You’ve got to hand it to those savvy politicians who know
how to work today’s world of grants. They’re starting
to bring in the dough.
An almost half-million dollar grant will enable Ulster County
and seven municipalities, including Shandaken, to streamline
operations by eliminating waste and duplication of services.
Governor David Paterson came to the County Bridge and Highway
Department recently to join with county and local officials
to make the announcement.
The $481,000 Local Government Efficiency program grant will
fund a more efficient process for the deployment of highway
department equipment through the purchase of new GPS equipment
that will determine where each vehicle is, where it is going,
and at what speed.
“This type of legislation will reduce waste. It will lower
the cost of doing business and it will also reduce property
taxes,” Gov. Paterson said.
The governor said they expect the grant will save Ulster County
taxpayers $4.7 million over the next 10 years.
The original municipal partners sharing in the grant are the
towns of Esopus, Kingston, Marbletown, New Paltz, Shandaken,
Shawangunk and the Village of Ellenville. Between them, and
the county, the GPS system will track 51 municipal and 190 county
vehicles. Additional municipal partners are the towns of Gardiner,
Hurley, Lloyd, Rosendale and Wawarsing. The county match is
Other grants for local government efficiency include $24,750
for Greene County to fund a Mountaintop Ambulance Shared Services
State Police at Kingston arrested an Arkville man on a charge
of having sex with an underage girl at a motel in the Town of
Shandaken last week. Carlos Peralta-Perez, 30, was charged with
third-degree rape, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful
imprisonment in the second degree. He was arraigned and remanded
to the Ulster County Jail on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond.
Two others were arrested pertaining to the case. Jorge Hernandez-Avila,
25, of Fleischmann, and Rebecca Alvarado, 19, were charged with
endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful imprisonment
in the second degree.
Police said both suspects assisted the girl and her juvenile
brother sneak out of their home and drove them to the motel
where the sexual encounter occurred. Both were arraigned and
remanded to the Ulster County jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail
or $20,000 bond.
Town of Shandaken Police assisted State Police in the investigation.
On Tuesday, July 21st, a training session on the identification
and survey for Asian long-horned beetle will be co-hosted by
The Nature Conservancy, NYC-DEP, USDA, and the NYS Department
of Ag & Markets. This training will be from 9am-4pm, beginning
at the Woodstock Firehouse and ending at Kenneth Wilson State
Park. Space is limited and reservations are accepted on a first
come/first serve basis with a preference to those who will be
able to train others. A second session open to general volunteers
will be held on Wednesday, July 22nd at the same locations and
same time. This training will build upon the increasing awareness
of forest pests, particularly with the recent discovery of emerald
ash borer in New York. The training is designed for those who
will survey the Catskills and surrounding areas for possible
forest pest outbreaks (i.e. ALB or EAB). Those interested in
identification, survey, and risks of forest pests, especially
our forests' first defenders including arborists, foresters,
road crews, hikers, hunters, campers, birders, scouts, and other
outdoor enthusiasts should consider attending. We hope to provide
continuing education credits to certified foresters and pesticide
applicators. Below is an agenda for this training session. Please
contact Troy Weldy (e-mail: email@example.com; phone: 518-690-7841)
to reserve your space.
Ulster County government recently released a three-county assessment
of housing needs for the period 2006-2020. This study of housing
availability in Orange, Dutchess and Ulster counties, titled
“A Three-County Regional Housing Needs Assessment,”
states, “With housing price declines expected in the near-term
period, residents may see some temporary relief in terms of
affordability… At the national level, affordability indicators
as of February 2009 indicate that pressures have subsided to
some degree due to price declines. This relief, however, is
likely to be short-lived. Once the national economy recovers
from the current downturn, affordability pressures are likely
to reemerge and increasingly burden both owner and renter households.”
The most important product of the three-county study, a “fair-share”
distribution of responsibility for affordable housing units
by municipality, analyzes the housing situation in each municipality.
Through fair share, local governments will be put on notice
about their obligations in regard to affordable housing. Every
municipality in the three counties can adjust its land-use laws
and make other changes in order to comply.
For the purposes of calculating affordability, the three-county
needs assessment study uses the 2006 median Ulster County house
price - at $244,665 near the peak of the market.
County planner Dennis Doyle, who played a principal role in
reviewing the three-county housing needs assessment study, contends
that the affordability gap for potential buyers of affordable
homes hasn’t diminished with a weakening real estate market.
With a tight lower-end for housing supply, rising interest rates,
more cautious lenders, an ominous situation in regard to property
taxes and extremely volatile energy prices, the drop in prices
hasn’t shrunk the affordability gap for buyers.
Doyle sees the rental situation as more promising. “No
matter where we are in the downturn, all three counties will
become more difficult for affordability,” he argues. “You
can afford to rent.”
According to a 2007 Ulster County survey, the vacancy rate for
rental housing from 2000 through 2007 had never been higher
than 1.8% - a seller’s market. Since that time, however,
the rental market has loosened considerably, and there is more
tenant choice. But Doyle’s Ulster County’s planning
office says that the 2008 preliminary housing survey indicates
a vacancy rate of 2.47% for non-subsidized housing - still tight.
Experts say a local rental vacancy rate of 5% is the historic
indicator of a balance between landlord and renter.
He points out that in the world of limited housing choices,
that rising vacancy rate could be a game-changer. Rents tend
to stabilize and eventually to drop when vacancy rates are high.
The needs assessment study identifies as most vulnerable those
buyers or renters with half the median household incomes or
less. Based on 2006 data, renters with an annual household income
of $26,174 would find themselves $164 short of the median rent
of $738 per month. The number of unbuilt “affordable”
rental units in Ulster County, 2473 in 2006, were projected
to be 3586 in the year 2020.
More in the coming months…
Private landowners with forestlands in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie,
Ulster, Sullivan, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester Counties
can apply for the 2009 Environmental Quality Incentives Program
(EQIP) through July 17. Earlier this month, the Watershed Agricultural
Council (WAC) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS) were jointly assigned $200,000 in EQIP funding, to be
directed specifically to clean-water and land conservation projects
in the New York City watershed region. EQIP is a voluntary conservation
program that provides financial and technical assistance to
landowners willing to implement practices that improve natural
resources on privately owned forestland.
NRCS is partnering with the Watershed Agricultural Council’s
Forestry Program to deliver the two EQIP Focus Areas. “Through
EQIP, forest landowners can apply for financial and technical
assistance in either the Forest Management Focus Area and the
Forest Wildlife Focus Area,” explained Tom Pavlesich,
Forestry Program Manager at the WAC. “Applicants interested
in improving forest management through forest health thinning,
crop tree release, controlling invasive or undesirable species
or controlling erosion on forest trails and landings can apply
to the Forest Management Focus Area. Landowners interested in
improving habitat for at-risk shrub or forest-dwelling bird
species can apply to the Forest Wildlife Focus Area. WAC Forestry
Program foresters will work with applicants from eligible counties
to plan practices and prepare an EQIP application that can include
thinning or removing trees for forest health, pruning mast trees
to increase wildlife food, or planting trees and shrubs for
wildlife food and cover.”
“For watershed landowners, the EQIP funding will subsidize
conservation measures that ultimately improve water quality,”
added Fred Huneke, WAC Chairman. “Trees and forested lands
are Nature’s water filters. In the NYC watershed, we work
extensively with the New York City Department of Environmental
Protections, U.S. Forest Service and U.S.D.A. on keeping surface
water clean for drinking. This latest infusion of federal funding
impacts both our local communities and our nine-million neighbors
downstream.” Each year — as part of a voluntary,
landowner conservation program — the WAC receives funding
from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection
(NYC DEP) to put practices similar to those proposed by NRCS
Landowners can apply for EQIP at their local USDA-NRCS office.
Landowners must have established property records with their
local USDA Service Center Agency and submit a completed EQIP
CPA1200 form prior to receiving assistance from the Watershed
Agricultural Council’s Forestry Program. The program is
competitive, and applications are ranked based on national and
state identified resource priorities and their overall benefit
to the environment. All applications must be received by the
local USDA NRCS office no later than July 17 to be considered
for the fiscal year 2009 funding. For additional conservation
program information please visit http://www.ny.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.
Call them now!
Ulster County lawmakers recently removed longstanding county
health director Dean Palen from his position, freezing he and
his wife/assistant’s pay pending investigation of several
questionable financial matters, and established a salary range
for the county’s next director of health, clearing the
way for County Executive Mike Hein to fill the slot.
In a 20-9 vote, legislators approved a pay range of between
$125,000 and $150,000 for the position, which under the county
charter must be filled by a physician. That approved salary
range carries a lower top salary than the $175,000 originally
proposed for the position, but more than the $140,000 top salary
sought by the Legislature’s Republican minority.
Hein later removed Dean Palen as the county’s health director,
replacing him in the interim with Nereida Veytia, a registered
nurse who had been the county’s director of patient services.
He said at the time that removing Palen, who is not a doctor,
from the post would help the county streamline its permitting
process and bring new technologies into the department.
Palen, whose annual salary was $102,847 at the time of his dismissal,
was appointed public health director in 1994, when the county
Legislature was controlled by Republicans.
Days after Palen’s dismissal, though, Hein announced the
discovery of 150 uncashed checks totaling some $32,000 in a
safe behind the desk of Palen’s wife, Deborah, who until
recently worked as Palen’s administrative assistant. In
addition to the checks, which were made out to the county and
dated as far back as 2000, the safe contained health permits
for businesses such as restaurants and camps that were filled
out but never issued as well as about $300 in cash, Hein said.
As a result of the discovery, Hein called on County Comptroller
Elliot Auerbach to conduct a complete audit of the Health Department.
Auerbach has said his investigation will focus, among other
things, on whether the public was put in any danger because
of the division’s failure to issue permits to businesses
that are required to have them. Hein also turned the information
over to Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright for
Several state audits over the years determined that a number
of restaurants and camps throughout the county operated without
permits under the Palen’s tenure. Palen is best known
locally for his role in facilitating the acquisition of the
Pine Hill water system by developer Dean Gitter in 1999.
People who snore are more likely to develop chronic bronchitis,
the hacking cough most often associated with cigarette smoking
or breathing polluted air, Korean researchers have reported.
But why snoring might lead to bronchitis is not clear, said
a team led by Inkyung Baik of Korea University Ansan Hospital
in South Korea.
The report, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine,
covered 4,270 men and women between 2001 and 2006. Of the group,
314 came down with chronic bronchitis.
“We collected information on snoring at baseline and identified
incident cases of chronic bronchitis during a four-year follow-up
period,” Baik’s team wrote.
After taking into account whether those in the study smoked
or were otherwise at risk for bronchitis, the investigators
concluded that people who snored five nights a week or less
were 25 percent more likely to develop bronchitis than those
who never snored.
The risk was 68 percent higher for those who snored six to seven
times a week. “Our findings provide support for the hypothesis
that snoring is associated with chronic bronchitis,” the
researchers wrote. It could be that snoring vibrates the upper
airways, stressing them and leading to inflammation, the researchers
We may be a bit soggy, but by no means all wet…
Consumer confidence is up 18 percent in the Hudson Valley during
the second quarter of the year compared to the same period last
year. The Quarterly Consumer Confidence survey released Wednesday
by the Siena College Research Institute shows the index was
52.9 in the second quarter 2008, compared with 62.5 during the
second four months of this year.
The Hudson Valley ranks third in the state behind New York City
The New York State Association of Counties, meanwhile, Wednesday
issued its June Economy Watch, which said the state is continuing
to experience “significant downward trends” in its
overall economic condition.
State leaders need to leverage funding from the federal stimulus
plan to stem any further decline in the economy, retain current
jobs and attack new business and employment opportunities, said
NYSAC President Sarah Purdy, who is Yates County administrator.
The tough economy and tight labor market have tarnished the
luster of a bachelor’s degree for young college graduates
seeking employment. New monthly survey data from the Center
for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston
finds that during the first four months of 2009, less than half
of the nation’s 4 million college graduates age 25 and
under were working in jobs that required a college degree. That’s
down from 54 percent for the same period last year.
“I’ve never seen it this low and we’ve been
analyzing this stuff for over 20 years,” said center director
The problem is most acute in the 25-and-under age group among
Asian female graduates and black and Hispanic male graduates.
The survey, of 60,000 households, found less than 30 percent
of Asian female grads, 32 percent of Hispanic male grads and
just over 35 percent of young black male grads working in jobs
that require a bachelor’s degree.
Research has shown that college graduates who take jobs below
their education level not only earn less, but also can take
years to match the earnings of graduates who land career-track
employment upon graduation. These so called “mal-employed”
workers also compound the unemployment problem by taking jobs
that non-college graduates and even high school students are
often qualified to hold.
The problem of “mal-employment” - working outside
one’s field of education, training and choice - has increased
sharply for young college grads since the recession began and
all signs suggest the trend will continue for the foreseeable
Employers expect to hire 22 percent fewer graduating seniors
for entry-level positions this year than in 2008, according
to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and
Employers. And 17 percent of surveyed firms said they’d
trim college hiring even more this fall.
Meanwhile, on a better note, many students struggling with federal
loans could soon lower their monthly payments or eliminate them
altogether. Under the Income-Based Repayment plan, available
starting this month, college graduates can cut their monthly
payments down to a rate tailored to their income and family
size. The initiative was started by the Project on Student Debt,
a nonprofit organization funded by the national Institute for
College Access & Success.
The biggest difference in this new initiative is that it’s
available to more students than its predecessor, officials said.
According to the new program, students pay 15 percent of the
portion of their income that is above the federal poverty line,
Irons said. Some don’t have to pay at all. Graduates whose
income is less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level
are exempt. The original initiative only applies to students
who receive loans through the Federal Direct Student Loan Program,
which is offered by the UI.
Maybe it’s simply better to keep learning…
Ulster County has received a $49,000 grant from the Hudson River
Greenway Council to help it work its municipalities to identify
and develop land use tools and investments to ensure that future
growth occurs in a compact, sustainable and environmentally
sensitive pattern. The goal is to use information on existing
infrastructure, zoning and comprehensive plans and policies
in each community to identify “priority growth areas”
and their appropriate land uses.
“Communities that define where they want growth will reduce
delays currently associated with the planning process, without
compromising environmental review,” said County Executive
“The best thing we can do to pursue smart environmental
planning is to integrate conservation planning with development
planning,” said Amanda Lavalle, coordinator of the county
Department of the Environment. “By knowing the appropriate
places on a town or county scale for development, we can better
evaluate other areas and protect them when appropriate.”
Ulster County lawmakers have finally agreed on a formula for
charging localities for elections services provided by the county.
The resolution, which passed earlier this month in a 24-5 vote,
is fairly identical to one rejected in May, with one key difference
— the county will now pay travel costs for elections inspectors
to attend county-run training programs.
Legislature Majority Leader Brian Cahill said that in the past,
the county Board of Elections had offered sessions throughout
the county, but will now only offer training at the Board of
“Transportation is problematic in terms of the mileage,”
said Cahill, D-town of Ulster. “That was the sticking
point and we relieved them of that by agreeing to pay mileage.”
The effort followed an outcry last year when the county attempted
to charge municipalities a total of $1.25 million for administering
the 2008 elections. A last-minute change in November lowered
that amount to $932,669, but still caught many communities that
had completed or were completing their 2009 budget off guard.
Under the proposal, the Board of Elections must provide a tentative
billing amount to each town by Aug. 15 of each year and an actual
bill by Dec. 15.
The county will pay up to $15,000 for inspector training each
year at a rate of 58.5 cents per mile as well as $125 for each
inspector for primary elections, $200 for general elections
and $20 for a chairperson in each district.
Falls Fall 2
In the second accident within a month at Kaaterskill Falls,
a hiker slipped and fell approximately 55 feet to the rocks
below. Despite the long fall, state police said the man managed
to survive with a few broken bones, ribs and some bruises. He
was then transported to Albany Medical Center without further
incident by helicopter.
The cause of the accident was initially reported as a combination
of the hiker leaving the clearly marked trail, and wearing what
were described as “improper footwear.”
This was the second serious fall in a month at Kaaterskill Falls.
The first, on June 13, proved fatal to a Georgia man, 32-year-old
Jeremy W. Mullins. A similar cause was given for that fall as
well when he slipped on loose shale and mud as he descended
from the top of the falls. He plunged 60 feet to the rocks below.
From Sunday, August 2nd until Sunday, August 9th, the Woodstock
Playhouse is looking for donated housing for two residency team
directors from Children’s Stage Adventures. The team will
be arriving that Sunday to bring their participatory residency
to the Woodstock Playhouse for one week. CSA will cast 50-60
local kids in an original musical production based on the Hans
Christian Anderson fairytale, “The Emperor’s New
Clothes” – with a wild west twist! The professional
theatrical team will lead this week-long residency through to
two performances on Saturday, August 8th at 11:00am & 2:00pm.
As part of the Playhouse contract with CSA, the Playhouse must
provide housing for the two team directors in two separate rooms.
Meals are not part of the hosting. If you’d like to help
the Playhouse with this fun filled venture – or if you
know somebody that would like to host - please contact the Playhouse
by calling the box office at 845-679-4101 and leaving a message.
Hudsonia, the nonprofit environmental research institute based
at Bard College, is offering a one-day workshop July 21 for
developers, environmental consultants, engineers, biologists,
site managers, regulatory officials, and policy-makers who want
to include biodiversity concerns in land use planning and site
design. The workshop will be from 5-8 p.m. at Norrie Point Environmental
Center in Staatsburg, by the Hudson south of Rhinebeck.
The workshop will cover threats to native biodiversity from
current development practices in the Hudson Valley siting and
design measures to minimize harm to sensitive habitats and species;
remote biodiversity assessments using readily available materials
to identify biological resources of concern; the strengths and
limitations of current “green” certifications; and
examples of innovative and effective projects and programs initiated
by developers and municipalities.
Participation is limited; registrations will be accepted on
a first-come-first-served basis. Contact Andrew Meyer (ameyer
@ bard.edu, 845-758-0600) for more information, or see Hudsonia’s
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County’s Eat Smart
New York Program will be offering the new program “Healthy
Nutrition Habits”, a free six part series beginning on
Wednesdays, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. Sessions will take place
at the CCEUC Extension Education Center located at 10 Westbrook
Lane in Kingston. The sessions will run on Wednesdays August
5,12, 19, 26 and September 2 and 9.
This program is open to all food stamp participants and low
to moderate income families and individuals residing in Ulster
County. Sessions will include various topics including food
budgeting, serving sizes, learning about food groups, eating
healthier by making better food choices, food safety and more!
Participants will gain valuable kitchen skills through hands-on
food demonstrations with CCEUC Nutrition Program Educator, Danielle
J. Garris. One on one session’s in the home can be arranged
for those without transportation.
All participants who complete six sessions of the program will
receive a Certificate of Completion from the Cornell Cooperative
Extension Ulster County’s Eat Smart New York Program.
For more information or to attend please call Barbara Grumberg
A new study recently released by the Center for Research, Regional
Education and Outreach at SUNY New Paltz concludes Hudson Valley
counties are being forced into unnecessary jail construction
at the cost of taxpayers.
The problem is that the very mechanism for deciding the issue
of construction is geared to autonomous, disconnected, county-based
solutions to housing needs. The state Commission of Correction,
which wields a hammer in deciding county compliance with state
standards for local jails, effectively looks at each county
as a free-standing actor, thus favoring a corresponding free-standing
solution to jail needs.
There are built-in inefficiencies to this approach. For instance,
women can’t be housed with men – or vice versa –
nor can a youthful offender be boarded with adults. Meanwhile,
the vast majority of prisoners are adult males. That means the
balance of a county’s jail housing unit of, say, 15 or
20 or more cells can be effectively taken out of service by
a single prisoner in a protected category.
By the SUNY analysis, the current and future needs of Hudson
Valley counties for jail space is already accommodated by existing
jail bricks and mortar. The report encompassed the incarceration
needs of Ulster, Dutchess, Greene, Columbia, Sullivan, Orange,
Putnam, and Rockland counties.
Remember last year when we reported new research into utilization
of the New York City reservoir system and its portage tunnels
as a possible energy supplier for the region?
Well, on July 9, the Senate Appropriations Committee provided
$60 million for the Water Power Research and Development program
at the Department of Energy in the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and
Water Development appropriations bill. This funding level for
marine and hydrokinetic technologies is $30 million above the
President’s budget request. On July 7, the House Appropriations
Committee approved $30 million for the program including a set
aside for up to $3.5 million for conventional hydropower .
“Four years ago, there was no federal recognition of marine
and hydrokinetic energy technology. Because of the hard work
of our Congressional supporters and OREC members, a new ‘Water
Power R&D’ program at DOE has been created and initial
funding to support the needs of this nascent industry has begun
to flow,” stated Sean O’Neill, President of the
Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition (OREC). “The commitment
from President Obama, this Congress, and the Department of Energy
shows growing confidence in the direction we’re heading
to provide clean renewable energy from the waves, tides, thermal
differentials, and currents — not only in the oceans but
in free moving fresh water and irrigation canals. We have seen
more than a ten-fold increase from last year’s Presidential
budget and growing support and excitement in Congress which
is turning into tangible results for this industry.”
As Congress continues the FY 2010 appropriations process, OREC
will maintain its efforts to work closely with our supporters
in the House and Senate to ensure the highest possible level
of funding for marine renewable energy technologies.
The libraries of the Mid-Hudson Library System are excited to
announce the addition of the Mango Languages online language-learning
system to the web sites of all local libraries in Columbia,
Dutchess, Greene, Putnam & Ulster counties. Mango is free
of charge to all library patrons, and is a fun, fast and convenient
solution for learning to speak a foreign language, focusing
on teaching actual conversation skills for a wide variety of
languages. Each lesson combines real-life situations and audio
from native speakers with an easy-to-follow interface and simple,
Because it’s completely web based, library patrons can
learn anywhere they have an internet connection — at the
library, a coffee shop, or even at home in bed. It’s so
effective and easy to use, you’ll be speaking a new language
after just one lesson! Mango Languages currently offers 12 language
courses — Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, French,
German, Italian, Greek, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, ESL for Polish
speakers, ESL for Spanish speakers, and ESL for Brazilian Portuguese
To access Mango grab your library card and visit your local
library’s web site: http://midhudson.org/libraries/ and
look for the “Mango Languages” button or “HOMEACCESS.”
Vernon Robert Depee, grandson of Robert and Marguerite Cross
of Woodstock and son of Vern and Bonnie Depee (graduates of
Onteora H.S.) participated in and won the first place gold medal
honor in the SkillsUSA Internetworking competition June 25 in
Kansas City, MO.
SKILLSUSA is the national organization for students in trade,
industrial, technical and health-occupations education. It sponsors
the SKILLSUSA Championships annually to recognize the achievements
of career and technical education students and to encourage
them to strive for excellence and pride in their chosen occupations.
The Internetworking contest consists of three main parts –
networking design, general networking knowledge and hands-on
evaluations. The networking design problem tests a contestant’s
ability to design functionality, scalability, adaptability,
and manageability of an internetworking system. The online written
portion tests the student’s complete knowledge of internetworking
concepts. The hands-on component demonstrates the abilities
of the contestant to make cables, troubleshoot network systems,
configure routers and switches and to deliver customer service
in a technical assistant center environment. The contestants
find errors in WAN and LAN networks; do n ISP configuration
using routers and switches; talk a technician through an error
they are having on their network; and take an online, certification
type test. The national contest is based on the most current
Vernon participated in the Post Secondary level national competition
in Kansas City after winning first place in the same category
of the North Carolina State SkillsUSA competition in Greensboro,
NC in April. He is a Computer Science sophomore at North Carolina
State University and is currently an Intern at Cisco.
Local artists, musicians, shop keepers and service providers
are coming together on Sunday August 2, 2009 from 12-6 pm at
Davis Park in West Shokan , New York to raise funds to offset
the mounting medical bills that are accumulating for breast
cancer survivor Maureen Odenwald, a 1980 graduate of Onteora
Central High School who now lives in Tucson, AZ. Odenwald, a
47 –year old dog trainer and animal behaviorist, who lost
medical coverage last year, had her second mastectomy in April
and is facing two more surgeries this summer.
Musicians including Dorraine Schofield and Friends, The Pontiacs,
The New Lazy Boys and others will provide a full day of music,
and local restaurants and grocers are providing food and beverages
for the day. A Silent Auction of goods and services, including
a hand made quilt, a therapeutic massage, a gift package from
the Emerson Inn and Spa, and a vacation rental in Vermont, and
more; will be offered to the public as will a special raffle
for an original oil painting of the Ashokan Reservoir by Olivebridge
artist, Kate McGloughlin. Tickets for this raffle can be pre
purchased by phone by calling 845-657-8761. To make your donation
by mail: Please make checks payable to: Maureen Odenwald, and
send to D. Odenwald, PO Box 114, Rte 28A West Shokan, NY 12494,
or to place your donation on your credit card, call Kim Tisch-Houska
at Threads of Time on the Boardwalk in Phoenicia, 688-7173.
For further information or to volunteer your time or service,
please call Kate at 845-657-8761, Peggy at 657-6632, or Kim
at 688-7173or Siobhan at 399-1432.
Hormone-like chemicals in plastics, pesticides and other products
pose “significant concern for public health,” possibly
causing infertility, cancer and malformations, a medical society
There is strong evidence that chemicals that interfere with
the hormone system can cause serious health problems, according
to a scientific report from the Endocrine Society. Although
scientists still have many questions about the chemicals, the
report says that it’s important for people to take a “precautionary
approach” by reducing their exposures.
The new report is the latest in a growing number of statements
from scientific groups warning of potential harm. Although the
Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe, Canada last year
declared the chemical to be toxic. The USA’s National
Toxicology Program last year also expressed “some concern”
over BPA’s effects on the brain, behavior and prostate
gland in children before and after birth. In 2007, a group of
38 leading researchers published a statement noting serious
risks from BPA.
The Endocrine Society decided to release the scientific statement
- the first it has ever issued - because these chemicals “affect
everyone,” says society president Robert Carey. The report
notes that 93% of Americans tested have been exposed to BPA
and says the society wants to provide accurate information to
lawmakers and regulators. Beyond summing up the latest science,
the report also catalogues what doctors don’t yet know
and lists the sort of research that still needs to be done.
The report notes that hormone-disrupting chemicals behave differently
than other toxins. For most toxins, the danger is in the dose,
with larger doses posing more risk than small ones. Because
the body is exquisitely sensitive to hormones, even small doses
can cause serious problems, especially if babies are exposed
during critical development windows, such as before birth. For
hormones, the timing of exposure is often far more critical
than the amount.
Disturbingly, the damage from hormone-disrupting chemicals can
sometimes be passed on to future generations.
Grand No More
Ulster County’s largest hotel, the 428-room Nevele Grand
Resort in Wawarsing closed its doors this week; whether it will
ever reopen is unclear. Apparently unable to sell the 500-acre
property for a reported asking price in the $20 million range,
owner Joel Hoffman of Stratford Business Corp has yet to release
a formal statement on the closure, which appears to leave about
120 employees, many of whom say they have been unpaid for 3
weeks, out of work. According to some, the hotel’s 75
golf carts had been recently disposed of, and last week John
Deere repossessed its mowers and tractors, which hadn’t
been run in over a month. Stratford acquired the hotel 9 years
ago for $15.8 million, and in recent years has been beset by
cash flow problems and creditors, along with a lawsuit from
Hoffman’s former partner seeking millions in unpaid business
committments. It had also been fined $40,000 by the state in
April for failure to carry worker’s comp insurance. The
hotel, in its better days, was once a major destination for
fine food, golfing, and celebrity entertainment and had more
recently been marketed as a spa-resort. It has also been discussed,
informally, as a potential spot for a casino in recent years,
which would take the pressure off similar proposals that have
been mentioned deeper into the Catskills.