Well it's January, the time of year when we cast our eyes about
the local area for local natives doing their quaintest to be ever-so-local.
Whether its Bill, the busy-bee-man over at Squelches Pond or the
bemused staff at Mary's Twig Hattery Barn up on Bumbershoot Crag,
there's local doin's aplenty this here season, here. (twig hats
start at only $14.95 , by the way--the price of a crass DVD or
3 pairs of non-local socks...yeah.)
This year though, We're really "into" local newspapers.
We thought We'd take Us a look at the Olive Press, which arrives
in Our mailbox with a vaguely annoying frequency. While it is
the perfect size for drying off wet and dirty size 12 Timberlands,
this week We reached down, shook it off and actually opened the
thing. Well sir, it is Our considered opinion that there is a
dis-connect between this paper and the locality it claims as its
own. The ads it runs are for things like boiler-repair and rodent
exterminators, while the POV's it trumpets are often boiler-plate
polemics on the proletariat/bourgoisie dialectic and other long-winded
topics. We are dismayed by absurdly misplaced I Ching readings
shouting from the back page. Oh Fate, spare Us from the shamanistic
pretensions of Lady-Bountifuls-bringing-culture-and-spiritual-enlightenment-to-the-natives.
Ok, We have regained our composure. Also noticed is the duplication
of much of the Phoenicia Times which (in the on-line version)
has the same POVs, Editorials, columns and articles as the Olive
Press--We see how a story about the Reservoir goes to the Olive
Press and a story about the Gitterworld flap goes to the Phoenicia
Times, but that's not enough in Our humble opinion to justify
the existence of 2 separate papers that are basically one paper
in the shadow of the Woodstock Times. It's also environmentally
unsound, tree-wise. Judging by the dozens of copies thrown away
at the tiny West Shokan PO, many local locals seem to find it
redundant, irrelevant or have other means of drying off their
boots. We deserve a local paper that's truly local, not a typo-ridden
adjunct to another "local" paper. One that reflects
the tenor of this area, not simply a Berkley-bookstore transplant
with a token piece about the "lemon-squeeze". Yes there
are artists and freaks out here, but a local rag should reflect
the local demographic and tone which is very workaday upstate
NY sprinkled w/diversity as We see it. We suspect the confusion
arises from the attempt to cover a town without living in it or
even near it. Also the need to "improve" people instead
of simply informing them and allowing them to think for themselves
may play into it. It hurts Our head to think too much about these
things and this year We are going to try to light a candle rather
than curse the darkness, so We offer some advice in this spirit,
if anyone's listening over there.
To "improve" the Olive Press--maybe they can gain more
readers and fewer tossers.
1 ---The back page-
This sets the community tone for the paper--drop the I Ching or
at least bury it -replace it w/farmers almanac weather or winter
tips or anything useful and nondenominational --trust Us, if you're
not already into new-agey/spiritual stuff and lots aren't, it's
Let the skilled writer Dakota Lane do more than ask a question
-why is she relegated thusly to such an inane chore? Have more
local locals instead of Manhattanites answering the questions
if you must run this insipid space-waster in either paper. Maybe
a weekly profile of these local folks by Ms. Lane would be more
dimensional and locally relevant.
Kids corner needs rotating kid and teen writers (maybe from Olive
once in a while) to have fresh viewpoints and community representation
for the young. Let Ms. Pearson continue with a teen column--at
age 15, maybe she's outgrown the "kid" designation.
New Thermos is not reliably witty and it is politically ham-handed--We
want and need a new Thomas Nast-- We look for sharp cleverness,
not yesterday's dogmatic humor. Add another cartoonist or two
w/different slants on things --yes that's more work for the drive-by
editor but We insist the paper needs work.
2---The Editor could cut the preachy editorials by half and save
time there-(the Woodstock Times is a good example of crisp, clean
editorials)-maybe even write one specifically for the Olive Press.
We see lots of space, time and energy spent on spin and self-justification
that would be better put to adapting the paper to the community
instead of trying to do the opposite.
3--The wire service items from AP and the like should be attributed
and should have a connection to the community, not just fill up
space. Don't be so clumsily left-wing; one doesn't convert anyone
with polemics. Try to get a sense of who the readership is--then
the paper might start to be of more use to Olive residents and
achieve the balance that lends credibility to positions.
4-- Proofread! We have seen the Editor assign himself front page
stories that have silly typos and We've noted pictures with upside
down or out-of-date captions, articles that suddenly run aground,
classifieds w/out phone numbers and other rushed-job looking mistakes--Take
the time to go over the paper properly.
5--We suggest the abandonment of the editorial "We"--
it's pretentious and also silly when its not maintained successfully
throughout an Editorial. Yes, I feel strongly about this one.
Alright, that's enough. We have chores to do--twig hats are messy--Olive
Press, take the suggestions or leave them but at least you're
in there pitching. Do have a productive and happy 2004 and the
same to all Our Dear Readers throughout the wonderful local, regional
vicinity of the marvelous area we inhabit.
the folks at C.A.R.P.
of Regional Press)
David Waldo pres.
West Shokan, NY
Your readers need to know the truth about health care costs and
the bogus Bush approach to this serious issue. Note the following:
A study by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Public Citizen
published in (the) International Journal of Health Services finds
that health care bureaucracy last year cost the United States
$399.4 billion. The study estimates that national health insurance
(NHI) could save at least $286 billion annually on paperwork,
enough to cover all of the uninsured and to provide full prescription
drug coverage for everyone in the United States.
"The study was based on the most comprehensive analysis to
date of health administration spending, including data on the
administrative costs of health insurers, employersâ health
benefit programs, hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies,
physicians and other practitioners in the United States and Canada.
The authors found that bureaucracy accounts for at least 31 percent
of total U.S. health spending compared to 16.7 percent in Canada.
They also found that administration has grown far faster in the
United States than in Canada
"The Medicare drug bill that Congress passed last month will
only increase bureaucratic spending because it will funnel large
amounts of public money through private insurance plans with high
"ÎThe recent Medicare bill means a huge increase in
administrative waste and a big payoff for the AARP,â said
study author Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of
medicine at Harvard ÎAt present, Medicareâs overhead
is less than 4 percent. But all of the new Medicare money ö
$400 billion ö will flow through private insurance plans
whose overhead averages 12 percent. So insurance companies will
gain $36 billion from this bill. And the AARP stands to make billions
from the 4 percent cut it receives from the policies sold to its
Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a study author, said that, "Hundreds
of billions are squandered each year on health care bureaucracy,
more than enough to cover all of the uninsured, pay for full drug
coverage for seniors and upgrade coverage for the tens of millions
who are underinsured. U.S. consumers spend almost twice as much
per capita on health care as Canadians who have universal coverage
and live two years longer. The administrative savings of national
health insurance make universal coverage affordable."
The phony Medicare plans pushed by Bush at the behest of the corporate
rip-off artists are another reason that Republicans, Democrats,
and Independents need to stand together this November to
VOTE BUSH OUT. Hold on to your wallets when you go to the polls.
If there are any doubts as to why we don't need another hotel,
golf course, restaurant, parking lot, thousand toilets, hundred
tons of garbage, sewage, pesticides and pollutants, etc., etc.,
all emanating from the proposed "Belleayre Resort,"
all one need do is take a short drive over to the "illustrious"
Concord Hotel and check out the surrounding town of Monticello
to see the impact the Concord has had on that town. Or try the
"lovely" Nevele Hotel in Ellenville to gauge just what
a resort hotel can do to a community.
Better yet, take a drive to Atlantic City and visit the glorious,
magnificent hotels on the boardwalk, but avoid the surrounding
slums that were supposed to benefit from these cash cows.
Right now there are plenty of hotels and golf courses in the Catskills,
all of which are underused and of no benefit to their communities.
The only benefit they serve is to enrich their developers.
Make no mistake, Dean Gitter (Crossroads Ventures) is a real estate
"developer" (see: Donald Trump.) Okay, he's a peanut
compared to Trump, but their goals are the same. Mr. Gitter is
not an altruist. He is not interested in improving the lives of
anyone in Shandaken or Middletown, with the exception of himself,
his cronies and his supporters. The proposed Belleayre Resort
has one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to line the
pockets of Mr. Gitter and company, to make him richer than he
is already. By the way, there's nothing wrong with being rich,
just in the way it's achieved. When it's at the expense of others
and the environment, it is unconscionable.
We are extremely fortunate to be living in a "forest preserve"
(forest, as defined in Webster's dictionary, "a wood of native
growth; a tract of woodland which has never been cultivated")
not a "resort, country club or condo preserve." You
want condos and country clubs...the Hamptons is an ideal choice.
You want forest, natural beauty, clean air, pesticide-free land
and water...choose the Catskill Forest Preserve, as it exists
Dean Gitter is not a Catskill native. Ironic, since he blasts
the opponents of his Belleayre Resort as being "outsiders."
Yet he professes to "know what's best" for this community.
As a further insult to the community, he selects friends who are
also "outsiders" to serve on his "development"
team: Richard B. Fisher, formerly of Morgan Stanley, now a senior
advisor to Investcorp (one of the largest real estate developers
in the world) and Kenneth D. Pasternak, CEO of the Knight/Trimark
Group, both also not Catskill natives, to build this monstrosity
so out of sync with the environment. Hello Dean...if this project
is supposed to create jobs for locals, why are you hiring non-locals
for the top spots. Let's get some local input on this travesty.
We all agree our area could use a financial "shot in the
arm." However, a project of this size and scope is ridiculous.
Our fragile environment and eco-system cannot accommodate something
of this magnitude. I'm sure, if we all search our hearts and our
minds, instead of being swayed by the dollar signs dangled before
our eyes, there's a compromise somewhere to be had. None of us
wants to leave behind a legacy of concrete and steel where there
used to be a mountain.
Joni Mitchell put it so aptly: "...don't it always seem to
go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone....they
paved paradise and put up a parking lot..."
Dear Editor, Your January 15th editorial "What If" raises
troubling questions for Shandaken residents about casino gambling
in our town. Although the Belleayre Resort developer has publicly
opposed bringing gambling here, he intends to sell the permits
for the project, should they be granted, to a major resort operator.
The ãmajor resort operatorä would likely be a corporation
primarily responsible to its shareholders, who would want to make
a profit. The proposed resort presents an appetizing site for
a casino. New York City is only 125 miles away; a resort would
be already built with 1200 bedrooms, 2 golf courses and a ski
area. To provide a comparison, the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut
is only slightly larger with 1400 bedrooms, 2 golf courses and
no ski area. An agreement is already in place by the governor
to site a casino in Ulster County .Our county legislature has
made an agreement with an Oklahoma Indian tribe regarding casino
gambling; the agreement includes a clause requiring any town in
the county to receive the casino, if chosen for the site. The
social and economic effects of the explosion of legalized gambling
in our country have been widely documented, although less widely
disseminated. A few relevant facts taken from the National Coalition
Against Legalized Gambling (www.ncalq.orq): -Half of casino revenues
come from problem or compulsive gamblers .5% of Americans (15
million) have a serious gambling problem
-Within 50 miles of a gaming facility, the rate of gambling addiction
jumps to 15% .Local rates of personal bankruptcy, crime, depression
and suicide increase where gambling is introduced on a large scale
-Cost-benefit studies show that casinos require $3 of additional
tax revenue to cover local costs of social services for every
dollar of new tax revenue that the state receives I have a relative
who cannot stop betting on the horses. He recently convinced his
90-year-old mother to sign a large home-improvement loan on their
residence, but sadly a lot of that money is going to support his
gambling addiction. The belief that a big influx of gambling money
will bring increased happiness has not proved true for other communities.
I hope people in our town will look carefully at these issues
before supporting a major resort operator in getting their foot
in the door.
Frank Fallon Mt. Tremper, NY
Having attended much of the public hearings that took place at
Onteora High School on the Belleayre Resort Project, I would like
to make the following observations: the unruly, uncivil and just
plain rude behavior of resort opponents at the hearing toward
anyone who cared to speak in favor of the project was a disgrace.
After all, who in their right mind feels the least bit comfortable
or even safe speaking in favor of something that is opposed by
a crowd of booing, hissing, and threatening people. As a result,
a number of people who I know came out to speak in favor of the
project left the meeting early in disgust. Free speech is a precious
right but not when it is used to abuse, intimidate or otherwise
deter others from exercising their right to free speech.
Give the resort opponents their full due. They were well organized,
packed the hall with people from all over the Northeast, and they
mostly all spoke from the same script (even if they didnât
know what town they were in).
Predictably much of the press from around our area has chosen
to characterize resort supporters as mainly area business people
and resort opponents as the ãlocal communityä as if
none of ãus localsä had a positive thought about this
project coming to Shandaken.
As I left the meeting that night I stopped briefly to inquire
about a fellow who was busy handing out anti-resort placards and
who appeared to be coaching anti-resort speakers on what to say.
I was told his name is Eric Goldstein, a big cheese lawyer working
for the natural Resources Defense Council out of New York City.
This is the same group who refused to support the 1997 Watershed
Agreement signed between the upstate towns and NYC because the
agreement didnât go far enough in restricting development
in the watershed.
This is the same guy who last year petitioned New York City to
remove another 25 percent of watershed lands from any future development.
It would appear that Goldstein and his pals would really like
nothing better than to see all of us pesky little people who now
populate the region to simply go away. As they probably see it,
what better way to safeguard NYC's drinking water than to make
it virtually impossible for us to build anything now in our town
that would add to the townâs tax base, help lower our taxes,
create jobs or attract tourists to come and support our local
I would like to believe otherwise, but if history is any guide,
over the past 100 years NYC has succeeded in driving out thousands
of local residents to make way for the reservoirs. Now with the
help and support of groups like the NRDC, it appears that NYC
is determined to drive out those of us who dared to remain.
Thatâs the message that seemed clear after last weekâs
Mt. Tremper, NY