to the Editor
As a senior citizen, until recently, there have been few reasons to
visit the Phoenicia School, since I have no children nor grandchildren
who currently attend. Recently, however, I’ve had the opportunity
to visit; to attend teacher conferences; to speak with various staff
members; to visit classrooms and to attend a pre-Christmas crafts workshop
at which children made gifts for their families.
I found teachers who appeared to care about the children and the children
appeared happy to be in their classrooms. Parents were treated with
respect, and everybody seemed concerned with the children’s learning
needs and general welfare. At the crafts workshop, teachers and parents
worked together to provide an enjoyable experience for the children.
The children were relaxed andhappy, and the gifts they made were useful
Our town is truly fortunate to have such a school. The children benefit:
their welfare seems foremost in the actions of the staff and parent
organization, and the presence of the School in our community help to
create a sense of community in us all!
If you have the opportunity to visit the Phoenicia School, please do
so! You will certainly be pleased!
Eve P. Smith, D.S.W.
Town of Shandaken
Social Services Officer
Once upon a time there was a Town called Olive; an idyllic place filled
with more than its share of natural beauty and tranquility. A wonderful
place to live or retire filled with unpretentious folk who smile and
look you in the eye when they say hello; dare I say, a slice of heaven.
Oh yeah, one more thing, it was inexpensive to live. Taxes were low
and affordable. Today Olive still can boast most of the aforementioned
attributes except for THE TAXES!
Back in 2004 my combined School/Town/County Tax Bill totaled @ $1,200…today
that figure is over $2,600.
Assessment inequities have been addressed and Watershed Tax revenues
have been reallocated. (I'm being extremely charitable here) What does
this mean for Olivearians?
Well the math says we/I am paying $100+ more per month in taxes. What
do I have to show for my expenditure? … Basically, Nothing. Everything
is the same. The Town still does a great job plowing and maintaining
the roads. Everyone in Town Offices is still as courteous and efficient
as ever and I still must dial 911 for emergencies and pay to get my
garbage picked up.
Local Government seems to honestly be doing a concerned, concerted effort
to control expenditures. The County is a disaster while the School District
provides information you want to hear then when the Tax Bill comes …
WHAM! The County and the School District need a harsh reality check.
You Can't Spend what you don't have.
Many Oliverians are in the position of "You can't afford to stay
and you can't afford to go." What has happened the last five years
and most important, what can be done to right things?
This is an ‘Open Letter’ to the owner of the property formerly
known as the Phoenicia Hotel...
How about shoveling the sidewalk surrounding that unsightly mountain
of trash on Main Street once known as the Phoenicia Hotel, or is there
a "Stop Work Order" on that too?
Even though it appears you don't give a damn about the safety of the
residents of Phoenicia, you can at least show some regard and respect
for the visitors and tourists to our fair town, some of whom may likely
fall and fracture a few bones trying to negotiate that icy mess or,
worse yet, get hit by a car while walking in the street trying to avoid
your treacherous sidewalks.
Your indifference to a hazardous and dangerous situation is not only
inconsiderate, it smacks of neglience.
Cleaning up your sidewalk just might save you from a future plethora
In the beginning, I wondered...why did Obama chose Hilary for Sec. of
State? Why not health care, or something I might have picked for her.
But then, I thought about his campaign and how he won, against all odds.
I couldn't have figured out how to do that. So, understanding that he
is definitely smarter than me, I began to postulate on what he might
have been thinking. That went on through many of his other centrist
picks. I thought, maybe things are just so tough in the country and
the world now, that he knows that without
coming to the middle and including everyone, he can talk and make great
speeches, but he can't get anything done. So, I continued to watch.
This week, the topic is Caroline Kennedy. Now, it's clear that he'd
like her to replace Hilary, but how? Well, if he was as smart as I suspect
he is, that would mean that he was in the habit of thinking
ahead. (Like not starting a war that might go on forever). Knowing how
powerful the Clinton's are, maybe instead of asking Hilary: "Would
you accept Secretary of Health?" , maybe he asked: "What do
you want?" And, maybe she said Secretary of State, because it might
be a more powerful job than even Vice-President, which is a sort of
second place job, with the exception of Cheney's reign. Maybe he was
even thinking, if I give her what she wants, maybe she won't stop me
from getting some of what I want, like having Caroline Kennedy in the
Another less publicized topic this week, was what Bush has been busy
doing. Aside from getting "shoe'd", and, I must admit, his
splendid duck response, was one of his shining moments - until of course,
he spoke about it. Well, he's been passing legislation called: "Midnight
Regulations", a remarkable legal method of allowing an outgoing
President to pass legislation without any approval. What did he do?
Well, he's lessening environmental regulations on the oil and coal mining
industries, reducing fire arms regulations that will make it legal to
conceal and carry loaded weapons in state parks, lessening workers protection
from chemical exposure, and lessening endangered species protection,
by prohibiting federal agencies from evaluating the effect of new projects
on endangered species, as well as eliminating it's evaluation of new
projects impact on global warming.
Right after these nightmarish assaults to the environment were disclosed,
Obama announced his energy appointments. He spoke of reviving our economy
by putting money into environmental protection here at home. His stimulus
package will provide jobs in alternative energy projects, like wind
farms, solar panels and energy efficient auto's and will reduce our
dependence of foreign oil. These jobs, he
said, cannot be outsourced. He also stated that he will work with other
countries to help them to reduce greenhouse gas and save our planet.
He closed by stating that his decisions will be based on
science and facts. Hmmm, what will I write about when my President is
smarter than me? I'm optimistic that I'll find something.
It seems the realities of the economy have sunk in to everyone except
the Belleayre Resort proponents. Just as everyone else is reading about
projects being halted in mid stream as funding dries up, they are still
dreaming of a bailout from New York State in the form of money to develop
Highmount for mostly their own exclusive use. This project is as dead
as the Bush economy. The people of this area should be giving thanks
this project was delayed 10 years, otherwise we might be looking at
a half-built boondoggle that could neither be completed nor sold. If
it were completed, where exactly would the rich people buying into these
luxury condos and time shares come from? The current real estate market
tells us that the size of the upscale market was a fiction driven by
speculators, as is the Belleayre Resort.
Why are the Belleayre Resort developers still pushing their product?
Perhaps, like the mortgage lenders they make money regardless of the
soundness of the investment which is simply passed on to other investors.
Or perhaps they are trying to convince the State this is still a viable
project and hope to recoup their losses in a bigger buyout of the entire
property by the State. Whatever the reason, we should all breathe a
big sigh of relief the Resort got nowhere.
As a matter of self preservation, we must examine our actions in the
Middle East, which could come back to destroy us. An excellent account
of this dilemma is revealed in Stephen Kinzer's book, "Overthrow:
America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq."
More than 50 years ago, Iran was establishing a government close to
a democracy. Mohammad Mossadegh a benevolent hero in Iranian history
was dissatisfied that the profits from his country’s primary resource
oil, was not staying in Iran.
The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which is now known as British Petroleum
was getting 93% of the profits and Mossadegh wanted a 50-50 split. The
British government didn’t want to use force to protect its business
interests, but America willingly took on the task of undermining Mossadegh’s
tenure as president. After numerous attempts a coup was financed and
led by Eisenhower’s CIA, and the Shah of Iran was installed as
the leader. Our CIA trained the Shah’s goon squads, which angered
generations of Iranians for meddling in their nation’s affairs.
Many Americans are to too self centered to recognize that when we benefit,
someone else may suffer. Most Americans remain ignorant of how our imperialistic
occupation of Iraq for its oil has rekindled resentment and anger in
the entire Muslim world. That anger will continue to fester as long
as our imperialistic meddling continues.
Although, these facts do not provide a moral justification for what
the terrorists did on September 11, we must at least attempt to understand
the source of their anger. There is no moral justification to explain
the estimated one million Iraqis killed and four million displaced.
Those estimates do not include those who have died because of public
health problems created by our invasion. There remain many arrogant
American imperialists in Congress, that defend our efforts to overthrow
other governments whose actions we perceived as jeopardizing American
At some point, we’ll have to accept that acting as a bully by
wrongly asserting our military superiority will eventually have serious
repercussions. Americans alive today may not feel the negative effects
of our foreign policy, but their innocent children will.
Last week from Governor Paterson announced that New York faces the largest
budget deficit in the state's history. While no one person or business
is responsible, we must now all work together to solve the current budget
crisis. One obvious solution is for the legislature to finally pass
the Bigger Better Bottle Bill ("BBBB"), which has almost passed
for many years, but this year must succeed. The BBBB will provide greater
incentives to reduce litter and recycle more bottles and cans by requiring
a five cent deposit on non-carbonated, single-serve containers, such
as bottled water, iced tea and juice bottles.
Passing the BBBB will also provide an important source of revenue for
the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) from the unclaimed deposits,
which are currently kept by the bottlers and beverage distributors.
Out of necessity Governor Paterson's proposed budget cut nearly every
area of state spending, including the EPF. In order to fund essential
programs like farmland protection, water quality initiatives, and other
essential environmental programs, New York needs the estimated $118
million a year in unclaimed deposits that the BBBB could deliver.
While the Governor's budget made aggressive cuts, it is a responsible
response to the lower revenues available to support all of New York's
needs. Passing the Bottle Bill as an important revenue initiative will
not only reduce litter and promote recycling, but it will also provide
funds for important statewide programs that protect our environment.
Please contact your state senator and assembly member and ask them to
pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill this legislative session.
Manna Jo Greene
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
I am embarrassed to say I'm a legislator from Ulster County this morning.
Last night the Ulster County Legislature Democrats in a straight party
line voted to refer a sex offender resolution back to committee. The
same committee it was said it was sent back to in September. They didn't
tell you it was September 2006 The chair of that committee hopes to
be reappointed in the next few days. WHY? The problems of dumping sex
offenders in Ulster County could have been avoided or we could of started
the process. We will have to wait now for months and give all other
counties the opportunity to dump more of their garbage in our yard.
Its bad enough our state Assembly won't help by moving but now our democratic
county legislator fall right in step. Remember they say the state is
dysfunctional, move to Ulster County we seem to have a patent on it.
I hope all the voters of Ulster County look at the votes on this and
remember all the legislators are up this year for election and the sex
offenders will not be living next to them but could be next to you.
Glenn Noonan, Minority Leader
Ulster County Legislature
As we prepare to celebrate the new president, Barak Obama. we should
remember that this president will [or should] serve all of us regardless
of political , racial or religeous association. It therefore behooves
us as good citizens to support Mr. Obama as he attempts to extricate
us from the economic morass we find ourselves in. Perhaps he will help
rebuild the bankrupt New Orleans Power Generators as we have in Baghdad!
I have lived long enough to see fourteen presidents [do the math, 1926
to 2009] struggle, muddle and "fake it" through each term.
I could offer my candidate for "worst" national steward but
that would not resolve our current difficulties. It's like reviewing
the last poker hand. "Moch nicht" as they say in German; ["makes
The "talk show" hosts refuse to leave the battle ground and
go home. A black man has offered himself for us to pillary and ridicule
for the next four years. Many have "saddled" up; donned their
armor and are headed for the nearest windmill.
I did not vote for Barak Obama and plead no "mea culpa". However,
I am in full support of the man and if he stumbles I will pick him up,
nourish him with positive support and criticize those who surround him
like the buzzards they have been in the past.
Now we have a current civil rights situation before us. For shame! The
Governor of illinois has appointed a senate replacement for the Obama
seat and the champions of fairness and equality in the senate of the
United States have seen fit not to seat him. The appointed senator meets
all the constitutional requirements including "clean hands".
I am ashamed for the first time in my adult life to be a registered
Democrat. So now Harry Reid and Dick Durban have "egg" on
their faces. Incidently, egg on one's face is difficult to remove. A
wave of the hand or finally agreeing with the law leaves a bad taste
in everyone's mouth. "Eating Crow" seems to fit nicely on
many a politician's menu.
We are in a time of comencement or new beginning. Let us lift up those
who will lead all of us to new horizons and reclaim the greatness of
this nation. There is none so blind as those who will not see. God bless
this nation and those who serve and defend it.
Glenn T. Anderson
I'd like to add my voice to those who have called on Governor Paterson
to appoint Congressman Maurice Hinchey to Hillary Clinton's vacant seat
in the United States Senate.
Maurice has always had the courage of his convictions while serving
in the New York State Assembly and United States House of Representatives.
He was against the war in Iraq when the popular sentiment was to go
to war. He voted against the $700 billion bailout and once again was
in the minority. Can anyone tell me how that money is being allocated?
He has been a champion of the environment and a cautionary voice warning
about the dangerous precedent of concentrating media outlets in the
hands of a few moguls. He has been a strong advocate for universal healthcare
as well as job creation through the repair of our infrastructure. Maurice
would be a clear voice within the Senate and would provide the necessary
balance of representation with his knowledge of the needs of upstate
What stands in Maurice's way are not his credentials, but rather the
inordinate amount of money necessary to run an effective campaign for
the US Senate in New York State. It is time to stop basing our choice
of candidates on their ability to raise money. Barack Obama has shown
the way to fund elections through the grassroots participation of millions
of voters. The same formula could certainly work to elect Maurice Hinchey
to the Senate.
I am writing to add my voice to those calling for Governor Paterson
to appoint Maurice Hinchey to the Senate seat being vacated by Hillary
Clinton. As someone once represented by the late Minnesota Senator Paul
Wellstone, I would be thrilled to be represented once again by a true
leader who does his homework and stands by his convictions. I believe
that Maurice is that person, in particular because of his early and
continued opposition to the Iraq War.
Mike Harkavy's corresponding letter to the editor rightly notes that
conventional fundraising considerations need no longer apply, as demonstrated
by President Elect Obama's recent example (and Al Franken's too, I might
add). Thus our Governor should select Clinton's replacement from the
ranks of those who merit this promotion - of which I believe Hinchey
is at the top of the list.
If others agree that Hinchey would be a wonderful selection for our
new senator, please write, call, or email Governor Paterson immediately.
Here is the pertinent contact information: Governor David A. Paterson,
State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224; 518-474-8390; http://www.ny.gov/governor/contact/index.html.
Let us exercise our democratic rights and voice our opinions as to who
we believe should represent us in the U. S. Senate!
My two year-old granddaughter, Alina, was visiting over the holidays
and we brought her to the family New Year's Eve party at the Bearsville
Theatre. How wonderful to see laughter in her eyes and in the eyes of
the other children! It was Alina's first time in the snow and so, with
a sled from Houst's, we took her for a ride down the hill near my home,
enjoying her delight as she cried out: "More! More!"
Yet, I wasn't totally present when my granddaughter was here. At the
same time that I was watching her, I was far away. My thoughts were
with the children of Gaza. I was looking into the face of other two-year
olds, watching that same openness and wonder turn to incomprehension,
fear, pain, death. Nothing, nothing justifies that killing. I could
not turn away from this reality.
Saturday, when I stood in a vigil on the Woodstock Village Green for
the people of Gaza, a woman across the street yelled at me: "Are
you Jewish?" "Yes, I am Jewish!" "You should be
ashamed!" Did she mean that as a Jewish person, I should be ashamed
to be standing for the people of Gaza? Or did she mean that because
of what Israel is inflicting on Gaza, I should be ashamed to be Jewish?
I am proud that I am Jewish. I am proud of the deep moral teachings
I learn about in Torah studies at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation.
And thus, I am also ashamed. I am ashamed that Israel is carrying out
unbelievably horrible atrocities. I am abashed that the United States
is supplying $10 million dollars every day towards this unleashed militarism.
And I am deeply sad. Sad that we, as Jewish Americans, are not crying
out in one voice - past political and nationalist agendas, above historical
myths and realities. I am deeply sad that we are not crying out against
the brutality of this our shared violence, crying out for the sacredness
of life, of every child's life.
There was a recent article in the Ulster Townsman (Dec 24) , that has
several confused and incorrect statements regarding the Woodstock cable
franchise. The innuendo of that rather one-sided discussion makes it
clear that the article is part of a campaign to exonerate Time Warner
for their attempts to strong arm Woodstock into signing the proposed
franchise. Instead of accomodating toTime Warner's shoddy deal, Woodstock
should sue the company for attempting to hold our citizens hostage by
denying the long required educational channel until the proposed franchise
is signed. For decades Time Warner has neglected to implement PEG channel
requirements that are clearly set forth in state law and the original
Woodstock franchise of 1986.
Instead of incriminating the efforts of citizens to uphold those regulations,
the Townsman and the town board should investigate and consult with
the lively and positive community that regularly makes Woodstock public
access cable happen despite inferior equipment and pathetic conditions
and without any paid staff.
In terms of finding a town to make a comparable assessment, I suggest
you visit the facility in Falmouth, Massachusetts (http://www.fctv.org)
either in person or via their web site. Falmouth Community TV has a
slightly larger subscriber base, but they also have an expanded summer
population that is quite similar to Woodstock. Their PEG center sponsors
excellent training programs for youth and seniors. They negotiated with
their cable corporation for funds to build an entire building specifically
designed for their needs. Their comfortable studios and meeting rooms
also provide a gallery space for local artists. They have seven paid
staff and a crew of volunteers. Falmouth Community TV Director Debbie
Rogers 508-457-0800 could answer any questions you might have about
their procedures and discuss their own quite successful "tough"
In our times of joy and sadness, love and fear, it is important to remember
that each of us has a choice. Know you can make a difference. You are
loved. Share the love and let’s come together to build a brighter
future for all.
You are most warmly and cordially invited to join in the creation of
a new “Community Shool.” And, yes, it’s spelled correctly
– it’s a new word! I’ve taken the “C”
out of school. “C’ represents mediocre, grading, testing
and negative thinking.
In each Shool, there will be no grades, no tests and no put downs. Instead
there will be praise, understanding, encouragement and guidance to encourage
the joy for learning and striving for self improvement, personal growth
So what is a “Community Shool?” ‘SHOOL’ shares
educational learning within its community. The ‘Shool’ is
innovative and connected globally, nationally and throughout its local
Each Shool has its own cottage industry, pertinent for their geography,
climate, commerce, and overall community needs with a mission to improve
the health and well-being of each living organism and plant and our
earth. That income is used to help carry the Shool’s day to day
operating expenses, and for scholarships for members of its community
to attend other educational programs, institutions or experiences.
The cottage industry also serves to teach all aspects of business to
all members of the community through hands-on rotation to all jobs.
Commerce may be within the community, with other Shools, or have a national
or global reach. The cottage industry may be technologically product
or service driven, all with an eye on serving positive life and health
Healthy living for the individual and community at large is a prime
factor in curriculum and day to day health practices. Each Shool will
have many gardens, greenhouses, and animal husbandry projects. Gardens
will include vegetable, herb and fruit gardens to feed the students,
staff, teachers and share with the local community.
There will also be annual and perennial gardens, both in sun to shade.
Diversity is honored, not only in our gardens, but in our community
and globally. Gardens are a back drop for learning the sciences, math,
as well as the literary, performing and fine arts. The gardens are a
nutritional, medicinal, intellectual and creative source of inspiration,
hard work, personal growth and health.
Spiritually, we are all of this earth and welcome anyone to follow their
own spirituality in anyway that is fruitful, loving and positive. We
honor other communities, the elders, family and life too.
Self sufficiency, health and nutrition offer motivation in curriculum,
as well as short and long term projects. Leadership, innovation, logic,
problem solving are all encouraged. All community members have something
to offer. Through the love and support of the community, each individual
in the community and the planet as a whole will improve.
Programs create learning experiences that directly can be applied using
practical methods. Emphasis is on practical applications using hand-on
projects, research, and quantitative thinking and planning,
One day per week all community members spend out of doors having fun,
doing a project together. The community may hike, walk, bike ride, jog,
ski, skate, swim, fish, garden, sail or do other exercises in keeping
with their terrain and climate. On the other days of the week, everyone
is outside for 10 minutes every 45 minutes for fresh air, exercise and
a brain rest and revival.
Each day all community handled equipment is sanitized. This includes
all door, faucet, flushing and drawer handles. Cutlery, measuring devises
and other tools and equipment commonly used are each thoroughly clean
and sanitized before storing. Emphasis is cleanliness, efficiency, sustainability,
and health of community. These are a prime aspect of our mission. All
community members rotate and take turns doing these activities.
Health policy is that you may not attend Shool if you are ill. Stay
home, rest, meditate or pray, and do things that bring you joy and positive
thinking to help you heal. We want to share good health.
The Shools will all be connected. The best teachers teach topics to
their respective and community at large Shool’s population via
internet and via postal mail correspondence. Encouraging local, national
and global think tank sessions will be held regularly that tie in with
Students are not selected by age; rather they are any members of the
local community within walking or bike riding distance to sessions and
community projects. This kind of transportation is encouraged as long
as health and capabilities allow.
We encourage walking over driving, in order to conserve fuel and break
the waste and pollution cycle now used heavily with the current education
system in the U.S. We encourage this daily exercise of attending the
Shool, breathing fresh air deeply in and noticing the myriad of life
forms, colors and patterns in nature as well as the changing seasons
helps to stay connected to the health of each member and our planet.
Both adults and children in the community are welcome to attend the
Shool. There are opportunities for learning in horticulture, music,
fine and performing arts, sciences, language, history and business.
All is done with an eye on living in the present with an eye on the
health and well being of our earth and all that dwell there on, both
now and in the future. We look to history for inspiration and lessons.
All members of the community rotate jobs and daily chores on a continuing
basis within the framework of the Shool. This gives everyone an opportunity
to find what they like and enjoy doing the most, as well as to develop
appreciation for others who do the other jobs.
Community members are encouraged to learn using each one’s strengths
and learning style and to understand others. Each will help teach or
tutor others with a common goal of successful learning, creativity and
sharing. Positive reinforcement, praise and understanding are a main
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.
Melody Newcombe, founder
‘The Community Shool’ concept