A final tally of voting machines, absentee and affidavit ballots
completed Monday, December 1 gave Democratic Ulster County comptroller
candidate Elliot Auerbach an apparent victory over Republican
James Quigley by 150 votes.
While Auerbach is cautiously optimistic, and has noted how his
opponent congratulated him on his apparent win, Quigley asked
for another recount on Wednesday, December 3.
All of the absentee and affidavit ballots were counted in front
of both elections commissioners and deputy commissioners.
“We don’t expect any surprises from the recount,”
Auerbach said. “It’s a strategy my opponent and
his legal team are going to employ, and I’m not surprised.”
After Election Day, Auerbach was down by 755 votes, but during
recounting and tallying of absentee ballots, he inched ahead.
Auerbach won three of Olive’s normally Democrat-heavy
districts, taking District 4, Olivebridge, by 262 to 184 votes,
Boiceville (District 5) by 201 to 185, and District 3, Samsonville,
by 219 to 206. Quigley won in Shokan (District 1) 315 to 292,
and West Shokan (District 2) 204 to 190. Both districts also
narrowly defeated the new Charter proposition a year ago. Overall,
there were 1055 Democratic line votes, 838 Republican votes,
124 Independence Party, 122 Conservative Party, and 109 Working
Families Party votes.
In Shandaken, the Republican decisively lost each district,
coming closest in District 2, Shandaken, where Quigley won 119
to Auerbach’s 136 votes, and farthest away in Phoenicia,
where he got 139 votes to 314 for Auerbach. Overall there were
733 Democrat, 410 Republican, 55 Working Family, 54 Independence
and 53 Conservative party votes in town.
On election night, Quigley had led countywide 36,621 to 36,036
in an unofficial voting machine count, but fell behind when
paper ballots were counted.
With the apparent win, Democrats capture the two new elected
offices created by adoption of a county charter. Current County
Administrator Michael Hein was a clear winner, for county executive,
on election day.
Auerbach, 56, is the former mayor and current village manager
Less than two years after the bald eagle was removed from the
federal government’s endangered species list, an environmental
organization in Maine has found an alarming accumulation of
mercury in the blood and feathers of bald eagle chicks in the
Catskill Park region of New York. The levels are close to those
associated with reproductive problems in common loons and bald
eagles elsewhere in the Northeast, although the New York and
national populations of bald eagles have been growing strongly
in recent years. The same study showed that about one-quarter
of the feathers of adult birds also had elevated levels of mercury,
suggesting that the toxin builds up in the raptors faster than
they can get rid of it.
Peter E. Nye, who has run the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation’s bald eagle restoration program for three
decades, said that mercury contamination was a concern but that
he was “not ready to turn on the siren and cry wolf.”
In fact, he said, the state’s 145 resident pairs of bald
eagles produced 188 chicks last year, a 23 percent increase
from the year before.
In New York, the eagle population has grown from one nesting
pair in the 1970s to 145 pairs this year. But the bird is still
listed as threatened in the state.
There may be another reason for concern. Lynda White, eagle
watch coordinator at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in
Maitland, Fla., which monitors active eagle nest sites, said
that because eagles are so sensitive to contamination —
evidenced by their tragic link to DDT — they are good
barometers of environmental health.
Eagle chicks elsewhere in New York also were tested for mercury.
But levels were not as high as those in the Catskills, which
is home to several huge reservoirs that store drinking water
for New York City, 110 miles away.
The city’s water is tested regularly, and so far the mercury
poses no known threat to people who drink it, city officials
say. But the mercury makes its way into worms and organisms
eaten by fish, in streams and ponds as well as the reservoirs.
The fish are then consumed by eagles (and sometimes by people,
although New York has issued advisories
limiting the amount of fish from the state’s lakes and
rivers that can be consumed safely).
The Catskills region receives some of the severest mercury contamination
in the country, in large measure because of prevalent wind patterns
that regularly carry harmful smokestack emissions from the Midwest.
The Nature Conservancy, which has protected swaths of the Catskills,
financed this study as well as previous works on mercury contamination
in the region.
By the time you are reading this the Ulster County Legislature
will have met on Wednesday, Dec. 3 to pass judgment on a final
2009 spending plan. As of press time, the big question was whether
they would buck a proposal from current County Administrator
and incoming County Executive Michael Hein and raise spending
while dropping the tax levy lightly.
According to a budget memo released last week, a series of changes
by the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee to Hein’s
proposed $345.9 million budget increased spending by 0.06 percent,
to $346.1 million, making for a year-to-year rise in spending
of 6.5 percent over the current 2008 budget of $325 million.
Under the new plan, the tax levy, or the amount to be raised
by property taxes, would increase by 2.68 percent, to $74.4
million, from the current tax levy of $72.4 million. The $74.5
million tax levy proposed under the Hein plan would have increased
the amount to be raised by taxes by 2.95 percent over the 2008
The budget includes $220,000 for contract agency funding, with
additional funding for the Ulster County Library Association,
of which such local facilities as the Olive Free Library, the
Phoenicia Library and the Morton Memorial Library in Pine Hill,
Aware that these are trying times, Hein has assembled a 21-member
Economic Development Transition Task Force, which includes business
and community leaders, and has given the task force one month
to give to him proposals to address the economic needs of the
Declaring the future of Ulster County hangs in the balance,
Hein said last week he has pulled together “the best and
brightest” the county has to offer to help him develop
an economic agenda for the county.
“I believe the future of Ulster County is at stake,”
Hein told reporters at a press conference.” I’ve
asked this group to provide to me a list of important economic
initiatives they think need to take place to ensure that Ulster
County is positioned to move forward both in the short-term
and the long-term.”
The Task Force includes Maira Blaustein, head of the Woodstock
Film Festival, Marketrek head Mark Braunstein, Melissa Everett
of Sustainable Hudson Valley and Ward Todd, a Shandaken resident
and President of the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce.
Ulster County’s economy has had trouble recovering from
the loss of jobs at IBM and other manufacturers over the past
15 years. Other businesses, including those in or related to
tourism, also have suffered, Hein said.
Business growth has been so poor in Ulster County that in 2006
the Business Council of New York issued the county a failing
Tony Lanza, the irrepressible Superintendent of Belleayre Mountain
Ski Center, has become quite the cheerleader for his competition
of late. While the operators of Hunter and Windham Ski centers
continue to complain about Lanza’s State-owned slopes
being unfairly supported by taxpayer money, and refused to go
in on a regional ski pass that would have allowed holders to
enjoy all three places (choosing to have a two-slope pass, only),
and they have called for an audit of Lanza’s operation,
Lanza now goes out of his way to talk up the offerings over
in Greene County.
Lanza, who usually never mentions Hunter and Windham in his
well known publicity announcements, now says that when he gets
a chance he goes skiing over at Hunter and Windham, and talks
to reporters about how good the conditions are at those facilities.
It remains unclear why Belleayre’s biggest fan is now
a booster for the other guys, but could he be marching to orders
out of Albany to be nice with those private sector complainers?
A congressional committee is investigating the circumstances
that led to the sex scandal causing the downfall of New York
Gov. Eliot Spitzer and whether the case was politically motivated.
At the same time, the man many believed to be the former gov’s
chief nemesis, former State Senate GOP Majority Leader Joe Bruno,
is also again under investigation. And the locally-based woman
who was charged with working for the agency that procured Spitzer
prostitues was given a year’s probation, allowing her
to return to some normalcy in her life.
Regarding Spitzer’s downfall last March, the House Financial
Services Committee seeks to determine whether federal agents
misused their expanded powers under the Patriot Act. Spitzer
was in Washington at the time he was nabbed with a prostitute,
ostensibly to testify before part of the Financial Services
panel. Now, that committee demands to know how and why the Democratic
governor popped up on the radar of criminal investigators.
Officials have said a number of unusual money transfers by the
governor triggered a “suspicious activity report”
within the banking system. Eventually, that report led to a
full-blown criminal investigation of Spitzer. The congressional
committee seeks details of the case to the extent that it shows
how effective the suspicious activity reports have been in catching
terrorists and their financiers and would like to know exactly
how the Spitzer case started.
“It is a concern that we have that (the law) could be
used for political reasons,” a committee spokesperson
Spitzer, a married father of three, met a prostitute the day
after Valentine’s Day in the Mayflower hotel and resigned
a month later, ending a promising political career. The committee
is hoping to hold a hearing next year on what led to the case,
though much of its schedule is up in the air, given the uncertainty
surrounding the nation’s financial crisis and what sort
of stimulus efforts the new Congress will try to make as soon
as they arrive in January. Spitzer, a former Attorney General,
had published an Op Ed piece that some say predicted the recent
economic downturn just before his downfall, and is said to have
been researching irregularities in the financial system during
his trips to Washington.
Federal investigators, meanwhile, are pursuing a criminal probe
of former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and have called
people familiar with details of his activities to testify before
a grand jury in Albany in recent weeks. The actions of the United
States Attorney for the Northern District’s office suggested
to at least one of the parties subpoenaed that prosecutors in
the roughly three-year-old case are authenticating documents
produced by witnesses for the FBI.
Several subpoenas were issued in recent weeks and shortly before
the November elections, according to recipients and people close
to individuals receiving the orders, which required secret testimony
at the U.S. Courthouse in Albany. High end horse traders, lobbyists
and former public officials have been called to testify, according
to people close to those witnesses.
The federal investigation involves many aspects of Bruno’s
public and private life. The former Republican leader, now leading
a consulting company in Latham and registered as a lobbyist,
had operated his own consulting business, served a Connecticut
investment house and bred horses during his tenure in the state
Besides the horse transactions, federal prosecutors have been
interested in union funds from New York labor groups invested
with Wright Investors Service of Milford, Conn., a firm that
employed the senator for more than a decade. The probe has also
looked at land deals involving Bruno and economic development
grants he arranged.
In July, Bruno stepped down from the Senate after 32 years in
office. A person familiar with the probe said it appears the
federal government is building toward a climax in the case.
As for the local connection to Spitzer, the woman who helped
arrange trysts for the escort service that provided Spitzer’s
prostitute was sentenced to a year of probation for her part
in the scandal. Tanya Robin Hollander, who currently works locally
under her married name. had pleaded guilty on Aug. 25 to a prostitution
conspiracy and could have faced up to a year in prison.
Judge Deborah A. Batts said Hollander, who was hired for her
short-lived job after answering an ad on Craigslist, played
a less substantial role than the government had asserted. The
judge also factored in a Nov. 6 decision by federal prosecutors
not to charge Spitzer.
Hollander, who served as a booking agent, is the first defendant
to be sentenced in the case of the Emperors Club VIP, a prostitution
ring that arranged sexual encounters for wealthy men around
the world for prices as high as $5,500 an hour.
Don’t Get Sick
Chronically ill Americans suffer far worse care than their counterparts
in seven other industrial nations, according to a new study
by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based foundation that specializes
in international comparisons. The results of the study, published
by the journal Health Affairs, belie the notion held by many
American politicians that health care in this country is the
best in the world. The new survey of 7,500 patients in Australia,
Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Britain
and the United States focused on patients who suffered from
at least one of seven chronic conditions: hypertension, heart
disease, diabetes, arthritis, lung problems, cancer or depression.
More than half of the American patients went without care because
of high out-of-pocket costs. They did not visit a doctor when
sick, skipped a recommended test or treatment or failed to fill
a prescription. The uninsured suffered most, but even 43 percent
of those who had insurance skipped care because of costs.
Americans also were most likely to report wasting time because
their care was so poorly organized. About a third reported that
medical records and test results were not available when needed
or that tests were duplicated unnecessarily. A third experienced
a medical error, such as being given the wrong medication or
test results. Some 40 percent found it very difficult to get
after-hours care without going to an emergency room.
The United States did comparatively well in some areas, such
as providing relatively prompt access to specialists and clear
instructions to patients leaving the hospital. But the nation’s
overall performance was abysmal. By contrast, Dutch patients
reported far more favorable experiences with their health care
system, largely because the Netherlands provides universal coverage
(through individual mandates and private health insurance),
a strong primary care system and widespread use of electronic
On Friday, November 21, over 35 new citizens from Turkey, Ireland,
Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and other countries across the globe
raised their right hand and sworn their allegiance to the United
States in the year’s second naturalization ceremony, held
at the Ulster County Courthouse and conducted by County Clerk
It was the first times in 16 years the ceremonies were actually
held in Ulster County. Prior to these two events this year,
new citizens had to travel to New York City to take their oath
An Onteora High School student’s short animated film,
“Making Friends,” emerged from among more than 1,000
entries to win the Barcelona International Television Festival’s
Creative Prize, one of the festival’s top two awards.
The winner was senior Robin Richardson, son of the Indie Programs
Executive Director Russell Richardson. The father-son tandem
traveled to Barcelona for the Nov. 11-13 screenings.
The younger Richardson’s described the two minute-movie
“Making Friends,” which also won the audience award
at the Real Teens Student Film Festival and took first place
in the Hudson Valley Film Festival’s animation category,
as the story of “blobs who meet … go for a bike
ride, and make friends.” The intent of the film was to
convey a feeling of happiness and joy, he said.
“Humans,” another short animated film Richardson
made with fellow Indie student Kaela Smith-Chaves, took second
place at Barcelona. The 44-second film was also screened during
this year’s Woodstock Film Festival.
The Barcelona International Television Festival, organized by
UNICEF and the European Observatory on Children’s Television,
accepts films between 30 seconds and 60 minutes in length and
is a competition among young filmmakers. Richardson’s
competitors were generally college film students.
After graduation, Richardson said he plans to study film in
college. He is applying to Bard College and has also considered
film schools in England.
Gas v. Water
Congressman Maurice Hinchey is pressing for the passage of a
bill he coauthored that would close a legislative loophole which
exempts hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas exploration
and drilling from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act
(SDWA). While New York State law currently provides regulatory
oversight for this process, such oversight varies considerably
from state to state. The bill, H.R. 7231, would reinstate basic
federal standards for hydraulic fracturing under the SDWA and
enable the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to protect
drinking water supplies in states with little or no regulations.
The hydraulic fracturing loophole was included in the Bush administration-backed
Energy Policy Act of 2005, which Hinchey strongly opposed and
voted against. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the underground injection
of fluids into groundwater through the Underground Injection
Control (UIC) program. Some oil and gas production activities
are already regulated by this program, such as enhanced recovery
and waste injection. Hydraulic fracturing was not originally
regulated by the UIC, but in 1997 the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the 11th Circuit ruled that hydraulic fracturing should
be regulated under this program in a case regarding the contamination
of a drinking water well. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 legislatively
reversed that court decision.
Hydraulic fracturing — also known as “fracking”
— involves injecting fluids into a well at extremely high
pressure to crack open an underground formation and then prop
open the new fractures in order to facilitate the flow of oil
and gas out of the well. More than 90 percent of oil and gas
wells in the U.S. undergo this treatment with many undergoing
it more than once over the life of the well.
“Congress must pass this bill to reverse the harmful provision
in the Bush-administration sponsored Energy Policy Act of 2005
that created the hydraulic fracturing loophole,” Hinchey
said. “We have an obligation to protect all Americans
from the potential of our precious drinking water becoming severely
Fracking fluids often contain highly toxic chemicals. A portion
of the fluids are brought up to the surface, but a portion remains
underground. Underground sources of drinking water could potentially
be contaminated during the fracking process or from chemicals
left underground. Hydraulic fracturing is already suspected
of endangering drinking water in many places, including Colorado,
Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Wyoming and
In the wake of Californmia’s Proposition 8 passage, gays
across the country have been mobilizing towards a widespread
gay boycott planned for December 10, following the example of
immigrant boycotts designed to counter anti-immigrant sentiment
two years ago. JointheImpact.com, a Seattle-based site that
was created after the election to organize protests, has been
at the center of the effort alongside www.DayWithoutAGay.org
and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
“People, we figure, will have no assistance at libraries
or gym class and will madly butcher their hair,” reads
one description of the proposed boycott’s effects. “Subaru
dealerships shouldn’t bother opening. Entertainment journalism
will take such a hit, TMZ will have to report hockey scores.”
The philosophy behind the immigrant worker strike in 2006 was
to show the public how much they relied on the services of the
workers. Here, hopefully, America will realize how much of the
economy is supported by LGBT dollars and efforts… an important
step in the voting public recognizing just how significant a
population they are marginalizing.
December 10, it turns out, is also International Human Rights
The video “Hacking Democracy”, which shows how optical
scan computers, even with paper ballots, can be secretly hacked
without a trace, will be shown at the Kingston Library, 55 Franklin
Street, at 7 pm on Tuesday December 9. The video will be followed
by attorney Andi Novick’s explanation of why op scan,
or any other computer voting, does not square with the NY State
Constitution, which demands an “observable, transparent,
and secure” system that computers cannot comply with.
She will also update the public on a pending legal case to ensure
that legislators adhere to the Constitution and will detail
the enormous costs a switch to computers would entail now and
over the years vs keeping our levers.
The event is being sponsored by the American Association of
University Women, the program is free, and questions from the
audience will be encouraged.
For more information: contact Irene Miller at 518 678-3516.
Woodstock Town Board members are considering whether they should
restrict outdoor wood-burning furnaces and whether they should
have a role in considering waivers to the proposed law. And
concern that the proposed regulations required too much Town
Board involvement were discussed during a public hearing recently.
Councilwoman Liz Simonson said the law would create regulations
that local officials could not keep up with.
“We can’t get the building inspector to enforce
numerous provisions in our zoning law now, so how is he going
to enforce this?” Simonson said.
The law was proposed by town Supervisor Jeff Moran, who said
outdoor wood-burning furnaces are considered the least energy-efficient
means of heating a building and create emissions that affect
neighbors but are not covered effectively under state law.
“I think it’s important to protect our environment
from unregulated, poorly maintained, poorly operated wood-burning
boilers,” he said.
Under the proposed law, there would be a 5-acre minimum for
an outdoor wood-burning furnace with a 500-foot setback requirement.
There also would be height limits for the units’ smokestacks.
Additionally, “only firewood and untreated seasoned hardwood
lumber (would be) permitted in any outdoor wood-burning boiler,”
the proposed law states.
Penalties under the law would be $500 per day and up to 30 days
in jail if a “violation is found to involve any strictly
Officials said owners of existing units would be required to
apply for a permit if the law is passed.
Wonder if such legislation would make it up the Route 28 corridor?
Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey will be honored with the Spirit
of the Catskills award at the 23rd annual Snowball at Belleayre
Mt. Ski Center on January 31, 2009. The Congressman, who has
been a passionate advocate for the Catskills region since the
beginning of his career, was chosen unanimously for the honor
by the members of the Coalition to Save Belleayre who sponsor
the award and the event at which it is presented.
In making the announcement, Coalition Chairman, Joe Kelly said
“We can’t think of anyone who more exemplifies the
Spirit of the Catskills than Congressman Hinchey, who has been
representing us in either the New York State Assembly or the
House of Representatives in Washington since 1974.” According
to Kelly, Hinchey was selected for the honor largely, but not
entirely, because of his strong support for Belleayre Mt. Ski
The Snowball, sponsored by the Coalition each year, benefits
the operation of the Belleayre Conservatory, a non-profit organization
that presents more than 15 performance events at the ski center
More information on the Coalition to Save Belleayre is available
by going to the group’s website at www.CoalitionToSaveBelleayre.org
and more information about the summer music festival is available
The latest state Labor Department figures released indicate
unemployment continues to rise in the Hudson Valley at the same
time as there is modest job growth.
Unemployment rose at least one percent in October when compared
to the same month in 2007 in every county. Private sector employment
increased over the year by 1,200, or 0.2 percent, to 762,600
in October 2008.
Employment gains were largest in educational and health services
(+2,900), natural resources, mining and construction (+1,000),
and professional and business services (+900). Job losses were
recorded in manufacturing (-1,500), financial activities (-700),
leisure and hospitality (-700), and trade, transportation and
utilities (-600). The government sector added 1,700 jobs over
On November 7, the government said the U.S. unemployment rate
rose to 6.5 percent in October, the highest rate since March
1994. But, more worrying for economists, the number of people
working part-time for economic reasons jumped 645,000 in October
to 6.7 million. That has convinced some economists that the
United States is staring at a recession at least as deep as
the 1980s contraction.
“No higher figure has been seen since the 1982 recession,
when a record 6.86 million people were working part-time for
economic reasons,” said Tony Crescenzi, chief bond market
strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York. “The
surge is of course a sign of the times: people are working part-time
to make ends meet.”
Analysts reckon the situation will deteriorate further in the
months ahead and expect the jobless rate to peak at anywhere
between 8 percent and 10 percent.
While jobs are still available, the bulk tend to be part-time
and are poorly paying. And for those who can find full-time
positions, employers are likely to offer less-attractive packages.
A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management released
on November 7 found that the majority of companies in the manufacturing
and services sectors were keeping wage and benefits packages
flat for new hires.
The world’s oceans are becoming acidic more quickly than
climate change models predict, according to scientists who claim
it will have a dramatic impact on marine ecosystems. Water samples
collected around an island in the eastern Pacific over the past
eight years showed seawater had acidified more than 20 times
faster than scientists expected. The effect could be devastating
for shellfish and other crustaceans, because acidic waters dissolve
calcium carbonate used by the organisms to make their protective
shells. Oceans absorb about a third of the carbon dioxide released
into the atmosphere by human activities. When the gas dissolves
in water, it forms carbonic acid, which alters the ocean’s
delicate chemical balance.
The increasing acidification of the oceans is likely to have
impacts that run throughout the marine ecosystem, because the
organisms most affected are at the bottom of the foodchain.
According to computer models of the local marine life, the rise
in acidity is likely to cause substantial falls in the numbers
of mussels and large goose barnacles, while algae and populations
of smaller barnacles may increase. In turn, the changing distribution
of these organisms will have effects on marine life that feed
Last month, researchers warned that a new global deal on climate
change would come too late to save many of the world’s
corals. A report from the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University
in California found that carbon dioxide emissions are likely
to acidify seawater enough to cause widespread damage to major
reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Even stringent
cuts designed to stabilize greenhouse gas levels still put more
than 90% of the world’s reefs in jeopardy.
Watch This One…
When Dan Rather filed suit against CBS 15 months ago - claiming,
among other things, that his former employer had commissioned
a politically biased investigation into his work on a “60
Minutes” segment about President Bush’s National
Guard service - the network predicted the quick and favorable
dismissal of the case, which it derided as “old news.”
So far, Rather has spent more than $2 million of his own money
on the suit. And according to documents filed recently in court,
he may be getting something for his money.
Using tools unavailable to him as a reporter - including the
power of subpoena and the threat of punishment against witnesses
who lie under oath - he has unearthed evidence that would seem
to support his assertion that CBS intended its investigation,
at least in part, to quell Republican criticism of the network.
Among the materials that money has shaken free for Rather are
internal CBS memorandums turned over to his lawyers, showing
that network executives used Republican operatives to vet the
names of potential members of a panel that had been billed as
independent and charged with investigating the “60 Minutes”
Rather attracted the ire of Republican bloggers and talk radio
in particular after the segment, which was broadcast on a weekday
edition of “60 Minutes” in September 2004. It purported
to have unearthed evidence about favorable treatment extended
to President Bush during his Vietnam-era service in the Texas
Air National Guard.
In September 2007, Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit charging
that CBS had violated his contract and that the investigation
was compromised. A New York State Supreme Court judge has since
jettisoned parts of the suit, including Rather’s contention
that CBS had engaged in fraud. But the judge has permitted Rather
to go forward with the core of his case, including his argument
that CBS had limited his work as a correspondent after he left
the anchor desk and, in the process, damaged his reputation.
The case is on track to go to trial soon, possibly early in
the new year.
Among memorandums turned over to Mr. Rather’s lawyers
by CBS was a long typed list of conservative commentators apparently
receiving some preliminary consideration as panel members, including
Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan. At
the bottom of that list, someone had scribbled “Roger
Ailes,” the founder of Fox News.
Sales of existing single-family homes continued their downward
trend in October when compared to the same month last year,
according to the New York State Association of Realtors. The
only bright spot in the entire region was Sullivan County, which
posted a 110 percent gain in sales. Delaware County saw a more
than 10 percent increase. All other counties in the region continued
to slide downward.
The biggest decline in home sales was in Greene County at 51
percent. Orange County fell by 32 percent and Columbia County
dropped by 30 percent. Westchester home sales fell by more than
16 percent while Rockland dropped by 15 percent and Ulster fell
by 10 percent.Putnam and Dutchess counties both fell by five
percent. Statewide, year over year sales fell in October by
just under 12 percent.
Median selling prices continued to fall in October. In Columbia
County, they fell by 22 percent to $193,750; In Delaware County,
they grew by 10 percent to $122,000; In Dutchess County, they
fell by 20 percent to $275,000; In Greene County, they fell
by 10 percent to $159,000; In Orange County, they fell by 15
percent to $271,500 In Putnam County, they fell by seven percent
to $335,000; In Rockland County, they fell by six percent to
$460,000; In Sullivan County, they fell by two percent to $147,500;
In Ulster County, they fell by seven percent to $224,250; In
Westchester County, they fell by 14 percent to $575,000.
John J. Broekema Sr., 72 of Rt. 212 in Mt. Tremper, died at
home on Sunday November 23, 2008. He was a life long resident,
who was the first provider of cable TV service in the Town of
Shandaken in 1986-1987. He owned and operated the Mt. Tremper
Video Limited from 1964 to 1993. He was an authorized Zenith
sales, service and repair technician. He was a Life member of
the Onteora Hose Co. In Mt. Tremper, and served as the District
Mechanic of the entire Phoenicia Fire District, encompassing
all three companies. Years ago, he was a mechanic for James
S. Ford & Son. He was knowledgeable at restoring old bulldozers,
and enjoyed restoring antique automobiles. He was a veteran
of United States Army having received the Good Conduct Medal.
He was born December 13, 1935 in New York City the son of the
late Leo Diegnan and Cecelia Broekema. Surviving are his wife
of 47 years, Barbara Kolis Broekema. Two sons: Jay of Kerhonkson,
and Donald of Roxbury. A daughter Deborah Baldwin of Willow.
Five grandchildren and several nieces and nephews also survive.
A memorial service was held on Saturday November 29th at the
Onteora Hose Co. Meeting Hall, Mt. Tremper. Private burial will
be in the St. Francis de Sales Cemetery. Memorial contributions
may be made to the Shandaken Animal Volunteer Effort at POB
67 , 12480.
A hike focusing on Green Technology will be held at Frost Valley
YMCA in Claryville on Saturday, Dec. 6 starting at 9 a.m. Visitors
will learn about Frost Valley’s composting efforts, use
of solar power and the other environmental design features that
have been implemented at the camp. For info: (845) 985-2291.