to the Editor
Is paying taxes patriotic? Or more specifically, is asking the wealthiest
of Americans to pay a higher tax rate patriotic? Joe Biden recently
suggested this and was immediately mocked by Sarah Palin. As is often
the case when Republicans go on the attack, the Democrat, Joe Biden,
backed away from his comment. But I think this idea deserves serious
I have been fortunate enough to have been in the lowest tax bracket
and the highest tax bracket. And let me tell you, life is much easier
in the highest tax bracket. People who work for lower wages, in general,
have the hardest, most soul crushing jobs. Those of us who are lucky
enough to make more money, in general, have easier, more rewarding careers.
Many of us have lived the American dream and worked our way out of poverty
into wealth. It is time for us to now do our duty. My experience at
both ends of the spectrum lead to me believe that yes it is fair and
patriotic for the wealthiest of us to pay a higher tax rate.
We've asked our young people to go into combat for us. Their families
are making do with little pay and constant worry about their loved ones.
These soldiers who are asked daily to put their lives on the line for
their country are generally from lower income families. And yet we had
no hesitation in asking for their sacrifices. We pushed and pushed for
this war and shouted down the nay-sayers as "un-American"
and "unpatriotic." Now it's time for the rest of us to chip
We have to pay back the money we borrowed to fund the war. One of the
reasons the global economy is in such disarray today is because so many
other countries lent us money and are now beginning to see that we may
not be able/willing to pay it back. We were lent money on the assumption
that the United States was a safe bet.
Whether you were for or against the war in Iraq, it is time to come
together as Americans and pay the debts we owe, both to our soldiers
and to the world who bet on us.
You recently ran a long letter about a writer’s need “to
escape on weekends, to an area largely untouched by the maddening overdevelopment
in the city.” We understand his need and the need of other second
homeowners who are so financially successful they can afford to own
and maintain two or more residences. But sometimes, people who don’t
earn their livings here, don’t understand the needs of permanent,
full-time residents who struggle just to hang on to one home.
The fears expressed are the same fears we’ve heard through our
long review process. Most have been laid to rest and the concerns that
remain are all part of the 157 page scoping document experts are now
responding to as they produce another Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
1) Long-time businesses in the area are already closing their doors
because there is not enough business traffic in the area now to support
them. More than 30% of the businesses here just eight years ago are
gone and others will soon close. Life-long residents already face the
loss of their homes, not because of the Belleayre Resort but because
there are few decent jobs to support them here.
2) Construction and waste trucks are not going to clog Rt. 28 and it
is not already over-driven. The traffic on Rt. 28 now doesn’t
come close to the number of vehicle trips for which the road is designed.
Rt. 28 is busy on weekend nights when second-homeowners and visitors
are coming and going and in morning and evening hours during the week
when people are commuting in and out. More jobs here will mean fewer
3) We are not blasting off mountain tops or building on excessively
steep slopes. Projects virtually identical to this have been built at
both Hunter and Windham during the last five years and mostly on slopes
over 35%, with no apparent crisis for anyone. We are not going to create
toxic runoff in New York City’s water because we are committed
to a totally organic regimen for the entire resort property.
4) The project will not be visible from everywhere, it will not eliminate
magnificent views of trees and wildlife and it will not beam light up
into the night sky.
5) The clientele of our project will not be insulated from the local
community. Nearly half of our units will have kitchens, encouraging
visitors to buy groceries, wines and other amenities locally as most
other second homeowners do.
6) Exhaustive testing has determined that there is more than ample water
in the region for this project and water tables in the area will not
be sharply reduced.
Contrary to the letter, every single fear expressed therein is being
reviewed and if necessary, mitigated. So let’s look at the benefits.
This project will add significantly to the existing tax base, bring
down property taxes for everyone else and create sales and bed tax revenue
for state and county. The jobs it will provide will not be minimum-wage
jobs but will be well above that and will have comprehensive benefit
packages as well. These will be far better jobs than most that currently
exist in this area.
We have demonstrated, through data provided by the New York State Department
of Labor, that there is an adequate work force already here. Most of
the workers are now driving out of the area to Kingston or Oneonta to
work – often commuting 50 or more miles a day. Jobs here will
save traffic and energy use.
This project doesn’t even begin to approach, in size or scope,
anything at Vail or Aspen so those comparisons are not valid but only
meant to frighten people. The only projects like it have been built
in the Adirondacks and over at Hunter and Windham. They have been good
projects – environmentally and economically. Further our housing
prices are already too high for the working class people who live here.
That is why we need better jobs with better salaries and benefits.
Anyone who actually looks at the facts and figures recognizes that it
is possible to balance environmental protection with economic development,
which the Belleayre Resort project certainly does.
Very truly yours,
J. Lawrence-Bauer, Public Relations
Crossroads Ventures, LLC
Mt. Tremper, NY
My previous letter erred on the day and date of the next Olive Re-localization
meeting. The correct date and time is Sunday Nov. 9, 5pm at the Odd
Fellows Hall, Rt. 213, Olivebridge. Wood-fired pizza potluck from 5-7
with a talk by Donna Crawford of the UC Cooperative Extension describing
the myriad of programs and information available relating to home gardening
and food preservation.
At 7pm we will screen "The Power of Community", a one hour
film which illuminates the conversion within Cuba back to local food
production and a much higher reliance on local resources due to a 50%
reduction in their oil supply in 1991.
The economic revival driven by the long dormant agricultural sector
that is well underway in Hardwick VT will be examined for usable ideas.
The town of 3000 people had fallen on very hard times with even the
local porn theatre and bars closing up.
In a recent NY Times article titled "Uniting Around Food To Save
An Ailing Town", Marian Burros describes the vision and actions
of a new breed of growers and food processors which has resulted in
75-100 new jobs and a real economic revival.
The new/ old phenomenon of homesteading will be discussed along with
the concept of households increasing their annual planting of edible
perennial plants and trees such as nuts, fruits and berries.
In my view the largest potential for any sort of meaningful increase
in local food production and preservation lies within our individual
homesteads. Some of the old farms are being revived but it takes a lot
of time and a tremendous amount of capital. A household can easily put
in a dozen nut, fruit and berry plants every year and within 7 or 8
years the town would overflow with food. Olive is blessed with some
very fine soils, was once a net food exporter and was very much food
and energy sufficient.
Mind you there is a requirement for some real physical labor with all
of this. Judging by what I see up at the school and around town, there
may be some young people who may desire some regular aerobic activity
as a balance to the sedentary time spent on more academic pursuits.
All the disparate elements and more that are needed to increase economic
activity and food security are here for us to develop if we choose.
I recently attended a buying club pickup in a nearby town. An Amish
farmer and his family sold out of goods. Butter from pasture fed cows
was 12- 13 dollars a pound. Everything else was commensurate. Bread-$5-6,
sauerkraut-7.50/qt.,kimchee-$5/pt.! The lot was full, the farmers huge
van was new. His animals are pastured, the pre-requisite for the high
People are demanding locally grown foods and paying a premium for it.
There is always a bull market in something and local quality foods are
it at this time and likely for the foreseeable future.
RSVP to me at 657-2030 or email@example.com for the pizza potluck
ingredient needs list or with other questions about the gathering. Park
at the fire house, bring a flashlight and dress warm.
On another note, Olive neighbors are well known for stepping up and
in particular Jim Senecal (657-9777) and his able assistant Ben Corley
could use a skilled hand or 3 for the final push on insulating, sheetrocking,
taping painting and finishing Donnie Maher's burned house rehab that
is well underway on Reservoir Rd., Shokan, next to Sadler's Happy Hostas.
Its getting cold and Don needs to get in asap. A few items are still
needed so please call for details. Many thanks and I hope to see you
at the potluck.
As Executive Director of the Kingston-based Resource Center for Accessible
Living and on behalf of persons with disabilities, I am concerned about
the dire budget crisis facing New Yorkers. Non-partisan data from the
national Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that when “…the
economy weakens, state and local revenues decline, but the need for
public programs increases, as residents lose jobs, income, and health
We are seeing individuals and families coping with job loss and an inability
to pay for mortgages, utility bills, health insurance, medically necessary
prescription drugs and often food. We are already seeing cuts or elimination
of needed services.
Across the board budget cuts at the state level are bad policy and will
harm many of New York’s most vulnerable residents by affecting
the programs that provide necessary assistance. Cutting programs that
keep marginalized people stable would only provoke situations that would
need more costly (i.e. tax dollar) solutions. Many not for profits such
as RCAL run programs that actually save Medicaid dollars. To decrease
the budget across the board will guarantee unwanted results both fiscally
and in real people’s lives.
I urge Governor Paterson to consider not just more budget cuts but also
to increase revenue. The chairperson of Governor Paterson’s own
Council of Economic Advisors, Joseph Stiglitz, advised earlier this
year that New York looks to raise revenue as part of a balanced approach
of shared sacrifice, rather than close its budget gap through cuts alone.
Tax increases are never easy. Nevertheless, a temporary increase for
income tax top rates would avoid draconic cuts in services for New York’s
vulnerable children, individuals and families.
Susan J. Hoger, LMSW
Executive Director of RCAL
SEPTEMBER 11,2001, a day that will go down in history along with Pearl
Harbor, and the invasion of ALASKA by the Japanese army, (which many
people did not know happened.) It was also a day that all Americans,
Black, White, Yellow and Red, came together as one United group. People
helped each other, even if they did not know that person, cars actually
stopped to let pedestrians cross the street, crime went down, and a
hatred rose for those who would commit such a horrendous act. "GET
EVEN" was the feeling amongst most Americans.Our leaders felt that
since we won the Desert Storm war in just a few weeks we can certainly
beat the dastardly cowards who attacked our country. Only one thing
I feel they left out, we were not fighting a uniformed army as in Desert
Storm we are going to fight a invisible force who uses women and children
as shields, who shoot and drop their
weapons and become a regular civilian, fitting in with the other people.
We didn"t realize that 13 and 14 year old kids were used to sit
on walls and when our soldiers pass by they (the kids) shoot them in
the back, drop their guns behind the wall and walk away. For seven years
our soldiers have been killed and maimed by IED's planted under roads,
yet not one defense company has come up with a device to detect these
explosives. It's sort of like fighting another Viet Nam War where the
bad guys shoot and then disappear underground or go into another country
for safety. But hey, lets give that country more money so they can build
up their armies who will then most likely turn around and
fight us. What I would like to know, and probably all of middle America
is who became very rich with all those defense contracts. I have a suggestion,
" if we want to win this war, let our fighting men do what they
were trained to do."
Politicians, Generals, Colonels, ACLU groups, Human Rights people, stand
down, back off, let our boys show the world what we are made of. Did
any of you complain when we dropped the Atom Bomb on Japan? If you really
want to help, tell our leaders to make better equipment for our troops.
Peter G. Polis
The leaves have turned and a chill is in the air. What's next? Thanksgiving!
Family of Woodstock invites everyone to our truly Wonderful 33rd annual
FREE Thanksgiving Day Feast. It is a heartwarming day filled with good
conversation, amazing and delicious food, home made music and a loving
spirit of giving thanks for all that we have.
We will serve three to four hundred meals on Thursday, November 27th
this year from 1PM to 4PM at the Woodstock Community Center. We will
also provide "take home" to people who cannot join us and
to our police officers and hotline staff who work on the holiday. If
you can make your favorite dish to share, cook a turkey or would like
to contribute time or money for the Thanksgiving Feast, contact Family
right away. We can't do it without YOU! Call 679-2485
I tell stories at the Woodstock Library story hour and I am seeking
more information for a story about the merry-go-round horse in the children's
room. Bill Spanhake, who owned a saw mill in Wittenberg, carved that
horse and five others in 1954. The horses were to be placed on a merry-go-round
platform for the Library Fair but it was found the insurance would be
exorbitant. The fair committee decided to auction the horses and asked
the local artists Arnold Blanch, Doris Lee, Edward Chavez, Julio De
Diego, Howard Mandel and Maud and Miska Petersham to paint the horses
to make them more valuable. Five of the horses were auctioned but Peter,
the horse in the library painted by the Petershams, was kept for the
children's room. I tell as much of the story as I have been able to
learn about Peter and the other horses but when I end the story, the
children (and adults) want to know what happened to those other horses.
Thus, I am asking anyone who knows where any of the horses are to please
call me at 679-8471. The children will be grateful.
Avis Gebert aka Grandma Avis
The October 23rd edition of the Phoenicia Times did not disappoint me
in that William [Bill] Warnecke and Mescal Hornbeck are still on their
"hate" campaign during this election cycle [with much misinformation].
To Mr. Warnecke who reports that everyone saw the TV clip of the woman
who "wouldn't vote for Obama because he's an Arab (or words to
that effect)" he heard it correctly. "Then McCain took the
mic and said 'no, no ma'am he's a decent man and you don't have to be
afraid' ". What is wrong with "decent" as opposed to
"good", Bill? [Only God is good].
What is so difficult to remember re: the lady's 9 words, or McCain's
14 words which you memorialized? Does anyone who is listening these
days recall McCain denouncing Bill Cunningham for his Ohio introduction
of McCain and referring to Obama as Barak "Hussein" Obama?
Are the Bush hater's minds so warped as to fabricate? John McCain is
an honorable human being and does not deserve these personal attacks.
It is fine to support one's choice for any position, but hate has no
place in any decision. Laws will not prevent that, but hate expressed
in whatever way is a manifestation of character, integrity and who we
Are we surprised to know on Nov. 5th it is "President" John
McCain? Aw; the election was "stolen" again [hopefully].
Mescal Hornbeck drew my attention once again with such nonsense as to
be confusing; a frivolous use of space and ink. She places a plague
on both candidate's house regarding health care [for all]. Ms Hornbeck,
if you are not satisfied with a Republic complete with capitalism [warts
and all], then perhaps a change of political and social scenery [the
Steppes or Siberia] would bring joy to your heart. The Insurance companies
are going to run their business their way or not at all. They can always
produce "widgits" or "thing-a-ma-jigs" [and make
Both candidates are fools in their health care remedies and most of
us are comfortable with what we have as a result of diligence and motivation.
Make no mistake; we who enjoy a retirement with employer health care
have paid for that benefit long ago. Should one continue to pay premiums
after a life insurance policy matures? Everyone is being cared for and
Medicaid is alive and well. The Constitution guarentees "the pursuit
of happiness" but fails to mention good health or free health care
Too bad some are so unhappy. Perhaps national health care can address
that also. Unhappiness and disappointment is indeed a health issue just
as gun ownership is.
Glenn T. Anderson
The Gilsinger family would like to thank everyone in our community for
the kindness, graciousness, and support that’s been extended to
us since Hope’s passing. We especially want to thank the Shandaken
Ambulance squad and Police Department, and all of our friends and neighbors
who’ve reached out to us during this time. Were grateful for the
caring and the sensitivity people have shown, which we deeply appreciate.
The Gilsinger family
Visitors to Phoenicia are still wondering about the strange occurrence
in town on Sunday afternoon, October 26th. There were princesses and
devils, batmen, minutemen, Grecians and pirates, in big and small sizes,
all parading thru town. To all – you were resplendent in your
costumes for the annual Halloween Parade. Thank you. And, it didn’t
hurt that there was near-perfect weather.
We estimated that about 250 people participated. The M.F. Whitney Hose
Company, ably led by Gary Carr, sponsored the event and guided our processional
into town. And, thanks to Chief Jim McGrath and his team for securing
us. As always, the Phoenicia Rotary provided refreshments, with one
Rotarian greeting paraders in a large duck outfit. And, the PTA, is
grateful to the St. Francis de Sales Parish for providing the hall in
which to stage our Haunted House.
For the third year the Phoenicia PTA created a haunted house, guided
by Jen Dragon’s wizardry. Jen, along with Katie Legnini, also
hosted a 3-week afterschool program at Phoenicia, where children created
decorations for the Haunted House.
And, the PTA is most appreciative to all those who helped set-up the
fabulous Haunted House. They are:
Jen Dragon, Peter and Liz Appelson, Gina and Duane Krause, Holly Ellison,
Christina and Peter Himberger, Karen and Mark Howenstein, Sarah Traeger,
Katie Legnini, Deb Baldwin, Mimi Goese, Janet Baus (the ever-lovely
Cleopatra), Mark Friedman (the toxic show-man), Chuck Cornelis (reprising
his mad scientist role), Brian Powers and to some of their children,
you know who you are.
And, lastly, a thanks to the people and businesses who generously donated
items for our raffle, they
The Boiceville Market, Maureen and Gene Gormley, Holly George-Warren
(author of “Grateful Dead 365”), Pika’s Quiches and
Halloween Parade Organizer
Thanks to spirited volunteers from dozens of organizations, for 10 days
in October – from the 4th through the 13th – legions of
people experienced the Catskill Mountains in their autumnal splendor
during the 5th annual “Lark in the Park.” Originally designed
and sponsored by New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC) in 2004 and 2005, the Lark in the Park has flourished in subsequent
years under the leadership of The Catskill Center for Conservation and
Development and the Catskill Mountain Club.
This year over 40 diverse events as well as annual regional festivals
brought people from far and wide into the depths of the wilderness,
got people onto our lakes, rivers and streams, celebrated our history
and culture, connected rails and trails, and introduced people of all
ages, abilities and walks of life to our majestic region.
The Lark’s tremendous success – exemplified by the enthusiasm
of event leaders, festival organizers, and thousands of participants
– illustrates how our desire to connect with nature, history,
and culture draws hundreds of thousands to the Catskill Mountain Region
every year, bringing much needed tourism dollars to our communities.
As we thank event leaders and the public for making this year’s
Lark in the Park such a success, we are already beginning to plan for
next year’s Lark. We welcome the DEC and regional organizations
to join us as co-sponsors. To learn more about the Lark and the Catskill
Park, visit the Catskill Center website at www.catskillcenter.org. And,
please let us know if you’re interested in becoming a partner
for Lark in the Park during The Catskill Center’s 40th anniversary
celebration in 2009.
Lisa Rainwater, Executive Director
The Catskill Center for
Conservation and Development