Allegations of euthanasia, socialized medicine and big spending
in the debate over health care reform are muddying the waters
over issues of real human needs that we see every day here
in Ulster County.
Health care reform is worth fighting for. Without reform,
people with pre-existing conditions are frequently denied
coverage. Without reform, many in our community cannot afford
their prescriptions. Without reform, annual or lifetime limits
on coverage and excessive out-of-pocket expenses cause financial
ruin or an inability to obtain needed care. Without reform,
there is a bias towards institutional care rather than community
based home care. Without reform, many people who have worked
their whole lives but are now disabled cannot afford health
care coverage while not qualifying for government programs.
Ultimately, we will all benefit from a more rational health
Fran Wishnick, Advocacy Director
Resource Ctr for Accessible Living
The big question for me now is, will they succeed in turning
We the People against each other. It clearly is their goal,
since they now know that they have nothing to lose because
their ideology has failed them. This became clear when they
used the term Nazi for our President. This has nothing to
do with philosophy, or for that matter anything remotely connected
to thought. Thought is now in the past. Those of us who have
not been taken over by the "brain snatchers" can
argue amongst ourselves whether to bail out banks versus people,
whether to finance protection of the earth versus whether
to finance murderous contractors. All of that is small stuff.
No child left behind worked. All of our youth's brain functioning
was taken away from science, healing, arts and philosophy,
and put into Wall Street. The American Dream was theirs if
they would just put a small down payment of a piece of their
souls, and commit to a lifetime of numbers. To make the commitment
even easier for them, they were told that they could hold
on to their souls, by contributing some of their money to
the needy, and get a tax deduction. What they didn't account
for, is that once the erosion of the souls begin, they would
eventually reach a no turning back point, just like in all
the vampire stories.
To turn this letter into some more practical information,
I'd like to move on to Medicare. I have a number of baby boomer
friends, who actually believe that they should hold on to
the private insurance that they had gotten from the office.
Now, I know that my friends can't possibly be stupid, so let's
use the term "un-informed", (although I'd prefer
mis-informed). If Medicare is not your primary health care
choice, and is instead your secondary, you have been had.
FYI: There are two basic parts, (leaving out the add-ons)
to your Medicare insurance. Your primary and your secondary.
The primary makes the decisions and the secondary just pays
20% of whatever the primary decides to pay. So, if you have
an HMO as your primary, you are limited to their choice of
doctors, their choice of care, their choice of everything
relating to your health care. Medicare, then adds an extra
20% of whatever they rule on. Count them out on any appeals,
etc. It's not their job, when they are secondary.
On the other hand, if Medicare is your primary, they make
all of the decisions. At the present time, Medicare covers
80% of just about everything you want.
For me, it covers any doctor I wish to see, for as many visits
as I wish to have, in many other States, as well as New York
State. So, if you want to go to a specialist in a particular
disease out of State, you can travel there, and pay only for
your own travel expenses. Medicare pays for all doctors that
accept Medicare, which is just about all doctors that are
in medicine in order to heal. (Some alternative practitioners
are not included). It also pays for any tests that the doctor
requires, and probably overpays for that, (but that's another
story). Of course, when you chose Medicare as your primary,
they pay 80% of all that I've listed, including hospital stays,
re-hab, long term care, etc. Then, you get to chose your secondary.
That company, (whoever is available in your area) pays the
additional 20% of what's left after Medicare pays the 20%.
Secondaries do not make the decisions, when Medicare is your
I don't know if I've made this clear enough. I know that there
are people that charge fees for trying to explain this. I'm
doing the best I can, in the limited space I have in a letter.
You can go to your nearest Medicare office, and get further
information. The bottom line is: Let's not absorb any of the
lies that are coming out about health care. Let's get to the
truth and then decide. And - let's block dangerous people
from Town Hall meetings, and remove any that speak out of
turn and regain our right to listen and to speak to our representatives.
Why are we allowing this to happen?
Of the nations surveyed, we rank highest in years of potential
life lost to circulatory diseases, respiratory diseases and
diabetes. We have the second highest death rate from bronchitis,
emphysema. In another survey our infant mortality was greater
than 27 other nations.
With regards to health care reform, Republican Senator Jim
South Carolina told an attack group that if they’re
“able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo.
It will break him.”
President Obama’s responded: “Think about that.
This isn’t about me. This isn’t about politics.
This is about a health care system that is breaking up American
families, breaking America’s businesses and breaking
Right-wing writer Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard told
Republicans that they need to resist the temptation to work
with Democrats to find a solution to our health care crisis.
“This is no time to pull
punches. Go for the kill.”
Their plan is to oppose health care reform as a political
ploy to weaken the President and defeat his entire agenda
of change. If the American people buy into the strategy of
the “Party of No” and do nothing, it will ensure
more of the same. It will saddle our children and grandchildren
with a burden of exploding costs and declining care that they
may never overcome.
Obama has consistently argued that health care reform must
reduce costs, guarantee choice, including the choice of a
strong public insurance option, and ensure quality, affordable
health care for all
Americans. Those principles are the key to keeping our country
healthy and protecting our families, businesses, and economy
from costs that are spiraling out of control. It’s the
change the American people
voted for and so desperately need.
Notice this: during Bush's Iraq war (of choice), Republicans
said "Support the President!", while Democrats asked
"How to pay for this?". Now during Obama's recovery
(of necessity), it's exactly the reverse -- except that the
Democrats actually answer the payment question: tax the rich!
Typical Republican hypocrisy...
J. Andrew Smith
Please correct me if I’m wrong. "Didn’t President
Obama state he was going to ask the credit companies to sort
of back off raising the interest rate on credit cards, or
at least make a minimum that they could raise it? " I
know he didn't give a date that this was to begin. I guess
this is why in the past few weeks I have received letters
from these companies stating that they were sorry but as of
such a date the interest rate would be raised. Now I'm not
talking about 1%, I'm talking about 5% for a minimum. Yesterday
( August 17, 2009) I received a letter from American Express
stating that the interest rate will be raised to the present
prime, plus 21.9%...That’s over 25% interest, and to
add insult to injury, it will no longer be a fixed rate but
now a variable rate. I know you say cancel the cards, which
I did with Bank of America, but was told that this will hurt
my credit rating. We (the average American) are caught between
a rock and a hard place, a Catch 22 situation. But when the
time comes that President Obama says not to raise the interest
rate after a certain date, the credit card companies can always
say, okay, cause they have already done it. In today’s
economy the credit card companies should reduce the interest
rate not raise it. How in God’s name can people who
have been laid off from work, retired and living on Social
Security or a small pension afford to pay these new rates?
Okay...I'll call or write to my local Congressman or Senator
and see if they could do something about it. Yeh, that would
be like talking to a recording, seriously, has any of your
readers ever seen a Politician drive into a gas station and
fill up his car and use a credit card that he has to pay out
of his own pocket or shop for food at a local store. New York
Congressmen drive around in the finest leased vehicles that
we pay for, and if I'm not mistaken, have credit cards issued
to them by the Government for business use,etc. Wasn't it
President Bush that said he didn't know the price of gasoline
was that high when it was near $4.50 a gallon? In closing
this article, I would like to apologize to your readers if
I offended anyone by what I said, but there comes a time when
people have to VENT, and this was my VENTING time.
Peter G. Polis
'The fate of the HealthCare System seems to be doing a balancing
act", so states Ms Mescal Hornbeck in the August 13 issue
of The Olive Press. She then adds, "such a shame that
the powers against reform have had so much of [our] money
to oppose the establishment of a single payer, universal health
care reform", and so on.
Dear Ms Hornbeck; you are dismissing the US Constitution and
the mechanics of that priceless document when you criticise
the "balancing " act. The fate of any proposed bill
for enactment into law depends on the "yea' or "nay"
of those who represent us in Congress and to relegate that
procedure to the trash bin after two centuries is outrageous.
Further; who declared the personal resources of those in opposition
[at town halls or any forum] as "our " money. I
see citizens freely assembled and freely speaking [at the
invitation ] of the host politician exercising their first
amendment right. Then we have the spectacle of some elected
folks in the congress in opposition. How dare they?
Ms Hornbeck suggests that single payer would cut health care
insurance costs to half of what is being paid today while
many millions are not covered. "We know that many millions
who don't know what is happening and believe those purveyors
of private, costly programs which make a profit with an enterprise
that is vital to all and should provide huge profits to no
one", she declares. Spoken like a true Socialist who
would redistribute the wealth of all but hers. As Lyndon Johnson
declared in a TV campaign speech, "I’m going to
take from the 'haves' and give to the "have nots'".
He then proceeded to go down the political "drain".
After all the criticism and advice Ms Hornbeck invites us
to contact our Senators and Congressman to support the reform.
Well...... can we express opposition if we choose to, Ms Hornbeck?
Note: The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] opposes the proposal
based on cost along with "R&D' entities who need
a return for their time, education and other invested resources.
There is no free lunch Ms Hornbeck; for those who aspire to
achieve. Speculation and Accumulation is the basis of wealth
[even in a Republic].
Just one final question; whose money did George Soros spend
in trashing a Presidential candidate? his own or "ours"?
Glenn T. Anderson
Mankind is not descriptive as man is far from kind and this,
though the ages, has been true. The areas of unkindness are
often areas of life where individuals or groups differ in
viewpoint or behavior. Persons or groups which vary from the
usual are targets for unkindness by the majority. Homosexuality
which is inborn in 15% of the population and not a selected
trait any more than is left handedness has been considered
anathema by the majority and the treatment of homosexuals
has been most unkind. Society has deprived them of many human
rights, denied them social status and treated them as though
they were criminal even though accepting their labor, their
knowledge and their valor in times of war.
It is thus of great significance that they now are able to
marry and enjoy and receive the benefits of what has been
denied them. The roadblock to this has been the limited meaning
of the word marriage. Looking at the word one finds that it
means bonded united by mutual interests. The traditional marriage
between a man and a woman and sanctioned by religion and society
gives those married the comfort of having another person to
share in the work, pleasures, responsibilities. It gives each
one a person to act on their behalf in crises. It is assurance
that if one is deceased the remaining one will be entitled
to their part of a jointly created home. It gives social recognition
and status to each. Until the justness of making marriage
legitimate for homosexuals society has deprived them of a
component of a full life. Please, you who object, sit back
and think about it.
Less than 24 hours after Judge Deborah Schneer won confirmation
as our next Ulster County Court judge, the Ulster County Republican
Party predictably kicked off its mud-slinging with baseless
attacks against this outstanding judge.
On the night of July 16, 2009, Judge Schneer was unanimously
confirmed by the New York State Senate to serve as our County
Court judge. Even Kingston's own Republican state senator,
Bill Larkin, voted for her. Schneer had previously been nominated
by Governor Paterson after a judicial screening committee
in Albany found her to be "highly qualified."
Never one to let facts get in the way of an attack, the very
next day, in the face of the overwhelming bi-partisan support
for Judge Schneer, our local Republican County Chair Mario
Catalano issued a statement calling her appointment a "mockery"
of the Ulster County Court. He then carefully mischaracterized
a 20-year-old case in which a prisoner appealed having to
appear in front of a jury shackled hand and foot. (Schneer
did not "sue the taxpayers of New York" as Catalano
claimed.) By seeking to undermine the public's faith in our
judiciary, Catalano has decided to launch his campaign from
the bottom of the gutter. The public can only hope that the
Republicans won't dig any lower.
Not surprisingly, Catalano had not a single positive thing
to say about his own candidate, Don Williams. This is telling.
After all, just two years ago, the Republicans rejected Williams'
bid for Kingston City Court judge. Now, they want to put him
on the far more important County Court bench, despite his
lack of judicial experience. Without a positive message, the
Republican campaign apparently will consist of nothing but
angry attacks. The citizens of this county should not elect
as a judge the standard-bearer of angry partisans.
Deborah Schneer has 25 years of diverse legal experience throughout
the Hudson Valley and beyond, giving her broad exposure to
all facets of our legal system. Her opponent spent his whole
career in one job. Deborah Schneer has years of judicial experience,
balancing the interests of all parties who came before her
and earning respect from both sides of the aisle. Her opponent
has never been a judge - never presided over a single case
in his life and has only been a court-room partisan.
Catalano's is only the first of what will surely be many Republican
temper tantrums over imagined flaws. The public knows better.
Deborah Schneer is the experienced judge we need in Ulster
County's toughest court.
Julian D. Schreibman, Chair
Ulster County Democratic Committee
It is 40 years since the historic Woodstock Festival crowned
an era now associated with peace, love and rock and roll.
Although the 1969 festival itself did not take place in Woodstock,
but in Bethel many miles across the Catskills, the town of
Woodstock, New York, nevertheless, has become a pilgrimage
point for people seeking to either rekindle those years of
love and music, or at the very least to buy a tie-dye T-shirt.
Despite the great deal of hoopla surrounding the 40th anniversary
of the famous festival, very little attention has been paid
to the philosophical culture which permeated the event and
In 1969 the Vietnam War was a central focus for the passion
of the crowd and the many songs of protest. At the Woodstock
Forum, which took place August 15 and 16, well over 300 people
heard and discussed the many pressing issues of our time.
We are overwhelmed with on-going wars, continuing exploitation
of people and resources around the world, worsening ecological
devastation and usurpation of our communities for weaponry
and repression. In 2009, although the name Woodstock is synonymous
with "peace and love," the biggest employer in our
own town is a military contractor. Given the perilous state
of New York, the nation and the world, we need more than ever
to discuss how to convert the engines of war for a peaceful
In the sessions held at the Woodstock Town Hall on Saturday
we heard from historians, poets, workers, social critics and
journalists such as: Peter Woodruff, worker in a Maine weapons
factory; grass roots organizer, Mary Beth Sullivan; legendary
activist Diane Wilson, author, An Unreasonable Woman and co-founder
Code Pink; poet and teacher, Janine Vega; curator and gallery
director, Ariel Shanberg; award winning journalists Jeremy
Scahill and Jeff Cohen; economist Robert Pollin; historians
Silvia Federici, Simon Harak, SJ, and Richard Grossman; social
critics Joel Kovel and George Caffentzis; filmmakers DeeDee
Halleck and Tobe Carey.
The speakers painted an ominous view of how militarism has
gripped our communities, our culture and our lives.
On Sunday the Forum switched from presentations on what was
wrong to reflections on how citizens could right those wrongs.
A day of deliberation, contentious at times but essentially
forward moving, led to the drafting of an initial statement
and the framing of ways to build movements, local as well
as regional and national, to carry the struggle forward.
Statement from the Woodstock Forum
We, participants of the Woodstock Forum, meeting August 15
and 16, 2009, the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival,
reclaim the authority for our lives and our communities. We
reject the usurpation of our rights by the military-industrial-media
We reject the actions of our country to foment wars around
the world and to manufacture, export and sell weapons. Weapons
are the number one U.S. export. Our cities and towns have
become home to industries for death and destruction.
We declare that: 1. we will map and research the military
industries that control the economies of our communities,
that control the minds and pockets of our government officials,
that pollute and destroy our land and waters. 2. we will draw
attention to these industries of death through educational
outreach to local and national media and with imaginative
and creative non-violent actions. 3. we will build coalitions
to convert weapons-making to peaceful manufacturing and to
create meaningful work in education, the arts, health care,
and ecological development. 4. we vow to take personal responsibility
for the products in our workplaces and in our lives.
We will not cease our resistance to the death machines in
our midst and to the laws that support them.
Nicholas Abramson, Laurie Arbeiter, DeeDee Halleck, Tarak
Kauff, Laurie Kirby, Joel Kovel, Helaine Meisler, Gail Miller,
Fred Nagel, Katya and Paul Rehm, Laurie Sheridan
I would like to respond to Carol Shalaew's Letter to the Editor,
published in the July 31st issue of the Phoenicia Times. In
her letter Ms. Shalaew takes exception to an article written
by Jennifer Holz, entitled "Kitty." She publically
condemns Ms. Holz' character and the propriety of her column.
Ms. Holz gives abundantly and generously of her time and resources.
She takes an active interest in the welfare and interests
of others, including the numerous children who come to her
with a desire to learn about farming and the care of farm
She opens her home on a weekly basis to these children as
a 4H leader. She teaches and nurtures these children. She
has very high standards for 'her kids' and challenges them
to go just a bit further. She is gifted as a teacher and mentor.
I see the 4H children come out of her meetings feeling empowered
and confident. I feel privileged to have Ms. Holz as a member
of my community. She has so much love and enthusiasm for what
she does and very much wants to share that with the next generation.
In return for all of her generosity she receives nothing except
her own personal satisfaction and the adoring gratitude of
the kids she nurtures.
Additionally, I look forward to her regular column, "On
The Farm with Jennifer Holz and the Chicken Coopers."
Not only does she use this space to inform the community of
the activities of the local 4Hers but she also provides interesting
anecdotes about the lovable characters that make up our community.
On occasion she garners and disseminates useful advice. Her
article on chainsaw care, and winter preparedness stands out
in my memory as being particularly informative. One must not
lose sight of the fact that she a columnist. Her articles
are the work of a writer who eloquently expresses and interprets
what she observes around her.
We should celebrate the people who truly enrich our community.
Jennifer Holz is someone to celebrate. She is a jewel in our
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is
for good men to do nothing”. Edmund Burke.
In Ms. Holz’s response to my letter she refutes all
that she had written in her column in question, denying the
existence of “kitty” and the “dying bunny”
brought to her by kitty. She now changes the story to say
the incident happened to someone else who laid an already
dead bunny under a tree. She quotes me as saying the bunny
was left alive outside to die. I was merely quoting Ms. Holz
who had printed in her column, “Kitty is a serial killer.
She does not kill for food. She drops her trophies at the
feet of her friend , Tess, who gnaws them, or Scout, who gulps
them down. The dogs love Kitty. Fatally wounded, bunny quakes
at my feet. Now what?... This little bunny will rest outside.
The screeching subsides... perhaps someone will take her,
perhaps not.”. I see no mention of a bunny killed by
a fatal blow in her “story” in question. Also,
Ms. Holz, would you like to explain what exactly is the “metaphor”
you were making in the preceding quote of yours. Especially
the part about Tess, gnawing at kitty’s “trophies”.
Ms. Holz, what I see in your response to my letter is what’s
known as a “C.Y.A” piece. Not wanting your readers
to believe you actually would rather “do nothing”
than try to save a dying bunny, you concoct a fairy tale about
“metaphors”. And, if that entire column in question
was indeed all a fabrication, then how are we to believe there
is truth in anything else you write?
To Peter Bosch: what I saw in Ms. Holz’s piece was insensitivity
and lack of compassion for the dying bunny. These are not
traits I would want children to accept as “natural”.
To D.M. Colp: If indeed Ms. Holz had “sympathy and pain”
for the dying bunny, she would not have resorted to inaction.
Since she did mention in her recent response that she had
met a “wildlife rehabilitator”, then she knew
she could have called one of us to help the bunny, rather
than abandon it “under an apple tree” as she did.
To Donald Tracy: It’s a shame you were deeply offended
by my letter. Exactly what did you find to be “misleading
and inaccurate” in it? You didn’t outline the
so-called inaccuracies and misleading information you found
in my original letter.
To George Holz: I am not delusional. I know what I read. If
anything, Ms. Holz is delusional since she admits the whole
piece was a fabrication. I’m also very sorry the only
thing that brought tears to your son’s eyes was my letter.
It’s sad he felt no emotion for the dying bunny (or
“metaphor” as his mother put it).
If you read my letter and understood it, no where did I say
to call the DEC to come pick up the injured animal. I did
NOT say the DEC would or would not be interested in an injured
animal. My suggestion was to call the DEC to obtain the phone
number of the nearest “rehabber”to assist with
the animal in question. This is the main reason for the DEC’s
“Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitaion” program
and why it tests and licenses its’ “rehabbers”.
We do what the DEC does not have the time or resources to
As I’d also mentioned in my letter, I also co-founded
the Phoenicia Cat Project... we “trap, neuter &
return” feral cats as well as assist individuals with
a low cost spay/neuter program for domesticated cats. I adore
cats and have two of my own who never leave the house. I know
the damage they can do and so does the American Bird Conservancy
who states: “Nationwide, cats kill hundreds of millions
of birds and more than a billion small mammals such as rabbits,
squirrels, and chipmunk. Each year, cats kill common species
such as Cardinals, Blue Jays, and House Wrens as well as rare
and endangered species such as Piping Plover, Florida Scrub
Jay, and California Least Tern. Unaltered cats are prolific
breeders. A female cat can have up to 3 litters per year of
4-6 kittens. (Hence the need for extensive spay/neuter programs.)
Cats are NOT a natural part of ecosystems. Worshipped in Egypt
over 4,000 years ago, cats were introduced to Europe and the
New World to control the rodent population. Ultimately, cats
are not ultimately responsible for killing our native wildlife–people
are. The only way to prevent domestic cat predation on wildlife,
is to keep your cat indoors!”
It’s obvious you have set priorities as to which life
is more precious, that of “a mouse or a bunny.”
To me, Mr. Holz, every life on this Earth is precious, be
it a mouse or a moose, a cat or a canary, a bunny or a bear,
an elk or an elephant, a hummingbird or a human. This should
be taught to our children as well. Perhaps then we’d
have greater respect for one another and the world we live
To Josh Holz: If you truly believed my letter was a “hate”
letter as you stated, then your understanding of the word
“hate” is definitely lacking. My letter was an
exercise of my rights as a United States citizen. Perhaps
you weren’t taught in school that the First Amendment
of the Constitution guarantees Freedom of Speech, which I,
you, and your mother have every a right to exercise. Because
I do not agree with what your mother wrote does not make my
opinion a “hate” letter. Time for you to read
the Constitution and pay more attention in school.
To the Phoenicia Times: I suggest you institute a column written
by “Wildlife Rehabilitators” so your readers will
understand the options open to them when coming across an
injured or dying animal or bird and to better educate the
public on how to live compatibly with wildlife.
If my letter encourages just one person to keep their cat
indoors, or to pick up the phone and call a wildlife rehabilitator
instead of turning their back on an injured or dying animal,
then I’ve accomplished my purpose as a wildlife “rehabber”.
No Ms. Holz, we have never met. Perhaps we should some day.
I’d be delighted to hear more of your “metaphors”.
I stand behind my original letter.
Editor’s Note: As always, we stand behind our fine columnist,
as well as all of our writers’ use of metaphor, simile,
alliteration and the other great literary tools we have at
hand to work towards understanding, and empathy for, the complexities
of life which surround us all. Maybe we should all now move
to other subjects?
A recent letter written to and published by this paper called
into question the moral integrity of Jennifer Holz.
As members of this community, we feel the urgency to inform
area residents of the tremendous asset we have been blessed
with in Jennifer Holz. For the past year, our daughter, Anna
Ffrench, has been active in the Homesteaders 4-H program run
by Jen at the Holz Farm. Each week, Jennifer Holz—and
by extension her entire family—has welcomed area children
to her home to participate in dog training, vet science lessons,
and other activities including the proper care and responsibilities
of animal husbandry. Jen runs this program as something each
child must take on as his own, as it is in no way glorified
babysitting or a diversionary leisure activity to occupy a
Saturday afternoon. Rather, each child involved is fully responsible
for his own schedule and level of participation. In addition,
the participants help set the agenda of what the group will
study, explore, and learn. Safety for the children and animals
is always a concern, and made a part of each child’s
consciousness. This past year, each child had the responsibility
of caring for a chicken, which culminated in a presentation
at the Ulster County Fair. This experience has been transformative
for our daughter and has endowed her with a level of confidence
and sense of responsibility that has been unparalleled in
her progression from a child into a young lady. Without taking
anything away from the excellence of our Phoenicia School
or our own efforts and responsibilities of parenting, we believe
that what our daughter has gained through her interaction
with Jennifer Holz is completely and irrefutably irreplaceable.
We too, have learned from Jennifer. She’s encouraged
us to hold back slightly, giving Anna more responsibilities.
The growth Anna has experienced working with Jennifer is reflected
in her actions and manners at home and will, we are sure,
continue with her in the forthcoming school year.
It must be understood that the time and energy Jen dedicates
to the Homesteaders 4-H program, and thus our children and
our community, is done without any compensation other than
the obvious pride and joy she expresses in seeing her “kids”
grow and develop. She is a compassionate, caring individual
who is one of our most valuable community members. Anyone
who has spent time with Jen, watched her with kids and animals,
will surely agree. We love you Jen. Thanks for all you do.
Rebecca and Jim Ffrench
I would like to respond to the letter in The Phoenicia Times
about the recent appointment of Paul Rakov as Director of
Business Development and Marketing for the Ulster County Development
Corporation (UCDC). I do feel Mr. Rakov has excellent credentials
for this position. It may be of interest to know that UCDC
has recently instituted a strict conflict of interest policy,
which will be applied in this case as in others. And to avoid
any appearance of a conflict, Mr. Rakov has already been removed
from any UCDC responsibility regarding the Belleayre project
and related properties or business entities. I will continue
to be the responsible UCDC person for issues related to the
Bellayre project. Be assured that UCDC is sensitive to these
concerns and is paying attention to the economic development
needs of Shandaken. Indeed, I recall Shandaken and Phoenicia
coming up in at least three separate contexts this very week.
We have no silver bullets, but in this challenging economy
we continue to strive to be as professional, impartial, and
energetic as we can in doing our work of promoting quality
jobs and business in Ulster County.
Lance Matteson, President, Ulster County Development Corporation
They couldn't be more mistaken:
In a careless letter to the editor of a local paper last week,
John and Janet Fishkind of Big Indian erroneously implied
that Save the Mountain would welcome the demise of the Galli-Curci
Theatre renovation project on Main Street in Margaretville.
Nothing could be farther from the truth as the Fishkinds would
know if they read the information at SavetheMountain.net,
or wrote, or called to ask our positions.
We know only what was reported in the local press, but we
were very disappointed that what sounded like a perfectly
appropriate, even model, village redevelopment project that
could have added to the vibrancy of Margaretville, was apparently
lost to a dispute with a neighboring store.
Indeed, Save the Mountain believes that development belongs
in the villages and hamlets where the infrastructure is. Further,
that scarce taxpayer money should be used to support smart
redevelopment projects that help all local businesses thrive
synergistically—as the theater might have. That's the
very definition of sustainable economy and Smart Growth. We
do not support using scarce resources and monopolizing public
assets to underwrite a taxpayer-enabled, out-of-scale, speculative,
private timeshare development on the top of a forested mountain
where there IS NO infrastructure. The distinction should be
Julie McQuain, President
Save the Mountain
Taking Crossroads Ventures at its word, the developer is seeking
two easements over county owned Ulster & Delaware railroad
tracks for the sole purpose of increasing the appraised value
of its 1215 acre parcel between Pine Hill and Big Indian.
According to the terms of the Sept.’07 AIP, the state
agreed to pay the developer just under $11,000/acre or a total
of $13 million for the land. Real estate professionals estimate
that this is at least twice the fair market value of such
an unimproved large parcel. It turns out that the state can
only pay fair market value for the land so the developer has
come on bended knee with a request to artificially increase
the value of the land- artificial because since the land would
be designated “forever wild", the easements would
never be used. If county legislators refuse to grant this
humble request, the developer has threatened to develop the
environmentally sensitive land.
You can't blame the developer for asking and these days, it
doesn't have that much to lose. The state is not likely anytime
soon to have the discretionary funds to make good on its commitment
to expand Belleayre to cater to the high end guests of Crossroads’
proposed mountaintop spa and timeshare development. If the
AIP is scrapped, those easements could prove instrumental
to development east of Pine Hill.
County legislators are right to withhold action on the developer's
request. They cannot take action that would increase taxpayer's
financial burden simply because a developer wants to hit an
unreasonable price point. In addition, granting the easements
would make the land more suitable for development, if and
when the AIP is formally abandoned. Since the land lies in
the Ashokan watershed and is environmentally sensitive, no
accommodation should be made that could easily backfire and
facilitate unwanted commercial development.
This is a public THANK YOU to so many people, businesses,
and Organizations who made our first Olive Fire Department
Country Night such a huge success! A lot of people turned
out to support our fundraiser, we thank you kindly and look
forward to doing it again! We would also like to give thanks
and appreciation to:
THE OLIVE PRESS and Phoenicia Times - Thanks so much Max and
Brian for all of your AWESOME ads and supporting us all the
BRYANTS TOWING- for transportation of our fire truck!
STEVE BLAKELY- for donating ALL the rolls! Thanks, Steve.
HANNAFORD of Kingston - for donating the hot dogs.
PORTABLE COOLERS - for a discounted rate on the fridge.. "very
PINE VIEW BAKERY- for donating the brownies, thanks, Pete.
We can always count on you guys!
And thanks so much to everyone who donated a fabulous DOOR
THE BOICEVILLE INN, dinner for 2! Thanks so much Barbara and
John for ALWAYS supporting community and friends!
RESERVOIR DELI - Lunch for 2! Thanks Brian for your constant
support day and night!
ASHOKAN TURF & TIMBER, $20 gift certificate. Check out
their Cub Cadet mowers! Thanks Warren and Bob!
WINCHELL'S PIZZA - A large pizza! Thanks for your continued
support during our fire drills.
THE CRACKER BARREL- $25 gift certificate. So many wonderful
gift ideas. Thanks to the Wempel family for supporting the
BOICEVILLE FLORIST- $25 gift certificate. Art always creates
such exquisite floral arrangements. Thanks for your support!
BREAD ALONE: An 8" cake, Yum!
BOICEVILLE PHARMACY, "Hudson River Journey" A beautiful
hard cover photographic essay on the Hudson. Thanks!
MING MOON RESTAURANT- $10 gift certificate! Thank You!
HONG KONG RESTAURANT- $10 gift certificate! Thank You!
THE MOOSE CROSSING- four $5 off coupons w/$20 purchase! Thanks!
BOICEVILLE SUPERMARKET- $20 gift certificate, always a great
thing to receive!
RESERVOIR MUSIC- A tambourine to play, thanks!
SCANDINAVIAN GRACE- $25 gift certificate. Welcome to the neighborhood!
BOICEVILLE WINES & SPIRITS- four-Michael Collins Irish
Whiskey Tee shirts.. very cool!
VILLAGE PIZZA- One large Pizza, thanks!
LIFEGUARD SYSTEMS- safety kit, always a great item to have
in your car!
CLASSY CREATURES BOUTIQUE- $20 gift certificate for pet supplies
or PATTIE'S POSIES for flowers. Thanks!
OLIVE COUNTRY STORE- $10 gift certificate! for fuel or the
A very special thanks goes to The Ben Rounds Band for donating
such an AWESOME and ROCKING evening to the cause! Thanks to
Tommy Lee Walker for getting the word out and giving us a
great night! Thanks to Speedo (Brian) @ Speedos Paint and
Body! Check him out at speedospaintandbody.com.
And MOST IMPORTANTLY, thanks to our entire community who came
out in support of a good time, some country music and our
Olive Roots... The 1932 USA! One of these days she'll be gracing
our parades again.. and when she does, take pride in knowing
YOU were responsible.
Ralph VanKleeck Jr
and The Olive Fire Department Restoration Committee
On Thursday August 6 the Pine Hill Community Center hosted
a public meeting to begin a process of grassroots planning
for Pine Hill's Main Street area, including exploring the
possibility of designating the Hamlet an Historic District.
We will schedule another meeting for September and invite
all residents and property owners of Pine Hill and the surrounding
area to attend, so stay tuned. The following words are my
introduction to the meeting.
I would like to begin tonight's meeting with a few words about
the Community Center itself and about what we are trying to
do here tonight, and why. As most of you know the Pine Hill
Community Center is a private non-profit. We are not funded
through any municipality. Our funding consists of grants and
the support of people like you. We are a non partisan organization,
have both Democrats and Republicans on our Board - something
that makes me proud - and as an organization do not take a
stand on political issues or on the issue of the proposed
Belleayre Resort. This effort, as some more embittered people
may think, is not motivated by a desire to hinder or to help
the development. An Historic District designation for Pine
Hill would not effect the proposed resort either way. Erin
Tobin from the Preservation League of NYS, who will be speaking
first, can answer any questions you may have in regards to
What this effort is inspired by is a strong desire to pull
this community together and to begin exploring the things
that we can accomplish for our hamlet, both to protect its
past – a past that can still be seen and felt as you
walk its streets - and to carry it into the future. If we
are to do this we must do it in a way that is mindful, focused,
motivated by our love for the place rather than political
agendas, and directed by the people who live and work here.
Historic District designation is a touching off point only.
Given that we already have a number of properties on the National
Register and a number of others that could be, already forming
a natural district if you will, it is an obvious one. We may
decide, however, that such a designation is not for us. If
this is the case it is our hope that we will find other things
that are for us during this process. In this effort we are
trying to foster motivation, cooperation, communication and
foresight, and to initiate a formal process of proactive planning.
Resort or no resort, we will need to take care of our community,
and we need to do this together, regularly, with a strong
knowledge of, and commitment to, the assets of our town and
to each other. Humanity makes its greatest strides when people
work together; our survival as a race has depended on our
ability to do so. A small town like ours not only needs to
survive, but to thrive, and can only thrive when we cooperate.
Our lives and our livelihoods are too intertwined not to.
I think it's time to put aside our frustrations, our anger
and our disappointments, and to begin the process of reclaiming
those things we love about our little Catskill hamlet, and
caring for each other. We live in a small piece of paradise
and, if we are planning to stay here, its future is our future.
Let's ensure, then, that our future is a future in a place
where mutual respect wins over divisiveness, where cooperation
wins over controversy, where positive action wins over apathy,
and where continued beauty is assured by our foresight and
planning. The Pine Hill Community Center is here to help build
community. Your comments, your thoughts, your visions, your
fears and your desires are all welcome in this and in the
meetings that will surely follow. It is not so much our hope
that this process necessarily leads to Historic District designation
for Pine Hill so much as it leads to proactive cooperation
and a path of conscious, concerted effort to care for this
special place that we all love.
The time is right to begin this process. Next year our streets
will be torn up to retrofit a water drainage system. When
this is done there are plans for repaving our streets and,
finally, for proper sidewalks and designated parking, including
redoing the parking lot which is in dire need of maintenance.
We'll hear more about this later from Shandaken Highway Superintendent
Eric Hofmeister. We will also hear from Jennifer Schwartz,
Deputy Director of the Ulster County Planning Board. The Planning
Board has received grant money for Main Street initiatives
and Pine Hill is one of the places they wish to work with.
Peter Manning, Regional Planner from the Catskill Center for
Conservation and Development will also chime in tonight about
the work of the Central Catskills Collaborative. This newly
formed group consists of representatives from seven municipalities
along the Rt 28 corridor who are working on a scenic byway
designation for Rt 28 which requires what is called a “Corridor
Management Plan.” As you see, there are many things
happening and all of these things in one way or another involves
us. I urge you to be involved and to speak with others and
ask for their involvement as well. The time is now to begin
being proactive about Pine Hill's future.
James Krueger, Director
Pine Hill Community Center
We're writing with a big, fat THANK YOU to the Olive Press
and the wonderful residents and business owners, and musicians
of the Towns of Olive, Shandaken, Woodstock, Hurley, West
Hurley and Kingston who generously gave food, merchandise,
time, talent and the kindest, generous spirit to our benefit
for Maureen Odenwald last week. Drizzling rain didn't keep
one hundred and fifty or so ardent revelers from dancing,
buying raffle tickets, bidding on silent auction offerings,
and even participating in the great Olive Egg Toss.
As always, we counted on the thing that people in small towns
count on--each other--and this event was a huge financial
and social success that we'll remember forever. Maureen was
blown away by the people that showed up for her, and can face
the next few difficult months remembering that she's got some
great community support behind her all the way.
Thanks again for everything, everybody,
The Friends of Maureen
Darlene Beesmer Griffin
Kim Tisch Houska
Suzanne Parkes Large
Marian and Dorothy Odenwald
Congratulations, Shandaken Democrats have selected a fantastic
group of people to run in November!
We wish to thank all the wonderful people who came out to
the Shandaken Democratic Caucus. Each one of us is important
to the process. There is no where more important than right
here, in Shandaken. Thank you for being there from the very
Now we must all get out the vote…Yes, we can!!
The Grand Canyon's view from the South Rim is spectacular,
but from the North Rim (the Kaibob Peninsula) it is even more
so. One sits on the patio of the old CCC-built lodge and looks
out over the Canyon. The silence is palpable and awesome.
The aspens are tall and magnificent. There is a little black
and white squirrel, unique to the Peninsula, and one can take
a mule trip out to the edge.
I hope that the Obama family's next trip to this National
Park may include a visit to the North Rim, and that the President
will continue to take an interest in our National Parks which,
sadly, in some areas are being threatened by commercial interests.
Jean H. Hill
Don't forget that I, Annie Lee Van Kleeck, will be collecting
blankets and towels or toys...anything for doggies in shelters
that need homes. Please bring them to Olive Day. I will be
there with my Dad! Don't forget "make adoption your first
option." Thank you so much, the dogs love the things
that you give them!
Annie Lee Van Kleeck
I had to pay attention when I saw that a white American male
whose paid employment was in part to protect property was
arrested for trashing creative work on public display. As
a result he damaged his reputation and jeopardized his employment.
I entertain the idea that he was in a state of stress and
should have been treated with understanding rather than the
powers that be self-righteously condemning him and casting
him off. Destructivity and creativity are two sides of the
I gather he was a local fellow. Why don't you help him instead
of hurting him trying to get votes from the arts community?
Bob Jacobson, painter, sculptor
Mt. Tremper, NY
I'd like to extend an invitation to everyone to turn out on
Saturday August 29 for Shandaken Day at Big Indian/Oliverea.
In addition to all the fun activities and events, there will
be lots of booths brought to you by various groups in our
community. In particular, I'd like to invite you to stop by
the Phoenicia School PTA booth, where we'll provide information
on our elementary school, along with Chico Bags and T-Shirts
for sale. And like last year, the Phoenicia Library will be
there with hundreds of books for sale. We're offering special
discounts on all kinds of treasured tomes. In addition, the
Phoenicia Library is hosting a free ice cream party at our
Main Street, Phoenicia, location at 1 p.m. on the 29th for
all the children who participated in the Summer Reading Program.
Stop by for a cone on your way to Shandaken Day!
Phoenicia Library Board
Co-President, Phoenicia PTA