After the horrible Spring/Summer of 2006 weather and pestwise
we are grateful to have been blessed with what I think has
been wonderful Summer weather this year. Especially compared
with other parts of the country I would like to give thanks
to Mother Nature for dealing us what seemed like the right
amount of rain and sunshine and seemingly at the right times.
As a business owner here in Phoenicia I would also like to
thank those who helped make Phoenicia look even greater than
it otherwise would have. The
hanging baskets and pots around town looked wonderful again
this year and the garden on the driveway between Brio’s
and the Boardwalk and the extra tier under the sign at the
exit off route 28 were stunning additions.
Hopefully I'm not missing anyone in thanking Ted French at
the helm, the SHARP Committee, the Phriends of Phoenicia,
the Town Board, fellow Business owners and Aquaman Mike for
all that was done to make us feel proud of the way our town
As the petunias disappear and we take in the magnificent concerto
of Fall foliage color around us I'm only saddened to see the
ugly sprouting of the inevitable political signs all over
the roadsides. A meaningless and not a particularly nice sight
to greet the visitors to our area. Aren't forums like Meet
the Candidate evenings, articles in local newspapers, mailings
etc better ways for us to become informed as to who to vote
I realise the period that they are up is short but please
candidates spend your advertising money elsewhere next year
and raise your profile in other ways. Give the electorate
a bit more credit than in thinking that these roadside eyesores
will sway any votes.
As we close on this session of the Ulster County Legislature,
we have much to be proud of. We inherited the Jail Fiasco
bleeding revenue and a budget mess that at times seemed insurmountable.
It ate up a great deal of our time, yet we were able to create
more reform and forward thinking programs in these past 22
months than was accomplished in the past 22 years. Although
differences were many, it was clear that working past them
was more important to a vast majority of the legislators then
their private agendas. Much of that mindset was a result of
With this letter I would like to thank the people of County
District 2, Woodstock, Shandaken, Denning, Hardenburgh and
parts of Saugerties, for sending Don Gregorius and Brian Shapiro
to the legislature. Both were instrumental in our success.
They clearly put aside politics to get done what was best
for Ulster County and their constituents.
Don was the first freshman legislator to ever serve on the
Ways and Means Committee and served on an emergency budget
oversight committee where he worked diligently with legislators
from both sides of the isle to get control of spending and
create clear oversight on all budgetary issues. He was also
appointed as the Chairman of the Labor negotiating committee,
a position that brings a great deal of hard work and little
in the way of rewards.
As Chairman of the Environmental Committee of the Ulster County
Legislature, Brian Shapiro brought forth the most progressive
environmental programs seen in any legislative body in New
York. Working with both sides of the isle he capped that off
with the creation of the first real county Department of Environment
in New York State and doing so with existing expenditures.
That passed the Ulster County Legislature in a unanimous vote
October 10, 2007.
There is no way to list all there accomplishments in a letter.
It is best said that I could always count on both of these
legislators not only to get the job done on any issue they
were handed, I could count on it being done with style, grace,
a sense of urgency and with bipartisan support.
So again to the people of County District 2, Thank you.
David B. Donaldson
Chairman of the U.C. Legislature.
My name is Tim Malloy. I would like to take this opportunity
to tell you a little about myself, and why I am asking for
your support as a candidate for councilperson on the Shandaken
town board. As a life-long resident who has worked in Phoenicia
for over thirty years, I have had the unique opportunity to
work with and socialize with people of varied backgrounds,
income brackets. The way we earn our living may be different,
but the things that tie us here are mostly the same. Shandaken
is a jewel, a safe and wonderful place whether to raise a
family or spend a well earned retirement fishing its world
renowned fly fishing streams.
I feel it's time for the town board to start protecting the
people who have "hung in there" no matter what,
through hard winters, no winters and bad economies, people
who worked hard to bring Shandaken from a poverty stricken
ghost town to the vital solid community and natural recreational
destination it is now. I'd like to see the channels of communication
open to all citizens and committees.
The town board has the responsibility to acknowledge all input
in a respectable manner. Our problems are not insurmountable,
with a little civility and patience we can work through the
many changes that are happening around us. Lets not sell Shandaken
out. Lets’ protect the way of life we've built. Let’s
utilize what we have, fresh air and local color. Let’s
keep our elementary school open, know where our tax money
is being spent and protect the freedom to own and live on
a little piece of this jewel we know as Shandaken.
As councilman, I'll work hard for you. I'll remain focused
and keep a good attitude. Let me bring my experience to the
table. Please support me on election day.
Mt. Tremper, NY
As Election Day rapidly approaches I would like to take this
opportunity to share with the voters of the Town of Shandaken
my visions for the town as a potential town council member
and a fellow resident:
Mutual respect of all residents-regardless of political party,
Encourage the true definition of community-“sharing,
Stewardship of our environment and at the same time encourage
healthy economical growth
· Encourage our youth to love their community and want
be vested in its future
Help our seniors to continue to remain, healthy, happy and
active throughout their golden years in the Town of Shandaken
During the few remaining weeks before Election Day I intend
to get out and meet with as many of you as possible. I am
currently serving the Onteora School District as the interim
high school principal until the end of December. Although
I am thankful to once again have had the opportunity to contribute
to the effective education of our students, my work hours
have prohibited me from getting out door-to-door as I had
hoped to do. Since many of you work full time, I realize the
value of your precious few waking hours in the comfort of
your home. Door to door campaigning is an effective tool to
meet and greet, listen and speak directly and attentively-but
for some it can be an intrusion on your precious free time.
I will be making an effort to meet many of you at community
functions and social events. I welcome anyone with concerns
or questions to call me or email me and I will make every
effort to respond as soon as possible. It you would prefer
I come to your home, I am certain we can arrange a suitable
time to do so.
Our phone number is 254-6339,e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am also aware that campaign signs are a common form of “candidate
awareness”. Although that might be proven successful,
Kathy and I have decided that we will not utilize that method
of campaigning to any great extent. In an attempt to be more
environmentally friendly, we would prefer to contribute the
money that would have been spent on signs back to the community.
Therefore, we have sent contributions to the Pine Hill Community
Center and Friends of Snuffy.
I hope that you will trust in my ability and willingness to
serve the Town of Shandaken as councilman. I appreciate all
the support and warm greetings I have received over the past
months and look forward to meeting many more of you and experiencing
the true definition of community-sharing, participation and
Pine Hill, NY
With over 42 years of management and public relations experience
in some of New York City's highest grossing restaurants and
hotels, I appreciate what matters most in conducting the business
of our town: financial knowledge, fiscal responsibility, people
skills, and advocacy for the community.
I believe the town clerk's office should be streamlined and
costs cut -- resulting in taxpayer dollars that can be saved
and redistributed to town projects and the many issues facing
I also believe our townspeople are entitled to a smiling face,
a sympathetic ear, and someone who is willing to speak up
for our concerns and assist you with any questions or problems
you may have whenever you contact the town clerk's office.
You should be able to speak with someone throughout the work
day. The office should NEVER be empty.
As a cofounder of the Phoenicia Cat Project (a Trap-Neuter-Return
program for Phoenicia's stray and feral cat population), I
have a strong commitment to the wildlife and companion animals
of Shandaken. I have nurtured a good relationship between
the town and Friends of Snuffy, and I actively seek caring
adoptive homes for the dogs in Snuffy's Suites.
I love this town and the people who live and work here. That's
why I left NYC to live the rest of my life in this beautiful,
pastoral setting. I believe I can make a difference and help
unite the wonderful citizens of Shandaken.
Please put me to work on your behalf by voting for me on Row
A, Tuesday, November 6th.
Are you satisfied with the last 4 years of town government?
With closed-door meetings, government run for a few select
people, no major problems solved, unruly conducted town board
meetings, a very poorly run ambulance department, and last
but not least, a town budget that goes up at least twice the
amount of inflation. If you ran a business this way you would
go bankrupt! But all the town board has to do is to raise
your taxes higher to pay for it.
This is the worst performance by a town board since I started
voting! We need town board members who will listen to all
people and work things out. Ones who know how to run a business
and be fiscally minded. Ones who will solve problems - not
make them worse or drag them out.
For these reasons (and many others) Peg and I are supporting
Peter DiSclafani for Supervisor, Vincent Bernstein and Jerry
Pearlman for Councilman, and Eric Hofmeister for Superintendent
of Highways. Join us to help make Shandaken a better town
to live in.
Election Day will soon be here. Please don't make it just
a popularity election. Vote for the person who is able to
do the best for our people and the town. In other words, the
most qualified. We have many good candidates running this
year. I wish them all good luck. I feel that Jane Todd will
be a great Supervisor.
Voters in Shandaken are facing a clear choice in the approaching
election. For six years now our local politics has been dominated
by the influence of our local mega-resort developer. He has
chosen to push his agenda through by doing to Shandaken the
worst possible thing you can do to a small town he has embraced
the strategy of dividing neighbor against neighbor. Now we
come to find out that our Republican candidate for town supervisor,
Mrs. Ward Todd, along with her daughter, is aggressively buying
up property adjacent to the mega-resort!
If you are comfortable seeing Shandaken being used this way,
as nothing more than a tool in a mega-resort developer1s profit
scheme, you will probably feel comfortable voting for the
Repubican candidates whose political campaigns have been financed
by the mega-resort developer and his wealthy New York City
investment partners. If, on the other hand, you feel strongly
that Shandaken is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise
your children and you want to keep it that way, you might
want to consider voting for the people who have shown us a
commitment to moving beyond the rancor and preserving the
best of the gifts God has given us. When you go to your polling
place on November 6, you can find these people on Row A. The
choice for Shandaken has never been more clear.
In the midst of the upcoming election, a very impressive ad
was put in the Phoenicia Times centerfold. It's a full page
ad of the Democratic candidates. Peter DiSclafani, at the
helm with a wonderfully written little synopsis of how he
will bring the town together and get things done. How he will
be a impartial, confident LEADER.
Unfortunately he and the other candidates are being LEAD.
Yes, that's right! Lead by a group of people who spout open
government and transparency, yet they are the ones who split
this town in half the last time they were in office. Do not
forget the Conservation Advisory Board, the, "if you
move 1 yard of dirt you need a mining permit," 400 angry
people at Belleayre. The circus that was the Comprehensive
Plan. The people who made us lose the museum to Arkville.
This is the group that really makes the decisions.
These people write all that Peter says now and what Pete said
then. This is true because with all they write they say NOTHING.
Never take a stand either way. They are accomplished at dancing
around the issues. How much money in legal fees will this
background group cost us if there is a next time around.
So remember that when you go to vote, that a vote for Peter
is a vote for Kathy Nolan, a vote for DiModica is a vote for
Mary Hermann, and a vote for Tim Molloy is a vote for Dave
Channon, and all the other disruptive people we have come
to know over the years. These are the real people who will
run this towns government, the so call OPEN government they
keep telling us about. They managed to disrupt every meeting
for the last 4 years and they want to blame the current board
for it. If they think nothing has been accomplished, then
they are not without fault.
If you want these background individuals to run your town,
then you know what to do. If not, VOTE FOR THE BEST TOWN BOARD
YOU WILL EVER HAVE! Vote for Jane Todd, Jack Jordan, and Lynne
O'Brophy on Nov 6th.
John & Jane Rossitz
I want the Town of Shandaken residents to know that the Superintendent
of Highways Keith Johnson hired a temporary worker with a
suspended license and he was caught driving a town vehicle.
Do you think that could be a liability? Why wasn't his license
checked prior to his hiring? Could it be because he is the
secretary's boyfriend? When I asked why he was hired over
others and myself who had put in applications long before
he did, not just within the last month, I was told he was
more qualified than myself because he had a CDL license. He
had a suspended license, which means he should have been fired!
He's not any more qualified.
I confronted Keith at a town board meeting. He said that he
had no knowledge that the worker had a suspended license,
and since then it had been fixed. Another woman at the meeting
said that I had a valid point and the worker should have been
fired. Keith also said that he was only filling in for an
employee who was out on workman's compensation and when this
person returned, they wouldn't need the person in question
anymore. Well he's still working and the person that was out
on leave has returned. I just want to know if he was only
a temporary employee, then why did they spend our tax dollars
to get him uniforms? That's a waste of money. But Pete DiSclafani
told me there is nothing that could be done by the board as
long as the highway department didn't go over their budget.
There was another question asked about patching the Highmount
Post Office parking lot. Keith said that his workers didn't
do the work in question and that it was probably Middletown
that did the work. Well I took it upon myself to talk to the
superintendent of highways in Middletown, Bill Russell, and
he stated that it was not his crew that did the work. So who's
lying? There is also the business of chip and tarring the
road to Dean Gitter's office. He lets the town turn around
on his property during snow storms. So in turn the town plows
his road, that is fair. But spending all the money on chip
Lastly if I lived in Woodland Valley, Keith would have gotten
a bill for a front end alignment. The condition of that road
is uncalled for. He could have gotten it done by last winter
or he shouldn't have started it. Now I hear that the town
is delivering wood to select people, even those who sell it.
It should be brought up to the gravel bank and if someone
wants it, they can go and get it from there. I can see delivering
it to the elderly or those incapable of getting it themselves
just like my father Neil Grant did. He helped everyone in
So my fellow Shandaken residents think about who you are going
to vote for on Election Day. My vote is going to Eric Hofmeister.
Mr. DiSclafani sounds like a nice man, but Phoenicia already
has the best possible friend, and Town Supervisor in Deputy
I was a stranger in this town, one of countless numbers, when
Jane Todd came to my aid providing me with a job (through
the Experience Works Program), and a small loan so I could
have the security deposit to rent an apartment.
This act of unmitigated kindness and generosity, not politically
motivated, (I am not eligible to vote.) is too rare a phenomenon
in a society where individuals don't count and money and military
power are King.
Furthermore, Phoenicia's economic stability owes a tremendous
debt of gratitude to Jane Todd.
The new line on the Belleayre Agreement in Principle (AIP)
is that since it has the backing of what a local pundit has
dubbed “almost everybody of consequence,” resort
opponents should now call it a day. This is the standard outcome
in cases like this: local concerns are invariably made to
yield to the so-called bigger-picture goals, which, as in
this case, are undeniably profound and far-reaching.
For the six years of the process thus far, what matters to
the people who live here has played second fiddle in the eyes
of the press, the political leadership, business and civic
leaders. Nor is it surprising that the coalition formed to
oppose the resort ultimately dissolved along local-vs.-big-picture
lines. That too happens every time, although not, one hopes,
in quite so ham-fisted a manner as this particular dissolution.
For years, the symbiosis that held the coalition together
worked like a charm: the brand-name organizations, some of
them national in scope, provided the expertise and wherewithal
the local grass-roots groups couldn’t muster, while
the locals gave “cover” and credibility to the
name organizations. But when the negotiations got down to
the wire, with the new Governor chomping at the bit for something
he could call a “win,” it was local concerns that
were brushed aside.
Every member organization in the coalition got what it came
for—except the local grass-roots organizations. What
those brand-name organizations came for and got is substantive
and important: 1200 acres designated “forever wild,”
stream and reservoir protection, and more. And while the AIP
remains questionable on water issues and allows precedents
that may prove disastrous down the line, these are notable
achievements; I applaud them and am grateful to the achievers,
many of whom I know as friends. That, in fact, is why the
11th-hour exclusion of the local grass-roots groups from the
process was both so puzzling and so offensive. Puzzling because
it was strategically unnecessary and tactically inept. Offensive
because it broke faith.
We get it. We know we’ve now been dismissed as die-hards.
On the other hand, it is our hamlets and villages that will
be swamped by what will be nothing less than the biggest city
between Kingston and Delhi, with its sprawl, its traffic,
its noise. It is our homes and roads that will be flooded
when a big rain washes down slopes that are way too steep
to build on. It is our night sky that will be lost and our
view that will be scarred. It is our wallets that will be
emptied to pay for this resort—first in taxpayer money
that’s providing sweeteners and incentives to the developer,
then in higher property taxes to pay for more police and fire
protection, schools, health care and social services for the
work force that will have to be imported.
It’s too bad. The developer, the environmental groups,
and the Governor who promised that “on day one, everything
changes” had a chance here to lead the way to the kind
of smart, sustainable public-private development that could
have been a model for the nation.
They blew it.
As always, we who live here will pay the price.
So as the state-mandated review process for this project continues,
we’ll keep on opposing in the great tradition of American
Please re-elect Don Gregorius to the Ulster County Legislature
for a second term. He has done a highly commendable job, is
committed to transparent and accountable government, and possesses
strong leadership qualities.
Don is Chair of the Labor Relations and Negotiation Committee,
responsible for negotiating all labor and management contracts
with unions along with promoting better relations with labor
outside County government.
He’s a member of the Ways and Means Committee, responsible
for all budgetary and financial matters including oversight
of the offices of County Administrator, Auditing, County Clerk,
and County Treasurer.
He serves on the Economic Development, Housing, Planning and
Transit Committee promoting industry and commerce and overall
economic development, including Planning Department, Agricultural
Advisory/Farmland Protection Board, Transportation, UC Economic
Development Agency, Industrial Development Agency, Hudson
Valley Regional Council, Housing Consortium and the various
Chambers of Commerce in UC.
He is also a member of the Criminal Justice and Safety Committee,
responsible for all phases of the County court system including
the Sheriff’s Department, Alternative Sentencing Program,
Probation, District Attorney, Public Defender, all the Community
Corrections, Stop DWI, Consumer Fraud and Weights and Measures.
He works on behalf of all County residents, not just those
he represents. And his sense of civil duty does not stop there.
Don is also on the Board of the Community Action Committee,
a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing poverty, revitalizing
of low-income communities, and empowering low-income families
and individuals to become self-sufficient. Please join me
in voting for Don Gregorius to continue his efforts.
Ulster County Legislator Brian Shapiro is one of the hardest
most honest people we have in county government. As Chair
of the county's Environmental Committee, he has protected
large wetlands, passed the pesticide notification law, championed
alternative energy and established New York's first county
level Department of the Environment. These are only a few
of his accomplishments. Lets continue to protect our natural
resources in Ulster County, and reelect Brian Shapiro to a
third term in the Ulster
With snow white hair, chiseled features and a ready grin,
the guy sitting next to me in the West Hurley Firehouse looked
like Hopalong Cassidy. He introduced himself as Don Gregorius
and he turned out to be my neighbor. This was a three years
ago, and the issue was a bridge fabrication facility that
the county had decided, in the person of Woodstock County
Legislator Mike Stock, Speaker Richard Gerentine, and the
rest of the ruling Republican majority, to move into our residential
Don not only opposed the facility on environmental grounds
--no pun intended -- he detested the high-handedness the majority
used to get what it wanted. Soon after, he decided to run
for Mr. Stock's seat. Not only did Don win, and handily, his
victory ushered in a Democratic take-over of the county legislature
that has seen our property taxes finally begin to stabilize
after years of skyrocketing.
While I can understand opposing a legislator on political
grounds, Don proved in his first term that his sense of ethics
went way beyond politics. When it was revealed that county
Democratic Party head John Parete was one of two elections
commissioners on the county payroll, Don thought that was
wrong. Not only did he say so publicly, he said it privately.
The question for him was a simple one -- how do you engender
public trust in the election process when one of the guys
in charge has reason for certain candidates to win? It was
a matter or principal, not party or person.
Mr. Parete and his supporters went on to make eloquent counterarguments.
For Don, it really came down to a matter of conscience. That
Don stuck his political neck out opposing the head of his
own party, and some of those within the party organization
as well, says much about his sense of commitment to his constituents,
many of whom aren't lucky enough to be on the county payroll.
Don Gregorius is running on the Democratic line for his second
term as a county legislator representing Woodstock. I'm voting
for him again, and feel lucky, really lucky, that we have
This past Spring I wrote a letter to my Ulster County Legislator,
Don Gregorious, asking him to address a concern of mine. I
received the message back within a day, "Call me.(his
phone number) We must discuss how we can both address this."
It is all too infrequent that one experiences personally the
gut level satisfaction of living in a democracy. That satisfaction
was a product for me of this experience.
As one of the majority Democratic UC Legislators this past
term, Don Gregorious has been active in making real positive
changes that will prevent another Jail fiasco and do much
The Legislature under the Democrats have instituted fiscal
responsibility which belies the obviously false reputation
of Democrats as "big government spenders." Contracts
are being strictly and fairly managed (for a change), Consolidations
are making County Departments more efficient. There is now
workforce accountability through evaluations, retraining,
and new hiring practices. Amazingly, Ulster County health
care costs went down last year for the first time ever!
In light of the erosion of State and Federal funding, these
Legislators who are in charge of services from our top notch
Community College to our Golden Hill Nursing Home, need to
stay on the job. Certainly we must return Don Gregorious to
the Ulster County Legislature.
It is not often that we find a county legislator who works
as hard as Brian Shapiro from District 2. Brian has overseen
the drafting of a tough new ethics law for county government
and established a groundbreaking county wide Department of
the Environment. When other legislators wanted to avoid passing
a Domestic Partner Benefits plan and let taxpayers pick up
the bill through an expensive lawsuit, Brian pushed for its
adoption. His commitment to standing up for the powerless
is unflinching. We deeply need the integrity and sense of
community that Brian brings to the county legislature, so
please get out the vote and reelect him on November 6th!
Kirsti B. Gholson
For more than eight years, Trout Unlimited has fought a proposed
resort development project that was slated for two parcels
of land located on east and west sides of the state-owned
Belleayre Ski Center area in the central Catskills. The original
Crossroads Ventures proposal for the 1,960 acre Belleayre
Resort development called for three, then later two, golf
courses and two hotels, as well as hundreds of timeshare units
to be constructed on steep slopes, with the entire development
expected to disturb more than 573 acres, presenting a serious
threat to local and regional waters.
TU’s opposition to the project has focused on protecting
water quality, water quantity and the wild trout populations
of the Esopus Creek watershed and the East Branch Delaware
River watershed. TU chapters, the New York State Council,
and national staff gathered scientific information and funded
expert studies and witnesses to participate in the environmental
review process for this project. I would like to thank all
the TU members who have taken action, contributed funds, and
spoken so passionately about the need to ensure that the project
be fully protective of the critical water resources of the
The Agreement in Principle that was recently signed by representatives
of TU and six other environmental groups marks a favorable
turning point in this long-running dispute. Like almost every
settlement agreement, this one is not a perfect solution.
But looking at it from the vantage point of our mission, the
agreement, if fully implemented, would include significant
protective measures for the local and regional waters in the
Catskills. Those measures include: Complete protection of
the Esopus Creek and Ashokan Reservoir watershed via the permanent
protection of the entire eastern portion of the proposed project
site from any future development. More than 1,200 acres of
land would be acquired by the Trust for Public Land and eventually
incorporated into the Catskill Forest Preserve and protected
as “forever wild,” representing one of the largest
state land acquisitions in the Catskills in recent decades.
Permanent protection of 86% of the land now owned by the developer;
Only a single golf course will be constructed, instead of
the two (or three, as originally proposed). The golf course
would be significantly redesigned to be environmentally-friendly,
operate as “organic,” and minimize stream crossings
and removal of natural vegetation. Significant reductions
in threats to water quality across the revised project site,
including reduction in total new road construction from 8.2
to 3.2 miles, use of modern stormwater management practices
for all buildings and infrastructure, and an unprecedented
agreement that no individual lodging units be constructed
on slopes greater than 20 percent.
The Agreement in Principle notwithstanding, TU must continue
its work to reduce the impacts of the proposed development
slated for the west side of Belleayre in the revised project
plan. It is imperative that we diligently work to further
downsize the project’s ecological footprint, identify
remaining threats to the East Branch Delaware River and Pepacton
Reservoir watershed, seek ways to eliminate or mitigate those
threats, and ensure that the final plan and the protective
measures described above are fully implemented and monitored.
I urge those who have dedicated so much effort in this battle
over the years to continue their involvement in the upcoming
public scoping process for the revised project that is expected
to take place soon, and the public hearing on the Supplemental
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) that will take
place in early 2008. We must carefully scrutinize the SDEIS.
The next round of public hearings will provide a formal opportunity
to continue to advocate for clean water, healthy aquatic habitat,
and the region’s trout populations.
Eastern Conservation Director Elizabeth Maclin will coordinate
our continuing involvement in this matter. Please email or
call her (email@example.com; 703-284-9437) if you have questions.
Charles F. Gauvin
President, Chief Executive Officer
Is he Prince Charming, or Prince of Darkness?
Erik Prince began his company, the Prince Grouop after his
father died, leaving enough money behind to form Blackwater,
and other companies. The Government awarded contract to Blackwater,
followed a line of sub-contracting - a common practice. It
goes from Haliburton, to Kellog, Brown and Root and then to
the Prince Group and finally, it's subsidiary - Blackwater.
A good Christian and a good Republican, Prince is indeed a
handsome and smart young man, who may even believe in his
But what is it's mission in Afghanistan and Iraq? It is supposedly
security to our dignitaries and sometimes to our armed security
forces. Their numbers equal our armed forces numbers, and
supposedly, we couldn't run a war without them, (unless of
course, we instituted a draft).
During the recent hearings on a current Blackwater incident,
wherein some Blackwater contractors opened up fire on Iraqi
civilians and killed about 17 of them, much more began to
Henry Waxman brought up an incident that occurred in 2004,
wherein a Blackwater plane crashed into a mountainside in
Afghanistan killing all six on board - 3 Blackwater crew members,
delivering 3 US troops to their post.
As an independed contractor, Blackwater is not under FAA or
military rules, which would include a least one pilot experience
with the terrain. The crew had been in Afghanistan only 13
days. Common military and civilian practice is to pair a pilot
who is new to an area with a veteran. The two men somehow
decided to take a dangerous path and flew into a box canyon,
essentially a dead end bordered by mountains. According to
the cockpit recordings, they were cowboy types. One of the
recordings revealed, heard the pilot say: "They wouldn't
pay me if they knew how much fun this was".
Furthermore, there was no dispatcher to report that the plane
was missing, since they didn't file a flight path, which would
have saved the life of one of the soldiers, who was found
outside the plane with cigarettes and a sleeping bag, to wait
for a rescue, which didn't come in time for him.
Now, to be fair, I must report the general Republican side
of this investigation. It is: Blackwater is paid to protect
us when we make trips to the Middle East. Not one of us has
been harmed. We believe that our lives are more valuable than
our troops, and expedentially more valuable than Iraqi civilians,
so let's adjourn. That's not a quote, but a summary by yours
truly. Watch it on U-Tube if you want further proof.
Now for the numbers:
Blackwater has received over 1 BILLION dollars of our tax
money so far. We pay their soldiers of $400,000 a year, whereas
we pay General Petraeus $180,000 a year. Furthermore, since
Blackwater hires mostly former veterans, they don't have to
pay for their training.
When asked about some of these figures, our Prince replied:
"We're a private company, and the key word is private".
Well, he lost me there, despite his looks and charm. So, in
summary: We - you and me - pay for Blackwater's subcontractors
with our taxes, but we do not have the rights that any stockholder
would have with
a public company. Supposedly, as citizens we still have some
rights, or so it seems
with people like Henry Waxman representing us.
But if we don't get involved with our government, I suspect,
not for long. So -(MUSIC UNDER) "I hope someday you'll
join us... And the world will be as one".
My apologies to Ronald Deiti of Kingston for editing his wonderful
letter about the hospital scam, in his letter to the editor
Oct 11 edition. I wholeheartedly agree, the merger of both
hospitals is long overdue, including Margaretville, is merely
a bonus. Currently Kingston hospital and staff can and will
rip the babies from their mothers wombs they have the space
and facilities. BUT there is a bigger issue at stake here.
Kaminski wants his own building where he can perform abortions
and other experiments. Remember Dr. Menendez fifty years ago.
Perhaps Kaminski will include in his plans a modem furnace,
but more efficient, than those used at Auschwitz in Poland,
highly capable of disposing of babies, difficult patients,
and the results of experiments scheduled for the new building.
Soon the air over and around Kingston will smell of burnt
flesh. It is not his intention to use the money for healthcare.
His hunger for power affirms that he speaks with false tongue,
only satisfyinghis personal wants and needs. Did you know
the public relations firm that handled hospital affairs quit?
Do you know he has a hand picked goon squad that will stop
at nothing to torture prisoners, and yes, that is the correct
word. Once there, patients become prisoners. He has become
an expert in the law, knows and uses every loophole to satisfy
his personnel wants and needs.
I was indeed fortunate to get released before my term of interment
was up. His hand picked goon squad would stop at nothing tosilence
a prisoner, for that was what we were. I received a letter
from him written in a fairy land which he has created in his
own mind. He blatantly lied about all the accusations, which
as you know have been sent to numerous governing bodies for
their evaluation. Scars which I have pictures of, he claims
were made by myself, a physical impossibility, unless I unknowingly
am double jointed. Remember they had put me in restraints,
which by the way can only be ordered by my doctor, as a precaution
to hurting myself.
How long before we must sic heil to him. I already have a
salute worked out. Stand tall, feet together, left arm across
your stomach, extend your right arm as far as possible, close
you fist, extend your middle finger to pay homage to this
don't know a word that suffices. I sit behind closed, curtained
windows, in fear, awaiting the arrival of his people because
I hide nothing. If anything happens to me it was him that
brought me down. We can't allow these things to happen, I
believe this still is a free country. .
Think of Shokan and many words come to mind - beautiful, rustic,
rural, small, friendly, scenic. After living in Shokan for
20 years these are the words that I use to describe this wonderful
place situated along Route 28 - a haven from the hustle and
commercialism of the Kingston area. This is why people make
their way up to our area and beyond - to get out into the
beauty of nature.
Imagine my dismay when I opened my mail Monday to find out
that cute little PetFare may now be replaced by EIGHT STORAGE
SHEDS 100' x 30' in dimension. Robert and Russell Oakes, who
own the Storage Shed business just up the hill behind PetFare
on Ridge Road (two acres containing seven or eight large sheds
and a garage) have applied to the Town of Olive Planning Board
and to the Ulster County Planning Board to: "demolish
an existing commercial use and to construct a 23,400 square
foot self -storage facility in the HB zone on 2.1 acres"
(Quote from Ulster Co. Planning Board) The Ulster Planning
Board deemed the plan submitted "incomplete" stating
that not enough details were given about the project. For
example if this is supposed to be integrated into the other
area, there should be plans that discuss both together. (This
would mean over 4 acres with 16 storage sheds!) Other County
impact concerns are access onto the state roadway, landscaping,
lighting levels, and stormwater drainage, especially considering
that the proposed site has over an acre of "disturbance."
There is an Olive Planning Board meeting on October 30, 2007
to discuss this project and all are welcome to give their
input. You may also write to the Town of Olive Planning Board,
POB 180, West Shokan, NY 12494 or fax it to 657-6117. The
new Planning Board Chair is Drew Bogges, 657-9735, and the
other members are David Sorbellini, James Konjas, David Jones,
Helene Grant, Robert Tischler, and Edwin Maldanado. The Planning
Board's phone number is 657-2015.
This is a big step in Shokan's history. If these sheds go
in, we won't be that pretty place on Route 28, we will be
that town with all those ugly storage sheds. That will be
what you see on your ride home. Based on the appearance of
the current Storage Shed business, there will be no beauty
left to look at when you glance toward the mountains. You
will be able to see OVER FOUR ACRES of gravel pit-like landscaping
with 16 storage sheds placed on them. They are on a hill so
they will be very visible. Based on dimensions, any trees
will have to be cut down and there will have to be modification
in the hillside. Where will all this water go? What about
the value of our newly assessed homes? Residents on Ridge
Road, Onteora Court, Shokan Park Road and beyond - this will
be something that will impact you especially!
I ask the new Planning Board and the Town Board to think about
the image our town wants to project. Nine towns in the Shawangunk
region banded together to try and ensure that their scenic
beauty is maintained. Why aren't we concerned about protecting
the beauty of OUR area? When Hannaford built in Red Hook,
restrictions were made so that you can't even see the shopping
area from the road because they were concerned about their
town. Why are we not concerned? The last few additions to
Shokan went out of their way to appear rustic and pretty.
Shouldn't restrictions apply to all new area businesses? We
are a beautiful town in a beautiful area in a beautiful mountain
region. What will we do to protect this beauty for years to
This is an election year. Who will step up and SAVE SCENIC
In the middle of July, this former County Legislator received
a letter from investigator John J. Mavretich, co-signed by
Tracey Bartels, Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate
Matters Regarding the Pre-Planning, Planning and Construction
of the Ulster County Law Enforcement Center -- in other words,
the projected new Jail.
This is by way of stressing that Ward Todd was not in on the
ground floor...I was. He was elected a few years later to
my spot in District 2 when I retired to become Supervisor
of the Town of Shandaken.
Included with the aforementioned letter was a questionnaire
and a request for my "input in any form you feel would
be more helpful or appropriate."
Referral in the missive pertains to a 1987 Resolution enacted
by the Legislature entitled "Establishing Policy for
Future Capital Projects," which was proposed by the Ways
& Means Committee and the Public Works Committee, neither
of which was I a member.
, The vote on said Resolution on September 10, 1987 was 29
to 1, with ALL of the Democrats, including continuing (present)
Legislator Jeannette Provenzano, voting in favor.
I remained in "Peopletics" as a Legislator for a
few more years, but, as Chairman of the Community College
and Cultural Affairs Committee, and as an active member of
the Youth, Aging, Veterans and Handicapped Committee, I was
kept very busy with meetings, investigations, phone calls
and correspondence. I also attended all the monthly meetings
of my three Town Boards. ,
In the dozen years I faithfully served District 2, Towns of
Woodstock, Shandaken and Kingston (principally Sawkill), I
never missed a single meeting...regular, special or committee.
However, when discussing the "need" for a new Jail
complex (of which I wasn't too sure), along with most of the
other Legislators, I was not an expert on Engineering, Architecture,
large structure construction, plumbing, cell layouts, etc.
With our hands and minds full on other County property needs
and requirements, how COULD we, as lay persons and so-called
"part-time" caretakers, and not being qualified
"Clerks of the Works", be expected to know the ins
and outs of such a mammoth project?
(At the time, I recall arguing that we might better look into
a new, more modern nursing home for our elderly ill, who have
been long-time local tax-paying residents, than a luxury 'resort
hotel' for those who break
the law and are mostly 'outsiders'.)
When answering the official letter, I expressed some of the
foregoing sentiments. Needless to state, I was not called
to testify in person -- most likely for fear that I would
open my big Irish mouth and stress that NEITHER the Republicans
nor the Democrats on the Legislature were to BLAME for the
so-called "fiasco", as they were apparently "hood-winked"
and I'm certain much of the fault lies with the contractors!
Marian Callaghan Umhey
Mt. Tremper, NY
As a member of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development,
at least until now, I received a mailing from the group touting
the new Belleayre resort agreement as a "great victory!"
A "great victory!" for whom? Some ten groups participated
in the Catskill Preservation Coalition that opposed the original
Belleayre megaresort proposal. Six signed the agreement, including
the down-staters defending New York City's water supply. They
were satisfied to see the development's runoff problems moved
from the troubled Ashokan reservoir watershed into the Pepacton
reservoir watershed. But they don't live here. They weren't
concerned with all the other problems that such a large development
would create for our region.
The three groups based in Shandaken opposed this agreement.
So did the Sierra Club. As I've now learned, the board of
the local chapter of Trout Unlimited voted unanimously to
oppose the agreement, after being stunned to learn that their
state representative had signed it already. More than 100
members of the Catskill Heritage Alliance based in Pine Hill
voted unanimously against the deal. That leaves the Catskill
Center and the Zen Mountain Monastery as the two local supporters.
As a "member" of the Catskill Center I can't say
I was ever asked for my opinion about the agreement. All I
got was the "great victory!" letter.
I'm tempted to say a "great victory!" except for
the people who live here.
The agreement does save the eastern ridge of Belleayre Mountain
from development. Some 1,240 acres will be added to the "Forever
Wild" Catskills Forest Preserve. Until now, this eastern
ridge has been the great battleground in this conflict. I
must say, I think this news is fantastic! The eastern ridge
is visible from the Overlook fire tower and many other Catskill
peaks. To know that it won't become a golf course resort is
a great relief. I've probably hiked the eastern ridge trails
twenty or thirty times in the past dozen years, so I feel
particular affection for this area. The forests already on
state lands have towering tall trees that offer in summer
the green cathedral-like atmosphere of the wild Catskills
at their finest. The private lands nearby, which had been
slated for the resort, have been heavily logged over the years,
providing a stark contrast with the state lands, but now these
forests will grow into magnificence in the coming decades.
It's the western ridge that's the new battleground.
Apparently, the powers-that-be, including Governor Spitzer,
Congressman Hinchey, the Catskill Center, the Natural Resources
Defense Council, and others believed they negotiated the best
deal they could to save the eastern ridge. To save the east
they accepted big increases in proposed building in the west.
Did they really need to endorse so much development? The local
groups who didn't sign don't think so.
Although relocated and reconfigured, Crossroads Ventures still
intends to build 80 percent of the resort it has always wanted
to build. That's 80 percent of the visitors, the traffic,
the water demands, the increase in local taxes to provide
public services, etc., that have long troubled many people
who live in this area. The Catskill Center's letter included
a "fact sheet" listing the agreement's achievements.
But "fact sheets" can be slippery things. This one
touts the fact that all roads and residences will be limited
to slopes of less than 20 percent grades. Sounds good, right?
So I was surprised to learn elsewhere - not from the fact
sheet - that the agreement also permits a 250-room hotel on
a 35 percent slope! A 250-room hotel to be built into the
mountainside, perhaps with an underground parking garage,
a construction job that will require tremendous blasting and
Or take the 19 homes to be built at 3,000 feet. How high is
3,000 feet? Although mountains are all different, making comparisons
like the one I'm about to make less than perfect, if we approved
the construction of 19 homes at 3,000 feet on Overlook mountain,
we'd find them 100 feet above the hotel ruins on the way up
to the fire tower. That's almost at the mountain top! Granted,
Belleayre Mountain is nearly 250 feet taller than Overlook,
but I question building 19 homes on any 3,000 foot mountain
ridgeline within the Catskill Forest Preserve. One remarkable
feature of our park is that the mountains are still so wild.
They're not capped with trophy homes and night lights. (Certain
mountainsides, such as lower Overlook, are another, sadder
story.) Our mountaintops are the wild rugged crown of the
Catskill Park that New York State has worked for more than
100 years to protect with all its natural beauty for us to
treasure today. Are we now willing to give up pieces of this
Catskill mountain crown to private developers? Do we want
to see mountaintop homes within the Blue Line?
There's more, I'm sure. The public review process will begin
soon. I urge everyone who feels passionately about the Catskills
to take their own independent look at this proposal. Don't
believe the hype. Investigate.
There's an old adage: A good lie will travel half-way around
the world before the truth has time to put its pants on. Perhaps
the same should be said of press conferences. Governor Spitzer's
announcement of this deal in Kingston certainly impressed
reporters and editorial writers, who have praised this agreement
in the Daily Freeman, Middletown Times Herald Record, and
New York Times. But I urge readers to check the details for
themselves. We weren't part of the secret negotiations that
lead to this deal. Yet we will have to live with its consequences
for as long as we live in the Catskills. We better know what
we're getting into.
Hey , what a blast we had at Shandaken days. It was our pleasure
to donate and supply a children's carnival type moon bounce.
We hope in future years to expand the children's carnival
section and create child friendly environments in Shandaken.
It was great fun working with The Pine Hill Community Center
and all those wonderful people.
Bob & Veronika Townley
Pine Hill, NY
President Bush just vetoed a bill extending and reforming
the State Children's Health Insurance Program. So Senator
Kennedy wants to know: If government-supported health care
is good enough for him, and is good enough for President Bush,
why isn't it good enough for America's children? We can be
a voice for the nation's children - a voice that every member
of Congress needs to hear. If government-supported health
care is good enough for Congress, it's good enough for America's
children. Show your support for SCHIP today by watching Senator
Kennedy's video and signing his petition: http://www.democraticmajority.com/childrenshealth.Thanks!
When it comes to the fight for the environment, beheading
one dragon rarely means victory. These guys have a way of
growing a bunch of new heads. Witness the Belleayre Resort.
Slay the eastern part of this mountain-eating dragon and the
west side sprouts into a behemoth. The worst part of it being
19 trophy houses built at 3,000 feet that will be plainly
visible on the western ridge line of Belleayre Mountain. So
spare the Ashokan and burden the Pepacton. It will degrade
the City's drinking water either way. And, most dangerous,
this monstrosity will represent an unprecedented attack on
the concept of the Catskill Park.
Too many of the people fighting the good fight have fallen
for some very clever negotiation on the part of the developers.
It wouldn't surprise me that the eastern portion, being a
very difficult build, was a negotiation throwaway all along.
What I do know is that Crossroads Ventures is planning on
building 80 percent of its original intention. This doesn't
sound like much of a compromise to me. We are still stuck
with what we were scared of all along - traffic, air pollution,
water pollution, visual pollution, erosion and tax increases
for the locals in exchange for minimum wage jobs.
I know the following smacks a bit of conspiracy theory, but
here's something to think about. I don't really believe this
resort as planned would ever be a moneymaker. It is remote
and hard to get to which are factors not appealing to the
wealthy patrons who can afford a resort like this. Why would
they come to ski at Belleayre when they can ski Colorado or
the Alps? Why would they come to play golf when they can play
golf in Florida or Hawaii? The Catskills are down-homey little
mountains that we dearly love; they are not the stuff of grand
resorts like they used to be before travel became easy and
There is something missing in the immediate plans that would
guarantee the resort's success. And that is the ugliest dragon
of them all - Casino gambling.
Polls admit that most of us are outraged by a war for oil
and empire that has killed over 3,000 American kids, and nearly
a million Iraqi civilians, and that continues to funnel hundreds
of billions of our dollars into the pockets of war profiteers
and Bush cronies like Halliburton, Exxon/Mobil, General Electric,
and the like.
We voted for Democrats on the promise that they would end
the war, yet they refuse to cut the funding or begin impeachment
proceedings. It seems that our presidential candidates for
2008 have already been picked for us, and they will surely
bring us more of the same; the righteous ones like Democratic
Congressman Dennis Kucinich, or Republican Congressman Ron
Paul having been trivialized, ridiculed and ignored.
We protest, march and petition, and are ignored by the corporate
media, the idiocy of Britney Spears or O.J. Simpson being
oh so much more important.
But we can at least post flyers on bulletin boards to publicize
events that big media won't cover, right?
Not so if some of the petty dictators who oversee these bulletin
boards have their way. After shopping last Tuesday at a certain
large Kingston Supermarket, let's call it "Shopwrong"
(not its real name), I posted a flyer publicizing a peace
march in Washington which the store manager, Mr. "D."
saw fit to contemptuously rip down. He said they don't allow
"political or religious" flyers, even though those
guidelines are not posted. In fact, plenty of political and
religious items have been posted there. Indeed, the mega chain
itself recently posted a giant ad opposing the improved bottle
bill, a much more "political" ad since it urged
shoppers to contact politicians in opposition to that insidious
left wing concept of recycling.
The one "vote" we still have that has any real meaning,
is our choice of where to shop, although even that is minimized
as smaller stores get sucked up by giant chains.
Those of you reading this who think it is just great that
we are pouring our blood and treasure down the toilet so that
we can earn more hatred around the world for this once great
country, and hence more future war profits, should shop til
you drop at places like "Shopwrong." But the rest
of us would do well to consider whether to support businesses
that would send our kids to die for oil. We should try to
favor the few remaining local stores, maybe even grow a garden.
Do we want to patronize Corporations like Walmart, Shoprite,
General Electric, Exxon Mobil, which are major Bush donors,
and/or trample on free speech?
I'm not suggesting a total boycott of any store. Many of us
need to go for the sale items and take advantage of those
coupons. But let's look at what our hard earned cash is funding,
and if it isn't an irresistible sale item, buy it from a local
store, food co-op or farm. Local produce is fresher and healthier
anyhow, and its purchase keeps more dollars in our local community.
It's time to take our country back, nickel by nickel.
Bright red "Save the Mountain" lawn signs began
sprouting up along Catskill roads this past weekend. This
blown-up version appeared at the old Highmount Ski Center,
right at the heart of the proposed Belleayre mega resort (not
to be confused with the NYS owned and operated Belleayre Ski
What's "Save the Mountain"?
It's a coalition of mountain neighbors who are standing together
with the six organized groups (Catskill Heritage Alliance,
Highmount Preservation Association, Hardenburgh Association
of Residents and Taxpayers. Sierra Club, Friends of Catskill
Park, and the Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout
Unlimited). They've joined together to counter the overkill
of the resort developer, to voice opposition to the huge scale
of the project, to get the true story out that this is not
a "done deal", and to encourage everyone to take
part in the public hearings that will take place (this winter)
before any decisions are made on the project, pro or con,
and before any permits are issued.
The group has found that few even know about the entirely
new part of the development, the ridge top Highmount Spa Resort"
which was added to the complex just last month. It has a 150
room hotel which will be partially blasted into the hill,
2 lodges with 60 2-bedroom units in each, plus 60 3-bedroom
time share units (houses) , many perched right on the ridge
line, AND it has ski-home trails. Belleayre Ski Center may
make snow, maintain trails and build chair lifts within the
private resort's boundaries.
For more information, or your very own lawn sign, go to SavetheMountain.net.
For more information on this photo, or lawn signs, contact
The first thing I do once we’ve settled in on the porch
looking out over the mountains, cup of tea in hand, is read
the local papers. But somehow the last few years I’ve
found that this ritual ends up leaving me with a sick feeling
in my heart, a sense that everything I loved, everything we
moved here for, albeit part-time, is being slowly destroyed.
We hadn’t been up in a while, and I’d forgotten
that feeling. But now, finishing up a bunch of old issues
while husband and toddler slumber, I read about how a governor
we thought would change things showed that nothing at all
has changed. I feel so sick I can’t sleep.
On our quiet valley road, soon the trucks will be roaring
up and down to collect water for more plastic bottles for
more consumers to suck at somewhere far away, and the folks
who voted that terror in, over the hundreds of pleading voices
of their neighbors, are sleeping peacefully in their beds
in some other valley.
Out on route 28, the road doesn’t know it has to brace
itself for a much bigger onslaught, an army of crusading construction
workers sent by General Gitter to save us from the slowly
growing economies we’ve been creating all on our own
these last few years.
What makes me so tired about it all is how our own moral imperatives
get slowly whittled away, so that before we know it, we find
ourselves thinking that we understand that a compromise has
been reached, thinking that the Owners of lands big and small
have some kind of unalienable right to decide what to do with
their lands big and small, no matter who lives in, around,
near, through or even under those lands.
None of these rich folks wants to start a university in our
mountains or found an orphanage or undertake any other great
public work, as their contribution to this moment in history.
No one cares to be remembered for such a thing or cares that
the world they leave will be a lesser place for what they’ve
done to it.
The rain is falling hard outside, I can hear the massive drops
sliding off the roof and smacking the wet ground; and down
the hill, the stream is rushing, full, alive. My heart is
beating so wildly. I try to imagine that I am an old woman,
thinking back on this moment in our little house on this rainy
night among the dark wet trees, so that the desperate sorrow
of it will seem thrown into perspective. My heart is still
beating; I must press my hand against my chest but it will
not slow --
I stand on the porch and look out into the darkness and ask
God to help me ask for blessings for even those souls sleeping
so sound in their beds, dreaming of those money piles, those
plastic bottles, those mountain-tops whose silent and eternal
promises to all of us will be hacked at, shaved off, sealed
over with buildings that pretend they are greener than what
is there now! — those silent and eternal promises to
all of us stolen by promises made to only just a few of us
— wretched money! Wretched money! Wretched money!
- Evelyn Polesny
Woodland Valley, NY