Any “nightmare” Ms. Helen Hallenbeck may be experiencing
regarding her failed septic system is not the fault of the New
York City Department of Environmental Protection or the Catskill
Watershed Corporation (Septic Horror Story, August 4). The persons
responsible, it seems, are the individual who holds her Power
of Attorney and perhaps the contractor hired to work on her
Nobody disputes that according to State law Ms. Hallenbeck’s
septic system failed and that she, as the homeowner, is responsible
for its repair or replacement. The DEP notice that was sent
to Ms. Hallenbeck on June 1, 2004 very clearly stated that the
Septic System Replacement and Rehabilitation Program is administered
by the Catskill Watershed Corporation and that the CWC should
be contacted to determine whether she is eligible to participate
in the program. (A copy of this Notice was made available to
the Olive Press prior to publication.)
The DEP inspector could not have guaranteed that New York City
would reimburse all or part of the cost of repair or replacement,
as it is the CWC and not the City that makes such decisions.
And it is outrageous to suggest that Ms. Hallenbeck was threatened
with eviction. The DEP’s enforcement powers do not include
eviction notices, and DEP has never attempted to evict anyone.
The person who was given responsibility by Ms. Hallenbeck to
manage her affairs should have paid more attention to the instructions
in the Notice before committing to begin any work. Clearly,
there was inadequate attention given to making the decision
of whom to hire and at what price. As to the matter of cost,
that is something that the homeowner or her representative has
to work out with the contractor hired for the job. The DEP’s
role is to review the engineering plans and approve them if
they meet regulatory requirements. The DEP has no role in making
sure that a homeowner gets a good deal from the contractor she
chooses to hire.
Typically, a homeowner will solicit and receive several estimates
for repair work and will accept the lowest bid from a reputable,
qualified contractor. And also typically, the repair will be
accomplished at the minimum cost to the homeowner. It is obvious
that what happened here is something quite different. Whether
the poor decisions made on behalf of Ms. Hallenbeck were simply
the result of negligence, or something more self-serving can
only be the subject of speculation, but to say that this is
a “bureacratic [sic] nightmare,” as the Olive Press
describes it, is to unjustly imply that the problems are the
result of government rather than individual incompetence.
The DEP has been very clear in its dealings with Ms. Hallenbeck
and has been very patient even though the necessary work remains
undone. Moreover, the Septic Replacement and Rehabilitation
Program has been a great success. Any blame for her present
predicament must be laid at the feet of those individuals who
are supposed to be looking after her needs and acting in her
Ed Polese, P.E.
Director, Bureau of Water Supply
Division of Engineering
New York City D.E.P.
Onteora High School will be sending out a Welcome Back package
the next two weeks. Included will be the 2005-2006 OPT/OUT Form
for 9-12th graders. The Federal No Child Left Behind Law mandates
that the schools 'allow' parents to opt out of having their
school send the children's information to the Department of
Defense for Recruiters to use. To achieve this, the parent must
send the form back by Sept 9th. It will be stored safely in
the school office. Make a copy before you mail it in.
This does not guarantee that families will not receive phone
calls from Recruiters (who ask for your child by name,by the
way). The New York Times reported in July that the Military
will soon contract information gathering out to marketing firms,
thus avoiding Privacy Laws.
Be aware of the new "Peace Corps Option" in the Recruiter's
sales talk. That is, after enlisting for a certain amount of
time in the Army, the child can appy to "switch" to
the Peace Corps. The glitch is that there is no room in the
Peace Corps. They take a tiny fraction of applicants as it is,
and the enlistee will have no special status on the list.
If you or a friend are at all concerned about the extent of
the Military presence in your adolescent's school, you might
want to investigate CCAMOS, Onteora Community Concerned About
the Military in Our Schools. Our Onteora parent/taxpayer group's
message is "We want to ensure that the young people have
all the information they need to make a decision which will
affect them for the rest of their lives, and might cost them
their lives." You can reach Onteora CCAMOS
The 1953, the year that Stalin died...and the year that the
Town of Olive last did a property assessment.
1953, the year that the Korean War ended...and the year that
the Town of Olive last did a property assessment.
1953, the year that George Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize... and the year that the Town of Olive last did a property
1953, the top five TV shows were I Love Lucy, Dragnet, Arthur
Godfrey's Talent Scouts, You Bet Your Life and the Milton Berle
Show... and the year that the Town of Olive last did a property
1953, President Eisenhower ended all wage, salary and price
controls... and the year that the Town of Olive last did a property
Fifty-two years ago the Town of Olive last did a property assessment
- 52 years ago! For over 50 years, the town of Olive has not
seen fit to share equally with the other townships the cost
of Onteora education. But fear not, the rest of the townships
in the Onteora School District, Olive is in the slow process
of a new property assessment.
One can imagine how much the Olive residents were shocked with
the increase of the Large Parcel action of last year. Shocked
enough to elect three Olive supporters to the school board whose
primary mission was to vote the Large Parcel plan down. With
that mission accomplished, what will the Town of Olive do regarding
their property assessment?
One needs only to read the weekly real estate sales in the paper
to see how unjust Olive's assessment is - last week a property
sold there for over $900,000 and the school tax was listed in
the $1,000 range. Is this sharing the load for the Onteora school
costs? Yes, property values are not the right way to provide
school funding (as a retired individual I can assess to that)
but it's the only thing we have right now until the politicians
can get their act together and make personal income a base.
One can now only hope that the Town of Olive, after 52 years
of inactivity, will continue their reassessment and finally
pay their fair share of the cost of Onteora education.
Oh, by the way, Town of Shandaken, 1978, the year of your last
assessment, saw the movie Annie Hall win the Oscar for best
picture, SONY introduced the Walkman (the first portable stereo),
and Karol Cardinal Wojtyla of Poland became Pope John Paul II.
As the summer draws to an end, parents and students alike are
beginning to prepare for the new school year. As our high school
and college kids return to the classrooms, they will once again
find representatives of the United States Armed Forces occupying
our schools. The infamous No Child Left Behind Law requires
that our schools allow military recruiters access to the campus
or risk the loss of federal funding. In addition, however, our
schools are also required to provide the military with personal
information which enables recruiters to contact our students,
invading the privacy of our homes. Students and parents, however,
by virtue of this same legislation, have the legal right to
request that the school does not provide the recruiters with
their names, addresses and telephone numbers. While this law
requires that the school district notify the parents of their
right, and some of our area schools have mailed 'opt/out' forms
to the homes of high schoolers, every student and parent who
does not want to be hounded by these increasingly desperate
and often unscrupulous recruiters should make sure the they
have notified the principal of their school that they do not
want their personal information released to the armed forces
or military recruiters. Schools must submit the list of students
who have 'opted/out' at the beginning of the school year, so
some of us may be obtaining these forms before the summer ends.
If not, protect your privacy by writing to the principal of
your local school district stating that, in accordance with
the Child Left Behind law, you wish to have your name, address
and phone number not be released to the armed forces or military
recruiters. Our schools are institutions of education and should
focus on learning while giving the well being of its students
its highest priority. The military has nothing to do with education
and these recruiters do not belong in our schools.
Army recruiters are so desperate for warm bodies to send overseas
that they are resorting to cold-calling a 17 year old Onteora
I answered the phone recently and assumed it was one of my daughter's
friends asking for her. The recruiter's voice had such an archetypal
teenage girl sound to it that the voices of Hilary Duff, Annette
Funicello, and Gidget sound like that of cigarette and whiskey-pickled
old harridans in comparison.
My daughter was polite but firm in turning down the invitation.
I do hope that the recruiter went on to phone Jenna and Barbara
Bush to ask them if their daddy will let them go to Iraq to
fight his war. But I suspect we're not going to hear cries of
"Bush lied, Jenna and Barbara died" anytime soon.
Local schools had better be careful otherwise they'd find Intelligent
Design on their next year's curriculum, if George Bush has his
way. You've read about his not-so-sneaky attempt in Texas that
made the Liberals go through the roof.
He should have known that any reference to God, which Intelligent
Design is all about, in public schools was a strict no-no. But
then paying back his right-wing Christian supporters was more
important to him. That's his problem. He's a man without principles.
Aside from it being illegal in schools, Intelligent Design is
like a slippery snake, you can't get hold of it. The brightest
people in the world argued about it for centuries and found
themselves unable to decide whether it was a hokum or the bona
fide stuff. There's even a big brouhaha brewing in the Smithsonian
Institute about it and where everyone is a scientist.
To suggest taking something like that into a classroom was a
stupid thing for George to do, although not quite as bad as
to go looking for WMD.
His cohorts would say, "Hey, it's all a matter of faith
not something that came out of a mathematician's mind, so stop
with the arguments!"
That's precisely the point. That's why it no more belongs in
school than sushi in McDonald's.
But the Intelligent Design advocates are a hard-headed bunch.
They go to bed at night dreaming about it and again at breakfast.
That's legitimate. But it isn't when they try to sneak it into
classrooms as they are doing. If they succeed the kids might
as well as forget about later-on SAT's.
Remember, however, George is only a tip of the iceberg, just
as Kansas City isn't the only place where these people live.
You never can tell, a few of them might even be in Woodstock,
the center of local Zen Buddhism hence the need for careful
vigilance. Not to do so is to endanger the young peoples' futures.
As a last word, I especially hope that it will never come to
Kingston High School where my son once got a first class education.
We Americans are waging a "War on Drugs" that is taking
an enormous toll on our economy and on millions of human lives.
Started over thirty years ago, the fact is that drugs today
are purer, cheaper, and more readily available than ever, yet
we are spending in direct costs over $40 billion annually on
the "War" against them. In this country, which holds
5 percent of the world's population, we have 25 percent of the
world's prison population, the highest per capita in the world.
And how much do you suppose that costs? But the lives that are
ruined for many because of the mandatory sentencing for what
is a minor, nonviolent offense is a disgrace. We are spending
far more here than we are spending on programs that would be
helpful in creating a constructive nature for our youth. If
you want more information on this matter contact the Drug Policy
Alliance, 70 West 36th Street, New York, N.Y. 10018, www.drug
poliicy.org. The only way to stop this war is through political
channels. Maurice Hinchey, our representative, is at the forefront
of the affray to do this. Contact the Alliance and see what
can be done.
Through my life I have picked up many important messages. All
of them have helped me at times. Some once in a while and others
daily. The message that might have impacted me most comes from
a most over populated and polluted country. It is this, "each
one of us as humans, think of ourselves the most important entity
in existence. Or needs or wants our beliefs are the only ones
This is a flaw, an illusion of the mind and heart as we are
all a part of the human race. No one person being more or less
important than another. I am sadden and feel helpless at the
hands of the current powers that be to make decisions for all
of us that do not reflect all of our views. We are not alone
in Phoenicia, Shandaken, Mt. tremper, Pine Hill. We are a part
of a mountain range a part of a county a part of a state at
part of a country and must begin to think as a group not as
individuals only interested in our little gain or our us against
them mentality. We as a group of people all with different needs
interests and goals have to be heard to each other and come
to a DEMOCRATIC a united republic outcome in our community or
else what is left? Dictatorship of what ever government in is
power at the moment? We put all these other countries on notice
that we wont stand for their ultimate power over their people,
but are we guilty of doing the same on a smaller but not less
impactive level? Please take into consideration what a lot of
us are saying. My little river will take according to the DEP
and the DEC 50 or more years to heal just from this last flood
. What do we want to do to our land? To create more hardship
on the ecosystem and reap the short term benefits that true
capitalism offers us? or do we look at a bigger picture and
work within the conditions that the land we live on offers us?
I have had to switch professions many many times in my life
and have adjusted to the change each time. Yes, maybe starting
over is hard and not always welcome but to say there is only
one path and quick fix to any one persons financial problems
is shortsighted/ A persons right to do with his or her land
as they want is a right but to do right by a community a planet
in despair and an economy that is shaky at best lends itself
to more open comment and input than I'm experiencing at this
From the first pilgrims who came to practice their “reinvented”
religion free from persecution, to the undocumented immigrants
who now wander like Moses across the desert of opportunity in
search of an economic Promised Land, Americans of all ages have
always believed in the prospect —alas, the right—to
reinvent their lives in whatever idiosyncratic ways they choose,
a trait that, ironically, has come to define the core of our
celebrities and icons.
When it comes to controversy and pushing the envelope, no two
people measure up more than the “Material Girl”
Madonna and Janet Jackson. Their fans have argued for years
over which one sends more shock waves and which is the more
valid artist. The truth is, neither one has the singing chops
of Barbra Streisand or the dance moves of Fred Astaire, but
their ability to reinvent themselves has made them permanent
fixtures in the music industry. With energy, hard work, and
the ability to drop jaws, these provocative powerhouses have
already become entertainment icons and it’s anyone’s
guess as to what else they have up their sleeves.
So what is it that makes it possible for some “celebs”
to be the rubber that everything bounces off of and others the
glue that ends up tarring and feathering them. Why hasn’t
the Crow known as Russell fallen from grace for his violent
outburst (allegedly throwing a telephone at the head of a hotel
clerk) while others end up being one hit wonders on Bravo doing
reality TV with wife and child.
Almost all celebrities express a feeling of invincibility and
the ability to compose their lives, to reinvent the person they
were to that which they feel they now need or want to be, and
some achieve it several times over.
It is an ethic the Founding Fathers embedded in the Constitution,
where before they declared our right to pray and say what we
like (they had to amend it to do that), ensured that we could
declare bankruptcy and start anew without fear of going to debtors’
prison. To be sure, while we like to boast that ours is the
land of opportunity, it’s probably more accurate to call
it the land of reinvention.
But in the rush to reinvent, many celebrities may lose perspective
on where they have come from—sometimes rewriting history
itself. This is where I think we can separate the winners from
the losers in this game of illusion and disillusion.
No mater how many times celebrities nip, tuck, lift or flatten,
despite admissions of child abuse, multiple personalities, tirades
against psychology and conversations with aliens, the gems in
the rough that always seem to sparkle are those who stay grounded
in a sense of who they are.
Take for instance Ms. Paula Abdul of 80’s MTV video fame.
It might have taken a decade or two, but she is back and she
continues to be the powerhouse she was as a dancer, but now
she takes on the likes of the press and “Simon”
with the grace she showed on the dance floor.
One of the newest and most delightful reinventions is Teri Hatcher,
of Desperate Housewife fame. As Lois Lane in the “New
Superman” she was strong but vulnerable, quirky, but smart
and on Wisteria Lane she has aged with grace and allowed herself
to be the clumsy mom who is not afraid to call herself a “dork”
From Martha Stewart who would not know a good thing if it bit
her in the ankle (above her house arrest bracelet) to “J
LO” who has and never will be “Jenny from the Hood”
with her Prada this and Gucci that, one must also admit with
enough money, a thick skin and PR machine behind anything is
In fact, you can even be a debutante of high society who made
a porn movie, sued the man who taped it and then was photographed
buying multiple copies in a sleazy adult book bookstore and
still end up smelling like roses, or in this case like “Paris.”
Tinsel town has come along way since Plymouth Rock, but the
natives are still restless and waiting for the next mythical
Phoenix to rise from the ashes of the red carpet.
New York, NY
We, the New Paltz Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
wish to express our concern regarding the proposed development
of casinos in both Sullivan and Ulster Counties. One does not
need to look long to find information regarding the negative
impact that gambling has on the community. It is our local families
who will lose the most if casinos come into their neighborhood;
this is not the message that those claiming “economic
revitalization” are sending.
According to a report published by The National Gambling Impact
Study Commission “pathological gambling is found proportionately
more often among
the young, less educated, and poor” (August 1999). The
Commission reported that “the presence of a gambling facility
within fifty miles roughly doubles the prevalence of problem
and pathological gamblers”. The effects of a casino in
Sullivan or Ulster Counties will be destruction, not revitalization
We are opposed to the development of casinos because we believe
gambling can bring tragic results to families, friends, individuals,
and the entire community. Instead, we seek development that
is sustainable and community-oriented.
We feel the residents of Sullivan and Ulster Counties need jobs
that provide constructive and beneficial services and create
a positive impact on lives.
New Paltz, NY
Both major American national peace coalitions are uniting in
Washington Saturday, Sept. 24, for what promises to be the biggest
march and rally of all against the war in Iraq. The event will
take place as the people of our country are turning against
this unjust and illegal war.
Residents throughout the Hudson Valley plan to attend. Three
buses will bring Mid-Hudson region peace activists to the protest
and back from Kingston, Poughkeepsie and New Paltz.
These comfortable buses, chartered by the Hudson Valley Activist
Newsletter, will leave in the early hours of the morning and
return in the late evening.
Roundtrip nonprofit tickets cost $45. To reserve seats, email
email@example.com or call (845) 255-5779 requesting a reservation.
Then make out your check to “Newsletter” and mail
to HV Activist Newsletter, PO Box 662, New Paltz, NY 12561.
The buses are filling fast so reserve early.
Jack A. Smith
New Paltz, NY
Of course HITS owner Tom Struzzieri is in favor of the development
of the $298 million casino resort in Saugerties as mentioned
in your story last week.
But it is more than disingenuous of him to go on about how it'll
help our community and not to acknowledge how it's helped his
business in California where he runs the Indio Desert Circuit
Horse Show in the same town as the Fantasy Springs Casino?
This from the Indio Chamber of Commerce:
"Welcome to Indio, California, the site of the Sport of
Kings with year-round polo matches, HITS Indio Desert Circuit
Horse show, the biggest in the West, and Indian gaming centers
with nonstop gaming action at the Fantasy Springs Casino in
Indio, offering bingo, blackjack and other card games, the new
Carde Craps 'live craps' game, off-track horse wagering and
more than 1,400 slot machines."
Aside from questioning whether card craps really is a Sport
of Kings, Saugerties may well end up having more in common with
Indio, California, than we ever could have imagined. Thanks
to Mr. Struzzieri.