At last! That about sums up how I imagine most people are
feeling now that an agreement has been reached on the Belleayre
Resort at Catskill Park. For eight years, the public has waited
for all the parties involved to come together and work towards
a solution. And at long last, one has been found.
Balancing development and economic growth with environmental
and community issues is a delicate task. Not one to be taken
lightly and, we never have. Neither have those who opposed
this project and fought hard to ensure that their voice was
heard. Seeing both sides of the issues was what was needed
so that the project could move forward with support from all
involved. It took Governor Spitzer, along with the Governor’s
indefatigable Deputy Secretary for the Environment, Judith
Enck, to make that happen.
And while we were willing to come to the table in the sprit
of compromise, had that table been empty on the other side,
nothing would have been done. I applaud the environmental
groups, lead by the NRDC's Eric Goldstein and the Catskill
Center's Tom Alworth, who spent a great deal of time and energy
working with us, the State and New York City to arrive at
a new configuration for the project that, when completed,
will be a shining example of smart, sustainable and environmentally
sensitive growth. Their efforts along with those from representatives
of Riverkeeper, Trout Unlimited, Theodore Gordon Flyfishers,
the New York Public Interest Research Group and the Zen Environmental
Studies Institute, made this agreement a reality. I thank
them sincerely for their commitment.
As Winston Churchill once said, "This is not the end.
It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps,
the end of the beginning." We have a lot of work ahead
of us. I am encouraged that we will finally be working with
the many groups that have been our adversaries for several
years. Great things will come out of this collaborative effort.
We are sensitive to the fact that not all of the concerns
of the townspeople of Shandaken and Middletown have been addressed
in the present compromise. We look forward to sitting down
with them over the coming months in the same spirit that has
characterized this present agreement.
Dean L. Gitter
Crossroads Ventures, LLC
Mt. Tremper, NY
I believe that people of our Town want the best for each other.
I believe that we can find common ground on issues. The proposed
project at Belleayre has polarized this town in ways that
has, at times, been truly ugly. It happens when there is no
space for discussion and dialogue, because the loudest outshout
the quiet, the wealthy outspend poor, the fanatical intimidate
the moderate, the scheming manipulate the unsuspecting.
This particular issue is by no means a done deal as has been
reported by the papers. There is an important review process
in which I hope that strong hearts prevail, that people can
remain calm and truly discuss what will be best; what value
do we place on Shandaken, our community, our businesses, our
volunteers, our quality of life. What benefits and what harm
are we willing to accept or forgo?
I, like many, am sickened by the finger pointing, accusations,
rumor mongering, bullying, and other destructive behavior
that has stopped the dialogue and has damaged reputations
and lives. To be passionate about an issue should be about
putting forth reasons that can be accepted and embraced, not
about dividing the town, vilifying the residents or placing
it in limbo until less and less of what is loved about Shandaken
We need to move forward. Please vote for me for Town Supervisor,
Signing on or not was not going to be the deciding factor.
The Governor had made the decision to build something. There
were many meetings since January but they were ordered with
a gag order to not discuss in detail the negotiations between
the parties. Our Lawyers did a tremendous job in saving the
east side and protecting it forever forest. Roy Hochberg,
our TU representative, did a great job representing us and
relaying information to whomever wished updates. If parties
did not agree to sign, it could have left it open to the Gov.
to declare the east open and Gitter to develop. Our collective
signatures took that option away. As for the future, we at
Trout Unlimited haven't washed our hands and walked away.
The new supplemental EIS will be scrutinized and watched.
There are still cold waters on the west side but possibly
less affected. By signing, does not eliminate us from entering
into the review. That is a misconception that needs to be
stopped circulating. In fact, TU has had consultants this
week reviewing and doing work for us to the tune of several
thousand dollars. One of them is one of the foremost respected
hydrologists in the region. So, to say we have given up is
certainly not true and hope you understand.
Ron Urban, Chairman
NY Trout Unlimited
There are still very serious problems with the proposed development
Crossroads Ventures at Belleayre.
First, while the total project has been reduced in size by
20%, on the west
it is actually increased by almost 45%. The original plan
for the west side of the resort was for 439 units; the current
plan is for 629 units. Such density would result in a range
of adverse impacts: traffic congestion, noise pollution, sprawl,
Second, the project still calls for construction on steep
slopes-steeper than 20%. This poses the threat of extensive
run-off and flooding.
Third, blasting for years to construct buildings some over
3000feet elevation will irrevocably and adversely alter the
natural beauty of the mountain and would set a dangerous precedent
for future development in the Catskill Park. At the same time,
the blasting and clearing would endanger existing homes in
Fourth, it is local people who are being asked to pay the
price of this project twice. We are paying first in the incentives
and sweeteners being offered to the developer to be paid for
out of taxpayer money. We will pay again in higher property
taxes to support an expanded infrastructure. Moreover, developments
of this scale-all-inclusive, self-contained resorts
that are small cities unto themselves-never benefit the local
economy as visitors buy all they need on site.
Finally, we believe that our political leaders have missed
an opportunity here to set an example of the kind of smart,
sustainable development next to public land that could be
a model for the nation. We're sorry they did so.
Those organizations that signed the Governor's agreement gave
up their right to seek judicial review of these issues in
the future. On behalf of the residents of the hamlets and
villages most affected by the proposed development-and on
behalf of all of us who cherish the unique natural
treasures of our region-the Catskill Heritage Alliance has
chosen to continue the process mandated by the people of the
The Catskill Heritage is committed to supporting responsible
growth. We are
only opposed to irresponsible growth.
Chairman, Catskill Heritage Alliance
Pine Hill, NY
There is an urgent need for open public debate and reasoned
decision-making on Crossroads Ventures1 massive Belleayre
development plan for the Catskills town of Highmount. The
new plan is very different from the original for Belleayre
Mountain and involves a great deal of additional building
on the steep West Side slopes. As is usual in these matters,
the potential economic benefits to the surrounding area have
been exaggerated; local communities are indeed long depressed
and deserving of genuine help, but the rule with huge developments
like Mr. Gitter1s is that the bulk of the money flows out,
rather than benefiting those most in need. Serious dangers
to the watershed are posed by the proposed development, which
should concern all New Yorkers, including those Downstate,
who depend on this area1s reservoirs.
The years of blasting needed for clearing and construction
could make the
area virtually unlivable, with inescapable noise, possible
damage to homes, wells, natural formations and wildlife populations.
This is not to mention all the problems with soil stability
on a steep mountainside, unreasonable and unsustainable traffic
on small and already overloaded roads, danger to streams and
the Pepacton Reservoir (apparently ignored in the recent negotiations
because all attention was focused on the Ashokan, which was
indeed threatened), and the host of other problems that would
come with this drastically overscaled project.
I am a 30-year homeowner on Belleayre and in Manhattan and
thus would be directly and severely affected in myriad ways
if the project were to move ahead, but I also have a much
more general interest in the long-term welfare of the communities
in the area and our remarkable Catskill Park. New York City
has well-founded fears about the security, purity, and reliability
of the Upstate watershed; its precarious position with respect
to water supply is well known. In this case, as in many others,
the fortunes of New York City are joined to those of the rest
of the state, not opposed to them.
My own Catskill property is adjacent to the proposed development
site, and the wells and springs of many of my neighbors often
run dry even now: it seems
insane to plan to draw water for a huge commercial development
and for so many additional dwellings from such a fragile system.
Limited well testing now under way is not yet complete, and
runoff is a real issue. Certainly, if the water supply were
compromised, either immediately or by progressive depletion
and contamination (would the testing in progress reveal this
kind of slower damage?), the development could not thrive.
It would be also be difficult for residents to remain, and
this includes not only present permanent and part-time people,
but workers at the development who might have moved to the
region to avoid prohibitive commutes. What then?
It is urgent that this proposal be reexamined. Entirely too
much of the recent process was hidden from view, and the 3compromise2
that has been presented in such a favorable light is nothing
of the sort. It essentially moves much of the problematic
construction from the East Side to the other side of the mountain,
vastly increasing the amount of building there beyond the
original plan. There is no reason to think that the West Side
is any better able to sustain such a prolonged assault than
was the East. The area1s vulnerable communities have been
promised the world but will probably only reap higher taxes,
over-crowded schools, overburdened roads and social services,
increased congestion without significant economic improvement,
and the partial destruction of the greatest real asset of
the area: the beautiful Catskill landscape.
The fact that some groups have signed on to the revised proposal
that was so suddenly sprung on us should not prevent the full
and detailed airing of the new plans and the exploration of
their possible impact on environment and people alike. In
fact, it is absolutely crucial, because those signatories
are now obliged to be mute, and thus cannot lend their voices
to the necessary discussion. The effects on the immediate
area would be many and severe, but it would be a serious error
to think that the rest of the state can ignore what happens
on Belleayre Mountain. It would be a tremendous shame, and
a failure of the spirit of the regulatory process, to consider
the problems with the Crossroads proposal to have been solved
by this secretively engineered, excessive and imprudent 3compromise.2
Highmount and New York City
They all lie!
In July of this year I heard a rumor that there were secrete
talks between Mr. Dean Gitter and Governor Spitzer, so I wrote
to Governor Spitzer and asked for his feelings on the Bellayre
Resort project and also gave him my opinion. I received a
thank you response from the governor claiming that the Bellayre
Resort project was not something that he was involved in and
that my letter was being forwarded to the proper department.
On August 9, 2007 I received a letter from William C. Janeway,
Regional Director, New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation, Region 3. Mr. William C. Janeway thanked me
again for contacting Governor Spitzer and explained that his
agency was the lead agency for the Bellayre Resort project
under the State Environmental Quality Review Act and that
the required permits were under his departments jurisdiction.
In his third paragraph he states,"Based on the current
schedule, the following discovery and the filing of witness
testimony, the adjudicatory hearing would commence in December
2007. The first issue to be addressed will be storm water
impacts. Subsequent hearing dates are scheduled in 2008 for
adjudication of the remaining issues. He then goes on to explain
which parties can attend the meetings. There was no mention
of any meetings prior to December 2007.
So what happened? Governor Spitzer, who claimed that he was
not the decision making person takes the lead away from the
person and agency he said was in charge, the N.Y.D.E.C. and
Mr. William C. Janeway, and along with Mr. Dean Gitter convinced
a small majority to sign onto a newly revised project similar
to one proposed by Congressman Hinchey.
It appears that the only people standing strong are the property
owners, but I guess they don't contribute enough.
I am not sure if I read the September 13th article correctly,
"Gitter Gets A Go-Ahead", but if Mr. Gitter got
$14 million for 1400 acres from N.Y. State, the State over
paid by more than $7000. per acre. I recently bought acreage
in Big Indian bordering State land with a road and a well
for approximately $3100. per acre. Maybe I should contact
Elliot and make a deal.
Robert E. Steiner
Big Indian, NY
Sexual harassment scandal at Emerson... The manager is accused
of making "suggestive comments that employees should
have sex with guests." Do you want your children working
at a place like that? Since I have no children, as was obnoxiously
pointed out by a supporter of Jane Todd, why should I care
if employees in a hotel managed by Dean and his child are
encouraged to "have sex" with the customers? Because
Dean and his child intend to have a hand in managing The gargantuan
proposed Belleayre resort.
You probably read about it in the Freeman and Townsman, so
I will spare you some of the more disgusting quotes. But two
of the four who are suing have already settled out of court
with a gag order to stop discussion.
Remember the gag order imposed on the back room negotiations
between opponents of the Belleayre resort, Dean and Spitzer?
Well, something good came out of those negotiations. 1200
acres of trees were saved. Now let's do something for the
PEOPLE who live here. We don't need 400 poverty wage jobs.
We need LIVING WAGE jobs. And I don't mean prostitution. The
resort as planned would draw hundreds of poor people to our
area. At the same time it would drive taxes up and force local
people out. That's what happened at Vail, Colorado. That's
what Dean says he wants Shandaken to turn into.
A t what cost? At least $60 MILLION taxpayer dollars in perks
to the developer. Including buying back land at TEN THOUSAND
dollars per acre that might be worth ONE THOUSAND and will
likely be taxed at less than SIX HUNDRED dollars per acre.
Get the picture? It ain't pretty. This abominable rip-off
is just the beginning.
The Shandaken town government is responsible for the mess
we're in. Super Bob and Deputy Jane turned a deaf ear and
blind eye on the people. Bob is done, but make no mistake.
Dean and his entrepreneurial son need Jane to grease the bulldozers
for Belleayre. They will spare no expense of Emily Fisher's
money to get her in. If they succeed, Jane will go the way
of Bob. Disgraced and humiliated. And the expendable people
of Shandaken will go down the drain for new York City's drinking
water and Dean's profit. Do the words "Friendship Manor"
mean anything to you, Jane?
I quote from the Kingston Freeman: Suit claims sexual harassment
at Emerson By Paul Kirby, Freeman staff 09/14/2007: "We
need more tits and ass here," ... In his testimony, Alex
Gitter said he heard (manager) Wright use that phrase but
he said it was not used in a derogatory way.
"The comment was made during a manager's meeting in front
of the entire management team, in the context of explaining
the need to cultivate a more well-groomed and appealing image
of Emerson Place," he said."
Any comments, Jane? Do you really want dirty money financing
your campaign? Your "morality squad" community character
assassins have been barking up the wrong tree.
As an Olive resident, I am pleased to see a new music performance
space open up in Shokan. But the sign outside the new venue
called, 'Adam'space', says - "Performances of Jazz /
Classical and other meaningful musical styles." Hmmm.
Seems to be implying that rock & roll, folk music, popular
music, etc. are not so meaningful. As a musician and composer
my whole life, I just hate to see this kind of labeling put
on music. I studied classical music composition with John
Corigliano, Ulysses Kay, and Robert Starer, and have also
worked with Herbie Hancock and other prominent jazz musicians.
But ya know, when John Lennon sings "Imagine" or
Paul Simon sings "American Tune" - well that's just,
for a lack of better words, pretty darn meaningful too! Granted,
there is a lot of "fluff" in pop music, but not
every piece written in jazz or classical style has the inherent
ability to change the world much either.
To put your personal opinion in your public advertising is
a bit pompous and inappropriate.
Anyway, it's a lot of work to start a new business or endeavor,
and I hope your performance space becomes so meaningful to
the community that it's still there a year from now. Live
music (all styles) rocks!
West Shokan, NY
"Paint the Stream!" participants and leaders would
like to thank the hamlet of Phoenicia, the Shandaken Town
Board, and the following businesses for sponsoring painted
panels installed along the Main Street of Phoenicia: Beechers'
Boardwalk, Key Bank, M.F. Whitney Hose Co., the Nest Egg,
the Phoenicia Belle, the Phoenicia Library, Phoenicia Liquor
Store, Phoenicia Video Store, Riciardella's, the Shandaken
Town Board, Simpsons Park, Town Tinker, and Ulster Savings
Bank. Thank yous also go to Rick Altman, Chris Carter, Dave
Channon, James Knight, and Rae Stang.
We would also like to thank the following for funding of the
Catskill Art and Office, Supplies, Catskill Watershed Corporation,
NYC-DEP, Golden Artist Colors, Inc, Kids in the Katskills,
Neil Grant Foundation, Phoenicia Rotary Club, and Ulster Savings
The kids explored the marvelous teeming life of the Stony
Clove and then painted their panels. Everyone had a wonderful
week! The paintings will be up around town for everyone to
enjoy until the end of September.
Michael Courtney, Stream Education Leader, Cornell Cooperative
of Ulster County
Michelle Spark, Artist Leader
Christie Scheele, Artist Leader
We’ve heard from the White House and the Pentagon about
the success of the surge. I thought it would be interesting
to see what the Iraqi’s think about how it’s working
for them. After all, they have paid much more dearly than
we for our present occupation of their country. Fox news (never
thought I’d be quoting them, eh?) estimated over 65
thousand lives a year ago, so, we can surely admit that it’s
over l00 thousand by now. Our death toll is, at the moment
3,774 – certainly more by the time you read this.
So, do Iraqi’s feel they are safer now? Here are the
results of polls, taken by ABC News, the BBC and the Japanese
In Anbar province 38% say it is better. In the rest of the
country 70% say it’s worse, whereas 12% overall think
it’s improved. Further, 57% endorse attacks on US troops.
(93% of Sunnis, 50% of Shiites and 5% of Kurds.) 58% say they
have no confidence in coalition forces. Nearly 1,000 more
people have been killed in violence across Iraq in the first
eight months of this year than in all of 2006. Where’s
the bright side? Hang in there.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reported nearly 2
million Iraqis -- about 8 percent of the prewar population
have migrated to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. These refugees
include large numbers of doctors, academics and other professionals
that are vital for Iraq's recovery.
We’ve been told that we invaded Iraq because they attacked
us at the World Trade Center; then it was to protect the Iraqi
population from Saddam Hussein, then we were there to bring
Iraqi’s democracy. Now we’re told that we’re
protecting them from sectarian violence, caused by our being
there, but they say; “We broke it, we have to fix it”.
That may be true, but is our presence there fixing it? And
oh, where’s all our money going? According to the Iraqi
population, it’s not to providing water and electricity
or to providing a functioning police force.
Now, here’s another interesting opinion poll of the
Iraqi population released on August 6th. Iraqis oppose plans
to open the country’s oilfields to foreign investment
by a factor of two to one. Iraqis are united on this –
no ethnic, sectarian or geographical groups prefer foreign
companies participation in their oil resources. Hmmm. Unification?
Well, I’ve got a piece of news for all you leftie lunatics
to chew on. The following announcement came out on September
10, 2007 from DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: “Hunt Oil
Co. has struck a deal to explore for oil in Iraq's semi-autonomous
Kurdish region, signaling a new willingness by some large
Western companies to bypass the fractious government in Baghdad
and deal directly with regional authorities in the war-torn
So, who’s the CEO of Hunt Oil? And why can he make such
a deal? First of all, the Hunt family goes all the way back
to Granddaddy Prescott. Second, CEO Ray Hunt was on the board
of Halliburton during Cheney’s days there. More recently,
in October 2001 and again in January 2006, President George
W. Bush appointed Mr. Hunt to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory
Board in Washington, D.C. I'd like to point out that Iraq's
oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani claims that this deal
Perhaps all the fuss kicked up by a small, but somewhat growing
Liberal group is working and spurring on further private deals.
So, we now have two options in front of us. Once they get
these deals into place, we can get out of there. Or, we can
just join with the Iraqi’s on their only unified issue
- deny Hunt and go home. Either way, we get out of Iraq. As
I always say: “Look on the Bright Side”.
I find what appears to be a plan for Ulster County to spend
$13,052,000 on the Ulster and Delaware Railroad Trail, $3,681,000
on Kingston/Ulster West Shore railroad crossing improvements,
and $6,257,000 on all other county highway projects listed
in the transportation program.
It appears that we will be spending $13 million for hikers
and a little less than $10,000,000 for vehicular traffic situations.
Can this be correct?
I note the commentary period for this plan expired September
17. I urge you to alert your readers to this situation so
that they can be informed as to future tax burdens and the
source of them.
I write this letter as a solemn respectful commemoration to
all the victims of the events of September 11, 2001, including
those who have died in the wars carried out in its name. While
it has been suggested that questioning the official version
of events of 9/11 is disrespectful to the victims, I believe
it is disrespectful not to pursue true justice and the truth.
While 911 Truth is about a deeper inquiry into 9/11, it is
in the larger scheme of things a deeper inquiry into the state
of our society at large. Indeed it is our responsibility as
citizens to hold our officials accountable.
In a September 3, 2006, Time magazine article, titled "Why
the conspiracies won't go away" Time states that in polls
almost 40 percent of the American people believe it is likely
the U.S government had foreknowledge of the attacks or made
them happen. Time magazine states and I quote, "This
is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream reality."
A sizable number of the world's citizenry have looked at the
evidence behind the official conspiracy theory (Osama and
19 Muslim hijackers) and found it not only lacking but totally
implausible. There are 911 Truth groups in many countries
around the world. Why? Because what we believe happened on
911 affects the whole world as well as the legitimacy of the
U.S and its agenda. Yet despite the grassroots efforts of
millions of us the mainstream still continues to buy the lie.
This is largely due to the mainstream media blackout of alternative
911 info. When the mainstream media does cover it, it does
so in a dismissive and factually challenged fashion.
What do former Reagan administration Asst. Secretary to the
Treasury Paul Craig Roberts, Morgan Reynolds, former Bush
administration Chief Economist, and Dr. Lynn Margulies, winner
of the most prestigious American science award, the National
Medal of Science, among many others have in common, they are
all speaking out demanding the truth about 911. All acknowledge
the greatest likelihood is that the attacks of 911 were orchestrated
by elements of the U.S govt. not Muslim extremists.
The fact is the 911 Truth movement is not a fringe group of
conspiracy theorists, it is an intelligent, aware citizenry
demanding serious answers to serious unanswered questions.
We will become louder and more outspoken until the mainstream
media is forced to respond, as it has recently on the History
channel and others.
The stakes are too high; it is the legitimacy of our very
system of government which is why they must use every force
in their power to repress the population's demands. Without
hard questions we will get no hard answers. Hard answers might
make us realize that our comfortable apathy is not only unconscionable
but ultimately immoral. Our ignorance and inaction make us
silently complicit in the crimes being perpetrated by our
government with all of us funding the bill. You are funding
I think a big part of why many people are resistant to looking
at 911 is wanting to stay in the comfort zone. Most people
want to stay comfortable and resigned to their powerlessness
to change things. Why know too much, I can't do anything about
it anyway. This sense of resignation and powerlessness is
rampant in America today. But the truth is, a single individual
can make a huge difference. Look at Michael Moore and Cindy
Sheehan. We must get out of our vote every four years lethargy
and be active participants in our world. We must not accept
the role put on us by corporate America as consumers but as
The People who truly run this country and world. We must remind
our government officials and the corporations that they work
for us; we do not work for them.
True social justice will not happen overnight but it certainly
will not happen if we all stay in our comfort zone of helplessness
For the sixth anniversary of 911 there will be protests in
every city in America including Washington D.C and N.Y., Be
There. For info go to 911Truth.org.
Watch The Propaganda Machine every Sunday at 8 p.m. on Woodstock
Cable access channel 23.
Censure instead of impeachment for Bush and Cheney? Those
who bitterly complain about Congressman Maurice Hinchey's
preference here are politically naive. They are, in fact,
the best friends Bush and Cheney could have in this region,
on this matter. Particularly because they persistently batter
Maurice, one of Washington's most effective adversaries of
this horrible administration, who patiently meets with them,
listens to their folly, and articulately tries to explain
why his path makes enormous sense and theirs does not.
Led by a Bard professor who apparently can't count - legislative
voting blocs in Congress, that is - they can't understand
that a censure is possible to achieve, but impeachment is
not. Maurice has a strong ally in Sen. Russ Feingold, who
will lead the censure effort in tandem with Maurice's sponsorship
in the House.
They also can't see past the fact that Maurice and many others
in Congress agree that Bush-Cheney have committed horrible,
clearly impeachable acts. Yes indeed. But why waste time,
money and effort to end up with nothing to show for it but
frustration, when energies could and should be applied to
an achievable goal - censure.
Wouldn't it be infinitely better for Bush-Cheney to go down
in history as disgraced for their deeds? And what about shorter-term
benefits? Like helping to influence the very next Presidential
election by letting the entire nation understand, including
conservatives and Republican voters, that Bush-Cheney did
not get away with their impeachable acts.
Lake Hill, NY
It’s not too soon to anticipate President G. W. Bush’s
request to fund an architect to design his Presidential Library
upon his leaving office next year.
I have a suggestion that would avoid adding any more money
to the national debt he bequeaths to future taxpayers. We
already built and are paying for a library for “Big
Daddy.” Rather than build a second library to further
the Bush legacy, we should ask G. H. Bush to set aside a corner
of a room in his library to allow G. W. Bush to place a pamphlet
rack to document his accomplishments to the world while “Decider
Bottom line, us taxpayers save hundreds of millions of dollars
of additional debt and our President can proudly display his
legacy for all to see. I’ll go one better. As an amateur
cabinetmaker, I’ll build the pamphlet rack and donate
it to our government. Presidential advisors, let me know if
you want it painted or stained.
Ronald E. Dietl
Kingston , NY
Sometimes things can come together in what can only be described
as a synchronistic or synergistic manner. The approval and
green light given to the Belleayre resort in Pine Hill last
week and the need to address the resulting Route 28 traffic
issues may necessitate the reexamination of whether a rail
link to the resort is desirable and/or feasible.
And can anyone guess what kind of rail link I'd suggest? Why,
a state-of-the-art, high-speed, Maglev connection, of course.
Think about it for a moment. Resort visitors could park in
ample space in Kingston and catch the Maglev shuttle up to
the resort. The 32 mile trip would take as little as 10 -
15 minutes. With a tie into the proposed NYC to Albany Maglev
system proposed by the NYS High Speed Rail Task Force to be
built over the next 25 years, a trip from the city to the
resort could take as little as half an hour!
This plan would address the increase in traffic anticipated
by the resort and reduce the carbon footprint of the resort
as well as that of those traveling there. Not only passengers,
but resort supplies and freight could be transported as well,
further reducing truck traffic on Route 28. The joint projects,
if carried out responsibly, could set the example for future
resort, commercial and private development around the world.
And, it sure beats the "Catskill Parkway" scenario
mentioned at Governor Spitzer's press conference announcing
the go-ahead for the resort.
So, while Senator Bruno last week announced 22 million dollars
for short term "high speed" improvements to Amtrak
lines across the river, we should make sure public officials
keep their eye on the long term, big picture of providing
true Maglev high speed rail on our side of the Hudson.
There was a recent news story about our governor and his intentions
vis--vis casinos. He indicated that he will explore other
options if U.S. Interior Secretary Kempthorne refused to approve
placing land in trust to allow for development of Native American
casinos in Sullivan County. Governor Spitzer’s current
actions reflect why he was so cagey about his position on
casinos during his election campaign. I guess, to his credit,
he didn’t lie to us at that time—thus this news
story was not surprising. Politicians see casino money as
an easy fix for their budget problems.
With Spitzer and Schumer, Hillary and Maurice supporting casinos
for Sullivan County (two, one at Monticello and one at Bridgeville
alongside the Neversink) we, in Ulster County are not safe.
Our two area state senators, Bonacic and Larkin, refuse to
sponsor a bill that Cahill, Lopez and Couch were able to pass
in the assembly. That bill asks that Ulster County (except
for Warwarsing) be removed from a Spitzer fast track.
Sending letters to Spitzer, Hillary, Maurice and Schumer are
probably a waste of time; however, if you are so inclined,
letters to Bonacic and Larkin wouldn’t hurt and may
help. Bonacic supposedly says that he doesn’t think
the people he represents want him to sponsor the senate bill.
He should hear from us, that we think it is important. If
you need more information, let me know.
Recently, Gary Bischoff outlined donations to Republicans
from companies involved with the jail project. For the sake
of fairness, I checked out contributions made to Democrats.
Here's what I found:
-Several labor unions that worked on the jail project contribute
heavily to the Ulster County Democratic Party.
-David Lenefsky, attorney of Ward Todd and the Modoc Tribe,
donated at least $7,500 to the Ulster County Democratic Party
over the last two years.
-Barry, Bette & Led Duke, Inc., mentioned by Bischoff
as being involved with the Dutchess County corruption scandal,
contributed approx. $125,000 to both Democrats and Republicans
in 2006. Of these donations, at least $6,000 went to Democratic
Governor Eliot Spitzer and at least $1,000 went to Democratic
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
-Bovis International, the company that mangled the jail project,
donated $4000 to Eliot Spitzer in 2006.
-I have received information that Legislative Chairman Dave
Donaldson recently solicited a campaign donation from a person
the county hired to oversee final jail construction.
For years, Bischoff has railed about "Clean Money/Clean
Elections." On this issue, however, Bischoff talks loudly,
but carries a small stick. A review of contributions made
to the Ulster County Democratic Party shows the "pay
to play" system is in full force. Democrats received
significant contributions from people appointed to high profile
county jobs or companies that do business with the county
or people/companies trying to influence policy.
It would be hypocritical not to mention that both parties
are guilty of "pay to play." I do find galling,
however, Bischoff's hypocrisy on this issue. It's obvious
his talk about "clean money/clean elections" is
just that: talk. Bischoff had no problem using the special
interest money raised by Ulster Democrats in 2005. Bischoff
can be a true leader by demanding that Democrats end the "pay
for play" system and agree not to accept special interest
In closing, I ask voters to consider the following: why did
the Albany division of the Service Employees International
Union (SEIU), "an organization of more than 1.9 million
members," donate $4,000 to Bischoff and his running mates
in 2005? In all my years in the county government, there has
rarely, if ever, been an issue involving SEIU before the Legislature.
Was this donation about good government, or was it a funneling
of special interest money to help elect Bischoff?
Ulster County Legislator, District 4
Many realize that The United States of America no longer operates
under a democratic government of the people, by the people
and for the people, but has become an oligarchy with corporations,
very wealthy people and a monstrous military complex controlling
Our health care is controlled by the corporate health insurance
companies and HMOs as well as pharmaceutical companies. Their
wealth, derived from us, is used to bribe politicians not
to develop a governmentally directed universal health care
system. Such a system would save billions of dollars and help
boost the health status of the U.S. up to a level closer to
that of other nations. Part of the corporate strategy is to
teach the public untruths about universal health care. Many
people still talk about socialized medicine inasmuch as that
is the kind of stuff they are being fed. Sad that they can't
see how vital to our society the "socialistic" educational,
highway, law enforcement, and defense systems are.
We know that the Iraqi war was promoted and supported by corporate
power for purpose of getting control of oil and for profit
of the supporters. They have profited and everyone else has
When we consider those aspiring for the presidency we should
consider the candidates who go beyond the immediacy of health
care and the Iraqi war; those who work for and propose measures
which will help the majority of Americans, the ones who do
the work of our world and on whom the corporate world depends
for its subsistence, could help us return to democracy. We
need to get out from under the yoke of corporate power, of
control by moneyed interests, of government officials who
bought their seats. This is a gargantuan challenge but possible
to meet if we have the right leadership and really intelligent,
responsive men and women in office who care for their country.
John Edwards is a candidate who has always avowed passionate
support for the principles expressed here.
The loss of Sam Hood to the community came as a huge shock
to us all - even though we knew he had been ailing for the
past few months.
Over the recent years it has been my good fortune to have
worked with Sam on a number of film projects, and I have rarely
met a more generous person, most particularly with his time
and attention, not only as a businessman. He had a rare, dry
sense of humor and detested all falseness and pomposity. I
also believe he did not really want to be known as a philanthropist
or benefactor, and would brush away any thanks with a self
deprecating wave of the hand or a smile. And he could be fierce,
too, if he felt his friends or family were under threat.
At his celebration last weekend, many people spoke of how
Sam had touched their lives, but I would like to add one thought.
For many years Sam, along with Judy Upjohn, had watched over
our Indie Program for at-risk kids in Onteora. Sam was passionate
about this. Our students have made great films, been on life
changing trips and won awards at festivals, but Sam had a
very clear vision of what we really do, which I think gives
an insight into who he was. It had nothing to do with filmmaking,
and everything to do with community and our 'being there'
for teenagers who have no other support. He said, "If
we can give these kids just one extra inch of solid ground
to stand on, make them just one little bit stronger to face
the world, then we'll have done our job".
Almost none of the hundreds of students who have been through
Indie ever met Sam, but even so, their lives have been changed
and are being changed every day by the work and love he put
into the program which gives them that 'one extra inch of
On their behalf, and from all of us at Indie, past and present,
deepest thanks to Sam. He will be unbelievably missed.
Russell Richardson, Executive Director, Indie Programs
It was 9/11 and it was a busy day for me. I was rushing around
trying to keep up with everything I had to do, when I drove
the by the Woodstock village green. There were 3 women, standing
quietly on the green, holding lit candles in memory of the
victims of 9/11. Seeing them made me proud to live here and
feeling guilty for not taking the time to join them. We waved
and smiled and I hope they knew then, that they also were
standing for me, and I thank them.
The Phoenicia Rotary wishes to thank everyone who made our
September 7th fundraiser so successful.
In particular a special thank you to all the merchants and
restaurants for the donated gift certificates and items for
our prize baskets, especially: Al’s Seafood Restaurant,
Black Bear Hollow, Boiceville Market, Catskill Mountain Pizza,
Debra Jo’s, Hanover Farms, Hong Kong Chinese, Hurley
Ridge Market, Miss Kitty, Nest Egg, Phoenicia Feeds, Phoenicia
Liquors, Russ’s Country Kitchen, S’Creams, STS,
Sweet Sue’s, Tiso’s, The Wrens Nest and all contributing
friends and Rotarians.
Through the generosity of our local business owners and residents,
the Phoenicia Rotary is able to continue funding numerous
community needs, scholarships and charitable causes both locally
Looking forward to seeing everyone at our annual Rotary Ducky
Race scheduled for Sunday October 7th.
Rotary Event Prize Coordinator
We would like to thank Sheldon Hill Forestry for its generous
contribution towards helping a community member in need. This
resulted in a successful fundraiser that might not have otherwise
Brian and Cindy, thany you very much for your support and
The D'Errico family
I would like to thank you at Olive Press and Phoenicia Times
for posting the announcement of my Butterfly Garden Tour.
I was pleased and surprised when
I saw on page 7 of the Olive Press a large color image of
the cover of my book The Spirit of Butterflies along with
Thank you again - it was a good tour/talk - and more and more
folks in Olive will be having pesticide free gardens, with
more native plants to attract the local butterflies (we have
about 70 species). All good for the butterflies, the health
of the watershed and the environment, as well as birds and
all living creatures.
We have a great community and you are an integral part of
connecting us all.