New Town Laws...
Shandaken has a new law on the books that will give the town
the power to order the removal of debris from private property.
The law was drafted, officials said, when it became clear that,
while the town had authority to order that structures be removed
it had none that dealt with structures that have either collapsed
or have been torn down. The law describes debris as follows:
The remnants, remains, ruins and parts of all materials resulting
from breaking down, demolition or destruction of buildings,
structures or the parts thereof or accidentally by any individuals
entity or by natural forces and /or natural elements.
Debris includes metals, furniture, glass, crockery, mineral
waste, sheet rock, roofing materials, siding, pipes, conduits,
wire and other demolition and building materials.
The board also amended another portion of the law at Highway
Superintendent Eric Hoffmeister’s request. Now fences
cannot be built that will “impede the plowing of snow
on a public right of way.”
The amendment also prevents the building of fences or walls
within the town right of way along any roads, prompting one
resident to complain that the Town might be overstepping its
“You just have a right of way, but now you’re telling
people what they can and can’t do with their own property,”
said Big Indian resident Chuck Perez.
When the Menla Mountain Retreat, a Woodland Valley conference
center owned by the NYC-based nonprofit Tibet House hired a
new manager last summer, they got more state history than they
expected. Turns out the new staffer, Tania Robyn Cyrlin, 36,
of Rhinebeck is also known as Tanya Hollander, one of four people
arrested in March for their roles in a high priced prostitution
ring, Emperor’s Club VIP, whose clients included former
Governor Eliot Spitzer.
“When we interviewed and hired her back in July, we had
absolutely no idea that she had any involvement in such a thing”,
said Nena Thurman, Menla’s Managing Director. “She
was referred to us through contacts in the City as a capable
administrator and it’s an unfortunate situation for everyone
since she’s been doing a very good job for us. But we’re
extremely troubled to learn of her problems only now, and especially
troubled that she withheld what’s clearly pertinent information
about her background. Clearly, had we been aware, we might have
hired someone else.”
Shortly after taking her new job, Hollander pled guilty in Manhattan
Federal Court on August 25 to a charge of violating the Travel
Act which bans crossing state lines to carry out illegal business
such as prostitution, in which Hollander acted as a booking
agent. Under sentencing guidelines outlined in her plea agreement,
she faces a possible 6 to 10 months in prison. Sentencing is
scheduled for November 25.
In August her lawyer, Michael Farkas, told reporters she had
not been asked to cooperate with prosecutors in any possible
criminal case against Spitzer: Since that time all criminal
charges in the matter against Spitzer have been dropped. Farkas
indicated that at her sentencing he would ask the judge to consider
whether Hollander was being treated more harshly than other
possible co-conspirators such as the former Governor.
State Police Sunday night charged a 45-year-old New York City
man with manslaughter in the second degree in connection with
the shooting death of a 16-month-old baby in the Sullivan County
Town of Bethel, when Edward Taibi allegedly fired a shot from
his rifle while hunting. The bullet went through the wall of
a nearby trailer and hit the child, Charly Skala of Woodbourne,
who died of her injuries at Westchester Medical Center.
Taibi had been hunting on private property nearby and fired
his rifle, striking a deer. He then fired a second time from
about 400 feet from a residence and struck the victim in the
State Police said Taibi was extremely remorseful and noted how
this tragedy points up the need for extreme caution and safety
The investigation is continuing by the State Police with the
assistance of the State Environmental Conservation Police and
the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office.
Using a portion of the $2.8 million contingency fund included
in the $345 million spending plan approved by County Administrator
Michael Hein enables the Legislature to put its mark on the
budget while holding the tax levy increase to roughly the 2.95
percent hike proposed under the Hein plan. But during the committee’s
meeting Monday, November 17 legislators added about an additional
$304,468 to the budget.
All but about $42,492 will come from the county’s contingency
fund, an amount of money usually included in a budget to provide
the county with a cushion against unanticipated expenses throughout
The $42,492 in new spending comes on top of $17,063 in new spending
added by the committee last week. Among the new spending approved
by the committee was $24,992 for a public health assistant in
the county Health Department and $17,500 in additional spending
for a plethora of contract agencies in the county.
The proposed budget included $220,000 for contract agency funding
— the additional funding will increase by $10,000 the
county’s contribution to the Ulster County Library Association;
increase by $5,000 the $50,000 contribution to the Dutchess
County Arts Council, which administers the Ulster County arts
program funding; and provide $2,500 to the Hudson River Maritime
The single largest funding allocation approved Monday was $150,000
for The Solar Energy Consortium, which was allocated the full
$150,000 pot of money in the contingency fund earmarked for
Rejected by committee members were proposals by GOP Minority
Leader Glenn Noonan to roll back the salaries for the county
executive and his deputies and the county comptroller to the
levels originally proposed. The salaries included in the budget
were increased to reflect raises given to all management employees
for the upcoming year.
Committee members also rejected a proposal by Noonan to cut
off funding to the Ulster County Development Corp. However they
agreed to move into the county’s contingency fund $200,000
in incentive funding for the agency.
It takes the votes of two-thirds of the Legislature, or 22 legislators,
to move money from the contingency fund. The committee and the
full Legislature are expected to vote on a final budget on Dec.
Food Costs Up
The Ulster County District Attorney’s Office says that
the weekly cost of feeding a local family of four was $215.42
for the week ending November 7. This is an increase of $13.79
since the previous survey for the week ending October 24. The
Marketbasket Survey which is based on the USDA’s Moderate
Cost Family Food Plan, reflects bi-weekly price checks in three
local chain-type supermarkets.
The county will be extending its food aid hours at Shandaken
Town Hall the morning of Tuesday, November 25 to help with those
facing food shortages locally.
Meanwhile, local Boy Scouts collected over 70,000 food items
on Saturday, November 15 as part of their annual Scouting For
Food drive. A total of 35 local food pantries have benefited
from the project to help stock their shelves for the holiday
season. Over 100 volunteers who helped the Scouts pack food
for delivery came from the Salvation Army, Kiwanis Club of Kingston,
Lowe’s Home Improvement staff, Peoples Place, Kingston
Key Club, UPS drivers and families, Queen’s Galley, Ulster
County Community Action, Old Dutch Church, Ship 609, Caring
Hands Soup Kitchen and Catsbaan Church.
A woman from Indiana has been arrested on animal cruelty charges
by the Ulster County SPCA with assistance from the Ulster County
Sheriff’s Office and Town of Shandaken Police.
After receiving complaints reporting strong smells of urine
and feces emanating from the vehicle while it was in Shandaken,
the Ulster County SPCA seized 11 dogs in overcrowded cages and
deplorable conditions from a passenger van in the parking lot
of the Wenton Motel in Saugerties, said SPCA Executive Director
“Conditions were awful. The woman was arrested and remanded
to Ulster County Jail and the animals are currently under our
care,” he said. “This case is currently in court
and we are prosecuting it.”
Cameron Lickey, 49, of Indianapolis, Indiana was arrested and
charged with 11 misdemeanor violations for Failure to Provide
Sustenance under New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
A number of the dog crates in the van contained as much as 30
pounds of feces and waste in each of them, according to Humane
Law Enforcement Investigator Glenn Daniels. Some of the dogs
had over two pounds of dirty matted hair shaved off each of
them as well. “These were the conditions in the van they
were living in on a very cold night,” Daniels said.
According to Shapiro, he received an initial tip that Lickey
was trying to sell puppies in Shandaken.
Donations to assist in the care of these dogs may be sent to
the Ulster County SPCA, 20 Wiedy Rd. Kingston, NY 12401.
“Building Resiliency for Our Youth,” a special program
recently hosted by Ulster BOCES, took a close look at the life-saving
issues teachers sometimes face when they keep a keen eye out
for possible abuse in the home. The conference brought together
educators, social workers, and administrators from throughout
Ulster County in sharing best practices and brainstorming solutions
unique to their profession.
Dr. Kris Miccio, J.S.D., an associate professor of law at Sturm
College of Law at the University of Denver and an award-winning
Fulbright scholar and author, led the program. A native New
Yorker, she is also the founding director of the Center for
Battered Women’s Legal Services of Sanctuary for Families,
and had years of expertise to share on the topic of child abuse.
The in-depth educational session was designed especially for
members of the Traumatic Event Team in Ulster County. The Traumatic
Event Team was designed to be a resource and support to Districts
that may need additional help in a crisis situation.
Abuse, said Dr. Miccio, “is a cultural, social, and political
problem that needs a coordinated response.” Dr. Miccio
drew on her in-depth knowledge of the history of mother and
child abuse in the United States and explained that for many
women, homeland security is not about terrorism—homeland
security is about what is going on in their very own homes.
With statistics like three to four million women being beaten
each year, and three to four thousand women dying from this
abuse, the nexus between mother and child abuse creates a cycle
of violence that can be difficult to penetrate, Dr. Miccio said.
Team members learned through first-hand examples of abuse cases
from Dr. Miccio’s career about how the child abuse laws
of New York State apply in specific situations. During a question-and-answer
session, attendees were able to get advice tailored to real-life
scenarios. Later in the session, team members and administrators
broke into small groups to share best practices through different
challenges presented by Dr. Miccio.
The Associated Press story finding its way into post-election
broadcasts and print stories this past week was an eye catcher,
“Asphalt is becoming scarce as U.S. refiners overhaul
their equipment to maximize output of highly profitable fuels
such as diesel and gasoline, using inexpensive — and hard
to process — crude oil,” read the kicker sentence,
after varying localized leads. “To make things worse,
refiners are also cutting back on the production of a petrochemical
that many states mix into asphalt to make roads more durable.”
Wow… so what did that possibly mean, locally, where our
roads tend to need repair regularly because of the Northeast’s
“Supplies are still available here,” said Woodstock
Highway Superintendent Mike Reynolds of the news, which was
new to him as a national story. “It’s just the prices
that have gone astronomical.”
Reynolds furthered his point by use of a vivid example. In the
midst of his department’s biggest repaving job this past
summer, he said, the price of blacktop materials went up $11
a ton in one week, from $65.24 per ton during the last week
in July to $76.09 per ton during the first week in August.
Since then, the longstanding road worker added, things have
continued to go up.
“It just changes how much you can get done,” Reynolds
said. “At this point, with other costs going up, our infrastructure’s
going to have to take the hit.”
The underlying problem, it turns out, is a shift in refining
technologies spurred on by the recent price hike in oil, as
well as growing concerns about a diminishing of supplies over
the coming years. In the past, about 40 percent of an oil barrel
would be turned into asphalt products, whereas now that formula’s
been shifted down to around 10 percent. The results have forced
thousands of miles of highways, city streets and country roads
to go without needed repairs, or a shift in repair methods that
has reduced the amount of asphalt required for road jobs
There’s also new research just starting out on changing
the chemical requirements of asphalt, or looking again at the
more expensive alternative of using concrete for roads.
The nation, AP has reported, is currently undersupplied by about
24,000 barrels of asphalt a day, or 5 percent of total daily
demand, and is expected to be down about 257,000 barrels a day
by 2012,. The shift in refinery technology that led to the decline
in asphalt production was spurred by oil refineries installing
billion-dollar machines called “cokers” that are
able to refine the chunkiest, low-grade and least expensive
crude oil into highly profitable fuels, such as gasoline and
diesel, leaving leading asphalt suppliers to thin out their
product in the meantime.
What ever happened to the idea of utilizing old tires in roadways?
That’s done regularly, Reynolds said, but usually in binder
and base coats atop of which regular asphalt gets laid.
As for the larger story, it turns out AP ran almost identical
stories about “Peak Asphalt,” as they’re calling
the phenomenon, two autumns ago, when gas prices first started
rising in the year following the Katrina mess.
Check those shocks…
The Ulster County Legislature, on a split vote, has approved
a ban on all smoking on all property owned or leased by the
county, including the community college. Over the past month,
the debate had been over the full ban, generally favored by
Democrats, and a less stringent prohibition pushed by several
Republicans that would have created a 50-foot no-smoking zone
around all entrances to buildings.
Republican Minority Leader Glenn Noonan referred to the smoking
ban as a “feel good law”, prompting an angry response
from Democrat Jeanette Provenzano, who noted that smoking kills
people, and that governments, including the county, bear a high
cost related to health care for people who smoke.
All of the Democrats and three Republicans supported the resolution,
which passed on a vote of 21 to 10.
Meanwhile, on a state level, New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation (DEC) Region 3 Director Willie Janeway announced
in recent weeks that DEC has begun to implement a long-term
enforcement action to reduce the health impacts associated with
smoking and idling trucks and buses, especially in communities
that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution.Under
the plan, DEC will carry out regular but unannounced enforcement
actions in hot spots where heavy truck traffic enters or exits
a neighborhood, or in areas where trucks are found to congregate.
At these hot spots, DEC will implement pullover operations that
target trucks spewing dirty smoke in violation of air regulations
and will patrol the area for trucks and buses illegally idling.
In an attempt to counteract the holiday shopping frenzy, a free
rummage sale/gift swap called BUY NOTHING DAY is scheduled for
Saturday, November 29th, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Unitarian
Universalist Congregation of the Catskills (UUCC), 320 Sawkill
Rd., Kingston. Sponsored by the Environmental Section of the
Social Action Committee of UUCC, the event features a wide array
of gift items, all free to the public.
Among available categories of free gifts are toys, gadgets,
fancy books, blankets, household items, small near-new electronics,
tools, music, and winter outerwear (coats, jackets, gloves,
hats and winter boots). In addition, anything and everything!
Participants are encouraged to donate gift-quality items when
they attend BUY NOTHING DAY although it is definitely not required.
Additional items will be put out throughout the day.
Donations for the free rummage sale will be accepted until noon
the day of the event and in advance on Sunday, November 23rd,
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UUCC, 320 Sawkill Rd. (half-way between
Washington Avenue and Route 209). in Kingston. The UUCC will
screen items before accepting them and will refuse any out-of-date
computer products, or clothing other than winter outerwear and
BUY NOTHING DAY is an international event started in 1992 by
Adbusters magazine and celebrated by millions. It has now spread
to over 60 countries around the globe.
For further information contact Joanne Steele (339-7526 or email@example.com)
or visit UUCC on the web at: http://www.uucckingston.org/bnd.html.
A special Multi Agency Burglary Ring Detail comprised of State
Police and the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office has arrested
seven people in connection with 20 house burglaries. The suspects
were found to have stolen firearms, flat screen TVs, computers,
electronic devices, jewelry, cash, clothing chainsaws and other
tools. They are also implicated in the grand larceny of a BMW
as the arson of a building and of a motor vehicle. Much of the
stolen items were recovered, police said.
The burglary detail was formed following a dramatic increase
in residential burglaries involving unoccupied residences in
the towns of Rochester, Wawarsing, Marbletown, Rosendale and
Gardiner. The residences had been forcibly entered.
Arrested on second-degree burglary charges were Kyle Kouhout,
18, of Rosendale; Thomas Bauer, 18, of Accord; Brandon Miller,
17, of Kerhonkson; David Stephens, 18, of Accord; Ron Vanetten,
17, of Kerhonkson; john Halter, 21, of Kerhonkson; and Dale
Faulker, 17, of Accord. Additional charges are pending.
All seven were arraigned and remanded to the Ulster County Jail
in lieu of $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond.
The Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach at
the State University of New York at New Paltz and the World
Affairs Council of the Mid-Hudson Valley Gillespie Forum will
host a presentation on “Climate Change and World Security”
with Marc Levy at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 2, in the Coykendall
Science Building auditorium on campus. The event is free and
open to the public.
Marc Levy serves as deputy director of the Center for International
Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), part of the Earth
Institute at Columbia University. Levy will speak on climate
change trends and how they impact the stability of nations and
the well-being of populations.
Levy said there is growing recognition that climate change can
have significant impact on world security, particularly in regions
that are already prone to instability. Multi-year droughts,
rising sea levels and increasing temperatures are climate change
trends affecting food and water resources, and the health and
well-being of populations around the world. For example, the
greatest number of people exposed to sea-level rise is in China,
the Philippines, Egypt and Indonesia. China and the Philippines
alone have 64 million people in the lowest elevation zones (1
meter above sea level).
Levy has published on environmental sustainability indicators,
environment-security connections and the effectiveness of international
environmental institutions. The common thread running through
his work is a desire to deepen our ability to understand and
manage the complex interactions between humans and their environment.
He is currently serving as a convening lead author for the UN
Environment Program’s Fourth Global Environmental Outlook.
Before coming to CIESIN, Levy had teaching appointments at Princeton
University and Williams College.
For more information about the Center, visit www.newpaltz.edu/crreo.
Police shut down a large drug operation and arrested two men
at a secluded house protected by motion sensors and a swamp
that served as a natural moat, the Ulster Regional Drug Enforcement
Narcotics Team said this week. URGENT’s raid of the house
at 473 Spillway Road on Friday turned up more than 45 pounds
of marijuana, about 400 marijuana plants, two indoor growing
rooms, hashish, evidence of hashish manufacturing, hashish oil,
evidence of a previous large-scale outdoor growing operation
and $30,000 in cash, according to a press release from the drug-enforcement
The two men arrested — Joseph H. Barton (a.k.a. Joseph
Anderson), 62, and Barton’s stepson, Jay Debberman, 33
— were renting the property and living in “squalor.”
For example, detectives said, there were piles of both new and
dirty clothes around the home, indicating the men bought new
clothes rather than wash items they had worn. Police also found
chukka sticks, police batons and daggers in the house, but no
guns, Budd said.
URGENT said officers went to the house after receiving an anonymous
tip about drug processing and distribution taking place there
but had difficulty accessing the property because it’s
in a heavily wooded area and is blocked by a watery swamp that’s
navigable only by a narrow causeway. There also were motion
sensors around the property’s perimeter to alert the people
inside about any incoming people or vehicles, URGENT said.
URGENT also said the alleged traffickers tried to avoid detection
by using gas- and diesel-powered generators to offset the spike
in power usage caused by the growing operation.
Police said the men distributed drugs locally and also had operated
in the New York City and New Jersey areas.
Barton was charged with the felonies of criminal possession
of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance
and criminal possession of a weapon. (The weapons charge was
a felony because of a prior conviction, Budd said.) Debberman
was charged with the felonies of criminal possession of marijuana
and criminal possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor
county of criminal possession of a weapon.
The two men were arraigned in Hurley Town Court, and though
the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office requested
bail be set at $50,000 for each, Justice Elizabeth Corrado released
them on their own recognizance, police said.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County is hosting Save
Energy, Save Dollars a FREE Weatherization and Energy Savings
Workshop designed to help people reduce their electric and heating
bills resulting in significant savings year round. The workshop
will be Tuesday, November 25, 2008 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at
the Town of Shandaken Town Hall, located at 7209 Route 28 in
All pre-registered attendees ages 18 and up will receive a FREE
Energy Saving Gift Pack. The session is free and open to the
public. Participants will learn about reducing their heating
and electric bills with low cost, no cost energy conservation
methods, and easy to use weatherization and energy saving information
for homeowners and renters alike.
Pre-registration is required. Call Barbara Grumberg, 845-340-3990
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered
and demonstrated a new method for overcoming two major hurdles
facing solar energy. By developing a new antireflective coating
that boosts the amount of sunlight captured by solar panels
and allows those panels to absorb the entire solar spectrum
from nearly any angle, the research team has moved academia
and industry closer to realizing high-efficiency, cost-effective
“To get maximum efficiency when converting solar power
into electricity, you want a solar panel that can absorb nearly
every single photon of light, regardless of the sun’s
position in the sky,” said Shawn-Yu Lin, professor of
physics at Rensselaer and a member of the university’s
Future Chips Constellation, who led the research project. “Our
new antireflective coating makes this possible.”
An untreated silicon solar cell only absorbs 67.4 percent of
sunlight shone upon it - meaning that nearly one-third of that
sunlight is reflected away and thus unharvestable. From an economic
and efficiency perspective, this unharvested light is wasted
potential and a major barrier hampering the proliferation and
widespread adoption of solar power.
After a silicon surface was treated with Lin’s new nanoengineered
reflective coating, however, the material absorbed 96.21 percent
of sunlight shone upon it - meaning that only 3.79 percent of
the sunlight was reflected and unharvested. This huge gain in
absorption was consistent across the entire spectrum of sunlight,
from UV to visible light and infrared, and moves solar power
a significant step forward toward economic viability.
Funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Department
of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences, as well as
the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
An American man who suffered from AIDS appears to have been
cured of the disease 20 months after receiving a targeted bone
marrow transplant normally used to fight leukemia, his doctors
said. And although researchers caution that the case might be
no more than a fluke, others say it may inspire a greater interest
in gene therapy to fight the disease that claims 2 million lives
each year. The virus has infected 33 million people worldwide.
Dr. Gero Huetter said Wedneday his 42-year-old patient, an American
living in Berlin who was not identified, had been infected with
the AIDS virus for more than a decade. But 20 months after undergoing
a transplant of genetically selected bone marrow, he no longer
shows signs of carrying the virus.
This isn’t the first time marrow transplants have been
attempted for treating AIDS or HIV infection. In 1999, an article
in the journal Medical Hypotheses reviewed the results of 32
attempts reported between 1982 and 1996. In two cases, HIV was
apparently eradicated, the review reported.
Before the transplant, the patient endured powerful drugs and
radiation to kill off his own infected bone marrow cells and
disable his immune system — a treatment fatal to between
20 and 30 percent of recipients. He was also taken off the potent
drugs used to treat his AIDS.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy
and Infections Diseases in the U.S., said the procedure was
too costly and too dangerous to employ as a firstline cure.
But he said it could inspire researchers to pursue gene therapy
as a means to block or suppress HIV.
David Roth, a professor of epidemiology and international public
health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,
said gene therapy as cheap and effective as current drug treatments
is in very early stages of development.
The New Aggies…
State Ag Commissioner Patrick Hooker will kick off the first
Agricultural Renewable Energy Forum Wednesday, December 3, 2008
at the Holiday Inn, 503 Washington Avenue, in Kingston. The
forum for the agriculture community is scheduled for 10:00am
To pre-register please call 518-828-4718, or download a registration
form online at www.hvadc.org and click on upcoming events. For
more information call Teresa Rusinek at 845-340-3990.