Sessions for the still functioning Phoenicia wastewater
committee are down to one night a month as they await
word from contractors that are to bid on the project.
Estimates state the job may run upwards of $2 million
over the $11 million provided for the project by the City
of New York. It is expected that the City will come up
with the difference, but no discussions have yet occurred,
as all involved are waiting for the actual bids to see
what the charge will be. Members of the team negotiating
with New York City about other costs associated with the
project say there have been recent discussions. The next
meeting of the committee is on at 7pm on Tuesday July
25th in the Parish Hall on Main Street in Phoenicia.
The town needs to take a closer look at the proposed water
rate changes planned for Phoenicia. At a recent public
hearing on the matter the town board asked the volunteer
committee that came up with the proposal to go back to
the drawing and revise the figures. More is expected on
this at the August 7th town Board session.
The Shandaken Town Board awarded the transportation contract
for the six week summer recreation program at its meeting
last week, giving Mount Tremper’s Tonche Transit
$13,170 to shuttle kids to and from locations three days
a week for six weeks. The kids split their time between
Glenbrook Park in Shandaken and the Minekill State Park
facility in Gilboa, which has a swimming pool.
The program staff was also hired at the session. Three
new counselors were hired at $125.00 each per three-day
week and four experienced counselors returned to the job
at $135 for the same work schedule. The total for the
season is $5490 for their labors.
Sue The DEP?
‘ Residents downstream of the Ashokan Reservoir
this week urged local officials to take legal action against
the City of New York, claiming that the damage from last
months flooding would have been less if the City’s
Department of Environmental Protection did a better job
at handling the flows from the Ashokan.
Residents of the town of Ulster say DEP should be forced
to drop the reservoirs level when the forecast calls for
As a result of the flood of April, 2005, DEP did reopen
a long closed waste channel that drains the Ashokan, but
still prioritize the mission of providing plentiful water
for half the states population. The waste channel was
opened this spring, but only long enough to drop the level
of the reservoirs upper basin, then it was closed. The
lower basin, meanwhile, continued to flow over the spillway
into the lower Esopus Creek.
Residents say DEP should have reopened that channel last
month when flood warnings were issued, but did not. Nearly
10 inches of rain fell causing the lower Esopus to swell
and cause damage in the town of Ulster.
But DEP spokesman Ian Michaels said during last months
flood, the Ashokan Reservoir actually decreased peak flows
on the Lower Esopus by around 60 percent.
DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd, who toured the flood ravaged
region recently said DEP reservoirs were designed to ensure
a safe and reliable water supply for New York City, but
that they also provide a secondary benefit of reducing
“Even when full, they slow the rate at which water
cascades downstream, reducing the inundation area,”
State Senator John Bonacic was expected to tour the areas
damaged by flooding on Wednesday July 19th, with Federal
and State Emergency Management officials.
Last winter Bonacic encouraged residents and local governments
to file lawsuits against DEP for damages related to the
flood of April 2005.
A new fund to purchase and rehabilitate historic structures
and return them to commercial use was established by action
of the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) Board of Directors
in late June. The $5 million Business District & Historic
Structure Rehabilitation Fund will be a program of the
Catskill Fund for the Future, the economic development
vehicle of the CWC. The intent of the new program is to
return to viability deteriorated commercial and mixed-use
structures in the business districts, main streets and
gateways of watershed villages and hamlets. Buildings
will remain on the tax roles and after restoration and
repair will be sold to private investors to be used for
commercial purposes. Building exteriors and interiors
will be restored to the degree practical to preserve notable
features. Heating, mechanical and plumbing systems will
be upgraded to meet building and fire codes. Telecommunications
and computer network wiring may be installed, and energy
saving fixtures employed to the maximum extent possible.
“It’s a shame to see once-beautiful buildings
fall apart and sit unused in the middle of our business
districts,” commented Alan Rosa, Executive Director
of the CWC. “But we know restoration projects can
be expensive, and many owners just can’t afford
to give their buildings the attention they deserve. That’s
where the CWC can help. We want to make these buildings
useful again, to bring new life and activity to Watershed
CWC will leverage its own funds and seek grant funds from
appropriate sources, including a variety of state grants
set up for similar purposes in recent years. Criteria
for selection of buildings to be upgraded will be developed
by a committee which has yet to be named. Some factors
which will be considered include visual and historic significance
of the building to the community, estimated economic and
social impact to be provided by restoration, availability
of the building at appraised value in current condition,
potential liability of asbestos or hazardous waste at
proposed sites, and compatibility of proposed uses with
existing community comprehensive plans. Details of the
program are expected to be finalized by this fall.
For more information on this program, or on the CWC’s
low-interest loan program, contact Economic Director Michael
Triolo, 845-586-1400, ext. 14;
Ulster RX OK
Ulster Rx, the county-run insurance help program started
two years ago, recently came out with a report showing
that its pharmacy discount card program has saved 357
members $133,874 in prescription costs. The program, available
to any resident of Ulster County, offers an average of
21.9 percent in retail savings at participating drug stores
- more if members opt for ordering their prescriptions
from Canada. Program manager Arxcel has established similar
discount programs in 33 counties across the country, with
participation by 40,000 drug stores and pharmacies. A
one-time enrollment fee is $15 for individuals and $26
Program managers are saying that Ulster Rx’s current
low membership doesn’t make sense, and attributes
it to a general lack of promotion. Ulster County Legislature
Health Committee Chairman Robert Parete, D-Boiceville,
and committee member Mary Sheeley, D-Ellenville, have
said they are currently brainstorming ways to inform the
public of the benefits of Ulster Rx, including speaking
directly to civic, chamber, senior and other community
groups and visiting local drug stores to let the pharmacists
more about the program.
Roughly 30,000 to 40,000 Ulster County residents are uninsured,
but the number grows significantly when one factors in
those who qualify as underinsured.
New York State recently announced that it will be making
available $25 million in aid was being made available
to residents and businesses hit by recent flooding in
Ulster, Sullivan, Delaware and Orange counties. The money
is in addition to a $35 million aid package Gov. George
Pataki announced earlier in the month to help flood victims
in all 13 counties hit by the late June/early July storms
in the Hudson Valley, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley.
The additional funds are to be used to address potential
gaps in insurance coverage and eligibility for residents
and businesses trying to recover.
In Ulster County, the only serious damage to have occurred
was concentrated along the lower Esopus Creek in the towns
of Marbletown, Hurley and Ulster, but not a single Ulster
County resident has applied for individual assistance,
according to county Emergency Management coordinator Art
Snyder said individuals, businesses and even renters should
apply to see if they are qualified for aid. He said flood
victims can apply by calling FEMA toll-free at (800) 621-3362
or the New York State hotline at (888) 769-7243. He added
that a FEMA community relations team will be visiting
flood sites throughout Ulster County to encourage victims
to apply for aid, he said.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that the Auxiliary of
Margaretville Memorial Hospital will hold a Blood Drive
on Friday, July 28 from 1:30-6:30 p.m., at Mountainside
Residential Care Center, adjacent to the hospital, in
response to a call from the American Red Cross Blood Services,
New York-Penn Region, for all eligible donors to give
blood to help avoid a serious, impending blood shortage
and possible cancellation of surgeries, due to a shortfall
in collections caused by the flooding throughout the greater
According to the call, blood types O Negative and A Negative
are at critical levels and are now being rationed to hospitals,
the Red Cross needs to collect approximately 3,600 units
of blood, and residents in areas not affected by flooding
are asked to give blood to make up for the shortfall.
For information or to schedule an appointment at the Blood
Drive sponsored by Margaretville Memorial Hospital, please
contact Barbara Randazzo at 845 254-5375.
The new jail, officially known as the Ulster County Law
Enforcement Center but unofficially called a lot of other
names, opened its doors a couple of weeks by at least
allowing in some of the administrative, criminal, civil
and pistol permit divisions to be housed in the remarkably
over-budget and years-late facility that has forced many
political, and belt-tightening changes on the county.
A sign between the new sbuilding and its nextdoor neighbor,
the City of Kingston garbage transfer station, jocularly
reads, for the moment,”Good guys this way, bad guys
Of course, that may change as investigations into how
the project got so far away from expectations and original
selling points progress.
Retiring county Sheriff J. Richard Bockelmann, speaking
from his spacious new office at the site, said local voters
should remember that the new building was always planned
to be more than just a jail and is “designed with
service to people in mind.”
The entire complex was supposed to be completed in April
2004 at a cost of about $78 million. Now more than two
years late, the cost has been forecast to top $100 million.
A recent state audit of the project blamed the problems
on mismanagement, inadequate oversight, design flaws and
poorly written contracts and is being predicted to lead
to indictments of key political players in the coming
Bockelmann, after pointing out a magnificent entrance
he said was designed to inspire “faith and confidence
and instill trust,” added that the building that
many say was his demise was designed for needs “20
years down the road,” being designed to hold 800
inmates, as compared to the current jail’s capacity
First they announced being healthier than they’ve
been in years, even decades. Then, within a few days,
Kingston Hospital announced $1.7 million in cuts including
the postponement of all employee merit raises and other
financial awards, plus a greeze on new hirings and a slashing
of health benefits, of all things.
Six days earlier, the Hospital’s much-heralded Chief
Financial Officer Michael S. Kaminski had started talking
about how he and the Hospital had turned an $18 million
budget deficit in 2003 into surpluses of $400,000 in 2004
and $500,000 in 2005, leading to local newspaper reports
about the long-beleaguered hospital’s renaissance.
Yet in an in-house memo released concurrent with the “good
news,” Kaminsky wrote that, “The first six
months of 2006 have been a financial struggle for The
Kingston Hospital. Unfortunately, patient admissions have
not been at budgeted levels and are lower than last year
at this time. It is imperative that we put a plan in place
to ensure that the hospital finishes 2006, at the very
least, at break-even financially.”
The hospital’s budget for 2006 is about $80 million.
Kaminski became the hospital’s chief administrator
in November 2004 after several years of difficulty, and
a flurry of activity seeking to join it with other, healthier
regional health facilities.
Cornell Cooperative Extension has added three new programs
to its growing regional Agroforestry Resource Center summer
program schedule. Pre-registration is required for all
programs by calling 518-622-9820.
A course on Wild Turkey Habitat Management will take place
on Wednesday, July 26 (Registration deadline July 24)
from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., cost being a free will donation.
Presenter will be Doug Little, New York/New England Regional
Biologist with the National Wild Turkey Federation, who
will discuss the seasonal habitat requirements of wild
turkeys and what landowners can do to improve their property
to meet those needs.
Next up comes “A Tree Hugger’s Guide to Forest
Stewardship” on Saturday, August 12 (Registration
deadline August 10) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon, with
a $15 per person.
“Do you love your forest? Many people who move to
the country and find themselves owners of forested property
often hesitate doing any type of forest management or
stewardship program because they are concerned about the
potential negative impacts on the plants and animals in
their forests,” reads the info on the workshop.
“This workshop will explain the benefits of various
types of forest stewardship planning that will help you
have a diverse, healthy and sustainable forest. There
will also be a forester who will outline aspects of a
good forest management plan and why you may want to consider
having such a plan. This event is co-sponsored by the
New York Forest Owner Association, Capital District Chapter.”
Lastly, expect a good crowd for the ever-popular Mushroom
Walk and Identification workshop to take place on Saturday,
August 19 (Registration deadline August 17) from 9:30
am to 12:30 pm, $10.00 per person, with knowledgeable
(and quirky) presenter John Boyle.
Visit the Center’s website www.cce.cornell.edu/arc
for additional information.
Lynette M. Stark, the Executive Deputy Commissioner of
the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,
will speak Saturday, July 29, in Dry Brook at the annual
meeting of the Catskill Landowners Association. Ms. Stark
is expected to speak about invasive species, land conservation
and New York City watershed issues.
In addition, a number of executive directors from local
organizations will present updates on their work.
The Catskill Landowners Association is an association
of landowners dedicated to the preservation of the aesthetic
and environmental integrity of Catskill lands, as well
as the rights of private property ownership. Their annual
meeting has become something of a watershed event for
local political issues brewing throughout the year and
should be attended by all who treasure these Catskills,
or who have major concerns with its direction.
The meeting is open to the public. For directions and
more information, call Patricia Odell, Executive Director
of the association, at (914)-260-6685.
Scientists are determined to even the score with mosquitoes
by developing bug repellents using chemicals in human
body odor that the insects hate. They have isolated chemicals
in the odor of people who don’t get bitten and hope
to use them to improve controls to prevent the spread
of insect-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow
fever in developing countries.
“Those of us who don’t get bitten by mosquitoes
produce unattractive chemicals, which mask their otherwise
attractive odors,” said Professor John Pickett of
Rothamsted Research, a charitable scientific trust in
England. “It’s extra chemicals that they produce.
I think these convey some message to the insect that the
would-be host is not as suitable as another individual,”
he added in an interview on Monday.
Pickett and researchers from Aberdeen University in Scotland
used a technique known as gas chromatography-electroantennography
to identify which components of the odor mosquitoes can
detect. They are currently comparing their impact to insect
repellents approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
So far results have been promising, according to the researchers.
In addition to mosquitoes, they are also looking at tics
and other disease-carrying insects.
The scientists, who have submitted their findings for
publication in a scientific journal, are still working
on formulations for the repellent to ensure it lasts for
a long time.Because it is such a potent repellent, Pickett
said it may not be necessary to apply it to the skin.
Putting it on the cuffs of a shirt or trousers may be
enough to keep the bugs away.
They hope to develop a formula that will be marketed within
about two years.
Laws that set numerous strict conditions before teenagers
can get a license can reduce fatal crashes involving 16-year-old
drivers by up to 21 percent, public health researchers
say.In other words… the more restrictions imposed,
the greater the reduction.
Examples include a waiting period before a young driver
is eligible to move from a learner’s permit to an
intermediate license, restrictions on driving at night,
required hours of supervision by an adult driver and limits
on the number of passengers a teenage driver can have.
States with such restrictions as part of strong graduated
driver’s licensing programs showed declines in fatal
crashes involving 16-year-olds, according to a study released
by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers.
Federal figures show that 16-year-old drivers were involved
in 957 fatal crashes that killed 1,111 people in 2004.
Those crashes resulted in the deaths of 399 16-year-old
drivers and 385 16-year-old passengers.
$15 million in settlement monies from New York’s
investigation into large entertainment company’s
“Payola” payments to radio stations in recent
years have started going out to not-for-profit arts groups
around the state that promote alternative music to the
public. Locally, grants were announced, all in the $100,000
range, to WAMC-FM radio, Bard College’s Fischer
Center, and New Paltx’s Unison Arts & Learning
Center. More such grants are expected to be announced
by summer’s end, likely including more organizations
in Ulster and surrounding counties. Attorney General Eliot
Spitzer slapped the world’s largest record companies
with the largest fines in radio airplay investigations.
Spitzer’s investigation determined that Universal,
SONY and other major corporations had offered a series
of inducements to radio stations and their employees to
obtain airplay. Among the artists mentioned who benefited
from the “pay for play” system were Nick Lachey,
Ashlee Simpson, Brian McKnight and Lindsay Lohan. The
settlement required the companies to cease payments and
other inducements to radio stations, discontinue the employment
of indie promoters, hire a compliance officer and implement
an internal system to detect future abuses. The music
companies did not acknowledge guilt but did admit individuals
were partaking in illegal practices. All decisions on
the collected fines’ distribution were made by Rockefeller
Class Reunion... The Onteora High School Class of 1971
is having its 35th Reunion Friday, August 4 and Saturday,
August 6 and classmates are reminded that if they have
not sent in their
reservations, to do so before it is too late. The Class
of ‘71 has also extended the invitation to the Class
of ‘70 and ‘72 to be part of the 35th Reunion
festivities. Organizer Ellen Wranovics-DiFalco is asking
if anyone still has an interest in
attending, they should contact her as soon as possible
to make their reservations. Please call 845 331 7497 to
confirm your participation in the reunion events. As a
reminder, there is a Friday night casual mixer and a banquet
on Saturday night.
If other graduates from other classes would like to attend
these events as well, please contact Mrs. DiFalco. Domestic
Benefits A proposal to extend county employee benefits
to domestic partners being championed by District Two
legislator Brian Shapiro is under review by the Ulster
County Legislature’s Health Committee. To quiet
critics, the proposal will come with a set of parameters
to ensure a couple does not abuse the system. For example,
phone bills, a house deed or electric bills can prove
that a couple is, indeed, living together. Legislators
say they do not know how many county employees would be
eligible for the proposed program and have gone to lengths
to note that, “It’s not a pro-gay or pro-lesbian
issue, nor is it a pro-heterosexual issue, but a way to
make benefits available to more of Ulster County.”.
Eating Memory? Several new studies suggest that diabetes
increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, adding
to a store of evidence that links the disorders. The studies
involve only Type 2 diabetes, the most common kind, which
is usually related to obesity, but the connection raises
an ominous prospect: that increases in diabetes, a major
concern in the United States and worldwide, may worsen
the rising toll from Alzheimer’s. The findings also
add dementia to the cloud of threats that already hang
over people with diabetes, including heart disease, strokes,
kidney failure, blindness and amputations. But some of
the studies also hint that measures to prevent or control
diabetes may lower the dementia risk, and that certain
diabetes drugs should be tested to find whether they can
help Alzheimer’s patients, even those without diabetes.
Current treatments for Alzheimer’s can provide only
a modest improvement in symptoms and cannot stop the progression
of the disease. Alzheimer’s affects 1 in 10 people
over age 65, and nearly half of people over 85. About
4.5 million Americans have it, and taking care of them
costs $100 billion a year, according to the association.
The number of patients is expected to grow, possibly reaching
11.3 million to 16 million by 2050, the association said.
But those projections do not include a possible increase
from diabetes. Not everyone with diabetes gets Alzheimer’s,
and not all Alzheimer’s patients are diabetic. But
in the past decade, several large studies have found that
compared with healthy people of the same age and sex,
those with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop
Alzheimer’s. The reason is not known, but researchers
initially suspected that cardiovascular problems caused
by diabetes might contribute to dementia by blocking blood
flow to the brain or causing strokes. More recently, though,
scientists have begun to think that the diseases are connected
in other ways as well. In both, destructive deposits of
amyloid, a type of protein, build up: in the brain in
Alzheimer’s, in the pancreas in Type 2 diabetes.
About 20 million people in the United States have Type
2 diabetes. The number has doubled in the past two decades.
An additional 41 million are “prediabetic,”
with blood sugar rising toward the diabetic level. Diabetes
rates are expected to increase because rates of obesity
are rising, and epidemiologists predict that one in three
American children born in 2000 will eventually develop
Type 2 diabetes. One of the new studies found that even
people who had borderline diabetes were 70 percent more
likely than those with normal blood sugar to develop Alzheimer’s.
And the incidence of dementia was highest in borderline
diabetics who also had high blood pressure. Another study
found that in people with diabetes, the higher their blood
sugar, the greater the risk of dementia. Higher levels
of blood sugar mean the diabetes is severe or is being
poorly treated, or both.