According to DOT, a one to two week repair and resurfacing project
along Rt 28 will begin Tuesday, September 6, effecting travel
on sections of the highway between 9AM and 3:30 PM from the
junction with Rt 28A in Boiceville to the bridge over the Esopus
Creek in Mt. Tremper. The road will remain open at all times
but alternate lane closures are to be expected.
The Democratic caucus in Olive has been roundly described as
”cordial” and “congenial” this year.
You might also add “homespun” and a little “funky.”
With two council seats to contend and three contenders for the
Party endorsement, the event proceeded without confrontation.
an active player in the Large Parcel drama in recent months,
was testing the waters against incumbents Bruce LaMonda and
Helen Chase. Each speaker,
including Supervisor Brendt Leifeld commended Bloomstein’s
efforts on behalf of the town and complimented his dedication.
But when the ballots were
counted Bloomstein could smile good-naturedly that he’d
John Parete, who ran the caucus, had brought an empty, scrubbed
bucket with a lingering dill aroma from his restaurant, the
Boiceville Inn, and some pink sheets of paper. Choices were
hand-written on the sheets and dropped in the bucket. There
were no programmed codes and no calls for a recount. The paper
trail was there for all to see.
”You know you live in a small town,” observed Carol
LaMonda, “when you only have to write first names “Charlie,”
“Bruce” or “Helen” on a piece of paper
and put it in a pickle bucket.”
Olive’s Conservative Party meets next for their own caucus,
set to take place on Wednesday, September 7 at the American
Legion hall starting at 7 p.m.
Opponents of a casino gambling operation in Saugerties will
hold a benefit concert during the Labor Day weekend featuring
folksinger Richie Havens. Havens is best known for his performance
at the original Woodstock Music & Arts Festival in Bethel.
The “No Saugerties Casino” benefit will be held
Sept. 2 at the Bearsville Studio, Route 212 in Woodstock. Tickets
So far, 750 rural towns - and hundreds of more in-between “flag
stops” in even smaller places - have lost their Greyhound
connection this year. Hundreds more are expected to be dropped
as the Dallas-based carrier and its subsidiaries roll out new
routes across the country into 2006, part of a broad restructuring
of the 91-year-old long-distance carrier, which is trying to
regain traction after losing $22 million in the first quarter
of this year. Greyhound’s new strategy: adopt faster and
more direct urban routes.
The result, studies are showing, is a sense of dislocation and
increasing distance from the country’s booming urban centers.
Some communities could replace the lost service through rural
transportation grants from the Federal Transit Administration.
Yet in April, FTA chief Jennifer Dorn warned state transportation
officials: “Rural service is no longer a certainty.”
Ridership is down to 40 million from a 1970 high of 130 million.
Where once the Greyhound stopped in 17,000 communities, it today
pulls into only 6,000.
Thank heavens for Pine Hill Trailways, serving at least a portion
of the Route 28 corridor, as well as Ulster County Rural Transportation.
Ever wonder what the area would be like were we to have kept
Emerson Place, formally known as Catskill Corners, is expected
to expand by next summer. Shandaken planning board officials
said this week that architects have been holding meetings with
town officials to determine what the property can have in addition
to what’s already there. No formal application has been
submitted to the town, but preliminary plans call for the expansion
of the 27 unit Catamount Lodge to a total number 51 units. Plans
also call for a health spa/gym to be built on the property.
The expansion plan is due to the loss of the Emerson Inn by
fire last April. The Inn was located across Rt. 28 from Emerson
Place. Kenneth Blundell, chairman of the Ulster County Arson
Task Force, said investigators determined the April 25 fire
started in an exterior waste storage area. “It appears
it’s accidental. There’s no reason for the owners
to want to do that. The business was successful,” said
Blundell. “We have some thoughts about other people around,
and that’s where the police come in.”
Shandaken Police Chief James McGrath said there are no suspects
in the case. Employees present at the time and witnesses driving
by were interviewed, and the department has followed through
on phone tips and leads, the last coming about a month ago.
“We may never know what happened here,” he said.
Emerson developer Dean Gitter said in an interview last week
that he believed the fire was caused by arson and the likely
perpetrators were among those opposing his other development
project for the area, the controversial Belleayre Resort currently
under review for building in the Big Indian/Highmount area.
Once the old Inn is demolished, pending completion of the insurance
company’s own investigation, plans call for a large wedding
pavilion to be erected on the site.
The County Legislator’s Majority Leader, Mike Stock, chairman
of the controversial Law Enforcement Center Project Committee,
is currently proposing that the county lease its soon-to-be
vacated county jail in Kingston to Dutchess County, which is
suffering from severe overcrowding and the loss of state variances.
Stock has spoken to Ulster County Sheriff Bockelmann about the
plan, who has yet to address anyone in Dutchess County about
it yet. But to date, similar plans proposed by Dutchess Democrats
have been soundly rejected by county Republicans, in opposition
to similar patterns here in Ulster.
For 16 years, the state Commission of Correction issued variances
to Dutchess County, allowing it to house 32 prisoners more than
the county’s 286-bed facility can hold. But in April,
the commission revoked those variances after the county failed
to develop plans to expand their jail. Since then, the county
has been forced to house inmates in other county jails, in some
instances, more than 70 inmates a day.
Ulster County hopes to open its new 402-bed jail by the end
of the year, abandoning its existing 156-bed facility on Golden
Hill. Construction costs for the new Ulster County Law Enforcement
Center have run way over budget.
Some have questioned the propriety of housing outside prisoners
in a facility Ulster rejected as being inhumane. Similar arguments
have been made against private leasing of the old jail, including
questions about the ethics of making profits from crime.
A number of candidates seeking office on a town and county basis
filed petitions last week for their own independent party lines
come November balloting, to appear alongside the five major
parties recognized in New York State - Republican, Democratic,
Independence, Conservative and Working Families - provided there
are no legal challenges. Seven independent party petitions have
been submitted for town races, three for city races, and two
for Ulster County Legislature.
The independent parties for town races are: Green Party in New
Paltz; Rochester First Party in Rochester, running Democrat
incumbent Pam Duke for supervisor, Roger Hellman for highway
superintendent, Deborah Schneer for town justice, and Kim Van
Aken Tompkins for town clerk; the Advocate Party in Shandaken,
promoting Keith Johnson for highway superintendent; the Shandaken
Party featuring the Republican slate of Bob Cross Jr. for supervisor,
Gerald Setchko and Robert Stanley for Town Board, John Horn
for assessor, Kenneth Berryann for highway superintendent, and
Thomas Crucet and Theodore Byron for town justice; the Clean
Sweep Party and We The People Party in Wawarsing; The Woodstock
Party in Woodstock, featuring Jeremy Wilber for supervisor and
Gordon Wemp and Terrie Rosenblum for Town Board; The Justice
Party in the City of Kingston, running Republican candidate
Christopher Burns for the County Legislature and. Elsewhere
in Kingston, the Kingston Safest City Party, the Dr. Edwin Pell
Alderman Party, and the Downtown Party.
Ulster County Treasurer Lewis Kirschner recently warned that
the “county is facing serious financial troubles ahead,
albeit not as bad as a May $1.5 million income shortfall had
indicated. A deficit of more than $20 million is currently expected
for the coming year as budgeting gets under way for 2006, indicating
either large 40 percent or more property tax increases or a
downgrade in the county’s bond rating (about to issue
$100 million to finance the new jail), should major cuts not
be made. Steps that have helped ease the pain for the current
year have included a hiring freeze and the making of all discretionary
spending on a county level subject to county leadership approval.
For 2006, an additional $5.9 million in savings and new revenues
have been proposed, including $5.5 million in new revenue from
new mortgage and motor vehicle taxes and fees for services.
The county is now awaiting a new budget parameters document
expected in mid-September. One potential area for cuts already
being looked at are the number of hours required in a work week
for county departments as a means of cutting overtime, the possible
elimination of the Sheriff’s Office road patrol, and closing
of the county’s Golden Hill Health Care Center.
Meanwhile, sales tax receipts through early August are going
strong in the Mid-Hudson Valley, although Ulster County continues
to lag behind budget projections despite gaining some ground
over the past few months. Ulster has taken in $41.5 million
to date, about 3 percent more than during the same period in
2004. At the midpoint of the year, the county’s take is
still about 1.4 percent shy of budget projections, a shortfall
of about $575,000. Based on the county’s 2005 spending
plan, it would take a property tax increase of about 1.2 percent
to generate the income needed to offset the current sales tax
shortfall. Ulster County has budgeted for $81.7 million in sales
tax for the year. Part of the shortfall comes from adjustments
made by the state to account for some overpayments by fuel dealers
of the now-eliminated home heating tax, which was phased out
over the past four years.
Home prices in Ulster and its surrounding counties are “extremely
overvalued,” and at high risk for a fall, according to
a new study by Richard DeKaser, chief economist of National
City Corp., a Cleveland bank, who looked at 299 metro areas
representing 80 percent of the U.S. housing market during the
first quarter of this year. Both the Orange-Dutchess county
area (37 percent overvalued) and Ulster County (32 percent overvalued)
were among the 53 regions deemed “extremely overvalued”
and therefore most vulnerable to a price decline. DeKaser defines
an area as being “extremely overvalued” if prices
are 30 percent higher than what he calculates as a fair value
based on average household income, interest rates, housing density
and historical prices.
DeKaser’s study suggests there’s a strong likelihood
that the shift could turn into a full-fledged bear market, with
home prices in the mid-Hudson going backward. Over the past
20 years, his study found 63 corrections, or instances where
a market’s median price fell 10 percent or more over a
period of at least eight quarters. The typical degree of overvaluation
in those cases was 30 percent. From 1985 to 2005, the typical
decline in a correction was 17 percent. The typical duration
of the down cycle was 13 quarters, according to the study.
“How many went that high without a correction?”
said DeKaser. “Zero.”
Of the top 20 overheated markets, 16 are in California, with
two in Florida and one in Massachusetts and in Oregon. New York’s
most overvalued market is Nassau-Suffolk (ranked 29th at 42
percent), followed by Orange-Dutchess (37th at 37 percent) and
Ulster (45th at 32 percent). The New York City region, which
includes the five boroughs plus six surrounding counties, ranked
68th, at 25 percent overvalued.Ulster County’s most recent
bear market was an 18 percent decline between the fourth quarter
of 1992 to the first quarter of 1995.
Compounding the bad news, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan
said recently that the central bank is paying increasing attention
to the rising prices of homes and stocks because they are having
a growing impact on world economic activity. He warned also
that the buying power fueled by higher prices for such assets
could disappear if investors turn cautious. Greenspan said increased
investor caution, by elevating the premiums investors demand
to compensate for risk, could lead to a swift reversal in asset
values if it forced the liquidation of debts that support them.
The Fed chief, who has steered the world’s largest economy
for 18 years, plans to step down in five months.
A law meant to offer victims of April’s devastating flood
a break on their property taxes actually ends up costing them
instead, according to a growing number of town officials. The
law allows municipalities in 21 counties, including Ulster,
Orange and Sullivan, to base the assessment on a damaged home’s
condition as of April 15, instead of its condition on March
1, the taxable status date. The taxable status date is when
a property’s assessment for the year is locked in. But
some town officials in Sullivan County are saying that flood
victims who can no longer live in their homes because of the
flood damage will not be granted their normal tax exemptions.
The problem has occurred when flood victims have been forced
to move, making their homes no longer their primary residence.
State lawmakers who sponsored the bill argue that such a reading
of the law is mistaken. The exemptions were never meant to be
Kathy Keyser, chief of staff for Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston,
said, “There’s nothing in this bill, according to
the state Office of Real Property Services, that eliminates
the exemptions. It was not meant to do that.”
Striking a blow against a call for “politically correct”
language in public documents, Gov. George Pataki vetoed a bill
recently that would have switched the designation of “autistics”
to “people with autism.” In doing so, the three-term
Republican governor rejected an idea backed overwhelmingly by
Democrats and his fellow Republicans. The bill passed unanimously
in the Republican-led state Senate in June and passed by a 144-1
tally in the Democrat-led Assembly. Some political observers
in and out of Albany wondered if Pataki would have wielded his
veto pen this way if he were seeking a fourth term as governor
rather than exploring the possibility of a bid for the Republican
The state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division has reversed
three lower court rulings on petitions filed by candidates for
the Ulster County Legislature, with two favoring the GOP, and
one favoring Democrats.
Democrats had appealed a ruling that removed Michael Berardi,
D-town of Ulster, from the Sept. 13 primary for the Independence
Party line in November. Berardi’s petition was ruled invalid
by state Supreme Court Justice William McCarthy on the grounds
that the home address listed for Berardi on the heading of the
petition was that of his former residence. Berardi’s petition
was challenged by Legislator James Maloney, R-town of Ulster.
The Appellate Division reversed McCarthy’s ruling, saying
an incorrect address on its own was not sufficient to invalidate
the petition. The ruling means Berardi will be allowed to take
part in the Independence Party primary.
In Legislature District 3, state Supreme Court Judge Vincent
Bradley had ruled that legislators Richard Parete, D-Accord,
Robert Parete, D-Boiceville, and Peter Kraft, D-Glenford, should
be allowed to be write-in candidates on the Independence Party
line in the September primary, despite not having sufficient
signatures on designating petitions to qualify for a spot on
the ballot. Their petitions had been challenged by Art Bowen,
a Hurley Conservative running with the GOP. The Appellate Division
said the flaws in 12 of the signatures, in which the signer’s
town or city were incorrectly listed, are “a matter of
substance, and not of form,” and as such the three candidates
should not be permitted to be write-in candidates, an option
reserved for those petitions that do not contain fatal flaws.
Because of the ruling, the three Democrats will not be permitted
to take part in a write-in primary for the Independence Party
The third ruling, which also favored the GOP, reversed the local
ruling invalidating the Conservative Party petitions submitted
for legislators Brian Hathaway, R-Bloomington, and Joan Every,
R-Rosendale, and Republican candidate Gloria VanVliet of Port
Ewen. State Supreme Court Judge Michael Kavanagh had ruled that
the three candidates’ petitions should be invalidated
because they did not list a sufficient number of signatures.
The appellate court reversed the ruling, saying Ulster County
Democratic Committee Chairman John Parete had no standing to
bring the matter to the court. The ruling means the three Republicans
will be able to run on the Conservative Party line.
“I was endorsed by the Ulster County Independence Party
for my stance on several key issues, which are shared by voters
who are not aligned with any side of the political aisle. This
endorsement is something I’m very honored to receive,”
said Rob parete of the ruling. “It’s important to
understand that we collected the required number of Independent
signatures. Unfortunately, Ulster County politics as usual occurred
— and myself, Peter Kraft and my brother Rich Parete were
removed due to a technical error made by people signing our
petitions. Instead of writing Olive — residents signed
Boiceville as their town. It was an honest mistake and a far
cry from fraud and forgery. My hope is independent voters will
support us on either the Democratic Party line or on the Working
Families Party line.”
Smoke from a fire filled much of the Hudson Valley Resort and
Spa on the afternoon of August 17, forcing the evacuation of
50 guests and employees and the relocation of more than 200
guests who had planned to check in. The fire, reported at 1:52
p.m., “seems to have started in the roof of the kitchen,”
said Paul Rider, chief of Accord Hose Co. No. 3. “There
are some very big air-conditioning units there, and the fire
was electrical in origin.” More than 100 firefighters,
from more than a dozen area departments, responded to the scene.
Some, upon exiting the eight-story hotel tower, were in distress
from the heat inside, but none required hospitalization. Investigators
from the Ulster County Cause and Origin Unit had left the scene
by about 8 p.m., but had not completed their inspection. There
was some structural damage in the building. Jay Davis, director
of operations at the resort, said hotel guests were sent to
the nearby Pine Grove resort, the Nevele in Ellenville and the
Holiday Inn in Kingston. Two catering events planned for the
weekend - a wedding and a Rondout Valley High School reunion
- were moved to the Williams Lake Hotel in Rosendale. Fire companies
called out in response to the fire, in addition to Accord, included
Ellenville, Kripplebush, Lomontville, Napanoch, Modena, Bloomington,
Stone Ridge, Cragsmoor, Hurley, High Falls, Kerhonkson, Olive,
Ulster Hose, Gardiner and Accord.
The Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) Board of Directors
on August 23 accepted a $53,758 grant from the New York State
Archives to develop a map-based regional information system
accessible over the Internet. This project, referred to as the
Catskill Area Mapping Service (CAMS), will utilize an interactive
Geographic Information System (GIS) map promoting the Catskill
Region. A series of map layers will include both base map reference
data (e.g., political boundaries, Catskill Park limits, major
roads and water bodies) and data promoting various aspects of
the Catskill Region (e.g., historic sites, demographics, recreational
opportunities, etc.). Users will be able to turn layers on and
off, navigate to an area of interest, find specific features,
and profile key aspects of the region through the use of shaded
maps. It is envisioned that links would be established from
the web sites of Catskill counties and other regional organizations.
The idea for CAMS was generated by the Catskill Business Roundtable
which was established in 2002 at a Regional Economic Development
Summit. Business and government representatives expressed interest
in an easily accessible network to attract new businesses to
the region and to offer a central source of community maps,
census data, infrastructure information and available commercial
buildings. CAMS will funnel web visitors to local web sites
where more information on economic development, planning services,
incentives programs and community attractions can be obtained.
The system is being implemented by Applied GIS of Schenectady,
which conducted a needs assessment and developed the conceptual
plan for CAMS using a 2004 planning grant obtained by the CWC
from the State Archives’ Local Government Records Management
Improvement fund. The CWC Board at its August meeting also voted
to apply $10,000 from the Catskill Fund for the Future toward
the project, which is expected to be completed by summer of
The U.S. Supreme Court, given a chance to revisit its heavily
criticized ruling on eminent domain issues made earlier this
summer, refused recently to reconsider its decision giving local
governments more power to seize people’s homes for economic
development. So contentious was the court’s 5-4 ruling
in the so-called eminent domain case earlier this year that
some critics launched a campaign to seize Justice David Souter’s
farmhouse in New Hampshire to build a luxury hotel while others
singled out Justice Stephen Breyer’s vacation home in
the same state for use as a park. In addition, legislators in
some 25 states are considering changing their eminent domain
laws to soften the impact.
Justices did not comment in refusing to reconsider the case,
which had been expected because requests for a reconsideration
of rulings are rarely granted.
Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the majority opinion and defended
it last week in a speech in Las Vegas. The ruling was legally
correct, he said, because the high court has “always allowed
local policy-makers wide latitude in determining how best to
achieve legitimate public goals.”
But Stevens added that he had concerns about the results.
“My own view is that the allocation of economic resources
that result from the free play of market forces is more likely
to produce acceptable results in the long run than the best-intentioned
plans of public officials,” Stevens said.
Very young children who eat French fries frequently have a much
higher risk of breast cancer as adults, U.S. researchers reported
recently. A study of American nurses found that one additional
serving of fries per week at ages three to five increased breast
cancer risk by 27 percent.
“Researchers are finding more evidence that diet early
in life could play a role in the development of diseases in
women later in life,” said Dr. Karin Michels, of Brigham
and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School,
who led the study. “This study provides additional evidence
that breast cancer may originate during the early phases of
a woman’s life and that eating habits during that phase
may be particularly important to reduce future risk of breast
For their study, Michels and colleagues used an ongoing survey
of female registered nurses. They studied 582 women with breast
cancer and 1,569 women free of breast cancer in 1993. One risk
factor for breast cancer stood out: women whose mothers who
said their daughters ate French fries had a higher risk of breast
cancer. This increased 27 percent for each weekly serving reportedly
A high-fat diet has been linked with breast cancer, which affects
more than 200,000 U.S. women a year and is expected to kill
40,000 this year.
John Bolton,. America’s controversial new ambassador to
the United Nations, is seeking to shred an agreement on strengthening
the world body and fighting poverty intended to be the highlight
of a 60th anniversary summit next month. In the extraordinary
intervention, John Bolton has sought to roll back proposed UN
commitments on aid to developing countries, combating global
warming and nuclear disarmament by demanding no fewer than 750
amendments to the blueprint restating the ideals of the international
body, which was originally drafted by the UN secretary general,
Kofi Annan, all spelt out in a 32-page US version littered with
deletions and exclusions including the elimination of all specific
reference to the so-called Millennium Development Goals, accepted
by all countries at the last major UN summit in 2000, including
the United States. Bolton is also seeking virtually to remove
all references to the Kyoto treaty and the battle against global
warming. They are striking out mention of the disputed International
Criminal Court and drawing a red line through any suggestion
that the nuclear powers should dismantle their arsenals. Instead,
the US is seeking to add emphasis to passages on fighting terrorism
and spreading democracy.
Bolton was appointed by President Bush to the UN position earlier
this summer after the U.S. Senate failed to do so repeatedly.
The current moves have thrown preparations for the summit into
turmoil, prompting some to question whether there will be anything
for the leaders to put their pens to in New York. The president
of the General Assembly, Jean Ping of Gambia, must now try to
save the summit, set to take place in New York from September14
to 16, from disaster. He will bring together a core group of
20 to 30 countries in the days ahead, with Britain and the US
included, to see what, if anything, can be found to overcome
so many American objections.
“The purpose of the summit,” said Shashi Tharoor,
a senior aide to Mr Annan, “is to rekindle the idealism
with which the UN was created 60 years ago and to use the birthday
to renew the organization for the purposes of the 21st century.”
Three years ago the Bush administration began prodding countries
to shield Americans from the fledgling International Criminal
Court in The Hague, which was intended to be the first permanent
tribunal for prosecuting crimes like genocide. The United States
has since cut aid to some two dozen nations that refused to
sign immunity agreements that American officials say are intended
to protect American soldiers and policy makers from politically
motivated prosecutions. As a result, Latin America and Caribbean
nations, of which 12 have been penalized, are seeing the cuts
generate strong resentment at what many see as heavy-handed
diplomacy. More than that, some American diplomats, military
leaders and congressmen are also beginning to question the policy,
as political and military leaders in the region complain that
the aid cuts are squandering good will and hurting their ability
to cooperate in other important areas, like the campaigns against
drugs and terrorism.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government’s emphasis on abstinence-only
programs to prevent AIDS is hobbling Africa’s battle against
the pandemic by playing down the role of condoms, a senior U.N.
official said recently, noting that our nation’s Christian
ideology was driving Washington’s AIDS assistance program,
known as PEPFAR, with disastrous results such as a shortage
of condoms in Uganda. Washington rejected the criticism.
The 2.7 million membered American Legion’s national commander
called for an end to all “public protests” and “media
events” against the Iraq War recently,even though they
are protected by the Bill of Rights.
“The American Legion will stand against anyone and any
group that would
demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging
terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving
peoples,” Thomas Cadmus told delegates at the group’s
national convention in Honolulu.
The delegates voted to use whatever means necessary to “ensure
the united backing of the American people to support our troops
and the global war on terrorism.” Without mentioning any
current protestor, such as Cindy Sheehan, by name, Cadmus recalled:
“For many of us, the visions of Jane Fonda glibly spouting
anti-American messages with the North Vietnamese and protestors
denouncing our own forces four decades ago is forever etched
in our memories. We must never let that happen again….
We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would
be clear to our fellow citizens. Public protests against the
war here at home while our young men and women are in harm’s
way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort
to our enemies.”
Resolution 3, which was passed unanimously by 4,000 delegates
to the annual event, states: “The American Legion fully
supports the president of the United States, the United States
Congress and the men, women and leadership of our armed forces
as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism and the troops
who are engaged in protecting our values and way of life.”
Suing No Child
Connecticut became the first state to file suit against the
federal government over the No Child Left Behind Act, claiming
the Bush administration has not provided enough money to pay
for new testing and programs. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District
Court in Hartford against federal Education Secretary Margaret
Spellings, asks a judge to declare that state and local funds
cannot be used to meet the goals of the law.
“We in Connecticut do a lot of testing already, far more
than most other states. Our taxpayers are sagging under the
crushing costs of local education,” said Republican Gov.
M. Jodi Rell. “What we don’t need is a new laundry
list of things to do with no new money to do them.”
The suit’s chief claim focuses on a clause in the 2001
law that says states and districts will not have to spend their
own money to meet its requirements. Connecticut also has a state
statute that prohibits using state resources to implement the
law. The federal government is providing Connecticut with $5.8
million this fiscal year to pay for the testing, Connecticut
Education Commissioner Betty Sternberg said. However, she estimates
federal funds will fall $41.6 million short of paying for staffing,
program development, standardized tests and other costs associated
with implementing the law through 2008.
“If there’s a bully on the playground, it often
takes one brave soul to step forward and stand up to the bully,”
said state Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, a Democrat and co-chairman
of the Legislature’s Education Committee.
Traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came
from contaminated Pakistani equipment and are not evidence of
a clandestine nuclear weapons program, a group of U.S. government
experts and other international scientists has determined. “The
biggest smoking gun that everyone was waving is now eliminated
with these conclusions,” said a senior official who discussed
the still-confidential findings on the condition of anonymity.
Scientists from the United States, France, Japan, Britain and
Russia met in secret during the past nine months to pore over
data collected by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy
Agency, according to U.S. and foreign officials. Recently, the
group, whose existence had not been previously reported, definitively
matched samples of the highly enriched uranium — a key
ingredient for a nuclear weapon — with centrifuge equipment
turned over by the government of Pakistan.