(Olive Republicans) nominated me without telling me but
that’s not the reason I withdrew,” said Tisch.
“I had started getting a petition together to run
as an independent but other priorities cropped up after
I had started. The large parcel fight took a lot of my time
and effort and I had to put other things on the back burner.
It was something I wanted to do but now these things are
crying for attention.”
Paula Minew of Boice-ville, a planning board member, has
also withdrawn her bid for a council seat from the Republican
ticket, citing medical reasons.
”I’m waiting for test results that I will have
back in a couple of weeks,” Minew said. “Since
I don’t know at this time if I’ll be in surgery
during the election period, so I decided to withdraw now
rather than wait. I didn’t
want to take the chance that there wouldn’t be anybody
on the ballot.”
Minew has been replaced on the local GOP party ticket by
Susanne Gunther, who did not return calls in time for this
A contest is also shaping up to fill the Justice post long
held by Judge Vincent Barringer, who is retiring at the
end of the year. Peter Friedel, an Olive native, has thrown
his hat in the ring from the Republican side and Timothy
Cox, corporate counsel for the Catskill Watershed Corporation
and a Republican, has entered the fray with the Democratic
”It’s been a long run; up in the middle of the
night sometimes but I’m happy it’s almost over.
I’ve had a good run,” said Barringer, whose
term on the bench was nicked two years ago by a judicial
misconduct charge for participating in a protest of the
NY DEP’s closure of Monument Road at the Ashokan Reservoir.
“The end result was that if I decided not to run again,
they would kind of forget about this whole thing. I decided
not to go to the court of appeals because I think the Judicial
Conduct Commission is just as political as could it be.
I know the City of New York wanted me out and they would
have decided to put me out. So, I decided not to fight that.
”I didn’t really want to run anyway,”
Barringer added. “I’m 73 and I’ve been
there for 30 years. I never intended to seek re-election
but, of course, I would rather have gone out without this.”
Republican Chet Scofield of West Shokan is challenging incumbent
James Fugel for the highway superintendent position. Scofield,
who has 26 years of experience with the Ulster County Highway
Department’s engineering division, said the issues
are “pretty much the same” as always and that
he felt certain he could save the town more money than Fugel
who, like Bruce LaMonda, is running for re-election with
the endorsement from both the Democrats and the Conservative
Brendt Leifeld’s position as town supervisor is being
challenged by former Republican town board member Cindy
Johansen, who articulated three issues she is addressing
in her campaign.
”We need to do away with the large parcel law and
not just fight it each and every year,” Johansen said.
“It’s got to be done away with and I don’t
think that can be done on a local level.”
Asked how she would go about it, Johansen declined to elaborate.
”Well, that I’m not going to get into because
I’m not going to give the other side ideas,”
she replied. “At least, not now.”
Another issue she advanced was the proposed cell phone tower.
”Somebody needs to go and find out why it’s
taking so long for the one we’re already involved
with,” Johansen said, referring to the Masterpage
application for a tower on South Mountain in West Shokan
which has been mired in legal disputes over alleged zoning
violations. “And I think there needs to be some major
looking into for the one that’s proposed over in
The candidate asserted that the site off of Route 28 in
Boiceville proposed in an application by the Nextel Corporation
would not transmit from a height sufficient to entirely
blanket Olive. Nextel, who tested six alternate sites in
Olivebridge, Shokan, West Shokan and Boiceville according
to their application, seems satisfied that their coverage
will be adequate but included additional future target areas
for towers in Accord, the Tongore region, the Woodstock-Meads
Mountain area and the Chichester-Phoenica area.
”They’re going up the line through the 28 corridor,”
Johansen claimed. “They could care less about Samsonville
Johansen also identifies problems with the Olive rescue
service which need to be addressed.
”There’s got to be some major changes in the
way the ambulance is now run,” Johansen declared.
“They’ve got to get certified- something they
(the town board) promised to do six years ago and still
have not done. They’ve got to be able to bill and
they’ve got to be able to pay for a full-time paramedic.
That something that should have been done years ago.”
Johansen added that she thought the volunteers should also
be compensated for their time as an incentive for more people
to become involved. She said
that Shandaken paid their ambulance workers on a per diem
”I’m a successful business person,” said
Johansen, who also cited her town board experience as among
her qualifications for office. “I believe that I have
enough background knowledge of the town to give it some
new thought processes, new insights and get away from some
of the same-old, same-old that’s been going on for
too many years.”
”Same-old, same-old” was also a phrase used
with some satisfaction by the Leifeld, who was just appointed
Chairman of the Land Committee at the Catskill Watershed
Corporation, thought the phrase is not a bad deal when you’re
doing a good job.
”It’s election time,” Leifeld said, referring
to reports he had heard of
Johansen’s platform. “We’ve never heard
any of this stuff at our meetings. I don’t badmouth
anybody that runs against me but this fabrication of stuff
that’s getting back to me is already getting to be
a bit too much.
”The ambulance, the fire company and the library are
line items on our budget,” he said. “One of
the rules when this started was that politics was not going
to be involved in the running of these operations. We stay
away from them. The library tells us how much money they
would like and the town board either approves or disapproves
and it goes on the budget. The fire company is a contract.
The First Aid unit receives money from us and we stay out
of their inner workings. Now Johansen and her husband Chris
have joined the First Aid unit and what are they doing?
I don’t see anything different.”
Leifeld questioned why Johansen hadn’t brought the
squad’s problems to a town board meeting. He said
that the billing issue had been discussed by the board before
and the billing system- which was going to pay for a full-time
employee with funds from Medicare was in the process toward
certification when the individual handling it left the squad.
”If that’s what she’s talking about, we
told them to go ahead and do it,”
Leifeld said. “But they have to do it, not us. WE
never talked about the town taking over (the squad). They
get a subsidy and what they do with it is their concern.
If they want to do what Shandaken does - I think two people
get paid to stay home there or whatever the system is- fine,
but most of that money comes from the billing (of Medicare).
I’ve never listened to her speech but this is what
I hear. It may be an issue but it isn’t a town board
As for the tower issue, Leifeld wondered how Johansen could
know what the tower coverage would be when she hadn’t
seen the application. He said that he hadn’t had any
engineers look at it yet and had no idea what it would cover
or not. He said he sensed an “inner tone” to
”If she was so interested in helping the town (on
the large parcel matter) why didn’t she bring her
ideas up when we could have used them?” Leifeld asked.
“I went to the chairman of the Republicans almost
a year ago and told him ‘look, this is beyond politics.
If you guys have something, bring it up and I’ll let
you run with it. Never heard a word back. Now there’s
a ‘secret plan’. I don’t have any secret
plan. You know where I’m going. I’m trying to
get the support of the other supervisors in the watershed
and that shows promise.”
In other election news, the Olive Conservatives met on Wednesday,
September 7, and selected the following for their line in
this year’s general election:
Republican Cindy Johansen for Superintendent; incumbent
Democrat Jim Fugel for Highway Superintenden; Friedel for
Justice; and incumbent Democrat Sylvia Rozzelle for the
town clerk position she’s held for decades now.
For the two open Town Council positions, the Conservatives
went with La Monda and Gunther.
According to party chairman Chris Johanson, running for
the county legislature as a Republican, a full one third
of registered Conservatives in town attended the event,
which lasted over two hours.
In related news, the American Legion in Olive hosted The
Independent Party primary for Family Court Judge, which
will also be on November’s ballot,
between Judge Anthony McGinty of Rosendale and attorney
Steven Nussbaum of New Paltz on September 13. McGinty won
by 171 votes to 96.
We can only echo Leifeld’s observation... It’s
To A Sparkling Start
been sparkling,” said Cassell, of both the weather
and the extra shine the elementary school’s teachers
put on their classrooms just before students’ first
arrivals last Tuesday, September 6.
The principal spoke about how she’s looking forward
to the fact that the three elementary school PTAs are getting
together more now as a district-wide PTA Council, seeking
to increase collaboration and togetherness between the sometimes
disparate parts of the wide Onteora District.
On September 30, she said, the PTA Council will be putting
on a special concert at the newly renovated Junior/Senior
High School auditorium within sight of Bennett, featuring
The Uncle Brothers, a group Cassell says is “really
very hot in kids circles.” The concert will start
at 7 p.m.
Onteora superintendent Justine Winters said that district-wide,
the recent semester opening had a bittersweet quality, due
to the death of a high school student in a car accident
over the Labor Day weekend. The result was “a somber
mood” at the high school.
But Winters also noted that, having rode the school buses
from Bennett the afternoon of the first day, she’s
got nothing but kudos for Onteora’s new transportation
director, Maureen Stancage.
She further noted that last year’s worries about overcrowding
at the Woodstock Elementary School, which incorporated the
student body for the now-closed West Hurley School last
year at this time, had apparently abated with a lesser enrollment
“Bennett and Woodstock are almost equal in terms of
enrollment now,” said the superintendent. “We’ve
got a nice balance between our elementary schools right
Cassell said that as direcor of elementary education, she
and the other school principals are “looking forward
to meeting the challenges of the ‘No Child Left Behind’
act, which are mandating new tests in grades three through
She noted that additional teaching training, along with
new reading incentives being led by several district-wide
elementary teachers who attended a new Columbia University
reading/writing program this summer, should give the district
a leg up in such areas.
She also commended her own PTA on its recent purchase of
a new sound system for Bennett’s gymnasium/auditorium.
“Things are looking great,” she said. “It’s
great to be starting up a new year.”
End To The Motoring Era?
We caught up with Kunstler, a friend, this past week after
gas prices rose well above the once-taboo $3 a gallon mark,
after everyone started assessing the Katrina damage, and
cost of Gulf Coast reconstruction, in figures well over
the equally taboo $150 billion mark.
We wanted to find out what Kunstler felt, seeing things
he’d predicted reported as news.
“How should I put this, it isn’t the end of
the world as we know it but we can see that end from here”
he said by phone from his Saratoga home, where he’s
been fielding a slew of radio interviews all week. “Americans
can now feel the pain. The issues I’ve been raising
about us all being nearer the end of the Easy Motoring era
are getting a lot of attention.”
As for the hike in prices, Kunstler feels there will likely
be a correction, albeit not one going under the $3 benchmark
“Once that psychological level was breached, retailers
won’t go back,” he said. “Besides, all
this reserve material they’re releasing, sour crude
versus sweet crude, can’t be handled by most of our
Kunstler, whose book caused its first big stir when excerpted
in Rolling Stone, then heavily blogged, this past Spring,
sighed for a moment before going on.
“More to the point, I think what you’re going
to see is that the natural gas prices – and you have
to remember that 50 percent of our housing is heated in
such a way these days – that’s the area where
these costs will really be hitting in three or four months,”
he added. “That’ll end up combining with the
high pump prices to really knock the middle class on its
Explaining the natural gas market, Kunstler (who regularly
blogs himself at www.kunstler.com) pointed out how such
prices have already risen from a 2003 level of $3 a unit
to a current price of $12 a unit, now expected to jump another
$4 in the coming weeks.
“Watching all this unfold, I’m not sitting here
trying to prove I’m right,” he says. “But
what’s happening is an explisite example of what the
subtitle of my book’s all about.”
He talks about how our lack of planning for a future beyond
oil dependence, along with suburban sprawl and bad environmental
policies, has left us all susceptible to a vortex of problems
that will just keep getting worse.
“It would be tragic, for example, for the people along
the Gulf Coast to now be led into re-investing whatever
wealth they have left in this same form of infrastructure
that has no future,” Kunstler says, in measured words.
“People have to start re-thinking where they live,
not in terms of regions but in terms of how far they commute
each day, how far they are from both essential services
“There’s just so much potential right now for
disruptive events of so many kinds,” he added. “Maybe
we shouldn’t expect a slow and steady march into the
Long Emergency of our oil supplies ending any more. Maybe,
once we get past this blame-orama phase, we need to really
start looking at how we all live in this country.”
Kunstler pauses, before entering a new subject we’ll
not go into here: the liquidity, or lack of same, of our
nation’s mortgage-based economy.
“What it all adds up to,” he says, “Is
the end of this Easy Motoring age. Get ready...”
Jar Of Olives...
between Olive Day festivities and other fairs’ festivities
is the level of participation. The Kent Reeves Memorial
Race, organized by Patrick Burkhardt, had more runners than
ever. Vendors and exhibits packed Davis Park, so if you
manned a booth, you sought relief so you could check out
everyone else’s. People had choices of chicken, chicken
liver and bacon sandwiches, roast beef, ice creams, bratwurst,
deli food, or pork besides the picnic fare of hotdogs and
hamburgers. In this outdoor food court, people selected
their meal, chose a table in the shade or sun and listened
to Thunder Ridge play to a packed pavilion. It was a dinner
theater atmosphere at its best as dancers and singers joined
the band to enjoy the music. When Dorraine Schofield sang
“Red-neck Woman,” dozens dancing among the picnic
tables belted out the chorus. Later, when the “Famous
Lees of Krumville” played, Alison Fraser, stepped
up to the mike and wowed us with her song. We in Olive aren’t
passive observers of life; we are participants!
The grown-ups are usually happy to eat, drink, socialize
and be merry; the children, however, want to be entertained.
Many of the events were aimed at the children. There was
a bouncing house/ball pit, the frog-jumping contest, the
coloring contest, the egg-toss, a special penny social for
youngsters, and the Wayfinders’ capture the flag adventure.
There was even “a jar of olives.” The correct
guesser of how many olives were in that jar won a bike.
In addition, there were other events that were such fun
that the children probably didn’t realize the importance
of the fireman’s smoke house safety instruction and
the Olive Police’s bicycle safety course. Kids left
these events with bicycle helmets and valuable lifesaving
There were smiles at Olive Day. It was a day that we didn’t
dwell on taxes and reassessments. We did, however, laugh
at ourselves and with each other at the raffle of The Large
Parcel, a huge, heavy box all wrapped in brown paper and
decorated with bumper stickers that said, “Thou Shalt
Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Reservoir.” I think
the lucky winner found a barbecue grill inside. Even the
t-shirts, which sold out early in the day, sported a frog
perched upon a box labeled “The Large Parcel”
in front of the reservoir and mountain background.
However, we did not feel the angst of a year ago. This was
a day to heal; it was a day that we come together. The Republican
and Democratic parties each had booths, but signs were scarce
and politicians milled around without foisting political
platforms. That will come later—always after Olive
Speaking politically, Olive Day does kick off the fall electioneering
season. The Republicans held their caucus first. The nominated
Cindy Johansen for Supervisor, John Tisch and Paula Bresciani
Minnew for Town Council, Chet Scofield for Highway Supervisor,
and Peter Friedel for Town Justice. Since then, John Tisch
declined the nomination, and the Committee on Vacancies
nominated Sue Gunther for Town Council. They did not nominate
anyone for Town Clerk leaving Sylvia Rozzelle unopposed.
The Democrats held their caucus next. About ninety people
came to select the slate. Sometimes a caucus is a lonely
event with a handful of party faithfuls searching for candidates.
Having Charlie Blumstein throw his hat into the mix brought
many more registered Democrats out to support candidates
for two of the three Town Council Seats. Helen Chase and
Bruce La Monda, both incumbents, received the nominations.
Bert Leifeld was re-nominated for Supervisor as was Sylvia
Rozzelle for Town Clerk and Jimmy Fugel for Highway Supervisor.
The only newcomer to the slate was Tim Cox, an attorney,
who is running for the Town Justice seat left vacant by
the retirement of Vince Barringer.
The Conservative Caucus is always held last since they traditionally
endorse, rather than field, a candidate. They endorsed Cindy
Johansen for Supervisor, Bruce La Monda and Sue Gunther
for Town Council, Jimmy Fugel for Highway Supervisor, Sylvia
Rozzelle for Town Clerk, and Peter Friedel for Town Justice.
Olive Day seems to mark the end of summer even though the
calendar says we have another week or so. Children are back
to school, the pool closes, college students were noticeable
absent, and there is a chill in the air as the sun sets
around seven. All are signs that autumn is upon us. Political
signs will soon litter the highway, chainsaws will buzz
to fend off rising oil prices with wood-burning stoves and
fireplaces, tourists will come up to gaze upon our glorious
scenery, and we will all settle into that anxious time when
we look at each as a day as a special gift before that first