(letters from February 16, 2006)
To the Phoenicia Water District taxpayers:
I hope everyone listened carefully at the wastewater treatment
plant meeting at the Shandaken town hall the night of January
31st. You now have your tax bill for 2006 - you'll wish next
year that your 2007 tax bill would be that low! Your county
jail is up to 20% cost overrun (and still rising) and we -the
taxpayers- can't get any explanation why from either political
party! Your Phoenicia Water Tax bill was 137% higher - but
wait 'till next year's tax. There is still $150,000 -$200,000
more to spend to complete it!
I think as taxpayers we should have a complete accounting
- to whom and how much - as to how the grant money for this
filtration plant was spent. And who said to have it built
on a floodway? Some of the boulders and fill it was built
on were washed away in the April 2 flood. And the erosion
it is causing across the way has to be faced up to. These
are mistakes that have been made and have got to be corrected
- but - for our sake - let's prevent making another even bigger
Yes - I'm talking about the wastewater treatment plant that
is proposed - much, much larger and much more expensive than
the filtration plant. At the meeting January 31st, the committee's
lawyer from Albany ($1,200 every meeting) was asked who pays
for any cost overrun on this project. He quickly replied that
the Phoenicia Sewer District would be responsible! Think of
it - this could easily run one or two million over the estimate.
And you thought that tax from the $50,000 cost overrun on
the filtration plant was bad? Do you think this would be enough
to bankrupt Phoenicia?
Also, the questions on flooding still were not answered. I've
seen maps for the pipe locations - and I know that on our
property on Main Street I saw deeper holes caused by the 1980
flood than the depth the pipes will be. If one of these pipes
are broken or cracked - leaking sewage into the stream - we
will be fined plenty by DEC. If you think I'm wrong - ask
them to be responsible and put it in writing that we won't
We still are hearing that NYC has to maintain our septic systems
if we don't build the plant - at no cost to us. Yet we hear
from the committee and lawyer that this is not true - but
I think we should have that confirmation in writing from NYC.
Now we come to the easements (right of way) for the pipes.
If you are one of the unlucky ones that the pipes go through
your land - the easements will be 25 feet wide - with restrictions.
One big thing is you can never put a building over the easement.
This wouldn't be so bad - but picture a 25 foot easement on
property in Phoenicia that is mainly divided into 1/4 or 1/2
acre lots! Oh yes, if you don't give them that easement -
those nasty words came up at the last meeting - eminant domain!
In the beginning we were told that the plant would be small
and very little could be added to it. At the last meeting
it was discussed about Chichester (at no cost to them) being
added on - along with all the houses on Rt.214 between Phoenicia
As I said before - nobody is against this but let NYC take
the responsibility, the cost of the system, and the maintenance.
Give us the same as Chichester, Pine Hill, Tannersville, Grand
Gorge, and Margaretville. We can't help that it was turned
down many years ago - restrictions have changed a lot since
There are still many other questions. Everyone from the Phoenicia
Water District - make sure to come to these meetings before
we all lose our homes to taxes.
Having recently attended our 20th Snow Ball, this everyday
skier and this wannabe trophy wife were not amused by the
snide commentary of your intrepid reporters, Violet and Sparrow.
Perhaps they are unaware that it is unseemly to bite the hand
that feeds you.
In any event, Sparrow was dashing in his tuxedo and not at
all reminiscent of a Mafiosi and Violet looked elegant in
her 20 year old outfit. We are glad that they were able to
successfully navigate the rough stone dance floor. It should
not be overlooked that the event took place in a ski lodge
where the customary footwear is ski boots.
By the way, we found it particularly annoying that total strangers
would mischaracterize the politics of so many people. Republicans,
John and Janet Fishkind
Big Indian, NY
I commend and thank you for your recent “A Nation at
Stake” editorial about Al Gore’s Martin Luther
King Day speech. I was out of the country when it was delivered,
so I didn’t hear it; can’t wait to get my hands
on a copy.
At the same time, I respectfully wish to draw your attention
your phrase “...our founding father’s vision of
a nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and so on...”
That is erroneous. Neither the Constitution nor the Bill of
Rights contains any language referring to ...”a nation
under God.” A variation of that controversial phrase
became part of our nationalist lexicon more than 50 years
ago, a time of almost hysterical fear of so-called “Godless”
It’s important to remember that the Europeans who first
settled in America came here because of religious persecution
in their native lands, mainly from the Anglican church.
Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and most of the other
founders, though they respected people of faith and their
right to that faith, did not believe in God and therefore
wanted to keep Church and State separate. In writing the Constitution,
Jefferson’s main argument was that all governments derive
their legitimacy from the consent of the governed and that
a government without such consent had no authority to rule.
Jefferson chose the word “Creator” instead of
“God” because he, like many of his revolutionary
colleagues, were deists. (Some members of the Continental
Congress were theists, others atheists.) Jefferson was contemptuous
of the idea that a “God” truly interfered in the
lives of men and he despised clergymen all his adult life.
“The earth belongs to the living,” he said. No
statesman of his time would match Jefferson in his hatred
of established faith, particularly the Anglican Church. During
the Revolution, the destruction of the power of the Anglican
Church became one of his chief goals. According to one of
Jefferson’s biographers, “...his distrust of clergymen
as factionalists, schismatizers, and imprisoners of the human
spirit continued to his death.“
As a younger man, he had proposed legislation to separate
church and state forever in his native Virginia, though he
was not confident that it could. In urging that the church
be curbed he pointed out that it was still legal to burn a
heretic in Virginia. Notes on the State of Virginia, a text
Jefferson wrote many years before he became President, is
described in a 1955 edition as “probably the most important
scientific and political book written by an American before
1785...” In it, Jefferson said, “Millions of innocent
men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity,
have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have
not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the
effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and
the other half hypocrites.”
Mt. Tremper, NY
It seems impossible that anyone who fly fishes seriously has
not learned of the master’s death by now. If through
some space-time warp you are unaware of Ernie Schwiebert’s
death, you should know that he passed away December 10, 2005
at home in Princeton, New Jersey surrounded by his family.
He was 74, and succumbed to renal cancer.
He was a genius, of course. I won’t list the proofs
of this, but they are many. Above all, he was fascinated with
the act of writing (and illustrating). His precise placement
and use of words—wonderful words—delivered to
us the multi-layered tale of his gentlemanly, lifelong obsession
in pursuit of salmo.
It is tempting to quote him. His book DEATH OF A RIVER KEEPER
leaps to mind, as do others—MATCHING THE HATCH, or his
magnum opus TROUT. But I think the words of his son Erik fit
best here—they are generational. Erik wrote them ten
years before Ernie’s death, about Ernie’s father.
In their way they tell you more about Ernie than you might
THOUGHTS ABOUT GRANDFATHER SCHWIEBERT ON OCT. 17, 1995
On the prestigious occasion of my grandfather’s 100th
birthday, I thought it important to write about my thoughts
and admiration for him during these family celebrations. I
remember one particularly memorable anecdote out of many special
Shortly before his 90th birthday, my grandfather, my father
and I all shared a wonderful fishing experience on our favorite
trout stream at Henryville, Pennsylvania. It was a memorable
day of flyfishing. I stayed with my grandfather through that
entire day, helping him wade the stream, although at ninety
years of age, he was still able to stand alone in the current
and cast to the opposite bank, where the trout were lying.
He was fishing a dry fly in the riffling throat of the Buttonwood
Pool, and on a particularly good cast, when the fly dropped
tight against the roots, a fish rose and took his fly. We
were both startled.
When he struck to hook the fish, the fly broke free from the
delicate tippet. We were both disappointed, but my grandfather
stayed the entire day to watch my father catch more than his
share, which he does too easily, and watched me catch a few
Before my grandfather returned to Florida, he asked me to
catch the fish that had stolen his fly. My father and I returned
two weeks later, and went back to the Buttonwood. I had momentarily
forgotten my grandfather’s instructions in the excitement
of fishing again, but worked upstream through the riffle where
we had broken off his fish.
As my fly drifted on the riffling currents along the bank,
a large trout rose quietly to intercept its float. I hooked
the fish, and during its strong fight, in traveled twice downstream
to visit my father, who was fishing under the sycamores. It
was a sixteen-inch wild brown trout, if memory serves. But
while I was removing my fly to release the fish, I found another
dry fly seated in its jaw. It was also a fly that I had tied,
a matching olive-bodied Henryville Special in size fourteen.
Its hook was slightly bent and rusted, and the point broke
off when I pushed it free.
It was the fly that my grandfather had lost!
And on this exciting occasion for the entire Schwiebert clan,
I am reminded that my grandfather has always encouraged us,
transmitting his energies and gifts to help us excel in both
work and life. I am inspired by his grace, the stubbornness
of his scholarly passion, his blessed longevity, and his strong
love for our family. I work tirelessly to make him proud of
me, and believe I might share some of his wonderful luck as
Our trout told me this secret. Erik Schwiebert
You might wonder how I got hold of Erik’s homage to
his grandfather in the first place—certainly a very
private family message. And you might well ask what reason
it has being in this letter (this being a missive aimed at
making connections to Woodland Brook, and, let us be frank,
one that is calculated to put the squeeze on you for some
Ten years back I was pulling together a book to honor my father
after his death, full of his Esopus and Woodland Brook writings.
Eventually I gathered up my courage and phoned Ernie to ask
him to write an introduction. I did this with the misgivings
of a youngster asking a girl out for a first date. Though
Ernie and my father had known each other, I fully expected
the master to turn me down. I could offer him no money, and
he was one of the busiest men in the world.
No problem. Ernie immediately agreed, and wrote a wonderful
homage to my father and his fishing, which I treasure. In
the course of talking back and forth we shared stories of
small streams, and fishing, and fathers, and sons learning
from fathers—a series of shared reminiscences that I
also treasure. And in this spirit he sent me a copy of Erik’s
story, as well as his own words commemorating his father’s
It reminded me of so many similar stream adventures that I
(and my sister) had had with our father (and with our mother
for that matter) on Woodland Brook and the Esopus. So that
is how you, dear reader, have become privy to these lovely
Schwiebert words as well. They deserve to be shared.
If my tenuous record keeping is correct, this is the forty-first
annual Woodland Trout letter begging alms. It will allow us,
I hope, the wherewithal again to stock Woodland Brook’s
fly-fishing section with hardy, strenuous browns, and to have
some fun doing it. First Fred Muehleck, then Paul O’Neil,
and now I (all fellows with father and son fishing stories
to tell) ask you to help so that you too might enjoy the possibility
of creating your own such bonds. Please make out a check to
THE WOODLAND TROUT FUND in the amount you feel the Brook and
the stocking effort deserve, and send it to Mike O’Neil,
101 Rambling Road, Vernon, CT 06066.
Woodland Valley, NY
I have been playing "catch up" with the Phoenicia
Times of January 19, 2006 and find a very stressful letter
written by a very distressed person.
Let me preface that with my comment based on experts in the
field [Game Animals of North America by Leonard Lee Rue III;
Stuart L. Free, Sr. Biologist, NYS DEC; Albert W. Erickson,
Bell Museum of Natural History; C.R. Harington, Canadian Wildlife
Service] of a letter from Jo-Anne Rowley of Phoenicia who
states that "the bears are bedded down....." and
they arn't. The weather has been such that the bears have
been up and about and as of this date, February 3, 2006 they
are still roaming around. The old hibernation theory is just
that; a theory. Makes a good bedtime story. The bears in northern
Canada will get into a cave or shelter in the side of a hill
but will come out on a warm [for them], sunny day. As for
the bird feeders; "that's for the birds". Who is
going to feed them when you are gone? Have they ever built
a hospital or a senior bird center? But I digress.
The stressful letter I alluded to above is from Mr. Brendan
Maidian whom I and any psychiatrist or psychologist would
characterize as vicious, disingenuous and one who bears false
witness. The "vicious" and "disingenuous"
is obvious in his presentation and the "one who bears
false witness" becomes quite apparent in that Mr Maidian
cites no sources; he just spews his hate off the top of his
Let me inquire of Mr. Maidian that which I strongly suspect;
you are an immigrant or your folks were. Welcome to the country
of your choice where you may do that which you do best; throw
"verbal" bombs and the American constitution [First
Ammendment] protects your right to do so.
Mr. Maidian charges that the Bush brothers "rigged"
the election of 2000 and fails to credit his source(s). My
source that the election was legal and fair is the manner
in which the Constitution directs the Presidential election;
The states will regulate those elections [of Electors] except
for the day of the election which is to be all states on the
same day. The U.S. Supreme Court directed the Supreme Court
of Florida to "just follow the law". Of course the
media of that time continued on with their own recount until
they admitted that Mr Bush had indeed won [AP]. Then the absentee
military votes [for Bush] began to pile up because most military
mail does not get post marked from APO's and NPO's [also AP
and NY Times]. It is true that Al Gore of Washington, DC;
finally of Tennessee won the popular vote but guess what?
The Constitution promotes the "electoral" system
in that small states have a level playing field with large
states. This is a Republic Mr. Maidian, not a medieval fiefdom.
Then we have 9/11, seven months following GW Bush's inauguration.
Mr. Bush was never an official in Washington prior and had
very little time to organize with the terrorists. Mr Maidian
again cites no sources as to Mr. Bush's "partnership"
with the terrorists who have been shown to have attended colleges,
flight schools, traveled to training camps and planned for
over two years [TV news and wire services]. When the Twin
Towers were attacked the president was informed and yes, he
kept reading to the children. Many psychologists, teachers
and counselors [including Dr. Phil (on Oprah)] stated that
the president did just right. What else was he supposed to
do Mr. Maidian? Run around like Chicken Little? After all,
the sky was indeed falling. He then was whisked onto Air Force
One by the Secret Service and flew off and away from whatever
might be coming as part of a larger attack. He also had a
fighter escort until AF-1 put down. The Vice-president was
also taken into "custody" because of the nature
of the assault. [I think he was in a Guiness "aging"
cellar]. This is what we do in America, sir. Of course in
some places terrorists open fire on funerals at the cemetary
and the mourners become as dead as the deceased.
The Patriot Act traces it's genesis to 1978 [Cong. Record]
when George Bush was dancing on the local tavern bars in Houston;
he was not president. Now, I am opposed to violation of the
Fourth Ammendment Mr. Maidian but I want you to site your
source as to the Bush officials and administration implimenting
that provision of "breaking and entering" without
a search warrant. Mr. Clinton's agents did it in the Aldrich
Ames case. You remember that, don't you?
Mr. Bush as Governor Bush did not send any record number of
"evil doers" to their death; the criminals, mutants
and mis-fits did that for themselves with the assistance of
the good Texas jurors, the sentencing judges and the appeals
justices. Gov. Bush may have laughed or giggled when describing
an appeal by or for Karla Faye Tucker who was executed on
Feb. 03, 1998 [but so would I]. Ms. Tucker [Brown] had been
convicted of murdering Jerry Lynn Dean and Deborah Thornton
with a pickax on June 13, 1983 and freely admitted it [TV,
Radio & Print of the day]. Ms Tucker outlived her victims
by 14 years. Again you cite no source, sir. Just a lot of
[your] facts based on a fertile imagination filled with hate.
Even Hitler gets honorable mention along with Stalin. You
forgot Aids, Mr. Maidian. Bush did that?
Mr. Maidian pleads with anyone to prove him wrong. Well, Mr.
Maidian, the ball is in your court and one thing that I can
prove is that by your letter and it's content you are a vile,
hateful and vicious person; not a man; not a human being.
I am not a Bush supporter but the truth is quite important
and a virtue which you are devoid of.
Now go out and yell "fire" in a crowded theatre
or meeting hall. Do it! I will defend your right to do it.
Glenn T. Anderson
Dear Conservative Friends,
I have previously accused you of ingoring the Truth. In case
you are simply unaware, here are a 10 truths to think about.
Truth: The Downing Street Memo reveals that Bush decided to
overthrow Saddam Hussein in the summer of 2002.
Truth: Jack Abramoff remembers meetings that Bush dishonestly
denies. “The guy saw me in almost a dozen settings,
and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details
of my kids. Perhaps he has forgotten everything, who knows.”
– Jack Abramoff
Truth: Tom Delay, indicted for financial corruption, has been
appointed to the House Appropriations Committee. What a great
place for crooks, dispensing
Truth: Lewis “Scooter” Libby testified to a federal
grand jury that he had been "authorized" by his
Vice President Dick Cheney, and other White House "superiors"
to disclose classified information to journalists to defend
the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence.
Truth: The Bush administration never alerted the Mayor of
Los Angeles, about the alleged terrorist plot against his
city, "I'm amazed the President would make this announcement
on national television and not inform us of the details through
appropriate channels." - Mayor Villaraigosa
Truth: Bush knew the New Orleans Levees failed a full day
before he claimed to have found out.
Truth: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker
Dennis Hastert engineered a backroom legislative maneuver
to protect pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits by secretly
slipping in language to a DOD appropriations bill AFTER it
had been voted on.
Truth: Spying on Americans is ILLEGAL!
Truth: So is torture!
Truth: Tens of thousands of human beings are dead and hundreds
of thousands seriously maimed and wounded, thanks to the self-proclaimed
Are you still feeling safe and secure?
David J. Turan
Did you know...
1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by two companies:
Diebold and ES&S.
2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or
oversight of the voting machine industry.
3. The vice president of Diebold and the president of ES&S
4. The [recently resigned] chairman and CEO of Diebold is
a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003
that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral
votes to the president next year."
5. Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S.
Hebecame senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.
6. Hagel, long connected with the Bush family, was recently
caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate
7. Hagel was on a short list of George W Bush's vice presidential
. 8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in
the US and counts almost 60% of all US votes.
9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper
trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify
that the data coming out of the. machine is .the same as what
was legitimately put in by voters.
10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket
machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate
a paper trail.
11. Diebold is based in Ohio.
12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as consultants and
developers to help write the central compiler computer code
that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.
13. Jeff Dean was senior vice president of Global Election
Systems when it was bought by Diebold. Even though he had
been convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree,
Jeff Dean was retained as a consultant by Diebold and was
largely responsible for programming the optical scanning software
now used in most of the United States.
14. Diebold consultant Jeff Dean was convicted of planting
"back doors" in his software and using a "high
degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period
of 2 years.
15. None of the international election observers were allowed
in the polls in Ohio.
16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because
the secuity was so bad. Despite Diebold’s claims that
the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able
to do it. (see the movie at www.bbv-docs.org/videos/baxterVPR.mov/).
17. 30% of all US votes are carried out on unverifiable touch
screen voting machines with no paper trail.
18. All - not some - but all the voting machine errors detected
and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican
19. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the president's brother.
20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida - again always favoring
Bush - have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are
recommending further investigation.
Sources are available at nightweed.com/usavotefacts.html.
HR 550 the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act
of 2005 by Rep. Rush Holt, D-NJ, would allow voters to verify
their ballots and election officials to conduct meaningful
recounts. See also verifiedvoting.org.
I n arguing in favor of the proposed mega-resort at Belleayre,
Shandaken Town Board member Joe Munster has been quoted as
quipping that “trees don’t pay taxes; tourists
Mr. Munster is half right. The fact is that all wild or forest
lands owned by New York State within the forest preserve are
taxable for all purposes. Yet that is only part of the story,
for trees do something more than just pay taxes; they offer
local governments a net gain in revenue, thus helping to offset
the net tax loss from developed land.
From Maine to California, from upstate to downstate, study
after study has demonstrated this fact: development drains
the local treasury, while open, undeveloped land adds to it.
Development brings increases in property taxes because it
invariably requires new public expenditures to create and
service the infrastructure for growth. Here’s the equation,
as measured in studies from across the nation: for every tax
dollar collected on undeveloped land and open space, government
expenses are about 55 cents; for every tax dollar collected
on developed land, government expenses are about $1.15. Bottom
line: development costs more than it contributes.
This is one reason why municipalities committed to open space
preservation have typically been issued better bonding rates
than those that allow development without reservation or qualification.
Once lost, open space cannot be retrieved, and the long-term
costs of its loss tend to be prohibitive. Preserved as undeveloped
land, open space constitutes a non-depreciating, non-reproducible
asset that offers increasing benefits over time. Among these
measurable benefits are non-market ecosystem services—components
of nature directly enjoyed, consumed, or used to yield human
well-being; retention of the potential for other future uses;
and subsidy of other land uses. Of immeasurable benefit, of
course, for current and succeeding generations, is the public
environmental value of open space.
Mr. Munster has offered a disingenuous sound-bite, but the
reality is that the same trees that hold the very land we
stand on also hold the key to a sustainable economic future.
Trees don’t just cost nothing; they actually pay us
back for their existence in hard cash.
That’s a reality Ulster County’s legislators can
take to the bank.
Chairman, Catskill Heritage Alliance
CORETTA SCOTT KING D. 1-30-06/STATE OF THE UNION 1-31-06
You had the grace
to die a day early
leaving the demons full court
though you watch and denude them
bare in their puerile concoctions
You are gone from our plank of
but we who are pierced by
continue glad that you suffer
no longer the hell you have left.
I was shocked to read that Al Spada, who retired after 39
years as Ulster County Clerk, is now accepting a job to do
P.R. for the unpopular Seneca-Cayuga-Thomas Wilmot casino
development project, bringing with him his political connections
to fight the very towns that paid his salary for his working
life, in order to push something which most agree would spoil
our area while enriching government coffers.
With Al Spada at the helm, the fight to keep the casinos out
will be longer and more expensive. Why should we be forced
into this fight? And why is it OK for a former government
official to turn against the very people he served?
It seems everywhere we turn, proposed development along the
Hudson, such as the one planned for the Rondout Creek in Kingston,
pits big money interests against our small neighboring cities
and towns. We are being asked to pay for both sides of the
This goes against the very foundations of good government.
People need good jobs, affordable healthcare, clean air and
water, access to recreation and in our area, access to out
beautiful Hudson River. Is everything we have grown up with
suddenly for sale to the highest bidder? Who looks out of
out interests? We do not need to be expected to first pay
the high cost of government, then have to dip into our pockets
a second time in order to fight that government in order to
maintain a good quality of life here in the Hudson Valley.
I am writing regarding your article about officials Bonacic,
Hinchey and others who are blaming the New York City Department
of Environmental Protection for problems with flooding. Villifying
the NYC DEP is a political step for Bonacic and others who
want to gain support from area residents.
The Vly Stream in Fleischmanns flooded its banks last April
and I had to evacuate my home. The reason had nothing to do
with any reservoirs but is a result of the effects of global
warming such as a sudden rise in temperature, heavy rain and
eight inches of snow already on the ground.
Senator Bonacic, in particular, encourages residents to sue
the NYC DEP to hold them accountable for our flooding. Rather
than increasing lawsuits, Senator Bonacic and others ought
work to improve conditions in the Catskills. They should stop
supporting the current administration in Washington which
allows large corporations to continue their greenhouse gas
emissions and discounts every environmental issue that has
come before it. They should promote environmental projects
such as more mass transportation and less cars. They should
educate the public about conserving energy. They should maintain
all infrastructure to minimize flooding. Our officials should
stick to the facts and apply themselves to improving conditions
in their own backyard and the world.
I read, “Snowball” in the Feb. 2nd issue by Sparrow
and Violet Snow with enjoyment and a good laugh!
I was impressed with their music knowledge, observations,
French Dadaism commentary, and colorful use of the words,
Mafioso garb, affluence, populist sports, Republicans, Democrats,
chartreuse rhinestones, Navaho jewelry (by Shokan resident
Jean Duffy), us, them, local, non-local, trophy wives, secret
boyfriends, tofu, writing style (a la Tom Wolfe in Bonfire
of the Vanities and his description of a cocktail party),
etc., etc., etc.
What in the world did all of that have to do with the annual
Their review of the annual event told me more about the two
of them, than
the Snowball. Perhaps they were a little uncomfortable. After
reading their column, I sensed that they would have been more
at home at a Woodstock Reunion or a Dead concert. They did
say the food (Main Course Caterers, New Paltz) and band (Special
Delivery, Ossining) were great, but perhaps Violet and Sparrow
felt like fish out of water. As guests of the Coalition, I
hope they had fun.
I would like to make a few corrections. If they had spent
a moment and looked at the program, they would have observed
that the Chair of the event this year and for the past nine
years has been Judy (not Carol) Shiner. There were 275, not
200 guests. Violet reported that almost everyone there was
not a local. In fact, almost everyone there was a business
owner or a homeowner in Ulster, Delaware, or Greene County.
Violet and Sparrow sat at table #15 in which there were 12
guests. Nine were local and 3 were friends of Ward Todd from
out of the area. “French Dadaism”… I had
to look it up. Webster stated “a movement in the arts
based on deliberate irrationality and negation of traditional
values.” Oh well. I guess a great night of good food,
good music, good company with a good purpose is not for everyone!
Now about the Snowball, which the article said very little
about. This annual event is a fundraiser and celebration for
both the Coalition for Belleayre (they called it the Friends
of Belleayre) and for the Belleayre Music Festival. Everyone
attending has a deep commitment to the success of Belleayre:
winter, summer, and all year! Belleayre Ski Center was not
closed in 1985, a result of the hard work of all of the “populist,”
“affluent,” “Republicans” and “Mafioso”.
We really didn’t care what their
political persuasion was. The possible closing of Belleayre
would have been an economic disaster to the area. Through
our hard work, the mountain was kept open and the Route 28
corridor is alive and well. The growth of the Music Festival,
with its world-class music has been a wonderful addition.
On behalf of the 141 “trophy wives” and “secret
girlfriends” that Violet and Sparrow alluded to, thank
you. What about some of those trophy husbands? I think I spotted
a few! I guess we all looked pretty good, as did both of you.
Sorry Sparrow, about “your small red grapes getting
bruised on the plastic chairs.” Perhaps skier’s
grapes don’t crush so easily. I would hope that the
“us” and “them” titles could be dropped
from future reporting. Come down from your perch Mr. Sparrow
and join the fun.
Judy Shiner, Local
Big Indian, NY
May a cartoonist get a word in edgewise? The New York Times
is making a mistake.
You are all Word people. Good for you. But when the New York
Times said, "especially since the cartoons are so easy
to describe in words," it was WRONG.
Cartoons are not prose. They don't work the same. In this
case, the words make them sound WORSE!
I'd like to see all twelve. And the added things. And the
photos of Bush with Abramoff.
Granted, the Times has an extra arrogant, smug squeamishness
A burden us cartoonists must bear.