New locations for the Red Book, which lists school bus routes
and times of pick up for children, were also announced as a
safety measure. Instead of being available at local post offices,
the lists will now be available at neighborhood schools, the
OCS central office and transportation office, and Hoyts headquarters…
all in Boiceville. Additionally, the Red Books will not contain
any information on special education routes, with parents being
notified individually of such matters. This is to address privacy
issues regarding such students.
Moraca said that the decision to limit access to the bussing
information was meant to deter would—be child predators.
Another major change will affect variance students. Although
at the August 14 school board meeting, Moraca announced the
elimination of a shuttle bus between elementary schools, in
an August 23 letter to parents Moraca said that variance student
can take a bus first to their home school and then transfer
to a “variance shuttle” bus to their variance school.
The letter continues, “Alternately in the afternoon, they
will be picked up at their variance school, shuttled to their
home school, and will ride the bus home.”
The district was never responsible for transporting variance
students, although exceptions were made if a shuttle bus was
in the area. Also, transportation was provided for Woodstock
parents, whose kids went on to Phoenicia School after West Hurley
Moraca said approximately 70 families have their kids on variance.
“I am sure there is going to be fallout,” he noted.
“I am sure there is going to be complaints because people
were used to the (shuttle) bus being there, but fiscal responsibility
- we have to deal with it.”
Moraca could not give a total cost savings by eliminating the
shuttle bus runs. School board trustee Maxane Resnick had requested
specific cost savings to the district at the August 14 OCS meeting.
“Obviously given the impact of the 70 families because
that is going to be big news,” said Resnick. “When
are they going to get the letter because they have to figure
out their plans by September fourth?”
A special education shuttle bus that runs between elementary
schools will also be eliminated.
“I think it is unrealistic to ask these special needs
children to have to get off a bus with their attendant and get
on another vehicle so we can shuttle them, so instead the vans
for our elementary schools are all designated specifically for
whatever school they go to,” Moraca said, adding that
this would cut back on missed classroom time where special education
kids tended to be late for morning classes and early dismissal
As a reminder Moraca explained that Private, Parochial school,
Day Care and Babysitter care transportation requests must be
filed by April 1 every year.
Moraca asked that the school board to consider a secondary supervisory
position in the transportation department that will eliminate
the Head Bus driver position. The creation of bus driver/dispatcher
position will require a more experienced person and must take
a transportation test to qualify.
The board was set to vote on the proposal August 28.
National Gets Local
Hinchey, who is sponsoring a two-pronged resolution of censure
in the House of Representatives against President Bush and Vice
President Cheney to match one introduced in the Senate by Senator
Russ Feingold (D-WI), has spoken publicly of impeachment but
has yet to add his name to an impeachment bill (H Res 333) introduced
by Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. This “lapse” has
disturbed many local constituents and was the topic of Tuesday’s
“They trying to get HR 333 forward to the House Judiciary
Committee, some of whom have already voiced support for it,
and Maurice has spoken out very strongly that this administration
is, in his own words, ‘the most impeachable administration
in history,’ guilty of multiple grievous crimes. Yet he
has so far not signed onto this bill,” said Tarak Kauff,
one of a group of seven who had originally secured the appointment
with the Congressman. “We hope to change his mind today.
There’s no difference between Maurice and ourselves on
the grounds for impeachment. The question is- and it’s
very puzzling- why he’s not pressing for impeachment-
which the Constitution calls for, by law, in a situation like
this. It’s mandated. It’s not a judgment call.”
A letter to Hinchey, dated July 25 and bearing over a hundred
signatures, including professors, town council members and other
figures of note, quotes Senator Barbara Boxer’s recent
comment that “the Constitution does not permit us to take
(impeachment) off the table” to bolster an argument that
“Congress is not at all doing its job in failing to bring
impeachment charges.” It also observes that “Congress
has a lower approval rating now than even the President. The
public that elected this Congress to end the war and correct
the grievous wrongs of this administration feels betrayed.”
Kauff, a Woodstock resident, said that the group’s first
letter requesting a meeting was turned down but they persisted,
saying they felt strongly that the issue was “urgent and
critical enough to warrant a direct meeting.” They offered
to come to Washington if the Congressman was too busy to meet
in Kingston. Following a supportive article in the Kingston
Times, Hinchey’s local chief-of-staff Dan Ahouse did agreed
to what Kauff describes as a “very intense two-hour meeting.”
“We said we’re not going to stop; we’re going
to take public action,” Kauff related on Tuesday morning.
“We must address this issue. Don’t get us wrong.
We like Maurice. We think he’s done some great things.
But this is the most critical issue for our country since the
Kauff said that when Hinchey, who was out of the country, returned,
he agreed to meet seven of the group at his relatively small
Kingston office but added that there were many more people involved
who wanted to play a role, so Kauff suggested to them that they
come and remain outside.
“You can carry impeachment signs, do street theater, wear
your ‘Arrest Cheney First’ t-shirts,” he told
them. “It’s a free country and it’s your right
as citizens to express yourselves. When we come out of the meeting,
we’ll let you know what happened and we can take it from
there.” Then, “apparently his office heard that
there was going to be a lot of people outside and called me
(Monday) to say Maurice would like to include everybody and
changed the meeting place to the community room in the Rupco
Building at John and Fair Streets. I said okay but we don’t
want to dilute the conversation by just having Maurice address
Jeff Lieberson, a spokesman in Hinchey’s D.C. office said
that “The Congressman believes that President Bush and
Vice President Cheney are the most indictable officials in history
and he’s one of the most outspoken critics of them in
Congress. He’s introduced legislation to hold them accountable
in many ways and, as much as he would like to see them impeached,
he recognizes that the votes are just not there. There’s
certainly not enough support for two-thirds of the Senate to
vote to convict and, additionally there’s 17 months left
for this administration and these proceedings would take months
“So, you would essentially tie up the Democratic Congress
from doing its good work in trying to reverse bad policies,”
Lieberson continued. “So, as much as he would like to
see them gone tomorrow, he recognizes that it’s not practical.
He’s introduced resolutions to censure them- companion
legislation to what Senator Feingold did in the Senate. It’s
a way to note in the historical record that a co-equal branch
of government stood up to this administration and formally admonished
them for their actions. There are two resolutions- one has to
do with Iraq and the other with ‘rule of law’ issues-
domestic spying, polices on torture, firings of U.S. attorneys
and so on. It’s just a way to hold this administration
“Now, if this was two years into a possible 8 year administration,
circumstances might be different. Time is running out and the
support isn’t there in Congress. Congressman Hinchey is
hoping for a constructive dialogue on these points.”
Olive resident Judith Boggess offers a different perspective;
“They keep saying they don’t have enough people
in the Senate to put it through but our thought is to get it
going in the House and see what happens in the Senate; see who’s
against it. That alone will speak volumes.”
Kauff agrees. A member of Veterans for Peace, Middle East Crisis
Response and United for Peace & Justice- groups he notes
as sympathetic to the removal of Bush and Cheney from office
but uninvolved in the immediate action, Kauff said “We
debate his reasons. Our position is that a head count is not
the issue. You NEVER have the votes when you start. You do what
is right; what you’re honor-bound to do- uphold the Constitution
and protect the democracy. If you’re the only one doing
that, so be it. At least you will have done your duty and represented
the constituents in your district. There’s an overwhelming
majority in this district clamoring for the impeachment process
to begin. No one knows if there’ll be a conviction.
“Let us at least have a trial. Let the American public
see the full extent of what has happened. All the Democrats
and some Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have said they
know impeachable offenses have been committed. Lying the public
into war, illegal wiretapping, suspended habeas corpus, authorized
torture, corporate looting of the treasury- we’ve never
seen such criminality. People elected this Congress in hopes
that they would be able to halt this runaway administration
and stop the war. They have done neither. If they’re waiting
for 2008 to elect a Democrat, there’s 15 or 16 months
left and who knows what further damage can be done. You’re
going to let him continue committing all these crimes and never
challenge it? The balance of powers between the executive and
other branches of government- the fundamental basis of a democratic
republic- is crumbling.”
Although Hinchey’s censure resolutions reads sternly like
a document of impeachment, the resolutions carries no actual
consequences in law. Some critics at the national level have
also shown surprise at Hinchey’s decision, saying that
while the Senate cannot bring their own Articles of Impeachment,
the House has no such excuse. An article in the Sept. 6, 2007
Rolling Stone magazine makes a strong case for a private profit
motive behind the Iraqi occupation, noting that an astonishing
percentage of the hundreds of billions pumped into the country
has simply disappeared or dissolved in frauds and swindles by
no bid contractors.
Author David Lindorff, whose book The Case for Impeachment:
The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from
Office was published last year by St. Martin’s, has written
that the censure resolutions from Hinchey and Feingold will
“geld” the impeachment measure introduced by Kucinich.
“(I)f it passes, besides giving members of Congress cover
for not supporting a genuine impeachment bill, will do absolutely
nothing to stop the Bush/Cheney destruction of the Constitution,”
Lindorff observed on the liberal-progressive website Buzzflash.
And that is precisely what Kauff and his group were planning
to argue on Tuesday.
He has said that he always liked the fighting spirit of the
CWT, which led to the creation of the CWC, better than the Corporation’s
more consensus-conscious mission to ease New York City’s
presence in the Catskills region via grants and loan giving,
as well as oversight of its regulations on a local level.
The way Meehan would often tell it, distrust and ill will had
been building for generations in the Catskills when, in September
of 1990, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection
drafted new regulations to prevent pollution of its upstate
water supply. New York City faced construction costs of $4 billion
to $8 billion to build a filtration plant, with annual operating
costs estimated at $500 million.
There was one alternative. If a municipality wanted a waiver
from the filtration requirement - what became known as a Filtration
Avoidance Determination - it had to demonstrate that it had
adequate controls in place to protect the watershed from sources
of pollution. So the New York City Department of Environmental
Protection developed a comprehensive set of regulations to restrict
new development and control pollution from manure in fields,
salt on roads, failed septic systems, and oil and gas from cars
in parking lots.
Never mind that the fight was raised by the late State Senator
Charles Cook as he was facing a tough election battle against
a former comrade. Many watershed dwellers, including Meehan,
believed the proposed regulations would cripple what there was
left of the region’s economy after the stock market downturn
of the late 1980s.
The Coalition, funded with monies supplied by Cook, sued the
city, and that action led to a negotiation that lasted several
years. In 1997, thanks to the Coalition’s efforts, an
historic agreement was reached that not only gave the city a
filtration waiver but also compensated the upstate communities
for the harmful effects that were to come.
Now, 10 years after that deal was made, Meehan used terms like
“tired” and “frustrated” to describe
the state of mind that led him to his decision to step down.
Unhappy with the way the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
ignored the Coalition’s main concerns when it gave the
city another 10-year filtration waiver last month, Meehan recalled
at his last meeting on August 20 how he had discussions with
other Coalition members back in the early 1990s about the city’s
“We thought back then that their ultimate goal is to wear
us out.” he said. “Well, some of us are tired. Some
of us are frustrated. Some things are not moving at all. It’s
time for some personnel changes. Maybe that will make it better.”
He noted that he had announced months ago that he would step
aside once the EPA rendered last month’s verdict, adding
that the effort needed to fight for the rights of the watershed
in that process had become overwhelming, even distasteful.
“The trouble with these negotiations ... the posturing
can just about make you sick, and I’m not very good at
it,” he said.
The Coalition is suing again. This time the defendant is the
federal Environmental Protection Agency, not the city. And as
the region begins this new chapter, Meehan hopes that new leadership
in the Coalition can help reach a compromise with the federal
agency and change the direction the battle is now headed.
“We shouldn’t create wars,” he said.
Alan Rosa, the executive director of the Catskill Watershed
Corp., was present at Meehan’s farewell meeting. A founding
member of the Coalition like Meehan, Rosa blasted the city for
recent legal actions designed to lower the taxes on city property
in the watershed, and in a saber rattling tone insisted that
the city needs to be stopped.
Rosa said the city is suing no less than 10 towns over land
assessments and that those towns lack the resources to mount
any substantial defense.
To put it in perspective, Rosa said that in one lawsuit in the
town of Olive the city wants its land value dropped to about
$100 million. The town now values that land at $600 million.
Rosa suspects the city is using the tax challenges as a way
to finance the watershed agreement.
“That lawsuit is equal to the entire amount the city is
giving the Watershed over the next 20 years,” he said.
“And that’s just one of 10 lawsuits. ... If the
city doesn’t get it one way, they’ll try and get
it in another. Someone has to listen to this tax issue.”
Nodding in agreement, Meehan said this was an example of what
made him decide to step down.
“It’s a step forward. I hope it makes it better,”
The Executive Committee will decide next month on a new chairman.
Meehan’s advice to whoever takes over was short and to
the point, reminding all that the Coalition is an advocate for
the watershed and its people and should work for the best arrangement
Among those named as possible successors to Meehan on the all-male
board, made up of town supervisors from throughout the watershed
– once unanimous but now a few short due to recent political
battles – is current CWT Vice President Dennis Lucas of
Hunter, as well as board newcomers Bob Cross and Jeremy Wilber,
supervisors of Shandaken and Woodstock, respectively, and Ulster
County’s representatives now that longstanding member
Bruce LaMOnda of Olive wasn’t reinstated.
Meehan didn’t mention current financial straights the
organization’s numerous lawsuits, over everything from
city recreation regulations to state DEC reviews of local development,
have forced it to face.
“Think about where things could be. Don’t think
about where they are,” he said.
A Jar Of Olives
Warily, we threw our expensive beef onto the inferno hoping
that they would not vaporize or vulcanize. Behold, the steaks
were thrown onto the coals, turned immediately with pitchforks
and retrieved and enjoyed by amazed and hungry picnickers. Games
like frog-jumping, watermelon seed spitting contest, and tug
of war began at this community event.
It is now thirty-three years later, and Olive Day has grown
into the amazing event it is. Much of what will take place is
tradition. Here is the schedule of events:
9:00 Sign up Kent Reeve’s Memorial 5K Entry fee $13.00
includes T-shirt and small snack;
9:30 Sign up frog jumping contest (BYOF);
10:00 5K Run (meet parking lot near pool);
Frog jumping contest (meet at basketball court);
Awards to be given immediately following contest;
10:30 Music by the Pony Tails at Pavilion till 1:30;
11:45 5K Awards;
12:30 Kiddie Run – up to age 7 (meet on field);
1:00 Egg toss (meet on field);
2:00 Music by The Famous Lee’s of Krumville till 3:00;
2:15 Tug-a-war children (meet on field);
2:45 Tug-a-war adults (meet on field);
3:00 “The Wayfinder Experience” children (meet on
Calling for the Penny Social, Classic Cars and Youth Raffle;
Dedication of 9/11/2001 bench with Ms. Slovensky and Town Board;
4:00 Music resumes with The Fabulous Lee’s of Krumville
till 6:00; Guess The Number of Olives in the Jar contest, with
one bike each for boy and girl winners;
Ongoing events throughout the day include:
Continuous live music, coloring contest till 1:00 PM, Hayrides,
50/50, Classic Car show, Bicycle Safety w/Town of Olive Police,
Car Seat safety instruction, Tee shirt sales, Pluck-a-duck,
Vendors, Penny Social till 3:00 PM, Petting Zoo, Free blood
pressure screening with the Olive First Aid, Blacksmith Demonstration,
Dunking Booth, 4H informational booth, and lots of food!
This year a polished bluestone bench will be consecrated to
the victims and first responders of nine-eleven.
Bernie Slovensky was the person who came up with the idea and
tirelessly pursued her goal. First she approached Bert Leifeld
with the idea. Then she, single-handedly, made it happen.
She got the Shultis Stone Yard to donate a slab of bluestone.
That is the ground piece or footplate of the bench.
Dean Giuliano and Jason Calinda of Old Roots nursery offered
to landscape the bench. They suggested that Kevin Berg might
be the one to make the bench. Kevin and his wife Noreen thought
the idea was great and got Roger and Harry Davis, Skin Davis’s
nephews, to donate the stone.
Kevin Berg has worked more than forty hours to create this monument.
It is inscribed, “Lest we forget” on one edge and
the date “September 11, 2001” on the other.
The “eleven” is a picture of the twin towers, and
the stone will rest on two steel support towers. I have seen
pictures of the finished bench, and I agree with Bernie that
it is “simply gorgeous.”
The Town of Olive Highway Department will have the bench secured
in time for its dedication at Olive Day. Once again, the bench
will remember that frightening day six years ago, but it also
will honor the spirit of small town America. Think about how
Bernie Slovensky’s idea became reality with the cooperation
of neighbors and artisans.
How fitting that it will be dedicated at three o’clock
at Davis Park when we all get together at Olive Day!