday cards out in the summer. There was a
picture of Cali, Livi, Barry, and Wini on the dock
of Lake Desolation. What a delight to get a real
letter or card in the midst of the deluge of junk
Speaking of junk mail, I believe that someone should
invent an energy efficient heating stove that runs
on excess paper and cardboard. Every day brings
too many requests for new credit cards and magazines,
political propaganda, catalogues of over-priced
items or “cutesy but useless” gadgets.
Isn’t it a joy to find a card, postcard or
letter amongst the paper debris? Over packaging
and yesterday’s newspaper could be added to
the fuel. Oh, yes, and let’s burn those leftover
political signs that still litter our highways weeks
after the elections!
I just finished reading Shirley Fischler’s
column on the luck of being born an American woman
in a world where inequality and oppression exist
for women and many other groups deemed unworthy
by those who have declared themselves more worthy.
In this holiday overload season from Halloween to
New Year’s, remember that there are places
scarier than Halloween. There are places where the
prey of hunters is another human being. We have
lots to be thankful for here in the USA, but in
the spirit of Christmas and Chanukah, we need to
reach out in love to family, friends, and, perhaps,
our enemies. When the world seems so frighteningly
out of control, we need to remember the process
of “Eating an Elephant.” How do you
eat an elephant? Answer: One spoonful at a time.
We need to enjoy the holidays by loving those close
to us and making peace with the world one person
at a time.
Pare down that long shopping list of gifts to thoughtful
presents, kind deeds, and time spent with friends
and family. Olive has a number of opportunities
to enjoy each other’s company and keep the
spirit of giving alive. Here are some events to
mark on the calendar:
The Olive Free Library Holiday Fair is Saturday,
December 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in West
Shokan. There are lots of crafts and goodies for
sale. Where else can you get an American Girl handmade
outfit for just $10.00? Santa’s breakfast
at the Boiceville Inn is on Saturday, December 2
from 8:00 a.m. to 11. Children will enjoy a free
breakfast and a toy from Santa and his elf. Town
Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony is on Friday, December
15 at the Courthouse in Shokan from 7-8:00 p.m.
Children of all ages can decorate a sugar cookie,
enjoy warm cocoa and cider and sing holiday songs.
The Reservoir Methodist Church’s Hallelujah
Celebration is on Sunday, December 17 at 3:00 p.m.
Come tour the new building that offers space for
The Arts Industry
At the first of the three gatherings, a breakfast
meeting on Tuesday, November 14 held at Saugerties’
New World Home Cooking, a majority of those in attendance
were from either Woodstock’s non-profit art
institutions or the Kingston First Saturday scene.
According to Ulster Arts Director Sherri Brittain,
the arts groups on hand included the Center for
Photography at Woodstock, the Woodstock-Byrdcliffe
Guild, the new munti-group Woodstock Consortium,
Saugerties’ Opus 40, Rosendale-based Women’s
Studio Workshop, and the Arts Society of Kingston.
In addition, Brittain said, there were several individual
artists on hand as well as a Kingston landlord,
Lee Wind, who “has been turning properties
over to artists in Midtown” as a means of
leading to the renovation, and eventual gentrification,
of one of the county seat’s main thoroughfares.
On Wednesday evening, November 15, attendees at
the Highland Cultural Center included representatives
from Kingston repertory Theater, Playback Theater,
Union Arts and Learning, and individual artists
from Marbletown, Modena and New Paltz.
“We’re looking to create a strengthened
arts council by learning about and meeting the local
arts community’s needs, while also offering
up the professional development skills of HCC Arts,”
said Brittain, seated at the bar in Ellenville’s
Aroma Thyme restaurant before what would turn into
the best-attended and most boisterous of the three
gatherings Thursday night, November 17. “We’re
looking to help collaborate for marketing and facilitation
By we, Brittain was referencing the point that the
three meetings were being run jointly by she and
HCC’s Elisa Pritzker, a visual artist who
has positioned she and her husband, Rob Luski, as
key professional development consultants to local
“We’re doing this to help us write our
mission statement and sharpen our vision,”
she added, after explaining how an older incarnation
of the Arts Council, founded in 1974, lost its ability
to channel Decentralization funds from the New York
State Council for the Arts in the late 1980s after
it became artist-run and too oriented on the politics
of its own Kingston-based gallery. “We want
to explain why a new organization might be needed
for strengthening advocacy efforts between business
and government entities and our local art industry.”
She said the revived Ulster Arts she and Pritzker
have envisioned, and were holding the countywide
meetings to introduce, would be “like a Chamber
for the arts.”
“We see doing all art openings throughout
the county. Offering tourist deals matching arts
events with hotel and restaurant deals,” Brittain
said, also noting her wish to provide a centralized
data base for nonprofit organizations, galleries
and individual artists; zoning incentives, and county
grants, to help the “industry;” a new
county cultural map with government-recognized “cultural
zones” embedded within it; and maybe even
a county museum.
“But to do all this,” Brittain said,
before her partner’s, or audience’s,
arrival, “We need more staffing…”
At which point a crowd of the many movers and shakers
who have been making Ellenville an interesting new
place focused on arts as its revival engine started
arriving. A crowd that would end up numbering nearly
forty artists and government officials, business
people and administrators all ready to talk up how
the county’s best kept secret (most forgotten
municipality) reached a point where it had nothing
to lose by shifting its focus to arts development.
Village Manager Elliot Auerbach spoke about the
two events they’d run over the past summer
and fall – one filling vacant storefronts
with art installations by creative sorts from the
length of the entire valley, the other a “happening”
from Mt. Tremper based activist artist Eeo Stubblefield
– that pleased local merchants who noticed
their business doubling, even tripling from such
things. Unexpectedly. Others talked about nearly-completed
efforts to turn donated old business and factory
buildings into a ceramics studio, into artist studios
An older couple who owned a major SoHo arts supply
store said they were looking into coming out of
retirement to start something new, based on all
the excitement. The editor of Ellenville’s
new newspaper, and the leading light of their new
radio station, W-ELV, took notes and acknowledged
their community’s best wishes… and increasing
“What we’re going through right now
is really unique. Ellenville got tired of waiting,”
said Cragsmoor-based artist and one of the curators
of last year’s Kingston Sculpture Biennial.
“We’re going to be really blunt. Why
do we need you.”
As Brittain and Pritzker explained how arts funding
worked, how mechanisms needed to be put in place,
the Ellenville community said it needed to act quicker.
They would go to other funding sources in business,
if need be. They were getting offers of help from
Dutchess County and other arts councils.
The meeting grew spirited and gradually, a real
discuss of the county’s arts future seemed
to lurch into view.
Brittain and Pritzker noted how, despite great differences
between the county’s various communities,
there were also shared needs.
Ellenville’s artists asked for a coordinated
website listing all that was going on around the
county, the better for local publications to list
all that was happening in the arts.
Brittain and Pritzker talked of getting property
tax abatements for artists.
Auerbach said he was close to doing just that for
“WE have a synergy,” said Sigunick.
“WE’re almost European…”
At which point Brittain and Pritzker drew the meeting
to a close, promising many more… with libraries
and historical societies included.
“It’s a start,” said Pritzker,
amid a babble of excited artist voices at meeting’s