On Thursday, October 14, 2004 ˆ the Ulster County Legislature
ill-fatedly decided to adopt the Large Parcel Law by a 19-13 vote.
Unfortunately, taxpayers in Olive will face an estimated 25% increase
in County taxes. While we vocally opposed and fought this
decision, please let us offer a snapshot of the history of this
debate in the Legislature.
First, the General Services Standing Committee, which oversees
the Ulster County Real Property Service, decided not to adopt
this new law 2 years in a row. This year was different.
The Chairwoman of General Services Committee, at the request of
Majority Leader Michael Stock, attempted to circumvent the law
and committee process by doing a telephone poll to bring the a
vote to the floor of the legislature. To make matters worse,
no Democrat on that committee was asked for their vote on the
Large Parcel Law. This was a clear and obvious violation
of the New York State Open Meetings Law. The public was
not invited to listen to those telephone calls and no minutes
were taken. Majority Leader Stock made certain that this
measure was voted and adopted by the full legislature. However,
we would like to thank three Republican Legislators, Susan Cummings
and Gerald Depew and Brian Hathaway, for their unyielding courage
to break ranks and vote their conscience.
The Large Parcel Law creates a situation that increases taxes
by placing an unfair burden on all taxpayers in towns, such as
Olive, across New York State. New York City owns more than
53% of the total land in Olive. We are in the belief that
New York City's money should stay in Olive ˆ and not spread
throughout other towns in communities. That said, we are
very thankful that the entire Olive Town Board attended the meeting
and spoke out against this increase.
This entire process confirms a very compelling and valid point.
The current method of raising taxes based on property value is
a mistake and in need of reform. This is why we have finished
authoring a memorializing resolution to Governor Pataki and the
entire State Legislature ˆ asking them to develop and implement
an alternative means for funding education and government.
We plan on officially introducing this resolution near the end
of the month.
Thank you for your time and attention,
Robert S. Parete
Richard A. Parete
Ulster County Legislators, District 3
The recent decision of the Ulster County Legislature to adopt
the large parcel tax code sounds a death knell for many homeowners
in my community. Our representatives have a responsibility to
fully examine any resolution to determine its effects, not just
on their respective districts, but on the entire county, as well.
Any legislation, especially one designed to avoid wild tax swings,
which causes undue hardship to a small community of homeowners
must be flawed in nature or application.
How, in good conscience, can any county representative approve
a bill that unduly burdens a small number of the populace with
a 28 percent increase in county taxes? It is unconscionable that
these legislators felt compelled to act on this bill, fully cognizant
of the hardship already imposed on Olive residents by the recent
50 percent increase in school taxes.
Majority Leader Michael Stock proposed this vote, as "an
issue of equity." In an email, he wrote, "We at the
Legislature and the Onteora School District gave Olive one year
to get its house in order to correct the inequity of your real
estate values, which they failed to do."
I'm sorry, Mr. Stock -- this issue is not as clear-cut as Olive's
failure to "get its house in order" -- every nonpartisan
official who has publicly commented on implementing the large
parcel has noted the complexities involved. His stale and
simplistic rhetoric of how a home valued at $100,000 in the town
of Olive should be as equally taxed as a $100,000 home in Shandaken
or Woodstock fails to recognize fundamental differences.
Olive residents are directly impacted by DEP regulations on our
roadways and property rights. Olive has borne the brunt of the
legal costs over the years of wrangling with NYC regarding tax
assessment and road maintenance. Should everybody reap the "benefits"
of the large parcel reservoir, when Olive property owners bear
the onus of the regulations and restrictions?
Does Mike Stock believe his constituents will be well served by
the animosity this bill is creating between our communities?
Many people in Olive are considering seceding from the school
district because of this contentious issue ˆ are these the
neighborly relations he encourages?
Held to the same argument, as chair of the commission overseeing
the $21 million cost overrun at the new jail, how much time should
the taxpayers afford Mike Stock to get his "house in order?"
Perhaps Mr. Stock's time as county legislator would be wiser spent
resolving this costly blunder, rather than rabidly seeking ways
to undermine his neighbors.
While I'm thankful for my district representatives, Rob Parete,
Rich Parete and Peter Kraft, and for members of Olive Town Board,
whose impassioned pleas against this legislation fell on partisan
ears, I'm also saddened that politics in this county reflect the
polemics of the country.
Remember this quote? "The most important thing is for us
to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we
will not rest until we find him." (G.W. Bush, 9/13/01). But
then just six months later, on March 13, 2002, President Bush
is quoted as saying, "I don't know where bin Laden is. I
have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's
not our priority." Talk about flip-flopping˜his repeatedly
hollow accusation against Kerry! But that's another thing.
Remember Baghdad Bob? You know, the rimless bespecled, black beret-topped
Iraqi Minister of Information, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, who, at
the beginning of the war on Iraq, grew to become a cult-like figure?
In the Minister's parallel universe, things were always fine.
In the face of all reality and evidence to the contrary, an incredulous
al-Sahaf continued as if he was in denial about the war.
Sound like anybody else we know?
Al-Sahaf was not subtle either. He never went for the believable
lies; instead he went for the downright outrageous ones. "The
Americans say their coalition troops are in Baghdad," he
said, addressing the press outside the damaged walls of the shelled
out Ministry of Information building where heavy fighting could
still be heard. "These things, they are American lies. They
are not even within 100 miles of Baghdad." When asked about
coalition planes witnessed landing at Sadam International airport,
he challenged these sightings. "What planes? These claims
that the Americans have the ability to fly are pure myth. Do not
believe these preposterous tales of flight." In an age of
spin, al-Sahaf's lunatic counterfactual art reached a fever pitch
when Iraqi soldiers began surrendering. "Those are not Iraqi
soldiers at all. Where did they bring them from?"
Al-Sahaf is now said to be in hiding, and there have been dozens
of reported sightings of the Minister all over the globe. But
you know what I think? I think he's been spirited away to Washington
to coach George W. and head up the administration's spin team.
In fact, come to think of it, they might have been sharing scripts
along. From that moment of blustering arm-chair machismo when
Bush said, "Bring them on," and two weeks later, "When
I take action, I'm not going to fire a 2 million dollar missile
at a 10 dollar empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going
to be decisive" to al-Sahaf's "God will roast their
stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis." Like al-Sahaf,
and always with a straight face, Bush's message is consistent,
unshakeable. No matter what the mounting evidence, George W. tells
us that everything is going well in Iraq; we're on schedule. And,
like al-Sahaf, he never seems bothered when the lie's he's telling
the world are revealed for the whoppers that they are.
The Iraqi Minister of Information became an unlikely hero in those
first weeks of the war with his rich and colorful invectives ("Who
are in control, they are not in control of anything˜they
don't even know how to control themselves!"), old-fashioned
name calling ("The midget Bush and that Rumsfeld deserve
only to be beaten with shoes by loving people everywhere")
and denials ("I triple guarantee you, there are no American
soldiers in Baghdad" and "I blame al-Jazeera˜they
are marketing for the Americans!"). You almost had to admire
the guy for his unintentional comic relief in the face of an overwhelming
brutal invasion and its impending chaos. "These cowards have
no morals," he said at one point, "They have no shame
George W. is equally ridiculous: "The war on terror involves
Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history
of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself."
(Grand Rapids, Mich., Jan. 29, 2003) Huh? (Al-Sahaf may have had
it almost right when he said, "I speak better English than
this villain Bush!") But Bush's tall tales and blatant denials,
his misleading rhetoric and hyped intelligence, along with their
disastrous consequences, are not funny and the American public
doesn't know what to believe about what is going on in Iraq anymore.
Maybe, like James L. Hirsen of FirstLiberties said of al-Sahaf,
"[he] is so consistent in his fabrication, if we take as
true the opposite of what he spouts, he becomes downright reliable."
One thing we do know is this: The Emperor has no clothes. By all
accounts, things are a horrific mess in Iraq. And military success
is not determined through battlefield outcomes, but politically.
But the Bush administration is still hell-bent on substituting
a military solution for a political one, in large part because
there never was a political solution to begin with. Perhaps we
should have been listening more carefully when in 1989 George
W. Bush said, "You know, I could run for governor but I'm
basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked
for my dad. I worked in the oil business. But that's not the kind
of profile you have to have to get elected to public office."
It's claimed that the last quote from the memorable Baghdad Bob
before he went on "administrative leave" was, "I
now inform you that you are too far from reality." Exactly
the message we should be sending˜loud and clear˜to Washington.
The President wants us to believe that governmental control of
Health Care would cost too much!!! It would cost him
and many legislators the huge amount of money and
political support which Health Care and Pharmaceutical Industries
provide them. It would SAVE the American people and
our government huge amounts of money. Of every dollar spent by
us for our health care insurance over fifty cents goes to profit
and to advertising. The government is not being asked to pay for
health care insurance, only to administer it . (The health care
coverage now paid for by the Government for veterans
et. al would cost the Government far less.) The money for
health Care insurance would come from individuals, employers,
and organizations to which we belong . The difference
is it would cost far less and everyone would be covered.
Forty five . millions have no coverage now. Dealing
with the diverse companies and plans is costly for the health
care providers because of the great amount of book work involved.
And having many plans means a smaller number
covered by each plan drives up the cost of the premiums
. With the government at the helm
prices of drugs could be negotiated and the cost of medical care
would be drastically reduced The pharmaceutical
industry to make profits way and above that of other
industries. We are paying for their TV and other ads. And many
advertised drugs are no more effective than older ones that were
widely used. Advertising is where the biggest
money goes, research.
As Senator Kerry pointed
out reduction in health benefits employer pay would enable
our manufacturers to stay competitive with those in
other countries and we would not need to take jobs abroad .
We can help the
United States to attain a National Health Insurance plan
by supporting the incumbent and aspiring legislators who support
Universal Health Care.
In the 20th congressional District
there is a very capable, far sighted woman running for Congress
who is supporting it. She is Doris Kelly
and her election would be most helpful in support of
good health care as well as for good government all around.
If she were elected . She cares about us. She cares that
the World Health Organization ranks us as 37th
in meeting the health needs of our nation
Mescal E. Hornbeck
I want to share my experience with Judge Mary Work with you.
I have been before her in Family Court on two occasions as the
plaintiff, once on custody issues and the last time on financial
Judge Work was commanding and intelligent as well as being compassionate
in discharging her duties. My first experience with Judge
Work resulted in an agreement between the parties. The second
time we relied on Judge Work to decide financial issues related
to the welfare of our children. She accommodated us by working
around our difficult scheduling issues, due to one of the parties
being out of town every other week, in order to get the case heard.
In terms of the financial issues that were the subject of the
case, Judge Work handled the complexity of our situation valuing
past, present and projected assets in a fair and equitable manner.
Yes, I did say in a fair and equitable manner. Her decision
was just that. As the plaintiff I was satisfied with the
decision; that is to say I liked some parts and disliked others.
I believe the defendant felt the same. It was a fair decision.
What I expect from the judiciary is a timely and fair hearing
before an intelligent human being, and a timely and fair decision
in accordance with the law. Judge Work delivers.
I had the pleasure and privilege of living next door to Judge
Paul Gruner and his wonderful family for almost twenty-five years.
I find him to be a conscientious and dedicated professional, a
loving and attentive husband and a sensitive caring parent.
During our years as neighbors our families became very close.
Our daughters always looked up to and respected Paul as if he
was their uncle. Whenever we needed assistance of any kind he
was the first person at our door to offer.
Here is a man that has all of the qualities we look for and need
in our elected officials today. He was born and raised in Ulster
County and chose to practice law and live here. He is a family
man, he practices his religion, he is a good friend, and he has
successful in all of his endeavors in the legal field.
My vote for Surrogate Judge on November 2 will be to keep Judge
In the third and final Presidential debate Bob Schieffer, CBS
anchor, asked President Bush the following question. I would like
to ask you, what part does your faith play on your policy decisions?
Mr. Bush said, first my faith plays a lot -- a big part in my
life. And that's when I was answering that question, what I was
really saying to the person was that I pray a lot. And I do. And
my faith is a very -- it's very personal. I pray for strength.
I pray for wisdom. I pray for our troops in harm's way. I pray
for my family. I pray for my little girls. But I'm mindful in
a free society that people can worship if they want to or not.
You're equally an American if you choose to worship an almighty
and if you choose not to. If you're a Christian, Jew or Muslim,
you're equally an American. That's the great thing about America,
is the right to worship the way you see fit.
That was a pretty good political answer, but I wonder if Mr. Bush
prayed before he sent our troops in harm's way. I don't understand
how anyone can send young men and women to war and then pray for
them. What is he praying for? I wonder if he's praying for a quick
way to get out of Iraq to end this terrible unnecessary war and
to save young lives. I didn't hear him say that he was praying
for all the Iraqi people that's been killed or wounded from our
Military weapons and 500 pound bombs or the families of all the
troops that have been killed. His most frequent prayer is probably
that he wins the election.
I think that Supreme Court
Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, O'Connor, Thomas and Kennedy, Governor
Jeb Bush and then Secretary of State Katherine Harris, lawyers
Baker, Olsen, et al, should share in the responsibility for over
a thousand Americans killed and many thousands injured and maimed,
and unnumbered thousands of Iraqi killed and seriously injured,
especially the children, the Inno–cents, not only the dead
and disabled and the many who have been affected emotionally and
psychologically. Then, of course, there is George W. Bush, who
was so pleased to be a war presi–dent.
Mt. Tremper, NY
I finally figured it all
out and it comes down to one word, greed. It seems the only
way anyone can be elected in our powerful nation of wealth and
riches is to make one central promise "I Will NOT Raise Taxes!"
How selfish are we? I am 38 years old and have been steadily
employed since I was 14. Not by luck or privilege, but by
honor, integrity and resilience. My average annual salary
over 24 years has been under $30,000.00, yet through hard work,
compassion, respect and love, I have managed to live with everything
I need. Why should I deserve more than my brother or my
sister, and why should I deserve less? Though I am not financially
wealthy, I vow to contribute all I can. So let me be one
the first brave enough to say, please raise my taxes, just hear
my voice. Please raise my taxes, just respect my choice.
Please raise my taxes, just be fair. Please raise my taxes,
just remember the only true economy is water, soil, seeds and
air. Please raise my taxes, just protect our Mother Earth.
Please raise my taxes, just teach our children form birth.
Please raise my taxes, just honor our elder's words. Please
raise my taxes, just nurture the fishes, plants and birds.
Please raise my taxes, just care for the ill. Please raise
my taxes, just don't use them to kill. Please raise my taxes,
just respect everyone's right to live. Please raise my taxes,
just try to forgive. Please raise my taxes, just comfort
the abused. Please raise my taxes, just enlighten the confused.
Please raise my taxes, just raise them with love for the world,
the one that each of us has the power to preserve.
David J. Turan
I'm not opposed to giving credit where credit is due, but characterizing
our relationship with the DEP as a "marriage" seems
a bit naive. You suggest that it was all Ward's doing that
got us the reval and "not anything our local politicians
will have done." You say that local people who see
our relationship as one of conflict "just don't GET this
concept of a working partnership."
Are you saying that the reval happened
just because they gave it to us when we asked them nice?
You think the "partnership" is something the city just
wants to have with us because they are good neighbors or something?
Are you aware of the years of effort our supervisor has made to
get reservoir towns to join in sharing the legal fees necessary
to fight the city's assessment claims? Do you think
the city made their move without an awareness that a judge would
be forcing them to split the difference with us in court?
Your suggestion that the efforts of our leaders is nothing in
comparison to the generosity of some Harvard grad social reformer
seems to reflect a bias. I'm sure our town's leaders deserve
and would appreciate a little more credit for their part in the
love\hate relationship we have with the city.
Our son was deployed in the Persian Gulf for 14 months during
Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. With the
on-going heated political debate over the issue, many people have
asked us what he has to say about the war in Iraq and the Middle
First of all, he is disturbed over the lack of coverage of all
the good that the servicemen and women have accomplished in bringing
freedom and basic services to the Iraqi people He also dislikes
the media's use of the tem1 "insurgents" and the portrayal
that the war in Iraq is a diversion from the war on terrorism.
He points out that we are not fighting the Republican Guard, Iraqi
Army, or the Iraqi people. Instead, our forces are fighting TERRORISTS
who are coming into Iraq from other countries Following the tragic
events of 9-11, our nation wanted our military to bring the fight
to terrorists on their soil. So why now is their so much opposition
to our military fighting terrorists in Iraq?
While our son was serving overseas he sent me a shirt which I
proudly wear. It reads "My Deployed Son Supports Operation
Iraqi Freedom." While he was there, he learned first hand
that there are three things, above all others, that enable a soldier
to withstand the hardships they must endure and be successful
in their mission. They are: faith in God, love and support from
friends and family back home, and the shared belief with the American
public that their sacrifice is for a great purpose. Taking away
any one of these is devastating to a soldier and makes the hardships
they are enduring insurmountable.
After learning these lessons first hand and knowing what the soldiers
still in Iraq and the Middle East are going through, it upsets
our son to hear a potential Commander-in-Chief say that this is,
"The wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time".
Comments like these, he says, take away the soldier's sense of
purpose in their mission and the cause. It makes the sacrifices
they must endure no longer seem worthwhile. And it draws a clear
distinction between who is fit and unfit for command.
& Marge Tiso
We are very happy to acknowledge and applaud Senator John Bonacic's
leadership in obtaining $750,000 for improvements at the Belleayre
Mountain Ski Center and continue the resurgence of the main economic
engine of the entire route 28 corridor. Senator Bonacic's efforts
go beyond just obtaining funding.
Since he has begun representing this region in Albany, the economic
vitality of the Central Catskills number one economic asset, Belleayre,
has always been one of his major priorities. His nickname in our
area is the Senator for all seasons for a resort for all seasons.
The Belleayre community remembers too well the days when all the
winter recreational monies went to the North Country, and our
area suffered. We hope that those days are well behind us and
the proof that it is money well spent is the vast increase in
skier visits under Superintendent Tony Lanza's leadership.
The present Belleayre Ski Center was built to accommodate a maximum
100,000 skier visits per year. Last year we had 175,000.
We need to upgrade our facilities just to handle the crowds we
presently service. This allocation provides the stimulus
for us to move forward. We need to look and plan for the new Belleayre.
We need to maintain the momentum of the past 5 years for our region
to continue to compete for the tourist dollar in a highly competitive
industry. Each increase in skier visits is an economic shot
in the arm to our region, our businesses, and our tax base. This
is one issue our entire community supports and believes in.
Kudos to our Senator! He's a breath of fresh mountain air direct
from The Catskills...
Joseph F Kelly, Chairman
Coalition To Save Belleayre
The Onteora Central School District Board of Education has endorsed
my recommendation, to establish a District Wide Communications
The Purpose of the Communications Committee is to develop a comprehensive
communications plan and to improve communications between all
stakeholders in the Onteora School District.
This Committee, will report directly and make recommendations
to the Board of Education. Our first meeting is scheduled
for Wednesday November 10th, 2004, at 7:00pm in the MS/HS cafeteria.
The intent is for all stakeholders within the District to be represented
on the Committee or through Sub-Committees. Our goal is
to look at ways to engage the community in a more positive and
efficient manner by way of the District website, newsletters,
DVD formatted presentations and the formation of District wide
Anyone interested should contact Jeane Shultis, Onteora District
Clerk, phone 845-657-8851, firstname.lastname@example.org or myself,
David J. Patterson, Trustee
Onteora CSD Board of Education
When my kid started 7th grade at Onteora he joined the soccer
team. He told me about A & B teams & that his coach said
that if the students made the practices & other requirements
that they would be guaranteed to play at least 2 quarters of every
game because that was the rule. After the third game, Cory told
me he only got to play for a few minutes of one quarter but the
coach promised he would play the first quarter of the next game.
I arrived at the next game during the second quarter. Cory told
me he had not yet played. There was a cold breeze, I gave him
my coat & went back to my truck. As of this writing, Cory
has not played 1 full quarter in the last 3 games. Mr. DiGiovanni
(athletic director) told me Onteora doesn't follow the rules because
the other schools don't cooperate with the rules. This morning
Cory told me they played Wallkill yesterday. Wallkill played A
& B teams by the rules. Cory told me his team doesn't even
have an A & B team. No intention of trying to follow the rules?
No intention of trying to comply with the intent of the rule?
(all the kids get to play at least 2 quarters per game) Is winning
more important than making an honest effort to try to follow rules?
Is lying & breaking rules a good role model for children?
On Thursday morning I tried to talk to the new Superintendent,
Ms. Winters, because Mr. DiGiovanni failed to return my phone
call the previous day. Ms. Winters was unavailable. Mr. DiGiovanni
called sometime later that day. After Mr. DiGiovanni failed to
assure me the rules would be followed, I tried again to talk to
Ms. Winters at about 10 a.m. Friday morning. I was promised she
would call right after the meeting she was in. About 3:30 p.m.
when Ms. Winters finally got time to talk to me, she scolded &
threatened me on a speakerphone with two other people on her end.
They told me they had to check with the school attorney to see
if they had to follow the rules. They gave me no assurance that
they would make sure the rules were followed in the future. All
the kids should get to play. Follow the rules, be a good role
model. Look in the eyes of the kids on the bench. Somebody please
promise me all the kids will get to play. That an honest effort
will be made to let all the kids play at least 2 quarters per
game as per the intent of the rules.
Family of Woodstock is preparing its next training session for
crisis hotline volunteers at the walk-in center on Rock City Rd.
Let me tell you why I volunteer at the center one morning each
Especially in these times, there are many among us who need someone
to talk to and there are people who are homeless or down on their
luck and in need of a bag of food... those who are less fortunate
than myself. At Family I've had the opportunity to be one tiny
candle in the darkness, to listen when someone's heart was breaking
with grief or when another was despondent or in trouble or just
confused. To just be there with the person, even if only on the
phone. To not judge, but rather to encourage. And being helpful
is certainly not one sided. I have learned that I seldom do anything
better for myself than to give a part of me away.
Thirty-four hours of training will prepare you for this experience
and it begins soon. If you think you would like to become a member
of the team of volunteers at Family and can commit to one three-
or four-hour shift each week, days or evenings, please call us
at 679-2485 or 338-2370.
David Griffin, volunteer
According to press reports, an attorney representing the opponents
to the Belleayre Resort project recently colluded with one legislator
and introduced a bill calling for a new and impossibly stringent
environmental review process to which Crossroads Ventures might
be subjected. There was a clear effort in the measure's wording
and presentation to mislead our county legislators into taking
an inappropriate action designed to sway a judge in the midst
of his judicial review.
This should be particularly disturbing to everyone in Ulster County.
If this kind of chicanery were to be resorted to in the case of
every potential economic development, all development would come
to a screeching halt. Projects which might otherwise prove most
advantageous for our economy would move elsewhere - either within
the state borders or beyond.
Thankfully, the legislature recognized the potential disaster
of the phrase "full adjudication" which would have altered
the meaning of an otherwise responsible resolution. However, regardless
of the issue, such an underhanded attempt to mislead elected public
officials runs counter to those values we respect in Ulster County.
That unsatisfied opponents of the project seek to short circuit
the lengthy and comprehensive review process currently in the
hands of an administrative law judge is bad enough. That they
would stoop to misrepresentation and stealth tactics fo fool our
county legislators is even worse.
Let the full review continue without political pressure and allow
the duly appointed judge, who has heard all sides and has extensive
information upon which to base a decision, do so without misleading
cries for "full adjudication."
Pine Hill, NY
Mandatory Candidate Pre-Election Seminar
The annual Non-Partisan Candidate Pre-Election Seminar is being
held this month and is mandatory. Please make time to attend
so that you may fine tune your vote getting skills and be better
prepared for the continued quality of your performance as a public
The following is some of the many subjects that will be discussed
-The Primal Shrug
- Ego Gratification Through Deceit
-Lying Your Way Up The Political Ladder.
-Improving Elected Office Skills Through A High Fiber Diet.
-Bonsai Your Adversaries.
-How Two Say "Yes,You're Right, I'll Look Into It" With
A Straight Face.
-500 ways Of Saying What You Don't Mean.
-Ten Days To No Ethics.
-How To Give 10 People The Same Job.
-How To Convert The Village Church To A Casino For The Evening.
-The Heimlich Method Of Getting Your Wife To Lie For You.
-No-Guilt Influence Peddling.
As always, refreshments will be served so make sure to get there
early while the Pizza is still hot.
Big Indian, NY
I am writing to support the Library Funding proposition on the
ballot this November 2. This proposed yearly funding increase
for the Phoenicia Library and the Morton Memorial Library totals
$6343. The money will be used to cover rising costs of purchasing
books and running the libraries and their computers.
In the past four years, our libraries have expanded their hours
of operation and computerized their book circulation system.
I can sit at home at my computer and order a book from any library
in the mid-Hudson Valley and it will be delivered to the Phoenicia
Library for me! A vast quantity of books is right at my fingertips
-- it's wonderful.
Everyone who uses the libraries has their own reason for loving
them -- whether it's Story Hour for children, books to read,
internet access, the Summer Reading program for school-age children,
or the friendly staff who assist children and adults with research.
Our libraries are an important part of our community. So
let's all support our two town libraries and vote to give them
this very modest increase in funding.
Elizabeth Holland Kern
A couple of weeks ago my neighbor, Jackie Kukle came to get me
to catch an eagle that was just sitting on the road by her house.
I gathered my raptor gloves, heavy towels, nets and a large dog
kennel, scolding myself for not having bought the large bird net
that would handle an eagle, and took off down the road trying
to keep myself centered so that I might somehow catch an eagle
with a butterfly net and a towel. Arriving at Jackie's house,
I found Woodstock Police and several people waiting. They had
chased the bird into the woods trying to catch her or get her
off the road. I asked the policemen to help me, knowing that it
is a piece of work to catch such a bird even if they can't fly.
I passed towels around and we went into the woods. There she was
sitting on a log: a truly huge and magnificent female red tail
hawk. She was only a few months old because she still had her
new brown tail feathers. The red tails don't come until the second
She didn't have an obvious injury. I felt that I might be able
to catch her if I approached obliquely and very slowly with a
calm energy. I asked the others to step back as I moved closer.
There had to be something terribly wrong for me to be within ten
feet of her. She wasn't alert looking about for an escape. Her
eyes were cast down and her expression was one of misery. I let
her feel my energy before taking each step as she was looking
away. When I was within four feet she turned around to face me.
There was a resignation in her eyes. Gently, gently I moved up
to her showing her my bath towel "skirt" that I had
wrapped around me. When I saw and felt that she acquiesced I carefully
raised the towel and dropped it over her, scooping her up in my
arms. Oh my, she weighed no more than a crow! How did such a young
hawk get so emaciated?
Everyone was relieved that I had caught her and there were many
wishes for her recovery and her life. This was not to be. Despite
our best efforts the female red tail hawk whose name was Phoenix
did not make it. She died the next afternoon. Her story is a familiar
one to wildlife rehabilitators and naturalists. You see Phoenix
died of mouse poison. She is at the NY State Pathology lab where
her tissues are being sampled to check for the poison that kills
so many wild ones every year. This is how it works: people put
out the tiny green pellets of mouse or rat poison in their attics
and basements. The mice collect the sweet smelling pellets and
save many of them, but eat one. The mouse or mice leave the house
desperate for air as their systems close down from the poison.
The hawks, owls and the snakes see the weak mouse and eat it.
A few days later they are in the same state as the mouse. They
are bigger so their death takes longer, but eventually their blood
vessels dilate and the blood leaks out. It leaks out of their
hearts, too. They die a sad, miserable death. Along comes a crow,
a vulture or a raven, the carrion eaters. They eat the hawk or
the owl. They too will die of this poison that is made for mice
and rats. And so on.
Her name was Phoenix. This is an opportunity to give her life
again to match her name. Please go through your storage areas
and gather up this poison and triple bag it before taking it to
the RRA for toxic disposal. There are so many mousetraps in this
world, there is surely no longer a need for a poison such as this.
The hawk, the owl and the snake are among our natural rodent control
devices in this world. Obviously, the poison is also extremely
dangerous for children, adults and for our pets as well as for
our community water supply.
Ravensbeard Wildlife Center