I would like to clear up some statements that I believe are incorrect
or misleading in the article: Schan(c)k Throws in Towel, Olive
Press, October 28, by Gary Alexander.
First of all, I have been questioning former Police Commissioner
Robert Schanck’s claim to Olive residency for the past six
or more years. The last time, was approximately three years ago.
I was personally assured in a private conversation with Mr. Leifeld,
who was running for re-election against Kevin Scanlon, that he
knew it was wrong and would correct it. Before me, it was former
Councilman John Hansen, who also questioned the validity of Mr.
Schanck’s residency. It has been a well known fact that
Mr. Schanck has resided in Saugerties for years. Certain members
of the Town Board have also known it for years but chose to ignore
it, and worse yet, helped to cover it up with total disregard
for state law.
Every time this question (and others) have been raised, it has
been labeled political. Am I the only person that sees this as
a very simple, but effective, way to turn folks attention away
from the issues at hand?
Why is it political that Mr. Schanck has been listed as a police
officer on a list that he admitted supplying and certifying to
the State Department of Criminal Justice Services when he in fact
was not a police officer? Oh, and by the way, DCJS recently responded
that they are in the process of removing Mr. Schanck from this
list after receiving the Town’s letter notifying them that
Mr. Schanck was never a police officer for the town, only a commissioner.
Why is it political that Mr. Schanck swore on an affidavit that
his primary address is Florida and obtained a tax exemption for
that residence, while at the same time, swearing he resides in
Boiceville? There are no “addendums” to any affidavits,
as Mr. Schanck tried to imply.
Why is it political that Mr. Schanck has a valid Florida driver’s
license stating he resides in Sarasota County?
Why is it political that Mr. Schanck was registered to vote in
the state of Florida until the morning after the October 5th town
board meeting? When he became aware that the public knew this
information, he called the very next morning and cancelled his
voter registration (circa 1999), stating he had moved out of Sarasota
County, Florida. Where did you move to, Mr. Schanck? Or is that
just another lie?
I never stated that he VOTED in both states as reported in another
of the recent articles by Gary Alexander. In fact, I had verbal
verification that he had NEVER voted in Florida. But he stood
before the Town Board and others stating he HAD NEVER been REGISTERED
anywhere else - when in fact he knew he was.
All I did was supply facts - items that ANY ONE of the Town Board
Members could have found on their own, but chose not to. And when
these facts came to light, what did Mr. Schanck do? He tried to
say it was his family and not him.
Mr. LaMonda states that I have “crossed the line”
by including family members. I never questioned anything about
his family. But Mr. Schanck didn’t mind implicating his
own family: It was Mr. Schanck who went to his daughter and requested
that she swear he resided with her at her Boiceville residence.
It was Mr. Schanck who tried to include his son as the person
in the Florida affidavits. Unless his son was born in 1945, he
could not have been the person who registered to vote in 1999.
Nor was his son the one who carries a Florida Drivers License
listed on the Homestead Exemption request, along with his spouse,
Nancy. And when all was said and done, it was Mr. Schanck who
stated that it was a well known fact that he had several properties
and resided in two states. No one else.
The only people crossing any lines are Mr. Schanck and the Town
Board members who have known about these convoluted exercises
and allowed them to go on. If anyone crossed any lines, Bruce,
it was your Mr. Schanck. He alone registered to vote in two states
and swore on numerous documents that his primary residence was
in two states. No one else.
What kind of leadership example is this for the Town of Olive
Police Officers and the general public who put their trust in
their local officials? When facts that point to wrongdoing are
presented, Bruce LaMonda, Berndt Leifeld and others, shout: “politics...,
who cares..., investigate away.” I am puzzled by your need
for attorney’s assistance with a question of integrity,
honesty and simple right and wrong. Well Bruce, integrity and
honesty are of the highest value to me, and I’m personally
surprised at the lack thereof, shown by certain town Board members.
I would like to point out to the fine people of Olive that Mr.
Schanck has NOT been the model “chief” that those
around him, and the exposé Mr. Alexander chose to publish
on October 28, would have you believe. Let’s remember the
cornerstones that were laid by Mr. Robert Adsit, who dedicated
many, many years to Olive and while involved with our Police Commission,
was ALWAYS available for the officers and the town. Until Former
Police Commissioner Richard Ostrander forced the issue, the Olive
Police Department did NOT meet the MINIMUM training standards
required by the New York State Department of Criminal Justice
Service. There is MUCH more that should be accomplished with our
police department - so much more than a part-time “chief”
would have time to accomplish. Or was it that he really didn’t
want to? Look around us. Look at Woodstock or Shandaken’s
police departments. I believe that in spite of the lack of structure
and good leadership, the officers working for the Olive Police
Department have continued with their individual high standards
of integrity. And I agree with you, Mr. Schanck. I hope that the
town is able to move forward and find an individual who can take
this department to the level it SHOULD be at now.
Politics? The only politics going on here are those practiced
by Mr. LaMonda, Mr. Leifeld and Mr. Schanck. The rest of the Town
Board is accountable simply because they did nothing.
West Shokan, NY
The grant from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund
to the Belleayre Ski Center is welcome news. The ski center is
an important anchor of the region’s tourism economy and
is precisely the kind of recreational facility that the Catskill
Heritage Alliance applauds: it is accessible to all, and it preserves
the harmony between the villages of the central Catskills and
the sur” rounding wilderness.
Belleayre’s ability to complete its promised build-out,
however; is dependent on the availability of sufficient resources,
and the mega-resort now being proposed to surround the ski center
puts those resources at risk. The water supply in the area is
just one example. If built, the city-sized resort, all. on its
own, could put our aquifer under stress and would conceivably
use up so much water that both the ski center and local residents
would suffer. The unwillingness or inability of some politicians
in the area to see that this is an issue is disturbing to say
the least. We urge instead that our elected officials take the
lead in determining” the cumulative impacts on our communities
of both an expanded ski center and the proposed mega- resort that
would surround it. Belleayre is too important a public resource
to have its future expansion threatened by the choking embrace
of a private development. Susanna Margolis, Chairman, Catskill
First of all, my deepest appreciation to the New York Legislature
for adoption of the so-called Large Parcel bill, enacted in early
2003. This legislation, which gives the option of implementing
an alternative method of apportioning tax levies to individual
school boards and county legislatures where taxing jurisdictions
contain state designated large parcels, was long overdue. Without
getting into the technical details of the criteria by which large
parcels are designated, let me assure everyone that Ulster County
has exactly two: the Ashokan and Rondout Reservoirs. People who
try to convince us that “large parcels” will suddenly
sprout up all over the place simply do not know what they are
Secondly, kudos to Supervisor Jeremy Wilber for really picking
up this ball and scoring big for the taxpayers in Shandaken and
Woodstock, especially with the school tax. Despite all the taunting
and booing he kept it plain and simple and stuck to the facts.
Woodstock should feel proud to have him represent them; he waged
a heck of a battle.
Thirdly, a chapter in Profiles in Courage to the members of the
Onteora School Board for doing the right thing under the most
trying of circumstances.
Lastly, BRAVO Ulster County Legislature for standing up and doing
the right thing, District 2 reps Mike Stock and Brian Shapiro
are to be especially commended for spearheading the effort in
My friends in Olive have no trouble confiding in private that
although they don’t like paying taxes any more than me,
they also know that with the new apportionment of school and county
taxes they aren’t paying any more than the rest of us. A
house with a market value of $100,OOO in Olive shouldn’t
be paying any less than houses with the same market value in Shandaken
(among the lowest in per capital income in the county) or Woodstock
(among the highest).
Fair is fair. It’s really as simple as that. My deepest
gratitude to all the above and to everyone who understands equal
treatment under the law. Stacey Banks Woodstock, NY
Can someone please answer a question for me? How is it that we
have had one of the wettest seasons on record, with full reservoirs
all across the board, and yet the portal from the Schoharie Reservoir
was stuck on high water flow all summer and, indeed, most of the
season? It’s almost as if some unknown entity had swooped
down upon the city and started “tinkering” with the
amount of flow (and illegal turbidity) that was being dumped into
the Esopus Creek each day. I know what some of you must be saying
right about now: “Why should anybody else care about this
topic other than a bunch of fishing fanatics?” Well, I’ll
tell you. If you run a business in Shandaken that is in any way
related to the tourist industry, your living depends on revenue
generated in no small part from the Esopus. Fishennen travel many
miles just to fish here. Some stay only an afternoon or a day,
but many stay for days at a stretch. Fishermen spend lots of money
on their passion. Flyfishermen are not shy about the unbelievable
wads of cash they will lay out for an exciting fishing trip, paying
for guides, supplies, tackle, flies, food and lodging, All this
translates to an annual boost for our local economy. If we, as
a community, continue to let the City of New York ruin the fishing
in the Esopus, and, in fact, the overall character of this beautiful
stream for the benefit of the comparatively small tubing business,
we will end up with a waterway that resembles more the amusement
park atmosphere of a zoom flume, than a wild and beautiful stream
in the heart of our beloved Catskill Mountains. The tubing industry
will not suffer if flows are reduced; the local economy, however,
will be devastated if the fishermen stop coming. Thank you, The
The American people have given their president another four years
to govern the country. And although we have just been through
the most polarizing campaign in recent memory, most Democrats
and Republicans agree that our nation now needs to be united.
Although President Bush won the election, there are still millions
who disagree strongly with him on many points. Their views must
be listened to with respect. Blindly forging ahead with policies
that barely half the nation supports is no way to win the hearts
of the opposition. To serve the country, our president must go
beyond protecting the American people from terror. He has to address
the many social ills plaguing our nation, which divide its citizens
from one another and from the rest of the world. This will require
bipartisan action, openness, and even more importantly, humility,
prayer, and personal sacrifice.
Whether we are saddened or elated by the prospect of another four
years, now is not the time for depression or gloating. How can
we help our country? In these last four years, we have not cared
enough for our neighbor and for the great need of the world. The
time of greed and materialism has to come to an end. We have to
start caring for other people, other nations, and especially our
children. And whether or not we agree with him, we should pray
for our president that God gives him the wisdom to guide our nation
through these turbulent times.
Our president says that he is a man of faith. Perhaps he can learn
important military and spiritual lessons by studying the history
of the founder of his faith. Jesus himself said that the days
of "an eye for an eye" are over. Instead, he told us
not to resist an evil person, "but whoever slaps you on your
right cheek, turn the other to him also, and if anyone compels
you to go one mile, go with him two." Jesus lived under Roman
occupation and under the fear of war and terror, yet he instructed
us to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, and do good
to those who hate us.
Jesus called on his followers to be peacemakers. It is easy to
pay our taxes, abide by the rule of law, and otherwise dutifully
give to Caesar what is Caesar's. But in the end, only when we
each become a peacemaker will we achieve the unity that politicians
of all stripes are fond of giving lip service to.
Today the whole world is watching our president. He can leave
a legacy that will be hard to surpass by future presidents, if
he truly acts on the faith he professes to have. This is a crucial
moment in history. May our president, and all of us, be found
Johann Christoph Arnold
Bruderhof, Rifton, NY
I am a father of a child in the Saugerties school system. I am
writing to you to open a discussion about our school children
in the area of diet and foods in our school system. I believe
as parents and teachers of these children we have the responsibility
of taking care of their daily health and nutrition at school specifically.
If we take the care and time needed to make changes in programs
we find non-nutritional or worse it will make our children healthier
and higher functioning at school and at home.
I have a very hard time figuring out exactly what my child is
offered to eat for lunch, what he is allowed to eat for lunch,
and finally what he may be required to eat for lunch. I wonder
if the children are allowed to eat sugars and carbohydrates without
any fresh fruits or vegetables. I understand that I could very
well just make my son lunch everyday and there would be no discussion
brought but then what of our youth in general? I am convinced
that my son and other children are experiencing academic and social
performance issues at school and in life to some degree due to
their diet and food choices at school.
It may sound odd to refer to a documentary film at this point
but I will regardless because watching it has had such a profound
effect on me and other parents I know. It has just been released
and it is called Super Size Me, by Morgan Spurlock. It is available
at Blockbuster Video. It is a major wake up call in regards to
diet in the United States. You must see it!
\ After listening to the data from the film, it seems like the
"food" programs in our schools are pretty comparable
to that of our prisons and hospitals. The Sloppy Joe mix, pizza,
chicken fingers, French toast sticks, Nachos and all sorts of
over-processed foods are cheap and easy to ship and store in their
cans and vats, but their nutritional value is nonexistent or worse.
We may be guilty of conditioning or rather feeding our kids to
grow up craving and eating sugar drenched, over-processed, void
of nutrients, grease drenched-calorie loaded foods. Obesity and
overeating is now second only to smoking cigarettes as cause of
death in United States. Doctors say obesity and complications
of obesity and overeating will be the number one cause of death
in the United States at this current rate.
A group called the G.M.A. (Grocery Manufactures of America), a
very powerful and seemingly untouchable lobby, seems to be the
main offender in all this. They represent all the huge companies
that make up the food suppliers of our schools and institutions.
They are featured in the documentary film and their goal is to
get their products sold and make the shareholders happy. They
are not in the business of providing good nutritional foods for
healthy children with balanced diets. They admitted their complicity
and the president of GMA actually resigned after the release of
On the brighter side there are terrific diet plans out there.
World famous dietician and nutritionist, Dr. Gary Null who has
written over 100 books on nutrition and is famous all over the
world has offered to design a food program for free for any school
in the United States wanting to change their methods and goals
in regards to nutrition and diet.
There are a handful of special school systems in the U.S. starting
to have marked success with nutritional lunch programs and the
removal of vending machines filled with junk food or soda on school
grounds. In social and academic areas, improvements are being
realized already due to a much healthier food programs for less
or the same cost!
"The children are our future," may sound cliche but
please, let's be one of the first to make the smart choice and
not just endlessly turn a blind eye to what we all know is going
on with our school food programs. The pressure from the food service
corporations and junk food giants to continue as we are is intense
but our children are worth making the change for better nutrition.
Especially since we are responsible to our kids and to the State
of New York for raising smart and healthy kids right? Who is signing
off on these diet plans? Watch the film and see what you feel
like at the end. It may be difficult to arrange the changes. Kids
love sugar, we know that. It may be trying to get it started but
there are models and data to study. Please forgive me for raising
an issue that I am only just beginning to understand or truer
yet, to not be in denial about any longer. Let's not be the last.
Let us not delay on this. Let's be one of the first.
In the Letters to the Editor, October 14th issue of the Olive
Press, Linda Burkhardt wrote of her disappointment in her fellow
citizens. She car was broken down along the detour section of
Route 28 near Olivebridge. She was overwhelmed by the fact that
so many would go by without stopping to help.
Unfortunately, today, most of the cars traveling through our town
are not native to this area. Many have moved here from areas that
aren’t as trusting of strangers seen along side the road.
It doesn’t matter that you are female - it doesn’t
matter that it might be obvious you need help. It’s the
May I suggest that had a majority of the town board members not
expended their efforts (and town money) to fight local efforts
to have a cell tower, your whole scenario could have been much
happier. You could have called Bruce Proper to come to your aid
on his lunch hour and never left the safety of your vehicle. Imagine
yourself in the same situation, but in pitch dark! After all,
you never know who might be stopping to “help” these
West Shokan, NY
Election day 2004 has come and gone and the "Wednesday Morning
Quarterbacks" are replaying the game. Everyone has their
individual and unique explanation of what went wrong and/or what
went right. I am satisfied that there was no repeat of Florida
2000 and that candidate John Kerry exhibited the grace and dignity
to acknowledge the loss early on. Of course the math in Ohio was
such that there was no chance of victory. And today Iowa came
roaring in with it's 5 electoral votes for GW as if to say, "take
Now, I have the opportunity to chime in as a lifelong Democrat
as to what went wrong with the Kerry effort from my perspective.
It's really the mindset of the Democrat Party and it's failure
to see and understand where the voting population; the citizens
of this great nation are going or want to go. I happen to be a
Zel Miller Democrat and a disciple of Harry Truman and John Kennedy.
These were men who said what they meant and meant what they said.
One said, "the buck stops here" and the other subscribed
to tax rebates and tax reductions.
The losers of this past election now want the winners to conform
to their thesis and bad habits if we are to get along. How dumb
can they be? The Germans or Japanese didn't dictate any terms
in 1945 and we got along famously. The people have spoken. They
have placed values, faith and security [yes, the war in Iraq]
at the top of their priority list. Somewhere down that list is
health care [for all?], [minimum] wages and prices, unemployment
and Social Security. Three million excess votes confirmed all
that. Six referendums around the country re: "same sex marriage"
went down big time; like 3:1. And apparently the "Right Wing
Christian Fundamentalists", Roman Catholics, Pentacostals
and Evangelical Jesus "freaks" [ala Gus Murphy] got
their message across. The ultimate human rights violation, abortion
and the other abomination, partial birth abortion was part of
the equation (read Psalm 139). Did anyone notice that while George
Bush was attempting to integrate church with state [as some charged],
John Kerry was campaigning in the churches like a political prostitute.
That brings me to another point. The Democrats are "eating
their young" by promoting abortion. Who will replace the
Democrats at the polls when we know that young people emulate
their parents; if the fetuses can make it into the [real] world.
And as Olive's resident economist I would advise all who will
listen; abortion reduces future consumers. Less consumers, less
demand. Less demand, less jobs. Arn't you glad you're here?
Wake up Democrats! The Republicans will have served for 36 of
the 56 years from 1953 to 2009. There is a plethora of old mainstream
Democrats out there and since the activity for 2008 began on November
3, 2004 perhaps it's time to forget primaries and revisit the
old time tested "smoke filled back room". I'll take
DeSapio, Daley, Walker and Fitzgerald anytime to make my selection(s).
Oh, excuse me. Most of you don't remember those political architects
of two generations ago. Today, Nov. 5 I'm 78. That qualifies me
as an elder statesman.
Glenn T. Anderson
I Am Not Included
in a country filled with freedoms
the religious right has pillaged hope
with your shrewd words
those that show their devotion
to your morals and convictions
until devastation will unfold
annihilation of independent thinkers
opposition will be restrained
the bill of rights for the zealous few
the christians with your cloistered view
until devastation will unfold
what of people of different skin tones
those that believe in other names of gods
you have deceived us by giving the impression
that we the freedom to love, to worship and believe
in a country that preaches democracy
until devastation will unfold
I was both saddened and appalled by ther cartoon on the back page
of your Oct. 14th issue.
If you wish to “bash” politicians, it’s your
privilege (even though I do not appreciate blaming our President
for everything), but to use our Lord as a mean-looking cartoon
character is beyond excuse.
Your paper owes your readers an apology, as there are many here
in Olive who have taken offense to this display of blasphemy.
Some day we may all be glad to call on Jesus Christ who loved
us enough to die for the sins of the world and who is the Risen
King and Lord.
Alice M. Elmendorf
The Cartoonist Replies:
That was a Protestant Jesus, a sub-sect Protestant Jesus. As an
imperfect Catholic in decent standing, my Jesus is rather swarthier.
And I know well that this is a Protestant nation.
Therefore, I'd argue that I've committed not blasphemy but heresy;
that I showed not contempt but dissent. Not that I shouldn't be
burnt for either....
Olive has two new dumps!!!
Oh! Excuse me! It’s only our neighbors on grassy ridge road
and another on Sheldon Hill that make it seem that way.
Shame on you both!!! And you know who you are!!!
Need directions to the town dump? Just ask one of your neater
neighbors. You know the ones who care about what their neighborhood
looks like. Or you can look it up in the yellow pages, unless
that’s sitting on your front lawn too. Then take all your
books, furniture, appliances, and other garbage right to the dump
because its not going to grow feet to walk there by itself no
matter how long you wait.
This garbage only breeds rodents.
Go ahead. Make an effort. Your neighbors would appreciate it.
I have a statement and a question:
Back in the early 1960s, two planes collided and the remains of
one were never found.
I witnessed the one not found, going down in a ball of fire. I
witnessed this from my home in Samsonville, and I remember thinking
that it would end up in the Ashokan Reservoir near West Shokan.
The Daily Freeman had some articles about this matter. Back then,
I remember that Ed Ocker had mentioned that a nephew had seen
the fireball near Boiceville. It would be interesting to know
what direction he was facing.
How about doing an article about this, requesting that any readers
who saw this to let you know what location they saw the fireball.
Maybe with additional info the location of the remains could be
Also… if the fireball did not end up in the waters, it most
certainly would have started a fire if it fell in the woods. How
about checking with the fire departments?
This is an Open Letter to Senator Bonacic and Assemblyman Cahill:
The Town of Olive Town Board, on behalf of its residents, requests
that you keep the Town of Olive informed of any proposed amendments
and or revisions to the Alternative Tax Apportionment Method Section
847 of the Real Property Tax Law, commonly known as the “Large
We would also like to formally request that, as our representatives
of the Town of Olive, you seek to have reservoir properties exempt
from the so-called “Large Parcel Bill”. Reservoir
properties clearly do not meet the intent of the legislation with
regard to properties causing “wild swings in assessed values”.
They are not properties that are conveyed and, in fact, reservoir
properties maintain a very stable assessed value.
Our tax base is being divided among other towns, some as far away
as Lexington, while this physical entity, the Ashokan Reservoir,
is within the political boundaries of the Town of Olive. We feel
that having to share the greater portion of our town’s tax
base with other communities who do not have any portion of the
facility within their political boundaries defies any reasonable
It should be noted that the Town of Olive, as a whole town, has
always paid its fair share of taxes in the Onteora School District
and in the County of Ulster. Therefore, we contend that it is
no other municipality’s concern what properties comprise
the town’s tax base as long as we pay our fair share as
a town. A town is the sum of its citizens and properties. Further
it matters not who imposes this unfair method of taxation upon
our residents, the results will continue to be the same failed
school budgets. The only voice any citizen has is his or her vote.
The fact that we have fewer voices in Olive will encourage us
to speak louder, as one unison voice, until we are heard.
Olive Town Board
Helen K. Chase
Bruce La Monda