Dear Supervisor Stanley,
As you may know, the Upper Esopus Creek flows directly into
the Ashokan Reservoir, which is a terminal reservoir within
the Catskill watershed portion of the New York City drinking
water supply. Water from the Ashokan Reservoir then flows
down the Catskill Aqueduct directly into the Kensico Reservoir
where it then enters New York City's water distribution system.
The Ashokan Reservoir and the Catskill Watershed provides
40 percent of the drinking water supply for eight million
residents of New York City and one million upstate consumers
located in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester Counties.
As part of our commitment and obligations to maintain and
protect the quality and purity of the New York City drinking
water supply, the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation's (Department) Stream Biomonitoring Unit (SBU)
sampled the Upper Esopus Creek from Olivera to Boiceville
within Ulster County, New York during 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Sampling was conducted as routine monitoring of long-term
sites to documents changes to water quality. Sampling is expected
to conclude in 2010 at which time the Department will issue
its final report. The initial results, which are published
in the enclosed draft report, indicate that water quality
is adversely impacted below the Hamlet of Phoenicia and that
these water quality impacts may be a result of runoff from
the un-sewered hamlet. The Department will continue to monitor
water quality along this portion of the Upper Esopus Creek
and plans to undertake an initiative to identify and track
down potential source(s) of pollution that may be contributing
to water quality degradation of this natural resource within
the area of the Hamlets of Phoenicia and Chichester.
Our Department has recently become aware of a number of septage
issues within the Hamlet of Phoenicia at both residential
and commercial facilities. Actions are necessary to address
this situation. Recognizing that the problems are throughout
the area, a community wide approach appears to represent the
best solution. Although individual property owners may be
the source of the problem, individual corrective actions may
not represent the best solution from either a practical or
economic point of view. Many of the individual properties
have limited ability due to the size of the property, elevated
groundwater, etc., for the installation of an appropriate
system and. therefore, the system which is installed may be
limited in effectiveness, expensive, and have a short life
The Department understands that the Hamlet of Phoenicia was
an eligible community identified in Paragraph 122 - New Sewage
Treatment Infrastructure Facilities for Towns, Villages and
Hamlets of the 1997 New York City Watershed Memorandum of
Agreement (MOA). In turn, the City of New York provided the
Hamlet of Phoenicia approximately $17.2 million to construct
a wastewater treatment plant that would provide state-of-the-art
water quality treatment, while sufficiently and cost-effectively
correct any existing or future residential/commercial septage
issues within the hamlet which would allow the Hamlet of Phoenicia
to further grow and prosper. It is the department's understanding
that the Town of Shandaken is currently contemplating whether
to move forward with the proposed community wastewater treatment
and disposal system. Our Department believes that the long
term solution to the sewage disposal options is the installation
of a public sewer system. Furthermore, It is the Department's
understanding that if this MOA funding is not utilized then
the entire financial burden of constructing such a facility
would be the responsibility of the residents and commercial
businesses within the Hamlet.
Kenneth Kosinski, P.E. Section Chief
New York City Watershed Section
New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation
It's school budget time again. As the costs emerge school
districts blame unfunded or underfunded Albany and Washington
mandates, contractual obligations, a guess on state aid, etc.
End result? A higher property tax year after year for the
same academic result. Here's the answer to all the arm waving
and political posturing in Albany. Just four steps and some
backbone by our legislatures puts an end to the above. 1.
The State Education Department decrees what constitutes a
basic education in New York State, grades kindergarten to
12. 2. The state pays 100 percent of that cost in each district.
That includes the statewide contracts Albany agrees to, along
with how you structure admin-istrative staffing and capital
expense. 3. Individual districts decide if "basic"
is adequate or if other cours-es are required in their community.
4. We at the district level vote on the add-ons.
This is an election year and don't just read this and say
"great idea" (it wasn't mine, by the way). Call
or write your assemblyman or senator and tell them you want
this to hap-pen now and not sometime in your lifetime. It
wouldn't hurt if you reminded them they serve at our pleasure
and can be replaced in November.
As I sat at the last Board of Education meeting I felt like
I was on the Titanic and we are slowly sinking. The speakers
spoke of no plan for this district, except the Strategic Plan,
which is going to be difficult to follow, because we have
no plan for grade configuration or buildings. This board has
become obsessed with saving teachers jobs for the sake of
High School programs and sports. I listened three years ago
as a new superintendent was asked to look at the over-staffed
music department. These same people spoke again the other
night and still say the same thing - that they cannot teach
basic strings. This is showing me how inflexible our teachers
have become. I know in the private sector people learn new
tasks to keep there jobs. As the first speaker said, you would
not expect a diesel mechanic to work on a hybrid - how wrong
she is, they need to learn to work on hybrids to keep their
jobs. My kids took 3rd and 4th grade strings and did a lot
of plunking of the strings, pretty basic stuff. So now we
are at the point of losing programs for sake of saving buildings,
inflexible teachers to help the plunking 3rd graders. The
plan was thrown out two years ago. So now we lose golf (two
boys in college on golf scholarships), ski team (champs forever),
indoor track (14 awards), DECA club (three state champs) and
list goes on and on. But yes we have saved a teacher's job,
saved our buildings, learned to weigh garbage, grow gardens,
all because of personal agendas.
I guess it is just me. As our kids get close to college age
they are losing more and more, it just makes no sense to me.
So why support a budget with no plan and lost programs for
I know there has been a lot of talk and debate lately about
our local schools and the budget and how we can get 2+2 to
equal 10!!! Well, I wanted to talk about some good news regarding
our local kids and a big company called Pepsi. Pepsi has given
many average and local people the opportunity to have an idea
or dream actually become a reality. If you haven't already
noticed, Pepsi did NOT spend their money this year for an
ad in the Super-bowl, instead they decided to put their money
to help fund people's ideas and get them off the ground.
One such idea we can find right in our own backyard. It's
the Hudson Valley Wind Youth Ensemble. This group of local
Elemen-tary and Jr. High kids come together and get challenged
by a great Director, one of which is very familiar to a lot
of people in our county, Sue Lichtenberg. I've had the great
pleasure of seeing these kids in action and what they can
do is amazing. If you were to close your eyes and just listen
to the brilliant performances you would have no idea that
this musical talent is coming from such young kids....our
own local kids! I personally know some of these kids, some
of which go to the Onteora school district as well as other
districts in the Hudson Valley.
This grant, if given to the Hudson Val-ley Wind Ensemble will
not only provide more scholarships to children in our area
and allow them to express and push their musical talents but
it will also allow the music/arts to be of-fered to kids whose
families may not have the opportunity to do so financially.
Please take a moment to look at this great cause that Pepsi
is offering to our kids at: http://www.refreshev-erything.com/HVYWE.
Read about how your family/children can benefit from this
grant. If you haven't already, contact your local schools
to find out more about Sue and the Hudson Valley Wind Ensemble,
their FREE concert will be held in June and you can come and
see for yourself just how very amazing our kids are! Thanks
Is it real, all the excitement that's rolling out of my TV
screen this morning (March 24)? Our vice president just declared
that health care for all is now the law of the land. A few
years ago Citizens for Universal Health Care was a lonely
bunch howling in the wilderness, calling for Single Payer
ad-ministrations when that was still an extreme concept. How
does it sound today? Did we make a difference? Are the righteous
legions still out here, still passionate and ready to act,
pressing to make it real? Is it time now? What do you say?
I now understand what is meant by: "Perfection is the
enemy of the good". The very idea of a black president,
is the still standing confederates biggest nightmare come
true. Fortunately, it came in the body of a highly intelligent
man, who realized the impractical-ity of demolishing the existing
system upon his arrival into office. First, he had to study
the foundation of the structure, which could only be done
by living inside it. He then had to assess which of the beams
were holding the whole thing up, and which could begin to
be replaced, one step at a time.
I am aware of the fact that this is an unpopular theory, but
I've seen it this way from the beginning. Perhaps Obama thought
that if he took giant steps, he'd stir up even more discord
than we've seen, and we've seen a lot. After all, no one has
come up against the exist-ing corporate structure for decades.
Perhaps his tactics are one step at a time.
Also, we have recently seen the Re-publicans ability to stick
together regardless of differences, and surely some of them
see the fairness of covering 30-35 million working Americans,
including children, who are pres-ently uninsured. But apparently,
they will do anything to keep their power, including back-ing
the Tea Party, and spreading lies about just about everything
in order to protect their investments. Furthermore, should
they have a twinge of conscience, the lobbyists for the Corporations
are there to ease their pain, with football seats, private
plane trips, or whatever they give them.
One thing the Republicans understand is a basic rule: United
We Stand, Divided We Fall. Democrats, generally being more
individual thinkers simply don't get that. We are at a very
dangerous time in the preserva-tion of our liberties. If we
remain divided, the Republicans will take over, and they will
heed the wishes of their corporate bosses, believ-ing that
they will continue to get their piece of the action, which
many of them will. And yes, I do agree that there are many
democrats in this same boat. That is why the bill that they
managed to pass, preserved most of what the Insurance companies
So, what is the answer? Come to-gether... right now.... over
what are still your rights. Organize. If you don't like your
democratic representatives, then find someone to replace them,
and work for them. Don't be lazy, and just sit back and complain.
Take charge while you can. Bear the alternative in mind. Do
you really want John Behner, or someone like him for President?
Are you really too busy to be responsible for your kids future?
If you do this, I promise to help find a way to make it fun.
After all: Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport.
Poor John Boehner! So bitterly you wept as you bemoaned the
Democrats ram-ming health care through Congress, and so pitifully
you sob that they've violated the will of the American people!
But you see, John, I have an attention span, so I remember
the past eight years, when both Congress and the entire Bush
administration were doing both of those every minute, and
you were loving it! Typical Republian hypocrisy...
J. Andrew Smith
Aesop: A man and his son were once going with their donkey
to market. As they were walking along by his side a countryman
passed them and said, "You fools, what is a donkey for
but to ride upon?" So the man put the boy on the donkey,
and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of
men, one of whom said, "See that lazy youngster, he lets
his father walk while he rides."
So the man ordered his boy to get off, and got on himself.
But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of
whom said to the other, "Shame on that lazy lout to let
his poor little son trudge along."
Well, the man didn't know what to do, but at last he took
his boy up before him on the donkey. By this time they had
come to the town, and the passersby began to jeer and point
at them. The man stopped and asked what they were scoffing
The men said, "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading
that poor donkey of yours - you and your hulking son?"
The man and boy got off and tried to think what to do. They
thought and they thought, until at last they cut down a pole,
tied the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the
donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter
of all who met them until they came to a bridge, when the
donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused
the boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the donkey
fell over the bridge, and his forefeet being tied together,
he was drowned.
Moral of this story: Try to please everyone, and you will
please no one.
Former Assistant Sec. of the Trea-sury Paul Craig Roberts
wrote in an article on March 24: "America's fate was
sealed when the public and the anti-war movement bought the
government's 9/11 conspiracy theory. The government's account
of 9/11 is contradicted by much evidence. Neverthe-less, this
defining event of our time, which has launched the U.S. on
interminable wars of aggression and a domestic police state,
is a taboo topic for investigation in the media. It is pointless
to complain of war and a police state when one accepts the
premise upon which they are based. " Philip Giraldi,
a former CIA officer, and a contributing editor to The American
Conservative and a fellow at the American Conservative Defense
Alliance, wrote re-cently: "Three strikes and you're
out, Mr. Obama. Your government stands for pre-emptive killing
and missile strikes on people living in countries with which
America is not at war, lets torturers and torture enablers
go free, and has asserted the right to assassi-nate its own
citizens anywhere in the world based on secret evidence. Ronald
Reagan once described his vision of America as a shining city
on a hill. Over the past ten years the shining city has become
the ultimate rogue nation, pumped up with power and hubris
in spite of the clearly visible signs of decline and moving
inexorably towards a catastrophic fall."
It is the intellectual laziness of the anti-war movement in
refusing to study the evidence of 9/11 being an inside job
that has led us to the point where Obama is continu-ing Bush's
illegal policies and even expand-ing them with barely a peep
from those who thought they were voting for "change,"
to the point where only a few thousand showed up for an anti-war
march in Washington, DC recently and only seven of us crossed
the line to be arrested with Peace Activist Cindy Sheehan.
A half dozen Left gate-keepers as-sure the anti-war movement
"there's nothing there," "it's a diversion,"
"don't waste your time," "they are wacko conspiracy
theorists," and the easily-led breathe a sigh of relief:
"Good, don't have to spend a couple of days reading a
few books to decide for myself, I'll just trust Chomsky, Cockburn,
Goodman, Rothshild, Corn and company." Chomsky played
the same role in telling people not to look at the JFK assassination
and not to question the Warren Commission Report. I recommend
David Ray Griffin's latest book: The Mysterious Collapse Of
WTC 7. There is no doubt anymore that WTC 7 came down at free
fall for at least 2.5 seconds and that this could only have
occurred with the use of controlled demolition. The rest of
you are living in a dream world, a shadow world, if you refuse
to look at the evidence.
You already have home insurance. Now find out if you are covered
for your home studio and workspace.
It was Easter 2009 and Raymond J. Steiner, my husband and
partner in Art Times, set about to do his usual spring maintenance
on our tractor. The tractor (an old Wheel Horse) was kept
in a wooden outbuilding, situated between two other wooden
structures on our property in Saugerties. The 24-foot-long
building held our lawn and garden equipment. About 25 years
ago, Raymond had walled off one end - about a half of the
entire building - and made it into a small private study.
It was where he read and studied and over the last ten years,
since he resumed painting, it was also used to store painting
materials and touch up his paintings, which were done primarily
en plein air.
When he started the tractor to move it outside the building,
there was a burst of flames. He quickly jumped off the tractor
and attempted to smother the fire. He realized that the flames
which appeared to be coming from the top of the battery were
situated directly beneath the gas tank, and it dawned on him
that since he was hanging over a full tank of gas that he
had better get out of the building. He ran to the house and
dialed 911 to report the fire. He then heard the explosions
as our tiller, gas tanks and oil cans exploded. Flames began
to consume the building. Within min-utes, volunteer firemen
and trucks arrived. But the fire had grown quickly and destroyed
not only the shop structure and contents but also caused tremendous
smoke and water damage to his study/studio.
I called our insurance company to re-port the fire. An adjuster
was sent out within a few days. He took all the information
and questioned what the building was used for. Was Raymond
a professional artist, since brushes, easels and paint tubes
were strewn on the ground? Had he sold any paintings? Had
he had any exhibitions? Raymond does have a website which
reflects his work as a writer, editor and painter.
After all the paperwork was submitted to the insurance company
and an examiner took a look at the damage (to determine cause
of fire), we expected a settlement to be forth-coming. Well,
it didn't. Even before a second investigator (a retired New
York City police-man) came and interviewed and recorded each
of us, I began to feel that there was a problem that related
to the building's usage.
I called the state Insurance depart-ment and questioned how
"a business" was defined. "Inventory and people
traffic" were the criteria, he explained. Then I called
our agent and told them that it seemed that the insur-ance
company was questioning the use of the outbuilding. The insurance
company's position was that since Raymond had been in a few
art shows and sold a few paintings during the past several
years he was a professional artist and therefore not covered
by our homeowners' insurance (which did include the outbuildings).
I would call someone a professional if they are earning a
living, putting effort into securing gallery exhibits, and
actively selling their work.
Well, what about Art Times, I said? We have had the Art Times
office on the property in a separate wing of the house for
the past 26 years. My insurance agent assured me that both
Art Times and Raymond's study/studio were covered in our homeowners'
Apparently, that was not the case.
Five months later after we had retained a lawyer, given time-consuming
examinations under oath, and submitted income-tax returns
for the past five years, a call came from our adjuster that
a check would be coming within the week for the rebuilding
of the structure plus a check for the items lost. What a relief!
But what a huge personal toll it had taken!
Given this experience, I began to ask artists and other people
who have home offices whether they are covered by their homeown-ers'
policy. So many don't want to ask the question. So many are
concerned about the additional cost. The fact is that if you
are using any part of your home/property for a business and
there are damages for which you would put in a claim your
insurance company may very well not pay the claim.
So call your insurance agent or company. Find out if you are
covered. Turns out that we are covered for a certain dollar
figure to cover office equipment but not for loss of data.
If I wanted to be covered for a higher amount, there would
be an additional fee of a few hundred dollars. In an office
situation there are a few computers, printers and phones.
An artist and craftsperson has much more costly supplies.
Don't wait! I repeat, you already have insurance, now find
out if your studio and work areas are covered.
High Woods, NY
Friendly Farm is a healthy and friendly environment for chickens,
goats, lambs, rab-bits, dogs and cats. There are no cages
for the chickens, and the rabbits are let out of their cages
We have two goats - Blessing and Capricorn. Blessing, was
nursed by a big furry goat who is a Nubian cross-breed goat
living in a happy and secure environment. She is a well-adjusted
wonderful, beautiful goat. The other goat, Capricorn, was
taken away from its mother and raised to be meat, so the mother's
milk could be sold at a high price to be used for milk and
Why is this cruelty allowed to hap-pen? The goat could have
been weaned by its mother, who would then continue to be milked
and still be producing milk every day.
Blessing is happy and secure and Capricorn frantically follows
anyone around, trying to get milk.
It seemed that Capricorn was starving, so I decided to increase
the bottle feedings to three times a day instead of two. The
goat meat producers believe that the baby goat should be hungry
so that it eats grain more quickly, which is less expensive
than milk and less time-consuming than bottle feeding. The
baby goat was being treated as a commodity, not as a sentient
being with feelings and emotions.
Since I nursed my own three children, I know that the goat
will eat grain when it is ready, and meanwhile needs milk,
so I began feeding her three times per day. The little goat's
belly is getting rounder every day, and she is happier, not
saying "ma ma ma ma" hysterically in the barn all
day and night anymore. She is already eating grain and hay.
The life of Capricorn, the mountain goat, is going to make
a statement to the world about the unnecessary cruelty perpetrated
by the meat industry. The same thing is also done with lambs.
Why? The poor little baby lambs are also not left with their
mothers, but are taken away and bottle fed. We also have a
rescued lamb here at Friendly Farm. In the dairy and meat
industry, the main problem is that the cows have their calves
killed for meat and then they are milked by machines for profit
and kept in stalls where they cannot even walk around and
graze. Chickens are also kept in small cages where they cannot
walk around and are used as meat and egg-producing machines.
Native Americans also killed animals for meat, but it was
done in a more conscious way, only taking what they needed
for their families to survive and the animals had happy lives
living in nature before they were used for food.
Humanity, wake up! The karma in-volved in the cruelty to these
animals is ingest-ed by the people who eat them. Free-range
chickens are happier and their eggs have a different quality
and taste, and are healthier and more delicious because they
contain more life energy.
To all my relations, let us pray for the transformation of
the meat industry!
Friendly Farm: Peace, love, good vibes! You are welcome to
come and pet the healthy happy animals!
West Saugerties, NY
I'm writing to applaud the many people from the Phoenicia
School and our community who made our District Family Night
Celebration of India such a success. More than 300 people
attended the event to hear the fabulous performance by Ray
Spiegel and Steve Gorn and enjoy the delicious Indian food
provided by Kiran Sancious, Rachel Marco, Robin Chess, and
our parent volunteers. Veronica Domingo's henna booth, Tamara
Lang's tranquility tent, Maxanne Resnick's Indian bazaar,
and Mimi Goese's Spice Booth were also big hits.Euge-nia Kraus
and her young dancers entertained us with an authentic South
Indian dance performance. A big shoutout too to those who
helped transform the Phoenicia School into an exotic realm,
especially Jen Dragon and Kevin Kraft, as well as our parent
volunteers. The teachers and students, who have been studying
about the history and culture of India, also added greatly
by creating many wonderful decorations.
Upon arriving at our school, many noticed out front our eye-catching
new Phoenicia School sign, designed, created and installed
gratis by Kurt Boyer. Thank you, Kurt! The Phoenicia School
is truly blessed to have such a supportive community and such
enthusiastic, creative staff and students!
President, Phoenicia PTA
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude
to the volunteers of the Shandaken Firehouse. Not only have
they opened their doors to us every other Thursday night but
now they have even purchased us our ceremonial flag! During
these tough economic times it helps us out tremendously and
should not go un-noticed.
Treasurer ( & Scout Mom)
Shandaken Cub Scouts Pack 60
Sometime between Christmas and the end of January, someone
decided to cut an evergreen shrub and a bridal wreath bush
from my father and mother-in-law's grave in the Hudler cemetery
in Mt. Tremper. They also removed several mementos that their
grandchildren had placed there. The evergreen had been bought
and planted by their grandchildren, and the bridal wreath
bush had come from my mother-in-law's garden. They both had
I can't imagine what pleasure anyone gets by doing something
so despicable, and I wonder how they can live with their conscience.
May you have many sleepless nights.
Mrs. Lois Umhey
Mt. Tremper, NY
Next week, schools, campuses and communities across the country
celebrate National Library Week, a time to remind the public
about the contribution libraries, librarians and library workers
make to their communities every day.
In today's tough economy, libraries offer free resources to
help people find jobs and learn new skills. People of all
ages and backgrounds find entertainment, develop skills and
come to find their place in the community. People gather for
book discussions, for story time with their children or to
volunteer or look for volunteer work. Our library helps the
Our libraries also help keep us connected, providing a space
for people of all ages, classes and races to come together,
while keeping us connected to events and people around the
To celebrate Library Week, we would like to invite everyone
in the community to attend an Afternoon Tea on Saturday, April
10th from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the library. Come and see what
your library has to offer!
How can the library help you thrive? National Library Week
is the perfect time to find out. Communities thrive @ your
The Board of Trustees of the
Olive Free Library