have a Republican majority to help him, too… at least officially,
with perennial GOP candidate Jack Jordan finally getting his day by coming
in tops out of five candidates for town council, taking a seat alongside
Conservative (but independent-minded) Vin Bernstein, who ran and won on
the Republican ticket two years ago.
Balancing the town council will be incumbent Democrats Doris Bartlett,
who won a definitive second term in office Tuesday night, and Tim Malloy,
who isn’t up again for two years, alongside Bernstein.
The rest of the town’s key offices up for election this year, though,
went to Democrats, barring a big reelection win for Justice Tom Crucet,
a Republican who won easy reelection alongside Democrat incumbent Michael
Rounding out the election picture this year were wins for Democratic highway
superintendent candidate Eric Hofmeister, the incumbent, over GOP candidate
Keith Johnson; as well as for Democratic assessor candidates Peter DiModica
and Carol Seitz.
Although Shandaken’s two Democratic legislative candidates, Don
Gregorius and Brian Shapiro, easily won reelection this year, the biggest
news for Election 2009 in these parts may be the fact that the county
legislature will have swung back to the Republican gavel after two terms…
and just before the whole legislature gets shrunk to single-member districts
for the 2011 elections.
The key to the GOP’s close 17-16 squeaker, in terms of total seats
won, came with their strengthening of holds in the towns of Saugerties
and Ulster, where longstanding legislator Gary Bischoff and current Majority
Leader Brian Cahill lost reelection bids, as well as the county’s
entire southern half, where a bittersweet victory was won in the race
where popular incumbent Democrat Phl Terpening died during a debate with
his opponent in the week leading up to Tuesday’s election.
Also on a county level, former D.A. Don Williams defeated Democratic County
Judge Deborah Schneer, appointed to fill out the seat of J. Michael Bruhn
early this past summer, and incumbent Republican County Clerk Nina Postupack
easily defeated Democratic challenger Gina Riccardi.
On a regional level, it appeared that Kingston city court judge James
Gilpatric, a Democrat, was headed towards a win for State Supreme Court
Justice against Albany area attorney Karen Dunn, the GOP candidate.
On a national level, all the pundit’s talk was of GOP wins for Governorships
in New Jersey and Virginia, although all indications at press time were
that a much-watched special race for a Congressional state in Upstate
New York was headed for a Democratic win, despite much talk to the contrary.
Stanley, who heard about his win amidst GOP supporters meeting at Russ’
Country Kitchen Tuesday night, where spirits were said to be ebullient,
won a total of 588 votes to DiSclafani’s 519. For town council,
Jordan had 509 votes to 503 from Bartlett, 389 for GOP candidate Pat Ellison,
384 for Democrat Barbara Redfield, and 300 for independent candidate Randy
Ostrander. For highway superintendent, Hofmeister won 676 to 451 for Johnson.
For town justice, Crucet won 673 votes to 572 for Miranda, 442 for GOP
candidate Charles Frasier, and 408 for Democrat Amy Brown. In the assessor
races, DiModica won 545 votes to 407 for Republican John Horn, while Seitz
won 521 to 397 for the GOP’s Joanne Kalb.
The town’s four individual districts told a more detailed story
of local sentiments, as usual.
In District 1, Phoenicia, DiSClafani won 224 votes to 195 total for Stanley,
while Bartlett won 196, Jordan 172, Ellison 149, Redfield 141 and Ostrander
In District 2, Shandaken, Stanley won with 136 total votes to 75 for DiSclafani,
while Jordan won 113, Ellison got 86, Bartlett received 81 votes, Redfield
won 53 and Ostrander got 52 votes.
In District 3, Pine Hill, Stanley received 159 votes to 116 for DiSClafani.
For town council, Jordan won 142 to 11 for Bartlett, 101 for Ellison,
100 for Redfield and 45 for Ostrander.
In District 4, Mt. Tremper, DiSclafani won 104 to 98 votes for Stanley,
while for town council, Bartlett won 114 votes to 90 for Redfield, 82
for Jordan, 65 for Ostrander and 53 for Ellison.
In the supervisor vote townwide, 472 Democrat votes were cast for DiSclafani,
429 Republican votes for Stanley, 90 Conservative Party votes for Stanley,
and 69 Independence Party votes for Stanley, again proving the importance
of such party endorsements in local elections.
The new United Shandaken Party drew a maximum 97 votes for Jack Jordan
in the town council race.
According to those stopping by the Sportsman’s/Alamo in Phoenicia,
where Democrats gathered Tuesday night, the mood was somber.
In neighboring Olive, Democrat incumbents gathered at the Boiceville Inn
were in a raucous mood, having defeated their first all-out election challenge
in years by healthy numbers.
At the November
2 board of education meeting at Woodstock Elementary, engineer Tim Moot
of Clark Patterson Lee and Onteora’s new facilities director Jared
Mance gave a report with options for the board to consider. The new system
was purchased to address an Ulster County Board of Health violation that
found high levels of Manganese in the water of the Middle/High School
and Bennett Elementary. This type of system would remove the Manganese.
“The (new) pump unit has a computer system that shuts down, with
an error code saying that there’s voltage problems,” Moot
said, explaining that the district is in a dilemma because the pump company
and Central Hudson both deny problems. Rental of a generator would provide
a separate source of power and begin to give an indication of where the
He also outlined another proposal as stated in a letter dated October
19 that recommended freeing up $10,000 for an in-depth electrical investigation.
This proposal could be the second step to figuring out what is wrong.
He said this proposal is based on a theory that “…the root
of the problem may not be associated with the pump, but may be associated
with the electrical supply in the building, with these old dry core transformers.”
“I see three possible problems here,” Trustee Tom Hickey said.
“Either there is something wrong with the pump, something wrong
with the power source coming in from the utility, or there is something
wrong with our transformer equipment on-site.”
Trustee Tony Fletcher asked, “If it is our electricity, then why
does everything else function?”
Moot said the new system has a safety feature that shuts the pump down
if the voltage reads imbalanced.
Mance added, “There may be other things going on that we are not
aware of, which is the reason why I recommend we do this investigation
so we know the root cause of this problem.”
In December 2008 the board approved $118,000 to install the filtration
system. Board President Laurie Osmond said finding a solution to this
problem will cause the costs to overrun.
At its last October 20 meeting, the board plowed through topics at great
speed before discussing non-teacher contracts trhat are still pending.
Trustee Anne McGillicuddy made plans to meet with Superintendent Leslie
Ford and Interim Business Administrator Don Gottlieb to reviewnext year’s
2010/2011-school budget and board members voiced concerns over possible
mid-year budget cuts a proposed by Governor David Paterson, including
a possible $485,000 slashing of the district’s existing year’s
Gottlieb reminded everyone that the Senate and Assembly must approve all
proposed cuts and have meetings coming up soon regarding the budget. If
mid-year State budget reductions become a reality, he added, it could
create a deficit that would affect next year’s fund balance and
impact the tax levy. Although, he added, the board could also consider
reducing funds for this year.
Other discussion in Phoenicia on October 20 included talk about a proposal
for the opening up of the Onteora junior.senior high school campus to
senior students during lunchtime, per a student proposal, the better to
visit restaurants and stores across Route 28 in Boiceville.
A child safety zone was established around the school in 2008, therefore
restricting students from walking across the street. Also in 2005, there
was a similar proposal from seniors that was supported by the administration
at that time, but rejected when the insurance company called it a high
As an alternative, Holmquist suggested that seniors be allowed to drive
across Route 28 during lunch period, which is now 42 minutes instead of
one half hour. High School principal Lance Edelman has expressed concerns
that such a policy would discriminate against students who don’t
drive and also create a liability.
In other business this past week, the board crafted a survey that will
go out in November’s school newsletter and be available online.
The school board set a board meeting for students during the afternoon
of November 9, provided the new auditorium is ready. This will be their
second annual meeting for students. Expected topics to be raised by the
student body include redistricting, student rights, open campus and girls
On Saturday, Nov. 14, the board will hold its first “Coffee Chat”
at Casey’s Café, across Route 28 from the Middle/High School,
from 3 to 5pm. Board members will be available for conversation and to
address concerns regarding district matters.
ALS is a degradation of
the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary
muscle movement. Only 20% of patients survive more than 5 years after
diagnosis, according to the ALS Association.
Bruce, a Viet Nam War veteran and former avid hunter and fisherman,
is bedridden and cannot breathe without a respiratory ventilator or
eat without a feeding tube. Although he cannot speak, his mind and senses
work perfectly well. Linda is his 24/7 caregiver.
“You’re trapped in your body,” explained Linda. “You
know everything that’s going around you, but you have no control
over your body whatsoever. Bruce can communicate, though. The veterans
purchased a special computer for him. He has movement in his cheeks,
and he puffs his cheek to make the computer work. Before he had the
computer, I used to have to read his lips. We’d get frustrated
at times, when I couldn’t understand him, but then we’d
do the alphabet, one letter at a time. The ALS Center in Albany sent
me a plastic board with letters, and he’d blink when I came to
the right letter. Now with the computer, it’s a lot better.”
A complex mechanism, involving a special cap, an infrared switch, and
a scan box, allows Bruce to spell on the computer. He has used it to
write a cookbook for his friends, using recipes for game he learned
during his hunting and fishing years. To speed up communication, said
Linda, “I’ve programmed letters for him. NS means ‘I
need suctioning.’ CS is ‘Please get me coffee.’ He
still loves his coffee.” She puts the coffee down the feeding
tube, which bypasses his mouth, but he can taste the coffee when he
Linda and Bruce grew up in Shandaken and attended Onteora High School,
where they were childhood sweethearts. Bruce joined the Navy Seabees
and served in Viet Nam for two years. Soon after his return, they married,
39 years ago.
“Bruce and I did everything together in the community—scouts,
PTA, he was Fire Commissioner in the Phoenicia Fire District, a fireman,
Little League manager—whatever we could be involved in when it
came to our children, we did together. Bruce worked days, I worked evenings,
so the kids were hardly ever left with a babysitter. We were hardly
ever separated, except when I went in the hospital to give birth.”
Linda worked in a nursing home as an aide for eleven years and then,
at the age of 38, decided to get her nursing degree. She graduated in
1994. A year later, Bruce’s diagnosis came.
“When it started, it was in his right hand. He worked for the
highway department as a truck driver and heavy equipment operator. He
noticed he couldn’t hang onto stuff, he’d drop things, and
he had difficulty shifting the truck with his arm. His fingers started
to contract toward the palm of his hand. Bruce progressed fairly quickly.”
He went to a doctor to check out the problem. “The diagnosis was
very, very, very devastating. I remember the day the doctor came in
with the folder in his hand, and I remember his words: ‘This is
fine, this is fine, the EMG is abnormal—you have ALS. Do you know
what that is?’ It was as hard for him to give the diagnosis as
it was for us to receive it. I had already taken care of two patients
with it. I knew what was ahead.”
The Storeys’ daughter, Kristi, was eight at the time, and their
oldest son, Marshall, was already married with children. The middle
son, Chad, left college at Brockport to come home and help take care
of his father. Later he graduated from SUNY-New Paltz and moved to a
house nearby. His wife had triplets four years ago. Linda is now the
primary—and virtually the only—caregiver.
“Now it’s routine, I’ve done it for so long, it’s
just natural,” she says. Ventilators and feeding tubes need frequent
maintenance: cleaning, replacement of parts. The ventilator has a monitor
that beeps when the connection to the patient is broken or supplemental
suctioning is required. Many patients opt out of ventilation when respiration
is compromised, hastening death. Most ventilator patients are institutionalized,
but Linda made the decision to take care of her husband at home.
“I don’t know if someone else could do what I’m doing.
There could be a lot of resentment. There are many days I would just
like to sit and scream and yell and cry, and there are others where
I sit and say how thankful and blessed I am. I have three wonderful
children, five beautiful grandchildren, a family that stands by me—I
really have a wonderful world. I don’t know what God’s plan
is, but there must be something.”
Bruce spends a lot of time watching TV—especially NASCAR racing
and the Food Network. “He gets depressed sometimes,” Linda
reports. “But then one of the daughters-in-law will call—Could
I get the triplets off bus today from Headstart? They run in and kiss
his arm and say ‘Hi, Poppy,’ and world is wonderful again.”
Friends like Helen Cordo visit and bring good cheer. “She’s
an absolute angel,” says Linda. “There’s a place for
her in heaven.”
Linda’s biggest lesson? “The diagnosis changed our lives.
All of our plans went up in smoke, our retiring years, what we were
going to do. I try to tell everyone, don’t put off to tomorrow
what you can do today. You don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Battle Moves West
are not going to develop those leases, we are not taking any more
leases, and I don’t think anybody else in the industry would
dare to acquire leases in the New York City watershed” said
Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake’s CEO. “Why go through the
brain damage of that, when we have so many other opportunities?”
McClendon was referring to health effects of chemicals used in gas
drilling and their history of turning up in surface water and people
wasn’t immediately clear. But his announcement, timed to precede
the first scheduled public hearing on the State’s recently released
regulatory guidelines for the industry drew a cautiously positive
but generally measured response.
Department of Environmental Conservation issued a brief statement
indicating they’d anticipated such developments, noting that
“the web of interrelated regulatory requirements” was
“likely to present significant practical challenges” for
any company seeking to drill in the watershed.
chairman of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental
Protection, was more forthcoming, saying drilling in the watershed
“doesn’t make any business sense and it doesn’t
make environmental sense. I think Chesapeake understands this and
I’m happy they have come to that decision. If only we could
get the state government to come to the same realization. It is strangely
was referring to the 809 pages of draft drilling guidelines released
by DEC September 30. Those guidelines did not prohibit and only superficially
restricted drilling within the City’s nearly 2,000 square mile
watershed. Since its release, the Department has been widely criticized
for what many believe are inadequate review procedures and protections
contained in the document. Amongst the agency’s conclusions
were that gas drilling in the watershed presented “no realistic
threat” to the safety of the City’s drinking water.
agency in charge of that water is for now keeping a low profile; Mayor
Blumberg has declined to comment until a full report on drilling impacts
being prepared by their consultants is released in December. That
report is widely expected to be highly critical of the state regulators’
analysis and conclusions. But the agency did on Friday provide a terse
comment on Chesapeake’s withdrawal:
company’s voluntary moratorium at this point, “ said DEP
spokesperson Mercedes Padilla, “ is not a substitute for thorough
analysis by the New York State DEC and the New York State Department
of Health, to determine the potential of gas drilling failures in
the NYC watershed and the damage to critical infrastructure in surrounding
at the first of four public hearings being held statewide on the drilling
process, an overflow crowd of more than 300 people showed up at Sullivan
County Community College last Wednesday. Even with testimony limited
to 5 minutes and most speakers taking less, the meeting ran five and
a half hours with about 85% of the audience and 75% of the speakers
significantly critical of DEC’s new guidelines.
County Planning Director Luis Aragon was the first of many speakers
to protest the agency’s lack of any requirement for cumulative
impact analysis or socio-economic impact studies. He called for a
ban on drilling in all floodplain zones and on all open-pit storage
of toxic waste, said that towns must have the right to review drilling
applications, and that the county legislature remained deeply concerned
that the drilling might have “unprecedented and profound effects”
which state regulators had no intention of studying.
Adams, Executive Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, said “The
DEC has said they couldn’t put cumulative impact requirements
into the draft document because they didn’t know how to do it.
If they can’t do a cumulative impact assessment, we question
whether they should be in the business of regulating gas drilling
in the first place.”
however, of the Sullivan-Delaware Property Owners Association, said
that “a robust new gas industry is the only hope we have”
and that “what we have here,” referring to the packed
hearing venue, is a small vocal group of environmental radicals.”
He said his association which represents 70,000 acres in Sullivan
and Delaware Counties “totally supports” DEC’s draft
regulatory framework and called for the immediate approval of 24 pending
gas well permits in the town of Hancock.
VP of State Governmental Relations for Chesapeake Energy, told the
Phoenicia Times that “we can drill safely anywhere but we will
not drill in the NYC watershed” where “we’re the
only ones with any leases.” Rotruck said “It’s a
business decision” and that its 5,000 acres here were not meaningful
in comparison to the 1.4 million acres the company holds leases on
Adams countered that “We respect Chesapeake’s public relations
acumen” but that the announcement had “no teeth”
and that the watershed remains vulnerable until DEC bans drilling
new position does appear, at least for now, to enhance the prospect
of continued safe drinking water for NYC, the fate of the adjoining
Delaware River Basin to our south appears if anything, even more tenuous.
Over the past four years the massive Millenium natural gas pipeline
which parallels the Delaware on its New York side has been completed
to its southern terminus
County where it joins the existing distribution infrastructure. Future
plans call for connection to an as yet unbuilttransshipment facility
in the Long Island Sound to move gas from the Catskills around the
world, with ground zero for gas drilling now centered on the Sullivan
County towns of Hancock, Walton, Bethel, and Callicoon. Whether future
regulatory actions amongst the three impacted states will adequately
protect the 10 million people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania who rely
on that watershed is entirely unknown.