Throws In Towel
Further allegations were advanced at latter meetings in regard
to Schanck's residence in town, which he listed at a Boiceville
house his daughter is living in and which he
claimed as his legal address for voting purposes - an act which
technically qualified him for his position on the town's police
Other questions were raised about properties he owns in Florida
which involve his
wife and son. During the summer, the Ulster County Board of Elections
ruled, by split decision, that his voter's address was sufficient
for him to meet
regulations as an Olive "elector"- a requirement for
Reached at his Saugerties residence, Schanck agreed to expand
upon his brief
letter of resignation and, after gathering his thoughts, read
from some notes he had made.
"Although the recent decision by the Board of Elections has
allowed me to
continue as police commissioner, I have decided to resign,"
"Mr. Johansen's recent allegations are just another example
ambition and personal agenda. When the misuse of public information
to imply impropriety, it's no longer just politics but it has
become personal and I think that my family and I have certain
rights of privacy.
"Beyond that, I want to say that I feel privileged to have
opportunity to build a professional police department for my home
town," he continued. "Given that opportunity, we now
have a department of well-trained, dedicated men and women who
live within this community. They are your neighbors and friends.
They are the first to arrive at the scene of accidents and calls
for help, as well as crime scenes. They are first
responders who are generally there before anyone else.
"Today, the Town of Olive Police Department is a highly trained
organization that operates under a formal set of guidelines modeled
after New York State's accreditation program," Schanck read.
"Every member attends in-service training designed to update
and keep current the highest standards of policing practice. It
is my hope that will continue in my
"Over the past 14 years, I have been able to secure federal
and state grants in excess of $100,000, which have allowed
me to implement many community programs at no cost to the town
which, otherwise, would not be offered in a
small community by a small police department. These are real programs
people can see- like the child seat program.
"There's a woman alive today that otherwise would have fallen
victim to cardiac arrest but for the equipment of the automated
electronic fibrillator training we now have. My hope is that I
will be replaced by someone who will continue the important work
of community-based programs. I hope that whomever is chosen will
not try to duplicate the services already provided by other police
agencies but rather continue to strive to reach the real
needs of the community.
"The mission I established for the department didn't emphasize
traffic tickets on Route 28 but, rather, providing service to
people of the community. I hope to see the Olive police car on
the back roads of the town, checking on our senior citizens and
the shut-ins and infirm at home. I hope to see our school programs
continue- with bicycle safety programs providing helmets to the
kids. I want to see the town still be able to call to have
their home checked while they're away and feel comfortable when
for a police officer that there'll still be a familiar face.
"I have made sure that police services will be uninterrupted.
I've met with
Supervisor Leifeld and the police commission to implement this
have to replace me as a member of the Board of Police Commissioners
then, ultimately, as its chairman and, also, install the person
in charge of
day-to-day operations of the department by whatever procedure
appropriate- either an officer-in-charge or a chief. I wish everyone
luck in this process and I've told (Supervisor Leifeld) I will
be available in the process to help it along."
Olive Councilman Bruce LaMonda, one of two remaining members of
the police commission, said that the town board was currently
discussing a resolution to the situation.
"We're obviously going to have another commissioner,"
he said. "One of our officers is going to be an officer-in-charge
to take care of the daily
running of the department and we've checked with Civil Service
and all of
that and that would work. We're going to advertise to see who's
out there, in terms of a new commissioner, and we have the option
of appointing another town board member to the commission."
LaMonda expressed regrets about Schanck's resignation, noting
that he had
done "an excellent job for us."
"Here's a guy that lived in town when we started the police
department and he put it together for us as we transformed from
a constabulary," LaMonda
observed. "I'm very disappointed. Here's a guy that put in
a tremendous amount of hours at no cost to the town and had a
tremendous amount of expertise. You couldn't go out and hire a
better guy with his background.
"Not only was he an ex-BCI (state police investigator) man
but he's the guy
that set up the whole resident state trooper program in this part
of the state. We were very fortunate to have him. He did it because
he enjoyed i t- he's retired now and I think he enjoyed the involvement.
It was good for the town. It was good for Bob and it's really
a shame that we're not going to
have him anymore. I personally feel that it's a big loss for the
"There's always been an unwritten rule that you don't get
into people's personal lives and involve their family in the politics
of this business but these guys crossed the line on this one,"
LaMonda sighed. "That's why Bob really resigned. He just
didn't want to put his family through this. This is something
that's never been done in all the years I've been in politics
the town and I don't think they should be particularly proud of
The Winner Is...
As of this week, there are 34,218 enrolled Democrats
countywide, 32,716 Republicans, and 34,787 Non-Enrolled voters,
marking the first election in the County's history where Democrats
constitute, numerically, the majority party. And while the short-term
shift might seem dramatic, the long term trend is even more so:
For every new Republican added to the county voter rolls in the
past 30 years (2,013 all together), 9 Democrats (18,898) have
Explanations of course, differ.
"Countywide we're getting tons and tons of people from the
City," said Pete Sevago, the chairman of Ulster County's
Republican party. "They're all left-wing, liberal Democrats.
We all know that."
But the county's Democratic Election Commissioner Harry Castiglioni
sees it differently; "I think the change shows there's a
lot of dissatisfaction with the leadership in Washington, but
also here in Ulster County," said Castiglione. "Things
are not being accomplished that people want to see accomplished.
And it's not just Democrats, a lot of our non-enrolled voters
are feeling the same way, and a lot more younger people
are coming out."
But whatever the explanation, voter registration shifts aren't
likely to prove as meaningful this year with few local races on
the ballot as they will in 2005, when town governments and county
legislative control will be at stake. And in terms of this
year's local presidential vote, the shift's unlikely to effect
things much: In 2000, Bush lost Ulster County to Gore by 7.4%,
with another 7.4% voting for Nader.
At the town level, Shandaken currently has 798 registered Republicans,
762 Democrats and 546 people choosing no party affiliation, along
with 92 Independence Party members, 42 Conservatives, 40 Greens,
13 Liberals, and 3 people each registered Right-to-life and Working
Families. In 2000, the town's presidential vote count was 783
for Gore, 686 for Bush, and 158 for Nader. Since that election,
Democratic enrollment has increased by 146, while the number of
Republicans has dropped by 37.
Shandaken's enrollment amongst the town's 2,299 registered voters
also continues to show its historical gender bias, with Republicans
and Conservatives running 55% men and 45% women, and Democrats
and Liberals running 58% women and 42% men. Independence and Green
Party membership splits about equally male/ female, and those
choosing no party affiliation represent about 24 % of voters,
compared to 36% countywide.
Local perspectives on the national election vary, but appear to
mirror those prevalent nationwide. "I hope there's a large
turnout" said Olive Supervisor Berndt Leifeld." Every
vote's going to count more this time than any other time.
I think everybody should get out there and voice an opinion."
"I think it's a shame that everything's come down to so much
mud-slinging by both sides said Shandaken Supervisor Bob Cross.
"It's so disturbing to the public. I'm not pinning it on
either party, but it bothers me personally to see it all."
"Bush will probably squeeze through, but it will be real
close," said Shandaken Republican Club President Gerry Setchko,
who chose not to elaborate further on the issues involved. His
counterpart however, president of the town's Democratic Club and
former supervisor Pete Di Modica, ventured that "In national
politics as well as local politics, the Republican party seems
to be working toward government for the benefit of their friends,
instead of for everyone's benefit. We need to bring fairness back
into government. Hopefully the national election will be the start
"I think that Bush is going to win despite all the negative
campaigning by the Kerry crew," said county GOP chair Sevago.
"They said that Bush's campaign has been negative but that's
"The war's the forefront issue but President Bush has really
put the national economy in the toilet" said Olive councilman
Bruce La Monda. We have no national health care, unequal access
to education...we need major change"
Not surprisingly, county Democratic chairman John Parete expressed
"The self-proclaimed 'uniter' has driven this nation further
apart than it's ever been in its history" Parete said. "He's
made one mistake after another and he refuses to acknowledge them.
What do we teach our kids? Fess Up! People are not smiling. They're
not happy. And Americans are far worse off than they were four
years ago. I hope people vote for what what's really in their
interests, not somebody's party line."
Polls are open from 6:00 AM till 9:00 PM, Tuesday, November 2.
Stage For OHS Plays
Last summer, the district's facilities supervisor Jim O'Neil said
at the meeting, a teacher approached him with a problem. While
trying to adjust one of the back curtains on the auditorium stage,
built when the high school went up fifty years ago, he got a wood
splinter in his hand. O'Neil called in an engineering company
to see what was up, and it was soon discovered that there were
some serious problems with the aging stage rigging that everyone
had been taking for granted for years. When a similarly-aged auditorium
collapsed in Washingtonville last summer, engineers suggested
that the stage rigging be declared unsafe, and the high school's
main stage closed down until it could be replaced.
Discussion of the matter came up at the Tuesday night board meeting
when the district's Interim Business Administrator, Don Gottlieb,
noted that bids for new rigging, which were to be decided around
now for replacement by the holiday season, had come in at four
times what had been budgeted. And with a finish date of late January,
at the earliest.
Subsequent board discussion yielded a consensus statement that
further questions would have to be asked of those bidding to do
the rigging replacement and stage repairs., including whether
the stage could be partially resurrected in time for the Holiday
season, which starts a little over a month from now. Meanwhile,
school administrators were asked to start coming up with alternatives
by the next scheduled board meeting on Wednesday, November 3 at
the Bennett Elementary School in Boiceville.
"So far, nothing much has been effected," said OCS Superintendent
Justine Winters after the meeting, noting that band practice was
continuing in the practice room or out on the football field for
the marching band. But bigger productions were coming.
"We'll have to look seriously at all of this," she said,
making a face and mentioning something about "the acoustics"
when asked whether the old or new gymnasiums, or High School cafeteria
were possibilities for performances.
The school district is currently operating under a strict contingency
budget for the year, which could also effect repair costs and
schedules... matters not raised this week, but assumedly being
scheduled for the agenda November 3, when next the subject is
O'Neil and Gottlieb also discussed a problem with "grey water"
effluent leaking from a "regulatory building" at the
High School in recent weeks due to a partial system failure in
the facility's septic system. Gottlieb asked for, and had passed,
a resolution approving a replacement of the building and systems
in question, at a cost under $20,000, while O'Neil explained that
the system failure was not noticeable within the school and basically
amounted to, "too much liquid being purged through the system."
Gottlieb added that, due to the nature of the system failure,
district attorneys would be involved and it would be more than
likely that the costs of replacement and other involved expenses
would be picked up by parties other than the school district.
On a more upbeat and informational basis, the remainder of the
meeting focused on positive steps being taken for greater educational
opportunities and better community mental health.
Woodstock writer Perdida Finn spoke about the writing workshop
programs she has started at the Woodstock Elementary School, for
eventual use throughout the district. Working with the local writing
community, which she described as including four winners of the
coveted Caldecott Prize for children's books, Finn spoke about
changing the way students ˆ and their teachers ˆ approach
writing and reading.
"Kids need to be taught how to read and write the way real
writers read and write," she said in an enthusiastic and
apparently infectious presentation. "You do it over and over
and over again. That's when you become a writer."
Finn spoke about instilling a sense of caring into students that
begets greater attention to the details of grammar and other "copy
editing" needs; better research skills; journaling; and a
greater sense of market for people's writing. She is urging her
students, and the teachers taking her workshops, to publish pieces
within the school, as well as in venues such as the letters column
to this and other local newspapers.
Later, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Deborah Fox introduced
school social worker Rich Morris and a number of key staff members
of the Ulster County Mental Health Department in the second of
a four-part presentation on the district's Academic Intervention
Services program, focused on family counseling and the county's
Morris spoke about how a majority of students these days go through
some form of trauma during their school years, be it parental
problems including separation and divorce, illnesses, or a death
in either the family or greater school community. These traumas,
he explained, can interfere with both a student's individual ability
to learn and, through that student's "acting out," with
others learning ability in the classroom or school.
The social worker outlined, and answered questions about, a host
of programs used throughout the district to deal with problems.
These ranged from anti-bullying training, concentrated in the
fourth grade before such behavior seriously manifests itself,
to the ways in which teachers, awareness teams, administrators
and parents can seek and get counseling help from the school.
Ulster County Mental Health Department director Marshall Beckmann
and his staff spoke about the Family and Child Early Treatment
Services (FACETS) program started in 1995 to deal with increasing
departmental "reach out" via the schools, with a concentration
on the west-of Thruway region that Onteora dominates.
According to the presentation, FACETS is currently working with
between 90 and 100 families on a weekly therapy basis, not including
the numbers of students involved via less formalized services.
Brickman outlined his department's requirement that a parent or
guardian be involved in all such sessions, even if not at all
meetings, as well as the ways in which progress is charted through
such treatment. He added that FACETS has concentrated on the Onteora
district, and other points in the western portion of the county,
because of a lack of mental health clinics in the area because
of budgeting constraints and societal difficulties tied to the
region's relative remoteness.
Everyone agreed that the FACETS program was a major success and
key indicator of the school district's role in the local community.
Speaking of that role in an entirely different light, OCS Board
President Marino D'Orazio gave a short speech about the district's
newfound role trying to lead a new assault on the state's "Large
Parcel" law that led to tax hikes in Olive and Hurley, and
the defeat of the budget last summer. He and Winters talked about
recent meetings with state School Boards legislative liaison David
Liddle and a statement from the state Office of Real Property
Services that it didn't want to get involved in the legislation
until directed to do so by the state legislature.
"We've set up a meeting for this Thursday (October 21) with
state assemblyman Kevin Cahill," said D'Orazio, adding that
a meeting with state senator John Bonacic was also being attempted.
"We want to try and put this into the hands of the voters
themselves... We take this issue incredibly seriously."
The board's next meeting will take place at the Bennett School
at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 3.
is now trying to balance life with her children Kegan who is 5
and 3-year-old Melanie. They live upstairs in the same building
so she is always available and the children themselves are very
much a part of the operation.
Megan brings a special brand of friendliness and concern for others
that is genuine and makes the place feel more like a home. After
all... it is her home.
"It is a very long day," she explains. "Everyday."
The store is open, and Megan working, from before dawn to well
past dark. Megan is a local girl who attended Onteora Schools
and was then accepted to the Culinary Institute but, due to lack
of funds, could not attend. She trained in the culinary arts at
SUNY Cobleskill but in truth, her mom Ellen who also runs a Bed
and Breakfast and has business experience gave her a solid foundation.
"We have both come through the university of Hard Knocks,"
says Ellen, a beacon of positive smiling energy. "I have
been through divorce, a devastating house fire, and breast cancer...
but I believe in hard work and resilience. I am a survivor, we
Continuing, mother speaks about her relation ship with daughter.
"It wasn't always smooth between us," she says. "Those
teen years were a test but now we are partners in so many ways."
Ellen is the ultimate grandma and they spell each other of responsibility
when it comes to childcare, as well as the day to day operation
of the store. Anybody watching them together can see the mutual
love and respect that has evolved.
David, a regular who shows up on a daily basis says, says, "This
place is community, there are children, a Mom and a Grandma. It
is extended family. Much more than just a business. It is important
for this area to support what this represents.
I know I do. It's a Ma and Ma place. These woman have soul"
Megan relates, "We started from zero. This place was empty
for years it takes time to build and get established. We are moving
forward, word of mouth, a little more each day but the question
is can we hold out"
Ellen has a look of concern and seriousness.
"We have wonderful plans and hopes, we are expanding the
antiques and maybe home delivery for seniors," she says.
"This has to work, Megan is a natural here, she shines, and
this is a place for her and my grandchildren to realize the American
Dream. It's been a tough year in many ways and we are cutting
it close. We want to be here and if the community wants us here,
the rest is up to fate."