Saving Our Schools
Onteora Holds Onto Schools, Choosing To Save
Through Multiple Staff Cuts
By Violet Snow
As the Onteora School Board, voting 6-1, officially confirmed
last week's decision to place before the voters a 2003-2004
budget of $40,300,804, trustees heard from teachers, administrators,
and parents who protested the staff cuts estimated at thirty-six
to seventy-nine employees that will accompany the forthcoming
budget reductions. The adopted budget slashes $2.2 million in
staff and materials but because of contracted cost increases
entails a rise of five percent, with an estimated average tax
increase of 8.73 percent. Some
of the savings derive from a planned consolidation of the Woodstock
and West Hurley Elementary schools, with grades K-2 slated to
go to West Hurley and grades 3-6 to Woodstock.
Forget The Accent...
French -Speaking Citizens Of Shandaken Face Prejudice
Despite Years' Residency
By Paul Smart
Jean-Paul Biasutto, elected chief of the M.F. Whitney Fire District,
member of the town's first aid unit, and a town resident of
over thirty years, is hurt by the way some in his home town
have been treating him of late. Yes, he says, he was born and
France, a nation in which many of his family still lives, and
which he still loves the way we all love our family, and the
places we were born. And he has a French accent. But he's an
American citizen of over twenty years, with an American son.
The Todds' News
Shandaken resident Ward Todd, the Chairman
of the Ulster County Legislature and long-term legislator, as
well as town Republican Party boss, has resigned to take a job
as chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce of Ulster County.
Also his wife Jane, a current town board member, has announced
she will not seek the
position of town supervisor in this fall's local election and
probably won't seek re-election at all.
SEARCHING OUT TREASURE...
The Town-managed Parish Field got a popular workout this past
weekend as hordes of young'uns came out to hunt for Easter Eggs
Satuyrday morning. For more pictures of the fun day, see page
15 inside this extra-fun issue of your favorite newspaper...
A Brand New County
Single-Member Legislative Districts Drawn As GOP
Majority Keeps Right On Planning...
By Paul Smart
According to a new plan approved by the state Supreme Court
and okayed by the county legislature last week, Shandaken
will become part of a new legislative district come November.
And complicating matters, legal requirements, including an
accompanying ballot referendum on the same issue pushed through
by county Democrats via petition this past winter, will require
similar legislative elections for each of the next two years
as well.The new plan was required in a 2001 ruling by state
Supreme Court Justice Vincent Bradley after county Democrats
sued the Republican majority when they created
a seven-district legislature to reflect 2000 census figures,
a federal requirement. The new district resulted in a 24-9
split in the GOP's favor.
Our Lady Of Letters Sharon Umhey: Postmistress!!
By Rachel X. Weissman
As an extremely popular and friendly postmaster, Sharon Umhey
has been privy to a wide spectrum of human behavior, from
the sordid to the sublime. How does she keep all those secrets?
"I just try and forget about them. I've heard about affairs,
salaries, things going on with their kids," says Umhey,
who is upbeat even when telling the story of a dismissed boyfriend
who sent his ex- a dead mouse via the post. "You really
can tell so much about a person from their mail: who's in
financial problems, who's got love problems. And then of course,
there's the kinky mail."