(letters from February 2, 2006)
I am writing to encourage members of the Onteora Central School
District Community to attend the Board of Education Meeting
scheduled for Tuesday, February 7th, at 7 PM at the Phoenicia
Elementary School. At that meeting the architects who have
been hired by the Board will be making an important presentation.
As you may recall, the architects have been meeting with Onteora
faculty and staff members and PTA/Community Members and have
been analyzing the condition of our buildings for the last
several months. They have recently completed and submitted
to the State a required Building Conditions Survey. Now they
are ready to present a Master Plan Update to the Board of
Education on Tuesday, February 7th. I hope you can join us
for what I know will be an important step in the process being
followed by our Board of Education to plan thoughtfully for
the upkeep and improvements needed in our buildings.
If you are unable to attend the February 7th Board of Education
Meeting, you may access the Master Plan Update the following
day on our district website, www.onteora.k12.ny.us. We are
maintaining on the website all of the presentations made by
the architects so that community members can stay informed.
This is an exciting time in the Onteora Central School District,
because we have the opportunity to plan for future generations
of Onteora students, and we hope that you will participate
in the process. Please don’t hesitate to contact me
at 657-8851 or email@example.com if you have questions.
I hope to see many community members at our February 7th Board
of Education Meeting at 7PM at the Phoenicia Elementary School.
Justine C. Winters,
Superintendent of Schools
Onteora Central School District
We have read many of the letters from our neighbors on Woodland
Valley Road objecting to Mr. Poncic’s application for
a Special Use Permit to Harvest water. We agree with the concerns
voiced as to the safety issues arising from heavy tankers
using Woodland Valley Road and as to the water in the stream
in terms of recreational uses, environmental concerns and
fire hazards caused by lowering the stream level.
But we write as lawyers failing to understand why the Planning
Board is acting with such basic disregard of the clear mandates
of the Zoning Law of the Town of Shandaken and logical and
legal principles and procedures set up to protect the public.
The Zoning Law requires public hearings on any special use
permit application. See Section116.42B. The State’s
Town Law also requires such public hearings. Town Law Sections
264(1) and 265(1). See also Matter of Gernatt Asphalt v. Town
of Sardinia, 87 N.Y.2d 668 (1996). A cursory review of applicable
case law uniformly shows that such hearings are held for this
type of application. There are many reasons for such a requirement,
including, of course, the right of the public to see and hear
what is being presented to our public officials. But, equally
importantly, our public officials must be secure enough with
their decisions to face the general public and engage in the
appropriate interplay before rendering decisions.
Second, contrary to suggestions we have been hearing, the
grant of a Special Use Permit is not a right to be given merely
because the application process has been followed. Such compliance
is only a prerequisite to the Board’s power to consider
the application. A Special permit is available only in the
discretion of the Board, after evaluating the applicant’s
request in terms of the general standards spelled out in the
Zoning Law. These standards include the public heath, safety
and general welfare, the comfort and convenience of the public
in general and the immediate neighbors in particular. Section
116-39. Applying these General Standards mandates the denial
of this application. The Planning Board is a creature of the
Law and may not act in a manner inconsistent with the laws
grant to it of authority under the law.
We find it distressing that the Board appears to be acting
so contrary to the Zoning Laws, and will require the Town
to incur legal fees in order for the Board to learn to follow
the clear mandate of the applicable and clear provisions of
the enabling provisions. This is not in the best interest
of the Town.
Nathan Z. Dershowitz
Marilyn B. Dershowitz
As 35 year tax paying residents of the Town of Shandaken with
a family presence in Woodland Valley for over a hundred years,
we wish to go on record in opposition to this ill conceived
and self-serving plan (the Poncic Water Harvesting proposal)
which directly flaunts the wishes and well-being of nearly
all the residents of Woodland Valley. This plan unquestionably
breaches both the intent and many specific parts of our town’s
R-5 zoning laws, with clear intentions of misleading the Planning
Do these laws not exist for the protection of both our residents
and visitors, and our preciously precarious environment? Or
are they written with loopholes for the benefit of commercial
Switching from potable to non potable water trucking may have
been a brilliant move on Mr. Poncic’s part but it also
makes the purpose of his venture highly suspect. He can easily
obtain non-potable water from many legal sources including
Turco water out of Rosendale who will even truck it for him.
We each have our suspicions as to his reasons but unfortunately
they are therefore inadmissible at this point.
Simply on a superstructure basis alone it should not be permitted.
Only recently 3 bridges serving Woodland Valley have been
replaced and there are several aging smaller bridges and numerous
culverts that, under the pounding of regular 30 ton trucks,
will soon have to be dealt with – not to mention the
narrow, winding road with perpetually crumbling, often shoulder-less
edges, which on many curves (some blind) will represent a
real hazard to pedestrians and cyclists. And there are the
visual / psychological affronts we are supposedly protected
against in our zoning and the definite threat to property
We ask each member of the board to seriously consider how
you would feel about the project if you lived on Woodland
Valley - or if this trucking venture were planned to interrupt
your residential tranquility 4 times a day.
And my concerns go beyond Woodland Valley. The passing of
this commercial encroachment into our pristine residential
dead end road will set a precedent threatening all of our
lovely hollows and valleys in Shandaken.
Mr. Poncic’s identified site plan is insufficient, misrepresented
and does not meet requirements.
The very specs of his site plan are seriously misrepresented
and appear illegal re: proximity to the environmentally sensitive
A few years back Mr. Poncic himself led a campaign opposing
the modest expansion of a pre-existing campsite because it
would “detract from the wonderful rural nature of Woodland
Only this past August (in spite of his hydrologist’s
flawed representation) Mr. Poncic himself had a fire consuming
an entire structure and even though it was raining at the
time, our firefighters had to go a half mile down valley to
find 2 pockets with enough water in the creek to fight it.
There have already been several tragic losses of life in auto
accidents in recent years on our charmingly narrow valley
road. I understand one of Mr. Poncic’s own relatives
came close to losing her life in a bad roll over accident.
Dare you even consider further burdening us with regular huge
truck traffic which by necessity, must consume both lanes
on several of our turns – not to mention turning them
around just before our busy State Campsite, the fameous hiking
“Long Path” and part of our National Trail System.
Please consider the wear and tear on our little road, its
crumbling shoulders, ancient bridges and culverts; The added
diesel fumes and dust pollution in our front yards 4 times
a day and most likely idling while filling; The visual disruption
in our bucolic valley of turn-arounds, storage hut and plastic
pipe bridging our stream; The perhaps subtle but none the
less disruptive impact on our fish, wildlife and vegetation;
The sheer affront of the first purely commercial venture in
six miles of our pristine valley, half of which is (supposedly)
restricted as Residential, R-5 thus setting a very bad precedent
for the rest of our residential areas.
As for the water itself which his hydrologist regards as “inconsequential”,
he has only to witness our occasional droughts as a fisherman
We understand that, because of the close nature of our valley,
it is virtually impossible for Mr. Poncic to meet legal setback
requirements or to provide the legally required screening
to avoid adversely affecting the natural, visual beauty of
the neighborhood and several homesteads in particular - thus
requiring immediate neighbors to continually endure his extractive
operation up close from their front porches.
Please weigh the minimal ‘economic development’
advantages of this project against all the inconveniences,
property value loss, ecological disruption and actual physical
dangers this ‘water harvesting’ project threatens,
and ask yourselves if this is the precedent this Shandaken
Planning Board wishes to establish.
Our PB members must recognize that they not only have ample
legal reasons to deny this precedent setting application,
but an overwhelming public opposition to it as well.
And on a larger scale:
- We question how NYC’s DEP can permit the actual removal
of “their” water (as defined when they insist
on dictating our local usage as merely allowing us to “borrow”
their water - on the condition that we return it to the ground
using their standards);
- If you remember a few years back, NY State put a stop to
Middle Eastern tankers from ‘stealing our’ Hudson
River water as ballast, because they might be profiting from
shipping it back to their arid countries.
- How can the DEC permit this incursion into “their”
protected forest and stream (again) (when they won’t
even let us protect our own properties from flood waters)?
- And how can our own town permit such a commercial precedent
so negatively impacting the lives of some 400 plus tax paying
residents for the sole benefit of one man’s profit,
no tax base and who I don’t believe even resides here?
Is it a misconception that our zoning regulations exist for
the protection of our residents and of our delicate environment?
If you want to put up a shed on your property that is one
foot oversize you must get the consent of your neighbors.
But if a developer comes in and wants to drastically change
the traffic, the landscape, indeed our very way of life for
his personal profit, he is welcomed even though virtually
all of his neighbors for six residential miles are drastically
opposed to how his wanton commercialism will adversely effect
I ask the members of the Planning Board what they would do
if they had chosen to make their home 6 miles up a quiet,
dead end residential road in the geographic heart of our Catskill
Park only to have that sylvan lifestyle disrupted by such
a commercial venture; how they would feel about their property
values being threatened; or how they would then have to time
their country walks or jogging constitutionals so as to avoid
the hazards of regular heavy truck traffic on our otherwise
bucolic country road. And how would you feel when your Zoning
Board refused to have an open public forum on such a controversial
issue – and even refused to explain why!
Because of the controversial nature of this project we feel
it is an affront to our residents not to have an open forum
on the matter. All we can do is appeal to the consciences
of our PB members and hope they can project themselves into
our predicament. There are abundant legal reasons for you
to simply deny this proposal.
Mr. Poncic’s timing is unfortunately typical but effective.
Wait until the vacation season is over and hope the ‘locals’
won’t get it together in time to effect a legitimate
opposition. But with the help of our compassionate PB members
we trust we will be heard and his absurd proposal will ultimately
We have no objection to home computer businesses, B&Bs,
cottage industries, and other inoffensive, low profile, ecological
economic development in our neighborhoods but Mr. Poncic’s
proposal is out of the question from any reasonable perspective.
We therefore beseech our Shandaken Planning Board zoning representatives
to respond to the outcry of so many long time local taxpayers
in and around Woodland Valley to reject this one-sided controversial
Dakin and Doris Morehouse
Woodland Valley, NY
I love my home in Woodland Valley. I love the quiet. love
the smell. I love the fact that I'm living in a virtual wilderness
area less than 2 hours from the most bustling metropolis in
this nation. I love the fact that last September I delighted
to look out of my kitchen window to the meandering stream
that Mr. Poncic claims has no native trout population, and
watch a spawning rainbow trout that must have been 2 ft. in
length slowly make it's way upstream.
I'm a romantic. I'll admit it. But judging by the numerous
conversations I've had with my neighbors and fellow residents
over the past 13 years that I've lived here, I'm not alone.
And I can state one thing with certainty. For whatever it's
worth, and I can only trust that it is indeed worth something,
the people of this valley categorically don't want this project
to move forward.
I took the time to thoroughly read Mr Poncic's DEIS. I'll
admit that it is very well laid out, but I'm sure that if
we summoned our own "experts", we could come up
with a very different perspective. And it is a matter of perspective,
but who’s? Certainly the scientific conclusions that
have been made regarding thermal load, effects of altered
water levels on fish population etc. could be questioned ad
nauseum.. Michael O'neil for one, who along with his father
before him has spent more than a half century studying the
ecology of the Woodland Valley Creek, would get my vote of
confidence over a hired gun any day. And he has serious questions
about the accuracy of that document.. There are simply too
many questions about it. But I'm not sure that debating the
science of the whole thing is really the point. The point
is that we don't want it.!! Doesn't that count for anything?
It seems unconscionable that the planning board is somehow
finding justification to block a public hearing on this issue.
We deserve to be heard. Could it be that you are afraid of
what we have to say, or of how passionately we are likely
to say it? We have to live in this valley and don't want huge
trucks rumbling up the road, and unsightly tubes crossing
our beautiful stream. Though Mr. Ponic provides us with data
that suggests that the road is really perfectly well-suited
for a 32.5 TON truck, logic and common sense would dicate
otherwise. He states that it's ONLY four times a day.. I would
say that four times a day is a hell of alot. I think others
would wholeheartedly agree. Again, it's a matter of perspective.
Who's perspective SHOULD be considered ,if not ours? It's
really that simple. We live here. And furthermore, we don't
like the precedent that it sets. While we all realize that
economic growth is important ,and that each of us is entitled
to exploit his/her own property, the feelings of the people
need also to be considered.
We don't want it. We urge the Town Planning Board to seriously
consider that fact...
Woodland Valley, NY
I would like to take this time to address the issue of the
proposed water bottling plant by Mr. Andrew Poncic. As the
nations and especially New York States premier coldwater conservation
organization, I find many disrupting concerns not only in
the EIS, the process of this proposal and mainly the affect
on coldwater fisheries protected by the Department of Conservation
(DEC) laws and regulations on trout spawning streams.
First, I would like to address the fishery and the valley
known as Woodland Valley. This is a pristine watershed that
feeds the Esopus Creek. The waters from the head waters are
an extremely integral part of the success of the stream to
sustain the fishery during the months of the summer when dry
spells occur and in times of droughts. Not only the fishery
but the recreation and private use of the owners in and around
the valley are being jeopardized. Also, in a stones throw
of this proposed extraction facility is the DEC campgrounds
an attraction for many years that will be drastically affected
if this water plant is approved. The gathering of information
is creditable to some degree but lacks true definition in
respect to many factors. - The proposal is essentially a permit
for water mining. This water use is unlike most others because
it does not return the water to the stream, but exports it
out of Woodland Valley by tankers to New Jersey avoiding New
York Department of Health regulations. It is therefore an
extractive use that does nothing to benefit the community.
This use of water derives only benefit to the one individual
that would be granted the permit, and the one individual that
drives the truck.
- This project is a proposal to sell what is essentially a
public good. This water drains from state land, and flows
into a public stream. I disagree with allowing one individual
to profit from a resource that is protected by all New York
State taxpayers, and that belongs to a stream enjoyed by all
New York state taxpayers in the form of recreation and fishing.
- The use of mean annual flow to calculate the impact of the
water withdrawal from the headwaters of Woodland Creek is
misleading because the natural world does not function in
averages. Much of the streams mean annual flow is derived
from spring runoff, large thunderstorms and infrequent hurricane
or tropical storm events. Because of the large, steep mountains
that make up the watershed, these short duration events result
in tremendous volumes of water flowing down the channel. Removing
water from the stream during these events would have no impact
on the biology. The rest of the year, however, flows in the
stream are relatively moderate. During the summer and fall,
discharge drops to a fraction of mean annual flow, and the
EIS does address how the proposed water withdrawal will affect
stream flows during low water periods that are common throughout
the summer, fall and winter.
- Groundwater is a relatively rare component of the total
mean annual flow of Woodland Stream. As stated in the EIS,
the topography is very steep and the soils are relatively
thin with bedrock close to the surface. Therefore most precipitation
that falls in the watershed runs off as surface runoff. The
proposed EIS does not discuss the fact that groundwater is
by comparison much more biologically important to the ecology
of Woodland Valley stream than the relatively abundant surface
runoff. Groundwater, which becomes surface water when it exits
the ground in a spring or seep, provides all a streams flow
after a period of time when it has not rained. Groundwater
is extremely important in maintaining both stream discharge
and the typical cool water temperatures that make Woodland
Stream an excellent trout stream and a classified spawning
stream. Because groundwater is consistently 40-45 F, it keeps
the stream from freezing solid in the winter, and therefore
is extremely important to the health of stream through a cold
winter. One gallon of groundwater is worth much more than
one gallon of surface water because it provides all the flow
during low precipitation times, and it provides cool water
in the summer and relatively warm water in the winter.
- The October 28, 2005 letter from Spectra Environmental Group
to the chairman of the Shandaken Planning Board states that
the intended use of the project is not drinking water, but
instead for nonpotable use such as swimming pools. Why does
the project seek to use the highest quality water for a nonpotable
use, when it could hypothetically use surface water from any
source for such a purpose? Why cant the trucks remove 11,000
gallons from the Esopus or other large body of water with
a simple pump and not drive 6 miles up a small, winding road
to obtain high quality groundwater subjecting the road to
repairs in time because of the excessive traffic on a road
constructed for pleasure, not commercial benefits?
Woodland Valley is classified B (ts) from the mouth up to
trib 5a, a small stream entering from the west just a couple
of miles below the source. The “B” indicates that
the best use is primary contact recreation, and the “(ts)”
indicates that it supports trout spawning. Above trib 5a,
it is classified B (t), which means that it is suitable for
trout habitation, but spawning has not been documented (maybe
no info, or maybe too steep). Springs entering streams through
the substrate, maintain base flow during dry spells, provide
ideal spawning sites by percolating up through gravel and
provide thermal refuge during the summer, when fish seek colder
temperatures and congregate in spring holes.
I think the road and traffic issues are legitimate concerns,
but that is not my area of expertise. I am not an expert but
common sense and knowledge would indicate the road traffic
will have degrading affects to the surface, stormwater runoffs
will add pollutants to the stream and create negative affects
to the aquatic and habitat life essential to the classification
of this trout stream. As far as the project reducing ground
water from the stream, I feel that “Springs” are
generally defined as a place where ground water intersects
the surface. “Ground water” sources near a stream
almost invariably join the stream at some place, and provide
base flow and cooling in times of need as was mentioned in
drought. Sometimes the groundwater comes in as a defined in-stream
spring, and at other times it is more diffuse entering the
surface as is the case in this proposal and re-enters at some
point. This needs to be determined where and how much. In
either case, I believe that even small changes in the amount
of groundwater may be significant during low flows and hot
weather. I have visibly witnessed this in past seasons. It
seems to me that a simple dye test I propose might help better
define the linkage between the spring and the stream.
With these withdrawals, I see no check and balance to ensure
Mr. Poncic will and his drivers will take only the required
amounts. If it is not scrutinized and watched, I can assure
you that abuse of the permit will be a possibility. By granting
a permit you open the doors to others that will want to deplete
our environments of the precious commodities which we all
enjoy and appreciate.
The thing that troubles me most is the way this committee
is planning to pass this through. As I have heard, it is going
to be approved and will be a “payback” for the
previous administrations actions deemed unacceptable by this
board. Seems to me they had the community and truly the residents
in mind making their decision to redo the EIS. I have also
been told that it will be passed and a permit granted. Then,
and only select people will be allowed to speak if any at
a meeting later and after the fact. That is truly wrong and
not in good sprit to the community. This is not an example
of a true “Open Government”. I recall learning
that elected officials are in position by election or appointment
to represent the constituents and government is;
...by the people, of the people and for the people.
I would suggest that this matter be presented to an ad hoc
committee of citizens and organizations to better recommend
a position and what direction the Planning Board should take.
This will make for a better solution to the bottling plant
and its possible acceptability to the citizens of this community.
I want to express my appreciation for your acceptance and
reading of this into the records at the next Planning Board
Meeting. I also want it to be clear that Trout Unlimited is
the eyes that protect coldwater watersheds and their fisheries.
We accept economic development and the opportunity for persons
to become contributors to the community. In this case it benefits
no one or town but is transported away to benefit another
state and town.
This board has many obstacles that are not essential to successful
implementation of this proposal. Not to mention confliction
of interest that is significantly apparent to many people.
These springs are an invaluable aquatic resource. If lost,
there is absolutely no way they can be replaced. This Board
must protect this valuable resource and protect the valley.
Ronald Urban, Council Chairman
NYS Trout Unlimited
Paul Smart's glib report on the recent Coalition of Watershed
Towns meeting (an article which he sold to publishers of Shandaken,
Olive and Woodstock papers) omitted the comment of substance
by the Town of Andes assessor: that invoking Large Parcel
in Andes would destroy her town. I was sitting near her when
she made the comment, and Smart also omitted the comments
I made at the meeting. I said that the Coalition was a good
place to bring the Large Parcel issue, because the member
communities all have experience in watershed issues, and several
of the towns have the liability to be crushed by Large Parcel.
Neversink has the only exposure in Sullivan County and their
county government invoked Large Parcel, saving the average
Sullivan County taxpayer about $7, 1.38%, while raising Neversink's
levy by about $400 per resident parcel, about 78%.
Delaware County has several towns with large parcel exposure,
Andes, Middletown, and Downsville, but they all have single
town school districts, so the fury of the Woodstock assault
on Olive would not be replicated. The fine Delaware County
gentleman referenced by Mr. Glib, excuse me, Paul Smart, observed
that he did not believe Delaware County residents would ever
inflict such intentional harm on their neighbors, such willfull
nastiness. I clapped and the Woodstock contingent turned red.
The Woodstock contingent, including the two Ulster County
legislators featured in flattering portraits in Woodstock
Times, Shapiro and Gregorius, badgered the meeting with challenging
questions before announcing their identities. Neversink was
trying to show the impact of Large Parcel on their tax rolls,
and giving a history of the law, relating through the words
of the act's sponsors how it is being misapplied in reservoir
cases, contending that the law is flawed. Gregorius, who is
a very nice fellow, kept intimating that the CWT should keep
its nose out of the issue, merely because it was divisive
and contentious (and might pit one watershed town, Woodstock,
against another, Olive). His feeling was CWT should only act
on issues against NYC where all would be united.
When the sentiment of the board seemed to be running towards
indignation about Large Parcel, the Woodstock representative
managed a tabling of the issue, and the Woodstock contigent
asked to make a report in support of their side, talking about
40 years of tax unfairness.
I have lived in Olive for more than nine years. I have also
owned homes in Shandaken, Andes and Rosendale. Olive's tax
situation was well known, realtors always billed it as "Low
Tax Olive". If you don't want to pay Woodstock taxes,
buy in Olive, its been an oasis of sanity. Want to lower your
taxes in Woodstock? Build a tax base. Sell Comeau to Marriott,
let them build a $200 million resort, you'll have your tax
relief. You have a choice, and you choose bucolic rusticity.
I respect that, I love Woodstock. But, Woodstock has issues,
it strangles its supermarket and then complains when it leaves
town. But, now, Woodstock lusts after Olive's reservoir tax
base, its about half our town, and this Large Parcel thing
comes along and Woodstock pounces.
Smart also failed to mention that an inventory of Large Parcel
affected properties in New York State was disclosed at the
meeting. It included a total of 25 parcels, 18 of which were
power plants or hydroelectric installations, the rest were
reservoirs in the Catskills. These reservoirs exist in towns
heavliy impacted by their presence, with minimal commercial
activity or growth. In some cases the reservors oblitereated
the traditional centers of community life. How these inert
bodies of water can be compared to power plants, heavily capital
intensive industrial installations which are depreciated and
sold on a manipulated market (ask California), is madness.
Hopefully, the Coalition of Watershed Towns will rise above
the fray and decide to support the exclusion of reservoirs
from the Large Parcel act.
The Woodstock Town Board, Gordon Wemp, and Brian Shapiro have
taken their show on the road. It is the traveling Whine and
Cheesy Show. They whine about how their taxes are too high
and everyone else's are too low. They set out a cheesy smorgasbord
of almost-true statements taken out of context all designed
to benefit their town at the cost of all others. Whether it
is the Onteora School Board, Ulster County Legislature, or
the Coalition of Watershed Towns, their message is the same.
They consider the misunderstood Large Parcel Bill to be their
own personal "gift" and "present" to alleviate
Woodstock's taxpayers' woes.
Frankly, Woodstock's taxes are the business of Woodstock only.
Home Rule allows towns to set their own budget and raise taxes
according to their evaluation and assessment. They are not
named the benefactor of any other town' s fiscal obligation.
It is interesting to note that when the cast of this road
show uses the pronoun "WE," they are referring to
themselves in the plural. They have no alliance to any other
group whether that group is a school district, County or coalition
of twenty some watershed towns.
Woodstock uses the "Fair and Equal" mantra and points
to exceptions or expired data. The Woodstock Town Board has
suckered Shandaken's supervisor into partnership by NOT mentioning
Shandaken's tax structure with 76% of its land owned by the
state at an under-assessed value of $600. an acre. If that
isn't a large parcel, I don't know what is! Instead it points
to Olive and its Ashokan Reservoir. Now that Sullivan County
towns are suffering and commiserating, Woodstock shows up
for Act III of "Their Fair Share."
Woodstock attacks Neversink for not having a reval and reminds
us that Olive didn't have a recent reval. Now that Olive has
finished its data collection, its reval is the most current.
Jeremy Wilber is cautious NOT to mention that Shandaken has
not conducted a reval since some time in the seventies. Yes,
politics sure does make interesting bedfellows. Robert Cross
needs to look across the pillow and take a good look at the
wolf in grandpa's nightshirt.
Can anyone tell me why the White House refuses to disclose
the identity of the people former high-powered lobbyist Jack
Abramoff met with at Senior Level Staff meetings? All Scott
McClellan (Bush’s press secretary) can say when asked
to provide information (again and again) is “No, this
is sticking with our past policy. We're not going to engage
in a fishing expedition.”
A fishing expedition!!
Fact: A man who has been convicted of buying politicians to
create and pass laws in his favor, met with Senior White House
Fact: When the President’s spokesman is asked a simple
question "who did he meet with?", the reporter is
told he came to a couple “Hanukkah celebrations”
and then gets accused of going on a fishing expedition. What
is wrong with that question.
Who did Jack Abramoff meet with in the White House? Doesn’t
the American public have the right to know which White House
staffers have meetings with criminals? Why is it such a big
secret? Oh right, everything with this White House is a secret.
I forgot. I’m sure it must have something to do with
spreading freedom and democracy throughout the broader Middle
East via smart bombs, white phosphorous, torture and spying
on Americans, since that seems to be all this administration
can focus on. Lest we, the
people, not forget the culture of corruption is deep!
Please hold ALL of our leaders accountable to truth and transparency
regardless of who you voted for.
David J. Turan
USAF Veteran Iran/Iraq War
Last year when I was evaluating the candidates for Onteora’s
school board, I felt that all of them understood the need
to reduce the tax burden in the school district. I guess understanding
the need and what to do about it is a whole different ball
game. It cost this school district $400.00 more per student
then any other school in Ulster County and beyond. That’s
an estimated$800.000 per year. Why should it cost the tax
payers of the Onteora school district so much more to educate?
Dave Patterson has said that one of his primary reasons to
run for the school board was the escalating cost in our district.
Some candidates even told me that if I had any suggestions
that I should pass them along. I recently e mailed all the
board members with a suggestion. Although I didn’t ask
for a specific reply, I feel that I should have received some
kind of acknowledgment from at least one board member. I thought
surely after the second e mail that at least one of the board
members would respond. I called one board member and had a
very brief discussion, but as of this writing I have not received
any correspondence from any board member.
The 2006/2007 budget review has started. The budget review
is a big wish list from all those charged with input to the
budget. Before the review process started the board could
have, according to the New York State Board of Education,
requested that the budget increase be held to a certain percent
increase. It’s much more difficult to reduce spending
after all the wish lists are presented and they all try to
justify what they submitted.
There’s something else the Board of Education can do.
They could be more careful of how our tax dollars are being
spent. Tax payers paid to take a bus load of parents to Giants
Stadium. In all fairness Superintendent Winters said that
she asked Business Administrator, Victoria McLaren, to notify
staff that the District will not be paying the cost for spectator
busses. Now paying for a bus trip may not sound like it cost
a lot of money, but how many other bus trips did the tax payers
pay for? How many other bills have slipped through the cracks?
Who knows, maybe tax payers even paid the admission price
for that bus load of parents to get in Giants Stadium.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
A thank you does not seem enough for what you have done for
my family. Your generous donations made it possible to purchase
a generator which is vital to have for Bruce's health. Dave
Smith and his daughter Becky hooked it up for us. Everyone
gave freely to help us financially and with moral support.
I hope everyone realizes what a wonderful group of people
we live with, no matter what their likes or dislikes in a
time of need they are always ready to help.
Without their help I don't think we would have been able to
You have made my family and I feel so very secure knowing
you are always ready to help.
Again, I just want you to know we do appreciate all you have
done for my family and myself.
We may be a small town but we have the biggest giving hearts
in the world. Thank you all.
This is to put into words the thoughtfeelings I've had a number
of times about the paper's POV space and that is, that it's
a unique and wonderful gift the publisher is giving to the
readers. No other newspaper I know of prints excerpts from
the works of recognized authors from previous eras; even literary
journals do not do this. What appears is usually pertinent
to the time or emotional atmosphere and reflects the publisher's
sensibility and extensive awareness of literature.
It came home to me powerfully with the end of James Joyce's,
"The Dead" appearing in the 12/22 edition. I had
read it some years ago and I had seen the film directed by
John Huston a couple of times (I believe it was his last,
while he was dying from emphysema and featured his daughter
Angelika). It was one of the most beautiful and poignant movies
I have ever seen.
I read it again while listening to a recording of the Irish
actor, Jim Norton reading it.
There it was, stepping outside at 'four o'clock in the afternoon'
on New Year's Eve, the whiteness of snow and the darkness
of night falling together on my sculptures that were a presence
from another world. I thought of my mother dead over twenty
"His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling
faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the
descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."
Mount Tremper, NY