A State Supreme Court Judge has ordered that New York
City must pay for all costs associated with privately
owned wastewater treatment plants built to comply with
City watershed regulations forever.
Hearing the news, Phoenicians that shot down a city sewer
plan for their hamlet last winter said they knew that
they should hold out for a better deal, and now wonder
if this legal decision sets up an opportunity to get one.
Boiceville, on the other hand, took the city’s offer
for a sewer deal this year. Since the deal is already
signed it is expected that Boiceville will not benefit.
In a September 26th decision, acting Delaware County State
Supreme Court Justice Michael V. Coccoma that the Department
of Environmental Protection must pay for the operation
and maintenance costs for upgrades the company made to
a waste water treatment plant installed by Worcester Creameries
at it’s Mountainside farms dairy operation on Route
30 in Roxbury.
“The City cannot pass its financial obligation to
provide exceptional quality drinking water onto the Coalition
of Watershed Towns…..it is a cost the City, and
it alone, must endure,” Coccoma wrote.
Mountainside Farms and the Coalition sued the City last
year because the sides could not agree on how long the
City would pay the costs. The City only wanted to be responsible
for the next 30 years. The City also refused to pay for
costly equipment replacement to the system, claiming they
were only responsible for the initial design and construction
But Coccoma ruled that it is all the City’s responsibility,
according to the 1997 watershed agreement.
“The only practical interpretation… is that
it requires the City to pay for all capitol equipment
regardless of whether it was original or replacement,”
Coccoma wrote.” Any other interpretation would defeat
the general purpose of the watershed agreement, i.e.,
to protect and ensure the City’s water supply without
filtration. This could only accomplished by, through and
with the cooperation of the Coalition of Watershed Towns,
who agreed to act in good faith and take all necessary
and appropriate actions, PROVIDING it was at the City’s
“Simply put, the City, and the City alone, is responsible
for all costs associated with its filtration avoidance
measures,” Coccoma said.
The Coalition of Watershed Towns, a regional advocacy
group, agreed to fight the City after the owners of Mountainside
Farms came to the Coalitions Executive Committee last
year complaining that the City was not being cooperative.
Big Deal, Not.
Under pressure from residents in communities downstream
from its Neversink, Pepaction, and Cannonsville Reservoirs,
DEP has agreed to begin very modest water level reductions
in those bodies to help mitigate future flood damage and
stabilize the aquatic environment of the Delaware River.
It's not the thought however, but the volume that matters
say some 12,000 people who've signed petitions demanding
that the City permanently reduce capacity in those reservoirs
by 20%, in the wake of major flooding in the southern
& western Catskills in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The newly
announced system-wide reduction of 35 million gallons
per day represents about one-fifteenth the water volume
the agency moves daily into the Ashokan Reservoir via
the Shandaken Tunnel and the Esopus, and a vastly smaller
portion than that of the 3 affected reservoirs' capacity.
Most residents of the area appear to doubt that in a flood
situation, the reductions will prove to have been in any
way meaningful. Holding capacity in the Ashokan was not
effected by the recent announcement.
Come On In
The Shandaken Planning Board wants to see some people.
At their meeting last week board members asked code enforcement
officer Glenn Miller to inform the owners of some local
businesses that they need to appear before the board to
discuss their operations.
Board members say that an informal review of those businesses
indicate that new activity on the properties constitutes
a change of use, so therefore the board must review the
projects to make sure that everything is being handled
In particular they mentioned the expansion of Sweet Sues
restaurant on Main Street in Phoenicia, where the eatery
is expanding into a shop area that was only a retail establishment
and never a restaurant. They also want to investigate
the new equipment rental business opened recently by Farmer
Jones on Route 28 in Shandaken.
Two separate but equally tabloid events allegedly occurred
at the Onterora Junior/Senior High School last week. On
Wednesday, October 3, a preliminary hearing was held in
town of Olive Justice Court after a developmentally disabled
minor was charged with a sex crime following an incident
at the High School.
A 16-year-old boy is accused of sodomizing another developmentally
disabled 16-year-old male student in a restroom at the
school on state Route 28. He is charged with a felony.
On Friday, October 5, an 18-year-old male, Justin Angelakis
of West Hurley, was arrested for trafficking cocaine,
a controlled substance, in and around the High School
and charged with felony attempted sale of a controlled
substance after being taken into custody at the high school
by town of Olive police and the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement
Narcotics Team task force, an URGENT detective said. Angelakis
was arraigned in Hurley Town Court by Justice Parker and
sent to the Ulster County Jail on $5,000 cash bail.
URGENT will continue to investigate and reports that further
arrests are possible.
The names of both boys involved in the sodomy incident
are being withheld, as both the alleged victim and the
suspect are underage. Olive Town Justice Timothy Cox ordered
a competency hearing for the suspect. Published reports
in the Daily Freeman state that School district records
provided by the family of the suspect say he is classified
as “mentally retarded.”
Onteora school district Superintendent Leslie Ford declined
to comment on the specifics of the case, citing confidentiality
Bring back the glory days of Sullivan County and the Catskills
with its resorts and hotels and that would be the basis
for an economic rejuvenation of the region, according
to state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who spoke recently
at an annual “Power Breakfast” of the Sullivan
County Chamber of Commerce.
The part-time Sullivan County resident, who calls Manhattan
home, said each region in the state must create its own
identify and niche for economic development. And for Sullivan,
Silver believes he has the formula.
“I believe we can recapture the glory days of the
legendary Catskill resorts and that’s why I advocate
for the establishment of resort casinos in this region.”
The problem is that US Interior Secretary Kempthorne will
not sign off on the St. Regis Mohawk casino proposal for
Monticello Raceway. When asked what could be done to move
that project forward, Silver said, “We can change
the President, which will change the secretary.”
Seems people are putting the Catskills in their deepest
economic development sights.
A former home health care aide from Kingston faces a maximum
sentence of 10 years in prison after pleading guilty October
2 to credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft,
both felonies, for stealing the identity of a 77-year-old
Phoenicia woman under her care to obtain credit cards.
Barbara M. McClinton, 45, obtained identifying information
about the woman while she was employed as a home health
care provider for her in 2005, according to Glenn Suddaby,
U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York.
McClinton used the information to obtain at least three
credit cards, with which she bought $30,000 worth of items,
including three cars, car insurance, cell phone services,
gas, food, and clothing, Suddaby said.
McClinton pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge
Gary L. Sharpe.
State Police at Kingston have charged a Phoenicia woman
with second-degree manslaughter in connection with a two-car
accident on State Route 28 in the Town of Olive on August
11 that claimed the life of the other motorist.
Carol Williams’ vehicle crossed the road and struck
the other car head on, police said. Jose Hurtado, 78,
of Roxbury, died from his injuries.
A police investigation led to the charges against Williams,
which also include driving while intoxicated and failure
to keep right.
Williams, 48, who was severely injured in the crash, was
arraigned and released in her own recognizance to reappear
in Town of Olive Court.
As a result of an audit by the State Comptroller’s
Office, a Delaware County Sheriff’s Department clerk
admitted to stealing at least $28,752 in public funds.
Auditors also could not account for an additional $22,985
because of the irregular nature of computer transactions.
“The Delaware Sheriff’s Department did not
have safeguards in place to protect public funds, and
now more than $28,000 has been stolen and another $23,000
could be missing,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.
“This is the taxpayers’ money. It should be
protected. My office will continue to cooperate with District
Attorney Richard Northrup and Sheriff Thomas Mills to
ensure that every dollar is recovered.”
The audit was conducted at the request of Sheriff Mills.
In August, office clerk Julie Pietrefesa, who worked for
the department from January 2003 to December 2006, pled
guilty to stealing $28,752. Auditors found that $23,203
of this money came from civil fees collected by clerks
that were not recorded in the computer receipt system
or deposited in the bank.
Auditors found that Pietrefesa was able to take $5,549
in wage garnishment payments because management did not
periodically review garnishment allocation records. In
New York, sheriff’s departments process court-ordered
civil judgments. In some cases, moneys are withheld from
a person’s wages and given to sheriffs’ departments
to pay creditors of these civil judgments. Pietrefesa
misappropriated wage garnishment payments withheld from
other county employees to pay her own personal civil judgment.
New York has joined six other states to file suit against
the Bush administration, challenging stricter eligibility
rules for the government health insurance program that
covers poor children. Separately, New Jersey filed a similar
suit against the administration.
The protests from the states come in the wake of President
Bush’s veto of legislation that would loosen those
rules and increase federal funds for the State Children’s
Health Insurance Program, or Schip. The bipartisan bill
would expand coverage to 10 million children from the
6.6 million covered now.
More than 40 states urged Washington to act quickly to
reauthorize funds for the program, which was the subject
of angry debate in Congress over how much the federal
government should contribute. In their legal challenges,
the eight states contend that the new eligibility rules,
which went into effect in August and limit coverage to
children living at or below 250 percent of the poverty
level, will either force out children in the program or
leave tens of thousands without coverage who would be
In August, federal health officials informed states that
they could no longer receive federal matching funds for
children in families living above 250 percent of the poverty
level, except under special conditions that the states
say would be almost impossible to meet. Three weeks ago
the federal health officials denied a request by New York
to insure more children by covering those in families
with incomes up to 400 percent of the poverty rate, or
$82,600 for a family of four.
“Despite every effort to negotiate in good faith,
the Bush administration did nothing but put roadblocks
and poison pills in our path,” Governor Spitzer
said at a news conference yesterday. “The president
was out of touch with the reality on the ground.”
Maryland, Illinois and Washington have joined New York
in the lawsuit, with Arizona, California and New Hampshire
filing amicus briefs in the case.
Watch this one as it proceeds into the jaws of the coming
The Ulster County Health Department will hold its annual
influenza and pneumococcal vaccination clinics at several
locations throughout the county beginning on Tuesday,
October 30. No appointments are necessary, and county
residents may attend any site which is convenient.
County residents who are at greatest risk for influenza-related
conditions are encouraged to receive the flu vaccination.
This high-risk group includes those over the age of 50,
as well as adults aged 18 and over who have heart disease,
chronic broncho-pulmonary disease, renal disease, diabetes
mellitus, other chronic metabolic disorders, severe anemia
and/or compromised immune function, and others who are
at risk of influenza-related conditions. Influenza vaccine
is also recommended for home care providers and others
(including household members) who may be in close contact
with high-risk individuals.
Senior citizens who have Medicare Part B benefits will
be able to obtain their vaccinations through Medicare.
The recipient must be entitled to Part B coverage on the
date of service, Medicare Part B must be the primary insurance
coverage, and the Medicare Card must be presented on the
date of service. For those not eligible for Medicare Part
B coverage, there will be a $20.00 charge for influenza
vaccination and a $35.00 charge for pneumococcal vaccination,
payable at the clinic. County residents enrolled in Medicare
Managed Care programs should consult with their primary
care physician prior to presenting at one of the Health
Dates and places for clinics, which run from 9 AM to noon,
include October 30 at the Saugerties Senior Center, November
2 at Ulster Town Hall, November 7 at the Woodstock Rescue
Squad Building, and November 9 at Hurley Reformed Church.
For recorded information about all dates and times, which
also include sites in the south and west of the county,
please call the Ulster County Health Department Flu Hotline
at 340-3093. Information can also be obtained through
Former New York City Department of Environmental Protection
spokesperson Geoffrey Cobb Ryan passed away peacefully
on August 24th, 2007 at the age of 74 with Betty Hamilton
and his brother Chilton by his side.
Ryan, a longtime aficionado of the Catskills, was an avid
birder and conservationist and devoted an incredible amount
of time and effort to the Audubon Society. He helped found
New York City Audubon Society; served as chair of the
Audubon Council of New York State; was Vice Chair and
a charter member of the Audubon New York Board of Directors
and a member of the Board of the National Audubon Society.
A special service is set to take place for him at the
Prospect Park Audubon Center in Brooklyn the morning of
Monday, October 15.
On what started as a normal Saturday night one week ago,
residents of a small, remote Peruvian town saw a bright
light streak across the sky, heard a resounding bang and
suddenly found themselves at the center of a media frenzy.
Initial suspicions of an airplane crash quickly spiraled
into widespread reports that a meteorite had plummeted
to Earth and left a smoking, boiling crater whose supposedly
noxious fumes were reported to have sickened curious locals
who went to peer at the hole.
But it turns out none of the hysteria was deserved. If
noxious fumes did emanate from the crater, they were most
likely the result of a hydrothermal explosion that could
have actually formed the crater, or were released from
the ground when the meteorite struck, if in fact one did,
according to many geologists. Some health officials even
suggest, now, that the symptoms described by the locals,
the large number of people reporting symptoms, and the
apparently rapid spread have all the hallmarks of a case
of mass hysteria.
“The Peruvian event seems to be a rare case where
we may be witnessing collective anxiety that is approaching
near hysteria,” said Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist
at John Moores University in England.
So much for the Andromeda Strain.
The next meeting of the Shandaken Women’s Network,
set for 6 to 9 PM on Tuesday, October 16th at the home
of Melissa Thongs in Shandaken, will not only feature
a free potluck dinner and networking meeting, but the
group’s annual Election of and Executive Committee
and Officers for the coming year. The meeting will focus
on introductions within the membership and discussion
of future directions for the network. Melody Newcombe
has volunteered to serve as President, Angel Ortloff as
Vice-President, and Ann Byer will help with the Welcoming
Committee. Volunteering to continue to serve on the Executive
Committee are Dolly Shivers (Treasurer and Welcoming Committee),
Elly Wininger (Membership), Judith Boggess, Liz Horn,
Diana Mae Munch, and Julia Blelock. Additional volunteers
are welcome. Please contact the SWN for directions and
reservations (by email:firstname.lastname@example.org
or by telephone: 688-7057). For more information, please
visit the website of the Shandaken Women’s Network
The purpose of the Shandaken Women’s Network is
to establish a place for women in business and involved
in community affairs to network and support each other’s
endeavors. Membership is open to all women who live or
work in the communities that make up the Catskill Region,
east of the Delaware Watershed. They meet the third Tuesday
of each month, except January.
Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress hosted a conference recently
that focused on how municipalities can benefit from shared
services and how they can get funding from the state when
they do so. Many municipalities around the state already
have reconfigured services for fire and police departments
and tax assessors’ offices, but Pattern President
Jonathan Drapkin said there is much more that can be done
to inform municipalities of their options for saving taxpayer
“The short of it is that as taxes continue to increase,
and residents and businesses feel more pressured staying
in New York, the question is what are we going to do about
it? One of the options is to continue to look at shared
services, collaboration of services and consolidation
of services,” Drapkin said. “It may not work
everywhere, but when you can do it well, you can provide
services at least at an equal level, sometimes even an
improved level, at a less cost to the taxpayer.”
Three years ago, the state introduced the Shared Municipal
Services Incentive grant program, which allocates, on
a yearly basis, around $14 million to communities that
foster shared services.
Communities looking to benefit from the grant program
were urged to contact the state Department of State for
more information and also to do some research of their
The conference was held at SUNY New Paltz.
5 Million Lost
When Congress asked about 5 million executive branch e-mails
that went missing, a White House lawyer pointed the finger
at an outside IT contractor. The only problem? No such
IT contractor exists, according to sources close to the
investigation of a possible violation of the Federal Records
and Presidential Records acts.
White House Office of Administration Deputy General Counsel
Keith Roberts told the House Oversight Committee on May
29 that “an unidentified company working for the
Information Assurance (IA) Directorate of the Office of
the Chief Information Officer was responsible for daily
audits of the e-mail system and the e-mail archiving process,”
according to committee chair Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
That briefing came about after it was confirmed by the
White House in April that millions of e-mails had vanished
from Executive Office of the President (EOP) archives
Waxman requested that the White House provide his committee
by Sept. 10 with an internal Executive Office of the President
report on the e-mail system it said it prepared following
the discovery of the missing e-mails, as well as the identity
of the contractor responsible for daily audits and archiving.
That deadline has come and gone with no response from
the Bush administration on Waxman’s request.
The offices of the president and vice president are required
to preserve all official communications, including e-mail,
by the Presidential Records Act, a Watergate-era law which
establishes that such communications are the property
of the American people and cannot be destroyed. The Federal
Records Act covers the archiving of communications by
other parts of the executive branch.
Contrary to the White House’s statements to the
Oversight Committee, several sources, including an IT
company currently doing contractual work for the Executive
Office of the President, have said that no outside company
had a managed services contract to audit the Executive
Office of the President’s e-mail archiving system
daily during the period when the e-mails went missing.
Meanwhile, the Oversight Committee is also investigating
the use of Republican National Committee e-mail services
by White House staff members, following allegations that
RNC e-mail was used for official communications to avoid
archiving under the Presidential Records and Federal Records
acts. The Bush administration has countered that RNC e-mail
was used to comply with the Hatch Act’s provisions
against campaigning with public resources by federal civil
The Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC). Board of Directors
has approved grants for five municipal planning projects
in the Schoharie Reservoir basin. The projects will be
undertaken as part of the CWC’s Local Technical
Assistance Program (LTAP) and are intended to curb future
stormwater problems and turbidity in the basin.
Grants totaling $500,000 were awarded at the Sept. 25
CWC Board meeting. Funds will go to the Town of Windham
to compile a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS)
to identify the impacts of and mitigations for reasonably
foreseeable future development; the Town of Roxbury to
do a Comprehensive Plan addendum and a GEIS; the Town
of Conesville for a GEIS for the Manorkill area; and the
Town of Jewett for a Stormwater Analysis. The Town and
Village of Hunter and the Village of Tannersville will
team up to prepare a GEIS for the Route 23A corridor through
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection
is funding the LTAP projects under terms of a 2006 SPDES
permit issued by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
to the City for its discharges of turbid water from the
Schoharie Reservoir via the Shandaken Tunnel into the
Esopus Creek and Ashokan Reservoir.
In other action at its monthly meeting, the CWC Board
approved a $1 million low-interest loan to Numrich Arms
Corp. of West Hurley, Ulster County. The funds will help
pay for a new 26,000-square-foot warehouse on the company’s
Williams Lane property to lease to affiliate Numrich Gun
Parts Corp., the largest supplier of gun replacement parts
in the world employing 75 people. The building will be
use to store the company’s175,000-item inventory.
The CWC board also approved a Special Education Program
grant of $19,700 to Calliope Creative Foundation for a
video documentary on this summer’s Mountaintop to
Tap Trek by 12 high school students from New York City
and Sidney. The video will be produced by Delhi Stories,
Inc. and will be screened at an upcoming opening of a
CWC-funded exhibit of student photographs and writings
from the 100-mile trek.
For more information on the non-profit Catskill Watershed
Corporation and its environmental protection, economic
development and education programs, go to www.cwconline.org,
or call 845-586-1400.
There’s a benefit auction this weekend to help out
Mary Jane, the widowed partner of George the Wood Guy,
who died recently. The auction will be at the St. Francis
De Sales Parish Hall on the east end Phoenicia’s
Main Street and features a cornucopia of goods and services.
All proceeds go to help out Mary Jane. Auction previews
are set for Friday, October 12 between 4 and 6PM and again
on Saturday from 4 to 7 pm. The auction immediately follows
at 7 on Saturday only.
Kevin Brady of Precision Flow Technologies in Saugerties
has been named Businessperson of the Year in Ulster County
and is among the eight recipients of the 2007 Ulster County
Business Recognition Awards.
The awards, whose recipients are featured below, will
be given out Thursday evening during a dinner at Wiltwyck
Golf Club in the town of Ulster.
Sponsored by the Ulster County Development Corp. and the
Chamber of Commerce of Ulster County, the awards honor
individuals and companies that have made significant contributions
to the county. Business of the Year honors will go to
Herzog’s of Kingston. The special Heart of Ulster
County Award will be presented to Anita Williams Peck
of Williams Lake Resort in Rosendale. Best Small Business
of the Year winner is seven21 media center of Kingston.
The Arts Society of Kingston has been named Best Cultural
Business of the Year. The Best New Building Project of
the Year award is going to the Tischler Dental in West
Hurley. The Kingston Health Pavilion will receive the
award for Adaptive Re-use Building Project of the Year.
Best Tourism Business of the Year honors are going to
the Emerson Resort and Spa of Mount Tremper.
Tax dollars apportioned to Ulster County libraries in
2007 by the county legislature will be used to purchase
premier knowledge resources according to Ulster County
Library Association President Lynn Ridgeway. In past years,
funds have been distributed to individual libraries to
defray the cost of programs and various expenses. This
year the funding will be spent to benefit all libraries
and their cardholders in the same way.
“This represents a change in method by which member
libraries are usually supported,” said Ridgeway,
who is also a library trustee with the Plattekill Library.
“In the past, libraries received a check, now they
will be receiving services equal to, or greater than,
the amount of money they would have received.”
The Association has purchased annual subscriptions including
the Historical New York Times, HeritageQuestOnline, and
NetLibrary downloadable audiobooks with the $57,500 received
Huge transmission lines could soon skirt Civil War battlegrounds,
historic districts, and the Appalachian Trail following
a federal order that designates national corridors in
two key regions of the United States with fast-growing
The corridors are designed to make it easier for utilities
to get approval for power lines in areas where the electric
grid is congested. They allow the US Energy Department
- not states - to be the final arbiter of where the lines
The move, which some feel is related to troubles being
met by an entity trying to build new lines through the
lower Catskills in Delaware and Sullivan counties, is
certain to spark a fresh round of lawsuits and inject
vigor into congressional debates about new energy legislation,
critics say, especially over provisions for the new eastern
corridor. At stake is the reliability and cost of electric
power in the Northeast, its embrace of green energy, and
the ambience of hundreds of thousands of rural acres from
New York to Virginia.
Arguing that the US badly needs new transmission lines
to prevent future power shortages and possibly even blackouts,
federal energy officials say newly designated “national
interest electric corridors” in the Mid-Atlantic
states and the Southwest are a much needed insurance policy.
“These National Corridors serve as an important
indication by the federal government that significant
transmission [power] constraint or congestion problems
exist,” Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said in a
statement. “The goal is simple - to keep reliable
supplies of electric energy flowing to all Americans.”
But opponents, including the governors of New York and
Virginia, state regulators, and others, say it’s
anything but simple. The newly designated corridors hold
potential to push power lines through some of the most
scenic and historic areas of 11 states. They would also
undermine Northeast states’ bid to reduce greenhouse-gas
emissions by causing them to rely more on cheaper coal-fired
power from the Midwest, rather than cleaner but higher
cost electric generators fired by natural gas.
Under provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is allowed
to preempt local and state zoning laws when it designates
a “national interest electric transmission corridor.”
It also permits the use of federal powers of eminent domain
that would require landowners to sell their property.
Mark Brownstein, a managing director at Environmental
Defense, a New York-based environmental group, says his
group is examining the possibility of a lawsuit. The new
corridor border divides Appalachian coal reserves and
large urban populations on the East Coast. “It seems
no accident these corridors are exactly along the borders
of states that have committed to reducing greenhouse gases,”
Ever notice how much energy Jr. High kids have? Now there’s
a new opportunity for them to blow off steam and do constructive
work after school. The new educational facility at the
Reservoir Church in Shokan is hosting an after-school
program of non-sectarian activities in support of families
in the Onteora School community. The program consists
of an hour of homework help, and an hour of fun activities.
It will run from 3:00 to 5:30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays,
and Thursdays when school is in session until mid-June.
The Youth Activities Director is an athletic senior from
Saugerties High School , Leland Radovanovic. The facilities
are new and include a large hall, spacious classrooms,
a full kitchen, a playing field, and sports and cooperative
game equipment for indoors and outside. The school has
scheduled a bus stop at the driveway on the Northwest
side of Rt. 28 for safe access to the program.
The program is supported by a grant and is led by a volunteer
committee of certified teachers. Marilyn Wakefield taught
at Rhinebeck Schools, Gloria Sumner at Kingston , and
Carol Lamonda and Jim Ulrich at Onteora. The study supervision
will be provided by adult volunteers. The Reservoir Church
offers its facilities for free, and a nominal fee will
help pay the Youth Activities Director.
The RAP program coordinator, Jim Ulrich, says, “This
program could grow to include more grades, and become
a great asset to the school and to families, but only
if it gets the participation and support of the community
now in the beginning.”
Families who are interested should call Jim for an application:
At The Fair…
An alert off duty parole officer and a quick thinking
Sullivan County Sheriff’s deputy apprehended a level
3 sex offender at the Grahamsville fairgrounds on Saturday,
October 6. New York State Parole Officer Wayne Martin,
who was off duty with his grandchildren, spotted Gary
Fulton , 29 of Liberty, a parolee and level 3 sex offender,
near the stage where awards were being presented to children
who had participated in the Pumpkin Parade. Martin alerted
Sergeant Luis Alvarez of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s
Patrol who was standing nearby, monitoring the crowd.
Sergeant Alvarez took Fulton into custody without incident.
Fulton was charged with violating a condition of his parole
that requires that he has no contact with children under
the age of 18. His presence at the Pumpkin Festival is
still under investigation. Fulton was sent to the Sullivan
County Jail pending further action by the State Board
Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff said the public
was never in any danger. “This event in Grahamsville
was well covered by sheriff’s deputies, state troopers,
and the DEP Police,” he said.
Local residents planning to register to vote in the Nov.
6 election must have their registration forms in the mail
by midnight Oct. 12, the state-mandated dateline in all
counties. Residents who already are registered in their
home county but have moved to a new address within the
county should notify the Board of Elections of the move.
Also coming up is the need to request absentee ballots.
Applications for these ballots must be postmarked no later
than Oct. 30.
Ulster County currently has 33,863 Democrats, 33,829 non-enrolled
voters, 30,607 Republicans and 3,708 members of the Independence
Party. Voter turnout in Ulster County for the last all-local
election, in 2005, was 50-55 percent.
New Flood Maps
Ulster County residents are invited to review the county’s
new flood maps at an “open house” that will
be held by federal and state floodplain management personnel
on Tuesday, October 23.
Experts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
(NYSDEC) will be on hand to answer residents’ questions
about the maps, their risk for flooding, flood insurance
and development standards in flood zones.
FEMA is mid-way through a five year initiative to update
all the nation’s flood maps. The Ulster County maps
were recently issued in a preliminary format. There will
be a formal three month appeals period before the maps
are finalized. This round of flood mapping in Ulster County
will only include the areas outside of the New York City
water supply Watersheds.
The “open house” will be held in the Legislative
Chambers of the Ulster County Office Building from 7:00
to 8:30 pm. The County Office Building is located at 244
Fair Street in Kingston. Driving directions and other
information can be obtained at the following website:
http://rmc.mapmodteam.com/RMC2 or by calling FEMA’s
Regional Management Center-2 at 212-478-1800.
“Creating Desirable Communities” will be the
featured topic at Catskills Local Government Day Wednesday,
Oct. 17 in Margaretville. David Ivan, Michigan State University
Extension Director and Economic Development Specialist,
will give the lunchtime address at Hanah Country Inn,
where the annual gathering will be sponsored by the Catskill
Watershed Corporation (CWC) and the New York State Department
of State (DOS).
Municipal officials and staffers, planning and zoning
board members, economic development coordinators and other
interested citizens are welcome to attend. For an agenda
and registration materials, go to www.cwconline.org/special/gov_day,
or call 845-586-1400.
David Ivan’s presentation will be a lively look
at some of the 225 communities he recently surveyed in
10 Midwestern and East Coast states to determine how the
most successful ones manage to fill storefronts, capitalize
on art and cultural heritage, engage citizens and attract
young professionals. Ivan’s presentation will be
followed by a panel discussion, “Beyond Facades:
Realizing Our Main Street Potential.” Speakers will
include Linda Overbaugh of Heart of Catskill Chamber of
Commerce explaining how the Village of Catskill has diversified
its retail base; Victor Dadras of Dadras Architects of
New York City and Liberty, on the topic of “Saving
Historic Buildings for Commerce,” and Nan Stoltzenburg,
of Community Planning and Environmental Associates of
Berne, NY offering advice on “Turning Vision Into
Action: Tools to Help You Get There.”
Several morning workshops are also scheduled for Code
Enforcement Officers, financial managers and other municipal
officials. Topics include Intermunicipal Cooperation in
Building Code Enforcement, Enforcement of Zoning and Other
Local Laws, Information Security for Municipalities, and
Shared Services: Benefits, Examples, Encouragement and
Funding. Two two-hour sessions on planning issues may
satisfy the new state training mandate for planning and
zoning board members.
Space is limited for these workshops so those interested
are advised to register without delay. For more information
on the non-profit Catskill Watershed Corporation and its
environmental protection, economic development and education
programs, go to http://www.cwconline.org/, or call 845-586-1400.
If the court accepts former CBS anchorman Dan Rather’s
suit against his network over the reasons for firing him
being politically based, it will set in motion an “inexorable
mechanism” that will grind out answers to other
questions as well.
In making his case, Rather will be trying to establish
beyond reasonable doubt that George W Bush never completed
his required service in the Texas Air National Guard.
Moreover, Rather's suit will seek to demonstrate that
the documents used in his 60 Minutes II piece were not
inauthentic and that he and his producers acted responsibly
in presenting them and the information they contained
- and that that information is true. Indeed, no credible
source has refuted the essential facts of the story.
Rather has made plain that he is uninterested in a cash
settlement. He has filed his suit precisely to be able
to take depositions... including top officials in the
White House and mainstream media.
The number of existing single-family houses sold in the
Hudson Valley and Catskills in August fell when compared
to the same month last year, the New York State Association
of Realtors reported.
The largest drop in sales was in Sullivan County, with
over a 63 percent decline. Orange County fell by 19 percent
and Dutchess County lost 16 percent.
There were some smaller increases in sales. Westchester
County grew by under five percent, and Ulster and Putnam
counties, by over one percent each.
Delaware County saw a 14 percent increase in sales of
existing single-family homes. Statistics for Columbia
and Greene counties were not available.
Home prices fluctuated with the median price of an existing
home selling in Westchester County in August for $730,000.
In Putnam, they sold for $407,500; in Dutchess, for $350,000;
in Orange County, $326,000; in Ulster County, $259,500;
in Sullivan County, at $193,500; and in Delaware County
Statewide, existing single-family home sales bell by 7.6
Using a mobile phone for more than 10 years increases
the risk of getting brain cancer, according to the most
comprehensive study of the risks yet published.
The study - which contradicts official pronouncements
that there is no danger of getting the disease - found
that people who have had the phones for a decade or more
are twice as likely to get a malignant tumour on the side
of the brain where they hold the handset.
The scientists who conducted the research say using a
mobile for just an hour every working day during that
period is enough to increase the risk - and that the international
standard used to protect users from the radiation emitted
is "not safe" and "needs to be revised".
They conclude that "caution is needed in the use
of mobile phones" and believe children, who are especially
vulnerable, should be discouraged from using them at all.
The study, published in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed
journal Occupational Environmental Medicine, is important
because it pulls together research on people who have
used the phones for long enough to contract the disease.
Cancers take at least 10 years - and normally much longer
- to develop but, as mobile phones have spread so recently
and rapidly, relatively few people have been using them
Official assurances that the phones are safe have been
based on research that has, at best, included only a few
people who have been exposed to the radiation for long
enough to get the disease, and are therefore of little
or no value in assessing the real risk.
Last month, Britain's largest investigation into the health
risks of the technology, the £8.8m Mobile Telecommunications
and Health Research (MTHR) programme - funded by "government
and industry sources" - reported that "mobile
phones have not been found to be associated with any biological
or adverse health effects".
But its chairman, Professor Lawrie Challis, admitted that
only a small proportion of the research had covered people
who had used the phones for more than a decade. He warned:
"We cannot rule out the possibility at this stage
that cancer could appear in a few years' time."
He said the investigation had discovered "a very
slight hint" of increased numbers of brain tumours
among those exposed for more than 10 years, and called
for more research.
The new study - headed by two Swedes, Professor Lennart
Hardell of the University Hospital in Orebro and Professor
Kjell Hansson Mild of Umea University, who also serves
on the MTHR programme's management committee - goes some
way to meeting the deficiency.
The scientists pulled together the results of the 11 studies
that have so far investigated the occurrence of tumours
in people who have used phones for more than a decade,
drawing on research in Sweden, Denmark Finland, Japan,
Germany, the United States and Britain. They found almost
all had discovered an increased risk, especially on the
side of the head where people listened to their handsets.
Five of the six studies of malignant gliomas, cancers
of the glial cells that support and protect the nerve
cells, found an increased risk. The only one that did
not still found an increase in benign gliomas. Four of
the five studies that looked at acoustic neuromas - benign
but often disabling tumours on the auditory nerve, which
usually cause deafness - found them. The exception was
based on only two cases of the disease, but still found
that long-term users had larger tumours than other people.
The scientists assembled the findings of all the studies
to analyse them collectively. This revealed that people
who have used their phones for a decade or more are 20
per cent more likely to contract acoustic neuromas, and
30 per cent more likely to get malignant gliomas.
The risk is even greater on the side of the head the handset
is used: long-term users were twice as likely to get the
gliomas, and two and a half times more likely to get the
acoustic neuromas there than other people.
The scientists conclude: "Results from present studies
on use of mobile phones for more than 10 years give a
consistent pattern of an increased risk for acoustic neuroma
and glioma." They add that "an increased risk
for other types of brain tumours cannot be ruled out".
Professors Hardell and Mild have also themselves carried
out some of the most extensive original work into tumours
among long-term mobile phone users and have come up with
even more alarming results. Their research suggests they
are more than three times more likely to get malignant
gliomas than other people, and nearly five times more
likely to get them on the side of the head where they
held the phone. For acoustic neuromas they found a threefold
and three-and-a-half-fold increased risk respectively.
They have also carried out the only study into the effects
of the long-term use of cordless phones, and found this
also increased both kinds of tumours. Their research suggests
that using a mobile or cordless phone for just 2,000 hours
- less than an hour every working day for 10 years - is
enough to augment the risk.
Professor Mild told The Independent on Sunday: "I
find it quite strange to see so many official presentations
saying that there is no risk. There are strong indications
that something happens after 10 years." He stressed
that brain cancers are rare: they account for less than
2 per cent of primary tumours in Britain, though they
are disproportionately deadly, causing 7 per cent of the
years of life lost to the disease. "Every cancer
is one too many," he said.
He said he uses a mobile phone as little as possible,
and urges others to use hands-free equipment and make
only short calls, reserving longer ones for landlines.
He also said that mobiles should not be given to children,
whose thinner skulls and developing nervous systems make
them particularly vulnerable.
The danger may be even greater than the new study suggests
for, as Professor Mild says, 10 years is the "minimum"
period needed by cancers to develop. As they normally
take much longer, very many more would be likely to strike
long-term users after 15, 20 or 30 years - which leads
some to fear that an epidemic of the disease could develop
in the coming decades, particularly among today's young
On the other hand, the professor points out that the amount
of radiation emitted by phones has decreased greatly since
the first ones came on the market more than a decade ago,
which suggests that exposures and risks should also be
falling. But he still recommended choosing phones that
give out as little radiation as possible (see below),
and pointed out that people are now also exposed to many
other sources of radiation, such as masts and Wi-Fi systems,
though these emit much less than mobile handsets.
Britain's official Health Protection Agency - which has
taken a cautious view of claims that radiation from mobile
phones, their masts and Wi-Fi installations can damage
health - admits that the study "may be indicative"
of a risk, but says that "such analyses cannot be
The Mobile Operators Association said: "This is not
new data for the World Health Organisation and the many
independent expert scientific committees who state that
there are no established health risks from using mobile
phones that comply with international guidelines."
Both sides agree that there is need for more research.
Professor Mild said a possible link between mobile phones
and Alzheimer's disease should also be examined, since
"we have indications that it might be a problem"
as well as a possible link with Parkinson's disease, "which
can't be ruled out".
In the meantime, the scientists want a revision of the
emission standard for mobiles and other sources of radiation,
which they describe as "inappropriate" and "not
safe". The international standard is designed merely
to prevent harmful heating of living tissue or induced
electrical currents in the body - and does not take the
risk of getting cancer into account.
Professors Hansen and Mild serve on the international
BioInitiative Working Group of leading scientists and
public health experts, which this summer produced a report
warning that the standard was "thousands of times
The BioInitiative report added: "It has been established
beyond reasonable doubt that some adverse health effects
occur at far lower levels of exposure ... some at several
thousand times below the existing safety limits."
It also warned that unless this is corrected there could
be "public health problems of a global nature".
Case Study: "Mobiles Are the Smoking of the 21st
Century; They Need Health Warnings"
Neil Whitfield, a 49-year-old father of six, developed
an acoustic neuroma in 2001 after years of heavy mobile
phone use, on the left side of the head, to which he had
held his handset. He says he had no family history of
the disease and that when he asked a specialist what had
caused it, the doctor had asked him if he used a mobile.
"I was on it four hours a day, easily" he says.
"When I held it to my head, I could feel my ear getting
He adds that he completely lost his hearing in his left
ear and was off work for 12 months. Unable to go back
to his old job in marketing, he became a teacher, suffering
a £20,000 drop in income.
"It has had a devastating effect on my family,"
he says. "Mobile phones are the smoking of the 21st
century; they should have health warnings on them. You
would never buy a child a pack of cigarettes, but we give
them mobiles which could cause them harm."
Warning: Your Model Might Be Dangerous
Exposure to radiation, shown as Specific Absorption Rate
(SAR) levels, varies widely in different models. Manufacturers
and the Government have ignored the Stewart report that
urges they be clearly marked on phones and boxes. They
are thus hard to find, though the Carphone Warehouse catalogue
includes them. An easily accessible list of phones and
radiation exposures is published in Germany, where low-radiation
models, defined as having SAR of 0.6 or under, are encouraged.