New At DEC!
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis recently announced the
selection of William C. Janeway, better known as Willie,
as the new regional director for DEC’s Region 3
office, which serves the counties of Dutchess, Orange,
Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester. Janeway
had been serving as the Director of Government Relations
for The Nature Conservancy in New York since 1994, Mr.
Janeway, working as the organization’s liaison in
building government partnerships with government agencies
on cooperative environmental conservation development
projects across the state. He also served as the Executive
Director of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission,
where he helped raise $23 million to expand the Albany
Pine Bush Preserve and advance conservation of the rare
inland Pine Barrens. Following that role, he served as
the Executive Director of the Hudson Valley Greenway Conservancy,
where he focused on projects designed to conserve and
interpret the environmental and historic heritage of the
Hudson River Valley and the economic potential for the
area. From 1985 to 1994, Mr. Janeway worked for the Adirondack
Mountain Club. He began his professional career with the
club as a trails coordinator and later served as its Director
of North Country Operations. As director, he coordinated
the funding of education projects, long-term planning,
daily operations and the trails and wilderness programs.
“Willie is a great addition to our team who will
lead our efforts to work with public and private partners
throughout New York City, the lower Hudson Valley and
the Catskills to protect the environment and public health,”
DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said. “Our regional
offices play a critical role, serving the public and the
regulated community in many different ways on a daily
Willie graduated from St. Lawrence University, where he
received his B.A. in Economics, concentrating on Environmental
Supporters of the state owned Belleayre Mountain ski center
wasted no time in fighting back against an attack on the
facility. Last month the Greene County Legislature passed
a resolution that calls on the state to show that Belleayre
Mountain Ski Center in Ulster County is operating on a
break-even basis without using surplus funds from state
accounts. The measure came after the owners of Hunter
and Windham ski centers complained that it isn’t
fair for Belleayre to be funded with tax dollars. Greene’s
resolution also called on the state to adopt a moratorium
on expansion of all state-owned ski areas pending an independent
analysis of potential harm to the private ski industry
and neighboring communities from such expansion.
This month a counter resolution was unveiled at a town
board meeting in Shandaken, the town which hosts Belleayre.
The resolution is not an attack on Greene County, and
it does not mention Hunter or Windham or any of the complaints
they have about Belleayre. But it does suggest that the
aforementioned should recall that there was a time when
Belleayre was helpful to them.
“…Other ski centers in the region were developed
more than a decade after Belleayre Mt. opened with the
first chairlift in the State of New York because Belleayre
served as an economic catalyst for them,” the resolution
It also contains language taken from the State Constitution,
according to Councilman Robert Stanley, to remind all
that the ski center was created on forever wild land in
the Catskill Forest Preserve by virtue of an amendment
to the New York State Constitution approved in 1947 by
voters in the state and can never “be leased, sold
or exchanged or be taken by any corporation, public or
private.” It also notes that the voters of the state
approved another constitutional amendment in 1987 authorizing
an expansion of Belleayre.
The resolution, drafted with the help of Coalition for
Belleayre President Joe Kelly, argues that investment
of public funding in economic development is the legitimate
business of state government because all residents of
the state benefit from economic development initiatives,
and the recreational needs of the citizens is a legitimate
concern of government.
Since Belleayre Mountain provides a four season recreation
facility for citizens from all over the state it should
be funded, the resolution states.
“Belleayre Mt. must receive continued reinvestment
if it is to continue to serve as an economic catalyst,”
the resolution concludes.” Therefore be it resolved
that the Town of Shandaken supports the Ulster County
Legislature in urging this major investment in Belleayre
Mt. to expand it to the full size and scope authorized
by New York State’s voters in 1987, and be it further
resolved that the operation of Belleayre Mt. Ski Center
be underwritten by the revenues it collects coupled with
other state funds as may be appropriated from time to
Belleayre Mt. Ski Center plays a critical role in the
tourism economy by attracting more than 200,000 a year,
the resolution states.
In other news, Cross and the board agreed to send out
a request for proposal to various companies in hopes of
getting cell towers built in town. A measure requiring
the RFP be sent out by the first of next month passed
3 to 1, with Rob Stanley opposed. Joe Munster was absent.
Stanley’s felt the RFP should call for companies
to come to town and do a study to determine where the
best locations for towers were. Instead the RFP calls
for a proposal to build a tower on town property at Glenbrook
“It’s like you’re building a staircase
first and designing a house around it,” Stanley
The board also handed a sticky issue off to the public
this month when they agreed to hold a referendum vote
to decide whether to change to a sole town assessor. At
present the town elects three assessors. If changed, the
board would just appoint one.
Last month Cross tried to push the measure through, saying
he wanted to make the appointment soon, but the rest of
the board disagreed. The referendum will be on the ballot
this November on Election Day.
The board agreed this month to take $5000 out of the “Good
Neighbor Fund” to make alterations to a town-owned
structure on Eva Maria Drive in Phoenicia. Once completed,
the building will serve as headquarters for the town’s
Lastly, Stanley reported on the town’s summer recreation
program, which started up last week. There are about 80
kids in the program, he said. That’s about 30 more
than they had last year.
Roger Rotella, a former officer with the New York City
Department of Environmental Protection Police as well
as the Shandaken Police force, pleaded guilty recently
to official misconduct and taking a bribe in Ulster County
Court, admitting that he offered to drop a drunken driving
charge against a motorist in exchange for $30,000. In
reward, he was offered a commuted sentence with parole
Roger Rotella, 29, of state Route 28A, West Shokan, pleaded
guilty to a felony count of bribe receiving and a misdemeanor
count of official misconduct. Rotella also pleaded guilty
to a separate indictment charging him with assault and
reckless assault of a child, both felonies, as well as
the misdemeanor of endangering the welfare of a child.
Ulster County Judge J. Michael Bruhn sentenced Rotella
to five years probation on all the charges, to be served
concurrently. Chief Assistant District Attorney Emmanuel
Nneji said his office had recommended that Rotella be
sentenced to “substantial incarceration.”
On July 9, 2005, Rotella promised Dale Ford that he would
make a charge of driving while intoxicated go away if
Ford paid him $30,000, according to Ulster County District
Attorney Donald A. Williams. Ford had been arrested on
the drunken driving charge by Department of Environmental
Protection police on July 4, 2005.
In a separate incident, Rotella was arrested by state
police at Ulster in November 2006 and charged with assault
and reckless assault of a child, felonies, and endangering
the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. Police said Rotella
caused serious injury to a 3-month-old child who had been
in his care.
The district attorney said at the time Rotella was indicted
on the bribery charge that Rotella had mounting mortgage
and credit card bills. State police were contacted about
the bribery scheme, Williams said, and set up a sting
operation. Authorities would not say who contacted police.
Police said that a bag made to look as if it contained
money was placed in a specified location. Rotella picked
it up and was promptly arrested. He was interviewed and
confessed to the scheme.
Cop Hits Bike
A Shandaken Police car had a collision over the weekend
with a motorcycle when at about 2:20 pm Saturday a patrol
car was headed toward a domestic dispute call when it
collided with the motorcycle, according to State Police.
The driver of the motorcycle, who was not identified,
sustained some abrasions and contusions, police said.
It remains unclear which Shandaken police officer was
driving the car, or whether the car had its siren or emergency
The Bee Problem!
Federal Agriculture Department scientists are mobilizing
to fight the puzzling and potentially catastrophic collapse
of the nation’s honey bee colonies. Citing a “perfect
storm for beekeepers,” alarmed officials admitted
in the last few weeks they still don’t know why
bees are dying in large numbers in more than 22 states.
But prodded by Congress and farmers alike, the scientists
will be devoting new resources to protecting the diligent
pollinators some call six-legged livestock.
“There were enough honey bees to provide pollination
for U.S. agriculture this year, but beekeepers could face
a serious problem next year and beyond,” Agriculture
Undersecretary Gale Buchanan warned.
Nationwide, honey bees pollinate more than 130 crops.
They are particularly dutiful in some areas, such as California’s
nearly $3 billion-a-year almond industry. Of the nation’s
2.4 million commercial bee colonies, 1.3 million pollinate
Prepared with the help of scientists at North Carolina
State University and Pennsylvania State University, among
others, the 28-page action plan issued last week proposes:
* Spending more money. The Agricultural Research Service
has a bee research budget of $7.4 million this year. Officials
will redirect new funds to the cause, including an additional
$1 million annually for work on honey bee health.
* Conducting new surveys. Officials cautioned that current
colony surveys have been either “limited in scope
(or) fundamentally flawed.” Agriculture Department
agencies will collaborate with university researchers
to obtain “an accurate picture of bee numbers,”
as well as a better understanding of the pesticides, pests
and environmental stresses plaguing the bees.
* Finding fixes. This is particularly hard, since no one
really knows why the bee colonies are collapsing. But
officials say they will focus on “developing general
best management practices” and distributing information
through the Internet.
The new work will focus on so-called “colony collapse
disorder.” This is when the colony’s adult
bee population abruptly dies, leaving only the queen and
a few attendants alive. Typically, there is no sign of
mite or beetle damage. Some think toxic exposure or nutritional
deficits might be undermining the bees’ immune systems.
The Agriculture Department plan sets out goals for both
the short and long term. Immediately, for instance, scientists
will “refine” symptoms to define what colony
collapse disorder “is and what it is not.”
Longer term, the National Agricultural Statistics Service
will develop a more reliable annual survey on honey bee
colony production and health.
At the same time, officials are ruling out some theories.
“Based on misleading news reports, the public has
become concerned that cell-phone use may be causing bee
die-offs,” the Agricultural Research Service noted.
“However, scientists have largely dismissed this
theory, because exposure of bees to high levels of electromagnetic
fields is unlikely.”
Governor Spitzer’s Special Assistant on the Environment,
Paul Beyer, was the guest speaker at the 38th annual meeting
of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development,
held outside its Arkville offices July 14 and attended
by about 80 people.
“I want to bring planning back into the equation,”
explained Beyer, saying “if we do nothing to change
our land use patterns then everything that people love
will be threatened.”
Land use and Smartgrowth are the master art, he said,
in explaining the latter as “reintroducing planning
to the planning process” in an effort to target
development and minimize sprawl, with its negative impacts
on open space and the quality of life.
Tom Alworth, the Center’s Executive Director, announced
the receipt of a $375,000 gift from the estate of former
President of the Center’s Board of Directors William
Ginsberg, who served in that role from 1981-1996. A nationally
known expert on land protection whose work lead to the
protection of some 20,000 acres mainly in the Catskills,
Ginsberg’s gift, acknowledged by his son Josh, has
been added to the Center’s roughly $2 million endowment
that funds its programming.
Also announced at the meeting was $1million/ 5 year state
DEC grant awarded to the Center to serve as one of eight
regional agencies statewide to coordinate a new Catskill
Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP). This interagency
program is intended to educate the public, to help manage,
and where possible to eradicate non-native invasive species.
In our region, those include Garlic Mustard and Japanese
Knotweed, and insects such as the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid,
Emerald Ash Borer, and Asian Long Horned Beetle. For information
on the program, contact bmurdock@ catskillcenter.org.
The Center’s 2007 Alf Evers Award for Excellence
was presented by Geologist Robert Titus to Greene County
historian and author Raymond Beecher, who helped organize
the restoration of Cedar Grove, painter Thomas Cole’s
home in Catskill.
According to incumbent Shandaken Highway Superintendent
Keith Johnson, work on the town’s highways is proceeding
without any big news this summer, thanks in no part to
the ease with which winter swaddled us all a few months
ago. Asked what he was working on for the warm months,
Johnson said “general maintenance,” and noted
savings on wages and low materials usage - as well as
the fact of the town owning its own gravel bank - as shaving
created something of a windfall, budget-wise.
We’re finishing Woodland Valley and Legion roads,
“ he said. “Doing ditches and culverts.”
In The Blood?
The father of the fugitive killed during a shootout with
state police near Margaretville three months ago has been
arrested after trying to run down police officers with
his pickup in northern New York state, authorities recently
reported. St. Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies
said they arrived Monday, July 9 with a mental health
order for Marvin Trim, the father of Travis Trim, at his
town of Lawrence residence and found him sitting inside
his pickup. Trim, 45, refused to speak to police and drove
off. Deputies followed, and though Trim eventually stopped
his vehicle, he still refused to get out, they said. State
police arrived at the scene soon after and put down spike
strips. Investigators said Trim then sped toward the officers
and ran over the spike strips, which punctured all four
tires and caused him to lose control of the pickup. The
truck landed in a ditch, and Trim was apprehended, then
arraigned on charges of attempted assault, reckless endangerment,
resisting arrest, fleeing from a police officer and possession
of marijuana. He was being held in St. Lawrence County
Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail and was scheduled to appear
in Lawrence Town Court.
Travis Trim, 23, holed up in a farmhouse near Margaretville
on April 25 after shooting, but not seriously injuring,
a state trooper the day before in the Delaware County
village. A shootout in the house with members of the state
police Mobile Response Team left Trim and state Trooper
David Brinkerhoff of Coxsackie dead. Trooper Richard Mattson
of Clinton was shot in the arm. Police said later that
Trim and Brinkerhoff were killed by police gunfire and
that Mattson was shot by Trim.
Ash To Ashes?
The future of ash trees, once a staple of our region and
the so-called Shandaken Bat Factory that supplied ash
cores to baseball bat makers around the world, is in doubt
because of a killer beetle and a warming climate, and
with it, the complicated relationship of the baseball
player to bats.
“No more ash?” said Juan Uribe, a Chicago
White Sox shortstop, whose batting coach says he speaks
to his ash bats every day. Uribe is so finicky about his
bats, teammates say, that he stores them separately in
the team’s dugout and complains bitterly if anyone
else touches them.
In continuing bat factories in Pennsylvania, operators
have drawn up a three-to-five-year emergency plan if the
white ash tree, which has been used for decades to make
the bat of choice, is compromised. And in Michigan, authorities
have begun collecting the seeds of ash trees for storage
in case the species is wiped out, a possibility some experts
now consider inevitable.
As early as this summer, federal officials hope to set
loose Asian wasps never seen in this country with the
purpose of attacking the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle
accused of killing 25 million ash trees in Michigan, Illinois,
Indiana, Ohio and Maryland since it was spotted in the
United States five years ago.
“We’re watching all this very closely,”
said Brian Boltz, the general manager of the Larimer &
Norton company, whose Russell mill each day saws, grades
and dries scores of billets destined to become Louisville
Slugger bats. “Maybe it means more maple bats. Or
it may be a matter of using a different species for our
David Sheeley, Ulster County’s commissioner of highways
and bridges since 2004, will now become acting commissioner
of the county’s newly consolidated Department of
Public Works, which brings under one cost-saving roof
the departments of Highways and Bridges, Buildings and
Grounds and Public Works Administration. The 61 year old,
who served 19 years as the highway superintendent for
the town of Marbletown before taking the county post,
will be interim commissioner until 2008, when a new search
In front of a choreographed line-up of 120 sailors in
their summer whites at a naval base outside Victoria in
British Columbia, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
gave a warning to other nations with their eye on the
potentially oil-rich Arctic.
“Canada has a choice when it comes to defending
our sovereignty over the Arctic,” he said. “We
either use it or lose it. And make no mistake, this government
intends to use it.”
Harper’s message, combined with his nation’s
budgeting of new military installations in the nation’s
farthest north, are a sign that the Arctic, is becoming
a new battleground.. With Canada, Denmark, Russia and
the United States all having claims on the region, together
with those of Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland, international
tension in the region is mounting.
As the statement implies, two areas of international competition
lie behind the Canadian prime minister’s actions.
The first is that the Arctic region is rich in natural
resources. It is thought to hold up to a quarter of the
world’s undiscovered reserves of oil and gas, which
as the established fields in the Middle East and elsewhere
run dry will become increasingly valuable and sought after.
There are also known to be major deposits of diamonds,
silver, copper, zinc and, potentially, uranium. It also
has rich fish stocks.
Desire to exploit these resources has led to tensions
with the US over the offshore border between Alaska and
Canada, an area known as the “wedge”, where
one day oil and gas exploration could prove to be lucrative.
The area above the North Pole, which under international
law is an area owned by nobody, has also started to be
targeted. Last month Russia astonished observers of the
region by announcing a virtual land grab of about 400,000
square miles, using the premise that an underwater shelf
known as the Lomonosov ridge connects its Arctic territories
with the North Pole.
Russia’s existing oil reserves are likely to be
depleted by 2030.
Go To College!
Student loans got you down? Well, get ready for what is
being touted as the biggest increase in higher-education
funding since the GI Bill enabled millions of veterans
to attend college after World War II. On July 11, the
House of Representatives passed the College Cost Reduction
Act of 2007 273-149, which backers say it could save students
thousands of dollars, and which the Senate is set to pass
later this month. The bills are in reaction to the fact
that student loan debt has more than doubled over the
past 10 years, with the average college graduate in the
U.S. now leaving school owing $19,200, according to the
nonprofit Project on Student Debt.
Under them, interest rates on federal loans and federally
subsidized loans will be cut in half in the next five
years; Pell Grants for low-income students would increase
with more students eligible; undergraduates and graduate
students who plan to teach in public schools would be
able to get an extra $4,000 a year on top of loans and
federal grants; and there would be loan forgiveness for
those going into fields that benefit the common good.
Where is the money coming from? Federal subsidies that
currently benefit private lenders that are also big players
in the education-finance game – and which have been
making record profits in recent years.
Meanwhile, the White House jas released a statement that
the president would veto the bill in its current form,
arguing it does not do enough to benefit low-income students.
The six-week Orange County gun buyback program ended over
the July 13 weekend with some 200 weapons turned into
the city police departments in Newburgh, Middletown and
Port Jervis. The no-questions-asked program redeemed weapons
for gift cards to local Shop Rite supermarkets. Orange
County Emergency Services Commissioner Walter Koury said
he would recommend the program for use elsewhere and encourage
its use by any other community or county that is considering
doing the same.
Dutchess County will explore using the Orange County model
through the county Sheriff’s Office. Discussions
about the program are also underway here in Ulster County.
US A Threat?
Europeans consistently regard the US as the biggest threat
to world stability, a new poll by Harris Research reveals.
32 per cent of respondents in five European countries
regard the US as a bigger threat than any other state
while in the US itself, North Korea and Iran are seen
as the biggest risks. However, the youngest US respondents
share the Europeans’ view that theirs is the biggest
threat, with 35 per cent of American 16- to 24-year-olds
identifying it as the chief danger to stability.
The level of European concern about the US has remained
broadly consistent over the past year. In 11 previous
polls dating back to July 2006 the proportion of respondents
considering the US a threat to stability has ranged between
28 per cent and 38 per cent. The latest poll comes in
the wake of the “surge” that has increased
US forces in Iraq to about 160,000 troops, but which has
not been accompanied by political breakthroughs or a dramatic
reduction of violence.
“It is evidence of the continued estrangement between
the European public and the Bush administration, in spite
of a real improvement in official ties,” said Ron
Asmus, head of the Brussels office of the German Marshall
Fund, which works to bolster transatlantic ties. “It
is proof that the next president will be confronted with
the major challenge of improving America’s image
abroad, starting with Europe and our main allies.”
Inhabitants of Spain are most concerned about the US,
with 46 per cent of respondents naming America as the
biggest threat. But European poll respondents - who also
come from France, Germany, Italy and the UK - are increasingly
concerned about China, which 19 per cent perceive as the
biggest threat, up from 12 per cent last July. Meanwhile,
17 per cent identify Iran as the biggest threat, 11 per
cent Iraq and 9 per cent North Korea. Only 5 per cent
single out Russia, despite increased tensions between
Moscow and the west.
The poll’s data on the US indicate that 25 per cent
of Americans see North Korea as the biggest threat, followed
by Iran with 23 per cent, China with 20 per cent, and
the US itself with 11 per cent.
The poll is consistent with findings last week by the
Pew Global Attitudes Project, which found that favorable
ratings of the US had declined in 26 of 33 countries over
the past five years.
Although Writers in The Mountains (WIM) has been around
these parts for almost fifteen years, the group has just
received a letter from the IRS approving it as a 501(c3).
This designation allows donations made to WIM to be tax
deductible. The IRS allows this provision of the tax code
to promote charitable giving so organizations can serve
the greater good. The greater good is served, in this
case, by WIM providing a nurturing environment for the
practice, appreciation and sharing of writing
“Many people want to write but are afraid to try”
says board member Brenda Reeser. “We offer an opportunity
for people to try writing in different areas. We have
people, some who have never written before, write about
travel, hunting, cooking, poetry. It seems there is a
little writer in everyone”.
Workshops are informal. Some participants have no writing
experience at all and others have written for years. There
are workshops geared toward all styles, genres, and experience.
All that is required is a love of language and the desire
to tell a story.
The group is run by an all volunteer board with no paid
If you want to find that ability in you, learn more or
participate in this new exciting phase of WIM’s
development you can go to the website www.writersinthemountains.
org or call (607) 326-7908.
That DA Race…
One of the three potential Democratic candidates for Ulster
County district attorney dropped out of the race in recent
weeks, just as the remaining candidates captured the nation’s
attention via a bar fight involving one’s leading
supporter, the Mayor of Kingston, and the other’s
wife, a leading Republican, who entered into a slap-happy
bar fight, complete with tossed drinks, via a Kingston
waterfront bar’s surveillance camera video..
Julian Schreibman, a current assistant district attorney
along with continuing candidate Jonathan Sennett and Sennett’s
wife, announced he was withdrawing from the race, which
also includes newly enrolled party-member Vincent Bradley,
Sennett won the Democratic Committee endorsement, but
Bradley has vowed to challenge that in a primary election.
The party’s executive committee, pushed by party
chief John Parete of Olive in what many see as a controversial
move that may split the new majority party, has voted
to allow all 250 committee members to decide if Bradley,
technically still a non-enrolled candidate, can primary
Schreibman noted he is bound from endorsing either of
the two remaining candidates but added that, ‘I
am opposed to granting the waver to Mr. Bradley based
upon the tactics that have been wielded on his behalf
by certain leaders of his party.”
Holley Carnright, a former assistant DA, is the Republican
A single pill appears to hold promise in curbing the urges
to both smoke and drink, according to researchers trying
to help people overcome addiction by targeting a pleasure
center in the brain. The drug, called varenicline, already
is sold to help smokers kick the habit. New but preliminary
research suggests it could gain a second use in helping
heavy drinkers quit, too. And much further down the line,
the tablets might be considered as a treatment for addictions
to everything from gambling to painkillers, researchers
Several experts not involved in the study cautioned that
there is no such thing as a magic cure-all for addiction
and that varenicline and similar drugs may find more immediate
use in treating diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Pfizer Inc. developed the drug specifically as a stop-smoking
aid and has sold it in the United States since August
under the brand name Chantix. Varenicline works by latching
onto the same receptors in the brain that nicotine binds
to when inhaled in cigarette smoke, an action that leads
to the release of dopamine in the brain’s pleasure
centers. Taking the drug blocks any inhaled nicotine from
reinforcing that effect.
A lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union has uncovered
a manual from the Bush Administration detailing its tactics
for suppressing protests at presidential appearances.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two people from Colorado
who were forcibly removed from a presidential “Town
Hall Meeting” because their car had a bumper sticker
that said, “No more blood for oil.” They have
obtained a copy of the “Presidential Advance Manual,”
which details tactics “to stop a demonstrator from
getting into the event.” A section titled “Preventing
Demonstrators” advises event organizers to recruit
local Republicans into “Rally Squads” whose
“task is to use their signs and banners as shields
between the demonstrators and the main press platform.
If the demonstrators are yelling, rally squads can begin
and lead supportive chants to drown out the protestors
[sic] (USA! USA! USA!) As a last resort, security should
remove the protestors from the event site.”
Long-simmering tensions between the Ulster Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) board of directors
and professional staff has led to a rash of resignations
and the shutdown of the agency’s popular low-cost
spay/neuter program. In the past month, three board members,
the executive director, one veterinarian and a clinic
coordinator have resigned their positions. Board President
Louise Cutler said she anticipated more personnel losses.
The spay/neuter program, which treats more than 3,000
animals each year, will cease operations after completing
previously scheduled procedures.
According to Merle Borenstein, who quit the board last
month, problems at the SPCA stem from some board members’
interference with day-to-day operations at the group’s
shelter on Wiedy Road in Kingston, including the second-guessing
of medical decisions made by three veterinarians and the
clinic coordinator who run the spay/neuter program and
care for shelter animals.
Executive Director Hope Brustein, who began her tenure
in September, tendered her resignation last week.
A remaining board member confirmed that veterinarian Liz
Higgins, clinic coordinator Gemma Ebeling and Brustein
had resigned. She added that she believed the remaining
two vets could resign soon nut noted that the shutdown
of the low-cost spay/neuter program had more to do with
finances than staff problems: a declining number of bequests
had left the group’s finances depleted and made
the program, at least for now, difficult to maintain.
Sales of existing single-family homes fell off dramatically
in May as compared to the same month in 2006, the New
York State Association of Realtors has reported. They
rose only in Putnam and Ulster counties.
In Putnam, the number of homes sold was up 17 percent
above May of last year; in Ulster County, the number rose
by five percent.
By contrast, single-family home sales fell by 46 percent
in Greene County, by 27 percent in Sullivan County, by
17 percent in Dutchess, by 12 percent in Orange, by seven
percent in Westchester, and by three percent in Rockland
Sales statewide fell off by almost 14 percent in May over
the same month last year, the real estate group reported.
Median prices of existing single-family homes fluctuated.
In May, the highest priced houses remained in Westchester
County, at $675,000; in Rockland County at $505,000; in
Putnam County at $399,000; in Dutchess County at $346,000;
in Orange County at $318,000; in Ulster County at $261,000;
in Columbia County at $247,000; in Sullivan County at
$187,000; in Greene County at $167,000; and in Delaware
County at $94,000.
Cheap Food Ends
The era of cheap food is over, according to a growing
number of experts in the field. The price of corn has
doubled in a year, and wheat futures are at their highest
in a decade. The food price index in India has risen 11
per cent in one year, and in Mexico in January there were
riots after the price of corn flour (used in making the
staple food of the poor, tortillas) went up fourfold.
Even in the developed countries food prices are going
up, and they are not going to come down again.
Cheap food lasted for only 50 years. Before the Second
World War most families in the developed countries spent
a third or more of their income on food (as the poor majority
in developing countries still do). But after the war a
series of radical changes, from mechanization to the Green
Revolution, raised agricultural productivity hugely and
caused a long, steep fall in the real price of food. For
the global middle class, it was the Good Old Days, with
food taking only one-tenth of their income.
Now, three separate factors are converging to drive food
prices up. The first is simply demand. Not only is the
global population continuing to grow (about an extra Turkey
or Vietnam every year), but as Asian economies race ahead
more and more people in those populous countries are starting
to eat significant amounts of meat. Early this month,
in its annual assessment of farming trends, the United
Nations predicted that by 2016, less than 10 years from
now, people in the developing countries will be eating
30 per cent more beef, 50 per cent more pig meat and 25
per cent more poultry. The animals will need a great deal
of grain, and meeting that demand will require shifting
huge amounts of grain-growing land from human to animal
consumption - so the price of grain and of meat will both
Second, the mania for “bio-fuels” is shifting
huge amounts of land out of food production. One-sixth
of all the grain grown in the United States this year
will be “industrial corn” destined to be converted
into ethanol and burned in cars, and Europe, Brazil and
China are all heading in the same direction. As oil prices
rise (and the rapid economic growth in Asia guarantees
that they will), they pull up the price of bio-fuels as
well, and it gets even more attractive for farmers to
switch from food to fuel.
Thirdly, global warming is set to hit crop yields, lowering
productivity by huge amounts.
The price of food relative to average income is heading
for levels that have not been seen since the early 19th
century, and it is not expected to come down again in
Meanwhile, it has been found that U.S. oversight of genetically
modified crops, which critics charge is insufficient,
may finally be overhauled following a series of proposed
changes released by the Agriculture Department.
One change USDA is considering would abandon the existing
two-tiered permit system in favor of a multilevel one…
The new system would provide more stringent review for
plants with which USDA is less familiar, or those that
may pose an increased risk, such as plants that produce
substances not intended for food use. Plants engineered
for herbicide tolerance or insect resistance would be
USDA is also considering expanding its oversight to include
organisms that have the potential to become noxious weeds.
This would increase review of genetically engineered organisms
that may damage crops to include plants that pose a broader
risk to agriculture, the environment and public health.
The draft environmental impact statement, which evaluates
potential revisions to existing regulations, will be open
to public comment for 60 days starting earlier this month.
Consumer groups, environmentalists and organic farmers
oppose biotech crops, which they fear could mix with other
crops or develop super weeds resistant to herbicides.
They said the current system was not working and was in
need of a major overhaul to better protect farmers, consumers
and the environment.
“We welcome the fact that USDA is attempting an
overhaul of its regulations, the question is going to
be, as always, the devil will be in the details,”
said Doug Gurian-Sherman with the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“We are concerned given the record of this agency
over the least few years that we’re worried they
may go in the wrong direction.”
Members of the Shandaken Police Department report the
arrest of Ronald T. Gangle, 37 years of age of Miller
Road, Mt Tremper Friday afternoon, July 13, after police
received a report of a private residential alarm going
off on State Route 212. Police state after an investigation
it was determined that Gangle along with a uninvolved
12 year old youth trespassed onto private property to
go fishing in Mt Tremper. Police alleged that Gangle while
there broke into a residence through an unsecured window
by climbing across the front of the building, pushing
in a screen and entering the home. Police state that the
homeowners alarm went off and when police arrived they
found Gangle leaving the property. Gangle was charged
with Criminal Trespassing. Endangering the Welfare of
a Minor and Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor
Vehicle, all Misdemeanors. Police state the youth was
not related to Gangle and he was released to his Aunt.
Gangle was issued an appearance ticket returnable to town
Police in Shandaken also report the arrest of Ezekiel
N. Fundoro, a 22 year old male from the Delaware County
Town of Andes, for Impersonating a Public Servant. Fundaro
and friends were boating at the Pine Hill Lake and repeatedly
was told to stay away from the beaver and the beaver’s
dam. Fundaro then approached an off duty sheriff’s
deputy and told the deputy that he was a cop and that
he worked for the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office.
After Fundaro was unable to produce any identification,
he was arrested by the Shandalcen Police Department and
released on on appearance ticket to retum at a Iater date.
The Second Annual Olive Free Library Art Show, set to
run in West Shokan from August 18 through September 30,
has put out a call for entries to all area residents,
age 17 or older, living and/or working within the boundaries
of the Onteora School District.
Artists can submit up to three works completed since August
2, 2005, and all must be at the library by August 2...
and must be ready to hang, framed and wired and easily
No works will be sold at the show, but those interested
in making a purchase will be put into contact with the
The show was a major success last year and is expected
to draw out an even stronger response this year.
There will be a special reception for all artists, as
well as the entire community, on August 18 starting at
Works will be accepted in all media. although space limitations
preclude standing sculptures... something that will be
worked on in future years.