When everyone comes to the table to discuss substantive subjects
at the upcoming Issues Conference on the Belleayre Resort DEIS
starting May 25, don't expect anyone from the Town of Shandaken,
where most of Dean Gitter's massive development is planned to
land. That's because a series of snafus, ending in a recent
Shandaken Planning Board Executive Session, has resulted in
no one agreeing on final authorship for those comments it submitted
for review to the state Department of Environmental Conservation
in late April.
Those comments, presented to the town by the Planning Board's
hired consultants, Ferrandino & Associates, blasted the
adequacy of the DEIS at addressing local traffic and socio-economic
factors. At the April 19 meeting where it was presented, Belleayre
Resort' project manager Gary Gailes distributed a two-page press
release entitled "Shandaken Ill-Served By Quick, Biased
Study" that attacked both Ferrandino and his report's conclusions,
calling it "disappointing, inaccurate, misleading,
When Ferrandino was later asked to make changes to their document
by Shandaken Supervisor Bob Cross, Jr. and newly-appointed Planning
Board Chairman John Horn, a series of discussions ended up in
what some have called a "botched" report being submitted
that no one is willing to support at this point.
According to Planning Board attorney Drayton Grant, this could
end up with a number of issues within the town's purview, from
traffic and socio-economics to community character, going un-discussed
in the upcoming process. Yet she said that the raising of such
subjects by New York City and other entities should make up
the difference∑ unless new attempts to quash the City's
comments prove successful.
The difficulty with the comments submitted, those involved say,
was that no one felt comfortable with their final "tone"
- part negative, part positive.
Grant said she's been surprised at some of the actions taken
by her clients of late, and possible interference from the town
"Fortunately, there will be a good record," she said
in regards to the need for parties to use the upcoming judicial
hearings to set precedent for later action. "We'll hopefully
end up with plenty to review later."
A severe localized thunderstorm hammered Pine Hill and
Highmount last Thursday, dumping a reported four inches of rain
in half an hour and causing significant flash flooding. Rainfall
totals according to County Emergency Services Director Art Snyder,
appeared to be between six and seven inches.
In Pine Hill where the most serious damage occurred, Birch
Creek crested two feet above the bridge at Main and Lake, and
the Academy Street bridge remains closed due to damage
sustained. Town highway Superintendant Dick Merwin reports that
crews worked late into thursday night removing debris and reopening
a number of roads. Hardest hit were Upper and Lower Birch Creek
roads and Kelly, Galla Curci and Barley roads with some damage
to Bonnieview Avenue. On the other side of Belleayre Mountain
in Hardenburgh, Dry Brook and Todd Mountain Roads were hardest
hit though "nothing serious" according to Supervisor
Jerry Fairburn, with Denning Supervisor Bill Bruning reporting
only minor damage.
Given the localized nature of the storm and the modest financial
damages sustained, the town does not appear to qualify for FEMA
assistance, but the town is likely to have to pick up the tab
for all repairs. According to Town Supervisor Bob Cross, preliminary
damage estimates appear to be in the $500,000 range, with the
majority of damage to town roads and bridges. Any residents
who have suffered property damage during this storm are asked
to contact the town flood plain administrator, Mike Malloy,
Think you pay too much in taxes? One day each year folks have
the chance to complain about it and perhaps get their taxes
reduced. That day, called Grievance Day, is set for May 25th
between 4pm and 8pm in the assessors office at town hall. The
tentative assessment roll, in other words the value the town
intends to use to calculate taxes on your property, can be looked
at in the assessor's office until Grievance Day, and on
May 20th the assessors will be on hand to talk about the assessment
roll between the hours of 1 and 5 pm. If you think the assessment
on your land is unfair, be sure to pick up the booklet called
"how to challenge your assessment," also available
at the office. For more information call (845) 688- 5003.
Town Officials will meet with DEP staffers this Saturday, May
22nd, at 1pm to learn more about more about plans to improve
the stream in Broadstreet Hollow. Outlined during
the session will be specifics on how to reduce damage, from
floods and erosion, to private property and public infrastructure,
protect and improve water quality and protect and enhance stream
and floodplain ecosystem.
Described as "a small watershed field tour" by project
manager Sarah Miller of the DEP, the afternoon is an opportunity
for DEP to give Supervisor Bob Cross and other board members
some detail on some of the recommendations at specific sites
and also discuss how some of the plans might be put to use watershed
wide. The public is welcome to attend.
All interested should meet at the Shandaken Town Hall parking
lot for carpooling. This event, according to Miller, is designed
to get Town Board members and the public out for an afternoon
together to discuss the Broadstreet Hollow plan and its elements
in detail, tour some specific sites highlighted in the plan,
answer any questions and get additional feedback.
Last week 20 volunteers participated in cleanup of the stream,
sponsored by the Catskill Watershed Corporation. And organized
by the Broadstreet Hollow Watershed Landowners Association.
An officer of the Shandaken police department has been suspended
following his arrest last week for allegedly threatening someone
with bodily harm. Members of the Ulster County Sheriff's
department arrested Douglas Hoyt, age 26, of Orchard Street,
Tillson, for Aggravated Harassment in the 2nd degree, a misdemeanor
punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1000 fine. The arrest
followed a complaint from a woman claiming that Hoyt made threatening
comments to her during a heated telephone conversation. Police
say that Hoyt surrendered himself to Sheriff's deputies
at Sheriff's headquarters, and was issued an appearance
ticket in Town of Shandaken Court.
Undersherrif George Wood said he was uncertain how the arrest
would affect Hoyt's future in law enforcement.
"It may be a bar from future employment∑but at this
time it remains only an allegation," he said, adding that
Police officers are automatically barred from future employment
if convicted of a felony but not if convicted for a misdemeanor.
The nature of the offense would be the determining factor, he
James McGrath, the Officer in Charge for the Shandaken Department,
said that Hoyt, who is a part time officer for the department,
was suspended immediately following his arrest. He offered no
further comment on the matter because the arrest was made by
the Sherrif's department, not the Shandaken Police.
Wood did not elaborate on the charges, saying only that threatening
comments were made. "I don't know what the extent
of the threat was, but I believe the threat extended to other
people as well," Wood said.
Wood said that after the complaint was issued, Sheriff's
department personnel "reached out to Hoyt by phone"
and convinced the officer to turn himself in. Hoyt arrived at
Sheriff's headquarters with an attorney, Wood said, and
Hoyt was processed. He did not spend any time in prison, instead
was issued an appearance ticket. He will be arraigned in Shandaken,
but the local justice will determine whether the case would
be heard in Shandaken court or if it gets sent to another court.
All the tickets that Hoyt had outstanding, from traffic infractions
up, appear to have been dismissed because he can not show up
in court to prosecute them.
The King and I
The Shandaken Theatrical Society is putting the finishing touches
on their spring production of "The King and I,"
that famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that made Yul Brenner
a star of immortal proportions for his portrayal of the king
on both Broadway and the silver screen. Brenner won a Tony and
an Oscar for his work, but word is the STS thespian ruling this
production is working even harder to fine tune his performance
as the legendary king that learns a thing or two about life
and love from a young American girl named Anna, portrayed by
Saugerties resident Dot Penz, who also directs the lavish production.
Shows dates are Friday May 28 and Saturday, May 29 at 8pm with
a 4pm matinee on Sunday. The show also runs June 4th, 5th, 11th
and 12th at 8pm with two other matinees set for June 6th and
13th. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.
Call (845) 688-2279 for details.
Higher & Higher
AAA, the American Automobile Association, has been conducting
daily surveys of gasoline prices nationwide and has reported
a statewide average of $2.05 per gallon for regular gas, a few
cents cheaper than area prices, and $2.10 per gallon for mid-grade
and $2.146 per gallon for premium, a few pennies more per gallon
in both cases. State prices were higher than nationwide averages
from the same time.
AAA has blamed the hike on unusually high crude oil prices that
could shift back downwards depending on recent meetings of OPEC
(the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), which is
trying to meet our nation's growing demand because of
the rise in the number of SUVs.
It has also been recently reported that a deal was made between
the Bush Administration and Saudi Arabia in the last year for
prices to drop before Election Day. The White House categorically
denies all such talk.
The 10th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Auction and Dinner Dance
to be held at Belleayre Mountain on Sunday, May 30th will benefit
the 2004 Belleayre Music Festival. This annual fund raiser features
a live auction of extraordinary items including antiques, artwork
and one of-a-kind gift packages. Spearheaded this year by Faye
Storms, proprietor of Blue Barn Antiques and Interiors on Route
28, this year's event will include numerous prizes, from
an original pilot script for the "Sopranos" autographed
by the entire cast to furs, furniture, food, and furnishings.
The evening festivities begin with a 6-7 pm preview of the Auction
items, and the start of bidding on the Silent Auction. Dinner
by Main Course Caterers includes complimentary wine and dancing
will be to the music of festival favorites, Special Delivery
beginning at 7pm. Belleayre Superintendent Tony Lanza, the evening's
auctioneer, will get the live auction bidding started by 8:30
pm and dessert and dancing will follow from 9:30 until 11 pm.
Tickets are available by calling the Belleayre Conservatory's
office at 845-254-5600 ext. 344. For ticket information for
the 2004 Belleayre Music Festival visit www.belleayremusic.org.
Security costs for the Republican National Convention this summer
will hit $76 million, says police City Police Commissioner Ray
Kelly. Just last month, the estimate was $47 million to $65
The city, just emerging from successive years of multibillion-dollar
budget gaps, will likely have to pick up at least two-thirds
of the convention's security cost - which is even more
than the $64 million organizers are raising to bring the convention
to the city. No host committee funds would be used for security.
The federal government has committed about $25 million for security
for the convention, at which President Bush will be nominated
for a second term. The convention is scheduled to begin Aug.
30 at Madison Square Garden.
A few months ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg predicted that $27
million would cover not only security at the convention but
also sanitation and insurance.That estimate has escalated rapidly,
as the police department, which has about 36,500 members, has
budgeted a more intense regimen - of counterterrorism, crowd
control and civil rights training - to more officers in recent
Kelly said recently that the police department will use 6,000
to 10,000 officers to handle the convention and the expected
demonstrations around Madison Square Garden.
Those officers will receive overtime training to prepare for
chemical, biological or radiological attacks. The current class
in the Police Academy is receiving similar training in preparation
for the convention.
In June, 10,000 officers will be trained in legal issues, including
the rights of demonstrators, in addition to disorder control,
subway track safety, hazardous materials and terrorism awareness.
The police department also plans to buy a closed-circuit television
system, special crowd control barriers to ring Madison Square
Garden, nuclear, biological and chemical detection and monitoring
devices, 300 motor scooters and 15 vans for the gathering.
Word in Albany is that the City's outlay of so much for
the convention has quieted any concerns there may have been
about its recent harsh comments against the Belleayre Resort
project planned for the Catskills and currently undergoing adjudication
by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Twenty-three grants totaling just over $98,000 were approved
by the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) Board of Directors
last month. The grants, ranging from $1,000 to $12,000, will
go to schools and non-profit organizations in New York City
and its West-of-Hudson Watershed. They are intended to increase
awareness, understanding and appreciation of clean water, the
City's vast water delivery system, and the upstate Watershed
which supplies 90 percent of the water consumed by nine million
A 13-member Public Education Advisory Group (PEAG) evaluated
37 proposals in this seventh round of funding. Amongst schools
and not-for-profits that were funded for projects were: In Delaware
County: South Kortright Central School (two grants); Delaware
Academy and Central School, Delhi; Sidney Central School; Sidney
Memorial Public Library; the Roxbury Arts Group, and the Catskill
Forest Association. In Greene County: Hunter-Tannersville Central
School. In Ulster County: Woodstock, Phoenicia and Bennett Elementary
Schools. In Schoharie County: Gilboa-Conesville Central School.
In Sullivan County: Tri-Valley Central School, Grahamsville.
In New York City: Friends of VanCortlandt Park, Friends of Crotona
Park, PS 109, the Earth School, New York Restoration Project,
Brooklyn New School, Ditmas Intermediate School #62, and Phipps
Community Development Corp.
In addition, the Council on the Environment of New York
City was awarded a grant involving schools both in the watershed
and in New York City, and Trout Unlimited will receive funds
to assist several schools participating in the Trout in the
For more information on past Watershed Education Grants and
related programs, consult the Catskill-NYC Watershed Educators
Network web site, www.WatershEducators.org To learn more about
the CWC and its environmental protection, economic development
and education programs, go to www.cwconline.org, or call toll-free,
Billions of red-eyed Cicadas are currently taking their once-every-17
years-chance to emerge from the ground to mate. Scientists say
this year's batch, known as Brood X, is the largest of
the cicada groups that appear at various intervals. The first
of the cicada nymphs emerged last week from their holes and
crawled up nearby trees to molt in the Maryland area, shedding
their hard skins and emerging with wings. Those that survive
the birds, squirrels and other predators will mate, lay eggs
and die over the next several weeks. Hatches are expected in
the Hudson Valley within the coming weeks - as many as 1.5 million
per acre in some places.
First there was the girl who fell off her bike fleeing a flying
cicada. Then a boy trying to swat a cicada out of the air with
a baseball bat instead hit his friend in the nose.
The thumb-sized insects are harmless, but they are large, noisy
and clumsy. Already, health officials are warning those afraid
of bugs, and especially children, not to panic.
America's high-tech military relies on an antiquated,
Civil War-era command system that is dangerously slow and cumbersome
and stifles direct, honest reporting, defense officials and
other experts are now saying. The reporting system ˜ historically
based on how far an officer could yell above the din of battlefield
musketry and cannon ˜ helps explain how senior defense
officials seemed sandbagged recently by the explosive appearance
of photos of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners even though
the photos had been given to the Army five months earlier. Though
efforts are under way to reform the prisons in Iraq, the Defense
Department's reporting and command structure remains unchanged
˜ leaving the possibility that more bad news has yet to
Within the Defense Department, it has been disclosed, information
travels along a rigid chain of command, one that runs from sergeant
to lieutenant to captain to major and on upward. Soldiers are
taught from their first hour of basic training not to get out
of line by violating this structure. Information coming out
of Abu Ghraib went through two different reporting chains, the
800th Military Police Brigade and the 205th Military Intelligence
Brigade. From there, it traveled up two separate channels ˜
the U.S. Central Command in Baghdad and the U.S. Army's
Provost Marshal's Office ˜ investigators said. The
route can be clogged by bureaucratic procedures and secrecy
Last year alone, the federal government classified 14.2 million
national security secrets.
Pope vs. Bush
Pope John Paul II is expected to warn President George W. Bush
when the two men meet on June 4 that his policy in Iraq is wrong
and the actions of US troops are damaging efforts to bring religions
closer together, a senior Vatican official revealed recently.
Cardinal Pio Laghi said the US-led occupation force in Iraq
should be replaced by "a multinational presence which
is not dominated by those who wanted and fought the war."
It was not enough for a military force in Iraq not to be under
US command, "it must not even give the impression that
it is," he said. Laghi was the pope's envoy to Washington
last year in a fruitless attempt to persuade Bush not to invade
Iraq against the wishes of the majority of the United Nations
and its 15-member Security Council.
Referring to revelations this month of torture and humiliating
mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers, the cardinal
asked "how is it possible to remain in Iraq if these abuses
Bush is due to meet the pope on June 4 before traveling to France
for ceremonies commemorating the 60th anniversary of the D-Day
allied landings on the Atlantic coast on June 6, 1944.
The cardinal said he also expected the pope to tell Bush that
his policies in the Middle East in general were not helping
the cause of peace. "We must above all build cultural
understanding between peoples and I do not believe that our
American friends are doing that," he said. "Bombing
mosques, going into holy places, putting women soldiers in contact
with naked men shows a lack of understanding of the Muslim world
which I can only call surprising," he said. "We
must build bridges with Islam, not dig trenches between us,"
he went on.
Bush and the pope have met twice before, but the June 4 audience
will be their first since the start of the war in Iraq.
Approximately one-quarter of American adults have been diagnosed
with arthritis and another 17 percent may be suffering from
the crippling disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
said recently. Arthritis, a musculoskeletal disease that causes
painful inflammation in the joints, is the leading cause of
disability in the United States and a major financial drain
on the nation's health care system. The percentage of
those diagnosed with a form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis,
gout, lupus or fibromyalgia ranged from a low of 17.8 percent
in Hawaii to a high of 35.8 percent in Alabama in 2002, according
to a CDC survey of 30 states. The median rate was 27.6 percent.
The CDC also found that about 20 percent of respondents in a
number of states in the survey had chronic joint pain, aching
or stiffness indicating possible arthritis that had not been
The estimated direct and indirect costs of arthritis and other
related rheumatic diseases was $86.2 billion in 1997, equivalent
to about 1 percent of the nation's gross domestic product,
the CDC said in a separate study. Americans spent $51.1 billion
on medical treatment for arthritis and related diseases in 1997,
while lost earnings due to hospitalization, illness and disability
added up to $35.1 billion.
Health experts believe that a combination of proper diet, weight
control, exercise and regular medical treatment are effective
in controlling both the prevalence and severity of arthritis.
Ulster County lawmakers are on the verge of approving up to
$600,000 in funds for Ellenville Regional Hospital. The Legislature's
special committee on the situation, which has seen the hospital
on the verge of closing down, already has approved a deal which
would give the hospital $200,000, followed by a long-term contribution
of up to $400,000 to help the 51-bed facility climb out of bankruptcy.
The hospital, the only one in southern Ulster County, declared
bankruptcy in November 2003 for the second time in four years.
Under the terms of the financial assistance deal, the county
would contribute payments totaling $200,000 to the hospital
through the beginning of July. But if, by July 9, Kingston Hospital
has not signed on to operate the facility, the county's
support would end and the hospital could close. Should Kingston
Hospital agree to run the Ellenville facility, the county would
continue to make payments - up to $400,000 more - and would
own the hospital and the land on which it sits.
Kingston Hospital is in the process of conducting a feasibility
study on taking over Ellenville Regional Hospital, a study that
presumably will be completed before the July deadline. Ellenville
Regional Hospital has been owned by the parent company of Westchester
Medical Center since shortly after the first bankruptcy.
The facility employs 178 people and is the primary health-care
facility for 298 people who receive public assistance.
Republicans in Congress are so frustrated with the White House
that when Speaker J. Dennis Hastert criticized the Bush Administration
at a House GOP meeting recently, the caucus burst into applause.
And according to The Hill, a weekly journal covering Washington
matters, the meeting was only the latest sign in an accumulating
body of evidence that lawmakers are unhappy with the way the
administration treats them.
One GOP lawmaker at the caucus meeting said Hastert "expressed
outright dismay with the White House staff for the way the transportation
bill had been handled. They did not give the priority necessary
to the issue in resolving it as the Speaker had wanted. It's
in absolute limbo." A rank-and-file lawmaker added: "Hastert
was frustrated and disappointed that he had not been dealt with
openly and fairly and given accurate information. He was not
so much speaking to the conference as he was speaking for the
The catalog of GOP complaints against the executive branch is
long. A senior Republican House member said his colleagues frequently
disparage the White House communications team, particularly
on articulating its policy in Iraq.
Behind the scenes, the White House is making it clear that it
is less concerned about grumbling among members of Congress
than with winning hearts and minds beyond the Beltway. It believes
that by this measure, the president's support is solid.
Efforts have been made in the past several days to mend fences.
Senior White House officials met in Hastert's office earlier
this month, and Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
(R-Tenn.) had dinner at the White House with Bush and Vice President
Dick Cheney. (The main dish was spaghetti with shrimp.)
Good For You!
Giving support to advocates of breast-feeding, new research
bolsters the theory that rapid growth in infancy, encouraged
by enriched infant formulas, might increase the risk of heart
disease and stroke later in life. The study, described recently
in The Lancet medical journal, found the cholesterol profile
was 14 percent better in adolescents who had been fed breast
milk as babies, compared with those fed formula.
The conclusion is the latest to come out of 20 years of research
indicating that conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure
and diabetes could be influenced by a baby's growth rate.
All those conditions are linked to heart disease. The study
provides Œ'very strong evidence'' that
babies fed breast milk rather than formula will grow up to have
significantly lower levels of bad cholesterol.
Cholesterol plays a central role in the clogging of arteries,
which leads to heart attacks and strokes.
More Bad Press
The U.S. Army general under investigation for anti-Islamic remarks
has been linked by U.S. officials to the Iraqi prisoner abuse
scandal, which experts warned could touch off new outrage overseas.
A Senate hearing into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was told
recently that Lt. Gen. William Boykin, an evangelical Christian
under review for saying his God was superior to that of the
Muslims, briefed a top Pentagon civilian official last summer
on recommendations on ways military interrogators could gain
more intelligence from Iraqi prisoners. Critics have suggested
those recommendations amounted to a senior-level go-ahead for
the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners, possibly to "soften
up" detainees before interrogation ˜ a charge the
Pentagon denies. Congressional aides and Arab-American and Muslim
groups said any involvement by Boykin could spark new concern
among Arabs and Muslims overseas that the U.S. war on terrorism
is in fact a war on Islam.
Boykin touched off a firestorm last October after giving speeches
while in uniform in which he referred to the war on terrorism
as a battle with "Satan" and said America had been
targeted "because we're a Christian nation."
He said later he was not anti-Islam or any other religion. President
Bush distanced himself from Boykin's remarks, but the
Pentagon said it would not fire the general, who played a role
in the 1993 clash with Somali warlords and the ill-fated hostage
rescue attempt in Iran in 1980.
In an era of diet fixation, chiseled underwear models and "a
culture of muscularity," some researchers say eating problems
among men are getting worse - even as sufferers face a lingering
stigma about having a "women's disorder."
Intentional starvation, cookie binges, vomiting, hospitalization.
The details were typical for an eating disorder∑ except
they are now occurring among men.
Women are more likely to have eating disorders than men. But
men can also suffer from bulimia, binge eating and, to a lesser
extent, anorexia, according to researchers.
Leigh Cohn, co-author of "Making Weight," believes
such disorders afflict about 2 percent of men versus 4 percent
to 5 percent of women, but he is convinced the rate for men
is on the rise. Other researchers have differing estimates,
but there are no definitive studies.
Athletes whose weight is crucial to their performance - jockeys,
wrestlers, distance runners and gymnasts - have a higher incidence
of eating disorders. Cohn said they can develop bad habits when
weight loss is seen as a requirement of the sport. The root
causes can be similar for men and women: genetics, low self-esteem,
trauma and cultural influences.
Just as women feel pressured to look like stick-thin magazine
models, men can be swayed by images of pumped-up hunks with
broad shoulders, six-pack abs and narrow waists. Pictures of
perfect bodies can reinforce the belief that "normal"
bodies are not OK, researchers say. And those perfect
male images - think muscle-bound movie heroes, magazine cover
boys and shirtless rappers - can be hard to ignore.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida released a
study this month saying men who watched TV commercials of muscular
actors felt unhappy about their own physiques. This "culture
of muscularity" can be linked to eating disorders or steroid
abuse, the researchers said.
Dr. Theodore Weltzin of Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc,
Wis., said one study showed 70 percent of high school males
dieting. The hospital offers residential treatment for males,
and Weltzin says he sees a fair number of dieting men who are
"carbohydrate-phobic," as opposed to women sufferers
who tend to be fat-phobic.
The Bush administration, dogged by the growing abuse scandal
in Iraq, is pressing ahead this week with a new appeal for democracy
and political reform in the Middle East in the face of extreme
skepticism in the region and in Europe. What the administration
calls its Greater Middle East Initiative, a proposal that stirred
an angry outcry from Arab officials when a version leaked out
last winter, is an eight-page draft that began circulating among
foreign ministers this week.
The administration has said President Bush plans to get some
form of the document adopted at the summit meeting of leading
industrial nations and Russia, the so-called Group of 8, in
June at Sea Island, Ga. But European officials familiar with
the contents said they expected that in light of widespread
outrage over American soldiers' abuse of Iraq prisoners,
even this new, toned-down document would have to be revised
extensively to make it seem less high-handed and arrogant. Even
some American officials wonder how effective such a call can
be right now, especially because the administration is counting
on support from Arab League nations.
The document that was leaked last year encompassed exhortations
and pronouncements that offended many Arab leaders, both because
they perceived it as imperialist in tone, and because it omitted
discussion of the Arab-Israeli confrontation. The new document,
"G-8 Plan of Support for Reform," calls for increased
engagement by the West to promote democracy, women's rights,
education, political reforms, free markets and investments,
an independent judiciary and media, and greater efforts to crack
down on corruption.
An administration official said the document was simply a list
of ideas that would be refined as the Sea Island summit meeting
approaches, and especially after the Arab League summit talks,
on May 22. European and American officials emphasize that their
plan is to get the Arab League to adopt a similar document;
then they would issue a statement at Sea Island to support the
Arab leaders, perhaps combining the two statements.
Arab officials have let the Bush administration know that it
would not help for the United States to lead an effort at Sea
Island on behalf of reform. Those views were conveyed well before
the recent developments in Iraq provoked a torrent of criticism
in the Arab world.
The newly formed Catsill Mountain Music Guild is pleased to
announce its May 29th concert at the Pine Hill Community Center,
7:30pm, $5 admission, featuring an all women line-up of talented
singers and songwriters. This special night will consist of
performances by Laurie McIntosh, Charity Valk, Davida, and Lisa
Dudley, accompanied by various members of the Panther Mountain
Picking Circle ˜ known for their Thursday night gatherings
in the Phoenicia/Woodland Valley area. In light of the popularity
and talent of these four performers, you're advised to
arrive early if you wish to ensure seating. Last month's
concert was standing room only. The Pine Hill Community
Center is located at 287 Main Street, Pine Hill, NY.
Sooty air pollution can cause genetic damage that can be passed
along to offspring, Canadian researchers reported this month
in a study on mice. Follow-up work is needed to learn if people
can inherit pollution-damaged DNA that harms their health. In
the meantime, the discovery is sure to increase scientists'
worry about particulates, the microscopic soot particles emitted
by factories, power plants and diesel-burning vehicles. These
airborne particles are linked to a growing list of health problems,
including asthma and heart disease, in the people who breathe
high levels of them∑ but there had been little evidence
that any air pollutant might cause the kind of genetic damage
that can be inherited - until Canadian scientists in 2002 housed
mice downwind from steel mills and tested their offspring. The
males passed on double the DNA mutations as mice living in the
Researchers are saying that the study's practical value
may be in showing the effectiveness of air filtration.
The Environmental Protection Agency already has ordered tougher
curbs on ultra-fine particulate pollution because of concern
about effects on the elderly, children and people with respiratory
illnesses. In December, it plans to reveal which parts of the
country aren't in compliance.
Tiny enough to be inhaled deeply into the lungs, these particulates
enter the bloodstream and move through the body.
President Bush's chief political adviser told graduates
of the Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University this month
to judge leaders on the basis of character. America needs people
who have "the moral clarity and courage to do what's
right, regardless of consequence, fashion or fad," Karl
Rove said. "You either have values ingrained in your heart
and soul that will not change with the wind or you don't,"
Rove also reminded the 2,041 graduates to pay off their credit
cards and to never act smarter than their bosses. "Even
if you are," he added.
Liberty University is a private school affiliated with Falwell's
Baptist ministry. Rove, who said he never earned a college degree,
was presented an honorary doctorate of humanities by Falwell
for his "commitment to conservative ideas."
A recently uncovered report by the U.S. Selective Service System
to the Pentagon shows that plans to extend the draft to women
have been underway for more than a year. According to a memo
obtained by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer through the Freedom
of Information Act, the Selective Service System has proposed
revamping the draft to include the registration of women, expanding
the age limits and requiring that young Americans keep the government
informed about those critical skills most valuable to the military.
"In line with today's needs, the Selective Service
System's structure, programs and activities should be
re-engineered toward maintaining a national inventory of American
men and, for the first time, women, ages 18 through 34, with
an added focus on identifying individuals with critical skills,"
the agency said in a Feb. 11, 2003, proposal presented to senior
Pentagon officials. The agency officials added they would have
"to market the concept" of a female draft to Congress
before it could be instituted.
For the first time in public, a somber Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld raised the possibility yesterday that the U.S. mission
in Iraq could fail. Rumsfeld said the prison abuse scandal had
delivered a "body blow" to the nation-building effort
in Iraq that has cost the lives of more than 770 U.S. troops.
"Will it happen right on time? I think so. I hope so.
Will it be perfect? No.... Is it possible it won't work?
Yes," Rumsfeld said.
In the overall war on terror, Rumsfeld said the U.S. is making
progress in Afghanistan, but "I look at Iraq and all I
can say is, I hope it comes out well, and I believe it will.
And we're going to keep at it."
Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, the Joint Chiefs
chairman, said they would go ahead with the June 30 transfer
of limited authority in Iraq and review the situation in the
fall to decide whether U.S. troops could begin withdrawing.
The normally unflappable Rumsfeld at times appeared defensive
and emotional at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on
the Pentagon's request for an additional $25 billion to
fund the Iraq war - a figure he conceded was only a partial
payment on what the war will cost next year.
The bishop of Colorado's second-largest Roman Catholic
diocese has issued a pastoral letter saying Catholics cannot
receive Communion if they vote for politicians who support abortion
rights, stem-cell research, euthanasia or gay marriage. Only
after citizens reverse their positions and repent for their
sins in the confessional would access to the central ritual
of the church be restored, Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan
instructed 125,000 Catholics in his charge.
Sheridan's letter is the strongest statement yet from
a U.S. bishop in a simmering debate over how Catholics apply
their faith this election year. He is believed to be the first
to raise the specter of withholding Holy Communion to people
in the pews, a discussion previously limited to politicians.
Sheridan said he chose those issues because the church considers
them "intrinsically evil." He said some Catholics
have challenged him on why he did not highlight the church's
positions against the death penalty or the war with Iraq, but
he does not believe those matters carry the same weight. In
the case of war, Catholic doctrine teaches it can be used as
a last resort if certain conditions are met.
Diabetes might significantly increase the risk of developing
Alzheimer's, a study of 824 nuns, priests and Catholic
brothers found, bolstering the evidence linking the two diseases.
The participants in the study were 55 and older when the research
began and were followed for an average of about six years. Alzheimer's
developed in 151 participants, including 31 who had diabetes.
The researchers calculated that diabetics faced a 65 percent
increased risk of developing the mind-robbing disease.
The link remained strong even when the researchers factored
in the prevalence of strokes, which are a common complication
of diabetes and are also believed to raise the risk of Alzheimer's.
Previous research has linked diabetes with memory problems,
and diabetes is known to damage blood vessels that supply the
brain. But studies looking specifically at diabetes and Alzheimer's
have had conflicting results.
''This is one of the first long-term studies to
follow people who start out with no evidence of Alzheimer's
disease and track how having diabetes affects their risk of
developing it,'' said William Thies, vice president
for medical and scientific affairs at the Alzheimer's
Association. Œ'It's a powerful argument for
doing everything you can to control your blood sugar.'
Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes in older people,
can often be controlled and even cured with exercise and diet.
Dr. George King of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston called
the research Œ'quite important in light of the fact
that diabetes is exploding,'' with some 18 million
Americans affected and the numbers expected to double by 2050.
He said if the link is real, there could be a corresponding
surge in Alzheimer's cases.
The study was led by Drs. Zoe Arvanitakis and David Bennett
and colleagues at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
It was published Monday in the May issue of Archives of Neurology.
The next step for researchers is to find out exactly how diabetes
might lead to Alzheimer's.
Some scientists have theorized that diabetes might cause an
overabundance of glucose in the brain, which could damage brain
One recent mouse study involving Joslin researchers suggests
that insulin abnormalities in diabetes might affect a protein
called tau, which in Alzheimer's forms tangles in brain