The DEC wants to end all open burning in the entire State except for
a few exceptions. Little by little our freedoms are being taken away.
As reported the DEC says that open burning is the largest single cause
of wildfires in New York State and burning trash in burn barrels emits
all kinds of pollutants. They cite a recent study by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, undertaken in conjunction with DEC and the Department
of Health. The DEC ought to be more sensitive to the fact that everyone
that has a burn barrel doesn’t burn garbage or all kinds of
trash in their burn barrels. They burn things like personal papers
to avoid identity theft, cereal boxes, cracker boxes etc. Pollutants
coming from those types of material can’t be any worst then
what comes out of the exhaust from large trucks and buses. Does the
DEC even know how many burn barrels there are in the State? I don’t
know how they perform their test, but it’s difficult to understand
how they know for sure that the pollutants they found in the air didn’t
come out of burning barrels from States that border New York State?
When measuring air quality it appears that it would be rather difficult
to determine exactly where the pollutants are coming from.
Banning back yard burning barrels will put a financial burden on seniors
that are struggling to keep up with the raising price of gas, medical
cost and everything else that they must have. Not being allowed to
burn personal papers, small boxes and the like will force seniors
and others to make many more trips to their local land fill sites
or worse yet, force them to purchase a residential trash pick up service
from companies that make a lot of money picking up residential trash.
It cost $300.00 to $400.00 dollars or more annually to have a residential
trash pick up service. The annual charge is based on the size of the
container. The bigger the container the more it cost to have your
trash picked up. One company charges new costumers $25.00 when they
start the service. People that burn wood stoves trying to keep warm
and to reduce their heating expenses might just turn to burning trash
in their wood stoves. I guess the people working for the DEC don’t
know that so called trash can be burned in wood stoves. People with
wood stoves better beware because the next step taking by the DEC
might be banning all wood stoves.
We all know about the hundreds of lobbyists that lobby our federal
representative in Washington pushing for bills that benefit the companies
that they work for. They care less about tax payers. Maybe lobbyists
have invaded Albany that work for all the companies that make a ton
of money picking up poor people’s trash.
Mr. Erich Griesser's letter in your last issue makes a few good points
about some exaggerations and hyperbole in some of the letters and
flyers put out by Save the Mountain. I applaud his willingness to
put this into the debate.
However, I have nothing but disdain for his hypocrisy in most of the
letter regarding his main point. Where was your voice when Gitter
was making 'fear mongering' statements such as 'They [anyone opposed
to his project] are trying to "de-people" the Catskills',
or 'They are trying to destroy the economy in this area', etc. Then
there is his SLAPP suit on the Phoenicia Times that he knows very
well he can't win, but is trying to use to intimidate a small, local
paper that won't knuckle under to his propaganda machine. Talk about
'fear tactics.' Are you willing to condemn this 'material' as well?
Until I see your name under such a condemnation, I'll see your letter,
though including a few points with which I can agree, as fundamentally
As to the danger: That project is fundamentally a danger, not just
to the mountain, but to the 'way of life' in this area. It attempts
to sucker people into thinking that it will enhance the local economy
greatly, but have very few 'down sides'. Anyone, who makes any sincere
attempt to research how such projects have effected similar areas
in other parts of this country can find out how the outcome is almost
always detrimental to the way of life in the area with, not just no
increased economic effect except for those few who sell out as property
prices peak and leave the area [no longer being able to afford property
prices nor tax levels], but serious detriment to all those who try
to make do and are eventually driven out by soaring taxes for all
of the infrastructure needs that are never covered by the taxes paid
by the project. Note: the tax 'holiday' and 'economic zone' that Gitter
is trying to suck out of the local economy and which he tries to conceal
behind grand visions of great pay checks to construct his project,
never mentioning the short time they will be available or the fact
that most of these jobs will go to people from outside the local area,
but who will need short time accommodations which will drive up prices
briefly and then drop them like a stone in a couple of years.
Please sir, stay in the debate, but stay with integrity. Confront
the 'fear mongering' in all of the debate!
What does the Belleayre Ski Center have to do with the proposed Belleayre
Resort Project? Absolutely nothing!
The Belleayre Ski Center appears to be a well run family ski center,
which has enjoyed record visitors year after year. It has always been
a welcomed neighbor for the 52 years I have been a part time resident.
The Ski Center has been and will remain an economic plus for the area.
The proposed Belleayre Resort Project is a leach that has attempted
to attach itself to the Belleayre Ski Center in an attempt to dupe
the public. The proposed Belleayre Resort would be an economic and
environmental disaster to the area. The only benefactors of the proposed
Belleayre Resort Project will be the investors.
If the area needs an economic boost it would be best to work within
the existing infrastructure and not look to new expansive development,
which will only attract wealthy visitors with no ties to the community.
I for one would not want to see Catskill Park and the Belleayre Ski
area become another Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Big Indian, NY
My recent letter regarding the Crossroads/Partners strategy of equating
the fate of their proposed mega-development with that of the Belleayre
Mountain Ski Center certainly ruffled some feathers. I must be doing
something right! Nearly everyone in these parts supports the ski center,
keeping it in public hands and affordable. In contrast, the proposed
private resort is opposed by a large segment of the community, especially
in its current configuration including 10's of $millions in taxpayer
subsidies and 240 units of high density lodging at the top of Highmount
It is impossible to justify taxpayers' footing the bill so that elite
guests of a $500/night spa can ski to their lodge doors while families
across the state are being squeezed due to soaring food and energy
prices. It is disingenuous of the proposed resort's backers to contend
that the ski center is in jeopardy when in reality it is the untenable
giveaways of the Spitzer-brokered AIP that are justifiably under siege.
Crossroads/Partners are working for their own personal, financial
interests. If the resort were built, can anyone say with assurance
what the long-term effect on the ski center or the community would
be? To the developers, the ski center is only the bait to get people
to invest in timeshares and inflate the overall value of their land
holdings. Whether or not it stays public or affordable is irrelevant
Poor Belleayre Mountain Ski Center! It has become the rope in a tug-of-war
between the operators of Greene County’s private ski facilities
at Hunter and Windham and the would-be operators of a private ski
resort on Belleayre Mountain. The former felt no competitive threat
from the publicly owned BMSC in the past, even during the recent impressive
growth it enjoyed thanks to astute management and infusions of state
money. That’s surely because even as it grew, the BMSC remained
a decidedly public facility that catered to a different market and
had a different “personality”—affordable, family-friendly,
laid-back, “country-ish” versus the hot-shot, singles-attracting,
ski-village atmosphere of Hunter and Windham, where après-ski
counts as much as the day on the slopes. But the Agreement in Principle
engineered by then-Governor Spitzer with Crossroads Ventures, which
has proposed a mega-resort for the west slope of the mountain, rightly
has the Greene County folks worried.
For what the AIP would do is simply fold BMSC into the private, commercial
time-share resort for which it would serve as a marketing inducement.
In fact, the publicly funded ski center would likely be the jewel
in the crown of attractions advertised to would-be time-share residents.
That is no doubt why the AIP actually commits public funds to create
some ski-in/ski-out facilities to be available to commercial resort
guests only—their own personal and private pathway to the slopes.
What this blurring of public into private will do to the price of
lift tickets and the down-home character of BMSC is anybody’s
Even leaving aside this particular use of public money for private
profit, it is hard to see how the public-private partnership benefits
those who fund the public part of the partnership at all. Unfortunately,
the rather shrill recent mailing from the mega-resort’s booster
club, Partners for Progress (although the postage apparently was paid
by a non-profit group and was possibly taxpayer-subsidized), throws
no light on the issue. The promise of jobs is only that, with no penalty
or recourse if the promise goes unfulfilled, and Congressman Hinchey
himself has declared the number and quality of the promised jobs “not
real.” The suggestion that taxes will go down is a lie; time
and time and time again, it has been proven beyond the shadow of a
doubt that large-scale development like this increases the tax burden
on existing residents, who must pay for expanded infrastructure. The
rule of thumb is that tax rates quadruple in the short term. What
seems to be left as benefit for the public partner—namely, the
people of New York—is what the mailing calls “the bright
side of traffic.”
The proposed mega-resort is simply another real-estate speculation,
and the PFP acronym of “Partners for Progress” should
more properly stand for “Profits for the Partners.” The
hysteria their mailing tries to engender is exceeded only by the fear-mongering
and bigotry it perpetuates, with its dark hint that opponents of the
mega-resort are people “from places far away from here”—the
old blame-the-stranger tactic that has proven so toxic in human history—and
its cheap attempt to whip up fears that our economic survival is at
stake. What is at stake are private investments, which the AIP directs
that we, the people, should subsidize.
The big losers here are the folks who have long relied on BMSC as
“their” ski facility—accessible, affordable, owned
by the public and focused on the public’s recreation, not the
private profit of a few.
After reading the editorial in the Olive Press on July 7, 2008 written
by Karen Wemple-Estes of Shokan, I also "heard" of course
nothing confirmed in writing anywhere that I have seen, that the Physical
Education Department in the Onteora School District was going to have
a shakeup. My two children also had Ms. Rothe at Bennett Elementary
School and she is a wonderful teacher and such an asset to the children
throughout her 13+ years with such great communications skills and
rapport with all the children at Bennett. It would be a shame to have
her transferred to any school in the district. I personally do know
Mr. Burkhardt who is at the High School level and he is also a tremendous
asset to the High School students at Onteora. Mr. Burkhardt is a Physical
Education teacher and besides the State Mandated lessons that are
required by New York State, Mr. Burkhardt also works into his lesson
plan yoga, pilates, rock climbing, dancing, archery and other lifetime
activities for students that are not taught by the other physical
education teachers. He brings many different elements to the physical
education department which open up other avenues for many students
who are not comfortable or not interested in sports-related activities.
Mr. Burkhardt has been the Head Coach of the Onteora High School Cross
Country and Spring Track and Field teams for many years.
I on the other hand had "heard" that it was not Mr. Burkhardt
that was originally slated to be transferred directly to Phoenicia,
it was another teacher in the district and that person was not welcomed
in Phoenicia nor any of the other elementary schools in the Onteora
District. Mr. Burkhardt is now being transferred involuntarily - he
does not want to leave the high school however the administration
is forcing him without giving any reason, as it seems like the same
situation that Ms. Rothe is in.
It totally surprises me that the Onteora School District would make
such a drastic decision in transferring Mr. Burkhardt to any elementary
school. What would happen to the Onteora Cross Country Team this season?
The team, who is known to have an outstanding record with achievements
year after year and also having athletes going to State competition
each year for the last eleven years. His coaching speaks for himself,
winning over twenty MHAL and Section 9 titles, just look at all the
trophies in the main hall and count his name! How would Mr. Burkhardt
be able to teach at the elementary school which ends their day at
approx 3:20 pm and be at the high school field for practice at 2:30
pm? That would then be the same as transferring any of the teachers
who also coaches football, soccer or any other Fall sport and would
have to be at the high school for practice. The personal one on one
contact throughout the school day for athletes keeping in touch with
their coaches is very important. Also having open communication with
the athletes' teachers in regards to their academics is a key element
and would be lost if the coach is located at another school.
I am sure that if any decisions have been made, maybe some serious
reconsideration's about who is going where should be thought over
thoroughly. If there is a position open at Phoenicia School due to
the retirement of Mr. Gallagher, then there should have been or will
be a hiring committee to fill that position.
With athletic teams starting their practices in approximately 7 weeks
from this week, decisions would be need to be determined very soon,
because it is not fair to any of our athletes in any sport in our
school district to have pride in Onteora, to start out their season
with not knowing who their coaches will be and having a concrete schedule.
The future of our district is the students of Onteora and I would
hope that the decisions that will be made in the best interest of
I am writing in response to William Warnecke's recent letter in which
he expressed dismay about the ousting of former Onteora Board Of Education
incumbents Burnholz, O'Connor and Vanacore and the landslide election
of challengers Flayhan, Legnini, McGillicuddy and Osmond.
I find it interesting that in a lengthy letter about a Board Of Education
vote, the word "education" is not mentioned once. And I
think that could go along way toward explaining why things went the
way they did.
Mr. Warnecke - and a few others - seem to paint the Onteora electorate
as "duped" and "misled," which doesn't say much
for their opinions of their fellow taxpayers.
The senior citizens who crossed party lines and made up much of the
historic turnout in Shandaken are not to be underestimated. The graying
Woodstockers and their neighbors in West Hurley are no slouches, either.
And the people of Olive who decided it was time for a change are sharp.
They do not need me to stick up for them, but I am anyway.
Mr. Warnecke talks about how the 30 grand spent on developers will
"go to waste." I was at the board meeting a couple years
back when the developers gave their first recommendation, which was
to keep open three elementary schools and make a "separate and
distinct" 6-through-8 middle school. The developers stressed
the importance of elementary schools to the fabric of a community,
something most folks in West Hurley would heartily agree with. And
it was concluded the tax-base in Onteora could sustain three elementary
schools. The outgoing board members rejected this initial recommendation
and tried to accomplish a consolidation agenda in the name of fiscal
responsibility. When the general public found that the former incumbents
decided, mere weeks before the election, to close Phoenicia Elementary
and cram 5th graders on buses and in the same building as eighteen-year-olds,
they acted. The line that trustees are ostensibly elected to walk
- taxpayers on one side, education on the other - was crossed and
left in the dust.
The 0 % tax levy that the outgoing board members gave us was not enough
to diminish strong views that more kids per classroom, more kids on
buses for longer rides, and the closure of a community elementary
school – i.e. a consolidation agenda - would have a negative
effect on the education of Onteora kids and thus the entire community.
Why? Because apparently there are a lot of people in the Onteora district
who have faith that their money is well-spent when it goes to education,
even if they don't have kids in the system. These people want bang
for their buck, sure, but if it looks like it's going to be to the
detriment of kids and teachers, they balk. And it doesn't necessarily
mean they're "rich."
And yes, the elephant in the room is the likelihood that another 0
% tax levy will not be forthcoming next year. It was great that state
aid happened to come through in the ’07-’08 school year,
and many teachers happened to retire. But to expect that every year,
when schools need repairs, upgrades, etc., is unreasonable.
When talk of attrition comes up, it helps to know that the census
indicates births in Onteora are on the rise. And registration for
'08-'09 kindergarten was so high, an extra day needed to be added.
There is every indication that the supposed "freefall decline
in enrollment" that the cherry-picked Budget Advisory Committee
predicted is grossly exaggerated.
The voices of those who lament the fact that Phoenicia Elementary
has a new lease on life tend categorically to regard Onteora as more
trouble than it's worth. I have crossed paths with many - some of
whom I call my friends - who think the public education system in
particular and the social contract in general are untenable institutions
that are beyond repair. The former incumbents did not do a lot to
dismiss those notions. But the challengers did. Because, like me,
Robert Burke Warren
Transparency or Not? You decide. The newly elected Onteora School
Board stated during their campaign that transparency was going to
be a major priority. On July 1st, their very first official school
board meeting they instructed the superintendent to craft a resolution
in the eleventh hour to rescind the 5-8 educational plan by way of
addendum to the regular agenda. This addendum was not published on
the website with the regular agenda and the only way an Onteora Stakeholder
would have know it was going to be a topic for discussion and possible
action at this meeting was to go to the meeting and get the copy of
the addendum that night. Is there a new definition of transparent?
The resolution was not a surprise if you followed the election but
to have a resolution and vote and not inform the public it was going
to take place does not sound very transparent. I say transparently
I have a few points to make in regards to William Warnecke's letter
in the last issue of this newspaper. Yes, Mr. Warnecke, a superficial
understanding of the financial issues facing Onteora district would
lead to a conclusion that closing the Phoenicia School would save
2,300,000.00. But if you look deeper into the repercussions, it would
actually cost the District much more to close the school down. Between
shuttling students further distances, the subsequent overcrowding
in the remaining two schools (leading to increased building "wear
and tear"), and the erosion of Phoenicia town economy (hence
a decline in Shandaken real estate values) would all degrade any "savings".
What could be a solution to the Elementary School "problem"
of declining enrollment? A few years back, a redistricting plan was
proposed by Linda Sella and Heidi LaMonda which would "tweak"
the boundaries between the towns sending some children from Woodstock
and Olive to Phoenicia Elementary. This plan was booed down by the
predominantly Olive attended meeting never to be examined again. I
think that the redistricting plan needs to be re-evaluated as it is
a viable, affordable solution to what I believe is a short-term population
issue. Other school districts resort to this and after initial community
resistance (people do hate change!), it has been found it to be a
successful, low-cost answer.
Also, Mr. Warnecke, the consultants that were hired for $30.000.00
initially recommended that our community opt for Plan A, keeping the
three schools open. This is in spite of the fact that their study
on the population demographics was seriously flawed (birth rates outside
of Ulster County were not taken into account nor was the transition
of week-end homes into full-time residences when children became of
school age). It was clear to the voters that the three incumbents
were pursuing their own disingenuous agenda (witness their grumpy
post-campaign letters to the local newspapers) and their dream of
consolidating the district had more to do with supporting Olive's
vision than considering the needs of the Onteora School District as
Mr. Warnecke, your letters are always a rant about the injustices
of paying taxes. Sure, no one likes to pay taxes but as taxes go,
school taxes are "good taxes". Every cent of our money is
going towards the future of our community's children, not to bombs
or enriching oil interests like our Federal taxes. Yes, it is important
to maintain proper School District stewardship but to assume that
any other vision besides the most austere would send the community
straight to hell is counter-productive. Consider being part of a new,
creative vision for Onteora instead of a nay-saying curmudgeon.
Uh-oh! There's been some leakage behind Cheney's closed doors. It
seems that an official close to our VP said that he has laid out a
plan for WW III. The first step is to get Israel to fire missles at
Iran's uranium plant in Tehran, getting Tehran to retaliate with its
own strike, thereby providing the U.S. with an excuse to attack military
targets and nuclear facilities in Iran. The leaked material goes on
to say that Cheney himself never denied engaging in such war games.
For years, he was open about his opinion that an attack on Iran, a
member of US President George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil,"
After all, it was in l999, when Cheney then CEO of Halliburton, said
that the world would begin to run short of oil in 2010, and that:
"After that it's just a matter of years before it runs out. Whoever
controls the remaining oil determines who lives and who dies."
He added that 60% of the oil is in the Middle East in countries like
Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait,Qatar and the U.A.Ermirates. As we
know from all the hugging we've seen on tv, our government is friends
with all but Iran, and now occupies Iraq.
Bush got my knuckles white again last week when he said that Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could lead the region into a new world
war - (that would make it III, right?) if his nation builds a nuclear
bomb. Well, a uranium plant leads to a nucular bomb, in his language,
right?. So now, I'm nervous.
Following all of this, Seymour Hersch comes out with an article in
the New Yorker, wherein he says that four Democrats, in the so called
'Gang of Eight' that signs off on top secret operations--Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Intelligence
Committee chairman John D. Rockefeller IV, and House Intelligence
Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes--have gone along with Cheney and
provided the $400 million for this operation. I was wondering what's
up with our Congressional leaders. Now, I'm getting itchy. I'm hoping
that it's just mosquito bites, and not some central nervous system
breakdown, but I'm off the point.
Bush's ratings are way down, and he has a legacy, as "the War
President" to protect. The real powers that be need to remain
in control, no matter who's he President. That Obama guy just can't
be trusted, (he might figure out how to use those billions on solar
or wind power).... so..... it's one of two things. Voter fraud, or
WW III. Yikes. Now my hands are shaking. Why don't you guys figure
out what we can do, while I try some meditation or something.
It is very hard to distinguish any difference between Senator McCain
currently running for President and the ideas and concepts of current
President George W. Bush: This is true when it comes for the war and
occupation of Iraq, the comprehensive immigration law (which I support)
and the privatizing of Social Security.
One of the few government agencies that continues to work for the
American people Mr. McCain wants to hand all the money over to private
investors rather than raising the current limitation of $99,000.00
(only people with incomes below this amount must pay Social Security
and Medicare withholding tax). If the limit was raised to include
people with incomes of $200,000 then the system would be replenished
and those who can afford it can then pay into the system like the
rest of the middle class and working low income people.
Instead we find the Republicans protecting the rich first by giving
them a free ride on these taxes, while at the same time want a significant
amount of the revenue raised for what is known as FISCA to be retain
so young people can wisely invest in Wall Street stocks. Well it would
have been great if you could have bought up oil futures because then
you would be breaking even at the pump. If you invested in the volatile
Fortune 500 or any other stocks for your retirement you would have
taken a real beating this week The Stock Market is no place for the
small inexperienced investors. You see McCain, the Republican Party,
and the Wall Street moguls want that social security trust. They just
don't understand why anyone would allow billions to just sit there
and not be able to make a profit on it.
So Mr. McCain wants to play with fire by touching what is known in
America as the third rail, well he got exactly what he asked for.
As he walked away with dry lips and his hair standing on ends.
So begins the political season of new myths spun over the old ones,
don't be fooled vote Democratic at least Obama wants to increase the
taxes on the rich and put that back into America. He wants to end
the war while McCain is asking for a hundred more years. I do not
understand why some people are still blinded by these professional
politicians who represent the rich few over the interests of the vast
mass majority who are not eating anymore because their car is necessary
to get to work. It is time to look around and smell the coffee? The
fumes coming out of your empty gas tanks.
‘ In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah (5:13) laments, “Therefore
my people have gone into captivity because they have no knowledge.”
Today, people are very concerned about our poor economy. However,
most are unaware that it was caused by their lack of knowledge and/or
unwillingness to do something about it.
Most citizens are not very familiar with the marvelous system of government
that our Founders gave us. We are a constitutional republic, not a
democracy that many people believe we are. Visit www.thenewamerican.com
All federally elected and appointed officials take an oath to obey
and uphold our U.S. Constitution and then most promptly ignore it.
If we had enough informed citizens, we could quickly make the officials
strictly obey our Constitution.
For example, the federal government is allowed to coin money but it
is not allowed to print fiat money. Therefore, the unconstitutional
Federal Reserve Bank would be eliminated and we could get back to
the gold and silver system that made the dollar the world’s
safest money. We could then get rid of the inflation that is caused
by paper money not backed by gold or silver.
Also, we could eliminate foreign aid and many other unconstitutional
programs. Each state would then be responsible for any necessary programs
as the original 13 states planned when they established the federal
Dominick J. Odorizzi
Porter Ranch, CA
DRILL FOR AMERICAN OIL NOW! -as Chuck Norris (of ’Walker, Texas
Ranger’ fame) is demanding, AND LEAVE THE OIL COMPANIES ALONE,
is the answer to our oil and gas crisis and we can do it only if we
get the government off the backs of the big, and especially the small,
oil companies and let them drill where they want. Private enterprise
in the oil industry is the answer and it always has been. Government
restrictions stopping oil drilling and production have caused the
present gas crisis, not the oil companies. We have hundreds of years
supply of American oil and gas in our country and we should develop
it NOW. Our oil companies are not allowed to drill off our coasts
but Communist China and Cuba reportedly are allowed to drill off our
shores in the Gulf of Mexico and we shouldn’t allow it. We should
go to JBS.org and search: “gas gone wild” to see Congressman
Ron Pauls’ bill H.R. 2415, the “Affordable Gas Price Act”
that will get oil production going again in our country big time and
bring down the price of oil, natural gas, and gasoline. This is critical
to our everyday life and national security. We should contact our
congressmen and demand they cosponsor and support Congressman Pauls’
H.R. 2415 “Affordable Gas Price Act” immediately to restore
oil production now.
Mr. Palladino responded to my letter. Apparently, it gave him more
of a thrill to bash my integrity than to dispute facts and figures.
He insinuated in his lashing that employees terminated “in several”
departments should not have been hired in the first place. His insinuation
was these employees were hired cronies from previous administrations.
That’s a powerful statement to make when there were 25 positions
eliminated in the Alternative Sentencing, Buildings and Grounds, Golden
Hill Health Care Center, Highway Department, Information Services,
Office for the Aging, Personnel, Public Health, Sheriff’s Office,
Social Services Department and Tourism.
He also brought up the Law Enforcement Center issue. Why?? Perhaps
his people have not had closure on the issue yet. For the record,
it is not about it being a Republican or Democratic issue; both parties
were responsible so enough of the blame game. His own party mates
are suspect over the jail. Their fingerprints are in the first concrete
pour for the foundation (as well as being assigned to almost every
committee, sub-committee prior to, during and after the construction
began on the building). And didn’t the current administration
waste even more taxpayers’ money on a useless committee investigation
and grand jury verdict? What did it ultimately accomplish?
He also stated that Hein’s priority is to balance a budget to
keep our County solvent. Don’t make me laugh! His record of
accomplishments (or defeats) speaks volumes.
In 2005, Michael Hein, who at the time was a Republican, stated the
County would have a $23 million deficit. His party mates campaigned
on that point to win the majority.
Once they got in, they not only spent the 38.6% increase in taxes
in 2006; they raised the taxes 7.52% in 2007 and 3.65% in 2008. That
amounts to a hefty 49.77 % by my calculations.
By the time Hein switched parties, the County had $12 million in the
General Fund. In fact, there was $17.8 million surplus at the end
of 2006 and $19.6 million in the fund balance at the end of 2007.
(None of which was used to reduce the tax levy in property taxes for
In 2007, Hein allocated $460,000 anticipated revenue for board-ins
at the Law Enforcement Center and by October only $15,730 was realized.
This year he projected $1.3 million for board-ins and those figures
have fallen short as well. For the first six months this year, the
revenues at $110/day for boarding-in maybe five inmates is a far cry
of meeting the projection of $1.3 by year’s end—you would
need at least 35 board-ins to accomplish that. Anticipated sales tax
revenue projections at $83.4 million are also coming up short month
after month. That’s quite a track record—he has missed
the mark on every projection.
One last thing. Mr. Palladino accused me of no longer being a lucky
one who can look forward to a bigger retirement fund. For the record,
I actually worked 36 years in County Government and am now collecting
my retirement (which I had to wait two years for). Thank you very
much Ulster County. For his party cronies left behind to featherbed
their retirements, they will never have what I have.
Gassing up our car or buying food is a very painful and stressful
experience these days. Heating our home this winter with fuel oil
getting close to $5 will be even more painful. Unfortunately, many
of our Senior Citizens, on fixed incomes, will be financially and
emotionally devastated by fuel oil at $5 a gallon - many will become
physically ill as a result of reduced heat and food.
Currently there is a Federal program to provide some assistance -
it is called the "Home Energy Assistance Program" (HEAP)
- administered by Ulster County. Last year's grant to Ulster County
was about $3 million. It is anticipated that this amount will be increased.
Even if the amount is doubled by the Feds to $6 million (and I doubt
this will happen) resources will not be great enough to meet the people's
basic fuel needs. The need for financial assistance this heating season
will, in my judgment, increase exponentially.
I believe it will be necessary for the state and county to step in
and provide additional state and county resources for HEAP. The politicians
will tell you that this will require additional taxes. I say no to
additional taxes. Additional taxes would be counter productive to
our struggling economy. I suggest a very different means of providing
the additional funding for HEAP the assistance that will be so vitally
needed by our Seniors Citizens.
The budgets of NYS and Ulster County have a number of programs that
are "nice," but are not vital to the daily function of government.
I suggest that these "nice" programs be temporarily curtailed
or reduced during this energy crisis and that the money saved be immediately
transferred to an augmented HEAP program.
Assuredly, there will be wailing and moaning by special interest groups
that benefit from these "nice" programs. Unfortunately,
difficult problems will require a politically difficult solution.
This is an opportunity for our political leaders to show leadership
and to face up to the extremely serious nature of the problem facing
our Senior Citizens in a responsible manner. There are only a few
months left before the heating season begins - quick action by our
political leaders is vital.
While some will disagree with my suggested solution, I do not believe
that any can deny that a very serious problem exists. During the coming
election cycle it will be interesting to hear what the candidates
propose regarding this critical problem. I would like to learn of
any other solutions to this critical problem.
It would be unconscionable to require our senior citizens to have
to choose between "Eat or Heat" this winter.
William R. West
I'll bet a nickel that if there were a pool to guess the cost-per-mile
to create (1) cinder and (2) paved so-called "rail trails,"
nobody would win.
Why? The astronomical, approaching ridiculous, investment of TAXPAYER
dollars required. Astonishing what some people will suggest in these
stressed, economic circumstances.
Tollroad-trails? Now, THAT's completely different. BUT, charge BEFORE
construction. Those who'll use, pay. Fair enough? ("No,"
you'll object. NOT "fair.")
Sure, we in Kingston wouldn't allow our blind grandmothers to walk
our (what? none?) tectonic "sidewalks" with a guide dog
and gyroscope! (Oh. Here's the walk again.....Oops, spoke too soon).
If I ever saw a boondoggle, the Health Committee press release proposal
is it! Were I a magistrate, I'd compell the perps to provide, let's
count 'em, 7 pieces of evidence to support wild claims.
Our beautiful Catkills sport hundreds of miles of well-cared-for trails-to-anywhere.
And how many legislators have walked them? How many of your "trail
enthusiasts?" When was the last time (date)?
How many of you OWN a bicycle? When was the last time you rode it?
Have you EVER substituted your BIKE for your CAR to shop? How far
did you go? How many miles do you put on your bike for pleasure? For
We need another "committee" like we need more taxes - which
will be the inevitable result somewhere down the trail IF the committee
is established. First nail in the coffin.
Merely because the capital appropriation was approved last year doesn't
mean we have to incur the debt!
On a similar note: over the past couple years, I've noticed a creeping,
disconcerting, viral-like growth of Ulster county government sub-committees,
advisory boards, investigating units, etc. --- for what purpose? Is
it leadership's unconscious anticipation of the dread REDUCTION from
a bandstand-33 legislators to a football-team of 23? And the believef
that those incumbents who "participate" will survive?
Oh, the ways of mice and men.
Look, I've been wrong TWICE in my life. As you see, I'm not hesitant
to risk another. Object. You know how to contact me.
A few days ago former Senator Phil Gramm, Ph.D. [economics] lamented
that we Americans are a nation of whiners. He is absolutely correct
for a number of reasons.
Many homes are being foreclosed because of delinquent or non payment
of their monthly mortgage payment(s). They falsified their application
for a mortgage by following the lender's agent's advice and falsifying
income as higher. The client then failed to notice the interest rate
becoming a yo-yo with variable rates at the pleasure of the lender.
Who remembers a reduction in their interest rate? No one does. It
just remained the same [temporarily]. Now we hear much whining.
Then we have the wizards who know there is no IRS deduction for interest
on a personal loan to buy a car, fix the roof, do a makeover kitchen
or bathroom, perhaps a family vacation to Timbuktu and they also know
a second mortgage is an end run. The fun ends when the Lender's "repo
man" shows up. Remember, your home is now collateral and fair
game including a sign erected on the front lawn. More whining.
There is this other group that has been around for quite some time
but no one pays attention. The credit cards.com is the new currency.
First it was pebbles; then rocks which grew bigger as their value
increased. Rocks as big as wagon wheels were fast becoming legal tender
when replaced with pieces of bronze, then brass, iron, steel, modern
coins and paper. People experienced losses in their commerce with
others and began the whining ritual.
Plastic is the way to go if one is sensible and responsible. Buy a
large costly item at the beginning of the credit period which lasts
30 or 31 days. Pay the total amount 15 days later[grace period] and
you have used someone else's money for 45 days. There is no whining;
no depression. Remember, credit card companies do not appreciate people
like me. They love those who pay the minimum and take 22-25 years
to pay off $10,000 without making another purchase. Lots of whining
in these camps.
$4.00 per gallon for gasoline?? Outrageous!! Italy, 1980; $5.00 per
gal. England, 1982; $5.00 per gal. Norway, a producer in the North
Sea with no refineries. $6.00.[refinery is in Scotland and returned
to Norway as gasoline]. Here in the U.S. we are whining louder and
louder. Those rascally speculators are wreaking havoc with our airlines,
buses, trains and automobiles. Speculation should be outlawed but
not just for oil and oil products; but for corn, grain. beef. citrus
and gun powder. Isn't that the stuff of capitalists and multi million
dollar incomes? Don't forget the large bonuses paid to top execs for
failure. Everyone associated with Enron has a right, yea, a duty to
whine. Except Ken Lay who took it with him.
I am proud to admit to whining which occurs when my best friend and
I share dinner and wine; it's called "wining and dining".
On January 20, 2009 an old order will be inaugurated when either John
Obama or Barack McCain takes the oath. [No difference]. Remember,
Beauty is temporary, Stupid is forever.
Glenn T. Anderson
The Friends of the Phoenicia Library is funding Sunday Summer Hours
at the Phoenica Library! Come enjoy the New York Sunday Times. Save
paper and share comradarie during our new hours on Sundays 10:00-
3:00 p.m. beginning June 29, to August 31, 2008.
See you there!
Friends of the Phoenicia Library
We in the Catskill Region and the Catskill Park will have our own
Catskill Interpretive Center!
The Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center have accomplished
a lot -- we have done what we hoped to do! We did it!! The Catskill
Interpretive Center will be constructed on the already-prepared site
located on Route 28 in the hamlet of Mt. Tremp er in the Town of Shandaken.
It is with great pride that we, the residents of and the visitors
to the Catskills Region, look forward -- in approximately three years
-- to the completion of our own Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC).
On April 4, 2008, the New York State Legislature passed the budget
for the fiscal year 2008/2009. This was an exciting moment for the
Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center -- because, within that
budget was a line item designating $1 million to revise the existing
architectural and exhibit plans for a long-awaited Catskill Interpretive
This million dollars is the first installment for this current round
of planning. The first round began about 15 years ago with a tremendous
community effort to prepare for a Catskill Interpretive Center. That
effort was set aside over twelve years ago when State priorities shifted
away from the construction of a CIC. For this current effort, it will
be necessary to have funding from the State, seek funding from private
sources, and include financial participation from municipalities within
the Catskill Region. The monetary requirement to complete the project
has risen in estimate to about $10 million. The Friends of the Catskill
Interpretive Center has committed to find funding from private and
municipal sources in the amount of $1.65 million.
The NYS DEC is currently soliciting letters of interest from design
consultants. The design for the CIC was complete when the State priorities
shifted. The previous drawings will, therefore, become the basis for
new plans that will now incorporate currently available sustainable
and innovative “green” features and provide for much greater
flexibility in regards to making space available for community functions.
The plans for the exhibits also will be up-dated to include new information
The Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center (FCIC) have held together
the concept of a Catskill Interpretive Center, hoping that this day
would arrive -- that the State Legislature would provide funding for
the concept to come alive.
This new wave of enthusiasm to create a CIC has started off on a very
successful footing. The Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center
wish particularly to thank the following individuals and organizations:
The Wallace Genetic Foundation, Washington, D.C.; The Honorable Maurice
D. Hinchey (Representative, 22nd Congressional District); Governor
David A. Paterson; the NYS Legislature in total and individually both
State Senator John Bonacic and State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill; NYS
DEC Commissioner Alexander B. (Pete) Grannis; and the Governor’s
Deputy Secretary for the Environment Judith Enck.
This new effort would not have happened without the support of the
Ulster County Legislature and the Towns of Shandaken, Olive, and Woodstock.
Helen K. Chase, on behalf of
Friends of the Catskill
When you were a kid did you get bored smack in the middle of summer
vacation? Well, I sure do. I find myself just sitting on the couch,
wanting to watch TV but my parents say, “couldn’t you
just read?” I do enjoy reading. Oh, I signed a contract with
Rosie at the Olive Library that I would read 21 books this summer.
Also, I did get my first library card, and I signed my signature (I
like my signature, it’s awesome.) Also, when I was trying not
to watch TV, I learned to play “All You Need Is Love”
by the Beatles on the piano. I’m still going to try to sneak
in TV from time to time. Gluing my eyes to the TV makes me feel all
slumpy and not quite as bored. Except, sometimes my hands get sweaty
and I know it’s time to stop watching TV then. Editor, what
do you like to do when you get bored?
Cally Mansfield, Almost third-grader
West Shokan, NY