Bard At OCS?
The Onteora Central School District Board of Education will
be hosting Leon Botstein PhD, President of Bard College, for
an upcoming community forum where the noted educator will present
his views on middle school and secondary education on Wednesday,
October 1st at 7pm at Woodstock Elementary. This is one in a
proposed series of educational forums the District intends to
hold this year, designed to elicit a variety of views on various
educational ideas and models and stimulate community discussion.
“Onteora enjoys a strong working relationship with Bard
College through our student teaching initiative,” Onteora
Superintendent Leslie Ford has said. “Dr. Botstein has
provided insight and inspiration to all educators during county
professional development activities. We share a common passion
for student learning and a focus on consistent, innovative change.”
“Everything should be about our kids and their education.
We get one chance at that as they move through our schools,”
OCS Board President Ralph Legnini stated. “As important
as other issues are, they should not override this basic focus
of our district. That’s why I feel it is important to
initiate these educational discussions for our community.”
Botstein, an internationally renowned educator, musicologist
and Grammy-nominated music director of the American Symphony
Orchestra and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, has been President
of Bard College since 1975, where he also holds the Leon Levy
Chair in Arts and Humanities. Dr. Botstein is a frequent contributor
on education to publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek
Bard College, located in Annandale-On-Hudson, NY, currently
ground-breaking public High Schools in conjunction with the
New York City Department of Education, serves as consultant
to a group of Middle Schools in the South Bronx, is in the process
of opening a charter school in California’s Central Valley,
and also conducts teacher training through its Master of Arts
In Teaching Program.
The October 1st meeting will be open to the public, and will
feature a question and answer period following Dr. Botstein’s
Ulster County Legislature Chairman David B. Donaldson is proposing
that Ulster, Greene and Delaware Counties combine to institute
a “Catskill Regional Ski Pass” that would allow
skiers to ski at any of the ski centers in the Catskill Region.
“This type of ski pass and promotion are long overdue,”
Donaldson said, noting that he had already written letters to
Greene and Delaware County officials asking them to join forces
with Ulster in promoting skiing this winter. “We should
be competing with Vermont, New Hampshire, Colorado and Utah,
not with each other.”
Donaldson, who earlier this year called for a boycott of Greene
County ski areas, said that leaders of the three counties should
meet with tourism leaders and ski center operators to develop
and promote a “Catskill Regional Ski Pass.”
“This approach has been proven to increase the skier base
in a region and would make for better marketing, which would
make us more competitive against other ski regions in the state
and the country,” Donaldson said. “I strongly believe
we could work out the details and it would be quite beneficial
to all concerned.”
When “Ski the Catskills” was formed in 1982, all
of the areas in the region participated and all of the venues
offered discounts on a single “Ski the Catskills”
card which was sold for many years. In addition, the state ski
areas of Belleayre, Gore and Whiteface had a combined ski pass
that was very effective, according to Donaldson.
“Our tourism directors have been successfully cross-promoting
each other for years,” Donaldson said. “While our
region did not let the ski effort evolve into something greater,
the Colorado ski areas and other regions around the ski world
did and the effort has proven to be very successful. This year’s
Vail “Epic” ski pass allows skiers access to Vail,
Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly and the Arapahoe
Basin. This program spans states! No single ski area alone can
possibly compete against this sort of marketing.”
Donaldson said the owners and management of Belleayre, Hunter
and Windham ski areas should meet to discuss ways to bring more
skiers to the area instead of fighting over the existing numbers.
“As leaders, it is time for us to lead the way to more
positive and cooperative efforts,” Donaldson said.
On September 18, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County
held a public meeting in Phoenicia to announce the expansion
of its stream management program from the upper Esopus Creek
to include all streams in the Ashokan Watershed through a new
five year contract with New York City Department of Environmental
After several years of developing stream management plans, the
program will now begin implementing recommendations from the
plans over the next five years of the grant. With the expanded
effort, additional resources will be available, including technical
staff from Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District,
a larger office in the watershed, and a $2 million implementation
fund. As the program moves to this broader scope, Cooperative
Extension will engage a watershed-wide set of streamside landowners
and interested groups in the process.
Michael Courtney, Interim Project Coordinator for Cooperative
Extension, gave a brief history of the Stream Management Program
development to date and a discussion of the current vision for
the Program’s future. Questions and answers and discussion
Since 1997, DEP has contracted with Soil and Water Conservation
Districts in Ulster and Greene Counties as well as the US Army
Engineer Research and Development Center and other contractors
to develop management plans for streams in the Ashokan Reservoir
Watershed. Three Stream Management Plans have been completed
thus far for the Broadstreet Hollow, Stony Clove, and Esopus
Creeks. Project Advisory Councils, consisting of representatives
of the myriad agencies and interests in the streams, did a great
deal of work providing broad input into the individual stream
“Because of the relationships built and the effective
work done with the Esopus Advisory Council in particular, it
makes sense to retain the involvement of these representatives
in some manner as we move forward with organizing at the watershed
scale,” stated Courtney referring to plans by the project
management team to develop a new Watershed Advisory council
for the Ashokan Basin.
Work remains for prioritizing the recommended actions in those
plans for implementation on the watershed scale. It is also
likely that funds could be matched with other sources to multiply
the resource. How to involve the many people interested in a
structure and process for prioritizing actions is still being
worked out by members of the previous Esopus Creek Project Advisory
Council. As this process is further developed, additional feedback
will be sought from interested groups and landowners in the
watershed. The group plans to have a clear process for prioritizing
and funding the many possible projects by the end of 2008 so
that projects can be considered for funding in 2009.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County has also hired two
new staff members for the Ashokan Basin Stream Management Program.
As of October 1, Elizabeth Higgins will begin as the new Project
Coordinator, replacing Jeremy Magliaro who moved on to a new
position in Albany last May.She was formerly a Policy Analyst
for Winrock International in Arlington, VA. and director of
the Center for Rural Development at Louisiana Tech University.
Most recently she has managed the Family and Consumer Science
Program at Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County.
In August, Laura Weyeneth started as a new Watershed Educator
who will work with Extension Educator Michael Courtney on education
and outreach programs in the Ashokan Watershed. Laura comes
with great enthusiasm and skills, previously working with the
New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission and
the Student Conservation Association as an educator on invasive
For more information about the Ashokan Basin Stream Management
Program, contact Michael Courtney at 845-340-3990 or by email
Onteora High School will hold its annual Homecoming Day on September
27 from 10:00am till early the following day, starting off with
a Varsity Boys Soccer Team contest against Rhinebeck, DECA food
table, along with tables sponsored by Onteora’s Band,
SADD, French Club, Sports Fans along with many others. At about
11:30 a Parade of Athletes for all Onteora Middle School and
High School Fall Athletes and their coaches will take place.
Athletes should come in uniform and line up at the Bennett End
of the football field at 11:15.
Onteora’s Varsity Football team takes the field for a
game time kick-off at 1:30 against Red Hook High. At half-time
there will be a performance from the Winter Color Guard and
the Onteora Band. Also, at half-time all Seniors and their parents
are requested to be on the field for Onteora’s Traditional
Senior Recognition. At this time Onteora’s Homecoming
King and Queen along with their court will also be introduced.
Half-time will conclude with the announcement of the 50/50 Raffle
and the winners of the Sports Fan Raffle Table.
he day will conclude with Onteora’s Homecoming Dance at
8:00pm with DJ Pure with the Extreme Team DJ’s And Morgan
Hill Sound. Photos will be streamed live onto the website…
how’s that for sophistication!
The federal government Wednesday released over $12.1 million
in funding that will assist low-income New Yorkers pay home
heating bills during the upcoming fall and winter months. The
new heating funds, which come from the Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program (LIHEAP), were approved by Congress nearly
a year ago, but just was released by the White House.
“While major energy corporations continue to rake in record
profits, millions of Americans are looking ahead to the winter
months, fearful that they may be forced to go without heat in
their home because it’s just too expensive,” said
Congressman Maurice Hinchey. “The release of more than
$12 million in LIHEAP funding today for New York will certainly
help, but more must be done.”
Hinchey said he will continue to work to pass an additional
$3.1 billion in home heating aid for low-income Americans.
LIHEAP helps pay the winter heating bills or summer cooling
bills of low-income and elderly people on fixed incomes. Two-thirds
of the individuals and families that receive LIHEAP assistance
have incomes of less than $8,000 a year.
The Woodstock Library will be hosting a special Library Forum
with a focus on assistance programs for the winter to come.
The program will be on Saturday, September 27th at 5 pm in the
Woodstock Library. A panel of informed individuals led by Ulster
County Legislator, Don Gregorius, will be there to discuss and
answer questions about heating subsidies, and agencies that
can help in case of a crisis.
Informational brochures will be available.
Members of the panel will include David Donaldson, Chairman
of the Ulster County Legislature, Michael Hein, Ulster County
Administrator, Roberto Rodriguez, Ulster County Commissioner
of Social Services, Michael Berg, Executive Director of Family,
Don Gregorius, Ulster County legislator District 2 and Brian
Shapiro, Ulster County Legislator District 2.
With John Parete’s decision to retire as Ulster County’s
Democratic elections commissioner unlikely to break the county
Legislature’s impasse over a proposed ethics law, Legislator
Brian Shapiro said he’s ready to abandon his effort to
bring comprehensive ethics legislation to the county. Instead,
he said, he may suggest the Legislature’s Laws and Rules
Committee introduce “a stripped-down, bare-bones version
of the ethics law that would allow the public to submit concerns
to the Board of Ethics.”
“I don’t want to see three years go to waste,”
said Shapiro, a Woodstock Democrat who heads the county’s
Board of Ethics.
Wrangling over the inclusion of language that would ban county
officials, department heads or county commissioners from holding
office in any political party has stymied the adoption of a
county ethics law. It also has set the Legislature’s Democratic
majority to quarreling among itself, with Parete - who also
is chairman of the county Democratic Committee and has two sons
who serve as Democratic legislators - in the middle.
The bill before the Legislature doesn’t include the proposed
ban, but controversy over the provision has made it impossible
to even have the measure, as written, brought up for a vote.
Earlier this month, the county Legislature voted 18-11 to send
the measure back to its Laws and Rules Committee - for the fourth
time - for reconsideration of the provision.
Supporters of the ban have accused opponents of trying to protect
Parete’s dual positions. Opponents have accused supporters
of trying to exact political revenge against Parete by forcing
him to surrender one of the posts. Both sides deny the others’
claims, and Parete’s announcement this week that he will
not seek reappointment as election commissioner has done little
to change the minds of legislators.
The county’s current ethics law is little more than a
financial disclosure form
A change in eligibility requirements for the Catskill Watershed
Corporation’s Septic Rehabilitation and Replacement Program
means that nearly 900 additional homeowners may be eligible
to participate. Letters have been mailed to some 880 people
whose properties are within 200 feet of a watercourse in the
latest extension of the program eligibility distance. The voluntary
program has widened progressively, from 50 to 100 to 150 feet,
and now to 200 feet from a watercourse. Properties within 500
feet of a reservoir stem are also targeted.
Homeowners in the New York City Watershed in Delaware, Greene,
Schoharie, Sullivan or Ulster Counties whose properties fall
within the eligibility distance may sign up to have their system
pumped out and inspected. A call to the CWC to arrange an initial
visit with technical staffers is the first step. Participation
is entirely voluntary. Those who sign up agree to have their
system examined. If the system appears to have failed, or is
likely to fail, the CWC will reimburse full-time residents 100
percent of the cost of replacement. Part-time or non-resident
property owners will be reimbursed 60 percent of eligible repair
or replacement costs.
Your one-or two-family residence or home-business combination
must use less than 1,000 gallons of water per day. Systems installed
in conjunction with construction of new homes are not eligible
In addition, homeowners who can prove their septic systems were
repaired or replaced between July 2, 1999 and December 31, 2007,
regardless of whether those systems are located in the current
priority area, may be eligible for reimbursement for those repairs.
Call the CWC at 1-845-586-1400 (toll free (1-877-928-7433) to
request a reimbursement form. You must also produce contractor
receipts and proof of construction approval from the New York
City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
For more information on these and other programs designed to
assist homeowners and businesses in the New York City Watershed,
please call the CWC, or go to www.cwconline.org.
Lark In The Park
The annual Catskill Park “Lark in the Park,” which
began during the 100th anniversary of the Catskill Park back
in 2004, will be held Saturday October 4th - Monday October
13th with coordination by the Catskill Mountain Club and Catskill
Center for Conservation and Development.
Hikes will cover all aspects of the region, with a majority
in our central Catsklills area.
There will also be a special event taking place from 12 noon
to 2 PM at the new Ashokan Center in Olivebridge
For further information on all events, please call 586-2611
or visit www.catskillpark.org
A community benefit has been scheduled for the Shannon Ryan
family of Olive on Saturday, October 4, 2008, at Davis Park
in West Shokan. Ryan was recently burned in a woodsplitter accident
and has no insurance.
The benefit will run from 12 noon until 5 pm with music provided
by Dorraine Scofield, Plan B, and The Pontiacs. Hamburgers,
hot dogs, rolls, beer and soda have been donated by local businesses
and residents. Plus, there will be a potluck buffet table for
anyone who wants to bring a dish. Another local resident will
have his adobe oven at the event baking his famous wood fired
pizza for all to enjoy. There is a $25.00 per person suggested
donation which will include musical entertainment, food, and
Also included in the event will be a Bake Sale and a Silent
Auction. Generous Olive residents have donated everything from
apple pies to Teddy Bears and paintings and hand crafted furniture
to a septic system pump out.
For information on donating or helping out on the day of the
event please call Jennifer Vines at 657-2827. Anyone who can’t
attend but would like to donate, please make your check payable
to Shannon Ryan and mail it to my office at Town of Olive Town
Clerk, PO Box 96, West Shokan, NY 12494.
The August unemployment rate in the Hudson Valley rose from
3.8 percent last year to 5.3 percent this year, the highest
rate for that month in 14 years, the state Labor Department
announced this month.
The Wall Street crisis could further erode the job market as
many of those high-paid Wall Streeters live in the Valley. “Any
fallout on Wall Street is likely to be echoed in our community,”
said Labor Department analyst John Nelson.
Any number of industries could be impacted from professional
and business services, to retailers, to leisure and hospitality,
to construction, he said.
New job growth fell off dramatically year over year in August
with the Putnam-Rockland-Westchester area gaining 4,100, Dutchess-Orange
gaining 700 jobs and Ulster County gaining 100 jobs.
Greene County lost 500 jobs; and Sullivan, Delaware, and Columbia
County each lost 200 jobs.
Unemployment in the counties rose significantly in August. Sullivan
and Greene counties each had 5.8 percent rates of joblessness.
Ulster had 5.7 percent; Delaware, 5.6 percent; Dutchess-Orange
had 5.5 percent unemployment; and Putnam-Rockland-Westchester
had 5.1 percent unemployment.
A special commission studying New York’s court system
has said that lawmakers should reduce the number of local justice
courts from the current 1,250 statewide and increase requirements
for becoming a town or village justice. The commission said
the array of courts has grown over two centuries without a rational
assessment of state or local needs, imposing unnecessary costs
on taxpayers. And the inefficiency of requiring prosecutors,
deputies and troopers to go to various courts “results
in a reduced quality of justice,” said attorney Kerry
Dunne, who chairs the commission.
“There’s an enormous amount of duplication and redundancy
in many areas of the state,” Dunne said. The commission
proposed county review panels to decide with state oversight
whether local courts should be combined, estimating that could
lead eventually to a reduction of 27 to 44 percent. Towns and
villages would decide whether they need each of their justice
The panel of 31 lawyers, judges, academics and others was appointed
in 2006 by state Chief Judge Judith Kaye and visited 100 town
and village courts, some in each of New York’s 12 judicial
The commission also recommended giving all litigants and defendants
the option of having a judge who is trained as a lawyer. That
would require a new state law.
The commission concluded that the more than 2,100 town and village
justices, including those who are not lawyers, are “adequately
dispensing justice” in more than 2 million cases annually
while collecting more than $210 million in fines and fees.
However, they urged more training, as well as a requirement
all justices must be at least 25 years old and have at least
a two-year degree from an accredited college. Incumbents would
be exempt from the new requirements. The commission said there
must be minimum standards for court facilities to ensure all
are safe and fit for judicial proceedings, noting many had no
security or screening whatsoever.
The local courts hear traffic, various misdemeanor criminal
cases and small claims and handle arraignments of felony defendants.
Dunne said some convene in highway barns and garages. They are
Kaye said the commission’s proposed new courtroom standards
and training requirements can be implemented administratively.
The Office of Court Administration estimated the cost of improvements
at more than $112 million if no courts are combined.
With work beginning a new Concord hotel, racino and racetrack,
a full-blown casino in the Catskills appears a dead issue. US
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne killed a proposed
Native American casino at Monticello Raceway. Kempthorne leaves
office in January, when the next administration is sworn in.
But Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Jonathan Rouis said
the issue may not be as dead as some think.
“I think we’ve spent the better part of 30 years
holding onto that slim possibility, so I don’t think it’s
dead, I would say it’s remote,” he said.
Rouis said any future possibilities would depend upon who is
elected President in November and whom he chooses as Interior
Kempthorne is opposed to allowing casinos on off-reservation
lands that are placed in trust.
Jumping frogs, rumbling tractors, a barrel train and a mystifying
magical performance will add to the fun at the Sixth Annual
Margaretville Cauliflower Festival Saturday, Sept. 27 from 10
to 3 in the Village Park.
The event is free and is held rain or shine. It is sponsored
by the Greater Margaretville Chamber of Commerce.
New this year is a Tractor Parade that will form at Lauren Davis’
farm adjacent to the Village Park. at 11:45 AM, when about a
dozen tractors will roll through the park, led by Grand Marshall
Leonard Utter, a former Millbrook farmer and current Middletown
Performing in the magic tent twice during the day will be magician
Arthur Martello. He has been a member of the Society of American
Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians (Order
of Merlin) for the past 35 years.
Once again the Catskill Mountain Antique Engine and Machinery
Club will give rides to children aboard their Barrel Train.
There will also be horse drawn surrey rides around the park.
Kids will be delighted by close encounters with Jason’s
Frogs, Bugs and Animals. Pee Wee the frog, Tickles the hedgehog,
Spike the bearded dragon and assorted other creatures will exhibit
their distinctive personalities while being ferried in a wagon
about the festival grounds.
Larger critters will be featured at the Strich family’s
petting zoo, where you may get to stroke goats, donkeys and
bunnies. They will also give pony rides, accepting donations
for the care of the rescued animals sheltered at their Woodchuck
Springs’ farm in Halcottsville.
And did we forget an art show and, best of all, loads of cauliflower
in various guises, in celebration of that time when the sturdy
vegetable was once the economic mainstay of so much of the region?
Scientists studying voters in the US say our political views
may be an integral part of our physical makeup. Their research,
published in the journal Science, indicates that people who
are sensitive to fear or threat are likely to support a right
wing agenda. Those who perceived less danger in a series of
images and sounds were more inclined to support liberal policies.
The authors believe their findings may help to explain why voters’
minds are so hard to change.
In the study, conducted in Nebraska, 46 volunteers were first
asked about their political views on issues ranging from foreign
aid and the Iraq war to capital punishment and patriotism. Those
with strong opinions were invited to take part in the second
part of the experiment, which involved recording their physiological
responses to a series of images and sounds. The images included
pictures of a frightened man with a large spider on his face
and an open wound with maggots in it. The subjects were also
startled with loud noises on occasion. By measuring the electrical
conductance of the volunteers’ skin and their blink responses,
the scientists were able to work out the degree of fear they
were experiencing - how sensitive they were to the images and
The researchers say there is no political relevance to their
research - but feel it may help explain why it is so hard to
change someone’s mind in a political debate.
“People haven’t just thought about things differently,”
the report surmised. “They feel things differently.”
SUNY Ulster’s International Programs Director Richard
Cattabiani announced that the college has been awarded a grant
from the Fund for Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE)
for the development of programs to improve education and community
resources for special needs children in Mexico. The prestigious
grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, is part
of a North American initiative for cooperation and exchange
among the United States, Canada and Mexico in the areas of education
and professional training. The grant of $300,000 will be shared
by SUNY Ulster and the University of Arizona and their international
partners in Canada and Mexico over a period of three years.
The American institutions, in collaboration with Canadian educational
partners, will help Mexican universities create community-based
family resource centers for special needs children. A resource
center, currently being built in Ciudad Obregón in the
northern Mexican state of Sonora, will be the first project
of the North American collaboration. The center may later be
replicated in other regions in Mexico.
Under the FIPSE grant, SUNY Ulster will work on this project
with the University of Arizona (the largest research facility
in the southwest) as well as two Canadian schools, the University
of Manitoba (the largest higher education institution in Canada)
in Winnipeg and Red Deer College in Alberta, which serves a
large population of indigenous peoples. The North American consortium
will aid two universities in Mexico, the Instituto Tecnologico
of Sonora and Universidad Panamericana in Guadalajara in improving
training for teachers and other professionals who work with
special needs children. The communities that surround the schools
will benefit from the creation of family resource centers. According
to Cattabiani, an author of the grant proposal, “There
is increasing evidence that the number of children with disabilities
is growing worldwide, and there will be increased demand to
provide health education and social services at the community
level to children with disabilities and their families.”
The grant to SUNY Ulster came about, in part, as a result of
a five-week study made by seven early childhood education teachers,
administrators and teacher candidates from the Instituto Tecnologico
of Sonora of the operations of the SUNY Ulster Children’s
Center in Stone Ridge. Under the guidance of Emily Vosper, now-retired
center director, the Mexican educators observed and were impressed
by the practices and philosophy of the Center, which provides
childcare for children of students, faculty, and staff of the
college and members of the community.
Countries across the world will have to dramatically increase
investment in dams, pipes and other water infrastructure to
avoid widespread flooding, drought and disease even before climate
change accelerates these problems, experts have warned. Investment
needs to be at least doubled from the current level of $80 billion
a year, an international congress was told last week, and one
leading authority said spending needed to rise to 1.5% of gross
domestic product just “to be able to cope with the current
climate” - one thousand times the current level.
The warnings follow a summer of dramatic events, from hurricane
flooding in the Caribbean and the east coast of America to desperate
measures in drought-stricken Mediterranean countries, including
importing water by ship.
Rich nations suffer huge under-investment, but the threat of
poor infrastructure to populations in developing countries is
even greater, said Dr Olcay Unver, director of the United Nations’
Global Water Assessment Unit.
So serious is the problem that next year the UN’s World
Water Assessment Report will make one of its main messages the
need for investment to “accelerate substantially”,
“You can’t justify the deaths of so many children
because of lack of infrastructure or lost productive time of
people [who are] intellectually or physically incapacitated
because of simple lack of access to safe water or sanitation,”
Dr Glen Daigger, senior vice-president of the International
Water Association, said there was growing evidence that spending
on clean water and sanitation was the single greatest contribution
to reducing disease and death. The UN has identified dams for
hydropower and irrigation as leading drivers of sustainable
economic growth in developing countries. “Water and sanitation
is clearly a better investment than medical intervention, but
it’s not sexy,” added Daigger.
Last year the World Bank called for investment in water infrastructure
to more than double from $80bn to $180bn over the next 20-25
years to cope with population growth and climate change, which
are expected to leave about 4 billion people living in “water
stress” areas - deemed to have insufficient water to meet
daily needs. Conditions would be particularly severe in Africa,
the Middle East and South Asia, said the bank. Water pollution
and the threat to coastal areas of erosion, sea level rise and
storm surges are also growing concerns.
However, experts meeting at the IWA conference of 2,700 water
professionals in Vienna suggested the true scale of the problem
could be much higher.
Among the proposals to reduce costs, water users would have
to accept different grades of water, including a lower grade
in gardens and toilets, said Professor Alexander Zehnder, of
the Alberta Water Research Institute, Canada. “Why are
we spending a lot of money to clean the water and then we piss
Earlier this year the American Society of Civil Engineers said
the US needed to spend $1.6bn over five years to repair all
its crumbling infrastructure, and gave the worst assessment
of all to the water sector. Federal funds for drinking water
were less than 10% of what was needed.
The National Labor Relations Board recently impounded the ballots
of nurses at Benedictine Hospital in Kingston minutes after
the close of voting to join the New York State Nurses Association.
Hospital management has asked the NLRB in Washington to review
an August ruling by the board’s regional office that granted
the RNs the right to an election.
Benedictine management contends the potential bargaining unit
would be inappropriate because it does not include RNs from
Kingston Hospital. The two healthcare facilities are in the
midst of a merger.
While the NLRB reviews the case, the union is proceeding as
if the bargaining unit has been approved, said spokesman Mark
A proposal to privatize the county-owned Golden Hill Health
Care Center fell flat recelty, with several Democratic members
of the Ulster County Legislature vowing to fight any plan that
would take the county out of the nursing home business.
The lawmakers were responding to recommendations by the Long
Term Care Committee of the Ulster County Blue Ribbon Healthcare
Services Advisory Panel to replace the county’s aging
280-bed nursing home on Golden Hill Drive in Kingston with two
privately run facilities.
Steven Kelly, president and chief executive officer of Ellenville
Regional Hospital and chairman of the special committee, said
the Golden Hill Health Care Center, built in the mid-1970s,
doesn’t meet current codes, lacks handicapped-accessible
toilet rooms, has an insufficient number of toilets, lacks proper
fire doors and resident room doors and has significant infrastructure
To renovate the existing building, he said, would cost about
$44 million, with $33 million coming from the state and $11
million from the county. But he said the committee had serious
questions about whether the building could realistically be
renovated and what would happen to residents while the renovations
were taking place.
Rather, he said, the county should combine the nursing home
property with the former jail site, which is on the same property,
and sell the properties to a developer “for razing and
building of a new” residential development.
Kelly said the committee felt the best solution for the aging
nursing home would be to find a private sponsor to build new
state-of-the-art facilities. One facility, he said, should remain
in the Kingston area, but the other should be built in the southern
part of the county, where there currently are nursing homes.
While 25 percent of the county’s population lives in the
southwestern portion of the county, only 7 percent of Golden
Hill’s residents come from that area, Kelly said.
Legislator Robert Parete, chairman of the Legislature’s
Health Services Committee, said he intends to form another committee
to review the subcommittee’s report and recommend a course
“My chief concern is caring for the senior citizens in
Ulster County,” said Parete, D-Boiceville.
A Boiceville man was arrested on a petit larceny charge Tuesday
after he got on a county bus with a bicycle that had been reported
stolen earlier, Shandaken town police said.
Edwin Gonzalez, 44, of Boiceville was arrested on the misdemeanor
charge at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said.
Police said Gonzalez stole another man’s bicycle from
Main Street in Phoenicia, then was stopped as he attempted to
leave the area on an Ulster County Area Transit bus. Olive town
police saw the stolen bike affixed to the front of the bus and
stopped the bus, turning Gonzalez over to Shandaken police.
Gonzalez was sent to the Ulster County Jail in lieu of $1,000