to the Editor
I joined an organic food co-op in Manhattan in l978. I had a doctor
fix my broken ankle at the foot of the slopes in Stowe, Vermont and
went to a hospital to have my appendix removed, but by and large, I've
tried to avoid hospitals as much as possible, and haven't taken an aspirin
or a Tylenol for well over 25 years. To head off Jinxing myself, I have
my own health problems, and use selected doctors, but
I deal with those that allow me to avoid Big Pharma, since it is ingrained
in me as my personal health path. I believe in "Preventative Medicine",
and do not have a prescription drug plan.
However, being of an age where many of my friends and family are facing
inevitable health problems, I watch as many of them are taken to the
hospital for various surgeries, frequently bone surgery.
Being in hospitals in NYC is a difficult experience. My warning signals
went off when one of my friends, who had donated all of her organs,
was kept alive for almost a week, while they arranged to find homes
for her various organs. Another was denied re-hab, after surgery, simply
because the Social Worker didn't approve of it. He
then went home on his own, fell down, and now is re-applying for re-hab
I share these personal stories to help inform you that our health care
system is broken, not just because illegal immigrants are using the
emergency rooms, which I'm sure is a small part of the problem, but
because the entire system is based on greed and over-abundant profits
which unfortunately is the present American Dream. When you go to the
doctors office, and you are behind the salesman that is calling on the
doctor, you might wonder if the doctor profits from the prescription
drugs that he suggests you take. Well, he often sells them to you at
a reduced price from the pharmacy, but that's because he gets it wholesale
and marks it up a bit less. He also gets vacations in Hawaii.... or
trips to conferences at resorts.
Over the last 25 years, clinical research has been largely privatized,
along with everything else. To quote from the L.A. Times: "Three-quarters
of the clinical studies published in the three most respected medical
journals (the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American
Medical Assn. and the Lancet) are now commercially funded. As a result,
our medical knowledge grows not in the direction that best improves
our health but toward corporate profits, the way that plants grow toward
sunlight. The vast majority of clinical trials are commercially funded,
and with the financial stakes so high, there is mounting evidence of
individual scientists and corporations manipulating their findings."
When our government allowed the drug companies to advertise directly
to consumers in 1997, they did so to the tune of $19 billion annually.
Now, where is that money coming from? If we trust our doctors, then
why are we now told to "go to your doctor and ask him for Vioxx"?
Advertising money comes out of the profits of the product. So, if we
eliminate the drug advertising, (like it used to be when I was in advertising),
our drugs would be a lot cheaper.
Which brings me back to my familiar question: Why do we need more billionaires
and less middle class? Why are we not heeding the lesson that is right
in our face, regarding our beloved democratic
way of life? If we don't stand up for it, it will be taken from us.
It's really difficult for the Iranians to go from where they are to
where we are, but if we don't stand up for ourselves, we might lose
more of our own power.
We need to reform our Health Care System. I'm glad that Steve Jobs got
a new liver. I'm an Apple user and appreciate his brilliance, but, if
I needed a liver transplant,, what would my chances be? In my opinion
- none. There is still time to
get our country back, but not if we sit by and do nothing. Let's at
least start by telling our representatives that we want health care
The Town of Olive meeting hall was alive and kickin’ at the recent
standing room only Olive Dem caucus which to me was more fun than a
night out on the town with surprise, passion and drama spilling out
everywhere. I love to and will continue to nominate any challenger if
asked as that is the essence of what democracy is all about. Almost
any Olive resident can walk in, seek a nomination, make their case and
have their peers yay or nay placement on the party ballot line. Nominating
someone is easy, pleading a case for a ballot line is not and I admire
anyone who is confident and brave enough to do it. Countless have fought
and died for this right and I believe it important to assist anyone
in this priceless and hard won tradition whenever I am able to. Some
if not all of the Olive Dem leadership appeared to have a dim view of
this enthusiasm for choice but that is of no surprise nor concern to
me. I am saddened at the hard feelings encountered at the event but
I also believe that this is due merely to deep seated human nature and
that as the issues are more clearly defined by the electorate, they
will be mulled by all and it will all resolve well according to the
will of the masses. The old adage “If there is no shouting, its
probably not a democracy” certainly rang true but compared to
the wild west town further up the line and the interminable enchanted
caucusing in the kingdom to the east, I’d say that we were positively
genteel and quite efficient considering the high level of passions in
play. Olive Rocks. All of it.
I'm anxiously awaiting the results of the July 2nd meeting on Rte 28A.
What a mess. I am reminded everyday of the ineptitude of these people.
What was once a beautiful stretch of road is now a massacre of needlessly
flattened land and debris with a few more hastily cleared areas for
construction vehicles to park. And it's all neatly wrapped in an appalling
orange plastic bow.
Yesterday I saw a young fawn trying to follow it's mother frantically
trying to cross this man made barrier. Also thanks for the long traffic
light where you're lucky to see three cars pass at any given time.
Well obviously the money's been divvied up so someone's happy. Do you
really think straightening the road's going to help? Come on. The same
people that race through that stretch are just going to go faster causing
more needless injuries.
What's going to happen now? More deforestation because of their gross
miscalculations? I am seething from this. I think it's time we organize
and get to the bottom of this. Now, more than ever, we should be more
careful with taxpayer spending.
Many thanks to Paul Smart for his excellent article, “Doing it
the Olive Way: Neighbor’s Complaints About Site Plan Irregularities
Result in Harsh Words.”
I was shocked at the comments attributed to our elected and appointed
officials. For example, Town Supervisor, Bert Leifeld, spoke about me
“running around bitching about needing a site plan,” and
Zoning Enforcement officer, John Ingram, spoke about having “had
a terrible time” with me.
I t is true that I have spoken to, written to, and sent photographs
of zoning violations to our town officials, which they have consistently
disregarded, and now, as Mr. Ingram is quoted as saying about his approach
to zoning matters, “We’ve taken care of things pretty well
here. We’ve made it work very nicely. When it hasn’t worked
it’s been because of people like Alan.” Does he mean that
when citizens request that laws and regulations be followed, they are
somehow upsetting the comfortable “good old boys’ club”
of Olive – the folks who do not have to follow the laws the rest
of us must obey?
The issue isn’t whether or not “If we stir this up all it’s
going to do is make one big mess,” as Ingram is quoted as saying.
The issue is that our elected and appointed officials have not followed
the zoning laws that were written for all of us. I hope that they now
A site plan should not take years to submit, and should not be approved
after the site modifications have taken place. In fact, my concerns
are relatively minor, and the solution is even simpler: Follow the rules
that you made and enacted.
Beyond the normal site plan submission required by law, all I’ve
requested is that the flooding in the back and the front of my property
that was created by Mr. Jones constructing his new road, be corrected
in the fashion he and I have discussed -- and he has agreed to do --
on numerous occasions.
And another one bits the dust....Michelle Friedel, a knowledgeable and
experienced educator in both ciriculum planning and special education
resigned from the Onteora school board siting personal reasons; Maxane
Resnick, seated president of the Onteora School Board does not seek
reelection siting personal reasons; Ralph lLegnini, one of the elected
"fearsome four" resigns from the Onteora School Board after
only serving six month, siting irreconsiable differences with his own
elected majority....all in one year....coincidental?....maybe.
We also have a board seated for one full year who haven't even set goals
for their tenure.A board who seems to only look to disembowel our central
administration staff claiming high salaries and over staffing, when
in fact our administrators are only median in salary compared to the
rest of the county and the staffing is below average in population.
This is a board that chooses to fight every battle, large or small that
comes along and forgets they are there to set policy, direction and
goals, only, for the district. We have a talented , highly motivated
and experienced administrative and teaching population but this board
feels that they, more than our salaried staff, know the answers to all
the educational questions posed to our district.
The Onteora district population elected them with a primary goal of
keeping an elementary school open......well, they have but at whose
Wake up, Onteora...your student population has dwindled to 1692, as
predicted....your classroom sized are dwindling too one classroom per
grade size and the cost per student is rising to over 30,000.It's time
to set emotions aside and look to the best education, for our children,
that our money can buy.It's time to circle the wagons and tighten our
boundaries. Bring all the expertise that we are paying so sorely for
and put them in closer proximity so that together they can share with
our children the knowledge they were hired to impart.....CONSOLIDATE
our facilities....give these kids a whole, diversified solid education
that will really bring our district into the 21st century.
60% of personal bankruptcies are due to medical costs for people who
are insured! Tom from Portland, OR was in the hospital for 10 weeks
after a motorcycle accident. He had 21 liens on his house, before he
was released from the hospital,totaling $531,000. It is time to stop
this scenario and others like it. Support Single Payer Health Care aka
Improved Medicare for All. Take the profit out of health care, out of
the hands of the insurance companies and put decision making for your
health into the hands of your doctor. Currently, 30% of health care
cost goes to the insurance companies while medicare overhead is 3%.
If you want to cut health care costs, let's start with insurance company
profits. Call your representative for support of Single Payer Health
Care (HR 676). Call Hinchey at 1-845-331-4466, Gillibrand at 1-202-224-4451,
Schumer at 1-202-224-6542.
New Paltz, NY
I'd like to respond to M. Montalbono's 6/4 response to my 5/7 comic
First, don't get too mad at the Olive Press: They have little control
over me, and I have no control over them. Also, my li'l strip wasn't
news, it was editorial. (Few sensible people expect news or objectivity
from a comical strip.)
Second, and I do hope this doesn't further enrage Mr. Montalboro, but
I'm pleased he got so mad. Means the strip sorta worked. But I DO think
that Congressional Republicans are dominated by white southern racist
men. Yes, the term "racist" is loaded, but that shoe seems
fit rather well. (The only measured group of white voters who went for
Obama was first-time white voters.) And, yes, too, scorched-earth attacks
are not nice. But Congressional Republicans have been earth-scorching
since the 1990s. If those heirs of Gingrich aren't quite still scorching,
it's only because they're out of ammo. (Chickens coming home to roost,
wearing little shoes?)
By the way, I'm a poor example of a liberal Democrat. More of a crackpot
libertarian. Before '96 I voted overwhelmingly for Republicans.
Third, some quibbles. What "over 50% of the US electorate"
is he talking about??! Surely not Republicans or even conservatives.
I perceive only two over 50% groups: Females, and those too lazy to
vote or even pick a side.
And if he wants to see some really antagonistic "journalism,"
he should check out the stuff they were publishing around 1800. Now,
THAT stuff was CRAZY.
PS: That third fellow in the 5/7 strip was supposed to be John Boehner,
House Minority Leader. From southern Ohio? Heh heh?
goofball cartoonist (male stripper?)
Do you realize that if McCain were president, we would already be at
war with Iran and Honduras?
The Age of Transparency and potential political fraud seems to have
gone right over the arrogant halos of national journalists. No wonder
the print media is going downhill so fast.
The Associated Press, the national news stereotype, has foundered because
of apparent bias toward Democrat Barack Obama. Does the rest of the
MSM march in lockstep with the AP?
Is Obama waiting for the next presidential cycle to come clean about
his citizenship status? He may be just giving us poor ordinary citizens
enough line to embarrass ourselves. Or maybe spending a million on covering
up his long-form birth certificate, academic and passport records through
Perkins and Coie, et al., and Strumwasser and Woocher, active in fighting
more than 40 lawsuits filed across the country that seek to bring out
the facts, is just bothersome metal chaff to avoid all attacks on his
John L. Grogan
I write this letter simply because there is very little coverage of
the following issue in the mass media and many, many people have no
idea what has occurred.
Twenty three miles off the coast of Gaza, on June 30 in an open act
of piracy, in international waters, Israeli Occupation Forces attacked
and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the Spirit Of Humanity, abducting
21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate
Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
The boat had left from Cyprus after being thoroughly inspected by Cypriot
authorities and only after it was determined that the Spirit was carrying
medical supplies and other humanitarian necessities such as toys and
olive trees. There was nothing on board whatsoever that could or would
threaten Israeli security.
Cynthia McKinney, the former U.S. Congresswoman, said, “This is
an outrageous violation of international law...Our boat was not in Israeli
waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip. President
Obama just asked Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies,
and that’s exactly what we tried to do.”
According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report, the
Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair.” Thousands
of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel’s December/January
massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion
in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material
into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are desperate
to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel’s disruption
of medical supplies.
”The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of
Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be
able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools,
hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of ‘Cast
Lead.’ Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we
stand by them and that they are not alone” said fellow passenger
Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern
Just before being kidnapped, Huwaida Arraf, the Free Gaza Movement chairperson
and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: “No
one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort
of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and
children’s toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate
and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received
a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed,
and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters.”
What kind of cruelty is this? Has Israel no shame or sense of humanity
I was raised in a Jewish family very loyal to the idea of a Jewish homeland
in Palestine - a refuge for a persecuted people. However, as time went
on, I began to see and understand the reality of political Zionism,
the same political and militaristic Zionism that Albert Einstein, who
also had initially supported the Zionist idea of a Jewish homeland in
Palestine, warned us about. As I understood more of the unscrupulous
grab for land and power, with little regard for the Palestinians living
there for centuries, the myths, lies and distortions promulgated by
Zionists became obvious to me and it became increasingly easier to see
through the fog to the deeper truth.
I just read a statement from the Free Gaza movement regarding the kidnapping
of the 21 international human rights workers and the boat Spirit of
Humanity, which speaks volumes. I hope people of good will, Jewish and
otherwise, can take the following to heart.
”With respect, it is not enough. We are not the story. Since its
founding in 1948, the State of Israel has regularly kidnapped and tortured
Palestinians, throwing them into forgotten prisons where they can languish
for years. Today, over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners without
benefit of due process, some never even charged - men, women, and children
- endure torture and isolation in Israeli jails, outdoor prison camps,
and secret black sites. They come from all walks of life: doctors, journalists,
parliamentarians, workers, resistance fighters, homemakers, students
and others. They are our sisters and brothers. The 21 passengers aboard
the Spirit of Humanity have been illegally incarcerated for their solidarity
work with Palestine. 11,000 other members of our common human family
are already imprisoned simply for being Palestinian.” For more
information please go to http://www.FreeGaza.org.
As the war in Iraq continues, it often seems like there's nothing we
can do about the terrible situation there. However, now there's a concrete
way you can help someone from Iraq.
Currently, I'm assisting an Iraqi refugee, who moved to New Paltz in
February, as she tries to buy a used car. Our goal is to raise at least
$1,000. She has an immediate need for transportation because in July
she'll begin courses in Kingston in preparation for finishing her M.B.A.
Amal Maseer is a courageous woman and gifted artist. After her home
was bombed twice and her then 6-year-old son's front teeth were blown
out by a car bomb, she fled to Jordan. Through the support of Michele
Riddell in New Paltz and the intervention of U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey
and Queen Rania of Jordan, she was granted refugee status in the United
States. Trained as an economist and math teacher, Amal has been supporting
herself by selling her beautiful paintings.
Amal is in desperate need of transportation and housing. Since late
February, her family has lived with Michele in extremely cramped quarters.
Amal shares a small bedroom with her sons, ages 10 and 12, who sleep
in a bunk bed while she has a single bed squeezed into their room. Abeer,
her lovely 16-year-old daughter, has a small separate bedroom. In addition
to the lack of space, you can imagine how difficult it is to share a
home with another family in a completely different culture.
If you can spare any amount from $5 to $100, it would help us reach
our $1,000 goal. Please send cash or a check made out to me: Paula Silbey,
PO Box 156, Lake Hill, NY 12448. If you want to make a larger donation
and need it to be tax-deductible, please contact me and we'll try to
funnel the money through a local non-profit peace organization.
Also, if you know of anyone with a used car that they'd be willing to
sell inexpensively, please contact me. If by some lucky chance someone
can donate a vehicle, we'll use the raised money for upfront housing
costs such as deposit and last month's rent.
Thank you, in advance, for your support.
Lake Hill, NY
A fantastic day was had by all who attended the Shandaken in Bloom!
Garden Tour, sponsored by the Shandaken Democratic Committee. Great
appreciation for the following people who opened their garden treasures
to glowing admiration: Marvella Casale, Peter DiModica and Chandra Lencina,
Mary Herrmann, Marilyn Manning,Tom Mohan, Sean Mounier, and
What a wonderful day! Thanks to all!
Susan Robertson and Michelle Spark
Shandaken Democratic Committee
We Americans do manage to get our world messed up for sure. Here we
have valiantly struggled to insure freedom of the press and here we
are not buying papers but getting news on the internet from the fewer
and fewer papers being published. Much of the news is now in the hands
of papers backed by powerful groups who use the press for political
purposes. If you have stopped buying newspapers but are instead going
to the internet, reconsider your move.
Friends and Family of Maureen Odenwald, a 1980 graduate of Onteora Central
High School, are hosting a Benefit Concert and Silent Auction on Sunday,
August 2, 2009, from 12 to 6 pm at Davis Park in West Shokan, New York,
to raise funds to offset the medical costs related to a recurrence of
breast cancer. Maureen had her second mastectomy in April and is awaiting
two further surgeries later this summer.
Our good friends, The Pontiacs, Dorraine Schofield and Friends, The
New Lazy Boys and other surprise guests will provide music for the day,
and local restaurants and grocers are donating food and drinks for this
Goods and services for the Silent Auction are still being sought and
can be dropped off at Threads of Time on the Boardwalk in Phoenicia,
or by calling Kim at 688-7173. Already we have collected amazing donations
from local artisans and business owners. There will also be a special
raffle for an original oil painting of the Ashokan Reservoir by award
winning local artist, Kate McGloughlin (who was Maureen ‘s college
roommate). Only 100 tickets will be sold, 5 chances for $100 or single
chances for $25 each, while tickets last. Call Kate to reserve a ticket
soon, at 657-8761. Drawing for the raffle and close of the Silent Auction
will be at 5 pm that day.
Please come and out and support our friend at this great day of music,
fellowship and feasting; you may not know Maureen, but we bet you know
someone just like her—hardworking, responsible, bill paying, fun
loving, and unable to keep up with the rising cost of medical insurance--
exactly when she needs it most. We know that Breast Cancer can happen
to anyone of us, and that the rising cost of medical insurance is keeping
all of us humble. Suggested donation for the day is $25 for adults,
$10 for kids, children under 5 are free. If you can’t come to
the event and want to help, please make checks payable to Maureen Odenwald,
and send in care of D Odenwald, PO Box 114 West Shokan, NY 12494. For
further info, call Maureen’s sister Peggy Maldonado at 657-6632,
or Siobhan Scanlan at 399-1432.
The Friends of Maureen
Darlene Beesmer Griffin
Kim Tisch Houska
Suzanne Parkes Large
Marian and Dorothy Odenwald