For many months I have sat back quietly and read all the pros
and cons of Crossroads and Mr. Gitter. I finally decided it
was time to send an opinion of someone who has firsthand knowledge
of this kind of development and the short term and long term
effects of it.
First I'd like to tell your readers that I was born in Margaretville
and raised there. My dad was a farmer for more than fifty
years as was my grandfather. I consider Margaretville my home
and always will.
This is kind of a long letter so I hope your readers will
take the time to read it. These developers can cause great
damage to the mountains with their greedy ways and many promises
to get what they want.
So here is my story. I moved to Rockland County when I was
eighteen with my husband. We lived in a small town which very
much resembled the area where this resort is proposed. Behind
our house there were a lot of mountains, it was a beautiful
Then one day it happened, the developers and the engineers
showed up with their great plans. Of course all they saw was
dollar signs. So for months we listened to the chain saws
and the truck traffic going up and down the roads. Then it
was the blasting and the pounding of the machines breaking
up the boulders. This went on we thought forever. My son used
to walk back in the mountains. Then one day he said Mom the
trees are all gone, they cut them all down.
Of course the developers and the engineers said they had everything
all under control, they had done everything the right way.
Well someone forgot to tell Mother Nature because here comes
So they built their half-million dollar houses, and then it
rained. It rained for days. Well the people in their million
dollar homes woke up to find their houses in the middle of
moats and their cars with water up to the doors. So much for
no erosion and great engineering. They were not happy people.
Enter the engineers; we can fix this. We will pipe the water
down the hill into the little lake by my house. Well that
worked until it rained and rained. The little lake decided
it wasn't going to take all the extra water. Well needless
to say the guy who lived next to the lake had an in-ground
pool, he didn't have to worry about filling it. The extra
water filled it not only with water but a bunch of garbage
from the top of the hill. The lake flooded its bank, went
down the hill and took out the new church parking lot. It
then continued down over the bank, took out the backyards
of the housing development and flooded the deli at the bottom
of the hill. It also did major damage to 9W. What do they
say about best-laid plans?
Well it's been almost ten years now and they are still having
major problems all over the mountains, at least the few that
are left. Also the developer who promised the town he would
pay for the road repairs skipped, and the town got stuck for
Most of our mountains are gone around here, they have been
replaced by more and more developments. The local people who
were born and raised around here have left. They can't afford
to live here anymore. All the houses they have built are in
the half-million range or more. The local people didn't leave
for lack of jobs, they couldn't afford the houses they were
building. They couldn't afford the rent or to pay the taxes.
Now we have overcrowded schools, traffic that is a nightmare.
A trip to the store that used to take me several minutes now
can take me thirty. Now the animals that used to live on those
mountains they tore apart are in my yard because they have
no place to go. I'd like to have the water in the little lake
where my husband and I used to swim tested. I'd like to know
where all the fertilizer from all those houses is going.
I know how badly we need jobs in this area, but at what price?
Are we really ready to sell our souls for them? I don't think
Mr.Gitter will stop at the Crossroads. He already has a foothold
here, and I think those dollar signs are flashing. Just remember
once it starts there's no going back. Just remember the song
that said "pave paradise, put up a parking lot."
I'm happy to say my husband and I will be moving back to Margaretville
in June. We are by no means wealthy and will be on a limited
income. We will be moving back to my family's farm, and the
beauty of the mountains out my window. That view you can't
put a price tag on, and any developer who comes a visiting
can kiss my grass.
I cannot help noticing a consistent inconsistency from many
folks opposed to Crossroad’s proposed golf course, supposedly
due to environmenta1 concerns. More than just a few or the
golf course opponents are regulars at Belleayre, Windham,
or Hunter Mountain on the ski slopes. Hundreds of acres of
trees have been stripped making way for T-bars, chair lifts,
paved parking lots, service roads, lodges, bars, restaurants,
with all manner of affiliated ski paraphernalia. Visually,
this construction and cable stands out and is located at far
greater altitudes than any hole on any golf course I am familiar
with around these parts. The slopes are somewhat more vulnerable
to erosion because much of the natural vegetation in the form
of tree cover has been removed. As a person who loves to hike
in nature but doesn’t ski, frankly, T-bars look ridiculous
to me, and I’m out there plenty enough to notice them.
To a skier though, they represent an opportunity to make recreation
more enjoyable. Great! Having done many hundreds of hikes
in the Catskills, I respect a skier’s love of challenging
ski trails, and must accept the inconvenience of having to
see the landscape and environment impacted by a sport I don
‘t participate in.
There is no doubt that it is impacted either! There remain
ugly reminders or now defunct, former ski areas high on some
Catskill peaks that have never been cleaned up. Where is the
environmental outrage over this? I wonder if ski happy but
golf hating “environmentalists” have any idea
where these dilapidated eyesores even are in the Catskills?
Twenty-five years ago, on the east side of Route 28 near Belleayre,
there was a golf course carved into the hills. There was no
big problem reclaiming the land from the game of golf when
the course closed up there to build homes. Where is the damage
this “terrible” golf course did to the environment?
There isn’t any. There are no ugly reminders whatsoever.
What I don’t like is the inconsistency of some people
when it comes to golf, or some other form of recreation in
the mountains. Lots of people love to play golf in the mountains,
as changing elevation and angled lies of the golf ball in
scenic locations gives them special challenge and delight.
What’s wrong with that? I happen to be one of them.
I do not happen to personally like golf carts or cart paths,
because it impacts the environment more than I would prefer
and reduces the recreation greatly compared to what a walking
golfer gets, in the exact same way a chairlift reduces the
exercise a skier gets compared to what they would get if they
hiked up instead of paid for unnecessary rides to the top.
The Catskill region is a decent sized mountain area that can
support many recreational activities, including even a large
golf resort. People have different recreational preferences,
such as biking, kayaking, biking, skiing and golfing. Many,
if not most businesses in the Catskills are very tourism dependent.
I say, let the skiers ski AND let golfers golf, or completely
outlaw both activities in the park to keep the parks forever
wild and pristine. At least the positions would be consistent.
The mountains are neither Republican nor Democrat and I’m
not either. I wish some folks would stop using the environment
as an alibi for their politics.
Mt. Tremper, NY
Dear Editor, In an effort to illuminate rather than ridicule
(Martie Gailes, December 23rd, Phoenicia Times), I feel compelled
to write an assessment of my brief experience working for
Dean Gitter, at Emerson Place. It was the worst employment
experience I have ever had. Kudos for winning the award for
“Most Outstanding Inn in North America”. It is
a shame they will never win the award for most generous employer.
The wages are low ($8.00-$10.00 per hour) for most staff.
Little or no healthcare. No salary increases or raises, no
benefits. The turnover of staff is frequent. This is shocking
yet believable considering the conditions. The complex is
poorly run and managed. Tourism is essential to a town’s
economic development, but is this the kind of industry we
want? Are local people benefiting from this employment? Mr.
Gitter’s proposed Belleayre Resort is going to raise
the cost of living up here, squeezing out local people who
will no longer be able to afford housing, among many other
things. What Mr. Gitter is offering are transitional jobs
with transitional wages. These wages are not sustainable for
someone trying to support a family. Mr. Gitter and Mr. Wright
may want to read Henry David Thoreau’s early writings
about Urban sprawl. I think Ralph Waldo Emerson would be appalled
to know his name is being used to represent such a place.
Christina Fendley Mt. Tremper, NY
I have been a patient observer of the development process
that Dean Gitter has been subjected to in his attempt to bring
much needed economic development to our county. I am very
concerned, like Dean Gitter, about the future of Ulster County
for our children and for all future generations. Unfortunately,
it seems that Mr. Gitter’s contention that there will
be little or no economic growth in our future is becoming
Ulster County desperately needs economic growth, development
and the resultant jobs for our region. However, I, like Dean,
believe other developers are watching the progress (or, more
correctly, the lack of progress) of his Belleayre Resort project
and are right now making plans to build somewhere other than
Ulster County. I believe five years and $20 million of private
money is too long and far too much to spend on a project and
still not know if New York State and New York City and the
environmental extremists are going to let you proceed.
Seventy percent, that’s right, 70% of all the land in
New York State is forestland. Can we not allow this man to
build a hotel and golf course on 500 acres (out of a total
of 1900 acres he owns)? This is not a nuclear power plant,
a smoke-spewing manufacturing facility, not strip mining.
It’s a hotel in an area where, for over 150 years there
had been dozens and dozens of hotels and resorts on the sides
of mountains and on mountaintops.
Look at the beauty of Mohonk Mt. House and the positive impact
it has on our local economy. Has Mohonk ruined New Paltz?
I think not. Nor will the Belleayre Resort ruin Shandaken.
It will provide a much-needed boost to the economy of the
region. Mr. Gitter has taken pains to design a project that
will complement the beauty of its setting and in turn it will
breathe life into a moribund community.
How much money needs to be wasted? How many opportunities
have been lost? It is a shame that our children need to move
from this area to find decent jobs. We owe it to our sons
and daughters to bring sanity back to the development process.
We need to see this project approved and approved quickly.
five years of studying is enough.
The year that has just ended was filled with the horrors of
war and natural disasters such as the hurricanes that struck
the U.S. That was before the South Asia earthquake and tsunamis.
Days later, the reports of devastation still grow worse every
hour as new reports, images and statistics come in. The sheer
magnitude of this disaster cannot be comprehended by the human
Let's not get caught up in numbers of dead, injured, missing
and homeless. We need to become quiet in order to take in
what happened, and ask ourselves what is this has to say to
the whole world. The tsunamis showed us that we are not in
control of our lives. Death snatched away rich and poor, tourist
and native, with no respect for who they were.
Having been in India, Thailand and Indonesia, this disaster
affects me personally. I have seen the poverty these people
live under in the best of times. What hits hardest are the
numbers of children who died and the pictures of parents'
grief. Many children will never be found.
For the thousands of bereaved families, the question will
come, "Why does God allow this to happen?" We will
never find a satisfactory answer. But since the moment I first
heard the news the day after Christmas, I have felt that in
spite of all the death and destruction, God was and is at
work here, even if his plan has not yet been revealed to us.
One cannot help but think of the "wrath of God"
predicted in Revelations. Yet Revelations also foretells a
day when suffering will cease and "every tear will be
dried." We can still believe that "God is love"
and that death will not have the last word, even though quite
often it looks as though he does.
One thing is certain: Our lives should never be the same again.
Life is too precious and it can be over in an instant, as
this event has so clearly shown us.
As the days go by, how much time do we still spend thinking
of this disaster? Compare this to how much time we waste on
petty things like rushing to stores for post-Christmas bargains.
Even on the news this event is starting to fade; it's back
to Janet Jackson. We care so little about the rest of the
human race. Nothing seems to matter as long as it isn't us.
Yet it could be us next time. It is an 11th hour warning,
yet so few take it to heart.
We do not need to weep for those who have died. We need to
weep and pray and act for those who remain alive, still suffering
hunger and thirst and facing waterborne diseases such as cholera
and malaria. The United Nations and others have rightly criticized
the U.S. government for the stinginess of its pledge of support
for these millions of displaced people--while it spends $35
million every seven hours occupying Iraq. We pump billions
of dollars into technology and the war against terror. If
we would have spent a fraction of that on a wave warning system,
millions of lives could have been saved.
It is true that relief organizations and national governments
are pouring aid into southern Asia. Yet all of this will only
be a drop in the bucket. Those of us who live in relative
comfort in the West should be stirred to action. Every deed
of love to one's neighbor, near or far, is of utmost importance.
In light of this disaster, what does "loving your neighbor
as yourself" mean now?
Johann Christoph Arnold
Here is a memory I just needed to write about. It will not
bring my Angel back but he will always stay in my heart.
It was a beautiful summer morning on August 7, 2002 You could
almost feel the fall in the air after a long hot summer. The
time was 10:25. I was feeling happy with two fur buddies,
my little calico cat Missy and my angel, who came into my
life in a very special way. At 10:30 my neighbor was on my
porch and told me to sit down. She told me my cat had been
run over. I asked her which one. I could hear myself screaming,
but it sounded far away as she told me it was the one you
Angel was found under the wheel of a car when he was hours
old. He was nursed and weaned at headquarters in the New York
Police Department by New York’s finest. We bottle fed
him and watched over his every move to make sure he was going
to make it .We brought him home in a shopping bag every night
after work. When we knew he was a miracle and had made it
he became mine. He was born the very day my white cat Holly,
who was eight years old, died suddenly of a heart attack.
It was almost as if he had a destiny to be with me so I named
him Angel. He grew info a magnificent looking Norwegian Forest
cat with his long gray fur and a white lightning bolt down
his back. When he had grown into his full regalia he took
a vet’s breath away when he said, “He is absolutely
exquisite.” He was special in every way, right down
to flushing the toilet and getting on the planet’s funniest
animals. He was destined for stardom; he already had an agent
submitting his pictures to ad agencies.
But this is not what put the knife in my heart. The grief
was missing those big green eyes and his almost silent meow
and gentle ways. I don’r know if you realize the heartbreak
you had caused on Route 214, two miles out of Phoenicia that
day. Or maybe you don’t even like cats. My cat missy
was traumatized too and she slept on my chest every night
as if to take the pain out of my heart. Angel was my heart
and I only had him for three short wonderful years. A little
boy, upon hearing his name, said he felt like a cloud and
that mjght well be he was a piece of heaven that fell to this
earth for a very short time. He was buried in my neighbor’s
back yard with all her children’s pets who died over
the years, Sometimes when I go out in the morning I hear the
faint sound of a cat bell and I stop and listen. It’s
probably an angel feather drifting down from a very special
cloud in heaven.
"Make war, not love" seems to be a slogan of the
Bush administration. As it turns out both Cheney and Rumsfeld
have been lying and war mongering since the days of Nixon.
BBC did a very revealing documentary detailing this, more
information on all this can be found at: www.rense.com/general61/ddoc.htm.
Also the Bush administration spent an unbelievable 900 million
dollars of tax payers money on teaching teenagers sexual abstinence,
in another words to just say no to making love before marriage.
Anyhow it is just incredible that the Bush administration
is spending such huge amounts of taxpayers hard earned money
on not making love but making war as the Iraq war is costing
us over 150+ million dollars a day along with many lives.
This all sounds real crazy to me but I have a feeling four
more years of Bush and it is going to get even crazier. For
an in depth analysis of the roots of this craziness go
to: www.awakeninthedream.com/gerogews.html. Well anyhow God
bless America, we are sure going toneed it for the next four
For the past twenty years I have been a customer of Pine Hill
Trailways almost weekly. I depend on the service to save me
the hassle and cost of driving to New York City from my home
in Willow. The mostly courteous and courageous drivers have
saved me the burden of many long hours on the road.
However I have often wished I lived nearer the train. The
number one reason is that the air on the bus is so terrible.
I descend from any bus trip smelling for hours like diesel
fuel. For years I have noticed signs both at the Kingston
terminal and the Port Authority in NY that warn the drivers
that idling for over 5 minutes (three in NYC) is illegal.
For years I have seen the drivers blatantly disregard those
signs. In the winter they say they have to keep the bus warm.
In the summer they mutter some other excuse. At times there
are seven buses in Kingston at full idle. Often they do this
for half an hour. That means that the air systems of those
buses are in-taking all that exhaust so that for the rest
of the trip you are breathing that air. Worse yet, the overhang
of the Kingston station confines the exhaust so that it goes
into the offices of the ticket sellers and those waiting.
The workers and waiting passengers alike are prisoners being
doused with poison. It is time that Pine Hill Trailways abides
the law and turns off their engines when they get to Kingston.
It is state law. Please write to Pine Hill Trailways and the
NY State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer. Tell them to save
our environment and our lungs by enforcing state law.
I belong to a group called Citizens of Olive Large Parcel
Review Committee. A big name for a big job! After attending
four meetings, I am convinced that we just are not big enough
to do the job. My aim in writing this letter is to get the
entire town to unite! Maybe, just maybe, if there are enough
of us together, we might be able to fight this unfair Tax
I have read “Summary of RPTL 1316” and am having
a hard time trying to understand all the legal verbiage, but
one thing is clear to me: This was not intended to include
Reservoirs. To quote Bill No. S6221A, sponsored by Sen. Larkin:
“Justification: The main purpose of this bill is to
reduce the wild swings both up and down that occur for all
assessed properties when a municipality has a high value property
whose assessed evaluation is in flux from year to year”.
NYC’s Ashokan Reservoir’s taxes do NOT flux! So,
how the hell did the School Board get this to pass?
In 1904 NYC went North to see where they could find more water
for their precious system, since it was evident to them that
the Kensico system was not going to be able to supply enough
water for their growing population. They set their sights
on Dutchess County”s property, but they stood their
ground and as a County, sued NYC, and they won! They kept
Like Mr. Smith, NYC went West, across the River, and voila!
The Esopus was there, and it was perfect for their needs.
They came, they saw, they conquered! Individual families,
property owners and business owners sued, but NYC and its
powerful legal staff won every suit! And because of this,
the Town of Olive grew a large reservoir ( 52% of the entire
town) right in the center of it’s beautiful, thriving
area. Many of its citizens moved away. Those that remained
were subject to the whims of the city. They were told where
they could live (or not), where they could put their wells
(or not), where they could drive (or not). As compensation,
NYC told them, “Thanks folks, and to show our good will,
we’ll build roads around the water (far away so you
can’t see it), and keep them safe for you with our Police
Now, I wonder, do you think it’s possible that if the
town united, and if the County of Ulster stood behind them
and as a whole, they sued the City. ...isn’t it possible
that it all never would’ve happened in the first place?
Please consider: Unite! Stand together! Maybe in numbers we
can get out from under this prejudicial act and regain some
of our dignity and strength.
West Shokan, NY
The Board of Directors of the Pine Hill Community Center wish
to thank all those who responded to our annual appeal, and
who have supported the Center in this past year. We have many
awesome new plans for the new year and your contributions
will help us to make them a reality. It's our wish to serve
the people of this region with innovative and fun programming,
fostering creativity and personal growth. Please call us if
you have any questions, comments or suggestions for us: 254-5469.
The Board of Directors
Pine Hill Community Center
‘ Will the union construction groups supporting Pataki's
assault on the people of Sullivan and Ulster counties come
and build casinos for quick jobs and profit, then leave all
the mess, crime and corruption to us? Or will they do the
sensible thing and respect the will of the people to stop
the immoral, corrupting, gambling activity now planned. Shame
on you George Pataki!
Will the Sullivan county legislators acknowledge the will
of the respectable people and reject the invitation to virtually
destroy the county with related crime and corruption? Why
haven't all these political figures fought to bring in productive
industry and business that will bring viable jobs and wealth
to the county? Casinos will only serve the managers and owners,
not the public at large.
Or is it the cut of revenue that's enticing the politicos?
The pittance of wages brought forth by the casinos will be
far offset by the cost of public security and police activity.
Is this what Sullivan County really wants? I don't think so.
Citizens of Sullivan, and surrounding counties as well, better
let your favorite politicians know and demand they respect
your will. No casinos in Sullivan or Ulster.
Constitution Party of New York
Your story "The Gov’s Big Gamble" mistakenly
stated that Senator Clinton "has already introduced federal
legislation to make Pataki's vision a reality." That
statement is wholly inaccurate. Senator Clinton has neither
drafted nor introduced any such legislation.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton