We applaud and thank the members of The New York State Senate
and our own Senator, John Bonacic, in their wisdom in providing
Belleayre with the funding so necessary to stay at the forefront
of the major northeast ski areas. Anyone who has visited Belleayre
recently in any season has immediately noticed the new look
and the new spirit so pervasive at the popular ski center.
John Bonacic has provided the leadership and the energy in
Albany to make us a factor.
These efforts have resulted in major funding this year for
a new high speed lift and a much needed new lodge to accommodate
our increased skier visits. Skier visits have a direct effect
on the merchants and businesses in our rural region and provide
a powerful, environmentally friendly boost to our rural economy.
Leadership in New York is easy to talk but not so easy to
produce. John Bonacic not only talks the talk, but walks the
walk. He produces and I thank him for it.
After reading a press release sent out by Crossroads Ventures
last week announcing the “downsizing” of their
proposed resort, imagine my surprise when I saw the very same
press release printed, word for word, as a front-page “news”
story in the Catskill Mountain News (8/30/06). How convenient
for the developer of a massive and highly controversial resort
proposal to have his promotional material printed as “news”
(without a byline of course) in one of the most widely-read
newspapers in the area.
Since corporate promotional material is designed to steer
public opinion in a direction advantageous to the corporation,
most would expect that a press release put out by Crossroads’
public relations department on this hot topic would be geared
to do just that. And it was. They imply a much greater reduction
than is actually proposed. Yes, they have agreed to eliminate
a proposed golf course, finally accepting the handwriting
on the wall that it could never meet permitting requirements
in that location. And they agreed to eliminate the Belleayre
Highlands timeshares, yet they plan to expand the spa facilities.
This represents a small step toward the reduction of a still
massive development proposal.
A responsible newspaper account of this would use Crossroads’
press release as one piece of information and round out the
story with perspectives from others such as statements from
officials named, comments from involved agencies, or responses
from involved groups. What the Catskill Mountain News did
was cooperate with the developer in controlling the information
the public received. With that level of “journalism”,
the reader is limited to the information that the developer
wants the reader to have, which serves only the developer’s
interests. Is the Catskill Mountain News more interested in
promoting this development than providing real and balanced
information to it’s readers? In this case, apparently
What a contrast to the other prominent front-page story (the
one with the byline) by Trish Adams, who’s article gave
thoughtful and thorough coverage of another controversial
issue in the area, the Ballantine Manor, and its impacts on
the character of a village and those who‘s lives it
has already irrevocably changed. Wouldn’t you think
that a development as massive and potentially region-altering
as the Belleayre Resort (which even with “downsizing”
would require the clear-cutting, blasting, bulldozing and
reshaping of several hundred acres of mountaintop land) is
worthy of at least as much in the way of thoughtful, thorough
and objective coverage, every step of the way?
Let’s hope this is the last time Crossroads Ventures
gets to write their own “article” and the last
time the Catskill Mountain News misleads its readers by printing
Crossroads’ promotional material as “news“.
Bravo, Bob Cross. You’ve done it again. You’ve
driven the crazies even crazier than they are, once again.
The Article 78 proceeding brought by the group whose property
was reassessed with 20 acres or more was thrown out. They
rushed to hurt you, to get you, to show you up so quickly,
so impetuously they made half a dozen mistakes in their filings.
The judge had to throw it out. Their weapon of choice has
always been the lawsuit, wild eyed, mindless lawsuits. Lawsuits
they lost each and every time. This one is just one among
Remember the Pine Hill water lawsuit? They lost. Soccer field
parking lot? They lost.Cell tower? They lost. All, Town killing,frivolous
lawsuits. The cost? Over $100,000 in fees to defend the town.
That’s over $100,000. That’s not an abstract figure.
That’s your money and mine. Money not going to services
for you and your family, but to defend us against the whims
of these people who are hurting every one of us. These people
retard our growth. Sap our spirit.
It’s not tough to bring a lawsuit. A pro-bono lawyer,
a few papers submitted and the court must act. The town must
respond. The town must be represented by counsel, file a response,
show up in court, and on and on. The crazies know it. They
relish it. These lawsuits have done nothing to further the
interests of Shandaken, only the interests of this small group
You, Bob Cross, beat their guy Peter DiModica - not once but
twice. You beat back their revolting comprehensive plan that
had this town revolting. They were taking our land, stopping
our flying of the flag and mowing our lawn. They want us to
be exactly like them. Revolting.
Your business-like approach to sane spending and even-handed
government is driving them crazy. You reversed paying the
State $750,000 and instead got $1,250,000 for Shandaken. Bravo
The 20 acre and more group lead by Brian Powers is suing you
personally on totally spurious grounds for only one reason
- to hurt, punish, and intimidate you. They know full well
a personal suit, although groundless, is not defendable by
the town, and will cost you personally to defend. Not nice.
Not right. Ugly.
Their lawsuit is their version of the Katusha Rocket. Mindless,
aimless, costly and scary. Their method is being seen and
experienced by more and more of us.
Who are these people? The usual suspects hurting this town
for the past 5 years.
First, Brian Powers, Publisher of The Phoenicia Times and
The Olive Press. Relentless. Shameless. Week after week he
editorially and under the cover of fake news articles feeds
us his view of the world. Under law, political messages require
sponsor identification and payment in advance. He does neither.
Next, Peter DiModica. While in office he hand picked key people
on the Comprehensive Plan Committee and other key posts. He
instructed Kathy Nolan to change minutes of official meetings.
He headed lawsuits against Crossroads and Pine Hill Water
costing us all multi-thousands. He destroyed all town records
upon leaving office. He spearheads the anti-everything movement.
Obviously, protest is a legitimate method of addressing a
wrong. It’s part of our heritage. Twenty years ago,
with the help of most of the town, I beat back a strip mine
here in Shandaken, and won. I took the State to court for
damage to my property and won. Protest and legal action has
an honored place in our society. To use it as a weapon to
exact a price from those with whom you disagree is wicked.
It undermines a community.
If one watches the TV re-runs of our town meetings, you can’t
help but notice the same teeth-clenching group standing up
and hissing at you, Bob Cross. Kathy Nolan, Mary Herrmann,
Judith Wyman, Dave Channon and Peter DiModica, all with the
same talking points. No wonder people all over the county
think we’re nuts in Shandaken. They see the crazies
in action and paint us all with the same brush.
I am one of the 300 landowners with 20 or more acres who was
reassessed in the controversial reval. I found out about it
from Brian Powers with whom I had never spoken before. He
told me about it a day or so before it was made public. He
asked what I thought. I said “On the face, it stinks
but I need to know more.” I got the information from
the Assessor’s office and spent the next few days evaluating
the information. Meanwhile I was informed that Brian Powers
was furiously E-mailing people as fact, that I was heading
up a group to sue the town. This was false and unfounded.
He made it up. For me, that told me all I needed to know.
Brian was in this strictly for the politics. The politics
of hurt. Justice be damned. I told him to count me out.
He can’t help it. It’s like Pavlov’s Dog.
It’s a reflex. It’s his way or no way. But, don’t
feel badly, Bob Cross - you are just the “Little Satan”.
Their real target is Dean Gitter - the “Big Satan”.
They get to you to get at him. The reason they identify you
with Dean Gitter is you’re sane. Mature. You want intelligent
growth for Shandaken. You want this town to prosper, not suffer.
With this group saying no to everything, we are suffering.
With years of biased news and slanted editorials, Brian Powers
has mis-labeled Belleayre Resort as Mega. His constant mis-labeling
propaganda has worked. It’s now in our lexicon. Nothing
could be further from the truth. Vail is Mega. Steam Boat,
Stratton, Jackson Hole id Mega. Even Windham Mountain Complex
just over the mountain is bigger than Belleayre Resort. Belleayre
fits here just fine. It’s needed for the long term well
being of this community.
I’m sure most of the 20 acre or more assessed people
are well-meaning. They believe they have been harmed, which
is why they joined the lawsuit. I’m sure they had no
idea their leaders had a different agenda.
Mr.Vinci’s letter, which I read last week, saying Brian
Powers had nothing to do with the lawsuit - is simply not
true. (Mr. Vinci is the guy who sucker-punched the supervisor
and screamed at the entire Town Board, “I’m going
to bring this town down.”) What Brian Powers is afflicted
with must be contageoius, and Mr. Vinci seems to have been
infected. Brian Powers is the mastermind on the losing Article
78 and the outrageous personal lawsuit against you Bob Cross.
I’ll bet lots of the original lawsuit participants wish
they knew Brian Powers true motives before they signed on.
Paul Smart and Jay Braman can be forgiven for their slanted
news stories. They know who signs their paychecks and what
he expects. But, Paul, even though you are smart, you know
your news story can’t possibly be taken seriously when
it states: “Developer Manipulates EPA Apointee.”
You’re not smart enough to pass that off as news. It’s
blatent propaganda. No need to apologize. Just stop it. It’s
The creators of this awful atmosphere are still on the scene,
still creating foment. Can any of us forget the suspicious,
catastrophic fire at the Emerson?
If Shandakenites and others believe as I do that the tone
and tenor of this group has hurt the town, deluge the papers
with letters. Short, sweet, and to the point. If you’re
offended by biased editorials, propaganda being portrayed
as news, write and tell them what you think. If Judith Wyman
is at the forefront of stopping our cell phone service, tell
her not to buy one, but don’t stop us. Say it to her
in a letter to the editor. When the Republican Caucus turns
away provocateur Mary Herrmann, and you applaud it, say it
in a letter to the editor.
When Dave Channon verbally assaults Laurilyn Frasier in the
most outrageous personal attack, let him know how unacceptable
it is in a letter to the editor.
Let them and the rest of Shandaken know how you feel. Throw
open the window and proclaim :”I’m Mad As Hell
And I Won’t Take It Anymore”!
Editor’s Note: I, Paul Smart, am editor of this publication
. As such, I make all assignments, write all headlines, and
make sure all of our stories are as factually correct as anything
I’ve written or edited in my 25 year career in this
field, for which I have won numerous awards. All of the stories
the letter writer has refered to herein have also been covered
in a variety of other media, following Phoenicia Times’
On August 10, 2006 Marino D'Orazio performed like his old
self; arrogant, self important and exactly as I would expect
a lawyer to behave outside his natural "enclosure"
[the courtroom]. I would
think that after a relative "new comer", David Patterson
replaced him he might demonstrate some humility. Prior to
Aug 10 Mr. D'Orazio had a "hissy" fit at an OCS
board meeting and properly apologized. Apparently his act
of contrition was just that; an act.
Then at a "Large Parcel" meeting on Aug 22 it was
des ja voux all over again. Lawyer D'Orazio asks us to look
at the law and then states there is no way the law will be
declared unconstitutional and the Legislature will not do
it. Of course not, sir. It will be a court where you do your
I attended the Aug 10th meeting and I applaud all those who
spoke for Olive in it's attempt to prevent others from picking
our pockets. Of course the vote reflects the interest of Olive
residents who have for a hundred years hosted the NYC reservoir
and collected the proper and appropriate taxes on that reservoir
property. Olive has always borne the expense[s] of court action
to enforce the contract. Where were the "new" Olive
"partners" during those encounters. I don't remember
Marino D'Orazio appearing as amicus curiae or as an expert
witness for Olive.
David Patterson along with other board members have it right
that the OCS Board should not be debating political issues.
I, for one would be about the business of attempting to include
the Woodstock Golf Course in LP since it is far more marketable
than the reservoirs. Wait until Gitter finally obtains his
permits and other concessions from the regulating authorities.
Then the whole mountain will be "fair game". I'm
not sure what Marbletown has to offer since Jimmy Spina's
tavern closed some time ago.
As far as cohesiveness and getting along with our neighboring
towns, when did that ever happen? Growing up in Olivebridge
we thought Woodstock was the "Land of Oz" and to
be avoided. Just attending High School in Kingston five days
a week was traumatic.
I still recommend withdrawing from the OCS system and starting
from "scratch" as we did in the early 50"s.
If I have a rich and benevolent uncle [tenant] that helps
pay my taxes why should my neighbors feel they are entitled
to some of those resources?
**Footnote; I agree with Jill Paperno this time around until
I re-read and find a "glitch". Bravo, Ms. Paperno.
Glenn T. Anderson
I have always appreciated the League of Women Voters' nonpartisan
sponsorship of debates by candidates for public office. Whether
on a local, state or national level, these debates encourage
an informed electorate by airing ideas and comparing candidates'
positions and personalities.
But what happens when one of the major candidates refuses
to participate? The New York LWV's scheduled debate on Sept.
6th for the Senate Primary on Sept. 12th may not happen this
year because Senator Clinton is ducking and hiding; she does
not want to engage in substantive debate on the all-important
issues her opponent Jonathan Tasini is raising: the war in
Iraq, universal health care, clean elections, and policies
that outsource American jobs to other countries.
Yet these are the issues that are meaningful to many voters.
Come clean, Mrs. Clinton, let us know where you stand in open
Duhmockery is spreading quickly around the world. Although
historians will tell you that the inception of Duhmockery
is nothing new, I believe that with modern technology, it
has become a threat of pandemic proportions.
I must agree that in some form, it pre-dated the Nixon/Regan/Bush
Administration, however, I believe that it's present form
was Kristolized in the Project for the New American Century,
co-founded by Bill Kristol with the help of Rupert Murdoch's
Notably emerging in the 2000 election in both Florida and
Ohio, it took a firm hold in the 2004 campaign, utilizing
sponsored media, with the Swift Boat campaign, unsponsored
media, and finally, in the Ohio voting fiasco, altering the
entire election procedure.
The recent outbreak abroad, began in Afghanistan, the country
on the Eastern border of Iran. It then jumped over Iran to
it's Western border of Iraq and recently, it skipped over
Syria, and jumped to Lebanon. There, Hezbolla usurped it's
original form and is now winning over the hearts and minds
of the Lebanese population, by funding the reconstruction
of that country.
For now, Duhmockery should remain concentrated back home to
strengthen it's roots in Washington, at least through the
November elections. Should the new voting machines fail to
deliver, another war might be needed to establish new rules
under a "war President". Personally, I believe that
little has to be done for Duhmockery to maintain the House
and the Senate. Simply a little media boosting, which is already
in place with the main stream national media; and with the
addition of a few hundred thousand (or a few million) dollars
of local commercials for all of the at risk areas across the
nation. Then just in case, it has to eliminate the possibility
of legally qualified re-counts by paper ballots and there
you have it.
All we have to do, is to sit back, watch tv and do exactly
what the media instructs us to do on election day. Following
the election, we simply have to put the tv back on, and listen
to the reasons to avoid an attempt at a re-count. Perhaps
a new war will put all such meanderings behind the clear and
present danger of an impending nuclear attack.
On the other hand, if we want to return to the one citizen,
one vote ideals of the Constitution, we may have to move away
from the tv and show our numbers. I am still enamored with
the idea of Democracy. After all, I lived it for most of my
lifetime and trust me, it was swell. I lived through the civil
rights movement where blacks and even women got to enjoy the
right to the American dream. I was there during the Anti-Vietnam
war movement and as many of you know, the music was good.
It's only recently that I've seen that dream turn into a nightmare.
I believe and more accurately, I hope that perhaps with the
upcoming election, we still have a chance to stop the rapid
rise of Duhmockery over our spacious skies and amber waves
of grain. But it cannot be done without the participation
of everyone reading this letter and everyone reading the letters
and blogs all over the country.
Duhmockery thrives on inaction and fear. However, We, the
People still live under the rules of the Constitution, which
gives us the right to have a say in our government. Well,
DuhMockery IS a spectator sport, but Democracy is NOT.
Much has been said about obesity becoming a deadly national
and global epidemic. It has been called an international scourge
that is engulfing the entire world, as big a threat as global
warming and terrorism. Especially frightening is the fact
that it is skyrocketing among children, making them prone
to diseases that could shave years off their lives. For the
first time in history, children in this generation could die
before their parents. But the harm done to individuals is
being ignored; countries like Australia, Britain and the United
States merely think of the effect on their economies, which
is being measured at billions of dollars.
The plague of obesity, especially in children, did not happen
overnight. It is the bitter harvest of decades of catering
to ourselves instead of serving others. It is the fruit of
a sedentary lifestyle focused on television and computers
rather than the great outdoors. It is the destructive result
of stressing academics, rather than the sandbox, already in
Ask any doctor and you will find out how huge the obesity
problem is. It can only be solved if we all work together.
However, not everyone in the world is obese. There are still
millions of people starving in Africa and other continents.
Having traveled in Africa, I am still haunted by the many
children I saw in Lagos, Nigeria, with potbellies because
In the end, obesity is primarily a problem in First World
countries, where we have become a sick society. Yet we are
afraid to face the root of this illness. Instead we give it
band-aid solutions, such as banning vending machines in schools.
Nobody is asking about the spiritual aspects of this problem.
Obesity is actually only a symptom of a much bigger problem
confronting our nation. Our whole society is collapsing because
of fear, violence and the breakdown of the family. Globalization
also plays a big role. Large corporations like McDonald's
and Pizza Hut have become the American way of life, driving
out smaller restaurants that offered healthier foods.
Yes, we in America have it good. We are enjoying decades of
wealth and prosperity. But it is not making us happy, because
we have lost the most precious aspect of civilization--a sense
of community, which leads people together and not apart.
We would do well to read the story of Joseph in the Old Testament.
It tells how Pharaoh dreamed of seven fat cows and seven lean
cows. Joseph told him that seven years of plenty were coming,
during which he should gather and store all the grain he could,
because these seven good years would be followed by seven
years of famine.
Let us not be lulled to sleep: the famine is coming. The time
of over-indulgence will be gone before we know it. We need
to build a community, in which all people are treated like
human beings. We must share our riches with the many who are
starving. When we discover that our riches do not belong to
us, but rather to all the people on the globe, then our nation
will become strong again.
Johann Christoph Arnold, Pastor
This week's column on the Board of Education public meeting
did not report my position on the Large Parcel Legislation
accurately. So I would like to set the public record straight.
The article starts with the statement that the trustees that
live in Olive or Hurley voted to stop the vote on the large
parcel bill. I live in West Hurley and I voted against that
resolution. My position on the Bill is as follows:
Funding education through some method other than property
taxes would be more equitable and that is what we should be
pressing the Legislators for.
Graduated income tax as an example and there are many other
The towns do not pay taxes, it is their citizens who pay the
taxes. If you start your calculation with the idea that the
total town taxes need to be proportionally equalized then
you wind up with the huge differences between individuals
in two different towns. On the other hand, if you start your
calculation with the premise that equal value properties pay
equal taxes, then the inequities disappear. That can be accomplished
by using the $1,000 property tax as the multiplier and the
market price of the property as the base. Then the Board would
not be concerned with town revals. A town should be able to
make that decision without it affecting others.
The Large Parcel Bill is faulty legislation because it pits
one town against the other, it affects the way people vote
on the budget and it often determines who gets elected to
a trusteeship. But it does equalize the tax burden and for
that reason I would have voted for it.
Herb Rosenfeld, Trustee
Onteora Central School District
I am grieving because I have lost something precious from
my youth. I was a youngster during World War II. The sense
of purpose and justice behind our participation in that war
was supported in part by our own rule of law as a democracy,
the righteousness of our cause and the evil of our enemy.
That sense of purpose continued into the cold war years, again
supported in part by the evil of our enemy.
I knew that the enemy was evil because the SS and the KGB
used torture and violated the Geneva conventions and their
armies raped and slaughtered women and innocent children.
Now, my president admits to the use of torture by the CIA
and my army is investigating its own rapes, tortures and slaughters
of innocents. When Congress tells my president to stop using
torture, he signs a statement saying that he is above the
law and free to ignore the law and our Constitution. After
our courts tell him he has violated the law, he comes forward
with a proposal for leave to use “harsh interrogations”
(torture?) which his own administration and army tells him
is contrary to the law of nations.
So I am grieving the loss of my sense of the precious beauty
and nobility of my home country with its moral leadership
among the nations of the world. I am grieving my loss of faith
that my Constitution can assure me of my right to life and
liberty because, if my government will torture anyone, they
will not hesitate to torture me.
With disturbing news, a whiff of Denmark, in the local papers
of very private meetings between Dean Gitter, of Belleayre
fame, and United States Congressman John E. Sweeney (New York
State 20th Congressional District), and between Dean Gitter
and the EPA"s Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg,
it is perhaps timely to re-emphasize that there is no compelling
need for Gitter's ambitions project planned for the center
of New York City's watershed. That Dean, no humble man, seeks
money and power is insufficient reason.
There is no compelling need for New York City to permit a
development that has the potential to degrade the quality
and that will certainly reduce the quantity at times of streses
of the water on which the City depends for most of its supply.
There is no compelling need for the State of New York to risk
impairment of key lands of the Forest Preserve. There is no
compelling reason the taxpayers of the region should be obligated
to pay the high costs of servicing such a development, of
upgrading Route 28, and expanding the Belleayre Ski Area to
meet private development needs.
There is no need for us to accept the insult of a gated community
in our midst.
To build this project is not his plan, Dean has stated, nor
that of his backers. The plan, if approvals are achieved,
is to then sell 'the package' to a developer.
It has been proposed that a compromise be struck, permitting
the western half of the development. My personal opinion,
for what it is worth, is that half a mis-development is better
than a whole mis-development, but still to be avoided. When
I first heard of Dean's dream years ago, my reaction was 'instant
bankruptcy.' Our New York State Comptroller, Mr. Hevesi seems
to have the same opinion based on recent analysis by his competent
Sherret Spaulding Chase