Letters to the Editor 6/7/2007
The subtle bias and innuendo found in media coverage of the Onteora
school district serves to keep the embers of disharmony and division
alive and well. In a recent article Ms. Childers laments the fact that
the reservoir taxes are not credited to all towns instead of accruing
solely to Olive. No mention is made of the vast state lands that accrue
solely to Shandaken or of the wealth generating business district that
accrues solely to Woodstock. No mention is made that if the school district
desires to treat all taxpayers the same and achieve absolute nominal
parity it can form its own assessing unit that would eliminate apportionment
within the school district entirely. No mention is made of the disparity
that exists between individual properties within Woodstock as reported
in the Woodstock Times.
Would the individual towns that comprise the district agree to give
up their assessing unit authority over school taxes? Doubtful given
the result of sharpened Woodstock pencils that lowered the towns value
by ten percent during the revaluation of 2004 in a blazing upward market.
School board president D'Orazio was recently quoted as stating "I
think that our job as a school district is to treat all taxpayers the
same." Of the five towns that comprise the district, only Olive
is subject to forfeiture of half its tax base causing wild upward tax
swings. Of the two towns with outdated assessments, only Olive was compelled
to do a revaluation.
Ms. Childers has repeatedly implied that the sole concern and mission
of the citizens group Olive Matters and Olive school board candidates
is to defeat the Large Parcel Law. These demeaning insults are belied
by the dedication, professionalism, and service rendered by board members
When a local publisher was affected by a wild upward tax swing caused
by a selective revaluation of a few properties in his town he editorialized
and trumpeted the unfairness of the violation of the equal protection
provisions of the US and NY constitutions. No mention of Olive's right
to equal protection is made when Olive is the only town subject to wild
upward tax swings on a yearly basis. Likewise, mention of equal protection
is absent when it comes to compelling only Olive to do a revaluation.
Ms. Childers laments the imbalance of the Olive-dominated school board.
The failure of Woodstock to turn out to vote may signal that Woodstock
voters will no longer support candidates who foster disharmony and division
by singling out one town for "special treatment". Balance
will return when all taxpayers are treated the same.
The Large Parcel Law discourages timely up to date assessment of the
reservoir by penalizing Olive with possible forfeiture of half its tax
base if NY ORPS happens to disagree with the updated assessment. It
is a mere disagreement in assessed value that triggers designation as
a Large Parcel and subjects Olive to forfeiture and wild upward tax
swings. Olive had a professional appraisal done on the reservoir by
an engineering firm that specializes in this type of assessment. The
whole school district would benefit as Olive becomes more valuable resulting
in a larger apportionment assigned to Olive. Not benefiting enough,
Large Parcel proponents seek to confiscate the whole reservoir levy
for redistribution to the other towns in the district. This exercise
of pure greed has created a heavy toll of disharmony and division within
Why should Olive take the risk? If Olive decides not to risk forfeiture
and keep the outdated assessment then the school district as a whole
loses. One could fill volumes with the problems associated with this
Ironically, when used as a voluntary relief measure as described to
the Governor and NY Legislature prior to passage, it can mitigate wild
upward tax swings. One of the sponsors wrote to Gov. Pataki telling
him the law would prevent hard hit seniors in his district from experiencing
wild upward tax swings. I guess Olive seniors don't deserve such protection.
Unfortunately the sponsors lied to the governor and Legislature about
its provisions and its proponents have used this so called "optional"
law to create economic hardship, disharmony and division in a district
already beset with a cultural divide. One thing is sure, Olive would
never seek to gain by the creation of loss to another town by any means.
My hope is that the local media outlets will stop fanning the flames
of disharmony and division and start reporting the whole story with
all aspects and alternatives explored. To do otherwise is to help perpetuate
and intensify the division caused by the differential treatment of Olive
A couple letters appeared in the May 24, 2007 edition of The Olive Press
which complain of unfair tactics re: the vote for two of three candidates.
Jan Baer charges the Press failed to "anounce the school board
elections, or report the news fairly". The point is made that the
person that lost "was not the best qualified or was he the one
with the best interests of Olive in mind".
If the candidate in mind was Marino D'Orazio I must disagree with that
evaluation as to qualifications, but I am satisfied that Mr D'Orazio
will have more "down" time to devote to family, golf and tennis.
Mr D'Orazio certainly was/is not a friend of Olive or Hurley as his
interpretation of the LPA subjected us to the reality of robbery without
a weapon. "Hijacking" our assets is what now makes the Onteora
Board undiversified as opposed to "diversified": which the
Editorial of May 10, 2007 hoped for. Perhaps we haved kicked the camel
out of the tent [Aesops Fable].
Jac Conway of Olivebridge complains in a letter of reply to Maxanne
Resnick's letter in which she endorses Mr. D'Orazio and [as Jac laments]
"urged voters to NOT vote for either of the other two candidates.
Mr Conway rightly states that one may campaign, endorse and vote for
the candidate of their choice and conversely encourage anyone to not
vote at all. Our folks in Washington do the first, not the latter all
the time. I believe we in Olive and Hurley are pleased with the results,
I suggest that come next OSD Board election with Ms Resnick on the ballot
she be replaced with another Olive or "committed" Hurley resident.
Perhaps the "interlopers" will feel "unwanted" sufficiently
to create their very own School District and leave Olive, Hurley, the
NYC Reservoir and OSD to our own devices. Otherwise every board member
election will be focussed on LPA and not the educcational priorities
that come to the fore every year. The Olive Press. of course loves to
"stir the pot" and then lecture the rest of us with "peace","love"
and "understanding" [ala the '60s]. That is as it should be
except when other residents of the District have their hands in "our"
Woodstock has a beautiful golf course that is marketable and ready for
LPA. The lovely hamlet of Shandaken will soon have a wonderful mountain
top resort that will generate "wild" swings in potential LPA
value. Not sure what Marbletown has. Jimmy Spina's tavern burned down
years ago. Nick Brown's Bar is no longer needed to support his kids
in college and the Blue Flame "flamed" out.
Just a reminder that OSD calendars cost money to produce and mail. That's
fine, but lets pay for them individually and be rid of the "sub
bureaucracies"! Onteora School Administrators follow the political
"handbook" and appear to be inept.
The May 24 editorial was "loaded" but rightly recommended
that we should be grateful for the greatest nation in the world with
the longest living "Laws" of the land in history. It even
provides for it's own changes or ammendments [27 so far]. Our living
and deceased Military members are remembered every day whether the Iraq
"adventure" is acceptable or not.
Glenn T. Anderson
As for the letters that Glenn Anderson writes in the Times, he must
think he has the wisdom of Solomon. He is like a rooster crowing. From
now on he will be known as Rooster Glenn. So now I will give him some
facts to crow about.
For two weeks the Emporer of Japan tried to surrender to the Allies
but they refused to listen to him as they wanted to see what destruction
the atomic bomb would do. It was used on two defenseless cities of mostly
women and children. More than fifty million were killed. It's people
like Rooster Glenn who are running this great land to the result that
many countries are turning against us to the extent that they don't
even want our money. So long for now Rooster Glenn.
Just trying to understand; allow NYC to widen and straighten 28A because
the Lemon Squeeze is closed and there are a few people who, despite
that they choose to live in the country, prefer a highway to get to
work all of a few minutes faster and that less curves might mean fewer
accidents. Well, maybe I am just not that smart when it comes to country
logic, but this I do know.. .. a wide and straight 28A will decrease
the quality of life in our community because it won’t be as beautiful
as it is now, we won’t have the canopy of trees that we have now,
it will be hotter in summer because there will be more blacktop and
less trees, we will all be driving a lot faster, there will be more
accidents (there are more accidents now on 28), there will be more trucks
and more traffic, the property values will go down but not our taxes,
there will be a negative impact on wild life, faster traffic means more
noise pollution and more air pollution. The city says two years, don’t
hold your breath. But then again, after all of the construction and
and destruction of trees taken and debris and inconvenience, there will
be fewer weekenders buying or building homes in Olive, because weekenders
don’t want to come to the country to live near a highway, Olive
won’t benefit by the increased property taxes weekender pay because
we all know the weekenders are paying more taxes than anyone else. And,
just imagine, if we get both a nice wide and straight 28A and the Lemon
squeeze reopened, we won’t have to worry about those pesky eagles
(and those bird watchers) any more because they are likely to fly the
Why is it that in an article discussing converting space for ambulance
workers you must yet again BASH the town’s previous ambulance
employees? What purpose does that serve? Is it that you think your continuing
attempts to discredit them will distract attention from the disarray
in the current ambulance squad? Not only is that a false notion, it
doesn’t show much respect for the residents of Shandaken. Perhaps
you are simply trying to agitate us, and if that is the case, congratulations,
you have succeeded. So, with that said, let us examine this issue and
pose some questions that need be answered before this project costs
us (the taxpayers) more money than it is worth.
First, why do we suddenly have to rush into converting this space immediately?
We (the previous employees) of the town ambulance have waited for many,
many years for space with each administrator promising to do it, now
all of a sudden it must be done today. Why? Why would you use the Good
Neighbor Fund, and why are you planning on doing that without public
input? Is there a rush to get it done before the taxpayers find out
about the serious shortfall in revenue that is occurring in the new
ambulance administration? Each dollar lost in revenue is a dollar out
of the taxpayer’s pocket. We were bringing in $175,000.00+ a year
in revenue. The relative cost to the taxpayers for the ambulance was
less in 2006 than when Jerry took charge of the ambulance in 1997, with
upgrades in the capability and standard of care of the service. What
has the ambulance recovered in revenue so far in 2007? We have asked
that question at board meetings with no answers.
When asked at the last meeting what ambulance revenues for the previous
month were, because it was not mentioned in his report, he said $8,900.
Strange, that is the same amount he reported in the prior month. Even
if this is fact, revenues should be $12,000-$15,000 per month to maintain
the revenue the previous management was bringing in, an amount the Supervisor
has budgeted for as anticipated revenues.
Let’s talk about the billing process for a moment. Peggy Vitarius
was hired as the “Administrator”, with her duties being
billing, scheduling and paperwork. According to Bob, she assured the
board she was able to do medical billing. Then in the following month
she was asking the Town Board to hire an out of town commercial billing
agency. Why? We thought she knew how to do billing. Bob Cross said that
$12,000.00 of her salary was for billing (more than Lisa was getting
paid) so why were we going to hire a billing company when Peggy was
already getting paid to do the job. We didn’t agree, nor did the
audience that evening at the town board meeting.
How much money has been brought in since her administration began. Bob
Cross states he doesn’t know, and I quote “I have no idea
what is billed out, what comes in or anything else”. So we know
that Peggy probably does not know how to do the billing, an outside
agency was not hired, no one else was appointed to the job, so how is
the billing getting done? Are we paying for it to be done by others
and just don’t know it? Is it getting done at all? Check it out
taxpayers. You will be paying for it.
Next: You constantly rave about the amount of people that Peggy has
brought to the ambulance. Where are they? Appointed Paramedics: Delameter,
Parrish, Berry, Kessick etc. have never done a shift. Seth Finch came
and left due to “internal politics”, and in fact several
others that she brought here to work are already gone. Why? Fact: Many
names on the roster have never worked a shift but it looks great on
paper. Fact: For the past 2 weeks we have many shifts without a Paramedic.
Do you all have scanners? Oh yeah, much of the communication is being
handled via telephone because they don’t want anyone to know.
Shhh! Mobile Life is dispatched from Kingston regularly to provide paramedic
services that were provided 24/7 by our own agency prior to January
2, 2007. Fact: Most of the people that have been appointed to the ambulance
are drivers and although they are great and I have nothing against any
of them, they are just that, drivers, and many of them have no emergency
driving experience. They can render no necessary medical treatment while
waiting for another agency to come. Fact: There are residents in this
town that are so uncomfortable with the current staff on the ambulance
that they call Mobile Life direct from Kingston. How sad is that. Fact:
Since the new administration Olive First Aid no longer uses Shandaken
Ambulance for paramedic mutual aid in Boiceville. Shandaken Ambulance
and the Olive First Aid Squad put this agreement in place when Shandaken
began providing paramedic services in 1998. The reason being our children
go to those schools in Boiceville, and Shandaken Ambulance could provide
paramedic services 20 minutes sooner than an agency from Kingston. Not
any more, have any concerns about that? Fact: Now on each ambulance
call we have both ambulances and a fly-car responding with multiple
drivers and an EMT. How much is that costing? How much do these people
get paid? Does everyone get paid for that? And why is an EMT driving
the fly car around town? Why do the ambulances sit outside restaurants
with the motors running? Do you know what fuel costs are today? We asked
for copies of the ambulance payroll after Peggy told us we could have
them. When we called Town Hall we were told to talk to Bob, and guess
what - no return phone call.
So we as taxpayers have very little information about the new ambulance
service. We do know that before the Peggy Vitarius was appointed administrator
we had reliable, professional paramedic service 24 hours a day, seven
days a week. We had an effective and efficient revenue recovery program.
We had a functioning service that had no secrets, we were willing and
able to answer any question about operations or finance clearly and
honestly. Did we need ambulance quarters, absolutely. Did we need more
staff, yes. But in light of all the issues, we were there 24/7 when
we were needed and the quality of service was maintained. Any inquiries
made these days are answered with vagueness and deception, if they are
answered at all, and the people asking the questions are portrayed as
enemies of the administration.
So Bob, if you want community support for this project, then you should
provide some answers to the questions people ask. You cannot make your
ambulance department look better by simply belittling the ones you left
There are over 3,000 citizens in this town. Spend as much time looking
after their interests as you do watching out for the fat cats. We know
that Tony Lanza has a puppet named Rob on the board, and it is clear
that other board members have puppet masters behind the scenes as well.
Be a man, face the facts, do your job. Represent all the people, not
just the special interest few that own your administration. They have
already bailed out on you, so you really have nothing to lose.
Lisa Benjamin, NREMT-P
Jerry Pearlman, AEMT-P
Adele Pearlman, AEMT-I
I would like to bring to the attention to Town of Olive residents the
fact that we have a lovely new dog kennel, built in part, with monies
that have been raised through great effort, by Bev & Joe Stein.
It was not long ago, that Mr. Leifeld read a letter of appreciation
from Bev to all those who graciously donated their time and effort in
seeing this beautiful, clean and more comfortable kennel come into being.
What was not indicated - and what I've since come to find out - is that
Bev and Joe Stein continue to collect donations to continue to RUN the
kennel. Monies collected - and donations made in the way of leashes,
blankets, food, will help to keep the kennel operating as it should
into the future.
Often we think about the cost of building something - and the need for
the building is to house dogs found astray in our town. Bev has networked
with various shelters in the area to help find good homes for animals
that have no owners - or who's owners fail to claim them. Bev &
Joe donate their time - and that's a good portion of their time - won't
you help? Watch for their collection cans - one is at the Boiceville
Pitstop (Sunoco) in Boiceville - perhaps there are others. Or look Joe
and Bev up and see what you can do to help. I'm sure we all agree, it's
a very worthy cause.
We are finding the description of the Kingston/Benedictine affiliation
somewhat inaccurate when it is described as one "mandated"
by the Berger Commission. While that is true in a sense, what really
happened is that the Berger Commission approved a merger plan designed
by the hospitals. The hospitals completely excluded the community in
coming up with the proposal and essentially had it written into law
by the Berger Commission, knowing this was a plan many would oppose.
These public meetings really are a charade—how can the public
give input when all of the major decisions have already been made?
Health Care STAT
Jo Shuman, chair
It is outrageous to learn the possibility of Benedictine Hospital, a
Christian, morally based institution, join with a secular humanist based,
human butcher shop - Kingston Hospital.
And who gives New York State the authority to demand a merger between
these two totally different hospitals? Rather than demand a merger New
York State should demand that Kingston Hospital stop all abortions immediately.
I must commend the several doctors who are objecting to the use of their
facility for "reproductive services" even though their subcutaneous
objection is for contractual reasons. As you all well know the Hippocratic
Oath, why don't you doctors just have the courage to express your outrage
And where are all the lily-livered lawyers, judges, prosecutors and
legislators when it comes to this Nazi policy of human extermination
by legal sanction? Oh, you say it's Roe v. Wade, the law of the land.
And, yes, so was Adolph Hitler's "solution" the law of the
land. Roe v. Wade was a gross judicial error that must be corrected.
Even the plaintiff, Jane Doe, recanted her complaint making the Roe
v. Wade decision moot. You all should be ashamed of yourselves for not
having the courage to uphold the real law - the protection of the pre-born
child. The Benedictines must be shaking in their graves to know that
Satan is invading their beloved institution.
This proposed merger must be abandoned. If such a merger does occur,
I predict that in due time, performance of abortions will be ordered
by the State over the objections of the Catholic Church. Mark my word!
I was working in a restaurant in Queens in August of 1968 when the Soviets
invaded Czechoslovakia. I remember a few of the staff standing in the
kitchen listening to the radio newscasts, stunned. We didn't say anything
to each other. Just shook our heads. How could a government be so arrogant
to invade another country, I wondered. What could the Soviet people
be thinking while the tanks were rolling in their name?
And today, I ask myself the same question, about our government. How
could we be so arrogant to think it right to invade Iraq - and very
possibly soon Iran. We have become what we despised.
I remember during that same period in the late 60s, or perhaps a little
later, reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Solzhenitsyn,
taken aback again, this time over the deplorable conditions of the gulag.
Now the gulag is Guantanamo. We have let slip through our fingers the
one reed we held so proudly when comparing ourselves to others: Our
constitution, our staunch belief in human rights, our system of justice,
disdain for torture, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,
the right to an attorney, the right to be charged before being detained.
What can the American people be thinking while injustice is practiced
in our name?
A year before the war in Iraq, tens of thousands marched on Washington
and, a month before it began, millions protested in 800 cities around
the world. None of this made a blip in the administration's plans. Many
became discouraged. What is the point of protesting if it doesn't stop
But perhaps silence is much worse. If we don't speak up today, tomorrow,
in the workplace, on the check-out line, at the concert, in the kitchen,
at school, in the newspaper, we give it our blessing. If we don't speak
up, very likely they will do it again. In Iran.
This is an open letter to Governor Spitzer...
I would like you to explain your pursuit of two contradictory priorities.
Both involve behavior problems. One you wish to correct; the second
you wish to make worse.
On the one hand, you just made, as one of your priorities, an effort
to save our “obese” New York children from their gluttony.
You made that decision because you want to “save” these
obese children from the consequences of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle
which will otherwise cause havoc with their future health and happiness.
That is a laudable goal.
On the other hand, you will try to increase addiction, bankruptcy, and
criminality (as well as exacerbating community problems with additional
stresses on infrastructures, school systems, and roads.)
Those are the immediate and long-range problems that will accrue because
of your approval of a compact with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council
for a casino. You are creating the condition which will wreak havoc
on the lives of New Yorkers by opening up a convenient downstate gambling
location. Not to mention the “delicate” issue of sovereignty,
which is being challenged in several venues over questions ranging from
the legality of sovereignty to abridgement of agreements, taxes, and,
of course, land claims. The Seneca’s recent decision over the
Thruway is a perfect example of that abrogation.
There is another major issue specific to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal
Council. I have just finished reading Iroquois on Fire: A voice from
the Mohawk Nation by Douglas M. George-Kanentiio. In case you are not
familiar with the book, Mr. George-Kanentiio discusses the Iroquois
people from their early history to their current “predicament”.
In the process, he discusses in depth the anarchy at Akwesasne and how
some Mohawks and New York State profited from that condition. Most importantly,
he documents the criminality that exists on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation
in Chapter 8 (Akwesasne Collapse) pages 95-101.
So, Governor Spitzer, if you know the facts in the above paragraphs,
why and how could you sign a compact with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal
Looking forward to your answer.
We’d like to extend a special thank you to Susan Zimet for facilitating
discussions leading to the settlement of an Article 78 lawsuit filed
against Woodland Pond by a local environmental group. (Save the Woods
and Wetlands). Susan’s involvement in these negotiations was clearly
above and beyond her responsibilities as county legislator. She had
no direct interest in the project or settlement of the lawsuit: she
made this effort simply because several of her constituents asked for
her help. Some of us (Woodland Pond applicants) approached Susan to
see if there was anything she could do to help move the project along,
as substantial delays at this point in time seriously threatened the
future of the project. We understand a Woodland Pond board member also
approached her for help.
Susan’s multi-faceted connections with her local constituents
mean that she personally knows many individuals on both sides of this
issue. She understands her constituents and the issues we care about
in sufficient detail to provide appropriate support or criticism of
our positions. Moreover, she is willing to take the time to study and
absorb conceptual and factual details underlying particular problems
or issues. Finally, she is a pragmatic, hands-on person who, confronted
with a community problem, rolls up her sleeves to help resolve it. We
are fortunate in having a person with Susan’s energy, commitment
and negotiating skills as our county representative.
Thanks to Susan, the Article 78 suit has been settled in time to avoid
any substantial delay in construction. If final approvals from various
local and county agencies can be granted in a timely fashion, construction
can begin by the end of this summer.
Signers: Dorothy Jessup, Martha Afzal, Craig & Betsy Haight, Aaron
& Louise Bindman, Lynn Clarke & Martin Lodge, Trina & Rob
Greene, Ruth Silverman, Joyce & Lee Gartrell, Max & Annette
Finestone, Maggie MacDowell, Barbara Babb, John Fraccase, Bob &
Peg Hinz, Anne Ellman, June Finer, Frances Ryder, Marjorie O’Neill,
Dorothy Dangerfield, Jean Hicks, Lucille Weinstat, Julius Simon
The corporate-owned and controlled media, in their urgency to serve
the outsourcing, taxpayer-subsidized, off-shoring, corporate paymasters
of “our” pitiable excuse for a democracy, are constantly
proclaiming that “we” need an influx of illegal aliens to
do the work that Americans won’t do. The latest excuse for welcoming
Mexico’s guidance of U.S. policy is the transparently racist accusation
that black people don’t work as hard as the illegals. Well why
should they? They’re not here by breaking our immigration laws;
their ancestors, in most cases, were brought here as slaves, and therefore
they are American citizens as much as any whites, and more so than most,
if we use how far back their ancestry goes on this continent to judge.
The same as whites, they recognize that they are being exploited by
the mega-farm industry, so why should they do more work than the pay
warrants? The illegals have to work like slaves if they don’t
want to get turned in by the “farmer” or construction boss
and deported back to Mexico, or whatever country they came from. (The
illegals are not all Mexican; I remember one commentator stating that
seven percent or more come from other countries, including from the
Middle East and the orient. The open borders, and persecution of border
patrol officers just trying to do their duty, encourages people from
all over the world to enter across the U.S./Mexican border.)
Why are American workers always blamed for a supposed problem? Many
citizens are doing minimum wage work (in its pay an insult to the worker
in any case), because they don’t qualify by aptitude for better
jobs. Why not blame the greedy business owners who pay anyone as little
as they will work for, and pocket the difference between that and the
price of the product?
The answer is that power is in the control of the wealthy, and always
has been since the beginning of this country. Therefore the religion
of Capitalism is fostered from elementary school on, by education, the
media, political parties, and fear instilled in the masses by the idea
of any other economic system. There is, in fact, some merit in the idea
that the hardest and dirtiest jobs should be paid the highest wage.
For example, if all citizens grew up in decent living conditions, health
care and education, then if a company needed someone to clean the toilets
in their office areas, they would have to pay more than to the clerks
working at nice clean jobs! But of course many American citizens do
not grow up with decent living conditions, healthcare, and education,
which are desirable to the capitalist because he gets workers who can’t
qualify for much else, if anything. To do the dirty jobs at a wage they
must accept or go hungry, live on the street, or turn to crime. I’m
sick and tired of hearing from the capitalist owned media that “Americans
won’t do these jobs.” There are plenty of jobless American
citizens who would do anything they physically could do, if the pay
was commensurate with the value of the task to the employer.
On the eve of this Memorial Day, I’d like to send a simple note
of appreciation to the organizers of last weekend’s Bring Our
Troops Home/Barack Obama BBQ event at Ulster Landing Park. I was joined
by dozens of fellow citizens from Ulster County, tired of the status
quo, seeking real change in Washington and inspirational leadership
as well. And the veggie burgers were excellent too! Please join me in
attending many more engaging and informative events such as this one.
For more information on local efforts for Obama, “google”
Hudson Valley for Obama or go to www.barackobama.com and sign up at
the upper right hand corner of the page, then join Hudson Valley for
With this school year quickly coming to a close, and my upcoming trip
to Australia as a People to People Student Ambassador just around the
corner, I'd like to thank the many people that helped with the fundraising
efforts in reaching my financial goal and making this trip possible.
This past Memorial Day weekend, I finished up my fundraising with a
bake sale / raffle on Main Street in Phoenicia. My thanks go out to
Mr. Marty Millman for allowing me to set up in front of the Phoenicia
Pharmacy, (a prime spot for a very busy weekend). I also thank Barbara
Jones, Tina DeLaura, Linda Storey and Rosalie Boland for donating baked
goods for the sale.
My friends and neighbors like Mrs. Midge Gossoo and my fourth grade
teacher, Mrs. Sharon McKierney, sent monetary donations which greatly
helped defer the cost of my tuition. Also received were generous donations
from both the Shandaken Police Benevolent Association and the Neil Grant
Foundation. Thank you for the kind-hearted words and for believing in
me and the student ambassadorship program.
Original paintings by Bonnie DeLaura and hand-crafted items from Blanche
Kirk, Helen Cordo, and many others, along with gift certificate donations
from local retailers (Town Tinker Tube Rental and Miss Kitty's Hair
Salon and others) helped make the raffle prize fundraiser a success.
A special thank you to the entire community for buying the cakes, purchasing
the raffle tickets and attending the spagetti dinner fundraiser back
in March. Your contributions have made my dream to experience the beautiful
land down under a reality.
My advanced placement environmental science teacher says that it only
takes one person to make a positive difference in our rapidly deteriorating
environment. There are significant changes we as individuals or families
can make that are relatively low-tech and inexpensive. My family of
five is making a difference in three areas: recycling and composting,
lawn mowing, and solar hot-water heating.
We decided to take recycling and composting seriously, and now carefully
separate aluminum foil, glass and paper for the local recycling service.
Furthermore, we dispose of our paper towels and napkins by composting
them with food scraps and garden waste. Combined, these changes have
reduced our garbage disposal cost by half.
A recent Environmental Protection Agency study found that operating
a gasoline-powered lawn mower for one hour produces the same amount
of pollution as driving a car 300 miles. The mowing we did in previous
years produced the same amount of pollution as driving 6,000 miles each
summer. So we replaced the power mower with a manual push mower. Not
only are we reducing pollution, but we get the same physical benefits
as if we had bought an exercise machine.
Another study indicates that the typical American uses 25 gallons of
hot water every day. Using an electric hot water heater, this consumes
$950 worth of electricity per year for a family of our size. An evacuated
tube solar hot-water heating system can provide more than half the hot
water we use. The installed cost of the system is about $6,000, but
with state and federal tax credits, our final cost is closer to $3,000.
At current electricity rates, this investment will pay for itself in
six years. Most likely rates will increase, and the payback will be
Also, the “power of one” family can save 1) landfill space
and garbage hauling costs, 2) the equivalent of 6,000 miles of driving
and 3) about $500 worth of electricity per year. Imagine what would
happen if 1 million, or 5 million families decided to make use of this
Lisa Mommsen, Student
New Paltz, NY