The Shandaken Democratic Caucus unfolds at 2 PM, Sunday,
August 5 in Glenbrook Park with a field of five candidates
for a pair of two town board seats, single candidates
vying for the town’s top Supervisor’s slot,
Clerk’s position, and open assessor posts, plus
two Republican candidates vying for an okay to run on
the Democratic line for Highway Superintendent.
The crowded field all came out at a July 24 Meet The Candidates
event in Boiceville where those tossing in their hats
for the council positions, and running against chosen
GOP candidates Jack Jordan and Vin Bernstein, along with
the possibility of an Independent run by current town
supervisor Bob Cross, Jr., included former Democratic
councilman Peter DiModica, former Planning Board member
(and previous board candidate) Howard McGowan, Mary Herrmann
of Pine Hill, Phoenicia’s Tim Malloy, and Bernstein
Despite reports from seasoned Dems that the event was
lively and uplifting, Republkicans who attended reported
that Jordan was booed when he spooke before those gathered,
saying he would seek their nomination.
A well-known eatery near Roxbury may end up closed indefinitely
because of New York City watershed regulations. Veronica’s
Restaurant, active since the late 1800’s, closed
for renovations over a year ago. As luck would have it,
nobody took a close look at those regulations, except
the City’s Department of Environmental Protection.
DEP noted that due to being closed that long, Veronica’s
needs a whole new state of the art septic system if they
want to open again. The owners turned their nose up at
the prospect of paying for the six digit system, but DEP
said fine, stay closed.
The owners asked for help from the increasingly non-influential
Coalition of Watershed Towns, who decided they could not
help in any way. So, the options are to build the system
or stay closed and hope that in a few years they can tie
their business in to the Roxbury sewer system extension
planned to run to nearby Hubbell Corners.
Woodstock Supervisor Jeremy Wilbur, one of two Ulster
County delegates on the Coalition’s Executive Committee,
made an unsuccessful appeal to DEP, telling the Agency’s
Jeff Graff that there must be a way to help Veronica’s
since all agree this is not a water quality issue but
a regulatory one. Wilbur thinks DEP should not officially
endorse the use of the existing septic system, but they
shouldn’t take any serious action if against the
business. This would allow staying open until that sewer
extension comes through.
“Fine them, but don’t kill them,” Wilbur
There are unconfirmed reports that Coyotes are busy in
the Woodland Valley Area. At around midnight Monday residents
in the upper portion of the Valley heard the blood curdling
shrieks usually associated with a Coyote attack on a dog.
In such cases the dog loses and is killed by the Coyotes,
which attack in packs. A couple years ago hunters went
up in the Valleys hills and killed several Coyotes after
several pets, both a dogs and cats, began disappearing.
We’ve had help with our septics… now’s
the time for new aid to better our wells.
Certain low- to moderate-income individuals or families
may be eligible for money to construct, repair or improve
household water well systems through 1 percent interest
loans from the Foundation for Affordable Drinking Water.
Qualified applicants can borrow up to $8,000 at 1 percent
interest for a term not to exceed 20 years. To qualify,
households must: Own the home and use it as the principal
residence; Have as the primary drinking water source an
individual household well system located on
the property of the home; Must meet income and other eligibility
requirements; Be located in a city, town, or unincorporated
area with a population of less than 50,000.
The program is available in Alabama, Colorado, Idaho,
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota,
Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas,
Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The foundation, established by the National Ground Water
Association, will not underwrite a loan once a project
is underway or has been completed. Most new home construction
projects are not eligible.
Another important aspect of the loan program is to educate
loan recipients on the importance of regular well maintenance
and annual testing of their well system.
Complete information, including application forms and
requirements and income eligibility limits, can to accessed
by going to www.ngwa.org and clicking on the link for
the Foundation for Affordable Drinking Water. Applications
and additional information can also be obtained by contacting
the foundation at (800) 551-7379, (614) 898-7791, ext.
544, or by emailing Peg Leach at email@example.com. You
also can learn more about the program by going to www.wellowner.org
and clicking on “Financing.”
That DA Race…
Vincent Bradley Jr. vowed to stay in the race for Ulster
County district attorney after the county Democratic Committee
on July 21 overwhelmingly denied his request to run in
a September primary against party nominee Jonathan Sennett
by a near 2-1 vote..
As a result the stage has been set for a three-way DA’s
race between Sennett, Republican Holley Carnright and
Bradley, who will run on the Conservative and Independence
Members of the county Democratic Committee were asked
during a convention July 21 at Kingston City Hall whether
Bradley, a non-enrolled voter who has filed the paperwork
to become a Democrat after the November election, should
be allowed to run in a Sept. 18 primary against Sennett,
the party’s pick at its unofficial nominating convention
in June. The answer was a resounding no, with Sennett’s
candidacy getting the support of about 15,000 weighted
votes (63.6 percent) and Bradley’s bid getting about
8,600 (36.4 percent). At the June 4 convention, Sennett
took 55 percent of 24,039 weighted votes.
County Democratic Chairman John Parete, who called Saturday’s
special convention, conceded prior to the vote that a
three-way race for DA “would be very difficult for
Among Bradley’s supporters is Kingston Mayor James
Sottile, a fact that may have led to the much-publicized
scuffle between Sottile and Sennett’s wife, Mari
Ann, on July 12 in a Downtown Kingston bar.
Sennett, Bradley and Carnright at vying to succeed Republican
Donald A. Williams, who is stepping down as district attorney
after two four-year terms.
Benedictine and Kingston hospitals - under orders to affiliate
by year’s end - are among 62 health-care facilities
in New York to apply for state aid to help implement the
mandates of the Commission on Health Care Facilities in
the 21st Century. The 62 facilities have requested a total
of $2.5 billion in assistance from the state Department
of Health, which has only $550 million available.
“The task before us now is to analyze the applications
and award the funding in keeping with the law,”
said Dr. Richard F. Daines, the state health commissioner.
“The best applications will fully comply with the
commission’s mandates, have the fewest barriers
to implementation and be considered financially feasible
The Department of Health expects to announce the financial
awards in September. The state aid being sought by the
62 health-care facilities will reimburse facilities for
costs incurred since Jan. 1 to comply with the commission’s
The region is dangerously short on blood supply and if
some catastrophic incident were to occur, there wouldn’t
be enough to treat patients, according to the chief of
the New York Blood Center.
Typically each summer, the blood supply at area hospitals
is down and that is because blood donations decline. Summer
vacations, holidays and hot weather all combine for a
diminished supply as blood drives fall off.
Dr. Robert Jones, president and CEO of the New York Blood
Center, said that is a concern, especially in the case
of “O negative” blood where there is a one
to two day supply.
“That level is quite scary because it takes us three
days to get a unit of blood, once its drawn from a person,
to be tested, processed and ready for distribution,”
he said. “If something were to happen like an explosion
or some kind of an event that required lots of blood for
trauma victims, we just wouldn’t be prepared.”
Dr. Jones said it is a “community obligation”
to insure the level of the blood supply.
Shandaken Police report the arrest of a contractor from
Hannacroix in Albany County on disorderly conduct charges
on July 24 for partially blocking the Woodland Valley
Police accused David P. Mancini, Jr. of parking a 25-ton
excavator in the northbound lane of Woodland Valley Road
on July 23 just past noon and not returning until 7:00
AM the following morning.
According to police, the excavator blocked one lane making
it unusable by vehicles and pedestrians causing an unsafe
The excavator was towed by Shanaken Police and Mancini
was issued an appearance ticket answerable in Shandaken
Roll ‘Em Out!
Don’t forget… the first Shandaken Soapbox
Derby, which starts at noon during Shandaken Day in Pine
Hill on Saturday, August 25t, is fast coming down the
road. Isn’t it time you start getting your racers
ready? All contestants will have to be at the Pine Hill
Community Center by noon on Shandaken Day and ready for
the quarter mile roll down lower Main Street. Judging
criteria are originality and craftsmanship. Racers must
complete the course to be entered in the judging. Categories
are for adults and under 16
Rules and specifications for racers are: Power: Hand-built
wheeled gravity vehicle; Safety: Reliable steerage and
functional brakes required, no sharp or hazardous appendages.
All vehicles must pass a safety inspection of above; Size:
Maximum dimensions: 8’7" wide / 13’ 8.5"
long / 9’11" high. No minimum dimensions (but
must accommodate one riding driver); Crew: One driver
with no more than 3 co-pilots (riding or chase crew).
All drivers and riding co-pilots must wear approved bicycle
The entry fee is $10 for adults; children will be free.
Shandaken Day is the town’s annual summer festival
featuring crafters, food, music by local musicians, demonstrations,
games and contests and a historic treasure hunt. On August
25, the famous old resort town of Pine Hill is the stage
for this year’s everything-Shandaken celebration.
While there is still no date for reopening the Ulster
County SPCA’s spay and neuter clinic, board President
Louise Cutler said she is confident it will be back in
action soon. The Board of Directors will also look to
hire a new executive director, preferably one with a background
in fundraising, and a veterinarian technician for the
clinic, which is separate from the SPCA facility, Cutler
The SPCA board was supposed to have its annual meeting
July 31, but that has been canceled because of a paperwork
snafu. Notices sent to SPCA members, including ballots
to vote on board members, did not include postage-paid
envelopes. That - unbeknownst to Cutler, she said - was
against SPCA bylaws. With the notices having to be resent,
Cutler said there was not enough time to provide adequate
notice of the meeting. Under SPCA bylaws, four weeks notice
In the meantime, Cutler said the board is considering
legal action after an anonymous letter critical of the
agency was sent to members on an agency mailing list without
authorization. She said she has an idea who sent it.
Servicemen and women fighting in Iraq have started getting
bills for equipment destroyed in the ongoing war. A 2006
government report found more than 1,000 soldiers being
billed a total of $1.5 million. And while fighting overseas
put their lives on the line, critics in Congress are saying,
this battle on paper could cost them their future by ruining
Testimony before Congress detailed in the report found
that “although unit
commanders and finance offices are authorized to write
off debts for lost and damaged equipment ... they have
not always done so.”
“It happens too often and it’s just disgraceful,”
Sen. Charles Schumer said. “Here are people who
are risking their lives for us and they come home and
they’re being treated as if they’re criminals
instead of heroes.”
A national shortage of doctors is hitting poor and rural
places the hardest, and efforts to bring in foreign physicians
to fill the gap are running into a knot of restrictions
from the war on terror and the immigration debate. Doctors
recruited from places such as India, the Philippines and
sub-Saharan Africa to work in underserved areas like the
Mississippi Delta and the lonesome West, as well as the
long stretches of Appalachia that include parts of our
Catskills, already face an arduous and expensive gauntlet
of agencies, professional tests and background checks
to secure work papers and permanent residency. Those restrictions
have only tightened in the years since 9-11, and now many
believe the process will become more difficult after the
attempted terrorist bombings in Britain that have been
linked to foreign doctors.
The government estimates that more than 35 million Americans
live in underserved areas, and it would take 16,000 doctors
to immediately fill that need, according to the American
Medical Association. And the gap is expected to widen
dramatically over the next several years, reaching 24,000
in 2020 by one government estimate. A 2005 study in the
journal Health Affairs said it could hit an astonishing
200,000 by then, based on a rising population and an aging
“And that will mostly be felt in rural America,”
said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. He added: “We’re
facing a real crisis.”
America’s rural and inner-city poor already are
suffering the most. For example, there are 280 doctors
for every 100,000 people in the U.S. But there are only
103 for every 100,000 in the 18-county area of the Mississippi
Delta, according to the Mississippi State University Social
Science Research Center. And the Delta has some of the
nation’s highest rates of infant mortality, heart
disease and other serious illnesses.
To help relieve the misery in the Delta, Appalachia and
other parts of the country in dire need of physicians,
the government lets foreign doctors into the country under
J-1 visa waivers, dispensed through a variety of state
and federal programs. J-1 visa waivers allow foreign doctors
to work in underserved areas for three to five years,
with a shot at eventually obtaining permanent residency.
The Hudson Valley Regional Council, an intergovernmental
forum for the seven Mid-Hudson counties, is encouraging
member counties and local governments to “go green”.
By adopting green building guidelines, the governments
as well as businesses and institutions would save money
on energy costs, reduce water usage, lower waste generation
and garner improved productivity of staff resources, said
Executive Director John Crews.
“I think it’s one of the most hot button issues
in industry today, from the building industry to sustainable
energy,” he said.
The HVRC is also encouraging adoption of specific building
code requirements to lessen the impact that development
has on open space, water and sewer infrastructure, and
White House aides have conducted at least half a dozen
political briefings for the Bush administration’s
top diplomats, including a PowerPoint presentation for
ambassadors with senior adviser Karl Rove that named Democratic
incumbents targeted for defeat in 2008 and a “general
political briefing” at the Peace Corps headquarters
after the 2002 midterm elections.
The briefings, mostly run by Rove’s deputies at
the White House political affairs office, began in early
2001 and included detailed analyses for senior officials
of the political landscape surrounding critical congressional
and gubernatorial races, according to documents obtained
by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The documents show how the White House sought to ensure
that even its appointees involved in foreign policy were
kept attuned to the administration’s election goals.
Such briefings occurred semi-regularly over the past six
years for staffers dealing with domestic policy, White
House officials have previously acknowledged.
In one instance, State Department aides attended a White
House meeting at which political officials examined the
55 most critical House races for 2002 and the media markets
most critical to battleground states for President Bush’s
reelection fight in 2004, according to documents the department
provided to the Senate committee.
On Jan. 4, just after the 2006 elections tossed the Republicans
out of congressional power, Rove met at the White House
with six U.S. ambassadors to key European missions and
the consul general to Bermuda while the diplomats were
in Washington for a State Department conference. According
to a department letter to the Senate panel, Rove explained
the White House views on the electoral disaster while
Sara M. Taylor, then the director of White House political
affairs, showed a PowerPoint presentation that pinned
most of the electoral blame on “corrupt” GOP
lawmakers and “complacent incumbents.” One
chart in Taylor’s presentation highlighted the GOP’s
top 36 targets among House Democrats for the 2008 election.
The news dovetails with ongoing revelations that the current
Department of Justice controversy surrounding federal
attorney firings was similarly politically motivated,
and likely tied into a larger GOP/Bush Administration
effort to suppress minority and other possible Democratic
Party voting in key battleground districts throughout
the last two, and possibly the next election.
The American Civil Liberties Union has said it is “do
or die time” to save the U.S. Constitution. In a
recent statement the venerable institution, which the
Bush Administration tried to label as unpatriotic at one
point, urged the U.S. Congress to “vote to hold
White House officials in contempt for refusing to cooperate
with legitimate congressional subpoenas.”
The ACLU statement said the issue had become “a
constitutional crisis that threatens to destroy the separation
“Presidents have tried in the past to overreach
in claiming executive privilege,” said Caroline
Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative
Office. “However, Congress has long served as a
check to such abuses of power, slapping the president’s
hand when needed and pursuing contempt or enforcement
actions that eventually resulted in the release of crucial
information. Today’s Congress must do the same if
it wishes to remain a meaningful and independent branch
The ACLU said it “rejected claims that Congress’
responsibility to conduct oversight or investigate executive
misconduct was somehow less important than its legislative
function and therefore not worthy of compulsory enforcement.”
“It’s do-or-die time for the separation of
powers,” Fredrickson said. “Congress is facing
a historic moment when it can fight for its rightful place
in our Constitution or accept the president’s continued
and sweeping claims of supremacy.”
The ACLU noted that U.S. courts “have long supported
Congress’ authority not only to pass laws, but also
to investigate their application. The courts have asserted
that claims of executive privilege are a potentially dangerous
proposition that should only be applied, and can only
be upheld, under narrow circumstances.”
The confrontation between the Democratic-controlled 110th
Congress and the Bush administration on warrantless surveillance
and the politicization of our federal justice system has
been escalating in recent weeks, with both sides hardening
Dozens of common household cleaning products contain hidden
toxic chemicals linked to fertility disorders in lab animals,
according to data gathered by a women’s research
group. A type of glycol ether is frequently found in popular
cleaning products such as Windex Aerosol, Formula 409,
Lemon Fresh Pine-Sol and Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner,
says the report released by Women’s Voices for the
Earth, a Montana-based nonprofit working to eliminate
or reduce toxic chemicals in the home.
The chemical, called ethylene glycol butyl ether or EGBE,
is on California’s list of toxic air contaminants.
Some animal studies indicate that it produces reproductive
problems, such as testicular damage, reduced fertility,
death of embryos and birth defects. People exposed to
high levels of EGBE for several hours have reported nose
and eye irritation, headaches, vomiting and a metallic
taste in their mouths, studies show.
It’s difficult for consumers to know whether their
favorite cleaner contains the chemical because manufacturers
aren’t required to list it on the label. Neither
the state nor the federal government regulates indoor
air pollution, for instance how the cleaners might degrade
air inside a home. Scientists say most people spend about
90 percent of their time indoors. Babies, elderly people
and sick people spend almost all of their time inside.
The federal government removed EGBE from its list of hazardous
air pollutants a few years ago. Andrew Jacques, a spokesman
for the American Chemistry Council, which represents the
manufacturers of the chemical, said EGBE is a key ingredient
in many cleaners and helps cut the amount of volatile
organic compounds in a cleaning product. Such organic
compounds can cause other types of air pollution, including
But a growing number of academicians and government scientists
believe that there should be a reduction in toxic chemicals
used in the home.
The Executive Order entitled “Blocking Property
of Certain Persons Who
Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq,” issued
on July 17, provides the President with
the authority to confiscate the assets of whoever opposes
the US led war.
“I have issued an Executive Order blocking property
of persons determined to have committed, or to pose a
significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence
that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace
or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining
efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political
reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to
the Iraqi people,” read the President’s preamble
to his new law.
In substance, opponents of the new law say, opposing the
war becomes an illegal act under this executive order.
The Executive Order criminalizes the antiwar movement.
It is intended to “blocking property” of US
citizens and organizations actively involved in the peace
movement. It allows the Department of Defense to interfere
in financial affairs and instruct the Treasury to “block
the property” and/or confiscate/ freeze the assets
of “Certain Persons” involved in antiwar activities.
It targets those “Certain Persons” in America,
including civil society organizatioins, who oppose the
Administration’s “peace and stability”
program in Iraq.
Watch as this one hoins in with other issues currently
under siege from Congress…
Difficulty identifying common smells such as lemon, banana
and cinnamon may be the first sign of Alzheimer’s
disease, according to a study that could lead to scratch-and-sniff
tests to determine a person’s risk for the progressive
brain disorder. Such tests could be important if scientists
find ways to slow or stop Alzheimer’s and the severe
memory loss associated with it. For now, there’s
no cure for the more than 5 million Americans with the
Researchers have long known that microscopic lesions considered
the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s first appear in a brain
region important to the sense of smell. Other studies
have linked loss of smell to Alzheimer’s, Franks
said, but this is the first to measure healthy people’s
olfactory powers and follow them for five years, testing
along the way for signs of mental decline.
In the study, 600 people between the ages of 54 and 100
were asked to identify a dozen familiar smells: onion,
lemon, cinnamon, black pepper, chocolate, rose, banana,
pineapple, soap, paint thinner, gasoline and smoke. For
each mystery scent, they heard and saw a choice of four
answers. For cinnamon, they were asked aloud: “Fruit?
Cinnamon? Woody? Or coconut?” while also seeing
the choices in text. A quarter of the people correctly
identified all the odors or missed only one. Half of them
knew at least nine of the 12. The lowest-scoring quarter
of the people correctly identified eight or fewer of the
The subjects took 21 cognitive tests annually over the
next five years. About one-third of the people developed
at least mild trouble with memory and thinking. The people
who made at least four errors on the odor test were 50
percent more likely to develop problems than people who
made no more than one error. Difficulty identifying odors
also was associated with a higher risk of progressing
from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s.
The researchers took into account age, gender, education
and a history of strokes or smoking, and still found lower
scores predicted higher risk of cognitive decline.
The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging
and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Five children who attend Mount Marion Elementary School
in Saugerties pleaded guilty in recent weeks to hatching
a plot to slit a classmate’s throat. The students,
two boys and three girls who were in sixth grade during
the 2006-07 school year, pleaded guilty in Ulster County
Family Court to misdemeanor weapons and conspiracy charges.
The students, whose names have not been made public because
they are only 12 and 13 years old, were charged in May
in a plot to cut the throat of classmate Ethan Travis,
13, on the school playground. Three of the defendants
faced misdemeanor counts of possession of a dangerous
weapon by a person under 16, and two were charged with
The guilty pleas were entered as the children’s
trial was about to begin in the courtroom of Judge Marianne
Ethan has said the attack against him was planned after
he asked out a girl to the dismay of her ex-boyfriend.
He said the plot called for four of the five suspects
to surround him on the school playground and distract
him and for the fifth, one of the boys, to jump him and
cut his throat with a razor blade. He said he learned
about the plot from other children in the school and told
his mother about it.
School authorities were alerted to the plot on May 9 and
found weapons in the children’s backpacks, but they
were small blades from disassembled hand-held pencil sharpeners
that had been attached to pipe cleaners, not razor blades,
according Saugerties school district Superintendent Richard
The school suspended the students, and law-enforcement
authorities filed charges.
Besides being charged criminally, the five defendants
were placed under a court order to stay away from Ethan.
The world faces an oil supply crunch with prices poised
to soar to new all-time highs over the next five years,
a report from the International Energy Agency warned recently.
In its Medium-Term Oil Market report the Paris-based organization
predicted that demand would rise by 2.2 percent a year
between 2007 and 2012 - up from a previous forecast of
2 pe cent - as the world’s economy expands at about
4.5 per cent a year. That means demand is set to grow
by 1.9m barrels a day to 95.8m barrels a day by 2012.
The demand will be driven by the fast-growing economies
of Asia and the Middle East, where the thirst for black
gold will grow more than three times faster than the 30
industrialized members of the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development. That is because several
countries in those regions are set to break the $3,000
per capita income level, when consumers can afford to
buy energy-consuming products such as cars and white goods.
Industrial nations are also expected to have to place
an increasing reliance on Opec companies to meet the demand,
thanks to continuing geopolitical tensions in alternative
The report assumes no net expansion of capacity from Iran,
Iraq and Venezuela and that 500,000 barrels a day of Nigerian
oil - shut for a year - will not reopen in the next five.
IEA’s head of oil industry and markets division
Lawrence Eagles warned: “The results of our analysis
are quite strong. Something needs to happen. Either we
need to have more supplies coming on stream, or we need
to have lower demand growth.”
Creeping vines are increasingly invading Southern forests,
trees and altering forest makeups. Scientists say increased
levels of carbon dioxide might be to blame.
The invasion involves more than kudzu, the woody vine
of Japanese origin
that can cost hundreds of millions of dollars in the southeastern
United States annually in lost cropland and control measures.
A survey of two forests in South Carolina over the past
two decades has revealed that vines such as grapevines,
trumpet vine, poison ivy and
Virginia creeper have been infiltrating the areas at increasingly
higher rates, especially in newer woodlands.
Researchers evaluated the difference in vine density in
an old-growth forest in South Carolina’s Congaree
National Park and a newer forest along the Savannah River
and found that the number of vines in the older forest
had doubled within 12 years, while there was a 10-fold
increase in vines in the newer forest.
As the number of vines increases, the growth of trees
may be jeopardized. The leaves of the vines fill the canopy
and block sunlight that would otherwise reach the forest
floor, so competing plants die because they can’t
get enough light.
Just why the vines are taking over is uncertain, but scientists
speculate that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations
that are fueling global warming could be benefiting vine
growth more than tree growth.