Cops To Stay...
The state’s top court has ruled that New York City watershed
police have the authority to issue traffic tickets in the city’s
nine-county watershed area.
According to Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the City’s
Department of Environmental Protection, the decision came down
from the State Court of Appeals this week on the DEP Police
“I think it was a 4-3 vote… the DEP Police get to
keep their jobs,” he said.
In 2003, a local judge in Delaware County threw out speeding
tickets issued by officers of the city’s Department of
Environmental Protection. The case was upheld by Delaware County
Court, but the county district attorney’s office has appealed
the issue to the state Court of Appeals.
The case began in January 2003, when city DEP officers, in separate
incidents, issued speeding tickets in the Delaware County town
of Hamden. Hamden Town Justice Duane Merrill dismissed the tickets,
and when the district attorney’s office appealed, Delaware
County Judge Carl Becker ruled that DEP police have no jurisdiction
in Delaware County. Merrill cited the "colonial nature
of the relationship" between the city-controlled police
force and watershed communities that he said threatens the sovereignty
of those communities.
Merrill also said the only legal authority that DEP police have
comes from a 1906 law giving them authority to protect the inhabitants
of the area during the construction of watershed reservoirs.
On Wednesday, May 11, Emerson Place founder and Managing Partner
Dean Gitter was set to give a press conference at the former
Legends and Deanies restaurant/nightclub at the junction of
Routes 212 and 375 in Woodstock announcing a new, temporary
restaurant venture that would keep at least half of the 52 employees
of the Emerson Inn working, including newly hired chef Michel
Nischan, a James Beard award winning author and television personality
who has appeared on the Food network and “The Oprah Winfrey
The Emerson Inn was destroyed by an early morning fire on April
25 that is currently under investigation by the Ulster County
Arson Task Force and other entities. Gitter and other Emerson
Place principals have already begun talking about creating plans
for rebuilding the award-winning Inn, a project that could take
years. The recreation of the Emerson Inn in Woodstock, for dining
purposes unless Gitter and company can wind their way through
the town’s stringent zoning requirements, has been labeled
by the company as an “aggressive plan with which most
positions lost to the fire will be retained.”
On Monday, May 2, Emerson Place’s CEO and President, Ted
Wright, quietly resigned his positions, along with his assistant,
with no formal announcement. Nischan has since been named The
Emerson Inn’s new General Manager.
“Clearly, after losing our signature property to a devastating
fire, Emerson Place no longer has a need for a world-class hospitality
veteran like Ted and, he understands that,” Gitter wrote
in an e-mail this week, when asked about Wright’s departure.
“However, we are pleased that Ted will continue to play
a role as we move forward with plans for the Belleayre Resort
and its two hotels.”
Under another of his companies, Crossroads Ventures, Gitter
is currently enmeshed in the long-term process of trying to
win approvals for his controversial multi-million dollar Belleayre
Resort plans, which would see the building of two hotels and
golf courses in the Big Indian/Highmount area. The New York
State Department of Environmental Conservation is currently
awaiting word from an administrative law judge as to what environmental
issues will need trial-like adjudication before the state permitting
process can continue. The New York City Department of Environmental
Protection, meanwhile, has already gone on record saying that
it will not grant permits to the proposal as presently drafted.
In a separate development (see story) one of Crossroads’
original partners, Fleischmanns’ native Kenneth Pasternak,
has recently been notified that he will be facing charges for
financial hijinks on Wall Street.
Legends, located at the entrance to Woodstock, has had a checkered
history of businesses in recent years, following years of stability
as Deanies, one of the town’s leading establishments for
decades. It was most recently run as a rave-oriented night club.
The building is owned by Cyrus Adler, a New York attorney who
also owns the Tinker Street Cinema.
Recent plans for the Legends location include Adleers’
plan to build a new Cineplex behind the restaurant/club, for
which he’s already won zoning changes. Before moving to
the Catskills, Gitter was involved with Cambridge, MA’s
famed Orson Welles Cinema, one of the nation’s first repertory
movie houses. The Orson Welles burned to the ground in 1986
around the time major renovations were occurring in its neighborhood.
Before this new move to Woodstock, Gitter long touted his intentions
to keep his entrepreneurial activities within the town of Shandaken.
Several people commented on the new move by bringing up the
many establishments that are closed or for sale in the Phoenicia
area at present, from the Woodland Valley Inn and former Val
D’Isere to the former Auberge des Quatres Saisons, Pierre
& Yvettes, and Phoenicia Hotel.
All Emerson Place employees were called together for an announcement
about the new Woodstock venture at the old Riseley conference
center building on the Emerson Place compound in Mount Pleasant
on Tuesday afternoon, May 11.
In separate business, Shandaken Police announced recently that
they had arrested one Robert J Perry Jr.m age 29 of Kingston,
after receiving a 911 ca11 for a dumpster fire behind the Catskill
Kaleidoscope on Route 28 Phoenicia at about 11:O5 pm Thursday
evening, May 5. Police stated that the arson was called in to
911 after Perry allegedly found the dumpster on fire. Following
a police investigation, the fire was determined to have been
started by Perry, a security employee hired to keep an eye on
the nearby Emerson. Perry was charged with Arson 5th degree,
a class A Misdemeanor and issued an appearance ticket to appear
in the Town of Shandaken Court. Further charges are pending
at this time.
Emerson Place Public Relations Office Paul Rakov said this week
that a new security firm, Allstate Security out of Orange County,
has been hired to watch the charred remains of the Inn, still
Asked whether Wright and his assistant’s leaving had anything
to do with reports that the two had been named in a new lawsuit
filed against the Emerson in state Supreme Court last week,
Rakov replied with a simple, “It doesn’t.”
An Onteora high school student allegedly beat another student
unconscious earlier this month. After punching his victim in
the face several times and knocking him down, the attacker reportedly
kicked him in the face, splitting the boys lip and breaking
his teeth. An ambulance brought the victimized teenager, an
eighth grader, to the hospital where he was treated for having
a concussion. The fight was over fallout from an alleged drug
This extreme incident, said to have occurred right in the hallway
at the victims locker, has people talking, but according to
Onteora’s Superintendent of Schools, Justine Winters,
fights are more the exception than the rule when it comes daily
life at the junior senior high school.
Describing the facility as “very safe,” Winters
said privacy laws prevent her from discussing specific cases.
She did admit that there have been cases, although no more so
than any other school district she has been involved with.
On Tuesday the victim’s mother, speaking on the condition
of anonymity, was trying to get word on the results of a disciplinary
hearing that she believed took place Monday. She hopes the school
district decides to suspend the attacker because now her son
is afraid to go to school. But she fears the punishment may
not be a long one, as the district would still be required to
provide the boy with an education, which could be costly.
Winters said she could not confirm whether a fight or a hearing
had taken place, but did say the school district had the ability
to suspend students “for immense amounts of time.”
A few weeks ago, according to sources, a high school girl allegedly
slashed another girl with a broken Snapple bottle.
Our Jail Saga…
The County Legislature oversight committee has endorsed spending
$4.78 million for claims and management and architect’s
fees for the much-delayed Ulster County Law Enforcement Center…
by a one vote margin. The monies, which now need to be approved
by the full Legislature on May 12, would bring the cost of the
controversial jail project to $84.58 million, almost $13 million
higher than its original budget. Minority Democrats objected
less to paying more money to construction management firm Bovis
Lend Lease, architect Crandell Associates and project labor
agreement consultants Hill International for construction costs,
which they have characterized as unending… and a boondoggle.
The Law Enforcement Center is a year-and-a-half behind schedule
with a current completion date targeted for Sept. 21, 2005.
“The good news, if there’s any good news in this
disaster, is that it looks like it may actually be completed,”
said Minority Leader David Donaldson, D-Kingston.
Because the county will have to borrow the money it is trying
to authorize, a favorable vote by a two-thirds majority of the
Legislature, or 22 of the 33 members, will be required for the
measure to pass on Thursday.
A principal financial backer of a proposed golf resort in town
is facing charges leveled against him last month by the world's
leading private-sector provider of financial regulatory services,
the NASD, which charged Kenneth Pasternak, former CEO of Knight
Securities, L.P., and John Leighton, former head of the firm's
Institutional Sales Desk, with supervisory violations in connection
with fraudulent sales to institutional customers in 1999 and
Pasternak, a much touted financial backer of the controversial
Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park who spent his boyhood in nearby
Fleischmanns, is charged with failing to supervise Leighton's
brother and failing to establish and enforce a system designed
to ensure compliance with federal securities laws and NASD rules.
NASD's investigation of Leighton's brother is continuing.
From January 1999 to September 2000, Leighton's brother was
responsible for generating nearly $135 million in trading profits
for Knight - or approximately 30 percent of the trading profits
of Knight's entire Institutional Sales Desk. NASD's complaint
calls the magnitude of the profits generated by Leighton's brother
- both in absolute terms and in profit per share - "extraordinary."
Pasternak was the Chief Executive Officer of Knight and John
Leighton's supervisor. Pasternak was also the designated supervisor
of the firm's Institutional Sales Desk in John Leighton's absence.
NASD's complaint alleges that Pasternak was responsible for
the deficient supervisory structure by assigning John Leighton
to supervise his brother's trading while at the same time approving
their unique profit-sharing arrangement. Pasternak also failed
to have the firm adopt any supervisory procedures or systems
that would address the conflict inherent in this unusually suspect
arrangement and the deficient supervisory structure he approved.
NASD's complaint alleges that although Pasternak knew that John
Leighton assigned most of Knight's largest institutional customer
accounts to his brother, and knew that Leighton's brother generated
an inordinate amount of profits for Knight in absolute terms
and a grossly disproportionate amount of the profits of the
firm's Institutional Sales Desk, Pasternak did not take reasonable
steps to determine whether John Leighton was monitoring or reviewing
his brother's trading, did not review or monitor the trading
himself, and did not assign anyone else to do so. Neither John
Leighton nor Pasternak questioned the extraordinary profits
or took any steps to see how Leighton's brother was making them.
"In this case, it is inconceivable that fraudulent trading
of this magnitude could go on for so long and generate such
an exorbitant amount of excess profits and escape detection
by the firm's supervisory systems and the supervisors themselves,"
said NASD Vice Chairman Mary L. Schapiro. "Supervisors
are obligated to take appropriate steps to ensure that persons
acting under their supervision comply with securities law and
regulations, and we will not hesitate to take action against
supervisors who fail to fulfill that responsibility," she
In December 2004, Knight paid $79 million to settle NASD and
Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it had defrauded
institutional customers through the fraudulent and deceptive
conduct of its leading institutional sales trader, who was John
Leighton's brother. That sanction included $25 million in fines
and a payment of $54 million in ill-gotten profits and interest
into a Fair Fund established by the SEC for compensating harmed
On April 25, the NYS Thruway Authority board of directors voted
to approve its first toll increase since 1988. The increases
will enable a seven-year, $2.6 billion capital maintenance plan
that includes higher speed E-Z Pass lanes. The increased tolls,
which take the form of a 25 percent hike for passenger vehicles
and 35 percent jump for commercial traffic, rounded off to the
nearest nickel, will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, May
The Thruway Authority has said that motorists can drop their
average increases by enrolling in the E-Z Pass program and other
volume discount plans.
Under the new rates, the current $1.60 toll between Kingston
and Albany will increase to $2, but only $1.80 for E-Z Pass
users. For subscribers to a commuter plan, the toll will be
The Thruway Authority’s last proposal to increase tolls,
in January of 2000, met with stiff public opposition, lacked
support from either governor George Pataki or the state legislature
and was withdrawn a month later. This time, the response was
substantially more muted. Characterizing the Thruway as the
“safest, most reliable highway in America,” a Pataki
spokesman said. “The additional investments being made
will allow the Thruway Authority to continue to maintain and
improve safety and reliability along this critical travel corridor.”
The Thruway Authority plans to rehabilitate more than 500 “lane
miles” of roadway and 220 bridges, and construct 43 new
E-Z Pass lanes over the next seven years. Allocations in the
Hudson Valley region include $102 million for the reconstruction
of the Thruway’s intersection with Route 17, and $35.7
million to complete the new exchange with I-84, scheduled to
open in 2006.
The New York State Court of Appeals has ruled that Indian-owned
casinos are legal, opening up new discussion of a $500 million
casino proposed for the 1994 Woodstock Festival anniversary
concert site in Saugerties at the same time that a concurrent
US Supreme Court ruling has jeopardized plans for casinos in
the Route 209 and 17 corridors of Sullivan County and lower
Ulster County, and brought back into focus a county deal of
two years ago.
Three weeks ago, Governor George Pataki withdrew pending legislation
negotiated to allow five Indian-run casinos in the Catskills
after weeks of contentious public hearings in Albany. Todd Alhart,
a spokesperson for the governor, said recently that Pataki remains
committed to the casino proposals but wants to revise them in
light of the March 29 U.S. Supreme Court decision, and the coalition
of anti-gambling interests whose lawsuit was overturned in state
court takes his appeals to Washington.
Behind the high court’s interests in the New York cases
is the transferability of tribal sovereignty to other lands
for casino purposes, which is only occurring in our state.
The proposed Winston Farm casino across from the Saugerties
Thruway exit would include a golf course and other non-casino
development on the 840-acre property.
The Seneca-Cayuga chief tribe seeking to build the casino resort
has no specific claim to the Saugerties’ land or to Ulster
County and would need an act of U.S.Congress, in addition to
state legislation, approving the creation of trust lands to
enable an out-of-state Indian tribe to create a sovereign parcel.
Within the coming weeks, the governor expects to have proposed
legislation back on the table to permit five additional Native
American-owned casinos in New York, requiring the approval of
both the state legislature and Congress. The legislation would
settle land claims with the Seneca-Cayugas, the New York Cayugas,
the Stockbridge Munsee Community from Wisconsin, the Oneidas
of Wisconsin and the Akwesasne Mohawks.
A six-day courtroom-style debate in Kansas is trying to decide
what children should be taught in schools about the origin of
life — was it natural evolution or did God create the
world? The hearings, complete with opposing attorneys and a
long list of witnesses, were arranged amid efforts by some Christian
groups in Kansas and nationally to reverse the domination of
evolutionary theory in the nation’s schools.
“Part of our overall goal is to remove the bias against
religion that is currently in schools,” said the leading
group who have forced the hearings, which are trying to convince
state education officials to change guidelines for how evolution
theory is taught in science classes at a time when Kansas education
authorities are producing new science teaching guidelines.
The hearings — organized by a committee of the Kansas
Board of Education — were taking place 80 years after
the so-called “Monkey Trial” of John Scopes, a Tennessee
biology teacher who was found guilty of illegally teaching evolution.
There is renewed debate over evolution in more than a dozen
U.S. states and a resurgence across the nation in the influence
of religious conservatives, who played an important part in
the reelection of Republican President Bush last year.
Scientists have refused to participate in the hearings this
past week on how the theory of evolution should be treated in
public schools, but they haven’t exactly been silent.
Scientists said they don’t see the need to cram their
arguments into a few days of testimony, like out-of-state witnesses
who were called by advocates of the ‘’intelligent
design’’ theory. In 1999, the Kansas board deleted
most references to evolution in its science standards.
Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Kenneth Y Tomlinson’s, former editor of Readers’
Digest, has started working towards changing public television
and radio to correct what he and other conservatives consider
liberal bias, prompting public broadcasting leaders and others
in the media to object that his actions pose a threat to editorial
independence. At the same time, the contract for corporation’s
chief executive Kathleen A Cox has not been renewed, and Tomlinson
has said that he wants to replace her with Asst Secretary of
State Patricia Harrison, former chairwoman of the Republican
Without knowledge of his board, Tomlinson contracted last year
with outside consultants to keep track of guests’ political
leanings on the program Now With Bill Moyers; he also encouraged
corporation and public broadcasting officials to broadcast The
Journal Editorial Report, a Fox-like talk show, and repeatedly
criticized public television programs as too liberal overall,
while simultaneously denying trying to remove or tamper internally
with existing shows,
PBS president and chief executive Pat Mitchell is now challenging
Tomlinson publicly, disputing accusations of bias and criticizing
some of his actions. She plans to step down when her contract
expires next year.
Stocks To Drop?
For tens of millions of baby boomers and younger workers, the
basic long-range financial plan is simple: accumulate stocks
and bonds while working, then slowly sell them off to keep up
a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. Not so fast, say a growing
number of analysts these days, who have begun warning that a
flood of boomer retirees with trillions of dollars of assets
to sell over the next 20 to 40 years threatens to crush stock
and bond prices. New belief is that it will take a massive investment
in U.S. stocks by people in India, China and other developing
countries to prevent a market meltdown.
The ratio of working-age people to retirees will decline over
the next 30 years to an estimated 2.6 to 1 from 4.9 to 1 today.
Simple supply-and-demand economics suggests that as retirees
dump their holdings into a thin market, stock prices could plummet.
Mean Lil Girls
Meanness in girls can start when they still are toddlers, a
new study which notes that girls as young as 3 or 4 will use
manipulation and peer pressure to get what they want has found,
pointing to behaviors ranging from regularly excluding others
to threatening to withdraw friendship when they don’t
get their way. The report found that the “mean girls”
are highly liked by some and strongly disliked by others. They
are socially skilled and popular but can be manipulative and
subversive if necessary. They are feared as well as respected.
The study is the first to link relational aggression and social
status in preschoolers. It appears in the current issue of the
journal Early Education and Development. The research has found
that about 17 percent to 20 percent of preschool and school-age
girls display such “mean” behavior. It also shows
up in boys, but much less frequently.
“The typical mantra is that boys are more aggressive than
girls, but in the last decade we’ve learned that girls
can be just as aggressive as boys, just in different ways,”
the report says.There is also evidence that shows that physically
and relationally aggressive children are more likely to have
parents who discipline with psychological control and manipulation,
withdrawing love, avoiding eye contact and laying guilt trips
on the kids.
The U.S. military may not be able to win any new wars as quickly
as planned because the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have
strained its manpower and resources, the nation’s top
military officer told Congress in a classified report recently.
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described
the U.S. military as in a period of increased risk. “We
will prevail,’’ Myers said when asked about the
report. “The timelines (to winning a new war) may have
to be extended and we may have to use additional resources,
but that doesn’t matter because we’re going to be
successful in the end.’’
Myers predicted the risk would go down in a year or two. Still,
the report says the U.S. military is able to win any conflict
it becomes involved in, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.
“We are at war and that level of operations does have
some impact on troops,’’ White House spokesman Trent
Duffy said. “But the president continues to be confident,
as well as his military commanders, that we can meet any threat
Among the most likely conflicts the Pentagon foresees in the
near term, the report says, are with North Korea and Iran, the
two remaining members of President Bush’s “axis
of evil.’’ The Bush administration accuses both
of having ambitions to become a nuclear power; North Korea has
already claimed it has nuclear weapons. The U.S. military has
timelines in place for defeating its potential adversaries,
given enough soldiers, tanks, aircraft and warships to do the
job. But with so much of those resources tied up fighting insurgencies
in Iraq and Afghanistan, those timelines could slip, Myers said,
according to the defense official.
Omens are gathering that the real estate boom is close to its
end, with market pundits starting to draw parallels between
the ongoing boom and the NASDAQ market rally of the late 1990s.
New reports are finding that those who might be interested in
selling their homes are increasingly hesitant to do so because
they are not sure they can find an equivalent property to purchase
at a price they can afford (even taking into account the unbelievable
price appreciation in their own property). The problem is not
simply that price appreciation has distorted the basic buying
and selling motivations of the market; the market is so overbought
that traditional courtesies that facilitate transactions (such
as allowing a property sale to be contingent on the seller finding
a new home) have disappeared altogether.
As a result, a growing number of analysts are starting to predict
that the market will effectively freeze up for a year before
prices start to tumble and the collapse in value ultimately
accelerates. Given the current state of the real estate, housing,
and mortgage markets in the United States, they suggest that
any stabilization or decline in prices could prove catastrophic,
virtually eliminating the net worth of the average American
household. An overwhelming number of Americans have very few
other assets beyond their home. And a majority of US banks currently
base a large amount of their assets on continuing real estate
appreciation. After all, real estate has been the only real
source of loan growth for the financial industry. Commercial
and industrial loans, the traditional mainstay credit products
for corporate America, have stagnated for the past five years.
The question, analysts conclude, is not whether the United States
can avoid a recession when the housing bubble collapses, but
whether the downturn will result in a recession or an actual
Al Gore may have been lampooned for taking credit in the Internet’s
development, but organizers of the Webby Awards for online achievements
don’t find it funny at all. In part to ‘’set
the record straight,’’ they will give Gore a lifetime
achievement award for three decades of contributions to the
Internet, said Tiffany Shlain, the awards’ founder and
chairwoman. ‘’It’s just one of those instances
someone did amazing work for three decades as congressman, senator
and vice president and it got spun around into this political
mess,’’ Shlain said. Vint Cerf, undisputedly one
of the Internet’s key inventors, will give Gore the award
at a June 6 ceremony in New York. ‘’He is indeed
due some thanks and consideration for his early contributions,’’
Gore, who boasted in a CNN interview he ‘’took the
initiative in creating the Internet,’’ was only
21 when the Internet was born out of a Pentagon project. But
after joining Congress eight years later, he promoted high-speed
telecommunications for economic growth and supported funding
increases for the then-fledging network, according to the International
Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which presents the annual
awards. He popularized the term ‘’information superhighway’’
as vice president.
A highly classified British memo, leaked in the midst of Britain’s
just-concluded election campaign, indicates that President Bush
decided to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by summer
2002 and was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data
supported his policy. The document, which summarizes a July
23, 2002, meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair with
his top security advisers, reports on a visit to Washington
by the head of Britain’s MI-6 intelligence service that
took place while the Bush administration was still declaring
to the American public that no decision had been made to go
“There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action
was now seen as inevitable,” the MI-6 chief said at the
meeting, according to the memo. “Bush wanted to remove
Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction
of terrorism and WMD,” weapons of mass destruction. The
memo added “the intelligence and facts were being fixed
around the policy.”
No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq since
the U.S. invasion in March 2003. The White House has repeatedly
denied accusations made by several top foreign officials that
it manipulated intelligence estimates to justify an invasion
The newly disclosed memo, which was first reported by the Sunday
Times of London, hasn’t been disavowed by the British
government. A former senior U.S. official called it “an
absolutely accurate description of what transpired” during
the senior British intelligence officer’s visit to Washington.
He spoke on condition of anonymity. A White House official said
the administration wouldn’t comment on leaked British