Up on the News
Tea Party is a nonpartisan political party," Johansen started to
say in introduction when a man stood and loudly demanded, "Why,
where there are certain politicians we don't like who done us bad, when
there are certain political parties trying to screw us over... Why don't
we just endorse George Phillips?"
Continuing his reference to the GOP candidate against longstanding Democratic
Congressman Maurice Hinchey, the man went on to note that "Hinchey
is a piece of garbage. If we don't endorse we're out of here."
And he left.
"I prefer we have a contract with the people we support, similar
to the way the NRA rates candidates," Johansen continued, referring
to the National Rife Association most in the room proudly belonged to.
"I think you should make up your own minds."
As people grumbled more about Hinchey, local greengrocer Al Higley,
who supplied hot dogs for the event, noted that such decisions should
be made only after candidates were talked to. McGee shifted back to
general talk of recent Rasmusson Polls showing a quarter of Americans
showing support for the Tea Party movement, and the possibility of pulling
in enough Democrats to really make a difference, eventually.
"The reason we're not part of the Republican Party is because we
have to be able to hold their feet to the fire, too," she said.
"We're not just a group out to help Republicans; we're here to
help our country. It's about principals."
People stood to say why they were there.
"I'm tired of the left wing Democratic press labeling us as racist,"
said a black man festooned with NRA buttons and American flag pins.
"I hate Obama not because he's black, not because he's a Democrat,
but because he's a Democrat Socialist Communist. It bothers me that
our first black president is a commie."
"He's the pre-curser to the Anti-Christ," someone added.
"I'm tired of screaming at the television set," yelled another
"They're picking everyone's pockets," Higley said. "They're
taking our kids' lunch money!"
"I can see we're not going to have any trouble speaking plain,"
A candidate for the Republican nod for a run for the state assembly
position held by Democrat Kevin Cahill was introduced. Don Wise noted
how he had run against Hinchey as a young man, then spoke for an hour
about the two party system, his background, his beliefs. He made mention
of how there were people, poor and not, who "manipulated the system,"
then noted that when someone was having 7, 8, 9 kids by three or four
different fathers, something else was wrong that needed addressing.
He decried New York City's hold on state politics. He talked about term
limits, Sheldon Silver's power. The need for an investigative service
that looked into everyone getting social service aid of any sort, and
When Wise mentioned Cahill's recent claims about bringing new jobs to
the area, someone derisively suggested it was through the census.
Richie Ostrander asked about gun legislation and Wise noted he was a
member of the NRA.
"Good thing," a number of folks noted.
"If you're a law-abiding citizen there should be no limits on your
owning guns," he said. "God forbid you have to protect your
family in your own home. You have to have the freedom to use that gun."
Someone brought up fishing licenses. Another raised the idea of taxing
When Wise suggested that cigarette and similar "sin taxes"
might be a way of paying for what needed to be paid, someone else asked
about taxing McDonalds for their food. When he started to suggest that
might not be a bad idea several people answered with cries of, "That's
"That's too much government for me," said one man, loudly.
"The government is not my parents."
"You had us, Don, but I think you just lost us," added another
"This country has to stop and go back to the fork in the road,"
said Paul Ragonese, a former New York City hero cop and Woodstock police
chief. "We need another Ronald Reagan."
"Now you understand how liberals do this," added Gerry Setchko,
a former head of the Shandaken Republican Club. "They come in saying
something's not good for you... Then they start chipping away at your
When Wise was finally convinced to leave the stage, Higley, a former
county legislator, gave a mini-speech about the need for jobs. He couldn't
understand why people were fighting against gas drilling in the state,
in the area, when it could help employ people and bring riches to the
"Al, it's time for you to get back into politics," said McGee.
Everyone started to get up to leave as McGee started talking about how
"We want to help you with some simple tools." She asked for
e-mail addresses for informational alerts.
"This is a venue to come forward," she said. "The first
Tea Party candidate was Ross Perot. When he crapped out the whole movement
"There's food," Johansen noted, saying they'd need to set
up some committees and setting the next meeting for the middle of May
in Shokan Park.
"We have to look into local issues," he added as the room
quickly, loudly emptied.
Festival In Oliverea
The British version of
Truck tends to draw about 5,000 a year... relatively small numbers,
considering the half million who attended the Bethel, Saugerties and
Rome, NY versions of Michael Lang's epochal music fest, or the thousands
who go to Mountain Jam in Hunter each Memorial Day weekend.
According to town officials, though, the first they heard of such
coming activities came when comments were sought for this article...
The original Woodstock Festival was a powerful representation of the
sixties and showcased some of the era's most groundbreaking musicians,
many at an early stage in their careers. The Truck Festival, based
in Oxfordshire, England, has run on the same basic principles of independent
and ethically-minded and cooperative production, with a passion for
introducing cutting edge music as well as a reverential nod back to
the classics. Bands like Supergrass, Fanfarlo, The Lemonheads, Regina
Spektor, Battles, Okkervil River, The Raveonettes, We Were Promised
Jetpacks, Wild Beasts, Yacht and The Big Pink have been part of the
Truck experience over the years.
Come April 30, 2010, the Truckers are packing their rather large bags
and heading to the Full Moon Resort in Oliverea, NY for the inaugural
Truck America Festival. The three day, intimate gathering will celebrate
the art of live music, personal (offline) connections and the environment.
"I got the inspiration for the original Truck Festival UK in
part from watching the Woodstock movie so it seems fitting to start
our US invasion in the Catskills, which is a hotbed of creativity
to this day," said Robin Bennett, one of Truck's directors, this
week. "We found the perfect location - the Full Moon Resort -
which can be reached easily from New York, Boston and indeed all parts
of the Northeastern US. We think that Truck's approach, building community
through music and encouraging environmental awareness, will find a
ready home in the US, as it has in the Shire of Oxford. Plus, we love
to throw a good party!"
This first ever Truck America will feature locally-based Mercury Rev,
accompanied by a chamber orchestra.
"We are also pleased to deliver a batch of the finest independent
and roots artists from both sides of the pond," Bennett added.
"From Brooklyn the energetic White Rabbits, the doomy majesty
of Hopewell, eclectic psychedelic pop from Here We Go Magic, punk-rock
from Forgetters - the latest from ex-Jawbreaker man Blake Schwarzenbach;
top-drawer country-rock from Jayhawk leader Gary Louris, Joshua Tree
resident Tim Easton, and Canada's hardest working band The Sadies;
a dose of upstate folk from Mike and Ruthy, Willy Mason and Ida; a
slab of power rock from Nova Scotia's Wintersleep; and from back home
in Blighty, The Joy Formidable, one of Britain's hottest new acts,
Sam Isaac and Neil Halstead of Slowdive / Mojave 3.
Also joining Truck America are Dusty and the Dreaming Spires.
In addition will be the many bands from the United States such as
Cat Martino, The Silent League, Common Prayer, Oxygen Ponies, Brandon
Patton, Atlantic/Pacific and The Shoestring Band. The music will play
out on 3 stages: The Barn, The Roadhouse and the Main Stage, in a
large heated tent.
"The festival is not just about watching bands," said Bennett.
"There will be workshops, films, kids activities, jam sessions,
and a healthy dose of English camping for those who don't book a room."
For more information contact the Full Moon Resort at 254-5117.
project will include milling and resurfacing the travel lanes and shoulders
on State Route 28, beginning just west of the intersection with State
Route 375, in a westerly direction, to Route 28A (west)," she said.
"The project will also include pavement upgrades from State Route
214 to the Delaware County line. Pavement markings will be restored
Signs and portable variable message signs for this project have been
up and running up and running, but actual work on this ARRA-funded project
began Tuesday, April 20.
"Crews milled and filled a test strip along the shoulder in preparation
for tomorrow," Ackerman said." Tomorrow, April 21, paving
work will begin."
The contract was awarded to Peckham Road Corp. of White Plains, Westchester
County. The project is funded through the federal American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Construction of this project is
expected to be completed by fall 2010. Daily lane closures are expected
with restrictions in place during peak travel hours.
In December Ulster County Executive Michael Hein announced he had secured
an additional $8.26 million in stimulus money to repave Route 28 all
the way to the Delaware County line.
In a prepared statement, Hein said he was "pleased to announce
that, because Ulster County has been diligent in completing engineering
and preliminary work needed to utilize over $27 million in other stimulus
funding awarded to the county to date, and because of aggressive advocacy,
millions of additional dollars are coming to Ulster County."
Hein said Gov. David Paterson had approved and certified his request,
made through the Ulster County Transportation Council, for the additional
federal aid to repave Route 28.
"The new funding will be used to resurface over 23 miles of roadway
and shoulders from Route 375 in West Hurley to Route 28A in Boiceville,
and from Route 214 in Phoenicia to the Delaware County line," Hein
In other road hazard news, DOT has set up a traffic light on Route 214
in Chichester, thus reducing that highway to one lane traffic where
the pavement has slipped into the Stony Clove Creek.
Ackerman said work should begin on that problem soon.
"We are currently working with DEP and DEC to get permission to
start a little early, if possible, as Stony Clove Creek is an active
trout stream and work near the creek is restricted during specific times
of the year," she said. "We expect to start work there by
the end of April/early May. The traffic signal, allowing one-way alternating
traffic, and the barrier recently installed, will be in place for the
duration of the project."
Also this spring DOT will repair a similar problem along Route 212 in
Mount Tremper. Look for one lane traffic there as well.
Look for both jobs to be completed by mid summer.
Word of more localized road repair work in Shandaken will come as soon
as the town's Superintendent of Highways starts returning calls...
the presentations will be a video of the moment when one elder, who
had been a professional musician, pulled out a violin made during the
Civil War and owned by his great grandfather. When Patschke asked the
senior to play an Irish jig, two kids began to dance, and the whole
group clapped along. Later the students found a country song to bring
back and play for him.
"It was a really good experience," said Patschke, "especially
when the kids went and did the interviews. I thought the seniors might
be quiet or shy, but they wouldn't stop talking-they loved it."
One of the elders displayed Civil War medals of his relatives, who had
been in a prison camp during the war. Another spoke about living on
a farm during the Great Depression. At school, he opened his lunchbox
and discovered another student had no lunch, so he shared his sandwich,
realizing how fortunate he was that his family could grow their own
"Kids start to realize these stories really are treasures, we're
not here forever, LaMonda commented. "We discussed in classes how
lucky they are to hear them. Kids said it would be neat to pass stories
on to their own kids down the road."
The project began in February, when Wininger and Krueger visited the
school to explain the concept of oral history and teach the students
how to run the recording equipment they would be using during the interviews.
In later classes, the teachers covered such topics as asking open-ended
questions and how to pull out stories on local history, and they showed
films such as the story of the building of the Ashokan Reservoir and
the Shandaken history DVD made a few years ago.
Last month, the group went to the community center and interviewed nine
local elders, then returned to the school to work on projects. They
wrote skits based on the stories they had heard, which they will perform
on Friday, dressed in historical costumes. They wrote acrostic poems
for each elder. McLean is helping them put together a book that includes
photos of the kids in costume and dialogues they typed up.
At the computer lab in the Phoenicia School library, Patschke showed
them how to use PowerPoint software to combine photos of the interviews
with video and sound bites. "They were so good at it," commented
Patschke. "They antiqued one of the films in Movie Maker. We took
one of Sophie [one of the elders], talking about technology, and they
made it look like an old movie, with scratches and skips."
LaMonda and Patschke were both enthusiastic about the project. "Elders
would come up to us and say how nice it was to work with the kids,"
said LaMonda. "Despite what they read in the papers, they found
the kids were really polite, and it made them think highly of the school."
Patschke added, "It was nice how the kids and elders made a connection.
It made the kids realize what history is, made it come alive. It isn't
just something we're lecturing them about."
Phoenicia Elementary School sixth-graders will present "I Remember
When: An Oral History Project" at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 23,
at the Pine Hill Community Center, 287 Main St. in Pine Hill. There
will be a potluck dinner at 6:00 p.m.
The event is free, but please consider bringing a dish to share. The
presentation will be filmed for showing on the Onteora Central School
District cable TV station, Channel 20.
A district wide election
will take place on May 18 at local elementary schools. Voters will
be asked to approve the budget that will raise the tax levy by 3.9
At that time, two board seats will also be up for election, although
at present there are no challengers for the two incumbents seeking
The deadline for handing in board candidate petitions was April 19
and other than the two incumbents Rob Kurnit and Tom Hickey, there
were no other petitions handed in.
The school board appointed the two in September 2009, after two seats
were vacated by the resignations of Michelle Friedel and Rick Wolff.
Kurnit and Hickey's names will be on the ballot, but because there
are no other candidates, they will automatically continue for an additional
Kurnit lives in the town of Woodstock and is married to an Onteora
teacher. Hickey lives in Pine Hill and currently has two children
attending school in the district.
At Tuesday night's board of education meeting at the Middle/High school
board members thanked the administration for their hard work and last
Marching Band and Color Guard was restored. Half of the Gifted and
Talented budget was restored and BOCES will continue to run the program.
Board members plan to look into a homegrown district enrichment program
for the following year. Initially these programs were eliminated from
the budget during the Superintendent's recommendation a week ago.
but funding was found through teacher retirement savings.
Overall, 11.5 teaching positions will be eliminated. This includes
GED, Speech, special educators and a middle school team. Out of the
eleven full time teachers, six retired and two resigned. Three teachers
will be laid-off.
Of the full time non-teaching group, twelve positions will be eliminated.
Of this group, only one has announced a retirement, but they have
until April 30 to take advantage of retirement incentives. Other cuts
include, a librarian, high school after school homework help, INDIE,
technology and cheerleading.
In a six to one vote, the board approved a ballot proposition that
would allow voters to decide on $35,000 to purchase a new seven-passenger
vehicle. This will replace a 1999 model with 200,717 miles clocked
on it. Trustee Donna Flayhan voted against the proposition.
On April 13, Superintendent Leslie Ford unveiled the 2010/2011 Onteora
district school budget with a similar recommendation of a .31 percent
budget increase and said the budget hike is being driven by increased
health insurance, retirement contribution and contractual salary increases.
Cuts in State aid and earned interest revenue also add to the mix.
At the April 13 board of education meeting at the Middle/High School,
several parents and students spoke in protest of program cuts. Over
the previous weekends, several color guard members demonstrated on
the Woodstock Village Green.
The district was presented with an offer from BOCES to restore part
of the Gifted and Talented program. Instead of a budget of $224,357
it would be cut roughly in half to $112,000. Assistant Superintendent
Kathleen O'Brien was not overly appreciative of the offer stating
that it was, "too much money for too little (program)."
O'Brien voiced concern about how much hands-on time kids would receive
Under board direction, additional administrative costs were reduced
from the budget, which helped to restore some of the programs. Athletic
teams, JV sports and the music teacher have been reinstated into the
budget. Three Middle/High school clerical workers will be eliminated
at a savings of $92,161; Overtime pay will be reduced at a savings
of $27,480; Attorney fee reduction will save the district $25,000
and paying off debt for an 2008 bus purchase saves $43,306.
If voters rejected the budget two times, a contingent budget would
have a levy impact of 2.85 percent. Other cuts would include Volleyball,
Golf, and JV sports, as well as after school homework help at the
Middle School level.
"I have to applaud the board for getting it down to 3.9 percent
because this really makes sense for the community to support,"
She asked the community to "think locally," and support
the children and noted that she, Assistant Superintendent Victoria
McLaren and board members will be presenting the budget at town board
meetings in the following weeks.
Of course the great charm
of New Genesis performances is that their casts are adolescents and
teenagers, and while proving a great occasion for exalting in that
energy it also proved, as was this production's intent, that Shakespeare's
age-its challenges and promise-remains our own.
To New Genesis Director Lesley Sawhill's credit, the performances
by the New Genesis cast were resonant, weighty, hilarious and memorable.
Eli Soruich looked a king as Henry, and his eve-of-battle soliloquy
weighing what "hard condition" distinguishes that role carried
a tingling pathos. Henry's counterpart, the Queen of France, performed
by Lachlin Brooks was statuesque and always center-stage: They both
proved grounding to the production's energy, as was Tiffanie Delozier's
Hostess, among her other roles. Further, Brooks playing the French
court's herald was terrifically sardonic and cocksure, making the
reversal in her last, post-battle appearance to request a truce, "That
we may wander o'er this bloody field/To look our dead, and then to
bury them," devastating.
Marley Alford's performance of Katherine lit on the exuberant, particularly
in the closing suitor scene with King Henry. All the "French"
cohort spoke with a convincing accent: A good decision, not only distinguishing
them but also lending many scenes a happy levity. Brandon Sawhill-Aja's
Westmorland was also large in that: In fact, over-the-top madcap.
Among the younger players, Sammy Furr added vast humor and scope as
Pistol-a heart conqueror with a gutsy angelic voice-and Jermey Brownstein's
laconic Burgundy was terrific. The same for the performances of Dante
Cantor, Helena Ojarovsky and Joey Dragon-feisty and moving-as well
as Asa Spurlock, who with the above noted Furr captivatingly held
up Henry V's ecclesiastical wing.
Particular commendation should go to Finnian Shaw in his role as Chorus:
Seated at stage edge to relate the play's historical frame, he achieved
a glowing audience intimacy, even while maintaining a wonderfully
That was helped a little by Shaw limping as he came on and off down
stage, and Henry V's blocking, in general, was strong including aisle
sweeps, mosh battle scenes and the deft use of upstage action. These
circumscribed movements caught a great part of Shakespeare's compass-"within
this wooden O the very casques/That did affront the air at Agincourt."
Of course "casques" are helmets for which bike helmets served
in this production.
In fact it was in the cast's collaboration with Jen Dragon in idiosyncratic
costuming that the contemporary verve and life of Shandaken teenagers
manifested, including the charming use of cell phones to tell time.
While in part humorously disjunctive, it gave a little bite to the
"possible future" the New Genesis players sought to glean.
This might have also informed Ron Aja's stage design of grey outcrops:
"I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,/Straining upon
the start." It is a vision bleak, sharp-edged but veined with
The production further began around questions of Henry as hero, with
a nod to Obama's Nobel speech: "...peace entails sacrifice."
Setting aside by what logic our current American sacrifices, such
as they are, might build peace, Henry went to war over questions about
female secession and squabbles over lineage.
Underlying all these, of course, is the real, seemingly eternal, war
rationale: Power; or the struggles of groups, each defined by whatever
hokum, to wrest it from another. To whatever degree an answer to hero
question this production borne, it seems also to point to another
in which what power is innate to us is shared, and by New Genesis
This July will see New Genesis outdoor productions of The Tempest
and Romeo & Juliet at the Little Globe Theatre in West Shokan,
and the call has gone out for players to join their performance workshops,
"designed to train young actors (ages 7 to 17) in the collaborative
process of creating theater."
For how to join, scheduling information and more, please alight and
While fostering young talent and vision is in itself fantastic, behind
a play's production is the building of a people; namely, the actual
"collaborative process" is the real thing, the vibrant mettle.
Underscoring the importance of the arts in forming community, a people
are defined by how they work together, more perhaps than what results
from such close work-which happily for the New Genesis players appears
In supporting these ventures, the people of Shandaken and Olive also
prove themselves such.