Dean Gitter deemed it necessary to pay for a full page ad
in the Phoenicia Times to try to malign our quiet neighbors
at the Monastery. Why?! Because they take their civic rights
seriously enough to take the time to understand and be involved
in the local political “process”? Because HE thinks
they have “no visible means of support? Is commercialism
the only means of support that counts? He states that the
members of the Monastery “toil not, nor do they spin”.
Instead of bloviating about his good works, he might learn
something about the support services that the Zen Monastery
offers quietly, without boasting about it in full page ads.
Perhaps he is familiar with the phrase “Let not your
right hand know what your left hand is doing”. Now,
that is TRUE charity.
Crossroads has spent lots of money hoping to make the town
“grateful”. (See his long ad listing all the ways
Crossroads Ventures keeps trying to buy the town’s favor.)
The donations of this self-named “greedy developer”
do not make his opinion the only valid opinion. To keep bragging
about the amount he has spent on this project already only
goes to illustrate how much Crossroads intends to “reap”
if the project is ever completed. Mr. Gitter complains about
“loud opponents”, yet he takes a full-page ad
to brag loudly about the crumbs he has thrown us to try to
buy allegiance. Why does he claim virtue in supporting “every
local cause from Little League to the Shandaken Theatrical
Society” when local townspeople have been supporting
these causes for years with their own efforts and regular
donations? These are business deductions for Crossroads, and
don’t cost him a cent personally.
Good grief! I’ve tried to keep a low profile, not having
energy for all the worthwhile projects surrounding and enveloping
us every day, but Dean Gitter’s arrogance and accusations
(not to mention quoting of Scripture!) are just beyond tolerance.
We UNDERSTAND Crossroad’s and Gitter’s motivation
-their job is to make tons of money - that’s not the
issue. The rest ofus are entitled to our own opinions and
motivations as least as much as he is. Anne Nissen Shandaken,
We are now engaged in a global war on terrorism, but what
is really sad is we have our own group of terrorists right
here in Shandaken. They have not yet turned to violence, as
far as we know, but who knows when they will finally snap.
If you would have attended the last comprehensive plan meeting
you would have witnessed these terrorists in action. When
it was apparent that they were not going to get their way
in defeating the plan, as all of their objections had been
addressed by the committee and the town board. The county
planner Dennis Doyle was in attendance and he had nothing
but good things to say about the plan, and urged its adoption.
In the parking lot behind the town hall, these terrorists
struck, and who did they strike out at? One of the people
on the town board that in the past supported their ideas,
but when shown the real facts of the matter, commented on
the good job and hard work the committee did on this plan.
These terrorists reduced this town’s board member to
tears with their verbal abuse. No one deserves the treatment
this woman was subjected to by these people. I am happy to
say that our town supervisor came to her assistance.
I will not name names, as everyone knows who these people
are and its about time that the good people of this town let
them know that enough is enough. That we will not tolerate
this kind of treatment to any one of our townspeople.
Big Indian, NY
To Bob Kalb: Someone who will call a spirited conversation
between friends in the Town Hall parking lot a terrorist act
will say anything about anyone. How can you equate a group
of people demanding to be heard by their town government with
terrorists who murder people to make their point?
Don’t use me in your attempted smear campaign. You had
better believe I can hold my own in any discussion.
Edna Hoyt, Councilman
Shandaken Town Board
In times when terrorists attack the innocent, as they did
on US soil Sept. 11, 2001 and people in distant lands commit
acts of genocide against others, I find it in exceedingly
poor taste for members of our community to use such incendiary
labels as calling fellow townspeople “radical extremists”,
“eco-terrorists”, “environmental jihadists”
and such. Harry Jameson, Blake Killin, Dean Gitter, Bob Kalb
and some others use such labels for folks in our community
with opposing viewpoints to their own.
I realize it’s election season in Shandaken and some
people are desperate to get their way at the polls this November,
but when we resort to inflammatory name calling and lies this
whole community loses. Furthermore, it denigrates the suffering
of those worldwide who have truly been the victims of extremists.
In response to Robert Kalb's letter printed in the Catskill
The September 11th 2001 tragedy deeply affected many many
people personally in Shandaken. For Bob Kalb to minimize this
pain, by calling a majority of concerned citizen's speaking
out about a 'living document' that could greatly change our
town, TERRORISTS, is sickening. The psuedo protection of "not
naming names", typical of the witch hunt campaigns by
Joseph McCarthy, is un-American, unpatriotic, cheap, vulgar
Mount Tremper, NY
I was delighted to read in the recent advertisement of Crossroads
Ventures LLC, of this company's great generosity to our community.
We have a great deal to be grateful for in their support of
so much that is valued by our community and that shapes its
vitality and individuality. I do hope that the donors are
aware of our appreciation and will feel encouraged to continue
their very generous support of initiatives and services so
central to the well-being of our community.
The proposed resort however is of a different scale, character,
and impact on our community than the causes to which donations
were made; many of us express very real concerns that such
a development, everything that comes with it, and that it
opens our home to, would destroy the very aspects that we
value most about living in this very beautiful state park,
recently acknowledged as a bio-gem of our planet. This area
also provides life-shaping experiences of wilderness for many
who do not reside here, and is of paramount value as a rare
fresh water supply for ourselves and for a great city at a
time of exponentially escalating planetary shortages of unpolluted
If we pride ourselves on being a democracy, then it is essential
that all must be encouraged to speak freely of their concerns,
listen to all others, be listened to carefully and respectfully
by all others, and
that we discuss issues central to the shaping of our lives
and future of the area until action can be taken on the wishes
of the majoritywith the minority's consent — however
long this takes. I sincerely ask that the developers not to
be impatient, but be prepared to go through a truly democratic
process on matters profoundly affecting us all.
After all, everyone of us wants the same things — a
vital and nourishing community able to work respectfully with
dissension and difficulty, an example of how to provide for
our children, our grandchildren and our neighbors a non-violated,
challenging, and profound life embodying the very best of
human experience that we can make possible. For the majority
of us, this includes intimate contact with the inspiring and
healing wholeness of a rich natural environment to which we
are rare, and most fortunate, heirs in Shandaken.
Mt Tremper, NY
In response to Neil Eisenberg's letter in your last issue,
I would ,ALSO, like to extend my best wishes for his continued
success in any new and future endeavors;and to thank him for
his past volunteer work on the Onteora School board.
My name is Harry Jameson. Five years ago I was asked, because
of my background and involvement in town planning and zoning,
to help build a comprehensive plan to guide our town into
the future. To design a vision of how “we” as
a community want to grow, prosper, preserve and protect, and
ultimately make Shandaken a better place to live for all.
Within that five years there have been three comprehensive
planning committees under three different administrations.
As a member of the first committee, with the guidance of a
professional planner, Dan Shuster, we started the process
of gathering the raw materials from our community through
scoping sessions, numerous resource documents, and public
input enabling us to begin the process of formulating a tool
called a Comprehensive Plan.
A Comprehensive Plan by definition is a document that sets
forth a path for our visions and offers a vehicle for grants
to fund our dreams. Throughout the process, the radical extremists
in our community, both pro- and anti-development, tried to
force their agendas into the document. They could not be satisfied
and they refused to accept or make compromise. Upon completion,
a public hearing was held, and after the Town Planning Board
review, it was sent to the Ulster County Planning Board for
their review and input. Their comments were that the plan
was a good one but needed to be expanded on in areas such
as renewable resources, more maps, and so on.
The second committee on which I sat was reorganized under
a new administration with Pete DiModica as our supervisor.
Our task was to incorporate the comments made by the Ulster
County Planning Board on the first document and expand on
areas that were deficient. With a number of new committee
members, whose agendas were those of our radical neighbors,
the plan was manipulated and turned from a tool into a weapon.
It was forged to stop development project proposals before
our town, and was so tainted and restrictive, that four hundred
plus residents attended a public hearing in January at Belleayre
Ski Center when temperatures were well below zero degrees.
Those same committee members also conspired behind our backs
by circulating petitions supporting their radical agendas
just prior to that public hearing. And then when they realized,
because of the public outcry, that they had broken the weapon,
they took the position, in which they thought, maybe it was
better not to have a plan at all. Yet again our radical neighbors
were not satisfied because they had failed in forcing their
extremes. But the majority of the reasonable residents in
our community said, “Yes, we do need a plan but we need
to hire a professional consultant to help guide us once again.”
The third and present committee, of which I am a part of,
was formed under the present administration with Robert Cross
as supervisor. Grants were obtained through the Department
of State and New York State Department of Transportation,
and a nationally recognized professional planning consultant,
STANTEC, was hired. After much work and many revisions, we
have successfully dulled what was a weapon and once again
turned it into a tool. Unfortunately, the radical extremists
still will not concede or agree.
Five years ago I was asked to be a member of the Comprehensive
Planning Committee for the following reasons:
1. Because I have been a resident of the Town of Shandaken
for 38 years.
2. Because I grew up here and graduated from our school district.
3. Because I am a sportsman who has hunted and fished since
4. Because I am a property owner who owns properties with
steep slopes and ridgelines as well as streamside and hamlet
5. Because I am a businessman who is a leader of the tourism
industry in the Town of Shandaken for 26 years and I am fully
aware of the economic structure of our town.
6. Because I have been involved in workings of various committees,
planning, zoning, environmental impact statements, and SEQRA
reviews for 22 years.
7. Because I have worked with the New York State Department
of Transportation, County of Ulster and the Town of Shandaken
on numerous infrastructure projects.
8. Because I have worked with the New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation, New York City Department of
Environmental Protection, and Ulster County Land, Soils, and
Water in maintaining the Esopus Creek as one of our premier
natural resources. I have maintained a safe recreational waterway
by being a leader in the removal of debris for the benefit
of the safety, health, and welfare of the public while at
the same time working to enhance the habitat of the Esopus
9. Because I have worked with the Catskill Center for Conservation
and Development and New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation on such projects as the restoration and opening
to the public of the Tremper Mountain Fire Tower, creating
the Tan Bark trail in Phoenicia, and also helped design the
Phoenicia River Walk enabling us to enhance the hamlet with
more parking, public information, and public restrooms.
10. I also presently sit on the Phoenicia Wastewater Committee
and the Esopus Corridor Planning Project.
Throughout the five years of this process those of you in
the ranks of the radical extremists have attacked my ethics,
my credibility, and my professionalism. You have accused me
and others of conspiring when in fact it was you who conspired.
You have attacked the businesses in which I am involved, and
the properties I own. I have watched YOU attack, insult, badger,
and question the ethics of fair members of our committees
as well as the consultants we have hired. You and your small
group of allies come from a place of radical extremes that
are unfair and selfish, without give, take, or compromise.
It’s your way or no peace will exist. You are wrong
and you were wrong about me, Harry Jameson, who has worked
faithfully for our community, cannot be bought nor sold.
I am proud to have been part of the process and proud of this
document, which bears my name and the names of my fellow planners
Chairman Chuck Perez, Robert Stanley, and John Horn.
In conclusion, the document before you is the result of five
years of work and struggle. It has been hammered and shaped,
and if one reads it in its entirety, one will realize its
intent, its goals and its purpose. Not to develop in directions
unchecked but to grow where we want to. We have taken stock
of what we have, and what there is, and have offered vision
as to what could be right for the majority of our good residents
and adopt this plan for our future. Never will we agree, but
never should we allow our future be guided by the radical
Harry Jameson III
It is my opinion that there is an urgent and pressing need
for more restrooms in the Catskill Region. Whether I am streaming
down Rt.28 or Rt.23 I notice a plethora of shops and stands,
yet there are few legal places to relieve oneself. Everyone
wants to sell you drinks, but where is all that liquid supposed
to go? After inquiring about a restroom, I'm bowled over as
some drip behind the counter tells me they have no bathroom.
Where do they go, in a bucket? Maybe they're just yellow and
are afraid some tourist will soil their personal porcelain.
Keeping a bathroom clean can be draining, but providing one
for money-spending tourists can be an asset to their business.
It doesn't take a wiz to figure out that more people will
drop in if they can use the facilities.
Will shopkeepers make customer relief a number one priority?
Depends. If they poo-poo the notion that providing relief
will increase the flow of traffic into their shops, then no.
However, if they are privy to the needs of their customers,they
should take the plunge, remove those "out of order"
signs, and open those doors! Thats all I can say for now as
this took a lot out of me and I'm pooped.
Woodland Valley, NY
As many of our townspeople know, we have a “Summerscape”
program in full swing to dress up our Main Street —
hanging baskets on all the utility poles, some 40 pots of
flowers spread around town, a little paint on our park benches
and tubs, a restored flowerbed opposite the Post Office and
fresh plantings of flowers under the big Phoenicia sign on
Route 28. And there’s more to come as the summer progresses.
It’ s true that the program is the result of the combined
efforts of The SHARP Committee, The Catskill Center and Phriends
of Phoenicia. But lest people think we did all these good
things by ourselves, let me set the record straight. Over
fifty businesses and business people, private citizens, organizations
and institutions pitched in with money, contributions in kind,
time, effort, good ideas, and moral support. If I overlook
anybody, let me apologize in advance. In more or less alphabetic
order the contributors include:
Brio’s (Mike Ricciardella), Linda Byer, Brian Callahan,
The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development (Helen
Budrock), Catskill Mountain Physical Therapy PC (Heather Roberts),
Jeff Collins Stone Supply, Nino Coppolino, Bob Cross, Tom
Crucet, Debra Jo Ryan, Renwick Dibble Insurance, Declan Feehan,
Ted French, Ruth Gale Real Estate, Gateway to Tibet (Gala
Geru Khamba), E. B. Gormley Funeral Home (Mark Wilsey), Bart
Guglielmetti, Louise Guglielmettti, Harry Jameson, Ed Johnson,
Kingston Block & Masonry (Ralph Acampora), Elizabeth and
Patrick Kern, Key Bank (Maureen Boland), Buffy Kibe, Herzog’s
(Greg Amato), Mike Malloy, Marilyn Manning, Peter & Becky
Manning, Maverick Health Center, Miss Kitty’s Salon
(Kathy Judware), Mizuna Restaurant (Bill and Fran Warnes),
Gerry Neal, Nest Egg (Ray Kirk), NYSEG (Jim Salmon), Jerry
and Adele Pearlman, Phoenicia Business Association, NY Region
Pathwork (Barbara Kinney), Phoenicia Auto Body (Duane Formont),
Phoenicia Belle (Tom Fraser), Phoenicia Hotel (Richie Stokes),
Phoenicia Market & Deli (Bill and Margarete Nolte), Phoenicia
Pharmacy (Marty Millman), Phoenicia Rotary Club, Phoenicia
Supermarket (Shahzad and Tami Shah), Phriends of Phoenicia,
Rondout Savings Bank (Dan Devine; Julie Corrigan), Bert &
Moira Shaw, Beecher and Arline Smith, Sportsman’s Alamo
Cantina (Billy Fichtner), Ricciardella Realty (Rick Ricciardella),
Kyle Ricketson, Terry Spies, Adam Steen, Sweet Sue’s
(Sue Taylor), The Tender Land (Bill Forbes), The Tender Land
Home (Dave Pillard), Dom Thongs, Ulster Savings Bank, Verona
Oil Company/Exxon (Dick Verona).
To one and all, let me extend our profound thanks for your
help and support. Truly, we couldn’t have done it without
you. It’s wonderful to live in a town where there’s
this kind of community spirit. Jane Todd, Executive Director
The SHARP Committee
The end of an era in Phoenicia...
On June 24, 2005, maybe not a special day for some of us but
for a local resident of Phoenicia it was. That day Blanche
Kirk drove her school bus for the last time. After approximately
29 years of transporting the local students, Blanche retired.
Blanche drove her bus with pride, love, respect and dedication,
transporting probably two generations, she decided it was
time to hang up the keys and begin her retirement.
Perhaps this doesn’t mean much to some people but to
me, a fellow bus driver, it is a monumental day.
For all these years during good weather and very bad she has
delivered her precious cargo to and from school and home.
For the past four years it’s been my pleasure to park
my bus, #14, in lineupwith Blanche, #74, at the Phoenicia
School; and have gotten to know her better than I had. For
20 years I have also in some capacity either full-time or
substitute-driven a school bus for the same company as Blanche
did, Tonche Transit.
Blanche has always had her opinions and stuck to them even
though at times it caused her distress.
I guess I’m writing this letter to say “thank
you” Blanche for your love and dedication to the students
on your bus. We’ll miss you, but hope for you a great
retirement. Do much travelling (not by bus) and of course
keep that husband (also a former bus driver) in line.
Fellow Bus Driver
Donna Van Kleeck
I would like to thank everyone who came to the Republican
Caucus and exercised their right to vote. I extend my sincerest
apologies for going over my allotted time to speak. The fact
is that when it comes to our town and our neighbors, my passion
runs deep and all I hope for is to promote understanding instead
of animosity. I would also like to thank Gerry Setchko, JoAnne
Kalb and Mary Herrman for running positive campaigns leading
into the caucus. I hope that this trend continues into the
general election. Most importantly, I would like to thank
all of my friends and neighbors who came to support me. I
am humbled that you would put your faith in me and I hope
I can continue to prove myself worthy of your support, and
hopefully a few others, come the general election. Thank you
all so much for the opportunity you have given me.
The following is the speech I read prior to the vote at the
caucus last Thursday night in its entirety:
Mr. Chairman, Committeemen, members of the Republican Party,
my Fellow Shandakenites, We have come to a crossroad. We have
not been asked if we wanted to be here, but the time has come
to make a choice. I am not asking you to make a choice between
a project or a plan. I am asking you to make a choice of direction.
For too many years now our town has been embattled and a great
rift has opened beneath our feet. Are we Shandakenites going
to sit back and helplessly fall into the abyss? Or, should
we, as we have with floods, blizzards and countless other
disasters that have befallen our town, bear down, take a stand
and say, “ We will not be beat,” “We will
not let you bully us around,” “We are Shandakenites
and we are here to stay?”
I have been a member of this community for nearly thirty years.
My children attend the same school I did. My father and I
have been invited into many of your homes to fix your plumbing
problems. Ever since I was a member of the local scout troop,
I have hiked nearly every trail in the town. It was my involvement
in the Shandaken Theatrical Society that rekindled my passion
for theater, which in turn led me to SUNY New Paltz where
I graduated Summa Cum Laude. I took that degree and returned
to STS and taught some after-school arts programs through
the Phoenicia PTA. I never dreamed of entering into politics,
until I started to see things change. All of a sudden friends
weren’t friends; neighbor wouldn’t help neighbor.
I began to see hatred and animosity consume our entire community.
Where before there was dialogue, it turned to heated adversity,
followed by yelling, screaming and behavior, on both sides,
that is very unbecoming of people in our community.
It is this entire community that has helped shape who I am
today. And who is Rob Stanley today? I’m a tired man.
Tired of all the animosity and hatred that has divided this
community for far too long. So what am I to do? Do I lie down
and allow this behavior to continue? Or, should I, as other
Shandakenites in the past have, take a stand and say, “
I will not succumb to your negative reflection of our community.”
I believe Shandaken has a very bright future. I ask my fellow
Shandakenites to join with me. I ask you to help close the
rift that has divided us for too long. I ask that we move
forward as a WHOLE community. The road may be bumpy, and I
may make a few missteps, but the path is clear and I promise
you that we will emerge with a Shandaken that is rich in beauty
and with an enduring and vibrant economy.
I am here tonight to ask my fellow Shandakenites, “What
direction are we to follow?” I am not telling you who
to vote for or not vote for. I am asking you to vote for the
candidates you feel best represent your views and who you
feel represent the best Shandaken has to offer. I ask you
to vote your conscience. I would be honored to represent the
ENTIRE Town of Shandaken as a councilman. My name is Rob Stanley
and I am proud to call myself a Shandakenite.
Robert A. Stanley
As I weighed forcing a primary for the Democratic endorsement
for Ulster County Legislature, I evaluated all the factors.
I spent years videotaping the Ulster County Legislature and
I researched the issues. Like all optimists, I am sure that
I could prevail. However, I faced the specter that the money
and energy that would be spent by all the Democratic candidates
will be needed in the November General Election to defeat
Mike Stock has poorly served the interests of Ulster County,
but he served those with money very well. While in a position
to oversee the way that public money was spent, he allowed
mismanagement and possibly fraud. Mike led the Republican
majority on an orgy of tax and spend. He voted against the
interests of Woodstock on the jail and on casino gambling.
Mike has played legislative games rather than looking for
ways to build a team that will serve the interests of Ulster
County. Simply stated, Mike Stock has to go. We can't afford
I am supporting Don Gregorius and Brian Shapiro for the Ulster
County Legislators from District 2.
With all the sadness going on in the world at the moment,
it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person,
which almost went unnoticed last week.
Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey,"
died peacefully at age 93. The most traumatic part for his
family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left
leg in. And then the trouble started.