to the Editor
I read of the passing of Ed Bolsetzian in this latest issue of "the
Phoenicia Times". Once again, an obituary, while succint, seems
inadequate to describe the deceased it is written about. Having known
Ed Bolsetzian, I knew him to be a unique character whose breed is nearly
extinct. As such, I feel compelled to write a bit more about the man.
I first became aware of Ed Bolsetzian when we relocated to Shandaken
in about 1990. Having young children attending the Onteora schools,
I had reason to attend Onteora Central School District meetings. Ed
and his wife, Betty were regular fixtures at these meetings. Ed would
be dressed in his usual attire of a flannel shirt or heavier wool work
shirt and a worn and frayed striped locomotive engineer's cap. Given
a chance to speak, Ed would demand to know why the school dristrict
was not "teaching the work ethic", and usually close his remarks
with something like; "It's a jungle out there". At one such
OCSD meeting, some woman heard Ed speak out against expenditures and
similar. He had descirbed how the closest to a college education he
had come was passing the front gate of a college campus. He went on
about how the students at OCSD needed to be taught the work ethic and
learn honest trades and similar. When he wound down, some well-intentioned
woman looked at Ed and said something like "I understand your viewpoint
and feel your pain" before attempting to offer a counterpoint to
Ed's arguments. The woman stopped to draw a breath and Ed roared into
the breach. Ed was not that tall, but it seemed like he went up one
side of that woman and down the other, lecturing her about not knowing
hard work and hard times, and how unprepared she as well the OCSD students
were in his opinion. I looked at Ed and between his way of speaking
and precise nature, and looking at his hands, I figured him for another
oldtime machinist or similar. Inwardly, I was cheering for Ed, as I
immediately saw him as the type of oldtimer who had "broken me
in" when I worked part time in machine shopsas a high school kid.
As I was to find out, I was on the mark. I really cannot recall how
or when I was first introduced to Ed Bolsetzian, but I know it was by
way of the Catskill Mountain Railroad no long after seeiing and hearing
him at the school board meetings..
Ed found out I was a mechanical engineer and had worked as a machinist,
so there was some commonality. In truth, Ed had a deep-seated suspicion
of anyone with an engineering degree or professional engineer's license
and let me know as much. What finally cut it with Ed was when he found
out I had graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and had worked
as a machinist. That got me some credability with Ed and I got to know
Ed a bit better as the years passed.
Ed graduated from Brooklyn Tech during the Great Depression. He was
born of Armenian immigrant parents in very modest circumstances. For
Ed, going to Brooklyn Tech HS was a dream. entering Brooklyn Tech, Ed
studied hard and appeciated the education he was getting. Unfortunately,
due to family circumstances (Ed's dad was disabled and unable to work)
and the overall effects of the Great Depression, Ed had to leave Brooklyn
tech to take a job with a photo-engraving firm. Ed told me he hated
the job, and longed to get back to Brooklyn Tech. He was a crusty oldtimer
when he related this to me, but he told me he broke down and cried,
not wanting to work int he photo engraving field and wanting only to
get back to Brooklyn Tech and try to work into the machine trades. Ed's
sister withdrew from high school to take a job to support the family,
and Ed re-entered Brooklyn tech. He said he had to study hard to catch
up, but dug back in and graduated from the Mechanical Course with the
class of 1933.
Ed became a tool and diemaker of the old school, and worked at that
profession for the rest of his career. He retired from formal employment
as a tool and diemaker in 1972, and moved to Phoenicia, NY. His retirement
gift to himself was a brand-new Bridgeport vertical milling machine
and used Southbend 9" bench lathe. Ed and his wife Betty had the
machine shop and photographic darkroom on the ground floor of their
house and live dont he second floor. Ed was a perfectionist, and re-scraped
the lathe and all of the various tooling such as rotary tables, surface
plates, angle plates and similar to enable working to less than a ten
thousandth of an inch. With the simple and perhaps obsolete manual machine
tools and basic machinists' instruments, Ed routinely made fixtures
for grinding prisms for lasers and optics in medical instrumentation.
As hobbies, Ed enjoyed railroading, photography using an oldtime dry-plate
camera, and travelling around the USA with his wife to visit steam railroads
and similar. Another pet hobby of Ed's was watch-making. Ed worked on
the old Hamilton railroad pocketwatches, and took great pride in fitting
Hamilton "railroad movement" works into billet stainless cases
he made. Nine of us in the community who are either machinists or railroaders
(or both) produdly wear pocket watches reworked and cased by Ed Bolsetzian
in 1995. I have pocket watch "number 5 of 9" with Ed Bolsetzian's
signature engraved in the back of the watch case. I came to call that
pocket watch my "Shandaken Rolex" and would not trade it for
the latest and greatest offering from Rolex. When I pull that pocket
watch out, people who know watches ask about it and I tell them: "It's
an original Bolsetzian" and show them the workmanship.
Ed was proud of his craft of tool and diemaker and proud to have been
an alumni of Brooklyn Technical High School. He never resorted to using
digital readout (DRO) on his machine tools and never went near today's
computer numerically controlled (CNC) machne tools. Withall, the world
beat a path to his door for the work he did. I'd be asleep late at night
and the phone would ring. It would be Ed Bolsetzian and the call would
go something like: "Joe ? This is Eddie. What is the sine of 5
degrees 37 minutes and 5 seconds". I'd get the lamp turned on,
get the pocket calculator and get the sine of that odd angle figured
for Ed. He'd then ask how I arrived at that value for that sine, and
we'd go over that a few times. Ed would say something like he believed
I was right with my math, and hang up. Ed apparently figured if he was
up and working at 2 AM, everyone else ought to be as well. fromt ime
to time, ed would ask me if the CNC machine tools could do the work
he did. I never had the hear to tell him what CNC capabilities were,
and instead told him the "new breed" of engineer or too,maker
was helpless without computer software. That answer used to satisfy
Ed. I think Ed's wife once commented to my wife and me that she wondered
how we handled the late-night phone calls from her husband. I told Ed
and his wife that I hoped to live as long as he did, and to be in a
condition to still be working and sharp enough to get young (I was then
about 50 years old) engineers out of bed to check my figuring. I told
Ed he could roust me out of a good night's sleep any old time, knowing
he was one of the last of his breed.
As a Professional Engineer, I had developed a part time practice doing
engineering on steam locomotive boilers for railroads around the country.
Ed loved steam locomotives, so we shared that interest. Ed and his wife
were long-standing volunteers at the Empire State railway Museum in
Phoenicia, NY. One day in about 1997, I took our daughter for her first
ride on the back of my old BMW motorcycle. Our daughter was perhaps
12 years of age. We rode two-up from our home up the road down into
the Village of Phoenica. I rode slowly down Main Street, with our daughter
waving to everyone in town whom she knew. I wheeld over to the Phoenicia
Station, where a gang of people I knew would be working on the railroad
track and rolling stock. They gave my daughter quite the welcome and
congratulated her on her first motorcycle ride. Ed Bolsetzian was up
on the station platform. He saw us wheel in on the old motorcycle, and
came off the platform. I can still see him hooking his thumbs in the
band of his pants, with the worn "engineer's cap" he wore
in his shop and everywhere else on his head. He looked the BMW motorcycle
up and down and said: "Joe, I got a question. Do you experience
a torque reaction from the crankshaft and driveshaft ?" I told
Ed I had been riding BMW motorcycles for about 25 years at that point,
and the torque reaction was so slight as to be hardly noticeable. Ed
then told me he had held that question in his mind since 1939, when
he had visited the Indian Motocycle (that's the way the firm spelled
it) factory in Springfield, MA. Ed had seen the Indian four cylinder
motorcycles coming out of the factory, and had been thinking about the
torque reaction from the engine crankshaft orientation ever since. I
asked Ed if he had gone to Springfield, MA to see the Indian motorcycles
made, or had some interest in motorcycles. He spat on the ground and
said he had no use for motorcycles, only had gone to the Indian plant
to see some steam locomotive switching cars. Despite his dislike for
motorcycles, he had held the question about the torque reaction in an
axially placed motorcycle engine for nearly 60 years. Having gotten
his answer from me, Ed grunted and went back up onto the platform.
Ed had his own definite ideas about many things. In particular, Ed did
not like gasoline powered vehicles. He served as a fire commissioner
for the local volunteer fire company for many years, and felt gasoline
was a dangerous fuel. Ed walked that talk. He held stock in Caterpillar,
so paid 'Cat headquarters in Peoria, Illinois a personal visit one day
years ago. Ed arrived at the 'Cat headquarters and announced that as
a shareholder, he wanted to talk to 'Cat engineering. Before it was
over with, Ed and the 'Cat engineers had designed a diesel conversion
for a Chevy Blazer and a 3/4 ton pickup. Ed then bought two brand new
'Cat 3208 diesel engines and had them installed to his design in each
of these vehicles. He and Betty drove aorund the region for years and
took cross-country trips in their vehicles repowered with 'Cat diesels.
Until nearly the end of their lives, Ed and Betty heated their home
with wood, and still lugged in split cordwood themselves. They volunteered
for many things in the community, and remained active in community affairs
until very nearly the end of their lives. Ed and Betty remained quite
proud of their Armenian heritage and journeyed forth even in their advancing
years to attend family functions as far removed as Boston. Ed shared
little bits and pieces of his earlier life with me, telling me how his
father, while disabled, tried to help support their family. Ed showed
me a home made hand "fret" saw his father had used to do furniture
repairs, which was kept hanging near the entry to the machine shop.
Ed Bolsetzian was a crusty old toolmaker who was self-learned in many
areas. As such, he did not suffer fools and idle conversation willingly.
Ed was well read, and never walked away from an argument and did not
hesitate to speak his mind if he figured the persons he was up against
were worth debating with. I'd seen him rip into people at school board
meetings regualrly, demanding the school system get back to basics and
"teach the work ethic". He had the belief that if he had made
it through hard times and gotten a fine education via the public school
system, there was no excuse for anyone else. Ed tended to use his Brooklyn
Tech education as somethng of a benchmark and regarded the current public
education standards as some kind of watered down joke that was not likely
to prepare young people for real life. Outwardly, Ed had this crusty,
casehardened manner. Inwardly, he had a surprisingly soft side. It was
a side he did not often show, probably because the world he had come
into had no time or place for it. My first knowledge that Ed Bolsetzian
had something of a softer side came when I was dirving laong Route 214.
I saw Ed walking accross Route 214, so pulled over to say hello to him.
I asked him what he was up to, and he showed me a galvanized box-type
mousetrap which catches the mice live. Ed had walked out to release
the mouse in that trap, unharmed, back into the wilds. He turned the
mouse loose with advice that was typical of Ed: "Lean an honest
trade and make a living..."
I came to find that Ed had little or no regard, if not suspicion for
anyone with degrees or credentials. As a Professional Engineer, I came
to find that Ed paid no attention to my degree or license. What did
impress Ed was that I was a graduate of the Brooklyn Technical High
School Mechanical Course, class of 1968, and that I had worked as a
machinist and engine erector. Ed never forgot the education he got at
Brooklyn Technical High School and remained proud of it to the end of
his life. I take the same view of the education I received at Brooklyn
Technical High School. I know that men like Ed Bolsetzian found the
education they got at Brooklyn Technical High School was a ticket to
a skilled trade and a good life. For me, it was a stepping stone to
a career as a mechanical engineer. It was quite literally a passport
for me to work overseas in remote places as an erector of large stationary
diesel and steam engines, and it is an education I use every day in
my work as a mechanical engineer as well as in doing part time machine
Ed had the build and craggy appearance of an oldtime woodcarved figure.
He was short in physcial stature, but he was powerful, giving the sense
of the old Mack trucks- smaller but massively built, slow to wind up,
growling thru the gears, but no stopping him. In his manner of speech,
Ed was deliberate, well spoken, and had a voice that had a growl to
it like old spur gearing in machinery. I suppose a lot of us figured
Ed, seemingly made of casehardened steel, would go on forever. One night
a few years ago, my phone rang and it was Ed. He asked if I wanted to
buy some of his machinist tools. I have a full set of machinist tools
in the traditional oak chests, and each tool in those chests has it's
story of men who taught me and jobs I went out on. So, while I had a
full set of machinist tools already, I knew that if Ed was startign
to part with his machinst tools, he was probably nearing the end of
his life. I also knew that a few machinist tools in my chest from Ed
would be special. I went over to Ed's house and he sold me a few micrometers,
a few tools he'd made or modified, but mainly it was a kind of good-bye.
It was to be perhaps the last time saw the Ed Bolsetzian I had known.
When a machinist or toolmaker parts with their tools, it is usually
a sign they finally admit their work is done. So it was with Ed Bolsetzian.
I know when I wind my "Bolsetzian" pocket watch each day,
I cannot help but thnk of Ed and what his breed represented. When I
do any sort of machine work, I wonder if it would pass Ed's critical
eye. Of course, I cannot throw a leg over my old BMW motorcycle and
give it the gun without remembering Ed's question, asked after nearly
60 years. They don ' t make men like Ed Bolsetzian any more, but I have
my continuums with Ed.
The following was signed by all 37 persons residing on Silver Hollow
Road or Schweitzer Road in Chichester, NY, who we could find on visits
over one week. Everyone asked to sign agreed to do so upon learning
what follows! Those not signing were not home so we do not know their
Over 4 years ago the issue of the collapsing area (and potential liability)
associated with the former trestle bridge over Stony Hollow Creek, adjacent
to Silver Hollow Road in Chichester, where Schweitzer Road originates,
was brought to the attention of the Town, County and State repeatedly
The town is responsible for Silver Hollow Road. The County owns the
collapsing area. The State is responsible for Route 214 and the health
of the Creek. Nothing has been done except responsibility shifting and
passive inaction. Postponing the inevitable is inevitably more costly.
We write to ask that you immediately act to prevent loss of life, livelihood,
natural resource, and loss of access to our two roads.
Our key concerns include
a. That the described area off Silver Hollow Road at the described point
presents an attractive nuisance—we have observed unaware adults
and vulnerable children playing on the collapsing area at their peril,
two this weekend
b. That Silver Hollow Road may collapse in part or entirely, rendering
it and Schweitzer Road impassable, and depriving those down road of
access to their property, homes, and in some cases livelihoods
c. That collapse of the bank, especially during low water, could result
in stream blockage and back up flooding with damage and loss of property
and damage to Stony Clove and Warner Creeks and their flora and fauna
d. That the hillside between the stream and State Route 214, above where
the bank has already collapsed is evidencing weakening which is inexorably
moving up towards 214, which itself will in due course collapse with
loss of access north and south.
We ask urgently that passive surveillance be ceased in favor of decisive
action to resolve the instability of this area, prevent damage to and
loss of use of Silver Hollow Road, Route 214, and Stony Clove and Warner
Creek, and ensure that no one is hurt due to inaction.
While liability should not be attached to acts of nature, when the sorts
of problems described above ensue from years of failure to act reasonably
to prevent them, then the governments and officials involved are responsible.
Please protect us and yourselves. Act now. Please involve the residents
actively in discussion of plans, options and possibilities, and inform
the public of the risks and dangers now extant.
I would like to clarify an error in an article in the Freeman June 25th
by William J. Kemble., “Proposed burn ban draws fire at hearing.”
The article quotes Windham resident Mr. Nicholas Markow as stating “if
he is not permitted to burn brush and tree limbs “we’d have
to haul it down to the transfer point, which is about eight miles away
from us.” This statement is incorrect. Greene County has a system
called Greene County Solid Waste Management which operates several transfer
stations. I have been told by several employees of Greene County that
they do not accept any yard waste, brush, tree limbs or any biodegradable
material. This eliminates this option to dispose of this material.In
addition, Ulster County operates a system called the Ulster County Resource
Recovery Agency located on Flatbush Road in Kingston New York. Ulster
County does in fact accept brush, but it must be no longer than 48"
and limbs no longer than 48" or larger than 6" in diameter.
This regulation also eliminates the disposal of a large amount of material
if a tree is damaged or comes down.
In my opinion, in the several articles that I have read in your, and
several other papers, it seems that the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation seems to lump open burning with burning trash.The
Department of Environmental Conservation lists numerous chemicals that
are released in the atmosphere with “open burning,” but
some are only emitted by burning trash. They appear to list loads of
chemicals that I don’t believe are emited by burning wood. I would
like them to provide such a list for review.
I have been told by a NYSDEC employee that they have NOT done a study
on open burning of wood only.
This would indicate to me that burning wood only is not in the class
of burning trash. In addition, the NYSDEC states that about 40 percent
of wildfires in New York State between 1986 and 2006 were caused by
open burns. Such burning caused 98 wildfires in the state in 2006. They
do NOT indicate how many fires were started by trash barrels vs permitted
I would ask the appropriate NYSDEC personnel to use some common sense
and stop all burning of trash either in barrels or otherwise, and permit
a homeowner to burn branches and brush on their own property with the
proper permits, safety equipment, and notification of the appropriate
authorities as it is done now.
Summer's here and it's a great opportunity to take a moment and acknowledge
what we've accomplished in our community. Our town government is now
striving to focus on solutions to problems rather than staying mired
in them and is also encouraging participation rather than discouraging
it. Your participation as a registered Democrat in the town of Shandaken
can help keep the positive atmosphere in our local government. There
will be a Democrat caucus in Glenbrook Park on Rt. 42 at 7PM on Tuesday
July 15th for all Democrats registered in the town of Shandaken. We
will be selecting a candidate for a one year term on the Shandaken Town
Council. Your vote matters.
And what would summer be without BBQ? Our tasty traditional Chicken
BBQ will be Saturday August 16th also at Glenbrook Park. Make sure you
save some time in the afternoon that day for a great meal.
See you at Glenbrook Park!!
Dave Pillard, Chair
Shandaken Democratic Committee
We are writing to respond to Karl Dyner’s letter that appeared
in the Phoenicia Times’ June 19th edition. We appreciate Mr. Dyner’s
patronizing Hanover Farms and thank him for expressing his concern regarding
traffic near the farm stand. We know that Hanover Farms is a busy place.
The idea of placing signs along the highway is something that we have
already tried. In fact, we placed signs along Route 28 several times,
only to have them vandalized and/or stolen. Prior to being stolen, one
of the signs was discovered in the Esopus Creek (it appeared that the
sign had been thrown over the bridge). Distressed that someone could
act so irrationally, we offered a reward for information leading to
the suspect’s arrest. Since the perpetrator has not been apprehended,
that reward still stands.
Because the signs were expensive to have made, we were unable to replace
them. We hope to have new signs made again this season.
Placing traffic cones along the shoulder is also something that we have
considered. However, we have been unable to ascertain if we have the
legal right to place cones on a State Highway.
Route 28 has a very long history of being an unsafe highway. Because
of this longstanding history and in light of global environmental concerns
and steep gas prices, it would benefit all drivers to slow down.
We greatly appreciate the community s support of the farm stand.
Mt. Tremper, NY
As noted in your newspaper, Whitman Electric, Inc. has filed a lawsuit
against a long list of organizations here in Shandaken. This matter
has been a long-standing contractual dispute in which Whitman says it
performed according to contract and we at the Emerson say they did not.
We will not speculate on why they chose to involve so many other parties
who clearly have nothing to do with the dispute. We have filed counter
claims against Whitman Electric and will let the attorneys deal with
the dispute from this point forward.
Sadly, the article created the impression that the Emerson wouldn’t
or couldn’t pay its debts and that now others will be obligated
to do so. This is simply not true. The Emerson has done everything in
its power to be a good corporate citizen and has and will continue to
meet all of its legal and contractual obligations and will continue
to do so.
Director of Public Relations
Emerson Resort & Spa
Mt. Tremper, NY
I am aghast that the Gitter group would try to fool all of us. Well,
the truth shall make us free. You can't fool all of the people!! I,
for one, know from the research I have done, that the sort of mega development
that the spin-off of Emerson creates, historically, is higher taxes
and fewer jobs. Let's not let them fool us into thinking that the survival
of the wonderful state park called the Belleayre ski Center where all
of my children have learned to ski, is dependant on the largesse of
the mega bucks group. This is clearly a land grab to benefit the very
few and exclude the rest of us. Please erase this latest attempt at
tomfoolery. Take that sign down!!!
A recent letter to the editor from Matt Frisch was so full of irony
I had to respond. He says that Partners for Progress is using fear tactics
in our effort to support the expansion of Belleayre Mt. Ski Center and
the construction of the Belleayre Resort.
His group is called “Save the Mountain.” Just the name is
a fear tactic because it makes one think a mountain is in some danger.
That is not the case. The New York City DEP, the National Resource Defense
Council, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, and a
whole bunch of other major watchdog environmental groups have already
agreed that this project can be done without endangering anyone.
They named the project a “mega-resort” and have compared
it to behemoth resorts out west in places like Vail, with thousands
and thousands of rooms and thousands of acres. Yet this little resort,
by comparison to those they compare it to, won’t even begin to
approach that size even at its maximum build out. Sounds like a fear
tactic to me.
Save the Mountain has published pictures where they pasted renderings
of houses at the top of the mountain and the added smoke billowing from
smokestacks from them. There will be no wood burning fireplaces in any
of those units, no smokestacks or chimneys like those are planned and
they don’t even have the houses in the right place. The fear tactics
these people have used are just too numerous to mention.
The worst fear tactic they have used is more insidious. It is the way
they publicly and viciously attack – with personal slander and
innuendo – anyone who comes out in favor of the resort. It is
the quiet threat – and actual carrying out – of boycotting
business owners who are willing to stand up and publicly support this
project. I have heard from many business people that vocal Save the
Mountain members have stopped going into the businesses of known project
For nearly a decade, project opponents have so intimidated everyone
in the community that people who do support the effort have been afraid
to speak up. That is ending now.
We will not be silenced any longer. And it is that fact, that is now
making people in the Save the Mountain group, so fearful.
So fear not, Belleayre supporters. There are a lot of us out there and
there is strength in numbers. Join us. Sign the petition(www.supportthecompromise.com)
Pick up a bumper sticker or lawn sign. Write a letter to the editor
or get involved some other way.
First, they claimed their proposed mega-development would bring “more
jobs/lower taxes. Now that it's generally known that Emerson's personnel
and credit histories are not exactly sterling and the fact that the
new message is cryptic but seems to imply, “if you want Belleayre
to survive- support the development.” They want to equate their
land speculation with the ski center and then pretend that it’s
do or die- neither of which has an ounce of truth. Belleayre Mt. Ski
Center has enjoyed record crowds in each of the last few years due to
improvements and affordable ticket prices. More natural snow would be
nice but that is only likely to get worse with or without a mega-resort.
If the state delivers on its $50+ million investment to cater to the
private development, the pressure to raise ticket prices and/or privatize
would be irresistible. Greene County already has a persuasive argument
against running the ski center at a loss before this huge new investment.
To sum up, Crossroads/Belleayre resort is not synonymous with the Belleayre
Mt. Ski Center and the ski center was doing just fine without Dean Gitter’s
In last week's paper, Matthew Frisch attempted to find fault with the
employment record of the Emerson Resort and Spa. I feel compelled to
set that record straight.
Over the past fifteen years we have spent many millions of dollars,
developing, building and then re-building after fire, a first class
resort. Most of the labor jobs in those building efforts were for people
from Ulster, Greene and Delaware Counties.
In 12 years of operation, we've spent at least another $20 million in
payroll for staff members, again, local people who get decent salaries
and are eligible for many other benefits including vacation, sick and
personal time, holiday time and health insurance. We've donated nearly
$1 million in cash, goods and services to local non-profit organizations
for use in their fundraising efforts.
In running our operation, we buy goods and services that range from
supplies and materials, tools and equipment, food and product, and advertising
buy that locally at every opportunity. We generate huge sales tax and
bed tax revenue and pay significant property taxes to school and town.
We push our guests out the door each day to visit local shops and galleries,
attend concerts and plays, to ski, tube, hike, golf and otherwise enjoy
what other for-profit and not-for profits have to offer.
We have won two incredible awards never before imagined by a property
in our area. Having been named by Conde-Nast Johanassens as the number
one inn in North America, and having earned the first Mobil 4-star ranking
for any New York spa property outside of New York City, we have brought
a sense of pride
and accomplishment back to our town and our region.
People like Mr. Frisch love to look for blemishes. If you look hard
enough, you may find some. The local people working for and running
this property may not be perfect. But when we make mistakes, we correct
them. I don't believe you will find any business of our size and scope
that is without blemish but I do know you will not find a better employer
in our area.
For all these years we have been good corporate citizens who are improving
the quality of life here. It would be interesting to know, how the records
of Mr. Frisch and his contributions to our community stack up against
We are an example of why the Belleayre Resort should be built, not why
it should be stopped. We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward
continued contributions to our community.
Ron Van Warmer, General Manager
Emerson Resort & Spa
Mount Tremper, NY
As this school year now comes to an end, I would like to take this opportunity
to express my deepest appreciation to the Phoenicia Elementary School
community for a really outstanding year. As a deeply committed PTA community,
we have accomplished so much by the dedication of so many people, students,
teachers, parents and staff. It is impossible to name them all here,
but their efforts are so very evident. We have a sustainably rennovated
library. We have an award winning fourth grade class for their "Go
Go Green" video about which State Senator Bonacic declared "awesome."
We have students, teachers and staff who embraced the "Phoenicia
Greeen/5r's"-- In this school-wide program we tackled our waste
stream and since September of 2007, we have saved over 70 mature trees,
reduced our landfill waste by 28 cubic yards and recycled over 6 tons
of cardboard, paper and comingled items. The PTA purchased two more
laptop computers for the Library Media Center. We sent two teachers
to Arts in Education state sponsored seminar. The PTA purchased the
"go go green" t-shirts for Ms. McInerney's fourth grade class
to thank them for providing inspiration to the whole schoo and to wear
at all their "gigs." The PTA also supplied the Jr. Olympics
team with t-shirts for the District games in June. The PTA also provided
over 18 weeks of afterschool progamming at Kool Skool. The bottom line
is that none of the above, and the hundreds of other gifts too numerous
to mention here, could have been done without the support of an amazing
group of determined individuals and generous volunteers.
As a an outgoing and very proud president of the Phoenicia PTA, I would
like to thank the Executive PTA Board, who worked tirelessly in so many
ways on behalf of our children and community --Karen Howenstein, Kathleen
Wilber, Carolyn Mow, Cathy Neal, Ann McGillicuddy and school secretary
Sheila Jensen. It was a dream team if there ever was one!
And lastly, I also want to thank the whole voting community who "go
it" and came out to vote in record numbers in May's Board and Budget
vote producing a landslide victory for a valuable cause.
I recently found out from school that our dearly loved Physical Education
teacher, Ms. Rothe will possibly be leaving Bennett but NOT voluntarily.
It has been said that with the Phoenicia school's phys. ed. teacher,
Michael Gallagher, retiring this year, that they need to fill a spot.
It was reported that a phys. ed. teacher at the High School by the name
of Mr. Burkhardt would possibly replace him, but that Phoenicia does
not want him. Therefore they came apparently knocking on Bennett's door.
Not sure why Phoenicia does not want Mr. Burkhardt as I do not know
anything about his history, but it certainly raised a red flag in my
eyes. It couldn't of been because he was a male as Mickey Gallagher
- someone I know personally - was so loved in the whole school district.
Here at Bennett, our parents thoroughly enjoy having both a male and
female role model as they offer a great balance for our children. Mr.
Ahouse, the other Physical Education teacher in Bennett, shares his
time between Bennett and Woodstock Elementary schools.
It seems that a lot of parents are upset by this and are writing letters,
me included. My three boys were very upset by this news too and wrote
letters to Mr. Buono, their principal asking him to please not let Ms.
With Bennett losing so many teachers and aids this year due to retirement,
we are headed for major changes. These changes are voluntarily of course,
but losing Ms. Rothe is NOT a voluntary move.
My understanding is that she does not wish to leave Bennett as she has
been there for 13+ years and has worked so close with all the kids.
I know many parents and children are heartbroken and the fact that we
just learn this news 4 days before the end of the school year is working
at a disadvantage to us.
I am writing to you all, since you serve the Onteora School District
and Olive has Bennett in it's community, that you PLEASE look into this
matter....as reporters your goal is to get facts and information so
the public is aware of what's going on in their neck of the woods. I
do hope that more parents as they become informed will help make a difference
by NOT letting Ms. Rothe, a true treasure at Bennett go!!!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!!
The article "The child safety zone Proposition #4" published
in the Onteora Budget Edition 2008, described the safety problem of
students walking to school in Boiceville. According to the article the
actual regulation does not provide transportation to students living
half a mile from school. The article recalls "the accident history
of route 28", the number of cars passing during in/out school (300)
and the speed limit going up to 55 mile per hour.
So here we have a classic problem of a road design that does not work.
Let me share what I learned in my first year of urban planning : A straight
road with high visibility will give the driver the message that speed
is possible, safe, despite any regulatory signs. That is what is done,
successfully on higways. Here we are crossing a village, with schools.
With this configuration we are basically turning our kids (and any pedestrians)
into moving targets. How many more deaths are necessary before the road
Many towns in Europe have adopted a simple yet efficient design that
diverts the car in and out forcing the driver to slow down, it also
provides "landscaping" (visual enhancement- shade for pedestrians)
and provides safe pedestrian access.
It is very hard nowadays in France for example to find a "highway
type" straight road crossing a village. No municipalities, districts
want to be responsible for the death of their inhabitants. So I thought
the logic of the article will lead toward problem solving, long term
and for all the community. On the contrary, the proposition is to add
traffic. Let's have more buses, more pollution, more money used for
transportation. There is a national movement in urban design for the
last few years that tries to bring the sideawalk back to the villages
and especially to schools. As a matter of fact you can actually read
the editorial of last month 'Landscape Architecture Magazine" about
getting our kids back to walk to school. There is also a beneficial
health factor to the daily walk that is recognized universally.
What concerns me even more is that not only is the onteora high school/bennet
school not safe for the kids now in school, but the proposition under
the name of consolidation will bring more students to the area, rising
traffic (vehicles and pedestrian) to this already deadly place. I have
not seen any improvement design proposed by KSQ Architects, nor any
concerns raised by the Board of Education then in charge. For a project
this important (creation of a middle school-closure of other schools)
I was surprised to learn that no urban planner nor landscape architect
were involved, nowdays educated client ask such services to be provided.
This is a missed opportunity to remove a known danger and make a better
place for all to live more safely.
Most of us have said at one time or another, I cannot believe it. I
cannot believe what the Onteora’s School District voters did on
May 20, 2008 when they choose not to reelect the three incumbents. What
did they do to justify not being reelected? Was it that voters didn’t
understand the facts or did they believe all the rhetoric of the four
candidates that got elected? Maybe it was the unheard of zero % tax
levy increase without cutting any programs that they didn’t like.
That doesn’t sound like it would be, but in this district you
It took just seven hours to throw out three truly dedicated school board
members that worked so hard with the school’s administrators,
Superintendents Ford’s volunteer advisory committee and the paid
consultants. Some of the same voters that voted for the new board members
were very happy to accept the budget that gave them the zero % tax levy
increase, but still seen fit to not reelect the incumbents. Not reelecting
the incumbents and thinking about the zero % tax levy increase for this
year, not knowing what kind of tax increase the new broad will hand
us next year was like cutting off the hand that feeds you.
Some, maybe all, of what the board and school administrator accomplished
in the past three years could go down the drain. That includes the untold
hours of meetings by the board, school administrators and all the work
that the volunteer Advisory Committee did for the district. Then there’s
the $30,000.00 of tax payers money that the consultants got paid that
will also be wasted if their recommendations aren’t used. Considering
the financial state that this country and our area are in we don’t
need to waste $30,000.00 of tax payer’s money. I trust that district
voters would agree.
The new board will not close the Phoenicia School and that will cost
tax payers of the district $2,300.000.00 annually. Closing the school
was a significant part of the plan because it would have saved $2,300.000.00
ever year and would have also allowed the most State Aid if the boards
plan was adopted. The $2,300.000.00 saving was money that would not
have to be spent for salaries, benefits, fuel and electricity. Closing
the school would have also saved even more money because of personal
When the four candidates were running around town campaigning, did they
tell you that closing the Phoenicia School would save the district $2,300.000.00
every year and that the $30,000.00 of tax payer’s money that the
district paid the consultants would be wasted if their recommendations
wasn’t used. Maybe they also forgot to mention what they are going
to do about the declining student population. The declining student
population is important because we have the highest cost be student
in Ulster County and predictions are that in not too many years if something
isn’t done to reduce that cost the cost per student will raise
to $42,000.00 per student making it almost impossible for district tax
payers to support that kind of increase.
In a recent letter to the Editor Donna Flayhan, Ralph Legnini, Ann McGillicuddy
and Laurie Osmond said, it has been our pleasure to get to know you,
and is our pleasure now to serve you. To accomplish all that the 2005
/ 2008 school board members did that includes the zero % tax levy increase
it’s fair to say that the four new trustees will face a challenge
on their hands that goes far beyond what they could ever imagine. Tax
payers of the district should pay very close attention to what the new
board will be doing especially during next year’s budget process.
I don’t know what they’re going to serve us, but it could
be extremely hard on our pocket books. Down the road tax payers that
threw out Mary Jane Bernholz, Cindy O’Connor and Rita Vanacore
may wish that they voted differently when they see their 2009 tax bill.
Who will speak for the interests of the American people and our Mother
Earth? Certainly not George W. Bush Jr. or his appointed Supreme Court.
This court decision illustrates who controls and owns our the highest
court in the land and that is the Exxon-Mobile Corporation. Only a fool
would believe this a fair decision.
The punitive damages originally awarded in Brown people felt then it
was not enough set by the Federal District Court and the U.S. Court
of Appeals. Now it is worse the U.S. Supreme Court has turned the insult
of insensitivity by Exxon to those who lost everything into a travesty
of historic proportions. The Court in a 5-3 decision has reversed the
lower court's decision limiting damages to what the corporation has
already paid .when it comes for the shameful act of aggression on the
people not only of Alaska but the entire nation and world by the gross
negligence of Exxon-Mobile.
It shows only illustrates that the majority of jurists certainly are
reflecting their own narrow class interests of siding against the people
and Mother Earth in this one decision that has all the big business
corporations and their Chamber of Commerce pundits declaring victory
for capitalism. Yes to the all mighty oil greedy monopoly! Amen.
Still to this day the greatest environmental disaster is being felt
socially, economically and culturally on the local native people, the
Eco system, the shorelines and the entire planet itself. In an age of
global warming, massive pollution of fossil fuel run-off the possibility
of mass extinctions, the loss forever of species soaked in Exxon goop-
Where is Smokey the Bear when we need him? That is right he passed away
but his shovel is still there leaning against the old wood shed and
its being picked up by another generation of Americans bent on restoring
their country along the path of sensible rational energy use and ending
the careless quest of profits for a few.
Mobile crude with its massive global trillion dollar profits can only
speak oil maggot. Exxon mobile is seeking to cover the planet with it
dark rich crude throughout the world. We can see why we need to vote
for Change we also must organize massively to keep the movement for
change going. No one person can do this! Only the strength of the democratic
traditions of free assembly with each of us taking the responsibility
to keep the ball of change rolling until these five jurists find themselves
judged by being brought before the people I hope to see the day when
these jurists are standing in the dock with the all the war criminals
of the military-industrial-complex and the Board of Directors for their
crimes against humanity and our Mother Earth. These same jurists overturned
the 2000 popular vote and made George W. Bush the imperial king oil
lizard he has become. Down with them all this fall elect the Democrats
and if they brake elect the Socialists and should they fail give it
to the anarchist because chaos is even better than this..
In the past seven years, we have lost 3.3 million manufacturing jobs.
We have higher unemployment, more Americans without health insurance,
and a record number of home foreclosures.
Median family income is down $1200 and purchasing power is down $4500.
Prices are skyrocketing for everything from gas to food.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans set an all-time record for the most filibusters
in one Congress, when they blocked a Democratic efforts to tax the oil
companies’ windfall profits.
Every important issue, from getting our troops out of Iraq to global
climate change and health care goes through the Senate. On virtually
every issue, Republicans have obstructed the Democratic agenda and stood
in the way of progress.
Allegedly, Senator John McCain is desperate to distance himself from
Bush, but in the past year, he has voted with Bush 95% of the time.
According to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, McCain has
received millions in donations from the same oil, coal, nuclear, chemical,
utility, and auto companies that helped the Bush administration create
its energy plan, which has resulted in gasoline selling for over $4.25
a gallon in Delhi.
We are in the midst of a recession, which in part is due to our crippling
dependence on oil. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that McCain
has accepted over $1 million from the oil and gas
industry and many of McCain’s top advisers have lobbied for big
oil. It’s not surprising that he opposes, Obama’s alternative
Bush’s tax cuts are central to McCain’s economic policy
and he’s calling for tax giveaways, which are twice as expensive
as Bush’s initial plan. His policy will spend nearly $2 trillion
on tax breaks
for corporations, including $1.2 billion for Exxon, a company that just
recorded the highest profits in history.
After reading the Thursday June 12 Daily Freeman article by-lined by
Mid-Hudson News Network, “Exec Candidates Tout Tourism,”
I found it very ironic that Michael Hein commented that “tourism
is the backbone of the County’s economy and that a well-run tourism
operation would generate sufficient sales tax revenue to pay for itself.”
Hein has previously stated that the County relies heavily on sales and
property taxes to balance budgets, yet he does not agree on tourism
related taxes, won’t repeal the current two percent charge for
room tax and would be in favor of cushioning the Tourism Budget with
proceeds from the bed tax.
This coming from the same individual, who in 2006, was the mastermind
behind eliminating two key positions and not filling a Deputy position
in the Tourism Department to save taxpayer dollars. His plan, however,
back-fired when the tourism businesses and employees that would have
been affected by the cuts, came to defend the Tourism Department at
the Public Hearing on the proposed County Budget Wednesday, November
1, 2006. Eventually, through some creativity, they were able to realign
budget lines to save the two employees. The Deputy Director position
was ultimately abolished. Now, please explain how a well-run tourism
operation is expected to function with almost no staff?
One would have to question what Hein actually knows about the importance
of tourism if he was sacrificing the ability of the Tourism Department
to perform and exist as it was intended with limited staffing. Had he
bothered to do his homework, he would have found that tourism in the
Hudson Valley (in 2005) generated $184 million in local taxes; visitor-driven
expenditures accounted for over $5.7 billion and $167 million was realized
in State taxes. Tourism in the Catskills generated over $51 million
in local taxes; visitor-driven expenditures accounted for $1.6 billion
and more than $46 million was realized in State taxes. (Figures obtained
Did he also know that in 2006 tourism in Ulster County was responsible
for 10,000 tourism jobs, $52 million was generated in State and local
tax revenue and visitor-driven expenditures accounted for $960 million.
(Figures obtained from www. hotel-online.com).
Mr. Hein will say whatever he believes his audience wants to hear. Fact
is, he says a lot about issues he knows very little about. Voters beware!!
(I am a 27-year employee in Ulster County Tourism/Public Information
We New Yorkers really have a very outstanding Governor. Our Governor
Paterson must be amazingly capable to have been able to achieve so much
so well in spite of the handicap of blindness. He must have an extremely
keen mind and an extraordinary drive to overcome a disability which
would be hard to cope with in a far less demanding role in life. Would
it not be great if our news contained more of the positive aspects of
life and spent time repeating at times the "good stuff" instead
of highlighting and repeating the "bad stuff"? Some other
"good stuff" is the successful first day of our Wednesday
market and the way the Karmapa's visit went off. That fabulous rainbow
was telling us something.
There is one thing for sure though, regardless of what kind of news
one likes hearing: Distortion of facts and downright lies being published
or broadcast is intolerable. Having a U.S. Congressman aver that a law
to increase revenue Oil Companies were paying for the extraction of
oil was done for the purpose of lowering the cost of gasoline, was a
downright lie. The law was for the purpose of getting an equitable payment
for oil taken from our country's resources at a great profit in order
to provide much needed income for the nation. Of course no one suggested
it would lower the price of gasoline. What a Goofy Outrageous Pronouncement!
Yes, a member of the Grand Old Party accused the Democratic party of
trying to "Lower the price of gasoline" and blocked the bill.
"No exercise is better for the human heart than reaching down to
lift up another."- Tim Russert
"You're not strong by putting other people down. You're strong
by lifting other people up" - Barack Obama
We each need to find a way to explain this to those that are living
in fear that is creating the very thing that they are afraid of.
Come On. We can do it.
The Silent Auction of the Annual Phoenicia Library Fair was a huge success!
We offer deep appreciation to the friends and businesses who generously
donated to sustain the Phoenicia Library's wonderful community services:
Al’s Restaurant, Amy’s Take Away, Babytoes, Barneche Designs,
Black Bear Hollow, Blue Barn, Brio’s +Sportsman’s Restaurants,
the Copperhood Spa, Ice Cream Station and the Nest Egg, Lucky Chocolates,
Mariposa Massage-Catherine Haber, Phoenicia Pharmacy, Phoenicia Wine
and Liquors, Phoenix Restaurant, Silk Designs-Margaret Owen, Sweet Sue’s,
Tenderland Home, Ulster Savings Bank, and Yoga Classes by Ricarda
Many thanks for the hand crocheted items donated by Bonnie Amatrano,
Bernadette Falkenburgh, Barb Redfield, and Aileen Schwartz. Thanks to
Ann O. Nimous for various valuable items...
Finally to our local authors who kindly gave a copy of their book to
the Silent Auction: Margaret Braun, John Daido Loori, Holly
George-Warren, Jack Morelli, and Christie Scheele.
for Friends of the Phoenicia library
There is honor in a soldier;
You hear it when he talks.
There is discipline in a Soldier;
You can see it when he walks.
There is courage in a Soldier;
You can see it in his eyes.
There is bravery in a Soldier;
You know it when he dies.
There is something in a Soldier
That makes him stand apart.
There is strength in a Soldier
That beats from his heart.
A Soldier's job isn't finished
After a 40-hour week.
A Soldier is always a Soldier,
Even when he sleeps.
A Soldier serves his country first,
And his life is left behind.
It's fighting for his country
That is always on his mind.
A Soldier is the reason
Our nation is "Home of the free".
It's his loyalty and dedication protecting
The flag waving over you and me.
Editor’s Note: The author is moving next September from 8th to
9th grade at Onteora.
The Domestic Violence Shelter has a resident in need of art supplies.
This young woman was a college art student who became involved with
an abusive partner. She had to leave her studies due to the abuse. In
her difficult circumstances she gave away her portfolio thinking she
could never pursue her art again. With the help of Family of Woodstock
this woman and her young child have found housing and are rebuilding
their lives. One of her long term goals is to return to art school and
get her BA. To do this she must rebuild her portfolio. She is need of
all basic art supplies (which need not be new) including but not limited
Paper (all sizes and weight), Pencils (varying hardness), Paint, Brushes,
Canvas, Charcoal, Conte crayons, and Pastels.
Her original focus of study was metal sculpture. This of course would
be difficult for her to do outside of school or studio space, however
if anyone had any resources for her she’d be thrilled I’m
The Shelter is also preparing to do ongoing art groups with all residents
in an effort to reduce the effects of the trauma our residents have
experienced. Our facilitators will be needing art supplies of all types
as well. We can put any new or used supplies to good use.
Please call Colleen Geraghty, 845-256-9233 or Kathy Moretti , Program
Director - at 331-7080 ext.127
The Phoenicia Rotary Club would like to update you on what we have been
doing the past year for our community. Let’s start with our youth,
since they are our future…
We are sponsoring a local exchange student who will be leaving for Taiwan
on August 21, 2008. Although her request was for France, she is extremely
excited about the trip and looking forward to the experience.
· We sponsored and hosted a 12th grade Rotary exchange student
from Brazil during the 2007 - 2008 school year.
· We have awarded two scholarships to Onteora’s 2008 graduates:
one four-year scholarship consisting of $400 each year, and a one time
award for a graduate attending a vocational school for the amount of
· We have donated $100 to the Belleayre Bash.
· We have donated $125 to a student towards the Habitat for Humanity
· We have donated $125 to two students towards their DECA competitions
· We have donated $125 to a student who attended the Harvard
· We have donated $300 to a student who has been invited to attend
the upcoming 2009 Presidential Inauguration.
· We have donated $1000 to our local Boy Scout Troop 60 for their
Super Venture this July
For the local communities:
We performed our semi-annual Route 214 road clean-up and repainted the
village fire bell on May 29th.
· We are regular financial sponsors to the local food pantry.
· We donated $500 to the Phoenicia Library
· We donated $100 to the Sharp Committee towards the flowers
on Main Street
· We purchased and delivered 3 picnic tables to the Big Indian
· We performed spring clean-up and planted flowers at the Eagle
· Many yummy donations were donated by Rotarians to the Phoenicia
Library for their annual event
· Approximately $3,000 was donated to the Shandaken Fire District
to purchase supplies to offer CPR classes for the public at a reasonable
· Financial and volunteer physical assistance given to support
the Onteora Life Skills/Deca’s ‘Senior Citizen’s Prom’.
· Rotary helped fund the Onteora Ski Team awards
· Sponsoring 3 port –a- potties to be located behind the
Country Store and the Phoenicia Pharmacy during the summer months
In addition the Phoenicia Rotary is a member of and supports Rotary
International. As active participants we support communities in need
and causes worldwide. These include such causes as clean water, Shelter
Box temporary dwellings, Rotary Foundation, and polio eradication.
You will see us soon on Main Street selling duck tickets for our 19th
annual Crazy Quacker Race. The date has been moved up to warmer weather;
July 13th, and the new, safer location has officially changed to the
Stony Clove Creek which is adjacent to the Simpson Mini-park. Also keep
an eye out for our annual $125 Night tickets. The party is September
5th, and a good time is had by all. Tickets are available from all Rotarians
and at Al’s Restaurant.
Please continue to support the Phoenicia Rotary Club so that we may
continue with our good works for our local communities.
If you are interested in finding out more about Rotary, or joining us
at a Rotary meeting, please contact Chris at 688-7319 to find out the
date and location of our next meeting. We look forward to seeing you
The Phoenicia Rotary Club