"Shandaken tour artists
are practicing the message of 'A Beautiful Mind.' Cooperation and
mutual support helps all and hurts no one," said the Tour's Dave
Channon, who will be opening his studio AND showing sculpture at a
new outdoor gallery set up at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center July 17
and 18. "The star system of commercial galleries insures that
9 out of 10 artists will be frustrated and one will have some success...
We show that there is another way. Our most successful artists stand
together with our least recognized in a joyful circle."
The effort, which follows the success of similar undertakings in Saugerties
and Kingston, Rhinebeck and the New Paltz area, Catskill and Woodstock
in recent years, has grown different from other towns' by the breadth
and increasing depth of its offerings, from over 30 artists and a
dozen different galleries and other venues, to the width (and scenic
beauty) of its spread.
"Unlike Woodstock, Hudson or Saugerties, that have fairly compact
geography, we are spread over 119 square miles," added Channon.
"This is a plus, not a minus. Our self guided experience takes
people through incredible scenery even before seeing the great art."
And what art... imagine the woodsman assemblist pieces of John Byer
and Channon, or the more supple tree branch or straw women works of
Chip Hallagher and Susie Brown. There'll be Wendy Drolma's exquisitely
sexy masks, Wendy Grossman's, as well as David Seche's, takes on furniture
classics. Wildly expressionistic paintings by Michelle Spark and more
luminist works by Faye Storms and Ralph Persons ( a gentle chronicler
of rural life), faux naÔve works by Laura Levine (also a master
of rock and roll photography) and true outsider pieces by the great
Richard Treitner... and Channon again. Supple takes on documentary
traditions by art photographers Andrea Cabane, Jim Gardner and Carla
Shapiro. Bronson Eden's wildly complex, and subversive, pen drawings,
plus sum,bime ceramics from Jerilynn Babroff, Michael Boyer and ,
plus blown glass from Mary Certoma and Alan Barbier. Think James Knight's
mind-bending drawings or Shalom Gorewitz's creative output in a multimude
of mixed mediums. Patricia Charnay's whispy drawings and Stephanie
Barnes's sensuous clothing. Ken Lovelett's drum inventions are a trip,
just as Jim Nevin's word-image explorations take one on journeys.
Christie Scheele's now a classic, while her daughter Tessa Morelli
seems poised for similar greatness. Rita Schwab has moved from fabrics
to painting and Judith Singer's assemblage boxes keep growing in subtlety
and innate power. Anique Taylor explores personality in colorful spectrums,
like patchwork quilts, while Tohkal plugs directly into rainbows and
the Mighty Xee and Bennett Wine mic collage components with a ruralist's
eye for urban oddnesses.
Venue-wise, sites in play will range from The Arts Upstairs and Cabane
Gallery, the town's cultural mainstays, to the up-and-coming gallery
space at The Emerson Resort on Route 28, the gallery at Mount Tremper
Arts, featuring world-class photography starting Friday night, and
indoor/outdoor spaces for sculpture at Belleayre Mountain and Mama's
Boy Market, Wendy Drolma Masks (on the Boardwalk in Phoenicia) and
Skin Flower Tattoos next door (as well as the aesthetically-explosive
and inspirational Mystery Spot just around the corner on Main Street).
Following the Saturday's 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM studio tour itself (repeated
on Sunday), there will be opening receptions at The Arts Upstairs,
Cabane Studios and Wendy Drolma Masks in Phoenicia. Expect a scene
spilling out on to the street...
"Last July, members of our tour sold over $14,000 worth of art,"
noted Channon of the Tour's success. "We are changing awareness
of art from a curious Sunday niche into an industry, a tremendous
renewable resource that doesn't destroy the environment. And local
businesses are supporting us enthusiastically. Despite dire economic
times, the Dutchess County Arts Council and NYSCA awarded us over
$1700 in grants because of our excellent work."
Call 688-2977 for information or visit www.ShandakenArt.com for a
free guide map and preview gallery of what's what. Just don't skip
on the fun of meeting what many are starting to recognize as one of
the key cultural centers of the nation, as well as one of the world's
highest concentrations of working artists. .
"It's the new scene in Shandaken, this little town in the high
peaks of the Catskills that's fast becoming an alternative to the
passÈ crowds of Woodstock and Hudson," concludes Channon.
"Art rescued the East Village from the junkies, transformed SOHO,
DUMBO and Tribeca from crumbling warehouses into thriving communities.
It will do the same here... "
to Shandaken officer in charge James McGrath, shots were fired at one
of the beavers and the active beaver dam along the creek was destroyed
while searching for the animals. That search was suspended after dark
and was to resume Wednesday morning with DEC personnel expected to take
the leading role.
It is extremely rare for a beaver to attack a human; most beaver attacks
occur when the animal is rabid. For example, in 2005, a rabid beaver
bit three people playing in the water at a state park near Bel Air,
Beavers are typically social and peaceful animals, with a strong family
structure based on monogamous mating for life. However, to protect their
limited food supply, a beaver will not allow unrelated beavers to inhabit
its pond. To mark their territories they surround their ponds with scent
mounds. Scent mounds are piles of mud with the adult's castor oil mixed
Beavers slap their tails loudly as warning when they feel cornered.
Adult beavers will defend their territory by attacking other beavers
from outside its family who enter their territory. However, other than
such territorial disputes or self-defense, they appear to have a strong
inhibition towards biting and are not known to attack humans.
The Local Regional
Luc and Pika moved to the
Route 28 corridor from Belgium a dozen years ago, via a stint in New
Jersey. They wanted a place filled with natural beauty, where they
could (and have) raise a family. In that way, theirs is a familiar
In how they've afforded their dream is something original and, in
the final rounds, quite inspirational for others thinking big about
local business writ regional. And at the same time, a key to the larger
area's repositioning of itself in a newly sustainable climate that's
drawn great attention from state, federal, and increasingly universal
officials looking for things to champion in the push for a new economy.
"We got the keys here on November 19 of last year," Roels
is saying as he leads us through his very busy yet still rapidly evolving
20,000 square foot facility. "Basically, it was scary when we
got here. It had been raining in the building for 15 years."
The Roels had spent eight years not only making their own products
but chili and pickles and other fare as well, renting out commercial
kitchen space and taking their clients from idea to distribution.
Over time, Luc realized there was no way to cover the volumes he needed
to make his business efficient and profitable.
He also saw an opportunity for helping other independent-minded types
like he and Pika to finally bring the localized food products long
touted as a natural for the Catskills and Hudson Valley to fruition.
He hooked up with a like-minded soul, Jim Hyland of Winter Sun Farms,
a CSA-styled preparer of locally-grown frozen vegetables and berries,
and Farm to Table Co-Packers came to life.
They started looking for suitable spaces by answering ads. Looked
at old factories in Arkville and down in the Route 209 corridor. Finally,
a deal was worked out at Tech City, the long-dormant major plant that's
been looking to become a home to new regional businesses for 14 years
Loads of renovations and equipment purchases, new and used, plus the
employment of over 30 people later, the company's become a literal
"soup to nuts" center where food products gets produced
"for a whole bunch of customers."
There are plenty of steam jacketed kettles, double rack ovens, 140
quart mixers, dough portioners and pie presses, slicer dicers and
40 qt food processors, band and vacuum sealers and shrink wrappers
to handle the food being produced in Ulster County... and beyond.
Roels proudly shows off the ways in which the old IBM dishwasher was
reconverted into a heavy-volume vegetable washer, how the old cafeteria
line was remodeled as a bottling line with fillers and cappers.
Now, all he needs is a nitrogen blast freezer that, added to existing
refrigerators and storage freezers, would allow this facility to start
adding new value to local produce by making it better storable, and
hence usable for everyone from major supermarket chains to local school
districts... as well as the many farmers markets, specialty stores,
and similar operations being supported.
There's a separate space being developed for a full incubator kitchen,
where would-be food companies and those already producing can try
out new recipes and get them market-ready. Plus ties in to the Ulster
County Small Business Center and other avenues one can take to get
ideas to market.
"If we can alter the flow of produce by creating a local demand
instead of vegetables being flown in from Asia and other places,,
we're all better off," Roels said of his dream come true. "Using
your common sense brings you far."
Talk about a big leap forward. For more on what's happening at Farm
to Table Co-Packers, besides their continuing farmstand and CSA presences,
visit them online at farm2tablecopackers.com, call them at 383-1761,
or visit them down at Tech City, at 750 Enterprise Drive.
They're our region's future, but also our local verve proved successful.
And they may very well be the way we all end up getting ourselves
healthier, as a society, in the long run...
Study To Contract?
Supervisor Rob Stanley
said he only received a copy of the contract the Friday before and
has sent it Town Attorney Paul Kellar for his comments.
"I felt it better that we wait until our next meeting to adopt
it," he said.
The 38 page document supplied by the CWC gives CWC a full five years
to review all existing plans for a Phoenicia sewer system and build
one for the community. After review of the existing plans that have
been proposed to date, including the original one brought forth by
Delaware Engineering and the New York City Department of Environmental
Protection and defeated, as well as several cheaper alternatives that
were either questioned by the DEP or never fully developed, CWC will
prepare what it thinks is the best plan for Phoenicia.
That plan, they have said, will not cost more than the amount made
available for the project by the City of New York. At present. there
is $16 million left of a $17.2 million grant the City gave Phoenicia,
with expenditures already layed out for previous planning processes.
The contract prepared by CWC also requires that CWC investigate other
options for the Phoenicia community such as a septic maintenance district,
or a community septic system, as has been built for smaller places
than Phoenicia. CWC must also prepare cost projections for the annual
operation and maintenance of the systems.
There appears to be no language in the contract requiring that the
final project plan go before Phoenicia voters for approval, which
town officials have said they would seek to do before approving anything
Phoenicia has been considering building a system for over a decade.
In the late 1990s one engineering firm designed a system, but the
Town of Shandaken, which is the governmental body acting on behalf
of Phoenicia, never began the project.
Four years ago another engineering firm designed yet another system.
That proposal was put before Phoenicia voters in a referendum and
was narrowly defeated following what the town supervisor at the time,
Robert Cross Jr., later characterized as a tense misinformation campaign
by opponents of the plan.
Recognizing the community divide, the New York City Department of
Environmental Protection, which is supplying the funds for the design
and construction of the project, agreed to keep the funds available
and give Phoenicia more time to plan a system and reconsider.
Last year then-Supervisor Peter DiSclafani tried to advance a system
using alternative wastewater removal methods involving wetlands and
reed beds, but the DEP rejected the plan. Then, this past March, the
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation informed Shandaken
that routine testing of the Esopus Creek shows that the hamlet of
Phoenicia seems to be polluting what serves as the drinking water
for over nine million residents in the New York City area, as well
as for Phoenicia itself, in emergency situations.
As a result, the agency has informed the town of Shandaken that it
will begin further testing to locate the homes and businesses that
are to blame.
This week, Phoenicia Water Commissioner Ric Ricciardella - who was
one of the leading opponents of the previously-proposed system voted
down, along with his brother Mike - said that he felt DEC's report
was poorly prepared and inaccurate and that further testing was needed
before any conclusions were made about Phoenicia and any possible
contamination of the Esopus.
Reports are that Mike Ricciardella, a local restaurateur, has visited
several alternative sites with town and CWC officials in the past
month, along with his attorney. This spring, his comments were included
in the town's revision of a resolution seeking CWC's aide that had
been requested by the regional not-for-profit that monitors city activities,
both environmental and economic, within the region.
release states, "Both parties also recognize that with the many
challenges yet to come, the District may be best served by a change
in the administrative leadership. While both parties recognize that
a change in administrative leadership is desired, the school board is
also cognizant that many improvements have been made during Dr. Ford's
tenure as Superintendent."
In June the board did not renew Ford's contract that was due to expire
June 2011. No reason was given for Ford's early departure.
In the Central office on Thursday July 8, a resolution was passed unanimously
that approved the terms of a separation agreement with Ford. Five board
members were present; absent were Trustees Donna Flayhan and Rob Kurnit.
The public section of the meeting lasted nearly three minutes with no
comment given except that the agreement awaits Fords signature.
During a phone conversation, School Board President Laurie Osmond said
she could not comment on specifics.
"I signed an agreement that limits my comments to what is in the
press release," said Osmond.
Ford also offered no comment for this story.
Details on monetary and benefit settlements were also not made available.
A Freedom of Information request (FOIL) is pending.
However, Osmond did explain that the board would appoint a part time
acting Superintendent for the summer. A press release stated that the
board would meet Wednesday July 14 with the purpose of appointing someone.
Because of scheduling and vacations, the most likely candidate will
be Assistant Superintendent for Business Victoria McLaren. The board
also intends to act upon hiring an interim Superintendent in the coming
Osmond said they plan to act quickly on a Superintendent search utilizing
a BOCES service free of charge. Interviews will be conducted through
a shared decision team consisting of community members, administrators
Ford began her three-year contract in February, 2007 at a salary of
$155,000. It increased to $160,040 with an extension added to her contract
by the previous board. An additional $40,023 came in the form of benefits.
Ford initially worked in California and was hired following a national
search as agreed upon by a district wide shared decision-making process.
She was hired in a six-to-one vote by a previous school board. Mary-Jane
Bernholz was the sole no vote based on concerns stemming from the teachers
union over Ford's lack of experience with New York State education laws.
A majority of the board during that time supported a plan that would
work toward consolidating the district. This was designed to address
declining enrollment and a plan was introduced that would update the
facilities on two elementary schools (instead of three), as well as
the Middle and High school. When the board recommended closing Phoenicia
Elementary, a new board was elected in 2008 primarily to preserve the
community's much beloved school.
With a majority of the school board not in favor of consolidating the
district, a level of mistrust between the board, parents and Ford bubbled.
Incidences occurred where actions were taken that caused board members
and the public to look upon Ford's actions with suspicion. This became
apparent this past June when the administration merged two kindergarten
classes into one at Phoenicia Elementary. Accusations from the public
and board members were made that any overflow of students would be transferred
to Bennett. Ford would not immediately answer the board when asked if
the decision to combine kindergartens was already made before the final
student count was in. This was followed by public accusations that Ford
had an ulterior motive to close Phoenicia School by diminishing its
At a July 6 board meeting, the administration led by Assistant Superintendent
of Curriculum Katie O'Brien said the plan to merge the Phoenicia kindergarten
classes was put on hold until there is a closer count of what the classroom
sizes will be.
the Catskill Center gets together to elect new members to the Board
of Directors and present its Alf Evers Award for Excellence to someone
who's made big differences to the region, they'll do so by honoring
Dennis Lucas Sr., Supervisor for the Town of Hunter, CWT chairman, and
former state highway department employee.
Lucas has been chosen for his outstanding leadership and commitment
to community development in the Catskill Mountain Region. And Lucas,
as has long been his way since getting on to his municipality's town
board and defeating an incumbent CWT pioneer to become its supervisor
(later regaining his seat after losing it once), is humbly humorous
about being honored.
"I was rendered absolutely silent, which for anyone who knows me
is quite a thing," said Lucas. "But this is what candid, frank
conversation, as I've tried to bring to the Coalition over the past
two years, will always happily produce. It's all about entering partnerships
to better address joint concverns."
In addition to the awards ceremony and elections, the Saturday meeting
will feature a presentation by Al Wegener, organizer of the Shawangunk
Mountains Scenic Byway, who will share his experiences with the Scenic
Byway project and how this designation can be a tool for tourism development
in the Catskills. Participants will also be urged take the opportunity
to enjoy two featured activities in Margaretville and Arkville that
day: the Catskill Forest Festival and a ride on the Delaware and Ulster
First time nominees for the Board of Directors this year include Giacomo
Barbieri of Bovina Center, Susan Clark of Bovina, Laura Hussey of Delhi,
Patricia Rudge of Oliverea, and Jan Jaffee of Pine Hill.
For more information please call 586-2611 or visit www.catskillcenter.org.