Up on the News
Catskills Live! and Shandaken Cub Scout Pack 30 are among the local
organizations and individuals who have placed weatherproof containers
holding small, tradable objects in locations around Ulster County.
Instead of drawing treasure maps, geocachers obtain precise latitude
and longitude readings of each hiding spot with a Global Positioning
System (GPS) unit and post the coordinates on www.geocaching.com,
along with descriptive information about how to get to the location.
Anyone can log onto the website, pick a cache, and hunt it down using
a GPS unit or topographical map. Finds are then logged onto the website
with comments, creating a lively community of geocachers.
Last August, the Cub Scouts placed eleven geocaches, one near each
of the Shandaken hamlets, as part of the 2008 Shandaken Day festivities.
Calling their project the Shandaken Challenge, the scouts hiked to
each site to place the caches and did research on the area to provide
historical and geographical information for seekers to read on the
geocaching website. Craig Apolito of Catskill Outback Adventures,
who rendered assistance to cubmaster Ken Booth in getting the project
underway, commented, “The kids enjoyed it and felt they did
something good for the community.” Apolito also reported that
because of his wilderness guide business, he’s been getting
lots of calls about geocaching from visitors to the area.
By the end of this summer, Catskills Live! plans to place fifteen
caches throughout the county for the New York State Quadricentennial
Challenge, in honor of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s
first voyage to the New World. As of June 25, four caches had been
hidden. “We’ve chosen places that connect to the Hudson
River, the Hudson Valley, and the native people of the region,”
explained Nolan. “We’re also highlighting parts of the
county that people wouldn’t otherwise find. Geocaching encourages
people to get into the wilderness and increase their activity, which
reduces obesity—but we don’t want anyone to find out,
because geocaching is so much fun—it’s better not to know
that it’s also good for you.”
Geocaching takes children’s fascination with technology and
uses it to get them out in nature. “It’s a great family
activity,” noted Nolan. Assisting with the project is Paul Rubin,
a hydrogeologist who formerly directed educational programs at Howe
Caverns. Rubin and his 13-year-old daughter, Julia, recently found
their 100th geocache. “He has given us information about geology,
history, and all kinds of facts to put in the descriptions of locations
on the website, letting people know the sorts of things they might
observe there,” Nolan noted. “Then when you go to the
area, you come to understand it in a deeper way.”
Like the typical geocache, each Quad cache contains a log book for
discoverers to sign. Thanks to grants from the Ulster County Department
of Health and the Hudson River Greenway, each cache also has a numbered
commemorative Quadricentennial coin, which the finder is meant to
take home, log into the website summary for that location, and then
pass on to another cache. “The etiquette is that you bring little
objects or toys with you, and if you take something, you put something
in of equal or greater value,” said Nolan. The Quad caches contain
such items as small plastic animals, Quad memorabilia, stickers, educational
materials, rocks from the area, and an Explore New York flag for the
first finder. “There are a couple of dozen small items, and
they change day to day, depending on what people put in and take out,”
Another principle of geocaching is “Cache in, trash out.”
Enthusiasts are encouraged to be fastidious about not leaving behind
litter and to carry a bag for removal of any trash they may find.
What about the risk of damage to the environment from so many explorers
tramping around the woods? “There are geocachers who go out
and are not sensitive to the area,” admitted Nolan. “They
just get focused on the goal, they drive up as close as they can,
and they grab the cache without even looking around. There is a danger
of turning it into something that objectifies nature. But mostly it
gives families a goal that doesn’t involve shopping or competition.
It requires attention to the surroundings to find the cache. We’ve
placed caches where there are trails built for foot traffic, areas
that can handle the increase in numbers. If we find places are getting
trampled too much, we’ll move the caches.”
However, a potentially serious problem relates to those placing caches
in sensitive areas. When Catskills Live! approached the Esopus Bend
Nature Preserve about putting a cache on their land, officials of
the preserve said someone had sited a cache, without asking permission,
in a bird-nesting zone. The administrator of www.geocaching.com refused
to post coordinates for the Quad cache at the peak of Mt. Tremper
until Nolan supplied copies of Rubin’s correspondence with the
New York State Department of Conservation approving the placement.
Peaks are considered fragile areas and require an extensive permitting
process to make sure they are protected. “It’s important
that people hiding caches ask permission,” noted Nolan, to make
sure they are not harming the environment.
The geocaching website lists 359 caches within 25 miles of the Phoenicia
zip code. Geocaches are also located in cities. There’s one
in the Kingston Peace Park and another on the Woodstock town green.
To find a list of Quad caches, go to www.geocaching.com, click on
“Hide and Seek a Cache” in the left-hand column, scroll
down to “Hidden by Username”, and enter the term “catskillslive”.
A simple GPS unit costs about $100 and is required for hiding caches,
but a topographical map is sufficient for finding them. Nolan hopes
to raise money to purchase GPS units that local libraries and the
Pine Hill Community Center can loan out.
The Rubins will present a free Family Geocaching Workshop at the Community
Center on Sunday, July 5, at 10:00 a.m. For more information, see
www.pinehillcommunitycenter.org, www.catskillslive.org, exploreny400.com,
and Bernie Hamling were Pine Hill dwellers back then. They had a building
right on Main Street that Bernie’s Company, Zircar Products,
Inc., had been using to house a research and development arm of the
When they heard of plans of a non profit group forming to create a
community center, the Hamlings immediately offered the mammoth stone
block structure for use, donated for a dollar a year.
Now, almost a decade later, the Center has become such a part of the
community that the Hamling’s have donated the building outright.
All are invited to celebrate the recent donation of the property at
287 – 289 Main Street, Pine Hill on Sunday July 12 from noon
until 2:00 PM. The Center will hold their Annual Membership Meeting
from noon until 1 and then celebrate the Hamling’s generosity
with a free pulled pork BBQ.
“I have seen the Community Center grow and become a solid organization
over the nine years it has existed;” said Florence Hamling,
who now resides in Fleischmanns. “We are pleased to offer this
gift to the Pine Hill and surrounding communities. With continuing
support from neighbors and friends, we’re certain the Center
will always be a special place for activities, education, music and
art, remaining a beacon of grassroots, non-partisan community effort
in Pine Hill forever.”
The building began as Griffin’s Garage in the 1920s. It was
then purchased by Domenick and Mary LoFrese in 1975 and converted
into an eyeglass factory, Vista Optical. Now the building has a warm,
welcoming feel and houses a local art and craft shop, a stage, an
internet radio station, a computer lab, a pottery studio, a full kitchen,
and various meeting and office spaces.
James Krueger, the Center’s Director, was pleased as punch with
the Hamling’s generosity.
“We have been given a beautiful space,” he said “We,
meaning the whole community, are fortunate to be the recipients of
such a generous gift.”
As owners of the property, the Board of Directors behind the center
are kicking kick off a go-green campaign to raise funds to make the
property more energy efficient and help the Center utilize new technologies
for shrinking their carbon footprint as well as their monthly bills.
Having recently completed a New York State Energy Research and Development
Authority (NYSERDA) energy audit, the Center needs$18,000.00 for work
suggested by the Authority’s report.
Ulster Savings Bank has already stepped up to the plate with a check
for $2,500 to the Center to help them complete the necessary work.
They have also given a commitment for another check in the same amount
if the Center can match it.
For more information call 254-5469 or visit www.pinehillcommunitycenter.org.
are the favorite events for political watchers, for they are where
the town’s political parties decide which candidates are officially
endorsed and placed on the November ballot. All interested in running
will have an opportunity to make their case to the parties’
rank and file, who will vote right then and there to decide who gets
The Republicans will be the first to caucus, setting their event for
Thursday, July 16th in the Glenbrook Park Pavilion. Actual time of
the event was not immediately available, but it is expected to take
place in the early evening.
While only enrolled Republicans can vote at the caucus, it is open
to the public and remains the best opportunity to hear first hand
how potential candidates view the state of the town and what their
respective campaign platforms are.
Those same rules apply to the Democratic Party, which has set its
caucus for 6:30pm Tuesday, August 11th, also at the Glenbrook Park.
This year races will be held for Town Supervisor (2 year term), two
town council seats (four year terms), Superintendent of Highways (two
year term), two Town Justice seats (four year terms), and one Tax
Assessor to complete the four year term of Assessor Rose Rotella,
a Democrat who resigned this year after only a few months in office,
as well as another tax assessor position currently held by Democrat
Anything can happen at a caucus. As long as an enrolled party member
nominates someone for endorsement and another enrolled party member
seconds that request, the person nominated comes under consideration.
Expect the Phoenicia Sewer issue, Crossroads Ventures’ still-kicking
development plan for the Highmount area, and economic development
strategies to top the list of issues under discussion.
Expressing interest for the Republican nod for Supervisor so far is
seated councilman Rob Stanley, whose first four year term ends this
year. Jack Jordan, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for town council
two years ago, is expected to give it another go this time around
for Stanley’s vacating seat.
Phoenicia resident Patricia Ellison, a Democrat, has expressed an
interest in running for town council as well, but so far appearsmost
interested in crossing party lines to get a Republican endorsement
as well as her own party’s nod.
On Tuesday, Ellison said that some members of the Republican leadership
had asked her to consider the run. She has all but made up her mind
to, but stopped short of saying that it was a for sure thing.
In the past Republicans have prevented non-party members from seeking
GOP endorsement. That policy changed two years ago when Keith Johnson,
a non-Republican, sought the party’s nod to run for Highway
Superintendent and got it only to lose in the general election to
Eric Hofmeister, a Republican who received Democratic endorsement
that same year.
Both Hofmeister and Johnson are expected at the Republican Caucus
this year, as well as another Republican seeking the highway supe
position... Republican Robert Cross Jr., a two term Town Supervisor
who was shunned by his own party when he considered a third term in
2007, but has expressed interest in running for Superintendent of
Names of hopefuls for the Justice Seats and Assessor were unavailable
at press time. But both incumbents, Republican Tom Crucet and Democrat
Mike Miranda, have announced plans to seek re-election.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have announced that Peter DiSclafani, currently
serving his first term as Supervisor, will be seeking re-election
as will Town Board member and fellow Democrat Doris Bartlett.
DiSclafani has no plan to seek cross endorsement from the Republicans,
“I have Republican supporters,” he added. “If there
was no other candidate going to the Republicans I would consider it,
but it looks like that’s not the case this year.”
It remains unclear whether the Democrats will change their open door
policy and allow only enrolled members to seek endorsements.
In a separate
phone call Wolff provided no other information except “no comment”
before hanging up. Friedel did not return calls.
Friedel and Wolff are an addition to a growing number of trustees
who have resigned recently. In April 2008, Trustee Herb Rosenfeld
resigned a year into his second term. He stated at the time that he
disagreed with the direction the district was going in and his opinion
held no weight. In February 2009, school board president Ralph Legnini
resigned after seven months into his first term explaining that divisions
ran too deep in order to make any progress.
Wolff and Friedel ran as a team; both live in the town of Olive and
have one year left on their three-year term.
The board can choose to do nothing, hold a special election, or appoint
two people to fill the vacancies. Trustee Anne MacGillicuddy suggested
the board wait and decide what to do next when five trustees are present,
including newly-elected board member Tony Fletcher.
Absent from the recent meeting was Donna Flayhan. Resnick ends her
term July 1.
The board holds its official reorganization meeting, when it chooses
new officers, on Tuesday night, July 7, starting at 6:00 PM at the
Junior/Senior High School cafeteria in Boiceville.
In other recent news…
As mandated by policy, the school board has conducted an evaluation
outlining its strengths and weaknesses of the past year. A survey
sheet was distributed for members to fill out before the recent meeting
and Resnick noted that trustees Flayhan and Dan Spencer did not fill
out the sheet.
Resnick read from the survey and the overall comments painted a negative
picture about how the board conducts business. However, she noted
that the board has been successful in attempts to communicate with
the public and offer transparency at meetings.
Some of the complaints given were: lack of trust and respect between
board members and administration; individual conversations being held
between board members while keeping others out of the loop; and not
completing responsibilities such as goals.
Resnick said, “In the interest of trying to be productive on
this, I think we can all agree we have had our share of communication
problems and substantively the board never did come to an agreement
on goals this year and that certainly seems like a big missing piece
on what our work should be.”
Trustee Laurie Osmond said she studied how other school districts
have constructed goals, noting that in comparison, their own goals
seemed too “wordy and weighty.”
Assistant Superintendent Kathy O’Brien explained that the two
curriculum based studies, CDEP and Strategic Plan must be linked together
with board goals.
“CDEP has it’s own goals and we were trying to figure
out how to integrate that, and how to monitor that throughout the
year,” she said.
McGillicuddy said her suggestion would be to, “work together
to create a timeline for board members to stay on track and accomplish
Spencer voiced his concerns: “As someone coming new into these
meetings, I didn’t know what to expect and what I would first
like to say is that I feel like once I joined this group, I felt kind
of isolated immediately. I am really not happy with the meetings lasting
so long and I think we are putting too many things on the plate, so
we are doing a lot of things not very well instead of a few things
O’Brien added, “Building trust and collaboration among
each other and with us would really move us forward, because it makes
me sad to hear that Dan feels that way…”
Resnick, whose last meeting was the recent session, agreed.
“I would stress that the board needs to find better ways to
work with themselves; we just witnessed two more board resignations
and that’s not a great thing.”
Regarding resolutions at the recent meeting, the school board awarded
a bid to Arold Construction for $145,000 to cover the cost of installing
a new water system at the Boiceville site. Tim Moot of Clark Patterson
Lee engineering firm said no one bid on the lower projected cost of
$118,000, therefore the next bid that came in was from Arold Construction.
Moot added that the board could put out a re-bid, but could not guarantee
a lower bid and the project would not be completed by the autumn.
The board voted unanimously to move forward. The new water system
will remove the high amounts of iron and Manganese found in the school’s
The board also voted unanimously to award a bid to S & L Roofing
Sheetmetal Inc for $545,500. This is to repair and replace parts of
the Middle School roof. The money came from a voter approved capital
reserve fund created two years ago that targeted money to repair the
roof, pave the parking lot at the High School and electric upgrades.
Are All With Neda
shot by pro government forces in Iran. The video of her dying was
caught on film. Although it is disturbing, I believe that everyone
should watch it.
“Don’t be afraid Neda, don’t be afraid,” someone
pleads. For a second I hold my breath. She might be okay I think.
But as soon as her eyes roll back in her head and the blood starts
coming out of her mouth and then her nose, the pleas turn into “Don’t
leave, don’t leave Neda.”, And then you know you just
watched this poor helpless girl die.
Neda is the voice behind the Persian people. Neda stands for freedom.
Neda stands for liberty. Neda stands for equality.
I’m a Persian American. I’m proud of my heritage.
I’m proud of the freedoms afforded to me in this country and
that’s what all Persians want. Freedom, Equality and Liberty.
The news from Iran hasn’t gotten any better. In fear of reprisals
and the oppression that is being perpetrated in Iran I wont mention
my sources but here is some news coming out of Iran.
The government has hired Hezbollah members and outsiders. They are
not Iranian. They are being brought into the country to kill and beat
The Basij are known as Iran’s moral police. They beat you if
you don’t follow the rules set forth by the religious government.
From some of the information I have been getting they are waiting
for the injured to come to the hospitals and then quickly herd them
into vans and poof they are gone. Sounds like the killing fields to
The government has killed more people than has been reported.
Journalists have been kicked out or detained. They are constantly
trying to block feeds from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube and to the
web. Email and correspondences are being watched and filtered.
The bulldogs are out. The threats coming out of the leadership in
Iran is distressing. They call for executions, and the suppression
of any form of public discourse.
Neda means voice or call in Farsi. Her death should not be in vain.
Her name should be the voice of the Persian people. Her call should
be a call to freedom, a call for international support for the Persian
The symbolism and irony behind her name is uncanny. She is a hero,
an innocent killed by the bullets of tyranny. She will always be my
hero, now. She also represents the many other nameless heroes that
have met the same destiny, for people are getting killed daily for
trying to stand up to the oppression and intimidation taking place
Neda exemplifies to the world that the people in Iran stand for peace
and want nothing more than to coexist peacefully with the world. They
don’t want to live under the oppressed laws of a few men. They
don’t want to annihilate whole countries. They don’t support
It is Persian custom to mourn the death of someone on the 3rd, 7th,
40th and 1 year anniversary of someone’s death. I ask you to
think about Neda on those days. Light a candle, wear black. Anything.
Don’t let Neda’s death be in vain. The 3rd already passed.
The 7th day fell on June 27th, the 40th is on July 30th. Neda is on