Seven local residents have stepped forward to declare their
candidacies for filling an Onteora Board of Education seat vacated
by former Trustee Thomas Rosato of Shandaken last month. Those
include Michael Shultis of Hurley; Mark Goldfarb of Woodstock;
Anne-Marie Johansson of West Shokan; Sara Morales of Woodstock;
former district Trustee Greg Walters of Shandaken; Rita Vanacore
of Shandaken; and Pia Davis of Shady. Rosato, who resigned last
month to take care of his ailing parents, was six months into
a second full three-year term as trustee. He previously lost
in a 2000 effort to win a board seat after being appointed to
fill a vacancy. A January 25 meeting at Phoenicia Elementary
School has been set for interviewing of all candidates, with
a decision to be made in the weeks following. A successful candidate
would fill the vacancy through the May election, when there
will be three three-year terms for trustees and the remainder
of Rosato’s term on the ballot.
Two dozen anti-casino activists from across New York blasted
Gov. George Pataki and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer recently
for pushing what critics call an immoral, illegal expansion
of gambling. Pataki wants to allow five casinos in the Ulster-Sullivan
counties region, instead of the three authorized under a 2001
law he shepherded through the
Legislature. The governor wants to use the casinos to help settle
all Native American land claims against the state.
“This governor has made a policy choice that government
services should be
paid for from human frailty and suffering,” said Assemblyman
William Parment, D-Jamestown, a member of a coalition suing
Pataki for allegedly violating the state constitution by allowing
casinos in New York.
Richard G. Geldard, a resident of Kerhonkson in Ulster County,
leaders have “responded like sheep to a misguided governor’s
callous attempts to raise money the easy way instead of confronting
the state’s problems with imagination and fiscal discipline.”
Others, including representatives of the Coalition Against Gambling
York and the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling,
cited studies that show increased crime, bankruptcies, child
and spousal abuse and gambling problems in areas where casinos
arise. They also said the economy suffers in states where gambling
is legalized and that gambling costs the government three times
what it brings in.
Sen. John Bonacic said that elected county officials will determine
if plans proceed.
Shandaken’s school taxes did take a dip last fall, as
a result of Onteora’s adoption of the large parcel bill.
But now that the town and county tax bills are out, it’s
apparent we’ll all have to dig a bit deeper.
The county’s portion of the combined January tax bill
is up 11% over 2004. And while Shandaken’s highway department
held its rise over last year’s levels to 3.6%, the amount
to be raised by taxes for the town’s General Fund, the
part the supervisor budgets, is up 9.4% over last year. That
translates to an actual increase of 8.31% over last year on
the town’s General Fund payments, due from Shandaken’s
taxpayers by the end of this month.
Opinions undoubtedly vary as to whether that’s a reasonable
increase or not. But as a point of comparison, those same actual
increases under former supervisor Wayne Gutmann’s budgets
were 3.13% for 2001 and 4.2% for 2002. Under supervisor Pete
DiModica, the numbers were 3.46% for 2003 and 3.54% for 2004.
The New York State Thruway Authority has told Ulster County
that it will not donate seven-tenths of an acre of Thruway property
adjacent to the Kingston traffic circle for use as a tourism
center, and will only part with the property via a negotiated
sale. The reported price being asked for the land in question
is $200,000, which county Planning Director Dennis Doyle said
the county might be able to lease at 10 percent of the property’s
total value per year, or more than $20,000 annually, for 20
to 30 years.
Doyle added, in a recent Tourism Committee meeting at which
he announced the news, that the Thruway Authority’s decision
could be fatal to the visitors’ center the county has
been planning for because current budgets for the 5,000-square-foot
building, with a price tag of $1.73 million coming from state
and federal grants, does not have much wiggle room.
The original plan for the center, conceived in 2001, called
for a 12,000-square-foot facility costing $4 million. But opposition
from county democrats, among others, led to a lessening of such
budget figures… and now suggests a possible jettisoning
of the idea in favor of an enhanced web presence.
Stay tuned on this one…
The nation’s deepening culture wars arose during the Ulster
County legislature’s annual organizational meeting Monday,
January 10, as the body discussed whether county funds should
go toward programs for raising pheasants, hares and trout to
be released and hunted or a number of other programs dedicated
to the arts and social welfare. In the end, legislators voted
27-4 to provide the Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of Ulster
County $7,000 in 2005, and voted 23-8 not to put restrictions
on how the organization can spend the money.
During deliberations on the subject, a loose coalition of other
agencies, citizens and animal rights groups objected to the
use of their tax dollars for the so-called “raise and
release” programs, which they characterized as “canned
hunts,” and which they said left the animals unprepared
for life in the wild if the hunters fail to take them down soon
after their release. Brian Shapiro, the Democratic legislator
for Woodstock and Shandaken, proposed a compromise resolution
that would give the Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs the money
with stipulations that the funding be used specifically for
gun safety and various environmental programs. But when more
than 200 hunters showed up in support of the original resolution,
decrying a movement of “wackos” that would turn
the nation into a “total vegetarian state,” with
a ban on meat eating, the money was okayed without any strings.
Legislators, headed by Shapiro and Olive’s Robert Parete,
are now calling for changes in how the county Legislature allocates
money to so-called “contract agencies,” which will
receive approximately $1.1 for 30 entities, including Cornell’s
Cooperative Extension, in the coming year. Currently, there
are no county-specific guidelines for how the money is doled
out and no standard measure of public benefit that arises from
the county’s contributions. And although Ulster County
retains the right to audit the books of the agencies it funds,
to date, none of the agencies has been audited by the county.
Instead, each group is required to file, at the end of the year,
an accounting of how the county’s money was spent. The
county then can withhold the subsequent year’s funding
if that accounting is not filed.
Among those upset about the recent decision to fund the Sportsmen’s
program was the Woodstock Film Festival and Film Commission,
which received a total donation of $500, without explanation.
Ulster County is on the verge of borrowing over $400,000 to
pay for 19 new vehicles to be used by the Department of Social
Services, the Buildings and Grounds Department and the Sheriff’s
Office. County Administrator Arthur Smith said it makes sense
to amortize the cost over time. Of the 19 vehicles being considered
for purchase, 14 are for the Department of Social Services,
which would lease the vehicles from the Ulster County Purchasing
Department for the first three years. The vehicles then would
be redistributed among other county departments. Of the remaining
five vehiclese, one is a cargo van for the Buildings and Grounds
Department; two are sport utility vehicles used by the Sheriff’s
Department for special units that need larger capacity for equipment
or towing capability, including diving, navigation and police
dog units; and two are replacement patrol cars. All 19 vehicles
would be purchased from entities on the state-accepted bidders
The Shandaken Police Department reports the arrests of four
area 16 year old youths on January 12 and 13 stemming from an
incident that occurred at the Phoenicia Hotel located on Main
Street Phoenicia the week of Christmas. Police state they received
a complaint that people had broken into about 8 hotel rooms
and were living in two of them for about a week. Police state
that a couple of hundred dollars in damage was sustained to
the rooms from broken mirrors, smoke detectors, locks and window
screens, broken light bulbs, fire extinguishers and cigarette
burns in the linen. In addition another man who resides in one
of the rooms states that he had a gold ring stolen from his
room which was broken into while he was away. Police state that
they arrested two boys who were each charged with 2 counts of
Felony Burglary, one count of Felony Criminal Mischief, one
count of Petit Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property.
Police state that both boys were remanded to the Ulster County
Jail on $10,000 Cash bail or a $20,000 Secured Bond. In addition
two fema1es were also arrested in this incident and both were
charged with Criminal Trespass, a misdemeanor. The names of
all four youths are being withheld due to their being eligible
for youthful offender status. Police were assisted by the .State
Police in Shokan and Deputies from the County Sheriffs Office
Nearly three-fourths of older Americans support legalizing marijuana
for medical use, according to a poll done for the nation’s
largest advocacy group for seniors. More than half of those
questioned said they believe marijuana has medical benefits,
while a larger majority agreed the drug is addictive. AARP,
with 35 million members, says it has no political position on
medical marijuana and that its local branches have not chosen
sides in the scores of state ballot initiatives on the issue
in recent elections. But with medical marijuana at the center
of a Supreme Court case to be decided next year, and nearly
a dozen states with medical marijuana laws on their books, AARP
decided to study the issue. Among the 1,706 adults polled in
AARP’s random telephone survey in November, opinions varied
along regional and generational lines and among the 30 percent
of respondents who said they have smoked pot. AARP members represented
37 percent of respondents. Overall, 72 percent of respondents
agreed “adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana
for medical purposes if a physician recommends it.” Those
in the Northeast (79 percent) and West (82 percent) were more
receptive to the idea than in the Midwest (67 percent) and Southwest
(65 percent). In Southern states, 70 percent agreed with the
statement. Generational lines also divided those who have smoked
pot: Just 8 percent of those 70 and older admitted having lit
up, compared with 58 percent of the 45-49 group, 37 percent
of those between 50 and 59 and 15 percent of the 60-69 set.
Parents should not give cell phones to children aged eight or
under, the chairman of an official study into the safety of
the phones has said, citing a growing amount of research that
showed using cell phones has health implications and it was
therefore wise to adopt a “precautionary approach,”
particularly with children. A British company that recently
launched a phone aimed at 4- to 8-year-olds said it was suspending
sales until it has studied the new report, which shows that
“emissions from mobile phone masts are a small percentage
of the emissions that one gets from a mobile phone,” and
suggests that such masts - blamed by some parents for making
their families ill - should not be sited near schools.
The new British report said studies showing the use of cell
phones could affect health “have yet to be replicated
and are of varying quality but we can’t dismiss them out
of hand” but advised users to be cautious and use text
messaging as much as possible. As a result, Communic8 said it
was suspending sales of its MyMo phones, which were designed
for children and store up to five numbers that can be easily
dialed in an emergency.
“We launched the product specifically because we thought
it could address security concerns of parents,” said marketing
director Adam Stephenson. “We absolutely do not want to
damage children’s health.”
With a bumper poppy harvest expected in Afghanistan in the new
year, a debate has erupted within the Bush administration on
whether the United States should push for the crop’s destruction
despite the objections of the Afghan government. According to
Pakistani newspapers citing their country’s administration,
and sources in the US Embassy there, new Afghani president Harmid
Karzai has rejected major eradication program by crop spraying
and has instead proposed offering amnesty to wealthy drug traffickers,
and inviting them to invest their wealth in the Afghan economy.
This could get hot…
Privacy advocates warn that new federal standards for driver’s
licenses will effectively create a national ID card, centralizing
information so the government can track people’s whereabouts
while government officials behind the changes are saying they’re
just making the cards more secure, and that growing worries
are overblown and besides, won’t take effect for another
year-and-a-half. States can opt out — refuse to make changes
to their driver’s licenses that will be required under
the federal law — but then the licenses would be useless
for any federal purpose, from getting benefits to boarding an
airplane guarded by federal screeners.
The intelligence law aims to standardize the documents drivers
present to get a license, the ways DMV workers verify that those
documents are authentic, the information included on a license
and the steps authorities take to ensure licenses can’t
be forged. The law also requires that licenses can be read by
Many of the law’s specifics have yet to be decided such
as: Will licenses include biometric information like fingerprints
or retinal scans? Will “machine-readable” mean bar
codes or radio frequency identification systems — in which
a tiny computer chip transmits data and can theoretically be
used to track location?
Civil libertarians warn that the push to make the driver’s
license the “gold standard” for ID will only make
it easier to steal someone’s identity — and will
increase the value of counterfeit licenses, undermining the
hopes that these steps will provide better security.
The European Parliament has sent an important signal of unity
by overwhelmingly endorsing the EU’s proposed new constitution.
Now, it is up to the bloc’s 25 member states to ratify
the historic treaty. The January 5 poll, which resulted in a
tally of 500 votes in favor to 137 against, with 40 abstentions,
drew a standing ovation in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“In the name of the 25 heads of state of the European
Union who signed the constitution in October, I would like to
express my great joy,” retorted Luxembourg’s prime
minister and current EU president, Jean-Claude Juncker, following
The new constitution will boost the assembly’s powers,
create a long-term resident of the European Council of EU leaders
and an EU foreign minister, as well as streamline decision-making.
But the far left reject it as a global capitalist charter without
adequate social protection, while the far right and nationalists
have attacked it as a blueprint for a European “superstate”
that would give too much power to Brussels.
But the constitution still faces a long and bumpy ride. Two
countries, Lithuania and Hungary, have ratified the charter
by parliamentary vote so far. But its fate will be sealed in
referendums in countries including France, the Netherlands,
Denmark, the Czech Republic, Poland and above all Britain, where
approval is far from certain. A rejection in just one of the
countries would be a major blow as it would send the constitution
back to the drawing board and start an entire new round of negotiations.
The nonprofit Consumers Union says in a new guide to contraception
that the seven top U.S. types of condom they studied did not
burst despite vigorous testing, and all models met international
standards. But results showed that the top brand, able to take
the most punishment, was the Durex Extra Sensitive Lubricated
Latex, according to the report. Other top-performers include
the Durex Performax Lubricated, Lifestyles Classic Collection
Ultra Sensitive Lubricated and TheyFit Lubricated. A melon-colored
model distributed by Planned Parenthood performed the worst,
bursting during a test in which the latex condoms were filled
The group says its review of contraceptives was not politically
motivated, although there is an intense debate among health
professionals and advocacy groups about the focus on abstinence-only
education by the Bush administration.
Consumers Union uses standardized tests to rate the products
it examines, which for latex condoms involves filling them with
air. There is no accepted method to test silicon or non-latex
“You end up with a balloon 3 feet (a metre) tall and a
foot (30 cm) wide. They can really stretch an amazing amount,”
Metcalf said in a telephone interview.
The New York-based organization, which publishes the Consumer
Reports magazine, also tests cars, foods, and other consumer
A U.S. government report published last month shows 98 percent
of all U.S. women who have had sex have used birth control.
The damage wrought by the construction of an American military
base in the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon — where
the Hanging Gardens, one of the seven wonders of the world,
once stood — is currently being ranked as one of the most
reckless acts of cultural vandalism in recent memory. In a new
report by the British Museum makes clear, a military base ostensibly
set up to stop looting of antiquities was later expanded by
an estimated 1 million square feet of flattening and gravel
cover to allow for helicopter landing places and parking lots.
The result is a loss of most archeological value for the site,
one of civilization’s oldest. The work, it was added in
the report, was done under the auspices and command of Kellog,
Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Haliburton, the company formerly
run by US vice president Dick Cheney.
Babylon is situated in an area that has been called the cradle
of civilization, to which the origins of so many activities
from poetry to engineering to mankind’s first laws can
The Army, stretched thin by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan,
is dipping into one of its last resources for wartime duty:
retirees on a military pension. The Army is expanding a little-known
program to bring back retired officers and enlisted soldiers
who expressed a willingness to join again, particularly after
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Ages range from mid-40s to late
60s and possibly older.
“It doesn’t mean that we’re scraping the bottom
of the barrel,” said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, a spokesman
for the Army personnel department. “It means that we’re
doing a prudent thing with American resources.”
After 9/11, about 15,000 retired soldiers contacted the Army
to offer their services. From that group, the Army last year
assembled a list of 4,500 who completed the application process.
In a separate program, Hilferty says, the Army compiled a list
of 3,000 retired soldiers and began asking whether they would
volunteer to be recruiters or civil affairs officers. The Army
has found 616 retirees willing to fill 442 jobs as civil affairs
officers in and around Iraq. They would help rebuild schools,
hospitals and roads.
The Marines has a similar program and has rehired 66.
Activating retired soldiers is the latest step by the Army to
bolster troop levels. Other efforts include extending overseas
tours from 12 to 15 months, tripling bonuses for new enlistees
and National Guard members who re-enlist, and mobilizing about
4,000 soldiers from the Individual Ready Reserve. The IRR is
an infrequently used pool of former troops who still have contractual
obligations to the military.
Meanwhile, it was recently revealed that a forthcoming request
for additional funds to continue waging war in Iraq will not
begin to address the “hidden cost” of the conflict,
according to Pentagon officials and other government authorities
who say that tens of billions of dollars more will eventually
be needed to repair or replace heavily used equipment and to
compensate for the wear and tear on members of the armed services.
The Pentagon next month plans to ask Congress for up to $100
billion in supplemental funds to pay for the ongoing combat
in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the total budgeted so far
to well over $200 billion. But if the war were to end today,
according to a preliminary estimate by the Congressional Budget
Office, the Army would still need at least $20 billion more
than budgeted over the next three years just to be at the same
level of preparedness as before the war.
On a quest for the frozen remains of the solar system’s
formation, NASA is preparing to launch its Deep Impact probe
that will smash a hole in a comet 82 million miles from Earth.
NASA plans to stage the collision of Comet Tempel 1 and the
Deep Impact probe on July 4, and in order to put the projectile
in the right place for the encounter, Deep Impact must be launched
by Jan. 28.
Scientists don’t know exactly what will happen when the
comet barrels into Deep Impact’s 820-pound copper-tipped
projectile at about 23,000 mph. The speeding comet is expected
to be 82 million miles from Earth when the collision occurs.
They expect, however, a giant explosion — equivalent to
the energy released by 4 1/2 tons of dynamite — and a
gouge into the comet’s surface that could be as big as
a football field and as deep as a 14-story building.
Noted lead scientist and University of Maryland astronomer Michael
A’Hearn, “There is an outside chance that we could
break the comet. We don’t think that will happen.”
While the collision is expected to obliterate the impactor,
two telescopes aboard Deep Impact’s mother ship will monitor
the crash, then fly by the comet for close inspections. By probing
below the comet’s surface, scientists hope to learn about
the conditions that existed more than 4 billion year ago when
the solar system was formed.
Comets are believed to contain frozen remains from the solar
system’s early years.
A recent study has found that people who sleep less tend to
be fat, and experts said it’s time find if more sleep
will fight obesity.
“We’ve put so much emphasis on diet and exercise
that we’ve failed to recognize the value of good sleep,”
said Fred Turek, a physician at Northwestern University. “In
fact society emphasizes just the opposite, in work places where
billed hours are crucial and long work days are common.”.
The new study has found that total sleep time decreased as body
mass index — a measure of weight based on height —
increased. Men slept an average of 27 minutes less than women
and overweight and obese patients slept less than patients with
normal weights, it said. In general the fatter subjects slept
about 1.8 hours a week less than those with normal weights.
“We caution that this study does not establish a cause-and-effect
relationship between restricted sleep and obesity (but) investigations
demonstrating success in weight loss via extensions of sleep
would help greatly to establish such a relationship, the study
concludes.” Turek said some studies have shown sleep deprivation
causes declines in an appetite suppressing protein hormone called
leptin, and increases in another hormone that causes a craving
for food. In addition neuropeptides in the brain governing sleep
and obesity appear to overlap, he said.
Obesity has been rising dramatically in developed countries
and reached epidemic levels in the United States, leading to
a variety of health problems.
The Supreme Court is considering whether a couple may sue the
CIA for allegedly breaking a promise of lifetime income. At
issue is whether a 130-year-old Supreme Court ruling automatically
bars federal courts from hearing lawsuits over alleged spy contracts,
which the CIA says are secret deals that may never be acknowledged.
The Bush administration argues that since the CIA was created
in 1947, courts have dismissed spy lawsuits outright on the
grounds that any disclosure could threaten security and undermine
CIA recruitment efforts. The couple, who are identified in filings
by the aliases John and Jane Doe, counter that the executive
branch should not have the power to renege on spy contracts
without some judicial review. Sensitive information could be
kept secret by sealing records or other methods, they say.
“The agency pressured the Does into undertaking espionage
that would virtually guarantee that their activities would become
known” to their home country, “putting them at lifelong
risk of retaliation, including assassination,” their filings
state. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
agreed, ruling the couple had a right to obtain documents and
other information from the CIA to build its trial case. It said
recent rulings have allowed litigation to proceed in cases involving
questions of national security if the government doesn’t
show a clear risk.
The case involves a former high-ranking diplomat and his wife
who wanted to defect from their Eastern bloc country but were
pressured by U.S. authorities to instead spy for the United
States, according to the lawsuit. In exchange, the CIA promised
to help them later defect as well as provide lifetime security.
When their spying was over in 1987, the CIA helped them resettle
in Seattle with new identities, benefits and a bank job for
the husband, the suit says. They initially received a $27,000
yearly stipend and became U.S. citizens.
The current argument is the first since last term’s enemy
combatant cases that asks the high court to weigh an individual’s
constitutional rights to due process against the government’s
interest in national security. Last spring, the court held a
U.S. citizen had a right to challenge his detention as an alleged
“enemy combatant” in federal court.
“The executive claims that courts are institutionally
incapable of dealing with cases that touch upon matters of national
security. History demonstrates the contrary,” the Does
wrote in their filing.
The government has told Americans to slash their calorie intake
and exercise 30 to 90 minutes a day, updating guidelines that
advised people to lose weight but gave few specifics on how
to do it. Issued by the Agriculture and Health and Human Services
departments, the guidelines strengthened the government’s
advice on whole grains, telling people to choose whole grains
such as whole wheat bread instead of refined ones like white
bread or bagels. People should also eat a lot more vegetables
and fruit, the guidelines said.
The government recommended three one-ounce servings of whole
grains each day, such as certain unsweetened breakfast cereals,
to reduce the risk of heart disease and help maintain weight.
The new guidelines also encourage people to eat whole fruits
and vegetables rather than fruit and vegetable juices.
The advice is not really new, but the government sees the guidelines
as an opportunity to change people’s ways.
The guidelines were based on recommendations of a 13-member
panel of scientists and doctors who spent nearly a year reviewing
Americans’ diet and health. The committee said people
lead sedentary lifestyles and choose their food poorly, leading
many to exceed the calories they need even as they fail to get
Controlling calories — not limiting carbohydrates, as
some popular diets recommend — is key to controlling weight,
the panel said. Also key is daily exercise. The panel recommended
a minimum of at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise —
brisk walking or gardening — on most days. But it added
that many adults need to exercise for 60 minutes or more to
prevent weight gain, and people who have lost weight may need
to exercise for 60 to 90 minutes to keep it off.
The panel also said people need to reduce the amount of salt
they eat to about one level teaspoon each day — salt is
linked to high blood pressure — and those who drink alcohol
should drink in moderation, about one drink each day for women
and two for men.
The hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq
has come to an end nearly two years after President Bush ordered
U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein. The top CIA weapons hunter
is home, and analysts are back at Langley. Four months after
Charles A. Duelfer, who led the weapons hunt in 2004, submitted
an interim report to Congress that contradicted nearly every
prewar assertion about Iraq made by top Bush administration
officials, a senior intelligence official said the findings
will stand as the ISG’s final conclusions and will be
published this spring.
Concurrently, an in-house CIA think tank has said in a new report
that the war in Iraq is creating a training and recruitment
ground for a new generation of “professionalized”
Islamic terrorists, and the risk of a terrorist attack involving
a germ weapon is steadily growing.
The “dispersion of the experienced survivors of the conflict
in Iraq” to other countries will create a new threat in
the coming 15 years, especially as the Al Qaeda network mutates
into a volatile brew of independent extremist groups, cells
and individuals, according to the report by the National Intelligence
Following release of both news items, President Bush said on
January 13 that he learned a lesson about “the unintended
consequences of my words,” recalling two famous expressions:
“bring ‘em on” and getting Osama bin Laden
“dead or alive.” But then two days later, on January
15, he said there would be no need for further questioning of
the nation’s Iraq policy… such matters, he suggested,
were answered and dealt with by his “mandated win”
of a second term in November.
The day after President Bush named him homeland security secretary,
Tom Ridge visited the Arizona home of a friend whose lobbying
firm represented companies that were later awarded contracts
by Ridge’s department. The trip was the first of two Ridge
made in late 2002 and early 2003 to spend time off at the Scottsdale,
Ariz., home of prominent Bush-Cheney fund-raiser David Girard-diCarlo.
Six days before Ridge’s visit, Girard-diCarlo had taken
out a $3 million loan on the newly built home. After the first
visit, two of Ridge’s aides were hired as homeland security
lobbyists by Girard-diCarlo, whose political fund-raising in
Pennsylvania in the 1990s was instrumental in Ridge’s
election as the state’s governor. At the time of Ridge’s
trips to Arizona, Girard-diCarlo’s firm represented Raytheon,
one of a team of companies that Homeland Security recently awarded
border protection work worth up to $10 billion over the next
Homeland security officials have said they believe Ridge acted
ethically because he paid his own way on the trips and never
discussed business with Girard-diCarlo.