There are four positions open at the next Onteora School district
elections... and TEN candidates. This concerns me in a district
where rancor over a tax issue - the Large Parcel Act - has muddied
educational waters badly, creating enmity among some in the
Five are from Olive - six, if you count the one whose house
was "moved" officially over a line to Marbletown.
Three are from Shandaken and one from Wood-stock. There are
representatives from the town that suffered huge tax jumps in
a short period of time; and from those that thought a form of
"tax justice" had been meted out, and hoped it would
to them. (Betcha' it didn't do much, but give politicians something
I fear that too may voters will vote on the basis of Town loyalty
and notions of "just and fair", and not on educational
matters. I fear a budget will be voted down out of a kind of
spite. I fear that good candidates will be sidelined by an issue
that reflects nothing but a single mistake whose source lies
in Albany, and in a poor method of financing schools.
The issues are too big for spite and tunnel-vision: redistricting,
repairs, building, funding fairly all kind of educational programs,
paying for the mandates that descend from the federal and state
"gods on high", quality of the school environment,
advancing teacher education, health services, etc, etc. These
are what's important... not one issue self-righteousness.
Look at the candidates: Two are experienced on the board and
have been effective. A third is a new appointee to the board
who wants a full term to demonstrate her commitment and ability.
Another, from Woodstock, attends board meetings
as a responsible and involved parent... a very good starting
position. Another, who as a parent suffered a tragedy involving
the district is suing the district now, and so I am puzzled
by her candidacy, but I do want to know her directions and opinions.
There are five others about who I know nothing, but names. All
ten must have values, experiences, interests, viewpoints, talents,
etc. Look at these. Forget Large Parcel. Get out, find out vote.
Mary Ann Mays
There are many false impressions and statements surrounding
the "Large Parcel" as it affects School taxpayers
in the Onteora School District; especially those who live in
the Town of Olive. I would like to clarify one of these issues.
The primary issue is the public misunderstanding of the actual
amount of the School tax percentage accepted by the Onteora
School Board in August of 2004. (That Percentage is 26%)
First a little background: The Large Parcel Legislation, enacted
by the NY State Legislature, effective January 1, 2003, in effect
mandated that school boards decide on an annual basis whether
or not to apply a special formula designed to "even-out"
the amount of money paid toward school taxes across a district
where a "Large Parcel" was identified. Each year,
in late July, the NY State Office of Real Property Services,
ORPS, notifies School Districts if there is a "Large Parcel"
within the district. And in Onteora's case, this is the Ashokan
Reservoir. Last year, the School Board voted in August of 2004
to adopt this special formula which accounted for an increase
of 26% for the school taxpayers in Olive. Also, just prior to
the School Board vote, the Town of Olive was successful in having
ORPS revaluate the Ashokan Reservoir which accounts for and
additional 29.55%. The popular misconception is that the School
Board is responsible for the total of these
two numbers - 55.55% - when, in fact, the Town of Olive and
their Ashokan revaluation success with ORPS, is accountable
for over half.
There are some who would have you believe that the School Board
is resopnsible for the school taxes in Olive increasing by 60%
- which is absolutley not true!
Trustee Onteora School Board
Why Olive matters. Did you know that New York City took the
heart out of Olive by force of law to make the Ashokan Reservoir?
Families moved upland to the rocky woodlots and are now forced
to live without a town center. More and more ‘watershed’
restrictions have been heaped on Olive over the years and New
York City is still grabbing land in Olive with no end in sight.
However, that same law, ‘Eminent domain’, forces
N.Y. City to pay taxes to Olive as part compensation for the
town’s loss of tax base now underwater. Due to an apparent
misapplication of an optional property tax alternative in the
infamous ‘Large Parcel Law’, both the Onteora School
Board and Ulster County may opt to raid that same reservoir
a full 55% of Olive’s tax base. It’s as if Olive’s
corporate sovereignty never existed. That’s right somehow
our neighboring towns have opted to supersede Home Rule, a State
Law and Town contracts. The result of this year’s tax
raid on Olive’s residents is a cruel 60% school and massive
91% county tax hike. The Large Parcel Law was never meant for
tax stable reservoirs. This annual tax raiding limbo affects
the very existence of Olive as we know it.
Are you upset enough to vote this year?
Are you willing to tell Olive’s neighboring towns, hands
off? Are you concerned enough to wear a button in protest? Proclaim
that land in Olive is an Olive matter. Does Olive’s Town
sovereignty even matter? Next they will be raiding Shandaken’s
largest parcel, the state land? Yes, Olive matters to me. I
plan to vote for only three this year as only three running
are even willing to help stop this madness. Voting is on Tuesday,
May 17th from 2pm to 9pm at the Bennett Elementary School. For
more details please stop in to www.Olivematters.org
What does the Onteora School Board really want? Did it want
to punish Olive for having a reservoir in its town? Did they
think that the Large Parcel Bill would “equalize”
taxes among taxpayers in the District? The only way to have
“equality” is to have each town have a 100% current
assessment. Olive is doing that. Will Shandaken follow suit
and update their thirty-some year old town-wide reval like Olive
Here’s how the Large Parcel Bill equalized taxes. My neighbor
with an older home on six acres got a 55% increase on school
taxes and a 91% increase on county taxes. Since he only paid
$.56 to start with, this thirty cent and fifty one cent increase
didn’t present any hardship at all. Is his home “equally
taxed” with its Shandaken and Woodstock counterparts?
On the other hand, a young neighbor with two small children
built a house on five acres. Since it is a new house, it is
assessed at its market value and already was “equal”
to Shandaken and Woodstock. The Large Parcel Bill caused his
monthly mortgage payment to increase by $700.00. That, my dear
friends, is an $8,400 rise in school and county taxes.
The Large Parcel does nothing to equalize taxes among taxpayers
in the District since it is only a percentage of an unequal
assessment. It only causes jealousy and animosity.
If the goal is to have each taxpayer pay its “fair and
equal” share, then Olive has done that with its re-evaluation
that will be in place for next year’s school tax bill.
Will Shandaken be the next target or will the newly elected
school board be allowed to get out of the tax business and FOCUS
on EDUCATION! Martha Havisham Olivebridge, NY
It's that time of year again for everyone to get out and vote
especially seniors and those living on a fixed income. There
are a lot of parents that will be voting and you don't have
to be a rocket scientist to know how they are going to vote.
Every vote counts just like every dollar counts when you’re
living on a fixed income. There's a lot at stake this year.
This year’s budget is a whooping 43 million dollar spending
plan. That's an increase of $1,598.672 over last year’s
budget. It appears that the School administration has been playing
up the fact that if the budget is defeated the spending plan
will be only $316,657 less then the original budget. That may
be true, however $316,657 is a lot of money and you can bet
that the budget is well padded so that if the budget fails everything
will go on as planned. The $316,657 will just allow for more
unnecessary spending. Superintendent Justine Winters has recently
recommended postponing the redrawing of boundaries for the elementary
schools until after district needs have been studied. I thought
that there was a study made and a plan was already in place.
Could that be a ploy to help assure that the budget passes?
You know, keep the parents happy. It's getting harder and harder
for many low income and those living on a fixed income to make
ends meet. Is the price of gas eating away at your budget? And
will the price of fuel oil this fall eat even more away of your
budget. Defeating the budget should save a few tax dollars and
send a clear signal to the administration that this school district
needs to be more cost effective.
We need a completely new School Board that will challenge the
school administration and not just shake their heads yes. Make
your voice heard by voting on May 17.
Dear Editor, On May 17 the voters of the Outeora school district
will have an opportunity to shape the direction of our district.
It is time for someone with good common sense, who is concerned
about the education and its costs to have a seat at the table.
Mary Jane Bernholz is that person. I have known Mrs. Bemholz
for seven years. We have worked together on district-wide PTA
projects and committees. She is concerned and dedicated to moving
our district in a positive direction. I be1ieve she possesses
the qualities necessary to unify the district and move us forward.
I urge all district voters to pull the lever for Mary Jane Bernholz.
Peggy Smith Hottum
When I vote for a school board member I look for someone with
the experience and skills to handle a demanding job, complex
issues, and a lot of pressure. Just as with a political election,
I don't think one-issue voting helps the school district at
all. I am writing to recommend Anne-Marie Johansson for the
School Board. Anne-Marie has experience working on various Boards
(the Olive Planning Board, the Olive Library Board) and has
served as president of the Tongore Garden Club and the Shandaken
Women's Network. Right now she is currently serving on the OCS
board, selected to serve out Tom Rosato's term.
Anne-Marie grew up in Phoenicia, attended Phoenicia Elementary
and Bennett, and the High School. Her children have attended
schools in the district. She has lived in West Hurley and in
the Town of Olive for the past 12 years. She knows the district
as a student, a parent, a taxpayer, and as a concerned citizen
who has worked on various school board campaigns.
Anne-Marie supports the Board's vote to support the Large Parcel
Tax Bill because she feels a fairly apportioned tax basis shows
the Board is committed to the entire district. She supports
Superintendent Winters' budget. She doesn’t see a need
for structured redistricting, because of the continuing decline
in enrollment. I disagree with her there, because I think equalizing
the class sizes helps the kids. But I am still voting for her.
To learn more about Anne-Marie , come to the Meet the Candidates
night on Monday, May 2.
Elizabeth Holland Kern
From September 2003 to June 2004, I had the great pleasure of
alongside Lisa Childers on the Woodstock Elementary School Site
Team. During that time, I don't believe she missed a single
meeting. And a good thing she didn't! For what Ms. Childers
consistently brought to
those meetings was a complete willingness to help whenever and
however she could, a fertile mind that was constantly brimming
over with ideas and proposals (affordable ones!) on how to improve
the education and the lives of WES pupils, and a highly developed
sense of service and
commitment that she succeeded in inspiring everybody else--her
fellow Site Team members, the kids and staff at WES, and the
community at large--to emulate. The icing on the cake was that
she has a wicked sense of humor that helped to make sitting
through those meetings a pleasure.
I can only imagine that Ms. Childers would make sitting through
any meeting a pleasurable experience. That's one of the small
reasons I heartily support Lisa Childers' bid for a seat on
the Onteora School Board; there are many, many more vital ones
as well, chief among them her ability to get good things done.
Another reason that's important to me is that my daughter is
still at WES, as is Ms. Childers' son; and so I know that, while
always keeping in mind the interests (and the pocketbooks) of
the larger community, she will work her butt off to see that
her child and mine--and every other parent's child in the Onteora
School District--receive all the breaks they're entitled to
in the challenging, tight-budgeted years ahead.
Please take my advice and do yourself a favor: Vote Lisa Childers
onto the Onteora School Board.
My name is Rita Vanacore and I am a candidate for Onteora Board
Trustee. I have resided in the Onteora district for the last
45 years and both my husband, myself and two of our three children
are graduates of Onteora.
For the last few years, I have followed the actions of our school
board and my final comment is... What have they accomplished?
First, there are defeated budgets......every year the administration
would scramble to just contain the budget within the guidelines
of past proposed budgets....let us not forget, though ,each
year there is approximately a $1,000,000 increase in employee
benefits. This year is the first time, under the direction of
Justine Winters that I have seen an attempt to actually cut
some proposals within the budget.
If elected, I intend to research all proposals including past
attempts by members of our community...members who attempts
have been thrust aside. In addition, I would enlist volunteers
from our community who are willing to make the time to help
financially balance our budget putting sound education first
for every dollar we spend.
Second, the camaraderie within our district has turned to hostility...both
over the closing of the West Hurley School (unnecessarily) and
the implementation of the Large Parcel Legislation (also unnecessarily).
Some of the present school board members have admitted to voting
on both issues without clearly understanding the ramifications
of either...if elected I will promise to research each proposal
until I understand to the best of my ability the consequences
of such decisions.
I feel that BOCES is under utilized in our district..the technical
programs alone that are available to our students are amazing.
BOCES also has a staff of grant writers at our disposal to research
available funds. We don't take advantage of anything offered...instead
we try to self contain our district and because of that we cheat
I have been researching programs used in other parts of the
country that have been successful in upgrading the education
offered without over extending the budget....elementary reading
programs, teaching assistant utilization, as well as high academic
programs where student in the same classroom progress at their
own speed through the use of computer programming, just to name
a few... our academia is suffering dramatically while our budget
is running rampant.
I believe that, like any successful business, the board should
set the budget first and then demand that all proposals and
contracts come in under that budget.
I don't propose that I can fix anything at all but before I
say I can't or won't I will investigate, research and openly
report back to the entire district what can or can't be reassessed
or changed and WHY!!!
Now let me finish with the question that is on most peoples
mind...the Large Parcel issue.
This legislation has a bigger picture and a more far-reaching
intention than any of us can comprehend. I believe, after much
research, that this is a political maneuver on the part of our
elected officials to keep us (and I mean our school district
as well as our county) scrambling around and fighting amongst
ourselves. Has anyone ever heard the term "divide and conquer"?
New York City and New York State are both quietly buying up
all property surrounding viable water sources in our state.
They would like us to believe that this is to protect our water
sources but that's only part of the big picture as I see it.
Rudy Guiliani, during his reign as New York City's mayor tried
to pass legislation so that our reservoirs could be privatized.
It was kept very quiet but it was a reality.
This is not just about saving 5% on your taxes or who pays more
This is about towns and villages maintaining their autonomy
and protecting their boundaries..these right were given to us
in the Constitution (remember Home Rule). Our elected officials
are trying to take these rights away from us. As I see it, our
government would like to control the water sources and the properties
surrounding them....and maybe, just maybe, eventually, have
all the taxes paid directly to New York State or in case of
state ownership...pay no taxes at all. Shandaken, beware, you
may be the next target.
Whenever the government tries to infringe on my rights, those
of my family and those of my community.....I WILL ALWAYS VOTE
If elected ,I promise to my whole district, honesty, integrity,
and a business ethic that has helped me maintain a successful
business reputation in the community. I will fight for fairness
and I will be concerned about each dollar spent and for attaining
the finest education that money can buy for all the students
in our district.
Vote #3 on the ballot on May17th.....thank you.
My name is Tom Hickey and I am a candidate for the Onteora School
Board. I have two sons in the Onteora School System. Being an
involved parent, I have a good understanding of the issues faced
by the School Board. My years as a business consultant have
given me an appreciation of balancing fiscal responsibility
with practical solutions; I think that we all need to be willing
to apply common sense to the issues that face our District.
Recently, I met with our Superintendent, Justine Winters, and
came away very impressed with her sincerity and clarity of vision
for the future of the Onteora School District; our current Board
is to be commended for choosing such an outstanding Superintendent.
I heartily support the idea of hiring quality individuals and
then trusting them to get their jobs done with grace and professionalism.
Furthermore, I fully support the budget that was recently proposed,
and urge everyone to come on out to vote for it. It is time
to stop holding kids hostage to anger over special interests.
Programs like SAVI (the Students Against Violence Initiative),
the Mentoring Program, and our Art & Music Programs are
influencing our kids in long term positive ways and should not
be discarded. What has been presented is a fiscally sound budget
which reflects the needs of all of our towns, and also promotes
quality education for our kids. We must look to the future and
pass the budget for our kids.
I believe that it is time that attention must be paid to the
most important issue facing any School Board, and that issue
MUST be education. It is time to bring our communities together
as one Educational District and dedicate ourselves to giving
our children the best possible education we can give them, in
the safest possible environment.
We need to make sure that Education is the focus of the Board
of Education; to do otherwise is to bankrupt our future.
I would like to take a moment to thank Superintendent Justine
Winters, Phoenicia Principal Linda Sella, Woodstock Principal
Bobbi Schnell, Bennett Principal Dr. Laurie Cassel, Middle School
Principal Gayle Kavanagh, High School Principal Barbara Ruben,
Shandakan Supervisor Bob Cross, Woodstock Supervisor Jeremy
Wilber, Olive Supervisor Berndt Leifeld, Hurley Supervisor Gary
Bellows, Jeanne Shultis, Robin Sears and countless teachers,
parents and residents who have spoken with me and provided for
me as much information as they have regarding all manner of
issues within our District. You’re all wonderful for putting
up with my questions.
I truly believe that individuals, such as these and such as
you and I, can make a huge difference in any endeavor, and if
you add your voice to mine, together we can make a difference
in the quality of the education we pay for our children to receive.
I believe that, for our children, we can and should be one School
District, not four.
I believe that, for our children, we can and should be one community,
I care deeply for our children, for our community and for our
schools, and if elected, I will strive to make a difference
for ALL of our kids and I will promote high quality and affordable
education; I ask, please, for YOU to choose to make a difference
and come on out to the polls and vote for me on May 17th, and
vote to pass the budget.
How fortunate for the Onteora School District that Lisa Childers
will run for one of the seats on the school board. Lisa’s
involvement with school affairs goes back several years. Her
commitment to the children in the district and her respect for
the taxpayers that fund the district are equally deep. She is
certainly among the most qualified of all the candidates. When
folks in the district get to hear Lisa it will easily convince
them what a truly honest, dedicated and smart person she is
and how lucky we are to have her as a school board candidate.
I am voting for Lisa Childers for school board on May 17, and
I urge everyone with an interest in Onteora School District
affairs to do the same.
Woodstock Town Supervisor
I am writing to strongly urge residents of the Onteora School
District to join me in supporting Anne-Marie Johansson as she
seeks to re-join the School Board on May 17th. Anne-Marie brings
a calm, committed and dedicated voice to the Board and has proven
herself a dedicated member of the community in the many different
capacities she has served us over the years.
Her ability to balance the disparate needs of various district
needs, to weigh the relative merits of divergent points of view
and to channel those needs into positions that will benefit
the larger community is truly impressive. She holds no single
issue, nor no one constituency solely as her own, but is able
to represent the larger interests of the students of the district
as a whole. As a parent of an Onteora High School student, there
is no one I would rather see represent both my own and my son’s
interests on the Board.
Anne-Marie is dedicated to working to pass what is a fair, responsible
and critically needed school district budget. In her next term
on the Board, I am confident she will ensure fiscal responsibility
while at the same time maintaining the need to support our students
– our future friends and community leaders – as
they are nurtured by our school district.
I am proud to support Anne-Marie Johansson and hope you will
do as well. Please vote on May 17th for Anne-Marie!
West Hurley, NY
I was one of the many volunteers who had participated in the
May 1 cleanup of the Ashokan Reservoir organized by the Catskill
Even though the skies were gray, the sunny smiles, sense of
camaraderie, and feelings of accomplishment experienced by all
who attended brightened the day.
Conspicuous by their absence were the faces of the many local
politicians who profess their concern and dedication to our
beautiful Catskills but can’t find the time to “roll
up their sleeves and break a sweat” in an effort to preserve
our pristine mountains and water. Lip service seems to be their
If it was that Sunday was the excuse, the next clean up will
be Saturday, May 21. Perhaps then some of our illustrious pols
will get up off their “duffs” and pitch in –
think of the “photo ops” and votes they may garner!
I am writing because our Senators need to support President
Bush’s nominees to the nation’s federal courts during
the 109th Congress. President Bush has nominated qualified jurists
who will uphold the laws of the land and not legislate from
If our Senators cannot support the President’s judicial
nominees, however, they should do their constitutional duty
and at least give them the courtesy of a vote. During 2003 and
2004, someU.S. Senators took the unprecedented step of filibustering
President Bush’s judicial nominees. In fact, 20% of President
Bush’s circuit court nominees did not even get an up or
down vote. This is totally unacceptable!
Our courts are the backbone of our judicial system. Without
judges on the bench, our judicial system cannot operate effectively.
As a result of the vacancy crisis facing many of our federal
courts, our system of democracy is being jeopardized. Our Senate
can do something to correct this problem by ensuring that the
President’s nominees get a vote on the floor of the U.S.
Thank you. Louis Tolchin
Stone Ridge, NY
On behalf of the Catskill Heritage Alliance, a round of applause
and hearty thanks to all the volunteers who helped at the Ashokan
Reservoir cleanup on Sunday, May 1st. It was a hugely successful
endeavor. A mountain of trash was collected, and we had a good
time gathering it up and hauling it out.
What?!? You don’t believe stream cleanup duty can be fun?
You’ve got two more chances to see for yourself. On Saturday,
May 14, we’ll be helping out Trout Unlimited as they coordinate
an Esopus cleanup from Phoenicia to Mt. Tremper. Meet in front
of Onteora H.S. in Boiceville at 9 am for the two-hour effort.
And the job’s not done at the Ashokan either. CHA will
again be coordinating the final Ashokan Reservoir cleanup on
Saturday morning, May 21st. Meet at 9AM at the Frying Pan parking
area of the reservoir. All you need to bring are a pair of work
gloves and a sense of humor. We will work from 9AM to11AM. For
specific directions or details call Jo-Anne at 688-2038 after
May 12th. Please try to join us. We need your help.
CHA Stream Cleanup Coordinator
It was a treat to read your column on Isabel Bengtson, E.A.
The usual view of Tax Accountants is as stuffy and impersonal
-e.g. H & R Block agents. You show that professionals, like
Mrs. Bengtson, can have a softer, personal side in their practice.
Even after 20 years she’s obviously concerned with her
clientele for their long-term benefit.
Kudos to Isabel Bengtson, E.A. and the wish for continued success
in her practice, and The Olive Press for your efforts to highlight
local events and personalities.
It is a shame that the Emerson Inn burned, but how can CEO Ted
Wright compare this fire, where no lives were lost to the devastation
that occurred on September 11,2001? He states, “It’
9-11 for us... It’s a tragedy. But we will rebuild quickly”.
I can only guess he was so upset by his financial loss that
he wasn’t thinking clearly.
Let me begin by stating that I know that you would rather not
hear what I have to say. I also know when the time comes for
a decision to be made that this board could very well look very
different. On the other hand there are people who sit on this
board who will be here when the time comes to make a decision
and it is to them and the ones who may be here that I wish to
My name is Linda Burkhardt and I am councilwoman in the Town
of Olive. And truthfully I would rather not have to be addressing
you but the people that we both represent serve deserve to have
their needs brought before this board and they deserve to have
them be considered with careful and reasoned intent!
I am of course speaking of the alternative method of taxation,
called the large parcel law.
I know that the facts and figures are all there for you to consider
and you have heard of all that Olive has done to correct any
"perceived inequities" that were brought up previously.
I want to address an issue that strikes at the heart of every
Olive Citizen. That issue is that the majority of theAshokan
Reservoir is in the Town of Olive! Not in Shandaken or in Woodstock
but OLIVE! This is what sticks in our throat the hardest! The
money is always an issue but the taking of the reservoir out
of Olive cuts to the quick!
Imagine if you will that you build a beautiful swimming pool
in your back yard, you had all the work done ,you paid for the
work, you lived with the inconvenience of having it built you
even had your insurance rates raised because you now have this
beautiful pool in your yard. Now imagine your neighbors decide
that because this pool is in their neighborhood that they should
be allowed to swim in it also and that they should not have
to endure any of the hard ships involved with having a pool.
And stretching your imaginations further imagine those neighbors
go to the town government stating their request and instead
of sticking up for the homeowner whose property the pool is
on the town government sides with the neighbors and forces you
to let these neighbors swim in your pool!
I know that this is a far-fetched scenario but if you look at
it it is the way the people of Olive feel with this alternative
form of taxation! When Olive is taken to court by New York City
the other towns in this district will not be there, when roads
are closed the other towns won’t feel the effect. The
Ashokan reservoir is in the Town of Olive! This has become a
matter of principle for the citizens of Olive! I ask you to
please keep this in mind when you are asked to look at the alternative
method of taxation and please know that you do NOT have to vote
for or against using this alternative method…you can just
Linda M Burkhardt
Olive Bridge, NY
The Onteora school board election and budget vote is May 17th.
We are fortunate to have candidates like Rita Vanacore, Cindy
O'Connor and Mary Jane Bernholz. They are very qualified, and
I am certain they will do an excellent job by bringing fresh
ideas and energy to the board. In speaking with them I am impressed
with their knowledge of the issues that concern our children
and our tax dollars. Each is very articulate, intelligent, and
clearly dedicated to providing the highest quality education
at the best possible cost. Our board will be significantly improved
when these dedicated ladies are elected.
If you voted in the last political election you are already
registered to vote in the school election. If you did not vote
in November then you need to register on May 10th. Please call
the school at 657-6383 to get the specifics on this. Please
be sure to vote; our children deserve the best.
Renters are also eligible to vote.
John R. Tisch
West Shokan, NY
We know many craftsmen, teachers, artists and technicians know
what they are doing, saying or offering by observing and listening.
Not so with the "Reverend" Johann Christoph Arnold
of Rifton. His letter in the Press of March 31, 2005 is just
so much "gibberish" confusion and contradiction that
I am compelled to set aside my Large Parcel Crusade and respond
to Mr. Arnold.
Mr. Arnold states right off that Terri Schiavo was on life support.
Not so, medically. Her life support is/was no different than
the life support he and I, indeed all of us enjoy three times
a day. We take our sustenance ["that which supports life",
Reader's Digest Encyclopedia] with a cup, fork and spoon while
Ms. Schiavo [and others in a hospital or nursing home] take
it intravenously. I, myself have been on "life support"
eight years ago while enjoying a triple by-pass operation and
again in January of 2005 for a heart valve replacement. Maybe
the plumbing should have been "yanked" either the
first time or for sure four months ago, eh Mr. Arnold? My life
support was the "Heart/Lung Machine. After all, Terri Schiavo
was a nuisance, now wasn't she? And the controversy wasn't for
15 years either. More like eight.
The observation that we "have a fear of death or suffering"
and rely on medical technology is brilliant, Sir. I still break
out in a sweat when approaching the dental [electric] chair
and the will to live is just as strong in you as in me or others.
Mr. Arnold declares that the Creator (you forgot the capital
"C", reverend) should be the "taker" of
life [with the help of unfaithful husbands and judges] which
is quite contrary to scripture. Since when does a judge summarily
sentence an innocent person to death but will hear a death penalty
appeal over and over again. Ultimately God does take us but
in His wisdom and mercy He has given us technology and technicians
to extend life no matter the quality. By the way Reverend, who
determines "quality of life"? I am grateful daily
for the advances in medicine, equipment, knowledge and the adaptation
of a cow valve for my own personal use.
When Mr. Arnold states that the President [GW Bush?] intervened
he knows that is not true. Nor did Congress get involved. GW
and a few legislators expressed themselves in individual statements,
"if we err, let it be on the side of life". Now JEB
Bush, the Governor of Florida injected himself into the mix
as he should have because of his oath "to protect the life
[and property] of the citizens of Florida".
As for your admiration of Michael Schiavo Mr. Reverend, you
worship at the wrong alter. Michael Schiavo is a "low life"
[Ananias/Judas] who pledged to use the lawsuit settlement for
the welfare and maintenance of his wife, Terri. Instead he abandoned
his wife for another woman, produced two children with her and
then attempted to manage two families. Why did he not divorce
Terri and get on with his "new love"? That's not scriptural
either but "might as well hang for a lamb as a sheep".
[And don't forget the residual of the settlement]. A mother
can love 3, 5 or 8 children 100% each [impossible mathematically]
but a husband cannot love two women concurrently. Your priorities
are "screwy" sir.
You mention our fear of "death and dying" again in
your letter and then reveal to us that "we all have to
die one day". Thanks alot. You have "wrecked"
my life. I thought as you do, that we are here forever.
You suggest that we lay aside our agendas and opinions and ask
God's will be done. Right on Reverend! Many of our agendas and
opinions are within God's will and most come at God's suggestion
through His Word. Life is precious whether a newborn appears
with spinal biffita or three ears. Life is precious even as
I approach age 80. Can I get an "Amen", Reverend?
[The ball is in your court].
Glenn T. Anderson
I have worked with Rita Vanacore now for six months on some
very difficult projects involving the future equity of the Onteora
School District. Inherent in this work was research into the
(to me) tortureous mathematics relating to the exremely complex
business of ORPS figures, of town and school budgets, and other
complex mathematical matters. Not only does Rita grasp figures
immediately, she is able to immediately employ them into the
more concrete business of how they play out in real situations—a
talent I have seldom seen. We have all experienced her strength
and effectiveness in meetings of all sorts, meetings whose members
were in various emotional stages from lethargic to furious.
Working with her own fine tuning of receptivity and directness,
Rita possesses the ability to stimulate such a diverse group
to be focused, creative and hopeful. Rita is a tenacious worker
who will secure a strong, cohesive educational district. That’s
her goal. She is an excellent diplomat because her diplomacy
is charged by intelligence, insight and that broad sense of
fairness that doesn’t encourage the closing of minds.
In the best sense of the words, Rita is an extremely effective,
working member of her district. It is obvious to every one of
her present colleagues that she will make a great Onteora School
Board Trustee. This is to say that I admire Rita Vanacore tremendously
and would vote for her more than once if the law allowed!
On April 23, 2005 you published a picture of a man shearing
a sheep with a pipe in his mouth. I found that to be stupid
and not noteworthy of publishing. That sheep is a living creature
not a bag of wool. Thank God that man is not a dentist or a
doctor. That should never be tolerated, then why tolerate that
around an animal?
I think you can find better pictures to publish.
I am pleased to report that the first filing of our Large Parcel
lawsuit in Northern District Federal Court is imminent. We are
initially seeking a preliminary injunction to prohibit enactment
of the Large Parcel Bill within the Town of Olive Corporation
boundary until all outstanding issues are assessed and adjudicated
before a Federal jury.
The sizeable list of defendants suggests to me that the top
of the ant mound is about to be kicked off.
Our second filing, to be tendered in a fortnight, is a plenary
suit that seeks actual and compensatory damages of ten thousand
dollars per Olive resident, or such relief as the court may
How the Onteora school board and the U.C. Legislature could
overlook the 200 percent disparity in woodland assessments that
exists between the towns in the district is beyond me, but they
are the neo-arbiters in this case until we appear before a jury,
who with the judge, are the only lawful arbiters of fairness,
according to the U.S. Constitution. We look forward to this
process so that we may move on, win or lose.
On May 15th, there are two important events, the Large Parcel
Rally at Davis Park in West Shokan from 1- 4 PM, and the U.C.
Flood Aid Benefit Concert at Grant Every Park in Shokan, from
noon till 9 pm. I encourage all to attend both. Many of the
approx. 250 folks who are still homeless have lost everything
and deserve our help. 9 bands are slated to play and Fred Gooderham
and Tony Amato have done an outstanding job of organizing this
much needed event.
I have requested that the UC Health Dept. contribute the costly
food service inspection at no cost, and UC Legislative Chairman
Gerentine was exceedingly gracious to offer to pay the cost
if the Health Dept. will not do so. Mr. Gerentine was a prime
mover behind the only other flood aid benefit that I am aware
of, the UNICO effort that I believe was undertaken by Chairman
Gerentines church in Marlboro.
I will be making Olive Civil Defense Wood-fired pizza at the
concert, and the Olive Democrats will be making burgers and
hotdogs, with all proceeds to go to the local Red Cross chapter,
who is administering the flood aid in Ulster County. Susan Rounds
of Olivebridge is the Ulster County Red Cross Chairperson, a
very able administrator, and a very caring neighbor.
I am not surprised that fair Olivians assumed the Woodstock
school debt when we welcomed them into the district many years
ago, and I am not surprised that we are the only Township in
the County that is staging a major Flood Aid event to benefit
the victims. It is the Olivian way, then and now. Olivians are
so nice, they even hesitate to sue over a major theft of corporate
The Senior Garden at Tongore Pines is progressing nicely, and
I would like to thank Valerie Fanarjian and Frank Parslow of
Boiceville Lumber Mill for their donation of woodchips that
will be used to create a soft walking path to the garden. It
was great to see the mill operating again with Frank supervising
the hands on operation of the mill, under Val's discerning eye,
of course. Val was gracious enough to provide signage space
for the "Olive got screwed sign" on Rt. 28, across
from the school.
Garden work parties start at 9ish on Saturday mornings, weather
permitting. Call Laura Tabbal, garden coordinator and educator,
at 657-6151 to donate plants, seeds, or to obtain more information
about the garden. Call me at 657-2030, for more information
about the clay oven workshop that will take place at the garden
also, at a time to be determined by those who participate. Clay
dancers will be needed to prepare the clay, sand and straw for
use in the oven dome, and music will be provided.
VOTE ONLY FOR BERNHOLZ, O' CONNOR, AND VANACORE IN THE SCHOOL
BOARD ELECTION. They are all highly qualified and will serve
Olive and Onteora well. Vote your conscience on the school budget.
See you at the Flood Aid Concert!