There are four positions open at the next Onteora School district
elections... and TEN candidates. This concerns me in a district
where rancor over a tax issue - the Large Parcel Act - has
educational waters badly, creating enmity among some in the
Five are from Olive - six, if you count the one whose house
was "moved" officially over a line to Marbletown.
Three are from Shandaken and one from Wood-stock. There are
representatives from the town that suffered huge tax jumps
in a short period of time; and from those that thought a form
of "tax justice" had been meted out, and hoped it
would bring relief
to them. (Betcha' it didn't do much, but give politicians
something to claim.)
I fear that too may voters will vote on the basis of Town
loyalty and notions of "just and fair", and not
on educational matters. I fear a budget will be voted down
out of a kind of spite. I fear that good candidates will be
sidelined by an issue that reflects nothing but a single mistake
whose source lies in Albany, and in a poor method of financing
The issues are too big for spite and tunnel-vision: redistricting,
repairs, building, funding fairly all kind of educational
programs, paying for the mandates that descend from the federal
and state "gods on high", quality of the school
environment, advancing teacher education, health services,
etc, etc. These are what's important... not one issue self-righteousness.
Look at the candidates: Two are experienced on the board and
have been effective. A third is a new appointee to the board
who wants a full term to demonstrate her commitment and ability.
Another, from Woodstock, attends board meetings
as a responsible and involved parent... a very good starting
position. Another, who as a parent suffered a tragedy involving
the district is suing the district now, and so I am puzzled
by her candidacy, but I do want to know her directions and
opinions. There are five others about who I know nothing,
but names. All ten must have values, experiences, interests,
viewpoints, talents, etc. Look at these. Forget Large Parcel.
Get out, find out vote.
Mary Ann Mays
There are many false impressions and statements surrounding
the "Large Parcel" as it affects School taxpayers
in the Onteora School District; especially those who live
in the Town of Olive. I would like to clarify one of these
The primary issue is the public misunderstanding of the actual
amount of the School tax percentage accepted by the Onteora
School Board in August of 2004. (That Percentage is 26%)
First a little background: The Large Parcel Legislation, enacted
by the NY State Legislature, effective January 1, 2003, in
effect mandated that school boards decide on an annual basis
whether or not to apply a special formula designed to "even-out"
the amount of money paid toward school taxes across a district
where a "Large Parcel" was identified. Each year,
in late July, the NY State Office of Real Property Services,
ORPS, notifies School Districts if there is a "Large
Parcel" within the district. And in Onteora's case, this
is the Ashokan Reservoir. Last year, the School Board voted
in August of 2004 to adopt this special formula which accounted
for an increase of 26% for the school taxpayers in Olive.
Also, just prior to the School Board vote, the Town of Olive
was successful in having ORPS revaluate the Ashokan Reservoir
which accounts for and additional 29.55%. The popular misconception
is that the School Board is responsible for the total of these
two numbers - 55.55% - when, in fact, the Town of Olive and
their Ashokan revaluation success with ORPS, is accountable
for over half.
There are some who would have you believe that the School
Board is resopnsible for the school taxes in Olive increasing
by 60% - which is absolutley not true!
Trustee Onteora School Board
Why Olive matters. Did you know that New York City took the
heart out of Olive by force of law to make the Ashokan Reservoir?
Families moved upland to the rocky woodlots and are now forced
to live without a town center. More and more ‘watershed’
restrictions have been heaped on Olive over the years and
New York City is still grabbing land in Olive with no end
in sight. However, that same law, ‘Eminent domain’,
forces N.Y. City to pay taxes to Olive as part compensation
for the town’s loss of tax base now underwater. Due
to an apparent misapplication of an optional property tax
alternative in the infamous ‘Large Parcel Law’,
both the Onteora School Board and Ulster County may opt to
raid that same reservoir a full 55% of Olive’s tax base.
It’s as if Olive’s corporate sovereignty never
existed. That’s right somehow our neighboring towns
have opted to supersede Home Rule, a State Law and Town contracts.
The result of this year’s tax raid on Olive’s
residents is a cruel 60% school and massive 91% county tax
hike. The Large Parcel Law was never meant for tax stable
reservoirs. This annual tax raiding limbo affects the very
existence of Olive as we know it.
Are you upset enough to vote this year?
Are you willing to tell Olive’s neighboring towns, hands
off? Are you concerned enough to wear a button in protest?
Proclaim that land in Olive is an Olive matter. Does Olive’s
Town sovereignty even matter? Next they will be raiding Shandaken’s
largest parcel, the state land? Yes, Olive matters to me.
I plan to vote for only three this year as only three running
are even willing to help stop this madness. Voting is on Tuesday,
May 17th from 2pm to 9pm at the Phoenicia Elementary School.
For more details please stop in to www.Olivematters.org
What does the Onteora School Board really want? Did it want
to punish Olive for having a reservoir in its town? Did they
think that the Large Parcel Bill would “equalize”
taxes among taxpayers in the District? The only way to have
“equality” is to have each town have a 100% current
assessment. Olive is doing that. Will Shandaken follow suit
and update their thirty-some year old town-wide reval like
Here’s how the Large Parcel Bill equalized taxes. My
neighbor with an older home on six acres got a 55% increase
on school taxes and a 91% increase on county taxes. Since
he only paid $.56 to start with, this thirty cent and fifty
one cent increase didn’t present any hardship at all.
Is his home “equally taxed” with its Shandaken
and Woodstock counterparts?
On the other hand, a young neighbor with two small children
built a house on five acres. Since it is a new house, it is
assessed at its market value and already was “equal”
to Shandaken and Woodstock. The Large Parcel Bill caused his
monthly mortgage payment to increase by $700.00. That, my
dear friends, is an $8,400 rise in school and county taxes.
The Large Parcel does nothing to equalize taxes among taxpayers
in the District since it is only a percentage of an unequal
assessment. It only causes jealousy and animosity.
If the goal is to have each taxpayer pay its “fair and
equal” share, then Olive has done that with its re-evaluation
that will be in place for next year’s school tax bill.
Will Shandaken be the next target or will the newly elected
school board be allowed to get out of the tax business and
FOCUS on EDUCATION! Martha Havisham Olivebridge, NY
It's that time of year again for everyone to get out and vote
especially seniors and those living on a fixed income. There
are a lot of parents that will be voting and you don't have
to be a rocket scientist to know how they are going to vote.
Every vote counts just like every dollar counts when you’re
living on a fixed income. There's a lot at stake this year.
This year’s budget is a whooping 43 million dollar spending
plan. That's an increase of $1,598.672 over last year’s
budget. It appears that the School administration has been
playing up the fact that if the budget is defeated the spending
plan will be only $316,657 less then the original budget.
That may be true, however $316,657 is a lot of money and you
can bet that the budget is well padded so that if the budget
fails everything will go on as planned. The $316,657 will
just allow for more unnecessary spending. Superintendent Justine
Winters has recently recommended postponing the redrawing
of boundaries for the elementary schools until after district
needs have been studied. I thought that there was a study
made and a plan was already in place. Could that be a ploy
to help assure that the budget passes? You know, keep the
parents happy. It's getting harder and harder for many low
income and those living on a fixed income to make ends meet.
Is the price of gas eating away at your budget? And will the
price of fuel oil this fall eat even more away of your budget.
Defeating the budget should save a few tax dollars and send
a clear signal to the administration that this school district
needs to be more cost effective.
We need a completely new School Board that will challenge
the school administration and not just shake their heads yes.
Make your voice heard by voting on May 17.
Dear Editor, On May 17 the voters of the Outeora school district
will have an opportunity to shape the direction of our district.
It is time for someone with good common sense, who is concerned
about the education and its costs to have a seat at the table.
Mary Jane Bernholz is that person. I have known Mrs. Bemholz
for seven years. We have worked together on district-wide
PTA projects and committees. She is concerned and dedicated
to moving our district in a positive direction. I be1ieve
she possesses the qualities necessary to unify the district
and move us forward. I urge all district voters to pull the
lever for Mary Jane Bernholz.
Peggy Smith Hottum
My name is Cindy O’Connor and this May I will be running
for the Onteora Board of Education. I have lived In the Onteora
School District since 1966 and graduated from Onteora in 1976.
I hold a Bachelor of Science degree In Marketing from Kings
Col/ege in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. My husband and I own and operate
Sheldon Hill Forestry Supplies in Shoken, New York, which
we started in 1984. I currently reside In Olivebridge with
my husband Brian and two children, Tara and Troy. My daughter
Tara attends the Onteara Middle School and is in eighth grade.
while my son Troy attends Bennett Elementary and is in first
grade. My oldest son Kevin, who would have been eighteen this
March, was killed in 2002. Kevin is a great inspiration to
me and will always live with us in our hearts.
I believe that the Onteora Board of Education needs members
who are not afraid to ask and answer tough question, have
common sense, are willing to be a hands-on board member, communicate
with all members of our community and strive to create and
build trust with an attitude of honesty. We must be concerned
about the education and safety of our children. A Board of
Education’s job is to make policy and utilize those
policies to guide and determine decisions. A competent Board
member must be willing to research all the facts in order
to make knowledgeable and important decisions facing the future
of Onteora. I believe I would be just that kind of Board Member.
Therefore, I ask for your support in May by voting for me.
My personal experience has brought me on a journey I never
would have believed. In 2003 I researched and learned all
about New York State Pupil Transportation and the agencies
that govern them, NYSED, NYS DMV and the Federal Motor Carrier
Regulations. In 2004, I spoke before the New York State Assembly
on dangerous and fatigued drivers and worked with Assemblyman
Jonathan Bing of Manhattan and Senator John Bonaclc to introduce
drowsy driving legislation. 2005 has lead me to starting an
Ulster County Chapter of VOIDD, Victims Of Irresponsible Drowsy
Drivers, called VOIDD “72” and an Ulster County
Wide Drowsy Driving Education Program.
My many years of experience as a business owner have given
me the knowledge of the importance for a sound budget and
the need of spending funds in the correct place to benefit
all. Since 1992 I have been involved with the Bennett Elementary
School PT A. starting as a kindergarten parent and holding
officer positions of President, Vice President and Treasurer.
In 1996 I join the Bennett Playground Subcommittee and we
raised nearly $60,000.00 in approximately eight short months
for brand new playground equipment. This year I have been
involved with forming the Communications Committee In order
to increase the channels of communication between all stakeholders
of the school community. My personal experience as student,
parent, volunteer, business owner, and taxpayer has kept me
in the know as to what this district needs, and what the stakeholders
would like to see for the future of Onteora.
I want you to know that the passion and drive I carry in my
heart for our children, school, community and what I believe;
will be brought to the Onteora Central School District. Please
make the right decision and choose me as Board Member of the
Onteora School District.
When I vote for a school board member I look for someone with
the experience and skills to handle a demanding job, complex
issues, and a lot of pressure. Just as with a political election,
I don't think one-issue voting helps the school district at
all. I am writing to recommend Anne-Marie Johansson for the
School Board. Anne-Marie has experience working on various
Boards (the Olive Planning Board, the Olive Library Board)
and has served as president of the Tongore Garden Club and
the Shandaken Women's Network. Right now she is currently
serving on the OCS board, selected to serve out Tom Rosato's
Anne-Marie grew up in Phoenicia, attended Phoenicia Elementary
and Bennett, and the High School. Her children have attended
schools in the district. She has lived in West Hurley and
in the Town of Olive for the past 12 years. She knows the
district as a student, a parent, a taxpayer, and as a concerned
citizen who has worked on various school board campaigns.
Anne-Marie supports the Board's vote to support the Large
Parcel Tax Bill because she feels a fairly apportioned tax
basis shows the Board is committed to the entire district.
She supports Superintendent Winters' budget. She doesn’t
see a need for structured redistricting, because of the continuing
decline in enrollment. I disagree with her there, because
I think equalizing the class sizes helps the kids. But I am
still voting for her.
To learn more about Anne-Marie , come to the Meet the Candidates
night on Monday, May 2.
Elizabeth Holland Kern
From September 2003 to June 2004, I had the great pleasure
alongside Lisa Childers on the Woodstock Elementary School
Site Team. During that time, I don't believe she missed a
single meeting. And a good thing she didn't! For what Ms.
Childers consistently brought to
those meetings was a complete willingness to help whenever
and however she could, a fertile mind that was constantly
brimming over with ideas and proposals (affordable ones!)
on how to improve the education and the lives of WES pupils,
and a highly developed sense of service and
commitment that she succeeded in inspiring everybody else--her
fellow Site Team members, the kids and staff at WES, and the
community at large--to emulate. The icing on the cake was
that she has a wicked sense of humor that helped to make sitting
through those meetings a pleasure.
I can only imagine that Ms. Childers would make sitting through
any meeting a pleasurable experience. That's one of the small
reasons I heartily support Lisa Childers' bid for a seat on
the Onteora School Board; there are many, many more vital
ones as well, chief among them her ability to get good things
done. Another reason that's important to me is that my daughter
is still at WES, as is Ms. Childers' son; and so I know that,
while always keeping in mind the interests (and the pocketbooks)
of the larger community, she will work her butt off to see
that her child and mine--and every other parent's child in
the Onteora School District--receive all the breaks they're
entitled to in the challenging, tight-budgeted years ahead.
Please take my advice and do yourself a favor: Vote Lisa Childers
onto the Onteora School Board.
My name is Jack Jordan and I am a candidate for the Board
of Education because I would like to continue to promote quality
education in a positive and cost effective manner. I will
be retiring in September 2005 after 35 years as an educator.
In my career I have had many experiences in the field of education
that should assist me in being a productive member of the
I taught high school social studies and coached varsity basketball
and golf at neighboring Tri Valley C.S. During that time I
also served as President of the Teacher’s Association
and successfully negotiated a new contract. I served as Dean
of Students at T. V. prior to becoming H.S. principal. After
four years as principal at T. V. I moved to Jeffersonville
NY and assumed the post of high school principal at Jeffersonville-Youngsville
C.S. I held that job for 3 1/2 years until I was selected
as Superintendent of Schools for J-Y.
As superintendent I was responsible for facilitating referendums
and three building projects. I had the opportunity to negotiate
new contracts with the teachers and support staff. Responsible
budget planning and implementation were key areas of my job.
One of my major efforts was to lead the reorganization of
our district with neighboring Narrowsburg and Delaware Valley.
My tenure at J-Y ended with the successful merger and subsequent
forming of the new Sullivan West C.S. For the past 5 1⁄2
years I have been the Director of Secondary Programs for Sullivan
If elected, my educational philosophy will be the same as
that which I have followed throughout my career and that is,
the bottom line in decision-making must be what is in the
best interest of the majority of the students. That’s
why I have been in the education business and why I hope to
be able to continue to make a positive impact as a member
of your Board of Education. In addition, I believe it is important
that each of the towns within the district have proportionately
My wife Kathy and I live in Pine Hill. Kathy has lived in
the Onteora district for most of her life. We each have one
grown child. My daughter, Jennifer Jordan works for the Department
of Social Services in Sullivan County and Kathy’s son,
Dan Aley Jr. is a police officer in Binghamton. We have two
granddaughters who attend Tri Valley C.S.
If elected I will do my part to support the continuing excellence
in education that Onteora is widely recognized as having earned.
Communication + Teamwork = Success
Pine Hill, NY
My name is Rita Vanacore and I am a candidate for Onteora
Board Trustee. I have resided in the Onteora district for
the last 45 years and both my husband, myself and two of our
three children are graduates of Onteora.
For the last few years, I have followed the actions of our
school board and my final comment is... What have they accomplished?
First, there are defeated budgets......every year the administration
would scramble to just contain the budget within the guidelines
of past proposed budgets....let us not forget, though ,each
year there is approximately a $1,000,000 increase in employee
benefits. This year is the first time, under the direction
of Justine Winters that I have seen an attempt to actually
cut some proposals within the budget.
If elected, I intend to research all proposals including past
attempts by members of our community...members who attempts
have been thrust aside. In addition, I would enlist volunteers
from our community who are willing to make the time to help
financially balance our budget putting sound education first
for every dollar we spend.
Second, the camaraderie within our district has turned to
hostility...both over the closing of the West Hurley School
(unnecessarily) and the implementation of the Large Parcel
Legislation (also unnecessarily). Some of the present school
board members have admitted to voting on both issues without
clearly understanding the ramifications of either...if elected
I will promise to research each proposal until I understand
to the best of my ability the consequences of such decisions.
I feel that BOCES is under utilized in our district..the technical
programs alone that are available to our students are amazing.
BOCES also has a staff of grant writers at our disposal to
research available funds. We don't take advantage of anything
offered...instead we try to self contain our district and
because of that we cheat our community.
I have been researching programs used in other parts of the
country that have been successful in upgrading the education
offered without over extending the budget....elementary reading
programs, teaching assistant utilization, as well as high
academic programs where student in the same classroom progress
at their own speed through the use of computer programming,
just to name a few... our academia is suffering dramatically
while our budget is running rampant.
I believe that, like any successful business, the board should
set the budget first and then demand that all proposals and
contracts come in under that budget.
I don't propose that I can fix anything at all but before
I say I can't or won't I will investigate, research and openly
report back to the entire district what can or can't be reassessed
or changed and WHY!!!
Now let me finish with the question that is on most peoples
mind...the Large Parcel issue.
This legislation has a bigger picture and a more far-reaching
intention than any of us can comprehend. I believe, after
much research, that this is a political maneuver on the part
of our elected officials to keep us (and I mean our school
district as well as our county) scrambling around and fighting
amongst ourselves. Has anyone ever heard the term "divide
New York City and New York State are both quietly buying up
all property surrounding viable water sources in our state.
They would like us to believe that this is to protect our
water sources but that's only part of the big picture as I
Rudy Guiliani, during his reign as New York City's mayor tried
to pass legislation so that our reservoirs could be privatized.
It was kept very quiet but it was a reality.
This is not just about saving 5% on your taxes or who pays
more for what.
This is about towns and villages maintaining their autonomy
and protecting their boundaries..these right were given to
us in the Constitution (remember Home Rule). Our elected officials
are trying to take these rights away from us. As I see it,
our government would like to control the water sources and
the properties surrounding them....and maybe, just maybe,
eventually, have all the taxes paid directly to New York State
or in case of state ownership...pay no taxes at all. Shandaken,
beware, you may be the next target.
Whenever the government tries to infringe on my rights, those
of my family and those of my community.....I WILL ALWAYS VOTE
If elected ,I promise to my whole district, honesty, integrity,
and a business ethic that has helped me maintain a successful
business reputation in the community. I will fight for fairness
and I will be concerned about each dollar spent and for attaining
the finest education that money can buy for all the students
in our district.
Vote #3 on the ballot on May17th.....thank you.
My name is Tom Hickey and I am a candidate for the Onteora
School Board. I have two sons in the Onteora School System.
Being an involved parent, I have a good understanding of the
issues faced by the School Board. My years as a business consultant
have given me an appreciation of balancing fiscal responsibility
with practical solutions; I think that we all need to be willing
to apply common sense to the issues that face our District.
Recently, I met with our Superintendent, Justine Winters,
and came away very impressed with her sincerity and clarity
of vision for the future of the Onteora School District; our
current Board is to be commended for choosing such an outstanding
Superintendent. I heartily support the idea of hiring quality
individuals and then trusting them to get their jobs done
with grace and professionalism. Furthermore, I fully support
the budget that was recently proposed, and urge everyone to
come on out to vote for it. It is time to stop holding kids
hostage to anger over special interests. Programs like SAVI
(the Students Against Violence Initiative), the Mentoring
Program, and our Art & Music Programs are influencing
our kids in long term positive ways and should not be discarded.
What has been presented is a fiscally sound budget which reflects
the needs of all of our towns, and also promotes quality education
for our kids. We must look to the future and pass the budget
for our kids.
I believe that it is time that attention must be paid to the
most important issue facing any School Board, and that issue
MUST be education. It is time to bring our communities together
as one Educational District and dedicate ourselves to giving
our children the best possible education we can give them,
in the safest possible environment.
We need to make sure that Education is the focus of the Board
of Education; to do otherwise is to bankrupt our future.
I would like to take a moment to thank Superintendent Justine
Winters, Phoenicia Principal Linda Sella, Woodstock Principal
Bobbi Schnell, Bennett Principal Dr. Laurie Cassel, Middle
School Principal Gayle Kavanagh, High School Principal Barbara
Ruben, Shandakan Supervisor Bob Cross, Woodstock Supervisor
Jeremy Wilber, Olive Supervisor Berndt Leifeld, Hurley Supervisor
Gary Bellows, Jeanne Shultis, Robin Sears and countless teachers,
parents and residents who have spoken with me and provided
for me as much information as they have regarding all manner
of issues within our District. You’re all wonderful
for putting up with my questions.
I truly believe that individuals, such as these and such as
you and I, can make a huge difference in any endeavor, and
if you add your voice to mine, together we can make a difference
in the quality of the education we pay for our children to
I believe that, for our children, we can and should be one
School District, not four.
I believe that, for our children, we can and should be one
community, not four.
I care deeply for our children, for our community and for
our schools, and if elected, I will strive to make a difference
for ALL of our kids and I will promote high quality and affordable
education; I ask, please, for YOU to choose to make a difference
and come on out to the polls and vote for me on May 17th,
and vote to pass the budget.
How fortunate for the Onteora School District that Lisa Childers
will run for one of the seats on the school board. Lisa’s
involvement with school affairs goes back several years. Her
commitment to the children in the district and her respect
for the taxpayers that fund the district are equally deep.
She is certainly among the most qualified of all the candidates.
When folks in the district get to hear Lisa it will easily
convince them what a truly honest, dedicated and smart person
she is and how lucky we are to have her as a school board
I am voting for Lisa Childers for school board on May 17,
and I urge everyone with an interest in Onteora School District
affairs to do the same.
Woodstock Town Supervisor
I am writing to strongly urge residents of the Onteora School
District to join me in supporting Anne-Marie Johansson as
she seeks to re-join the School Board on May 17th. Anne-Marie
brings a calm, committed and dedicated voice to the Board
and has proven herself a dedicated member of the community
in the many different capacities she has served us over the
Her ability to balance the disparate needs of various district
needs, to weigh the relative merits of divergent points of
view and to channel those needs into positions that will benefit
the larger community is truly impressive. She holds no single
issue, nor no one constituency solely as her own, but is able
to represent the larger interests of the students of the district
as a whole. As a parent of an Onteora High School student,
there is no one I would rather see represent both my own and
my son’s interests on the Board.
Anne-Marie is dedicated to working to pass what is a fair,
responsible and critically needed school district budget.
In her next term on the Board, I am confident she will ensure
fiscal responsibility while at the same time maintaining the
need to support our students – our future friends and
community leaders – as they are nurtured by our school
I am proud to support Anne-Marie Johansson and hope you will
do as well. Please vote on May 17th for Anne-Marie!
West Hurley, NY
I am Lisa Childers and on May 17, 2005, I will be running
for the Onteora School Board. Because I have a son in the
Onteora school system I became involved with the board of
education and joined committees. Therefore, I am very aware
of the strengths and weaknesses of our school district. Through
my attendance of countless board meetings over the past four
years, I have developed a strong understanding of policy,
the budget process and the means to attain the
educational and cultural standards that we all strive for.
I am currently in my second year as a Site Team parent representative
Woodstock Elementary School. To highlight some of my experience,
I have introduced a Writing Workshop program and requested
an integrated anti-bully program. This is where parents and
teachers spent the day at a workshop designed to promote positive
behavior. I also organize Woodstock and West Hurley families
on Thanksgiving Day for Family of Woodstock annual dinner.
the community center with art work by Woodstock Elementary
school children. The Site Team is currently working with the
county on a child run recycle program. As a Site Team Rep,
I enjoy working with teachers, administrators and other parents.
I also have experience as an assistant teacher. I am on the
Future of the District Committee where we toured the schools,
worked with the administration and made decisions for the
school board to consider.
We should be very proud of Onteora's cultural achievements,
especially in music. In addition, I understand the value of
athletics and extra curricular activities, because my husband
Keith Anderson is regional commissioner of American Youth
Soccer Organization in Woodstock. I also acknowledge the hard
work and attention that is needed to keep our programs successful.
The current board has shown wisdom in their choice of Superintendent,
Justine Winters, who has given us a fiscally sound school
budget while listening to the needs of all our towns and promoting
quality education. As your representative on the school board,
I will work diligently with the board and administration to
promote public education that is not only affordable but of
the highest caliber. Every school board election is important,
but I believe this one will be a turning point for our future.
Next month's election for seats on the Onteora School Board
is one of great importance, it will determine the course of
local education for years to come. With stakes so high, we
need to elect qualified individuals who will uphold educational
standards while keeping us taxpayers in mind. I can think
of no other candidate more capable and up to the task than
Lisa Childers. I have worked closely with Lisa for many years
and have relied upon her expertise and knowledge school district
issues in order to keep myself informed and up to date. Ms.
Childer's is energetic, intelligent and highly motivated.
I know she will represent us on the Onteora School Board with
great distinction and integrity.
Please join me and spread the good news about Lisa's campaign
to your friends and family. Get out the vote - support Lisa
Childers in this all important school board election on May
Ulster County Legislator
I was one of the many volunteers who had participated in the
May 1 cleanup of the Ashokan Reservoir organized by the Catskill
Even though the skies were gray, the sunny smiles, sense of
camaraderie, and feelings of accomplishment experienced by
all who attended brightened the day.
Conspicuous by their absence were the faces of the many local
politicians who profess their concern and dedication to our
beautiful Catskills but can’t find the time to “roll
up their sleeves and break a sweat” in an effort to
preserve our pristine mountains and water. Lip service seems
to be their forte.
If it was that Sunday was the excuse, the next clean up will
be Saturday, May 21. Perhaps then some of our illustrious
pols will get up off their “duffs” and pitch in
– think of the “photo ops” and votes they
I am writing because our Senators need to support President
Bush’s nominees to the nation’s federal courts
during the 109th Congress. President Bush has nominated qualified
jurists who will uphold the laws of the land and not legislate
from the bench.
If our Senators cannot support the President’s judicial
nominees, however, they should do their constitutional duty
and at least give them the courtesy of a vote. During 2003
and 2004, someU.S. Senators took the unprecedented step of
filibustering President Bush’s judicial nominees. In
fact, 20% of President Bush’s circuit court nominees
did not even get an up or down vote. This is totally unacceptable!
Our courts are the backbone of our judicial system. Without
judges on the bench, our judicial system cannot operate effectively.
As a result of the vacancy crisis facing many of our federal
courts, our system of democracy is being jeopardized. Our
Senate can do something to correct this problem by ensuring
that the President’s nominees get a vote on the floor
of the U.S. Senate.
Thank you. Louis Tolchin
Stone Ridge, NY
I read the article in the last paper about the town meeting
which was in favor of cell phone towers in Shandanken. It
said that at the meeting even the people who were opposed
to cell phones were in favor of them. How can that be? How
do these meetings work anyway, do politicians stack the meeting
with people in favor of their policy then say, "well
look, the town wants this?"
I doubt most people living here want cell phone towers of
any size on top of the mountains, it is a desecration. Those
in favor say you need it for business, that it is progress.
I have a business and I don't have a cell phone, I don't need
it. If someone wants to call they call on the regular phone
during business hours and if I'm not there they leave a message.
You don't need a cell phone for business. Those in favor say
you need a cell phone in case your car breaks down on the
highway. My car has broken down more than once on route 28
and I went to the nearest house and knocked on the door to
borrow a phone, what's wrong with that? I guess it is not
really needed for this either. Supporters say it is progress,
you need cell phones because it is now the social norm, everyone
else is doing it. Well, Route 17 in New Jersey used to be
an idyllic country two lane road winding through farm, pasture
and woodlands. Progress transformed it into a polluted, traffic
congested six lane nightmare of a road, traveling through
an endless quagmire of blacktop, malls, gas stations and commercial
developments. Do we really want to subject the Catskills to
this type of progress? I don't call it progress, words like
degeneration, deterioration and destruction are more fitting.
I moved to the Catskills in 1980 to escape the congestion
of New Jersey and to enjoy what the Catskills has to offer,
fresh air, woodlands, mountains and streams. Ruin this and
you have nothing left. I have a better solution for those
people who want to bring money to the Catskills in the form
of casinos, golf courses, condominiums and cell phone towers
(soon to be followed by Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Burger King,
KFC, IKEA, Home Depot, highway expansion and environmental
ruin). If you want New Jersey money and New York City money
so bad, move to Paramus or Manhattan. You can make all the
money you want down there. You can buy a Mercedes SUV and
drive up on the weekends. You can sit down next to a stream,
put your feet in the water, lean back and feel the sun on
your face. Then you can remember some important business,
whip out your cell phone and -- lucky you -- it won't work.
On behalf of the Catskill Heritage Alliance, a round of applause
and hearty thanks to all the volunteers who helped at the
Ashokan Reservoir cleanup on Sunday, May 1st. It was a hugely
successful endeavor. A mountain of trash was collected, and
we had a good time gathering it up and hauling it out.
What?!? You don’t believe stream cleanup duty can be
fun? You’ve got two more chances to see for yourself.
On Saturday, May 14, we’ll be helping out Trout Unlimited
as they coordinate an Esopus cleanup from Phoenicia to Mt.
Tremper. Meet in front of Onteora H.S. in Boiceville at 9
am for the two-hour effort. And the job’s not done at
the Ashokan either. CHA will again be coordinating the final
Ashokan Reservoir cleanup on Saturday morning, May 21st. Meet
at 9AM at the Frying Pan parking area of the reservoir. All
you need to bring are a pair of work gloves and a sense of
humor. We will work from 9AM to11AM. For specific directions
or details call Jo-Anne at 688-2038 after May 12th. Please
try to join us. We need your help.
CHA Stream Cleanup Coordinator
It was a treat to read your column on Isabel Bengtson, E.A.
The usual view of Tax Accountants is as stuffy and impersonal
-e.g. H & R Block agents. You show that professionals,
like Mrs. Bengtson, can have a softer, personal side in their
practice. Even after 20 years she’s obviously concerned
with her clientele for their long-term benefit.
Kudos to Isabel Bengtson, E.A. and the wish for continued
success in her practice, and The Phoenicia Times for your
efforts to highlight local events and personalities.
I have been asked to clarify some tower siting recommendations
for residents living near the Quarry in Woodstock in light
of the fact that Jeremy Wilber, Supervisor of Woodstock, has
been quoting from my book, Cell Towers, Wireless Convenience?
or Environmental Hazard? (New Century, 2002). The information
is pertinent to all towns wrestling with cell towers.
There is more to safe tower siting than just linear feet measurements
from dwellings. Tower sites are complicated areas. Several
factors should be considered. When possible, towers should
be located near main roads to accommodate 911 calls from motorists
- the primary reason people have cell phones - preferably
on land that can allow for at least a 1,500-foot setback from
dwellings or places where people congregate. Towers should
not be located in environmentally sensitive areas with scenic
or recreational value. It is my understanding that the quarry
land abuts important state owned forests with popular hiking
trails. Also, for simple safety reasons, towers should be
kept in regions where firefighters can have easy access. Towers
attract lightening. Forest fires are common. Remote locations
are problematic. Equipment buildings also contain potential
pollutants such as battery sulfuric acid.
In addition, water and certain mineral content in soil, as
well as certain rock types, can all direct RF energy in ways
that simple computer models do not predict, resulting in potential
RF "hotspots" that will not be detected unless the
town has a monitoring policy.
Wildlife can also be affected by the presence of towers. Migrating
birds in particular are of concern, as well as water species.
Shandaken, like Woodstock, is a large geographical area. Surely
an appropriate parcel can be found to accommodate those who
want cell phone service without jeopardizing those who chose
not to take the risks of living near the infrastructure, or
place sensitive environments in harm's way. The town will
be held liable for poor siting decisions. Such decisions will
affect the town for generations to come.
B. Blake Levitt
Author & Medical/Science Journalist
It is a shame that the Emerson Inn burned, but how can CEO
Ted Wright compare this fire, where no lives were lost to
the devastation that occurred on September 11,2001? He states,
“It’ 9-11 for us... It’s a tragedy. But
we will rebuild quickly”. I can only guess he was so
upset by his financial loss that he wasn’t thinking