CLEANING UP... Supervisor Bob
Cross Jr. sent this in to show where digging will start in the
EsopusCreek over the coming week to solve silt problems
plugging the Phoenicia Water District's infiltration gallery,
which he hopes to then replace over the coming months, according
to new engineering reports.
Heading Off To Iraq
Paul Van Blarcum, Chris Frisenda Head To Baghdad For State Department
By Paul Smart
Tuesday morning, March 9, Shandaken Councilman and Ulster County
Sheriffs Deputy Paul Van Blarcum left his home at 8:30 AM,
not prepared to return for months, and only then on furlough.
Around the same time, Shandaken police officer Chris Frisenda
was also saying goodbyes to his girlfriend and family.
Both have headed off to Virginia for qualifying tests to join
the U.S. effort in Iraq as trainers of a new police force for
Once theyve passed through tests, the local men will be off
to training in Texas through the end of March. According to
Van Blarcum, they would then be off to Baghdad by early April.
Our Man In Port-Au-Prince
Staff Photographer Makes His Way To Haiti And Sums Up
What He's Seen
By Paul Smart
Local photographer James Heil, who work has long graced these
pages, says his February 25 flight from LaGuardia to Port-Au-Prince
was pretty empty, with four air marshals on board as security.
"When I arrived at the airport it was pretty much the same
as the last time with many, many taxi drivers still waiting
for journalists coming in... even though there wasn't obviously
anyone coming in," Heil e-mailed on Tuesday, March 2. "I'm
staying in a little guesthouse just two blocks from the Hotel
Oloffson but use the hotel as a base. There are a lot of low
budget journalists and many freelancers here, some very young
and some too old. Only a handful of real professionals but a
lot of them have been to Haiti before because of how easy and
cheap it is to get over here. No journalists have been hurt
but many police and Chime (Aristide's supporters) and civilians
have been shot and killed."
Heil is in his early twenties, fired up about getting started
as a photojournalist. He started taking pictures while doing
community service at the Woodstock Youth Center- after a few
years as "one of those kids" around the Village Green
in the mid to late 1990s, as he once told me. Last winter he
got himself into the SALT program for budding photojournalists
in Portland, ME. Last summer he managed to get Nikon to donate
him a professional camera. Then Apple chipped in a laptop.
Heil made his first trip to Haiti in early February when he
read a report that things were about to descend into revolution.
He took what money he's saved doing construction jobs locally
and flew to Port-Au-Prince, where he found his way to the Olofsson
Hotel, legendary as one of Graham Greene's haunts, because that's
where all the journalists were. But it turns out he was early,
even though he came back with loads of shots of street violence
and the rising sense of discord in the beleaguered nation's
capitol. So he came back to work a few more weeks and get a
credit card, which all the pros told him he should have. While
home in Chichester, he showed what he had, including shots of
a protester shot in the back with a tear gas canister- and dying.
He was jazzed, ready to get back into it.
Continue & Photo Gallery
Proposed Belleayre Resort Information Page
Written comments about the proposed Belleayre
Resort should be addressed to Alexander Ciesluk, Jr. NYS DEC,
21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561-1620 The DEC
will be accepting written comments until April 23, 2004.
Best of Intentions?
Gambling, Adult Entertainment Concerns Voiced As Cross
Opens Meeting Format
By Brian Powers
A full house crowded into town hall March 1 after a resolution
some believed could open Shandaken to both adult entertainment
and casino gambling was made public in advance of the town
board's March meeting. The measure, written by Supervisor
Bob Cross, Jr., appeared intended to prohibit those activities
by restricting them from most zoning districts. However many
in the audience, including former Supervisor Pete Di Modica
speaking for the first time at a public meeting since leaving
office last December, read the issue differently.
Di Modica and others insisted that if enacted, the resolution
would actually weaken the town's protection against casino
gambling, and invite adult entertainment both along Route
28, and into Phoenicia, Pine Hill and the town's other hamlets.
After repeated questions on the subject during the opening
"public comment" portion of the meeting, Cross quickly
withdrew the resolution before any opportunity to vote on
The three-member Shandaken Ethics Committee
has cleared the way for Councilwoman Jane Todd to participate
in Town Board decisions on the golf resort proposed by Crossroads
Ventures. Todd, a Republican, came under fire in January when
critics claimed her involvement in the discussion was a conflict
of interest because she owns property near the project site.
Town Supervisor Robert Cross said the Ethics Committee met
two or three times during February and determined that Todd's
ownership of the property did not put her in a position of
conflict. Cross declined to release the text of the committee's
"She wasn't found guilty of anything," he said.
He later said the report states that the Todd parcel, which
the councilwoman owns with other people, "is 3,000 feet
away from the closest fairway." He also said the closest
structure to the property is the Pine Hill sewer plant, and
that the property is at an elevation lower then the proposed
"I think it lessens the value," Cross said of the
resort's impact on the land.
How To Start A Literary Magazine In The Catskills
By Paul Smart
Prima Materia, whose third volume has just hit area bookstores,
as well as such local outlets as Home in Phoenicia, is a literary
journal published out of Mt. Tremper that's more a labor of
love as a pathway to possible riches. The book, which features
writers from the Hudson Valley and Catskills, is serious,
beautifully-put-together, and a work of art in itself. Moreover,
it has started to draw new focus to the creative talents that
have made this region home in recent years, and given it a
literary stature that's fast becoming the envy of other areas
around the nation- and world.
Prima Materia is the creation of Brent Robison, a short-story
writer who was looking to find an outlet for those times when
his fiction writing skills needed to be shelved and replenished
for a spell of time. Yet it's also a project Robison has shared
fully with his wife, Wendy Klein, herself a visual artist
of growing stature and renown, especially for her successful
lines of cutting-edge masks, all made at home.