(News Briefs September
Approximately $106 million has been programmed for countywide
transportation improvement projects to be spun out over the
next four years, with another $376 million for multi-county
projects that will also directly benefit county residents
via Thruway and rail line improvements, road signage upgrades,
and hosts of more minor repairs on all bridges and thoroughfares
throughout the region.
Of the amount pegged for the county in a new draft Transportation
Imp[rovement Program document released by the UC Transportation
Council on August 28, and set for further discussion on September
27 following a three week public comment period set to conclude
September 17 after a sole public informational meeting to
be held at Ulster County BOCES Conference Center in New Paltz
on September 11, $76 million will be for highway projects,
$20 million for bridges, and over $6 million for improvements
to local public transportation.
On a local basis, bridge repairs have been scheduled for Route
28 over Birch Creek and in Big Indian, in Shandaken, And the
Route 213 Tongore Bridge in Olive.
In addition, all of Route 213 between Route 209 in Stone Ridge
and its intersection with Route 28A in Olive has been scheduled
for next year, and over $13 million has been pegged for the
creation of an Ulster and Delaware Rail Trail from Kingston
to Highmount, to be built in two stages, the first lasting
from 2010 through 2012 and the second from 2012 into the following
“The Ulster County Transportation Council serves as
the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Ulster County,
responsible for ensuring that federal transportation funds
are programmed through a locally driven, comprehensive planning
process,” the 121 page document – filled out with
many pages as yet blank – reads. “The Transportation
Improvement Program is an important product of the overall
transportation planning process, since it is through the TIP
that the UCTC commits to the implementation of transportation
projects. The TIP represents the formal capital program that
assigns federal funds to highway, bridge, bikeway, pedestrian,
transit, and demand management projects for implementation
over the next five years.”
Members of the UCTC include the head of the county legislature,
mayor of Kingston, Saugerties and Ulster town supervisors,
state DOT commissioner representative, state Thruway director,
seven town supervisors and one “rural voting member”
representing the towns of Denning, Gardiner, Hardenburgh,
Marbletown, Olive, Rochester and Shandaken.
The schedule of meetings that led to the creation of the current
proposal, now on ther verge of becoming reality, included
meetings about a possible rail trail two autumns ago that
brought out a number of train fans worried that a rail trail
would preclude completion of the resuscitation of the Catskill
Mountain Railroad, which has been leasing the county-owned
Ulster and Delaware rail bed since the early 1980s.
Some in the county legislature started questioning the CMRR’s
stewardship of that property after the entity sprayed along
tracks in the City of Kingston this past spring, against a
county Environmental Council’s recommendations.
However, the scope of the current proposal, at least in budget
form as presented within the new TIP proposal, suggests that
accommodations may now be made to include both rail and bike
and walking paths within the long right-away that rail trail
aficionados are hoping will create a linked trail system throughout
the county, as well as Catskills and Hudson Valley regions.
The actual process of infrastructure repairs included in the
new TIP is scheduled to begin in 2008.
More on this entire process in our next issue, after we get
a chance to look into the details of the various elements
in the plan, from the rail trail to new busses for rural transport
and a major welcome center for the county – as well
as possible rail improvements throughout the Hudson Valley
– via the current process.
Members of the Town of Shandaken Police responded to an Ulster
County 911 call for a reported Personal Injury Motorcycle
Accident at 4:28 pm on Old Plank Rd. in the Hamlet of Mt.
Tremper on Monday September 3. Upon arrival a Shokan resident,
Floyd Osterhoudt, 45 years old, was found to have been operating
a 1977 Harley Davidson motorcycle when he lost control of
the motorcycle and left the roadway .
Osterhoudt was airlifted to Albany Medical Center via Lifeguard
with numerous internal injuries. At 7 :03 pm he succumbed
to his injuries at Albany Medical Center.
Floyd J. “Skippy” Osterhoudt, of Croswell Manor
Drive, Shokan, was the assistant produce manager at the Hurley
Ridge Market in West Hurley for seven years, and was a 1979
graduate of Saugerties High School. After working at several
jobs, he previously was the manager of the produce department
for Boiceville Supermarket, having worked there for 10 years.
He was a hunter and fisherman in addition to being an avid
Harley Davidson owner
Born October 16, 1961 in Kingston, he was the son of Floyd
E. Osterhoudt and Delores Caunitz Osterhoudt. Survivors in
addition to his mother of Saugerties, his father and stepmother,
Floyd Emmett and Christina Osterhoudt of Boiceville; include
his fiance, Debra Lloyd of Shokan, a son, Floyd of Saugerties,
two sisters, Mary Lou Bradford of Cementon and Tina M. Osterhoudt
of Brooklyn, maternal grandmother Mary E.Caunitz of the town
of Ulster, paternal grandmother Marge Piccoli, and aunts,
uncles, cousins, neices and nephews.
Funeral arrangements were through Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home,
Shandaken Police were assisted at the scene by the Ulster
County Sheriff’s Office, Phoenicia Fire Companies and
Shandaken Ambulance. Old Plank Rd. was closed for about two
The second and third days of testimony to a legislative committee
assigned to find out what caused Ulster County’s jail
problems have ended with a lot of questions, a lot of finger
pointing, and a lot of trepidation about a final report on
the matter set for release next Monday, September 17.
Much of the final back and forth seeking to put blame for
what went wrong, and ascertain if any laws were broken besides
that of common sense management skills, focused on the competency
of Christa Corporation, once the overseeing contractors on
the project, and who was really in charge from the county
side of the project - the legislature or Buildings and Grounds
“I got my marching orders from the politicians of the
time,” former B&G head Harvey Sleight claimed after
being told by Kraft “the buck must stop somewhere, but
The bipartisan jail committee was further set to visit the
New Jersey headquarters of Hill International, the company
formerly charged with investigating the cost and time overruns
that ended up forcing the county’s longstanding GOP
majority out of power, as well as pushing the project $50
million over budget and almost three years behind schedule,
last week to meet with officials that couldn’t make
the time to come up to Ulster County for the hearings.
Other conversations with contractor Bovis Lend Lease and Christa
Corporation were also scheduled for this week, albeit not
Ulster County lawmakers on Thursday, September 6 were told
that Bovis Lend Lease, while construction manager for the
county’s Law Enforcement Center, feuded with county
officials about construction delays while telling the manufacturer
of jail cells for the facility that the county was not at
Bovis was the second of three construction management firms
overseeing the project.
Among new documents released by the committee on Thursday
was a Feb. 4, 1999, memo from the architectural firm McNeice
Hatch & Roblee showing principal Joseph Roblee had been
given advance information about the needs assessment for the
project by Sleight.
Questioned during the recent hearings were Sleight, former
county Legislature Chairman Ward Todd, Gerentine, former County
Attorney Francis Murray and former county lawyer Mark Sweeney,
as well as members of the current committee.
Part of the discussion during the daylong hearing focused
on notes taken by Todd showing that even during the Law Enforcement
Center’s planning stage, officials were finding that
questions were not being answered by consultants or details
were not be provided. Furthermore, alternatives to the new
construction seemed to have been routinely ignored, or even
crossed out, during Todd’s watch as county head.
Todd was questioned about changes to meeting minutes in which
unfavorable comments where taken out of a final version.
Todd was not allowed to make a closing statement but instead
submitted a 12-page written statement saying the committee
seemed to have already reached its conclusions and had lost
credibility because representatives of general contractor
Christa Construction were not being interviewed in public.
He added that politics did not play a part in approving construction
of the jail.
The facility ultimately opened in February 2007 and costs
currently stand at $95.51 million, with contractor claims
Ulster Gets F
Citing five “core measures” of economic well being,
the New York State Business Council has issued Ulster County
and most of upstate New York a failing grade, adding a bit
more tarnish to an area already mired in muddy economic development
prospects. The state as a whole got a D.
The Council’s new Economic Growth Index, released on
Aug. 30, ranks the five boroughs of New York City, the state’s
57 other counties and all 50 states, according to their growth
rate in five key areas between 1995 and 2005. Those five areas
are job growth, average wage per job; total personal income;
per capita personal income; and population. The data used
in the index come from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis,
and were compiled by the Business Council’s research
affiliate, the Public Policy Institute.
The state avoided an F because its 10-year trend in average
wage per job showed growth exceeding the national average.
But that figure is to some extent skewed by the financial
sector salaries that are largely limited to jobs in lower
Manhattan. The state trailed national averages in all four
Ulster County trailed the national growth average in all five
categories and received an F. Dutchess County received a B
grade, exceeding the study averages in job growth, per capita
income and population growth. Greene County got a C, exceeding
the averages in job growth and per capita income. Orange County
also got a C, exceeding averages in job growth and population
growth. Sullivan County was also graded as an F. Thirty-one
of New York’s 62 counties got an F. Only Saratoga and
Putnam counties got an A.
For further information visit www.bcnys.org.
The School of Education at the State University of New York
at New Paltz will award six of the region’s teachers
with the 2007 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
at 4:30 p.m., Sept. 18, at a ceremony to be held at The Terrace
Restaurant on the New Paltz campus. As recipients of this
award, each of the teachers will receive an honorary appointment
as an adjunct clinical professor within New Paltz’s
School of Education. They will also be recognized at the Mid-Hudson
School Study Council’s Award for Excellence Dinner in
Among the nominees will be Olive resident and Onteora School
Board trustee Michelle Friedel, a teacher at Ulster BOCES.
Nominations for outstanding teachers are made by school principals
and district superintendents. The awards are given by the
office of the dean of education at SUNY New Paltz based on
recommendations from a review committee of education professionals.
The winners are teachers who have demonstrated their commitment
to teaching, to excellence and, most importantly, to children
and their education.
In additional to Friedel, recipients of the 2007 awards are
Thomas Bemont (Pine Bush High School); Jennifer Lamoreaux
(Livingston Manor High School); Frances Lang (John F. Kennedy
Elementary School, Brewster); Sharon Stephenson-Rojan (Ramapo
High School); and Cheryl Leopold (Wallkill Central School
Friedel teaches 11th & 12th grade for the Career &
Technical Center at Ulster County BOCES. She has taught there
for the last twelve years beginning her career with BOCES
as the Coordinator of the Childcare Center and, for the last
nine years, teaching in the early childhood education program
at the high school. She is known for her “boundless
energy and positive outlook”, and as a colleague wrote,
“She is that teacher you will see in the classroom during
summer break preparing the classroom for her students, making
sure resources are easily accessible and that each student
enters feeling welcomed. She truly believes that all children
can learn and tirelessly works to ensure her students’
Kraft Pays Up
County Legislator Peter Kraft, who was charged with misdemeanor
drunken driving last December, pled guilty in Olive Town Court
last week to a reduced charge of driving while ability impaired,
a traffic violation. Kraft, 46 of Glenford, representing a
district including Olive, entered the plea in August and was
ordered by Town Justice Ronald Wright to pay a $660 fine.
He will have a conditional license until he completes a required
“I’m glad that the process is complete and I can
put this incident behind me,” Kraft said.
Kraft was arrested at 3:49 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2006, after being
pulled over on state Route 28 in Shokan by an Ulster County
sheriff’s deputy. He was charged with misdemeanor drunken
driving; driving with a blood alcohol content greater than
.08 percent, also a misdemeanor; and crossing pavement markings,
The incident occurred after Kraft had attended a Christmas
CWC Grants WDC
The Catskill Watershed Corporation recently handed over a
check for $1 million to the Delaware County based grant Water
Discovery Center, the major world-class museum being planned
for the Catskills as a pumped-up version of a watershed museum
originally planned 10 years. The “irrigation”
money, designed to “grow the endeavor,” was handed
over to the WDC project’s board president Gary Gailes
in a recent event also attended by State Senator John Bonacic
and other local political dignitaries.
Among the guests on hand was Paul Sherlock of UNICEF, in charge
of coordinating the international response to water emergencies
Gailes explained that, with these funds, the trustees could
now seek the ideal executive director to raise the $25 million
needed to “make this unique educational and exhibit
center a reality. Funds will also enable the creative team
to continue developing its already ambitious exhibit and architectural
Architect Joe Hurwitz and exhibit designer Leonard Levitan
are currently planning an exhibit center with 20,000 square
feet for special exhibits and three times as much space overall:
with a restaurant, cafeteria, event and conference spaces
and classrooms in addition to interactive exhibits, exhibition
gallery, shop and a huge rooftop garden.
“It’s gotta be fun, or as we say in the business,
edutainment,” said Levitan.
He emphasized that, just as the solutions and issues in the
global water crisis are constantly developing, so would the
infusion of creativity and changing exhibits of the Discovery
Center. Visit www.waterdiscoverycenter.org for more.
Scientific sleuths have a new suspect for what’s been
killing billions of honeybees: a virus previously unknown
in the United States. A new report using a novel genetic technique
and old-fashioned statistics have identified Israeli acute
paralysis virus as the latest potential culprit in the widespread
deaths of worker bees, a phenomenon known as colony collapse
disorder. Next up are attempts to infect honeybees with the
newfound virus to see if it’s indeed a killer.
“At least we have a lead now we can begin to follow.
We can use it as a marker and we can use it to investigate
whether it does in fact cause disease,” said Dr. W.
Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University epidemiologist and co-author
of the study. Details appear this week in Science Express,
the online edition of the journal Science.
Experts stressed that parasitic mites, pesticides and poor
nutrition all remain in the lineup of suspects, as does the
stress of travel. Beekeepers shuffle bees around the nation
throughout the year so they can pollinate crops as they come
The mysterious deaths have struck between 50 percent and 90
percent of commercial honeybee hives in the United States,
sowing fears about the effects on the more than 90 crops that
rely on bees to pollinate them.
Scientists previously have found blasting emptied hives with
radiation apparently kills whatever infectious agent that
causes the disorder. That has focused their attention on viruses,
bacteria and the like, to the exclusion of other noninfectious
phenomena, like cell phone interference, also proposed as
Australia is being eyed as a potential source of the virus.
That could turn out to be an ironic twist, since the Australian
imports were meant to bolster, not further damage, U.S. bee
populations devastated by another scourge, the varroa mite.
Lancer Insurance Company. the nation’s leading provider
of liability and physical damage insurance coverages to passenger
transportation companies, has announced that Tonche Transit
Inc. of Mt. Tremper, NY has received its prestigious Gold
Safety Award. The award recognizes Tonche Transit’s
safety excellence for the 2006 policy year.
Way to go, guys!
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County’s Relatives
as Parents Program (RAPP) is sponsoring two new support groups
in Ulster County in Kingston and Ellenville, for anyone who
is raising the child of a relative. Both groups will meet
for the first time in September for a special “Back
to School” event. At these meetings, free school supplies
will be provided to families.
The first meeting of the Kingston group will be held on Monday,
September 17th from 10:30am-11:30am at the Clinton Avenue
Methodist Church in Kingston. Lunch will be provided by Clinton
Avenue Methodist Church after the group. The Ellenville group
will meet from 9:30-11:00 at the Ellenville Public Library’s
Community Room. Breakfast will be served.
Regular meetings of the Kingston support group will be on
the third Monday of the month from 10:30am to 11:30am, Clinton
Avenue Methodist Church, 122 Clinton Ave., Kingston. Regular
meetings of the Ellenville support group will be on the last
Monday of the month from 9:30am to 11:00am, Ellenville Public
Library, 40 Center St., Ellenville. All programs are free
and are available to any person in Ulster County who is the
primary caregiver of the child of a relative.
For further info call 340-3990 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bike For Care
The fourth annual “Bike for Cancer Care” will
be held on Sunday, September 23, to benefit the Rosemary D.
Gruner Memorial Cancer Fund at Benedictine Hospital. This
year’s ride will again offer three routes (5 mile Family
Ride, 25 and 50-mile rides) and all will travel throughout
Ulster County. All rides will start and finish at Ulster Savings
Bank’s 180 Schwenk Drive headquarters in Kingston. Registration
for the event begins at 7:45am and rides will start as follows:
50-mile ride – 8:30am, 25-mile ride – 10:00am,
5-mile ride – 11:00am. The post-ride barbecue and awards
ceremony will begin at 12:00pm.
In partnership with the Cancer Center and Health Foundation
at Benedictine Hospital, the Fund, created in 2004 by the
Gruner family, provides financial assistance for cancer patients
and their families who are receiving treatment in Ulster County.
To date, over 150 patients and their families have been assisted
by the Gruner Fund in all areas of Ulster County, including
Kingston, Saugerties, Kerhonkson, Ellenville, Accord, Woodstock,
High Falls, Margaretville and Shandaken.
Applications and fund-raising guidelines for the “Bike
for Cancer Care” are available at www.bikeforcancer.com.
For additional information, please call Dan Gruner at (845)
Abusive relationships are becoming increasingly common among
teenagers, according to recent studies, with one in three
teenage girls likely to be involved in an abusive relationship
before graduating from high school. According to Dr. Jill
Murray, the pattern of abuse in teen dating violence is the
same as in adult domestic violence.
Murray, a leading authority on abusive dating relationships,
will present “Dating Abuse, Violence and Destructive
Relationships – Choosing to Have a Relationship That
Works” at Ulster County Community College’s Quimby
Theater on Monday, September 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
on the college’s Stone Ridge campus.
Her best-selling books include: But I Love Him: Protecting
Your Teen Daughter From Controlling, Abusive Dating Relationships;
Destructive Relationships: A Guide to Changing the Unhealthy
Relationships in Your Life; her newest book is But He Never
Hit Me: The Devastating Cost of Non-Physical Abuse to Girls
and Women. Lifetime Television has optioned her book But I
Love Him for a television movie.
Sponsors of the presentation include FAMILY of Woodstock,
Family Services, Kingston Hospital, Never Alone, Prevention
Connections, St. Cabrini Home, STEP ONE, SUNY Ulster, Ulster
County District Attorney’s Office, Ulster County Mental
Health Association, Ulster County Substance Abuse Prevention
Services, Veritas Villa and the YWCA.
Registration is required for the Murray presentation by calling
If you like firemen, parades, or a general good time, make
your way to Hudson this Sunday afternoon, September 16, when
the state Firemaen’s Home celebrates its new home with
a massive kick-off celebration set to include marching outfits
and trucks from over 100 fire companies throughout New York.
A formal dedication of the new 92-bed Firemen’s Home
of the State of New York, which houses New York State volunteer
firefighters, their spouses and auxiliary members, will take
place on the Association’s campus just north and east
of the city itself, adjacent to the marvelous state Fireman’s
museum, itself home to hundreds of fire trucks and other historic
The parade of approximately 100 fire departments from communities
throughout New York State will march through the City of Hudson
to the Firemen’s Home, starting off on Warren Street
at noon and taking three hours to complete. The actual dedication
program runs from 3:00 to 4:30 PM at the new home on Harry
All are expecting the events to be the home’s biggest
in its 115 year history, as well as one of the biggest gatherings
of firemen in the state in decades.
For further information visit www.firemenshome.com or call
Sales of existing single-family houses in the Hudson Valley
and Catskills were up in July as compared to the same month
last year, according to figures from the New York State Association
of Realtors. The largest growth spurt was in Greene County
with 76 percent more homes sold year over year. Sales rose
by over 26 percent in Rockland County, by 18 percent in Delaware
County, by just under seven percent in Westchester County,
by a little over six percent in Ulster and Putnam counties,
and by over two percent in Columbia County. Sales fell by
12 percent in Dutchess County and by under three percent in
The highest median price for a single-family existing home
was in Westchester County, at $730,000; the lowest was in
Delaware County at $135,000.
Homes sold in Rockland County for $518,000, in Putnam County
for $440,000, in Orange County for $327,000, in Dutchess County
for $322,000, in Ulster County for $275,000, and in Columbia
County for under $225,000. Statewide, home sales fell by 2.5
percent year over year in July and the median sales price
Watch The WiFi
People should avoid using Wi-Fi wherever possible because
of the risks it may pose to health, the German government
has said. And Germany’s official radiation protection
body also advises its citizens to use landlines instead of
mobile phones, and warns of “electrosmog” from
a wide range of other everyday products, from baby monitors
to electric blankets. The Environment Ministry recommended
that people should keep their exposure to radiation from Wi-Fi
“as low as possible” by choosing “conventional
Florian Emrich of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection
says Wi-Fi should be avoided “because people receive
exposures from many sources and because it is a new technology
and all the research into its health effects has not yet been
SUNY New Paltz has announced the creation of the new Center
for Research, Regional Education and Outreach, which will
be directed by Gerald Benjamin, the former GOP county legislator
who is dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at
New Paltz. The center will lead the college’s efforts
to increase its engagement within communities, government
and businesses across the Hudson Valley. It is expected to
focus existing college resources on service to the region
and New York state.
Among the center’s activities will be conducting and
publicizing research on regional topics; encouraging faculty
members to make regional service part of their scholarship
and teaching; creating and directing institutes on topics
of regional interest; leading the college’s academic
outreach to local governments and non-profit and for-profit
organizations; and creating programs to train newly elected
Benjamin, a former chairman of the Legislature, will have
the title of director of the center, as well as associate
vice president for regional engagement. He will step down
as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in May
2008 after 12 years in the position.
Benjamin chaired the commission that proposed the first charter
for Ulster County, which was adopted by voters in November
2006, and was appointed to Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s Commission
on Local Government Efficiency in 2007.
No To Green
Members of Preserve Marbletown, a group of citizens concerned
about the prospect of a housing development at the Stone Ridge
Orchard, are skeptical of the orchard owner’s assertion
that the project is dead. Orchard owner Dan Hauspurg said
recently that he was abandoning his proposed Marbletown Green
project because he had received too much negative feedback
from the community.
Hauspurg’s plan was to create an environmentally friendly,
or “green,” project, comprising 350 or more houses,
that would incorporate the ideas and concerns of citizens.
But the response from opponents was to place green signs throughout
the town that condemned the proposal. Hauspurg said he didn’t
want to engage in a fight with the community.
A community meeting on Aug. 25 at which the housing project
was discussed drew nearly 300 people.
Among the concerns of Preserve Marbletown were the proposal’s
size and whether a development so large could be environmentally