(News Briefs August
At its Tuesday night meeting on August 28, the Onteora School
Board accepted the resignation of longstanding Onteora High
School principal Barbara Ruben and hired former interim superintendent
Jack Jordan, an educator from Sullivan County who is currently
running for Town Board on the GOP line in Shandaken, to serve
as interim principal until a permanent replacement can be
Ruben will be moving on to a principal position at Ulster
County BOCES in Port Ewen, where OCS’s former Director
of Elementary Education and Bennett School principal Laurie
Cassel was recently hired as Deputy Superintendent.
Ruben’s resignation is effective October 22. Jordan’s
hiring was as from September 4 through December 21 at a rate
of $550 per day, with two additional days thrown in for work
done August 20 and 21.
Simultaneous to Ruben’s hiring at BOCES it was announced
that another principal of the school in charge of its Career
and Technical Center will be undergoing a sex change operation
in the coming week. According to BOCES District Superintendent
Martin Ruglis, Gary Suraci, 52 of Wappingers Falls, who has
been the principal for career and technical students since
1996, will undergo gender reassignment surgery, and the school
was set to inform parents at an “educational and informative”
meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, August 28… the same
day as the hiring changes at Onteora.
Ruglis has said that BOCES officials plan to tell students
about the change in their principal’s gender during
meetings when they return to school Sept. 5 and 6. He added
that the school has taken the necessary steps to provide students
with an educated team of counselors that can answer questions
In other business August 28 at the Onteora meeting, held in
the Junior/Senior High School cafeteria, recently hired superintendent
Leslie Ford was offered, and accepted, an amended contract
through June, 2010, bringing in matters discussed in Executive
Session at a meeting on August 14.
A contract scheduled to be signed for the continuation of
the school’s groundbreaking INDIE program, also being
run in the Greene County school district for the town of Catskill,
at $145,000 for the coming school year, was not discussed
More on these issues…
Court Date Set
A January 16 Court Date has been set for the latest lawsuit
between Olive and its biggest tax griever, New York City.
In contention is a discrepancy betwen what the town feels
the city’s reservoir is worth, and what the city feels
it should be paying the town for its value. The two figures?
Basically $600 plus million versus 150 minus million. Dollars,
he hearing will beforer Judge Connelly in Albany.
More as the actual date approaches, including how to get there...
if interested, that is.
Dems To Caucus
Olive Democrats are caucusing Thursday night. What to decide?
Hey, a committee for vacancies has to be set up just in case
any of the incumbents change their minds...
No word from town Republicans or Conservatives yet...
The special committee looking into why the Ulster County Law
Enforcement Center took years longer than expected to build
and millions over budget began its formal hearings this past
week, taking sworn testimony from the first of 17 subpoenaed
people on Monday and Wednesday, with a third day of questioning
set for the week following Labor Day. According to those in
attendance, the hearings were moving glacially, although it
was also noted that the overall effect was akin “to
watching a boa constrictor squeeze its prey to death.”
The hearings began with questioning about pre-construction,
to be followed with construction timeline questions and finally,
with post-construction issues. Committee special assistant
John Mavretich, who was working with Ulster Publishing before
taking on his current assignment, is asking the questions.
First to testify were former County Legislature Chairman Ward
Todd and Richard Gerentine; Harry Sleight, former Ulster County
commissioner of buildings and grounds; and Francis Murray,
a former county attorney. Mavretich questioned the policy-making
for the decision to build a new county jail facility versus
remodel the old one.
He asked why the Albert Street land, upon which the new LEC
is situation, was purchased by the county prior to a decision
being made to build the new complex. Todd said the county
needed the land for stormwater drainage. Further questioning
also asked about Requests for Proposals allegedly being shown
to competitors, and contracts being given to Republican contributors.
Todd, who is currently the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce
Director, and whose wife Jane is running for Shandaken town
supervisor, answered a majority of his questions with a quiet
but calm, “I can’t recall.”
More as this all unfolds over the coming week…
A New York City woman and her two teenaged nephews from Blue
Bell, PA, who were the objects of an overnight search, turned
up safe and sound Friday morning, August 24, in Phoenicia.
Laurie Pachetti, 45, and her nephews, ages 15 and 13, planned
on hiking the Slide Mountain Trail off Oliverea Road in the
Town of Shandaken. They entered the trail at about 2 p.m.
Thursday with plans to hike the loop and were due to return
no later than 7 p.m.
Kingston State Police found their car parked, unoccupied at
the trail head. Two state forest rangers responded to the
trail head and completed a seven hour hike across Slide Mountain
in search for the missing hikers. Troopers were stationed
at either end of the six mile trail in case the hikers returned.
At about 7 a.m. Friday, the forest rangers completed their
trail hike without finding the hikers. At 8:15 a.m. as more
searchers began to amass for a large scale search, Warren
Reynolds, a retired state police sergeant who lives in the
area, was riding his mountain bike on Woodland Valley Road,
passing a second Slide Mountain trailhead, when he spotted
the three walking out of the woods. They appeared to be disoriented
and told him they had been hiking the trail, took a wrong
turn late in the afternoon on Thursday and when darkness set
in, decided to wait out the night.
At sunrise, they continued their hike until they ran into
Reynolds. He told them to stay put and he rode his bike back
to his home in Phoenicia and called state police to alert
them as to where to find the lost hikers.
This past month, the Onteora School Board approved a district
tax levy for $35,138,267 and added that they were happy to
report that taxpayers will be getting a lower than expected
levy this year.
“Between the 2005-06 tax years, Shandaken worked hard
to get the vacant state land in that town revalued, they raised
the value of all the State land, they actually increased the
value in Shandaken by almost $6 million, that was really great,”
noted Assistant Superintendent for Business, Victoria McLaren
adding that the changing of values on 207 parcels brought
an additional $70,000 to the district.
She did not mention that the move has been legally challenged
by local taxpayers, as well as the state and city.
The board then approved the creation of a capital reserve
fund for $1million for building repairs.
Trustee Cindy O’Connor requested, at the August 14 OCS
meeting, information on the tax certiorari status between
the town of Olive and New York City over the assessment of
the Ashokan Reservoir.
McLaren replied that, “Our attorney is going to send
us a written update of what the status is, but what I can
tell you is that there is a court date set for January.”
The board agreed that they would update the public on their
legal findings no later than October.
New York City is suing the town of Olive over the value of
the Ashokan Reservoir. If the courts were to rule in New York
City’s favor, Onteora taxpayers could owe up to $14,293.667.60.
This is money that New York City claims is the result of Olive
over-assessing the reservoir between the years 2003 and 2005.
The district has set aside nearly $4 million in tax reserves
in the event New York City wins it’s litigation, the
most it can do legally.
Kingston Hospital has abandoned plans to create an ambulatory
surgery center in a building connected by a covered walkway
to its main campus. The proposal was intended to shift abortion
and some other reproductive health services off-site from
the hospital, physically and corporately, in preparation for
a state-mandated consolidation with Catholic Benedictine Hospital.
In a series of public forums this spring, the transfer of
abortion services and sterilizations - procedures banned under
Catholic healthcare directives - to the Kingston Medical Arts
Building was presented as the best option available to address
the thorny issue of how to handle reproductive health in the
re-alignment between the Catholic hospital and its secular
counterpart. The 2006 Berger Commission report called for
the hospitals to consolidate services and operate under a
single governing body. The commission also directed Kingston
Hospital to maintain all reproductive services either within
the hospital or at a “proximate” location.
The initial solution to the issue called for the creation
of an ambulatory surgery center at the building, a 1990s-era
condominium of physicians’ offices that is linked to
Kingston Hospital by a covered walkway over Foxhall Avenue.
The center would handle minor surgical procedures of all kinds,
including abortions and sterilizations. Benedictine Hospital’s
board of directors signaled that the solution would provide
enough distance between the single overseeing body that will
manage both hospitals when the realignment is complete, and
procedures banned by church rules for its healthcare institutions.
The plan faced immediate opposition from shareholders in the
Medical Arts condo, who complained their practices would be
hurt by the presence of the surgical center, and watchdog
groups who said removing abortion services from the hospital
campus would stigmatize women, compromise security and put
reproductive healthcare at risk.
Dr. Ken Johnson, who helped organize opposition to the plan
from condo shareholders and members of Health Care STAT, a
local group founded to serve as a “watchdog” on
the realignment, both said the Medical Arts building plan
had been abandoned. A source familiar with the issue said
current plans now call for the creation of a new freestanding
structure to house reproductive health services. A spokesman
for the two hospitals declined to give specifics, but said
that Kingston Hospital officials had come up with a solution
that would satisfy the Berger Commission mandate on reproductive
health services within or proximate to the hospital campus.
Changing weather patterns will leave millions of people without
dependable supplies of water for drinking, irrigation and
power, a growing stack of studies conclude. In California,
where cloud seeding has become a fruitful business in recent
years, people are saying the old systems no longer work because
adding 10 percent to rainfall means noting “when you’re
getting 10 percent of zero.”
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC), new patterns of increased droughts followed by heavy
floods will result in the eventual drying out of areas such
as southern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South Australia,
Patagonia and the U.S. Southwest. And these will not be small
droughts, according to the studies, but cataclysms on a par
with those that hit much of the world in the 1930s.
The resulting potential for conflict, the IPCC is saying,
is more than theoretical. Turkey, Syria and Iraq bristle over
the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt
trade threats over the Nile. The United Nations has said water
scarcity is behind the bloody wars in Sudan’s Darfur
region. In Somalia, drought has spawned warlords and armies.
New Sports Head
The Onteora school district’s new Athletic Director
William Hannon loves football and is committed to see Onteora
have a team.
“The football program was addressed at the time of my
hiring,” said Hannon, “I’d really like to
get that program back up.”
The varsity football program was cut in 2006 due to lack of
interest and previous director Michael Kocher asked the school
board to support a modified and junior varsity program with
the hope it will build up again. Hannon says he understands
that in order to have a good Varsity program, youth football
is important and he plans to work with the community on the
development of a Pop Warner youth Football program. He believes
Onteora is at a disadvantage since area school communities
have youth football programs that prepares players once they
get to Varsity.
Hired at a salary of $11,848 a year, he works every day from
1pm to 6pm and on Saturday during games.
Hannon carries a strong sports background, with a degree from
St. John’s University in sports management and a degree
from Columbia University in Physical Education. While at St.
John’s he played linebacker for their football team.
For the past two years he was director of Athletics and Physical
education at St Thomas School, a private institution in New
Hannon just relocated from New York City and is currently
living in Monroe, his home town. He plans to move to this
area as soon as he can find a place to live. Besides football
he also enjoys baseball, basketball and soccer.
Having trouble persuading your child to eat broccoli or spinach?
You may have only yourself to blame. According to a study
of twins, neophobia - or the fear of new foods - is mostly
in the genes.
“Children could actually blame their mothers for this,”
said Jane Wardle, director of the Health Behavior Unit at
University College London, one of the authors of the study
in this month’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Wardle and colleagues asked the parents of 5,390 pairs of
identical and non-identical twins to complete a questionnaire
on their children’s’ willingness to try new foods.
Identical twins, who share all genes, were much more likely
to respond the same way to new foods than non-identical twins,
who like other siblings only share about half their genes.
Researchers concluded that genetics played a greater role
in determining eating preferences than environment, since
the twins lived in the same household.
Wardle said food preferences appear to be “as inheritable
a physical characteristic as height.”
Unlike nearly every other phobia, neophobia is a normal stage
of human development. Scientists theorize that it was originally
an evolutionary mechanism designed to protect children from
accidentally eating dangerous things - like poisonous berries
or mushrooms. It typically kicks in at age 2 or 3, when children
are newly mobile and capable of disappearing from their parents’
sight within seconds. Being unwilling to eat new things they
stumble upon may turn out to be a lifesaver.
While most children grow out of the food fussiness by age
5, not all do. For parents of particularly picky eaters, experts
encourage them not to cave in when their children throw food
While most people will eventually like any food - even one
they initially disliked - after trying it about 10 times,
more persistence may be needed when trying to convert a neophobic
Other taste-related traits - like the ability to taste bitterness
- are also inherited. Scientists have already identified the
gene responsible, and have found that approximately 30 percent
of Caucasians lack the gene and cannot taste bitterness.
Some experts think that neophobia is essentially a reflection
of personality. People known as “sensation seekers,”
or those in search of new and intense experiences, tend to
be willing to eat anything. Conversely, shy people tend to
be reluctant to experiment with their palate. Still, experts
say that the environment parents create is crucial to determining
their children’s eating habits.
“It can’t all be genetics,” said Marcy Goldsmith,
a nutrition and behavior specialist at Tufts University. “Parents
need to offer their children new foods so they at least have
a chance to try it.”
The Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency’s proposed
2008 budget reduces the county’s subsidy to the department
by more than half a million dollars, two years after a one
million reduction, bringing the county subsidy from $2.39
million to $1.88 million.
The savings in the agency budget came from a number of sources,
including more than $100,000 in savings from switching insurance
carriers. Another $63,000 was reduced in pension costs.
As is the case in most years with the agency, the bulk of
its spending comes from shipping waste outside of the county.
The agency has proposed to spend $2.68 million on private
hauling contracts and another $4.18 million on solid waste
disposal. Both of those figures are down from 2007.
The Resource Recovery Agency still maintains a sizable debt.
Last year, that debt figure was $32.49 million, and the agency
was scheduled to pay $3.14 million in debt service.
Bad credit has supplanted terrorism as the gravest immediate
risk threatening the economy, a key national research group
is saying. Borrowers’ withering ability to pay their
bills and the subsequent fallout in the credit markets this
summer topped the list of short-term risks on peoples’
minds, according to a survey of members conducted by the National
Association of Business Economics.
NABE, a Washington-based association, said 32 percent of its
surveyed members cited loan defaults and excessive debt as
their biggest near-term concern. Only 20 percent of members
cited defense and terrorism as their biggest immediate worry,
down from 35 percent when the survey was last conducted in
March. Credit risk also topped gas prices, inflation and government
“Financial market turmoil has shifted the focus away
from terrorism and toward subprime and other credit problems
as the most important near-term threats to the U.S. economy,”
said Carl Tannenbaum, president of NABE and the chief economist
at LaSalle Bank/ABN Amro.
The greatest long-term risk facing the economy is still health
care costs and the medical needs of an aging population, NABE
U.S. Postal Service officials will meet with residents Sept.
19 to discuss options for a new post office site in Willow.
The session is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Lake Hill Firehouse
on state Route 212.
The USPO is currently operating out of a little mobile home
that is on private property whose owner wishes it to be removed,
located off of Silver Hollow Road.
The post office has been in the mobile home between 10 and
15 years. Postmaster Brenda Laskow said Willow has had a post
office since 1890 and currently serves about 300 residents
through boxes in the office and a rural route. She said arrangements
for a new location are being handled through a real estate
The new regional not-for-profit Catskill Mountainkeeper has
kicked off a campaign that urges Catskill residents and visitors
to speak out against the massive casinos proposed for the
region. The campaign includes a billboard just east of Exit
116 on Route 17 near the Sullivan County border in Orange
County that cites the likelihood of significant traffic congestion
if casinos come to the region. It also includes a web-based
letter-writing campaign to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne,
who currently is considering an application for a casino at
the Monticello Raceway.
“Many of our members have told us loud and clear that
they oppose massive Las Vegas-style developments that will
jeopardize our way of life here in the Catskills,” said
Ramsay Adams, the group’s executive director. Instead,
Adams said, local and state leaders should develop a vision
for the Catskills region that emphasizes smarter development,
not large-scale projects that do not fit in with the region’s
Kempthorne must decide on an application from the St. Regis
Mohawk Tribe, based along the St. Lawrence River in northern
New York and Canada, for a Class III gambling facility that
would include a 667,000 square-foot casino with 3,000 slot
machines and 100 gaming tables, a 750-room hotel complex and
at least six restaurants. By comparison, the MGM Grand—the
largest Las Vegas casino—has 3,200 slot machines and
164 gaming tables. Empire Resorts would operate the facility.
Another casino has been proposed along the Neversink River,
also in Sullivan County, and other proposals for Sullivan
and Ulster counties have surfaced recently.
Catskill Mountainkeeper launched in May with a mission of
building “an active group of citizens speaking out for
the Catskills way of life.” In July, Gillingham led
12 Delaware County and New York City high school students
on a three-week trek through the Catskills called “Mountaintop
to Tap” as part of the group’s educational mission.
Crips & Bloods!
A six month investigation culminated in the arrest of 28 people
in Kingston August 23, the county’s URGENT task force
announced. The suspects, many of whom were affiliated with
gangs including the Crips and the Bloods, were charged with
a variety of crimes from drug sales and shootings to gang
activity in the midtown Kingston area.
At about 6 a.m. task force members along with 40 additional
officers executed four search warrants, a consent to search
and several Ulster County indictment warrants in midtown Kingston.
Raided were buildings at 29 Henry St., 59 Henry, 65 Henry
and 156 Prospect Street.
The search warrants yielded three rifles, a shotgun, and a
.380 caliber handgun as well as a over a half ounce of crack
cocaine, pills and about $7,000 in cash.
Ulster County District Attorney Donald A. Williams called
the sweep part of a “long-term strategy” by the
Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT),
a squad of law enforcement officers headed by Kingston Detective
Lt. Timothy Matthews. “Everyone here recognizes that
this is not the end… This sweep, these arrests, are
not the end. And we all know that this sweep was not the beginning.”
The task force that led Thursday’s raid included members
of the following agencies: Kingston Police Department, Ulster
County Sheriff’s Office, Ulster County District Attorney’s
Office; Town of Ulster Police Department, Ulster County Probation
Department; Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Drug Enforcement
Agency; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; town
police departments in Lloyd, New Paltz, Shandaken and Saugerties;
state police and the state Division of Parole.
The St. Francis de Sales Catholic Community in Phoenicia is
registering K - young adults for its 2007/08 Faith Formation
Program. Registration forms are available at the rectory (109
Main Street) or in the entrance foyer of the church. Registration
materials need to be returned by September 2 either at the
Masses or by mail to Fr. Phil Tran, St. Francis de Sales Catholic
Community, 109 Main Street, Phoenicia, New York 12464. This
year, Faith Formation classes will be held on Sundays (once
a month) following the 9:00 a.m. Mass. Adults are invited
to attend the Faith Formation lecture series after the Mass.
The first class and lecture series starts September 16. For
more information or questions, contact Faith Formation Coordinator,
Lorenza Vesely, 688-2185.
Out Of Body?
Researchers have found a way to induce out-of-body experiences
using virtual-reality goggles, helping to explain a phenomenon
reported by about one in 10 people. The illusion of watching
oneself from several feet (meters) away while awake is often
reported by people undergoing strokes or epileptic seizures
or using drugs.
In the studies published in the recent Science journal, two
teams of researchers managed to induce the effect in healthy
people by scrambling their senses of vision and touch with
the aid of the goggles.
“We ... describe an illusion during which healthy participants
experienced a virtual body as if it were their own, and localized
their ‘selves’ outside their body borders at a
different position in space,” wrote Olaf Blanke, a researcher
at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland.
One team, led by Henrik Ehrsson at University College London,
had volunteers sit in a chair in the middle of a room wearing
virtual-reality goggles showing the view from a video camera
placed behind them. A researcher moved a rod up to the camera
at the same time as the person’s chest was touched,
and then the rod disappeared from view. This created the illusion
that the person was sitting a few steps back, where the camera
In Blanke’s experiment, subjects wearing virtual-reality
goggles watched an image of a mannequin representing their
own body placed directly in front of them while a researcher
scratched their back. Afterwards, the volunteers were blindfolded
and guided backwards. When they were asked to return to their
original positions, they went toward the place where they
had seen their virtual body — the mannequin.
The researchers said mixing up the senses of sight and touch
was key to the experiments. This type of experiment could
help to shed light on philosophical questions surrounding
the sense of self, and could also lead to more practical applications
in video games or remote surgery, the researchers said.
Still In Limbo
With investigations lingering on, there has been no decision
about the fate of the Phoenicia Hotel, which burned earlier
this month on Main Street in Phoenicia. The town’s building
department wants to see the remains of the blaze removed but
the owner, Richard Stokes, feels the hotel can be salvaged.
The argument will not be settled until Police and the Arson
Task Force have completed their investigations into the cause
of the fire.
Sapped by nearly six years of war, there is a growing consensus
in the military, media and governmental worlds that the Army
has nearly exhausted its fighting force and its options if
the Bush administration decides to extend the Iraq buildup
beyond next spring.
The Army’s 38 available combat units are deployed, just
returning home or already tapped to go to Iraq, Afghanistan
or elsewhere, leaving no fresh troops to replace five extra
brigades that President Bush sent to Baghdad this year. That
presents the Pentagon with several painful choices if the
U.S. wants to maintain higher troop levels beyond the spring
of 2008: Using National Guard units on an accelerated schedule;
breaking the military’s pledge to keep soldiers in Iraq
for no longer than 15 months; or breaching a commitment to
give soldiers a full year at home before sending them back
Most Army brigades have completed two or three tours in Iraq
or Afghanistan; some assignments have lasted as long as 15
months. The 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, has done
For a war-fatigued nation and a Congress bent on bringing
troops home, none of the alternatives being considered is
“The demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply,”
the Army chief of staff, Gen. George Casey, said in recent
weeks. “Right now we have in place deployment and mobilization
policies that allow us to meet the current demands. If the
demands don’t go down over time, it will become increasingly
difficult for us to provide the trained and ready forces”
for other missions.
Meanwhile, more than half of top U.S. foreign policy experts
oppose President George W. Bush’s troop increase as
a strategy for stabilizing Baghdad, saying the plan has harmed
U.S. national security, according to a new survey. As Congress
and the White House await the September release of a key progress
report on Iraq, 53 percent of the experts polled by Foreign
Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress said
they now oppose Bush’s troop build-up. That represents
a 22 percentage point jump since the strategy was announced
earlier this year.
The survey of 108 experts, including Republicans and Democrats,
showed opposition to the so-called “surge” across
the political spectrum, with about two-thirds of conservatives
saying it has been ineffective or made things worse in Iraq.
Ninety-one percent of those polled said the world has grown
more dangerous for Americans and the United States, up 10
percent from February. Finally, more than 80 percent of the
experts said they expected another September 11-scale attack
on the United States over the next decade, despite what they
described as significant improvements among U.S. security,
law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Only 3 percent
believed the United States will achieve its goal of rebuilding
Iraq into a beacon of democracy within the next 10 years.
On a similar but even darker front, Army soldiers committed
suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more
than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan,
according to a new military report.
The increases for 2006 came as Army officials worked to set
up a number of new and stronger programs for providing mental
health care to a force strained by the longer-than-expected
war in Iraq and the global counterterrorism war entering its
sixth year. Failed personal relationships, legal and financial
problems and the stress of their jobs were factors motivating
the soldiers to commit suicide, according to the report.
“In addition, there was a significant relationship between
suicide attempts and number of days deployed” in Iraq,
Afghanistan or nearby countries where troops are participating
in the war effort, the report said. The same pattern seemed
to hold true for those who not only attempted, but succeeded
in killing themselves.
Firearms were the most common method of suicide. Those who
attempted suicide but didn’t succeed tended more often
to take overdoses and cut themselves.
In a service of more than a half million troop, the 99 suicides
amounted to a rate of 17.3 per 100,000 - the highest in the
past 26 years, the report said. The average rate over those
years has been 12.3 per 100,000.
There’s been a couple of extreme cases of law enforcement
lately in Shandaken. Not of the police variety, but of the
type that occurs when people ignore the towns zoning laws.
In one case a landowner in Phoenicia has been informed that
he must take apart and remove a massive wooden framed structure
that town officials allege was built without proper permission.
That matter is going to court after the landowner has filed
a lawsuit against the town. In another circumstance, the town’s
planning board is considering revoking the special use permit
given Hanford Farms in Mount Tremper because the operator
of the popular fruit and vegetable stand is not in compliance
with the size restrictions specified within the permit.
These measures, which began in the office of town code enforcement
officer Glenn Miller, may indicate that Shandaken is moving
away from the days when one could get away with violating
the zoning law as long as one got started before the town
cThe farm stand, owned and operated by Alfie Higley, was given
a special use permit three years ago. The operation has increased
in physical size and is now larger than the permit allows.
Higley has had discussions with the town planning board and
the zoning board, trying to finds ways to resolve the matter,
but has so far been unsuccessful.
Local law enforcement from across New York State, are “Taking
Action against Driver Distraction” over the coming season.
The goal is very simple: “through education and enforcement
we are hoping to raise awareness on the huge responsibility
that drivers share,” said Orange County Sheriff Carl
The vehicle and traffic laws that will be focused on are releated
to distractions provided by: Talking on a cell phone; steering
without at least one hand on the wheel; TVs in view of driver;
and having more than one earphone (IPod).
A 2006 study found that almost 80 percent of accidents and
65 percent of near-crashes happened within three seconds of
some kind of driver distraction.
Glass Eye Pix (Wendigo, The Last Winter) is producing a series
of shorts. The story follows two young Native Americans who
leave the family camp on a hunting excursion for the first
time. The production company, based in Olive, has a few key
elements to address. Any information/leads on a few of these
matters would be greatly appreciated, notes filmmaker Larry
Fessendon in a witty recent release.
“First and foremost, they need to find trained deer,
a deer wrangler, or very sweet local deer that can understand
English and will do what we ask them to do. Does anyone know
of any outlets for that kind of need? Along with that they
need a prop of a dead deer carcass, which we most likely have
their spfx makeup people do, but if there is any master craftsman
upstate that may have done something similar, it would help.
Also in general any contacts to Native American societies,
specifically film cooperative places, etc. would be helpful.
Places that may have authentic wardrobe, props, etc. and people
willing to act.
If you have any suggestions, please contact Brent at firstname.lastname@example.org
Court TV is in pre-production on a fascinating new series,
Neighbors 911, which will profile real life feuding neighbors.
A team of casting directors has set its sights on Phoenicia
as one of the locations on a select list of New York tri-state
towns where they’re searching for real life neighbors
willing to air their beefs about each other on national television.
Based on size and location, Phoenicia matches the profile
of the show’s target audience. According to Lauren Gellert,
VP, Alternative Programming, Court TV, Phoenicia represents
a classic East Coast town of modest size and strong convictions.
What helps give the town its strength of character are some
of the forceful and opinionated residents who live there.
The producers of Neighbors 911 are convinced there’s
nothing more exciting than real life stories told by the real
people whose stories they are. And sometimes the most compelling
stories going on in peoples’ own backyards are actually
about their own backyards.
“We’re hopeful we can find some strong personalities
in Phoenicia who are taking on the neighbors they feel have
done them wrong,” says Ms. Gellert. According to Ms.
Gellert, whether the disputes are about noise, trash, property
lines or crazy personalities, feuds between neighbors are
as much a part of Americana as white picket fences.
Neighbors 911 host and mediator, Myke Hawke, will be the final
arbiter of who’s right and wrong in each case. A former
Green Beret, Hawke is tough but fair and it’s unlikely
anyone will challenge his final decision.
Neighbors 911 launches in 2008.
E-mail your story to: LizLewisCasting@Gmail.com or call 212-645-1500,
ext. 110 (Leave Message).
Seems that the neighboring town of Shandaken is finally getting
close to getting a cell tower up on its Glenbrook Park property.
Or at least to accepting bids... again. Problem was always
that there was olittle service area from there... unless one
were to hook into anopther location. Maybe like the property
on a mountain outside Phoenicia recently purchased by the
wife of Supervisor Bob Cross and daughter of Deputy Supervisor
Jane Todd,who had a covenant against cell tower use lifted
from their deed. Hmm, also seems all cellular negotiations
to date have been by Cross.