“Farmer Frank,” as he’s known in these
parts, has been at odds with Shandaken’s code enforcement
office for years. Since 1998 he has been bombarded with
complaints from the office, being accused of operating
a business without a permit and taking serious flak for
having an unkempt yard at the junction of routes 28 and
42 in Shandaken. Current code officer Glenn Miller has
even said that the property is an unauthorized junkyard
that needs to be cleaned up.
At the May 1 session of the Shandaken town board, Miller
presented a resolution to the board to prosecute Farmer
Frank. Miller requested permission to hire Kingston based
Attorney John Greco to handle the case in Ulster County
Supreme Court, claiming that Farmer Frank has ignored
notices of violation for far too long. But the resolution
was tabled after the large audience hurled hisses at the
board for even considering such an effort.
“I’ve lived in this town over 30 years and
I’ve never seen anything like this,” said
boardmember and local plumber Bob Stanley, who lives near
Farmer Frank and drives by his property everyday. Stanley
opposed such heavy-handed measures, as did Zoning Board
of Appeals member Kathy Nolan, who suggested that Miller’s
efforts might be discriminatory.
“The real question is whether the town’s laws
are being applied fairly,” she said.
That’s a question Farmer Frank, otherwise known
as Frank Nazzaro, has been asking all along. Nazzaro,
who walked to the front of the meeting hall Monday with
an air of celebrity, tipped his baseball cap to an appreciative
crowd after the board decided to wait a month and give
Nazzaro, who says the “junk” referred to was
materials he had been picking up under the mantle of a
new Business Association, a chance to clean up the land.
Miller, who sat in the front, defended his stance, saying
that perpetual yard sales are illegal, and that Nazzaro
has been running one for years without even applying for
But Nazzaro said he’s not the only one. He pointed
out that there are many similar circumstances in town,
but Miller has so far only been on the warpath about Nazzaro,
which is unfair. Nazzaro drew applause when he noted that
Miller’s responsibility is to enforce the code evenly,
“If Mr. Glenn doesn’t do his job, he may be
looking for another one,” Nazzaro warned.
Nazzaro even singled out neighbor Keith Johnson, an excavator/logger
who is also the Chairman of the ZBA and town Superintendent
of Highways, as having an unsightly property which goes
unnoticed by Miller. Johnson later told reporters that
the town has authorized him to operate a contractor’s
dooryard on his property and that he is in compliance,
although he does not have an official permit. In fact,
Johnson claims, he is the only contractor in town to have
such distinction since all grandfathering rights were
stripped of contractors in 1994. Johnson said the reason
he has authorization is because he is the only contractor
that “came in” and got permission to continue.
Johnson believes it is unfair to compare his situation
with Nazzarro’s and said to do so “would open
a bad can of worms.”
At the meeting Johnson scolded the board for not supporting
Only days prior to the May 1 Shandaken town board meeting,
there were a few surprised faces at town hall when attempts
at viewing the town’s official website were made.
Instead of seeing the official Shandaken seal, viewers
were greeted by a travel agency site. All attempts made
to find the real site, the one with information about
the town and in particular about upcoming meetings, were
Town Clerk Laurilyn Frasier was surprised, as were staff
in the Supervisor’s office.
But On Sunday Tania Andre, the town’s web mistress,
was able to explain what happened.
“The town didn’t pay its bill,” she
said. “That’s why the website’s gone.”
Those that prefer cyber space when it comes to finding
out about town matters need not fea, Andre said. The site
will return as soon as the server company gets a check.
The voucher, $185 to cover the next two years, has been
signed by Supervisor Robert Cross Jr., according to Andre.
With the check almost in the mail, she expects to see
the site up and running again soon. Patricia Heinz, Cross’s
Secretary, was livid this week over Andre’s claim
and fired back that Andre had not submitted the paperwork
for the payment in time.
Regardless of whose fault it was, the lack of payment
and related cancellation of the website marks the latest
problem with the issue of a town website and what the
site should offer.
Two months ago a measure presented by Democratic Councilman
Peter DiSclafani was brought forward to require the site
to list resolutions after the Supervisor previously announced
that he felt no obligation to the public to do so.
DiSclafani felt March was an appropriate time for the
board to reconsider the matter. The week of March 13-19,
he said, commemorates the New York State Freedom of Information
Act and Open Government Laws enacted in 1974. Often called
Sunshine laws, the Freedom of Information Law governs
rights of access to government records, while the Open
Meetings Law concerns the conduct of meetings of public
bodies and the right to attend those meetings.
At the time, Cross noted that the laws do not require
officials to post resolutions or even meeting agendas
prior to meetings, and such acts are purely a courtesy
to the public. Cross turned out to be the swing vote,
deciding that his board would not extend any such courtesy,
or at least be forced to, because he didn’t want
DiSclafani and Councilwoman Jane Todd voted in favor of
the resolution. Cross and Robert Stanley voted against.
Councilman Joesph Munster was absent.
The main clause of the resolution stated that all resolutions
to be presented at the monthly meeting be posted for public
review on the website by the end of the Friday business
day prior to the monthly town meeting.
Although resolutions were listed last month even though
the resolution failed, Andre said there were no plans
to list resolutions expected for the May 1 board meeting.
“Even if the site was working, there wouldn’t
be any of that on there anyway,” she said.
At press time the website was again viewable, but there
are no resolutions from this month’s meeting. Still
posted are the ones the town board handled in April.
Two major projects, both expected to be reviewed at the
May 10th meeting of the Shandaken planning board, may
move substantially closer to approval if that night goes
as expected. Town planners planned to present their findings
statement on the Environmental Impact Statement for Andrew
Poncic’s water harvesting proposal, and finalize
it. The board was also expected to begin a site plan review
of the Glenbrook Park cell tower plan presented by Masterpage
Communications. The company submitted a full application
recently, and the board was expected to announce that
the application was complete, enabling that project to
move forward in the planning review process.
Just when everyone started to think things could get no
worse with the beleagured county jail project, already
millions over budget and years behind schedule –
with a recent state report pointing out gross mismanagement
from the formerly GOP-controlled county legislature and
a growing litany of calls for criminal investigations
coming from various directions – it is now looking
like there is no written record of a vote approving construction
contracts. Why the worry? Consider the growing number
of lawsuits already surrounding the project, from and
against various contractors, among others, and the charges
of malfeasance that will arise if the county cannot defend
itself in any.
Legislature Clerk Ellen DiFalco and County Attorney Joshua
Koplovitz are saying they have been unable to find meeting
minutes or a purchase order to explain approval of a contract
with construction manager Bovis Lend Lease, dated Oct.
25, 2000 even though contract was touted in a Nov. 2,
2000, release from the late Legislature Chairman Daniel
Alfonso, R-Highland, as having been approved by the Construction
Management Review Committee. Koplovitz says the origin
of the committee is a mystery, including the authority
that created it, whether it was subject to a county Legislature
resolution, and what it was charged to do.
Under the contract, Bovis Lend Lease was designated construction
manager and Crandall Associates as architect for the “Ulster
County Law Enforcement Facility - A new 484 bed county
jail and public safety complex to house 484 inmates (designed
for 600) with a construction cost estimate of approximately
Former County Attorney Francis Murray confirmed comments
from several surviving members of the county Construction
Management Review Committee that no paper trail may exist
showing a specific vote approving the contract.
The committee consisted of Alfonso, R-Highland, as chairman;
then-Legislature Majority Leader Ward Todd, R-Shandaken;
the late county Legislator Joan Feldmann, D-Saugerties;
county Building and Grounds Commissioner Harvey Sleight,
then-County Administrator William Darwak; then-county
Purchasing Agent Arlene Kerans; former county Legislator
John Naccarato, R-Kingston; and Ulster County Sheriff
J. Richard Bockelmann, who announced this month that he
will not seek re-election.
“Somewhere in the world, sometimes things do get
lost or misplaced,” Sleight said. “What can
Murray said he was told the payment schedule for Bovis
Lend Lease was acceptable after it was reviewed by Todd.
Todd, who later became county Legislature chairman before
stepping down in 2003 when appointed president of the
Ulster County Chamber of Commerce, declined to answer
questions about how the contract amounts were reached.
He said a vote by lawmakers was not needed on the agreement
because the Legislature customarily had not voted on such
“The Legislature, if you go back into the records,
didn’t vote on those contracts,” he said.
“They were done by county departments.”
Meanwhile, the current Democrat-controlled legislature
is asking the state comptroller’s office to go deeper
with its investigation into the handling of the 6-year-old
$86.16 million Law Enforcement Center project still not
completed since leaders in the previous administration
never admitted having watchdog procedures available but
never used until 2004, when the troubles had already compounded.
The state report, which acknowledges finding $12.9 million
in “unnecessary costs as a result of deficiencies,”
was issued April 7 and had a May 8 deadline for a county
Furthermore, it has been confirmed that the Ulster County
lawmaker reported to have received $39.59 worth of cigars
from a consultant to the county Law Enforcement Center
project was in fact Todd, who also approved reimbursal
of such expenses. Todd reportedly went to the county treasurer’s
office in recent weeks to hand over $40 in cash to cover
the expense, saying he had no recollection of receiving
Meanwhile, local legislator Robert Parete is threatening
to go to court to force release of the county’s
currently-quieted Hill report on the debacle, while others
are saying that, reports to the contrary, there is a legal
paper trail for all jail decisions.
Susan Zimet, Ulster County Legislator from New Paltz,
announced her candidacy to represent the 42nd District
in the New York State Senate on Wednesday, May 3, at an
Orange County Democratic Annual Dinner, chosen to start
her run in the backyard of incumbent Republican John Bonacic.
Senate Democratic Leader David A. Paterson introduced
Susan Zimet. The 42nd Senate District includes all of
Sullivan and Delaware, most of Ulster and part of Orange
Zimet is a two term Ulster County Legislator representing
the 10th District and the former Supervisor of the Town
of New Paltz, the first woman to hold that office. Running
on a theme of One New York In Partnership For Reform,
Susan Zimet will be part of the Democratic effort to gain
the majority in the NY State Senate. She is a fiscally
conservative, socially conscientious Democrat acknowledged
for her work on open government, budget and taxation reform,
clean elections, protecting women’s and veterans’
health, school safety, alternative energy, sustainable
economic development and the creative economy.
Bonacic, while strong with local initiative projects involving
Belleayre Mt. Ski Area, has come under fire for partisan
involvement in a number of key development issues facing
the Catskills, as well as his convoluted involvement in
the passage of controversial Large Parcel legislation.
Longstanding Ulster County Treasurer Lewis C. Kirschner
recently announced that the 2005 Annual Financial Report
for the County of Ulster has been completed and filed
with the State Comptroller, with an overall Unreserved/Unappropriated
General Fund Balance of $11.9 million, an increase of
$10.7 million compared with 2004. Major contributors to
this increase were due to one shot transactions such as
an accounting change that eliminated the Medicaid Lag
Accrual which resulted in a $5 million increase in the
Fund Balance and the settlement of tax delinquent properties
resulted in another positive increase to the fund balance
of $6.4 million. In addition the sale of serial bonds
resulted in a revenue of $3.5 million. Kirschner added,
however, that county debt payments increased by $2.7 million
over the prior year, retirement costs continued to escalate,
amounting to $2.3 million over last year, and hospital
and medical premiums cost the County an addition $1.4
million compared with 2004. These costs, expected to continue
to increase in the coming years, are fast eroding any
one-time savings. Furthermore, the treasurer pointed out
that the state recommends that municipalities should maintain
an unreserved/unappropriated fund balance of between 5%
and 10% of their total general fund budget, which presently
would amount to a minimum of $12.5 million… below
what is there now. The Ulster County Legislature’s
Ways and Means Committee has meanwhile endorsed $1.33
million in proposed budget cuts while recommending against
imposing new mortgage taxes and additional vehicle registration
fees to increase revenues this year. Their proposed spending
cuts appear to offset a projected deficit exceeding $1
million. Among the cuts are $44,754 in benefits to lawmakers,
including $3,300 for travel reimbursements; $13,780 for
health insurance contributions; $9,324 for health insurance
buyouts; and $18,550 for the Flex insurance plan. Other
proposed reductions in county department budgets include
a drop in spending of $107,815 for Mental Health, $45,444
for Public health, $3,798 for Probation, $1,892 for the
Medical examiner, $16,926 in Personnel costs, $103,300
for the Buildings and Grounds department, $87,650 for
Information Services, $29,664 for the Board of Elections,
$12,847 in District Attorney expenses, $19,206 for the
Public Defender, $6,306 for the Medical Examiner, $36,000
for the County Treasurer, $21,213 for County Purchasing,
$11,193 for the Office of Real Property Tax Services,
$95,442 in County Clerk costs, and $10,280 for County
The Greater Margaretville Chamber of Commerce will honor
five local business people at its Annual Dinner on Wednesday,
May 24 at 6 p.m. at the Hanah Country Resort, Margaretville,
with a good half associated with Shandaken-based Belleayre
Mountain Ski Center. Receiving special recognition at
the dinner will be Tony Lanza, superintendent of Belleayre
Mountain; Joe Kelly, chairman of the board of directors
of the Belleayre Conservatory; Carol and Peter Molnar,
proprietors of Margaretville Lodging; and Dave Riordan,
executive director of the Delaware & Ulster Railroad
in Arkville. The honorees were chosen by the chamber because
of their “diverse contributions to the local business
community.” In addition to the presentation of awards,
the Annual Dinner will include an evening of socializing
and dancing. Tickets for the Annual Dinner are $45 each
in advance and are available by contacting the chamber
office at 845 586-3300. Tickets at the door will be $55.
It’s looking like New York may be fielding not one
or even two presidential candidates for 2008, but three.
In addition to Hillary, former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
and retiring Governor George Pataki are showing strong
intersst in running for the Republican Party nomination…
but also facing growing concerns about their ability to
win over the GOP’s increasingly conservative heart.
Party pollsters and pundits contend that Giuliani and
Pataki, supporters of abortion and gay rights as well
as tough gun control laws, are too liberal for the conservative
Republicans who tend to dominate the presidential primaries.
Both have started visiting primary states, giving speeches
and attending lunches and dinner events, while also carefully
crafting their story lines: Giuliani as the resolute leader
in the face of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001;
Pataki as the Republican who won three terms in an overwhelmingly
Democratic state. But omitted from both biographies is
any mention of their longtime policies.
“When was the last time Republicans nominated a
pro-abortion, pro-gay rights Northeasterner with an iffy
record on taxes and spending?” asked Nelson Warfield,
an aide to Bob Dole’s failed 1996 Republican presidential
campaign. “That’s the hurdle both Giuliani
and Pataki face.”
Independent pollster Lee Miringoff said if Giuliani and
Pataki decide to seek national office, they eventually
will have to deal with the “litmus issues.”
“It’s a question of whether they can effectively
make counter arguments. I assume they will talk about
their values and what their vision of the Republican Party
is,” said Miringoff, head of Marist College’s
Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. “I
don’t think they’re in a position to say,
‘That’s not really what I meant.”’
Giuliani courting the right, recently spoke to a Global
Pastors Network conference of evangelicals in Florida
and is set to headline a fundraiser in Atlanta for Ralph
Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader now running
for lieutenant governor in Georgia… even though
the Rev. Jerry Falwell recently said he could not support
Giuliani for president because of “irreconcilable
differences on life and family and that kind of thing.”
Despite the criticism, Giuliani is riding high in national
polls that show him and Sen. John McCain of Arizona leading
the pack of potential 2008 GOP presidential contenders.
Those polls have Pataki as a statistical afterthought.
Nine states, including ours, have sued the administration
of President George W. Bush for lenient automotive fuel
economy standards that they say worsen an energy crunch
and contribute to air pollution and climate change. The
lawsuit says that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration has failed to meet federal laws requiring
government to determine the impact of regulation on fuel
conservation and the environment.
“At a time when consumers are struggling to pay
surging gas prices and the challenge of global climate
change has become even more clear, it is unconscionable
that the Bush Administration is not requiring greater
mileage efficiency for light trucks,” said New York
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in a press release.
In March, the Bush administration approved a 1.9 mile-per-gallon
increase in the standards for sport utility vehicles,
minivans and pickups — all in the light truck class
that includes big gas guzzlers — to 24.1 mpg between
2008 and 2011. It also rewrote the rules for calculating
how far light trucks must go on a gallon of gasoline.
But the lawsuit, joined by the attorneys general of California,
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon,
Rhode Island, and Vermont, says the move included language
that could “create incentives to build larger, less
fuel-efficient models” and attempts to pre-empt
a California law requiring a reduction of greenhouse gas
tailpipe emissions. The attorney general of the District
of Columbia and the corporate counsel for New York City
have also joined.
The percentage of working-age Americans with moderate
to middle incomes who lacked health insurance for at least
part of the year rose to 41 percent in 2005, a dramatic
increase from the 28 percent in 2001 without coverage.
Moreover, more than half of the uninsured adults said
they were having problems paying their medical bills or
had incurred debt to cover their expenses, according to
a report by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based private,
health care policy foundation. The study of 4,350 adults
also found that people without insurance were more likely
to forgo recommended health screenings such as mammograms
than those with coverage, and were less likely to have
a regular doctor than their insured counterparts.
About 45.8 million Americans did not have health insurance
in 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The percentage
of individuals earning less than $20,000 a year without
insurance rose to 53 percent, up from 49 percent in 2001.
Overall, the percentage of people without insurance rose
to 28 percent in 2005 from 24 percent in 2001. The study
also found that 59 percent of uninsured with chronic conditions
such as asthma or diabetes either skipped a dose of their
medicine or went without it because it was too expensive.
One-third of them those in that group visited an emergency
room or stayed in a hospital overnight or did both, compared
to 15 percent of their insured counterparts. That study
found that cost prevented 41.1 percent of uninsured adults
from seeing a doctor, compared to 9.2 percent of individuals
with coverage. Meanwhile, 51 percent of women without
health insurance haven’t had a mammogram in two
years, compared to 22.8 percent of women with insurance.
And 76.3 percent of uninsured men between the ages of
40 to 64 haven’t had the PSA test, which detects
prostate cancer, in two years. That compares to 52.2 percent
of their insured counterparts.
President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey
more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting
that he has the power to set aside any statute passed
by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation
of the Constitution.
Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules
and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements
that Congress be told about immigration services problems,
‘’whistle-blower” protections for nuclear
regulatory officials, and safeguards against political
interference in federally funded research.
Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush’s
assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted
effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress,
upsetting the balance between the branches of government.
The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the
power to write the laws and to the president a duty ‘’to
take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not
need to ‘’execute” a law he believes
Former administration officials contend that just because
Bush reserves the right to disobey a law does not mean
he is not enforcing it: In many cases, he is simply asserting
his belief that a certain requirement encroaches on presidential
But with the disclosure of Bush’s domestic spying
program, in which he ignored a law requiring warrants
to tap the phones of Americans, many legal specialists
say Bush is hardly reluctant to bypass laws he believes
he has the constitutional authority to override. Many
legal scholars say they believe that Bush’s theory
about his own powers goes too far and that he is seizing
for himself some of the law-making role of Congress and
the Constitution-interpreting role of the courts.
No More Soda
The nation’s largest beverage distributors have
agreed to halt nearly all soda sales to public schools,
according to a deal announced by the William J. Clinton
Foundation. Under the agreement, the companies have agreed
to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low-fat milks
to elementary and middle schools, said Jay Carson, a spokesman
for former President Bill Clinton. Diet sodas would be
sold only to high schools. Cadbury Schweppes PLC, Coca-Cola
Co., PepsiCo Inc. and the American Beverage Association
have all signed onto the deal, Carson said, adding that
the companies serve “the vast majority of schools.”
The American Beverage Association represents the majority
of school vending bottlers.
The deal follows a wave of regulation by school districts
and state legislatures to cut back on student consumption
of soda amid reports of rising childhood obesity rates.
Soda has been a particular target of those fighting obesity
because of its caloric content and popularity among children.
Nearly 35 million students nationwide will be affected
by the deal, The Alliance for a Healthier Generation said
in a news release. The group, a collaboration between
Clinton’s foundation and the American Heart Association,
helped broker the deal.
“This is really the beginning of a major effort
to modify childhood obesity at the level of the school
systems,” said Robert H. Eckel, president of the
American Heart Association. Under the agreement, high
schools will still be able to purchase drinks such as
diet and unsweetened teas, diet sodas, sports drinks,
flavored water, seltzer and low-calorie sports drinks
The agreement applies to beverages sold for use on school
grounds during the regular and extended school day, Carson
said. Sales during after-school activities such as clubs,
yearbook, band and choir practice will be affected by
the new regulations. But sales at events such as school
plays, band concerts and sporting events, where adults
make up a significant portion of the audience, won’t
be affected, he said. How quickly the changes take hold
will depend in part on individual school districts’
willingness to alter existing contracts, the alliance
said. The companies will work to implement the changes
at 75 percent of the nation’s public schools by
the 2008-2009 school year, and at all public schools a
Many school districts around the country, such as Onteora,
have already begun to replace soda and candy in vending
machines with healthier items, and dozens of states have
considered legislation on school nutrition this year.
Reacting to the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress passed the
Real ID law last year, intending to make it tougher for
terrorists to obtain driver’s licenses and for people
without proper identification to board planes or enter
federal buildings. But with the deadline for setting up
the law two years away, states are frustrated, saying
the law — which requires states to use sources like
birth certificates and national immigration databases
to verify that people applying for or renewing driver’s
licenses are American citizens or legal residents —
will be too expensive and difficult to put in place by
the May 2008 deadline. Another issue is the privacy impact
of the requirement that states share, through databases,
the personal information needed for a driver’s license.
Concerns are so great that last week, the National Governors
Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures
and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
issued a report saying that the states have not been given
the time or money to comply with the law and that they
need at least another eight years. And two states, including
ours, have considered resolutions calling for the law
to be repealed, the New York City Council passed a resolution
opposing it and New Hampshire is considering opting out
Meanwhile, the Bush administration, facing complaints
from border-state lawmakers, is considering scaling back
strict passport security requirements for people who infrequently
travel between the United States and Canada. The concession
may not be enough for lawmakers who want to delay rules
requiring passports or other tamper-resistant ID cards
for all who enter the United States beginning Jan. 1,
The ID rules were part of a 2004 intelligence overhaul
law, overwhelmingly approved by Congress, to tighten U.S.
borders against terrorists. They have since pitted lawmakers
from border states against those from the heartland, strained
relations with Canada, and forced Homeland Security to
roll out technology and training under a deadline that
may prove too aggressive to meet.
Despite large-scale U.S. support, Iraq and Afghanistan
rank among the world’s 10 most vulnerable states.
In its second annual “failed states” index,
Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace concluded
that Sudan is the country under the most severe stress
because of violent internal conflict. Eleven of the 20
most vulnerable countries of the 148 examined in the survey
are in Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and
Ivory Coast, both chronically volatile in recent years,
ranked second and third. Each country was given a score
based on data from numerous available sources. A “failing
state” was described as one in which the government
does not have effective control of its territory, is not
perceived as legitimate by a significant portion of its
population, does not provide domestic security or basic
public services to its citizens and lacks a monopoly on
the use of force.
According to the review, the situation in Iraq (No. 4)
and Afghanistan (No. 10) deteriorated since 2005, the
first year the survey was taken. “For Iraq, the
index category that worsened most was human flight,”
the report said. “The exodus of Iraq’s professional
class has accelerated, leaving the country without the
trained citizens it needs to staff important posts.”
Iraq’s instability was underscored in a State Department
report last week that said fully 30 percent of all terrorist
attacks worldwide last year occurred in Iraq.
Despite the wall-to-wall coverage of the damage from Hurricane
Katrina, nearly one-third of young Americans recently
polled couldn’t locate Louisiana on a map and nearly
half were unable to identify Mississippi. Americans between
the ages of 18 and 24 fared even worse with foreign locations:
six in 10 couldn’t find Iraq, according to a Roper
poll conducted for National Geographic.
Among the findings: One-third of respondents couldn’t
pinpoint Louisiana on a map and 48 percent were unable
to locate Mississippi. Fewer than three in 10 think it
important to know the locations of countries in the news
and just 14 percent believe speaking another language
is a necessary skill. Two-thirds didn’t know that
the earthquake that killed 70,000 people in October 2005
occurred in Pakistan. Six in 10 could not find Iraq on
a map of the Middle East. While the outsourcing of jobs
to India has been a major U.S. business story, 47 percent
could not find the Indian subcontinent on a map of Asia.
While Israeli-Palestinian strife has been in the news
for the entire lives of the respondents, 75 percent were
unable to locate Israel on a map of the Middle East. Nearly
three-quarters incorrectly named English as the most widely
spoken native language. Six in 10 did not know the border
between North and South Korea is the most heavily fortified
in the world. Thirty percent thought the most heavily
fortified border was between the United States and Mexico.
The number of New Yorkers suffering from asthma symptoms
in the past week has more than doubled, the city Department
of Health and Mental Hygiene said recently. Hospital emergency
room visits for asthma symptoms increased from 250 a day
during the first three weeks of April to an average of
500 a day over a recent week, the agency said. In addition,
sales of over-the-counter allergy medications increased
more than twofold over the past two weeks, a pattern observed
every year that marks the beginning of the spring allergy
season, it said.
“New Yorkers with asthma should talk to their doctor
about avoiding asthma triggers, developing and following
an asthma action plan, and taking asthma control medications
as prescribed,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas
Frieden. “Proper asthma management can prevent severe
asthma episodes, emergency department visits and hospitalizations.”
The agency said sufferers should contact their doctor
if they have more than two asthma attacks per week or
nighttime symptoms more than twice a month.