(Letters from April 26, 2007)
On behalf of all the children enrolled in the Onteora Central
School District, I want to extend grateful thanks to all community
members who have closely followed our budget and bond processes
this year. It has truly been a year where community input,
partnership and support have been utilized to the best interests
of programs that support students.
All of us are aware of significant issues affecting the district
at this time. The first is declining enrollment. Although
it would be easier to plan if services, programs and classrooms
were able to decline at the same rate as student enrollment,
it is never that simple an equation. We currently have more
students promoting from Onteora than enrolling as new learners.
Students do not leave or arrive in neat packages that help
us to wrap an appropriate level of service around them. We
will continue to address this issue through the projected
We are fortunate to have leadership at many levels of the
district. As your Superintendent, I am pleased to join a team
whose strength I can rely on. We must all be cognizant of
the continuous effort necessary to maintain our district.
These include setting universally understood and upheld leadership
practices, mining the enthusiasm, energy, integrity and motivation
of all employees to ensure the highest level of instructional,
employment and fiscal practices, and monitoring the continued
use of sound business practices.
I urge students, parents and community members to access the
successive presentations for the 2007-08 budget available
on the district website. These intend to provide the full
story of the budgeting process, its potential and limitations
for your review. I know all of you will want as much information
as you can possibly receive to make an informed decision on
May 15, 2007.
Here we go again. It's spring and just like crocus, school
budgets sprout in Ulster County. In the Onteora School district,
its business as usual, another large increase in the yearly
school budget of 5.6%. HELLO… is anybody listening out
there? Elected officials, do the job you were elected to do,
look out for the taxpayers in the district, too. When was
the last time a working stiff in Ulster County got a raise
in their pay of 5 1/2 percent? I know I never did. With all
the increases we have to bear, gas goes up daily along with
food and need I mention medicine? Our elected officials MUST
do a better job of holding the yearly budget increases to
a more realistic percentage. I know I would vote for a 3-4%
increase. But come on, almost double what the average person
gets for a yearly raise is just not realistic.
We tax payers do not have the money to continually fund an
ever-increasing bloated school district. Oh, for sure they
will wring their hands about the potential cuts in sports
and music. Hey, come on. We have an ever-decreasing school
population. Do we ever hear of teacher's reductions to go
along with that decreasing population? No. There are also
coming proposals about closing and consolidating schools within
the district to go along with that decreasing school population
to the tune of many millions of dollars. And God knows how
much the tax papers will have to pay for that.
Remember the headlines about the baby boomer population? It's
here and now. With many more people retiring and going on
fixed incomes, this business as usual, screw-the-tax payer
budgets must go.
Last year Onteora’s board members cut over $300,000.00
from the budget, but before it was all said and done they
turned around and put the money right back in. On March 29,
2007 Superintendent Dr. Ford presented a budget proposal that
made several cuts in personal, but her budget still ended
up with a 5.28 percent increase. Some board members expressed
concern with the 5.28 percent increase that Dr. Ford presented.
There appears to be some disagreement in the board and what
direction to go. School board members Mary Jane Bernholz and
Dave Patterson said that they do not want to see the late
bus eliminated. Chairman D’Orazio wanted to know if
they were willing to sacrifice two music positions. Bernholz
also asked Dr. Ford to try to bring the budget down to at
least a four percent increase. What do board members want?
They can’t have it both ways. Do they want to go along
with Dr. Ford’s proposal or do they want to reduce the
tax burden even further? Unless a lot of money is found the
budget cannot be reduced without making cuts some where.
At that same meeting, as reported, teacher Luke White pointed
to the human cost and said these are actual people that you’re
considering to cut. I’d like to remind Mr. White that
tax payers are human to. Tax payers, yes we are human, struggle
to pay their taxes that help to pay for his and all school
personal’s salary and life time benefits. Few tax payers
in the district live on salaries that are being paid to Onteora’s
teachers and others that work at the school. There’s
something seriously wrong in our society when seniors have
to struggle to live on their fixed incomes and some probably
have no Health Insurance yet they have to pay their taxes
that at end up helping to pay for health insurance and other
benefits for those that work at our schools.
There are no line items posted on the school’s Web Page
so as it stands right now, we don’t know what money
goes where. What will the board do? Will the board use the
recently 6.1% increase in State aid to reduce taxes or will
they restore some items that Dr. Ford took out of the budget.
We’ll have to wait to see the finale results after the
School Board meets on April 10, 2007 when the Superintendent
will present revisions to the budget. Will the board favor
the tax payers or the school?
There is considerable talk about the overall efficacy of the
Star plan for providing for reduction of Property Tax for
support of education. Those of us at the lower end of the
financial totem pole find it a godsend - for those who qualify.
The fact remains that a property tax to support education
is unfair. Many individuals as well as businesses have considerable
inherent property but have fairly meager incomes while many
have very modest property but very generous incomes. Many
have very little or no property but considerable wealth. We
need the government to find an equitable way for funding education,
based on income, not property. If our Assembly and Senate
would get together on a non partisan effort it could be done.
Do it, it is possible. Other States do.
Along the same line is the way the State EPIC plan is helping
qualified elderly with low income to obtain great savings
in the cost of drugs. It is truly a life saver for those of
us who have it but it doesn't help a bit to reduce that grossly
high cost of drugs. Those who don't qualify are being shafted.
With a single payer, national health insurance plan in place
with the government in the driver's seat the cost of drugs
could be regulated or negotiated to reasonable level as it
is done in most other countries. Kevin Cahill has been helpful
in making Epic possible and we thank him. Kevin is in favor
of universal or national Health care insurance so we hope
he is making a big push for its adoption in the U.S.A. We
must get those rascals out who are profiteering by our non-program
of health care.
This ties in to the school tax problem. On of the big items
in school budgets which is escalating all the time is the
cost of health care for school employees.
We better remember that STAR and Epic exist because of political
will of the moment and could vanish rather easily. Let's work
for basic changes which will benefit all.
The larger picture is that Don Imus is far from being the
only radio "personality" who indulges in racist,
sexist, etc, talk. Why doesn't Howard Stern, for example,
get flagged for his bigotry and crudities?
The difference is that Stern has mastered the art of putting
ironic brackets around such comments - the subliminal message
being that he's commenting humorously this kind of talk, not
really "engaging" in it himself. So we can all listen
to his shtick and feel very postmodern and
sophisticated about our ability to savor the irony and subtle,
multileveled cultural allusion involved in the use of The
N Word and the use of ho to refer to black women. To accuse
Stern of actually being racist would be to soooo not get it!
Imus never mastered this approach, which is why he's gotten
so many times over the years and why he's the one who has
(finally) had to pay the price, unlike some others. Listening
to the audio clip of his comment about the Rutgers players,
how he says it is just as interesting as the words themselves:
The comment is offhand, by-the-by, not even very much connected
to the subject of the conversation - in other words, normalized,
the way a Southern white man of 50 years ago (or even more
recently) might say it in casual conversation.
And so, in the amoral world of mainstream mass media, Imus's
greatest sin isn't his racism, but actually just a punctuation
error: He left off the brackets.
New York, NY
You didn't search to hard to find me, firstname.lastname@example.org
or you could of found me on the road selling Hot Dogs. Why
write about something when you don't even know the facts.
To get the story straight I sold her equipment only, not the
Business. I don't know why she thinks I sold her the business.
Her & I have a paper that said she purchase only the equipment.
I did say to her that she could use my name to help her out
in business for the rest of the season of 2003. She must of
mist understood me. You wouldn't want to eat their, that's
why I went back in business. I was asked to by a lot of people
in the town. They ate their once and they won't go back. Its
not the cleanest hot dog wagon around. They had problems with
the Health Dept. in the past. I do not serve the Onteora high
school population she does. I serve the road traffic on 28
and my new location is up by the Boiceville Inn. Now you have
the story straight...
Route 28, NY
This is the way every woman's right to sovereignty over her
own body, reproduction and sexuality is lost. Five "well
meaning" men, Justices, have decided that they must "protect"
the morally deficient, unintelligent American citizen--female,
from making a thoughtless decision about her own reproductive
health. She might come to regret it. She is a child.
This is a Civil Rights issue. It's about whose decision it
I believe it's my decision. Your decision. Five male Justices
On a day when the Attorney General lost his authority in Gonzales
v. US Senate, the Supreme Court lost its authority over American
women with its ruling on Gonzales v. Carhart.
The letter by David Turan in the Times of March 29 was excellent
in regards to what is going on with our Washington politicians.
The first casualty of any war is the truth, ie. the Civil
War because the South had the North beat in trade due to free
labor. It was not really to free the slaves, that was secondary.
President Lincoln wanted to send them back to Africa but he
did not live long enough to do it. If that would have happened,
the chiefs who sold them to the horrible white slave traders
for trinkets because they had too many to feed and care for
would have had them murdered. Once again they would have been
put in chains in the bottom of the slave ships.
Now for WWI another lie was a war to end all wars. WWII was
for the four freedoms. Another lie is that Japan started it.
About three weeks before, President Roosevelt sent the Emporer
of Japan a very insulting letter to the effect that they had
to give up two of their best islands and oil supply. When
the Japanese fleet left for Pearl Harbor President Roosevelt
was notified by Navy intelligence. He ordered all under him
to keep quiet because he wanted the American people enraged.
Another lie: When the Alaska pipeline was being built and
paid for by the United States taxpayers the oil would go to
them. It went to Japan in appreciation for all the billions
of dollars that they made for the Illuminati.
The present war in Iraq is for control of oil by the Vice
President's clique. Still another lie is that the national
war debt from WWI and II has not been paid. The war is run
by counterfeit money. If you or I did the same we would be
put in prison.
The Kingston and Benedictine hospitals have finally announced
their long-awaited public forums on a proposed “realignment.”
The last several months, many decisions have been made, behind
closed doors, and only recently have officials met, once,
with small groups. As a member of Health Care STAT, a new
community-based organization, I was one of those who attended
an April 6 meeting at The Kingston Hospital.
A number of questions haven’t been answered to my satisfaction,
and others’. Among them:
The Kingston Hospital is moving away from its mission by agreeing
to move reproductive services out of the hospital. Why?
What about security concerns if scheduled surgeries, such
as tubal ligations, abortions, and vasectomies, are moved
out of Kingston Hospital, across the pedestrian bridge into
the Medical Arts Building? It wouldn’t take long for
people who are opposed to these services to find out where
they are performed. Anyone could walk in and be disruptive.
What guarantee is there that reproductive health services
will remain available in the proposed “Ambulatory Surgery
Center?” What if other occupants of the building experience
harassment and decide to move out as a result? What effect
would that have on the future of the Center?
Where will lower-income people go if some services are “realigned”
out of Kingston Hospital into Benedictine Hospital, which
is bound by Religious Directives?
What about other services, such as counseling for HIV/AIDS
and STD’s (sexually-transmitted disease)? In this day
and age everyone ought to have the opportunity to learn what
precautions to take to protect their lives, and the health
of others as well.
We were told the doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct
– and that’s supposed to ease our concerns. But
what if the doctor has signed a document saying he or she
will abide by the Religious Directives and is therefore not
free to discuss a patient’s options with regard to any
How much will all this cost? According to Board of Trustees
chairman Dr. Eugene Heslin, Kingston Hospital will be investing
about $500,000 in making the ambulatory center possible. He
also said the hospital will be seeking about $3 million from
the state to complete the necessary funding.
For answers to your questions, attend a meeting sponsored
by the hospitals – all 7:00 p.m. Thursdays:
Apr. 26 - Ulster County Office Building, Kingston
May 3 - Ulster BOCES, New Paltz
May 10 - Student Lounge, Ulster Community College, Stone Ridge
May 17 - Cahill Elementary School, Saugerties
May 24 - Onteora High School, Boiceville
Mildred M. Meyer
High Falls, NY
There is a crisis in health freedom. On April 30, 2007 the
FDA will close the public comment period on a "Guidance"
which will classify every alternative practice as medicine
so that only licensed physicians can carry out the procedure
AND vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc., will suddenly become
"untested drugs" which will be forbidden.
Bad? Real Bad! But public outcry can stop this assault on
your health and your freedom.
Spread the word! Tell everyone in your Circle of Influence,
professionals, alternative practitioners, nutrient and herb
companies, everyone! Let them know how important their participation
is to make sure the FDA backs off from this repressive course.
Please share this link with them and urge them to take action:
Yours in health and freedom,
Rima E. Laibow, MD, Medical Director
Natural Solutions Foundation
I recently read Amy Chua's World On Fire: How Exporting Free
Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability
and I highly recommend it when it comes for the Bush Administration's
problem in both Iraq and Afghanistan and other hot spots all
around the planet. Chua is a professor at Yale Law School
who frequently lectures frequently on the impact of globalization
on government, business and academic groups around the world.
Chua is not an anti-globalist. Applying an ethnic-cultural
analysis Chua warns that adding "raw unrestrained democracy
and capitalism are intensifying ethnic resentment and global
violence with potentially catastrophic results"
The growing American conflict with ultra radical Islamic fundamentalists
is perhaps the best example of her main theme where she documents
one example after another. The problem is not exclusively
between the people of Islamic faith but all of the emerging
nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The local ethnic
majority gains power based on the premise of popular elections
and the ruling minority is then subject to genocide, violence,
terrorism and rape. Chua does not blame the native majority
who for centuries are being exploited. Instead she blames
the free trade policies of the neo-liberals and free market
conservatives who use the development of both democracy and
the development of a free market economy which in reality
is total dependence to US controlled and dominated World Bank
and the International Monetary Fund.
Chua has her finger directly on the policies of US world domination.
When George W. Bush traveled to Turkey he demanded that the
Islamic world give up its concept of theocracy. All of the
US allies in the current conflict in the Middle East are not
progressive nor are they in any way interested in developing
One must ask where does Bush really stand? We know he is keeping
the US unilaterally in Iraq with no date set to end the occupation.
The war against the Taliban in Afghanistan is now turning
into the same situation in Iraq. The opposition is against
the West and its ideas of a democratic secular government
and free market economies opened to the West. The old Soviet
Union attempted to force communism and their form Western
society to the people of Afghanistan who resisted and finally
defeated a soviet invasion and occupation.
None of the Democratic leadership is really against staying
in Iraq or funding the war as long as a time-table is put
in place to put an end to the occupation is established. This
end date can change in 2008 as soon as the Democrats are fully
in control. It is just a matter of time before the draft is
Then there is going to be a battle between the hawks and the
peace representatives. US dominance of the world markets and
the global political reality is the real goal of US policy.
Those who control the oil and the other natural resources
will be able to dominate the world. The way things are going,
much of the poor of the world will die off en mass whether
by global warming, replacing fossil fuels with ethanol, and
other vitally important commodities. In the industrial world,
the population is already dropping with each passing generation
where the old will out number the young. The problem is global
capitalism will help fund candidates that meet their agenda
whether publicly or privately. America is quickly degenerating
into a failed state. If you give the American people enough
money-manure they will remain out of the process, conservatively
accepting their sheep-like existence.
I think the victory of last October is being missed by everyone
in politics and it is the grass roots anti-war movement and
the great mass of American people who are poor and are not
on the money-manure line. It is this group of anti-capitalists,
anti-greed and pro-humanistic alternatives that provide any
basis for hope. This is why I can only encourage everyone
against this war to mobilize and go to the every demonstration
and activity they can. We need to make our own separate peace
with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. A vast majority of
Americans are moving towards independent politics which is
welcomed and needed because this is the main cog of change.
The impeachment of a president is a grave and tedious affair.
To impeach both President and Vice -President at the same
time is next to impossible. Yet this is what must occur if
we are to continue as a nation of citizens equal under the
law. I have heard people argue that impeachment will tie up
congress and prevent meaningful work from being accomplished.
They cite our recent experience with the Clinton administration
as an example. My response is to point out the fact that while
congress gleefully combed over the fine points of how someone
can squirm when caught cheating on their wife, Bill Clinton
was not actually doing the nation any harm. Our current situation
is more urgent, as George Bush and his accomplice Dick Cheney
could easily do considerable more damage than they have already
with their criminal behavior continuing unchallenged.
A-28 is a national coalition of peace and justice groups encouraging
the public to make the word IMPEACH visible in any manner
they can imagine. They accuse George Bush and Dick Cheney
of lying the nation into a war of aggression, spying in open
violation of the law, and sanctioning the use of torture.These
are high crimes and misdemeanors that demand accountability
through the Constitutional mechanism of impeachment.
This unfortunate duty is the responsibility of The House of
Representatives. Since Congress doesn't seem to get it, on
April 28 Americans from Miami, Florida to North Pole, Alaska
are going to spell it out for them: IMPEACH! It's time to
say NO to impunity for lying, spying, and torture.
Code Pink-Hudson Valley Contingent is sponsoring a local A-28
Action in Kingston, NY on Saturday April 28, 2007 from 2:30
pm to 4:00 pm. People will rally on the sidewalk along Rt
9W (also known as Ulster Avenue,) across from the King's Mall,
which is home of Ulster County's Military Recruiting Center.
Can you think of a better way to spend the afternoon?
Thomas Freidman, the Pulitzer Prize winning author, has said
the Muslim community, the people whose future is being destroyed
by Jihadists, have been silent and that a "moral surge"
is needed. Here is a poem he made public by Wajeha al-Huwaider,
a Saudi author:
When you cannot find a single garden in your city, but there
is a mosque on every corner - you know that you are in an
When you see people living in the past with all the trappings
of modernity - do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country.
When religion has control over science - you can be sure that
you are in an Arab country.
When clerics are referred to as "scholars" - don't
be astonished, you are in an Arab country.
When you see the ruler transformed into a demigod who never
dies or relinquishes his power, and nobody is permitted to
criticize - do not be too upset, you are in an Arab country.
When you find that the large majority of people oppose freedom
and find joy in slavery - do not be too distressed, you are
in an Arab country.
When you hear the clerics saying that democracy is heresy,
but seizing every opportunity provided by democracy to grab
high positions - do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country...
When you discover that a woman is worth half of what a man
is worth, or less - do not be surprised, you are in an Arab
When land is more important than human beings - you are in
an Arab country...
When fear constantly lives in the eyes of the people - you
can be certain you are in an Arab country.
There is a war within Islam being waged by Hezbollah, Hamas,
Al Qaeda and others. For those naive citizens of our mountains,
be careful who and what you romanticize and the truths you
accept because you have very little knowledge about what is
happening in the desert thousands of miles away from these
The writing on the wall has always been with us. That which
cultures most need to know but choose not to look at. In the
case of the United States our graffiti has always been about
class and race. While race gets its fair viewing, discussing
class is virtually taboo especially since the myth has been
created that America is a classless society. Who but the elitist
mythmakers themselves would promote such an idea?
The American system of government was designed to insulate
and protect the upper classes from the majority in its inception.
Over 200 years ago James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers
that we must create a form of government to protect us from
"the leveling spirit of the people." The leveling
spirit referring to the working classes justifiable outrage
over the gross inequalities of that day. The American working
class has virtually fought a constant war throughout American
history for the rights we have today. Yet this is largely
unknown due to careful editing in the classroom curricula.
The working class fought and died for labor rights and civil
rights. The armories in every city in America are not there
in case we're attacked by Mexico. They were built in preparation
for another uprising by the majority.
Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was concessions made to the
working class when the US was on the brink of anarchy during
the Great Depression. While it seems the average American
has forgotten most of this, the ruling class has not.
The Neo Conservative agenda, as outlined in documents put
out by members in and out of the Bush regime, all boldly assert
their desire for Global Dominance in the new millennium. This
agenda is evident in the stolen 2000/2004 elections, the false
terror attack of 9/11, the Patriot act, the passing of the
help corporate America steal our vote act and the invasions
of Afghanistan and Iraq.
While 9/11 was indeed a terror attack, it was one that was
designed to make the American people fearful and compliant.
In this it succeeded very well. It is time the majority remembered
again that fighting for our rights is the only way we will
keep them. A 400 million dollar open and ongoing contract
was signed with KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, in 2006
to start construction of new detention centers in America.
Who do you think they're for?
The wake up call is here. Join your local 9/11 group; call
679-3879 and watch the Propaganda Machine on Woodstock cable
access every Sunday evening @8pm.
We have a recent letter writer who is thrilled with the fact
that rednecks (his word, not mine) still run the good old
USA. This is really entertaining stuff, full of old fashioned
ranting about communists and Marxists hanging out in Woodstock
and chomping at the bit to subvert the free market system.
I hope he keeps writing. I enjoy the giddy ride on the time
machine back to the 1950s.
As would be expected, this fellow doesn't "believe"
in global warming. It also is a Marxist plot dreamed up for
the purpose of doing in the free market system. Apparently
the world's scientists don't realize this and I trust he'll
write a letter that will help them see the light.
Fact #1: Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere acts like the glass
of a greenhouse (traps heat within) and is therefore capable
of warming the planet.
Fact #2: Man is taking vast amounts of carbon out of storage
(coal, oil and gas) and putting it back in the atmosphere
therefore increasing its content of carbon dioxide.
Obvious deduction: Man is warming the planet and creating
I would like to thank Legislator Dean Fabiano, the members
of the Environmental Committee and the entire Ulster County
Legislature for supporting a resolution last week to create
a Global Warming Advisory Committee.
No matter where you stand on the issue of Global Warming,
I believe we all can agree that Ulster County must continue
to do all it can to protect the environment and urge local
governments, businesses and citizens to do likewise.
Hopefully, the committee will develop new local policies and
initiatives that will help reduce carbon emissions, which
many experts believe is the primary cause of global warming.
Ulster County Legislator, District 4
The bloodshed and horror at Virginia Tech has many causes.
Freud said that we are all angry all the time, and for someone
unable to manage that rage, coupled with the ease of obtaining
firearms. Tragedies like these can be the outlet for their
What is hardly ever mentioned is the negative influence of
war. We are told repeatedly, now with our occupation of Iraq,
that killing for political purposes is acceptable. Soldiers
are gratuitously praised as "the nations finest,"
bombs are used for widespread destruction, and civilians are
slaughtered by the multitudes.
With this daily immorality reported in the media in a manner
that basically excuses what is going on, we get accustomed
to permitting our government to kill as a matter of policy.
It's thus too easy, by extension, for individuals to feel
Thank you all in the news media for your coverage of the horrendous
shooting at Virginia Tech. The shots and the killings that
occurred at this university will affect every human being
in our nation. There will be great fear and anxiety, especially
in college students, high school students, and school children
with the question, "Can it also happen here in my school?"
Our hearts and prayers are with the families who lost a loved
one, or had a loved one injured.
About the future, may God give us the strength not to respond
by becoming tougher on crime. This is, tragically, what happens
in the wake of such shootings. Let us not forget the lesson
that the Amish taught to us after that tragic shooting their
grade school. Their response was love and forgiveness, which
taught the entire world a lesson. This senseless cycle of
death and violence can only be overcome with good. The power
of love will destroy any violent deed. Most of all may God
give us the strength to love one another more and that we
all join hands and look up to God from where comes the only
Johann Christoph Arnold, Pastor
Sunday's weather was predicted to be a phenomenon, the one
in a century storm; snow, torrential rain and howling wind.
Well, it did snow a good 5 inches of wet, heavy snow. The
tree limbs sagged under its weight, bending but not breaking.
The wind was completely calm, not a hint of a breeze all day
long. The snow fell straight and gently covering the landscape
in a cloak of white. Gradually around noon there was a transition
from snow to sleet to eventually rain, but still dead calm.
In the late afternoon I was motivated to take a broom and
clear the clingy, wet snow from my car. I donned my winter
attire, ripped jeans, a tee shirt and my ratty slippers and
grabbed a broom and trudged through the now 3 inches of slushy
snow and cleared or my car. When I was done I came back in
and decided to do laundry and run the dishwasher incase the
wind did materialize and the power went down. While at the
kitchen sink I heard a dull thud and thinking something had
fallen on the roof decided to go take a quick look. My home
has two decks. One out back accessed from the kitchen and
a larger, two level deck that you get to from the door in
the living room. I checked the roof and found nothing and
again, left my footprints in the slushy snow. I went to bed
around 10 pm, still raining, still calm.
Waking around 12:30 the much touted wind had arrived. I could
hear the wind driven rain hitting my bedroom window with the
ferocity of an angry garden hose. As I slowly made my way
toward the basement to stoke the wood stove I turn on the
light on the kitchen deck and peered out at the driving rain
and something caught my eye. There were additional "footprints"
in the snow! They appeared to have come up the stairs from
the lawn to the deck, circled and then went back the way they
came. Curiously they came nowhere near the door. They were
as big as the footprints I had left earlier. I'm getting concerned
as I turn on the outside lights illuminating the Living Room
deck to reveal the same mysterious footprints. It was clear
that they came from the driveway up the one deck and down
then purposely checked out the kitchen deck. Now my senses
are heightened and I head downstairs to check the driveway.
Oh man, there they are, heading from the side of my car along
the driveway and up the deck. I need more information! I turn
on the driveway spot lights and open the downstairs door and
walk over in the torrential wind swept rain in my underwear,
tee shirt and slippers to get a close up view.
As my eyes focus I'm relieved and freaking out in the same
moment. At close perusal they are obviously NOT human footprints
but rather those of a BEAR! I can clearly see they are paws
with large claws…and they are as big as my footprints
only wider! I quickly make my way indoors and lock the door
behind me. I feed the stove and settle down in the recliner
to dry off and calm down. After pondering the eventualities
I turn out the lights and return to bed.
In the morning I open the shades and prepare to see what vision
daylight sheds. Not only did a Large Bear circumnavigate my
decks but as an additional affront it took a large dump at
the bottom of the Living Deck's steps! I do not feed the Bears
nor do I put the garbage in the receptacle until I'm ready
to bring it to the curb for pick up. It must have been one
curious, hungry Bear. I will certainly be more cautious as
I leave my home from now on. Oh yeah, Bear's not only poop
in the woods but anywhere they see fit!
My wife and I read with great interest Damien Toman's article
regarding second home owners, in your March 1 issue. We love
our home in Olivebridge and thoroughly enjoy the wonderful
people we have met, the Catskill Mountain Park and the quiet
roads of Ulster County. We spend our weekends hiking, cycling,
walking our two dogs or just sitting and enjoying the quiet
And we both make every effort to know what is going on in
the County and in the town in which we live. It is a fascinating
experience to live by the Ashokan Reservoir and know that
we actually rely upon that water back home in Manhattan. So
in many ways we feel a deep connection. But it is difficult
to actively participate in community affairs. Town councilman
Henry Rank was quoted as saying that folks like us don't care
about the local community and don't attend town board meetings.
Well, as I believe that they are held on Tuesdays it is difficult
for us because we are back working in Manhattan.
I would like to suggest that the town give thought to hosting
a "get to know your community" day on a weekend
in the spring. We would be delighted to attend and learn more
about the important issues and also meet the town's leadership.
In this was the town can reach out to those of us who aren't
here during the week (much to our regret) and we in turn can
demonstrate our interest in and commitment to the wonderful
town we like to think of as our home.
Leonard J. Battifarano
New York, NY
Last spring, Bernard Handzel, photographed twelve Phoenicia
library loving dogs.
The newly formed Friends of the Phoenicia Library now has
fantastic Library Dog Note cards for sale. The proceeds will
support our most excellent library services and programs.
Please stop by and buy a card for your favorite relative or
And join the Friends of the Phoenicia Library!
Friends of the Phoenicia Library