For the last TEN months, we have been asking the Onteora Board
of Education (BOE) to revisit their 5-8 Middle School (MS)
decision which they made last June 2007.
This decision was made after months of asking the public to
weigh in on configurations for the district as a whole: K-12.
Untold sums were spent on Architect/Consultants who created
the various configurations and ultimately recommended a 6-8
Middle School with three community-based elementary schools.
At no time was there ever any public discussion about focusing
exclusively on a small number of grades and taking action
only on them.
The 5-8 MS decision was made without any notice and at a late
night meeting at 11:00pm. It was a 4 to 3 vote; and the incumbents
running on May 20 ALL voted for a 5-8 MS.
The 5-8 MS decision MEANS THE CLOSURE of an elementary school
in this district. This is evident in the Architect’s
plans; although they will not answer us when we ask them “WHICH
SCHOOL?”. On May 6, at the Onteora BOE meeting the members
will discuss WHERE to PUT the 5-8 MS. This is a meeting to
attend!! 7:00pm at the MS/HS cafeteria.
I believe that most parents and taxpayers in this District
DO NOT want another community elementary school to CLOSE.
Small community-based schools are key indicators of a town’s
vitality. Schools draw families to towns.
When a school closes, the community loses a socio-economic
stability. Real Estate and property values decline. A school
closure affects EVERY member of the community. If this BOE
closes another school, it will SURELY CONTRIBUTE TO THE DECLINE
in student population.
We need to CHANGE the direction that our school district is
Please GET OUT and Vote on MAY 20 ! Put it on your calendar.
Your voice is important. ALL of our voices together CAN make
Contrary to popular belief and to the half truths we read
in the newspapers.....THE REVAL IN THE TOWN OF OLIVE DID NOT
REMOVE THE THREAT OF LARGE PARCEL.
The litigation between the Towns of Olive and Hurley is on
going. The law is still very much in place and subject to
vote by your Onteora School board. It is very important to
remember that when you cast your votes on May 20th.
My mother is Rita Vanacore and she is up for re-election along
with Cindy O'Connor and Mary Jane Bernholz. They are the ones
responsible for our reprieve from the imbalanced tax appropriations
that we would incur if the Large Parcel were enacted.
But let me go further....this sitting school board has taken
our school district farther in three years than any other
board in the last twenty years. I know because I have alway
lived in this school district and have watched it deteriorate
my whole adult life.
I watch these women week after week deliberate, research,
and deliberate some more before coming to conclusions that
they feel are for the good of each and every student.
They have spent hour after hour taking apart your school budget
each year, line by line, and scrutinizing every item in order
to keep your tax increaases minimal.....they have questioned
every piece of every decision that has come down from the
board....sometimes they disagree but I have witnessed hours
and hours of phone conversations between these three as well
as with other board members. working to come to compromises
that will work for our district.
I am watching and listening, now, as emotionally charged factions
are trying to discredit their work... I have heard "the
Olive three"... .I have heard they only care about what's
good for Olive... I have heard them called ill informed, prone
to making irrational decisions, and other equally negative
and untrue statements.
I can only speak for my own mother when I say that she has
spent a multitude of hours, adding up to weeks thru these
least three years of her own time...time taken away from her
family and her business to try to build our school district
back up to where it once was - at the top!
I am speaking to all voters in our district in saying that
it would be a great disservice to our children to put a stop
to the foundation building that they have so diligently worked
on for the past three years.These three women are very valuable
commodities to our school district and board....DON'T LET
THEM BE STOPPED NOW!!!!!
And to the people of Olive.....please rally, one more time,
for the good of Olive... because believe it or not, instituting
the Large Parcel Legislation at this time would cost you up
to a 30% increase in your taxes. OLIVE, BEWARE OF LIES AND
HALF-TRUTHS....OUR PROPERTIES ARE STILL AT RISK!!!!
I'd like to offer my thanks to the Olive members of the school
board. They have been willing to stand up for Olive.They need
our support. Now they have come under increasing attack by
those who don't believe they can address the legitimate needs
of all those in the district. They put in lot of time, thought
and work dealing with all the aspects and problems facing
the district. If you see an Olive board member, give 'em a
hug or good handshake and words of encouragement. And, when
the time comes let's all come out in droves as we have before
and vote for them.
Let me get this straight. Deborah Meyer Dewan of the Catskill
Center for Conservation and Development is happy because the
additional ski development for the east side of Belleayre
is being withdrawn. She apparently feels that these new ski
trails would be a problem to the "environmentally sensitive
region" and would run the risk of damaging the watershed
and the "forever wild" lands adjacent to it.
Is the lady delusional? What does she think Gitter's "city"
on the west side of the mountain is going to do? Does she
really believe a few ski trails are more damaging than a huge
development? Apparently the State has the money (from the
public) to put trails into a private development, but has
no money for trails that the public can use. This whole situation
really makes me sick.
Does the grand jury's finding teach us anything?
As evidence that timing is everything, comes the conflation
of the end of another month of March and the Ulster County,
NY, jail fiasco's distasteful grand jury conclusion announced
March 27. We don't know how March, itself, will conclude;
the investigation got off like a media lion, went out like
a whimpering lamb...albeit a lamb intended for slaughter.
Question: Since when is a boss excused for his employees'
Answer: When a grand jury convenes to examine the Ulster County
Law Enforcement Center disaster's evidence.
No malice? No bribery? No graft? No criminal intent...no criminal
mindset? Since when do grand juries read minds? C'mon, it
was a brilliant cover-up.
To the faceless grand jury I say your ignorance of practical
politics, bureaucratic shenanigans, is transparent. Your inability
to conjur an old boys' network; your seeming refusal to accept
its mantra: "GO ALONG to GET along" and its implications
for employees' subsequent behaviors.
Your failure neither to condemn nor exonerate higher ups inexcusable.
Shades of Enron, Tyco, Bear-Stearns in a teapot.
How could Harvey Sleight "manipulate" without his
superiors knowing? If not a sin of commission, then surely
omission. You truly believed that Sleight made a unilateral
decision to employ and "...at one million dollars more
than another organization, better qualified," without
his bosses knowing?
Nor do I see nor hear mention of the late Danny Alfonso, legislature
Chair at the steamrollered, ugly beginning. Chairman during
which the legislature approved multiple million-dollar appropriations,
bonded by voice-vote, despite the legislature NEVER having
APPROVED building A JAIL in the first place!
Must have been Harvey Sleight's doing.
Nor a peep about an earlier legislative resolution [an upshot
of the county office building repair fiasco] that, in the
event of a future major capital project, the chair must appoint
an oversight committee to obviate such a recurrence. Where
was the oversight?
Oh,OK: another Sleight "Watergate."
DA Carwright "disappointed" with the outcome. I
would hope so. I shouldn't have believed the fiction that
"a District Attorney can get any grand jury to indict
anyone if s/he is sufficiently resolute." Probably TV-spawned.
He more than hints at his dissatisfaction.
But he seems hopeful of "new evidence." Say what?
When Harvey Sleight turns? Could be.
It's a case of dual limbos. In reggae lingo, instead of the
bar lowered to increase the difficulty of slipping, indeed
backwards, beneath, here the bar was high enough to let anyone
Having left three named higher-ups dangling in the breeze,
suffering a forever-indeterminate moral conundrum, you grand
jurors have condemned them to a Dante-like purgatory, forever
wandering the streets hoping against hope, but never knowing
for sure, "...what should I infer from that passerby's
"Twenty million dollars over budget?" How 'bout
FIFTY? The original, early-total appropriation was fifty million.
Check the resolutions. Likely the final bill will dramatically
exceed, interest on borrowed money included, one-hundred million.
Nor could have "attorneys and consultants," alone,
gobbled up all that $50 million excess.
Question: What's worse than no leadership?
Answer: Incompetent leadership unaware of its incompetence.
It's been tested and proved time and again: those least adept
at any undertaking most exaggerate, outspokenly, their own
What's to learn from all this that you may take to the voting
booth November 4?
Political parties put up candidates they believe are most
likely to win. Irrespective of their qualifications needed
to run the business of government. Then the leaders coerce
their sheep to vote the party line.
Case in point: during the 2006 contest for Ulster County sheriff,
I [a small "i" INDEPENDENT] WALKED, unannounced,
INTO Democrat headquarters to VOLUNTEER TO PHONE-BANK for
Paul Van Blarcum." The coordinator was peeved when I
refused to make calls in behalf of Spitzer. "Why?"
he almost insisted. "I just don't get the right feeling
I hope Harvey Sleight has the fortitude and finances to fight
his indictment in court, not to accept a plea, no matter what
deal is proffered. Who knows under duress what else he'll
remember? Given time before trial, maybe a 21st century, Ulster
County version of "Deep Throat" will surface.
How to prevent this from happening again? November 4 vote
your pocketbook, your heritage, your love of the USA, your
future. Your PERSON, NOT your party.
The United States was created by the 13 individual states
that existed in 1789. They established a federal government
with limited powers and very few duties. Each state was to
remain independent in most areas.
The people could control federal spending because they elected
the members of the U.S. House of Representatives where all
money bills must originate. The state legislatures could control
federal interference because they elected the members of the
U.S. Senate. In 1913, 36 states passed the 17th Amendment
to allow voters to directly elect their U.S. Senators.
Since then, the federal government has usurped many powers
of the states. We are rapidly becoming a police state. The
President is now allowing warrantless seizes and searches,
torture, and many other unconstitutional activities. He also
is suspending habeas corpus, our right to face criminal accusations
in a court of law.
The feds also plan to merge the United States with Mexico
and Canada into a sovereignty-destroying regional government
with open borders called the North American Union (NAU) by
2010. Go to www.thenewamerican.com for NAU details. Americans
need to demand that the feds obey our Constitution now, or
we soon will be governed by officials we did not elect, just
like the European Union is today.
Richard and Gloria Hampton
I will be forever grateful to the Catskill Watershed Corporation
for footing the bill for my new septic system when I retired
and moved here several years ago. (This replaced a 50 gallon
punctured drum buried in the ground outside my bathroom.)
I love them and did not get the impression they were an arm
of the NYC DEP. I think we are very lucky to have them rooting
for us in this neck of the woods.
Why is it fewer people hunt and fish in our neck of the woods
A recent article postulates that these pastimes are becoming
passe, fading into the past as there is a lack of new recruits.
True enough, but in this age of increasing environmental awareness,
I'm disappointed that the article made no mention of the sad
reason why I no longer fish. The sport was once an all-consuming
passion for me to the extent sleep was impossible the night
before opening day.
Even as a child, fishing was to me a lot more than landing
a trout or a bass. It was a deep aesthetic wonder that captured
me on many levels: the anticipation of a strike, the rainbow
colors of the fish, the fine eating with home-grown tomatoes
and corn liberated from the Zena cornfield, the chill April
mornings echoing with robins and spring peepers, the warm
June evenings, pools dimpled with rising trout sharing the
insect bounty with swooping bats and swallows, the crystal
water sliding over clean rock. This can go on to fill a joyful
One might still manage to catch some fish, but we have to
face the fact that many of our streams are simply not what
they used to be. There's a reason for the green slime on the
bottom of the Sawkill and the mud and silt that has replaced
much of the rocky streambed and that game fish are contaminated
with mercury. Streams, and ultimately the ocean, are a repository
for all the contaminants raining down from the air or leached
out from what is dumped on or in the land. They receive the
sediment washed in from land disturbed by human development.
Because of what I know, my aesthetic wonder has taken a severe
As an ecologist and maybe just because of the way I am, I
find it difficult to put on a happy face and go fishing.
There were a couple of things that Jon Berg and I did that
when we remembered he used to get a big laugh out of: one
night, many years ago, we stole a piece of Black Walnut in
Kingston. We pulled up to a railroad siding where they stockpiled
logs. We found a piece small enough to fit into my station
wagon and took off. I later carved it into a torso.
Again, another night many years ago, we parked by the wall
along the lower basin of the Ashokan Reservoir. We took our
clothes off, dove in and swam around.
It was cold and it still refreshes me.
Mt. Tremper, NY
Just wanted to let you know that I have decided to leave the
Emerson/Crossroads family and take a new position with Laura
Davidson Public Relations in New York City (www.ldpr.com).
I start next week. My last day here will be tomorrow, Friday
It has been a great, and always-interesting, three years.
I greatly appreciate the opportunity Dean Gitter and the Emerson/Crossroads
partners have afforded me. Truly, had it not been for the
work I’ve done and the incredible amount that I have
learned, I would not have been able to even approach this
agency for a position. Seems fitting that after three years
of saying that the Belleayre Resort will be a place where
people’s careers can flourish, I become a prime example.
I end my time here as I began it, firmly believing that the
Belleayre Resort is exactly what this area needs in order
to see the type of economic stability and growth it so desperately
needs. I will continue to stay involved and do whatever I
can to make that become a reality.
No replacement has been named so, for now, if you need anything,
please contact the following:
Emerson Resort & Spa
New York, NY
Thank You to the Olive Fire Department!
We would like to express our gratitude to the volunteer Fire
Department in the Town Of Olive and elsewhere. On Friday night,
the basement floor of our house started to fill with smoke
and set off the smoke detectors. Not knowing exactly where
the smoke was coming from, we quickly called 911. Within minutes
the Fire Department arrived and reassured my husband, myself
and our small son that they were here to help. The men were
wonderful, they took the time to talk to our very scared son
and tell him everything was going to be fine. It takes incredibly
special people to get out of bed, race to a neighbor’s
house and then dare to enter a home filling with smoke. Thankfully
it was only a furnace malfunction and we were back in our
house within the hour and safe, but this situation could have
been much worse. We have a great Fire department in this town;
please remember to support them in any way possible. Thank
you once again!
Henry, Wendy & Logan Williams