For all the fervor last year regarding the Shandaken Comprehensive
Planning Committee, I'll bet you haven't heard anything of what
they're up to now. They've taken the $40,000 NYSDOT grant money
intended for mapping a new walk/bike path from Mount Tremper to
High Mount called the River Corridor Connectivity Project (NOT
to be confused with the Phoenicia River Walk Project) and are
using it to map dead ends and abandoned public access roads.
Instead of mapping a path that could be treasured by our seniors
out for a stroll, our children riding bicycles and everyone in
between; a path which would have been accessible from all parts
of Town, this committee decided that the mapping of dead ends
and abandoned public access roads is what our Town really could
Instead of making a safe, car free, off road place for locals
to enjoy and a great tourist attraction that is known to bring
in revenue for Towns that have them, this committee decided the
money would be better used for mapping dead ends and abandoned
public access roads for an "Official Town Map".
A walk/bike path is for everyone. What a shame to have squandered
this valuable opportunity.
What a pity for Shandaken.
Dear Fellow Pine Hill Water Users,
Recently you received a letter from Town Supervisor Bob Cross
Jr. claiming to bring you "up to date' on district
finances and the improvement project. This letter is full of mischaracterizations
First of all, The water district was in the red when we acquired
it. Several large users were not paying their fair share, the
billing was not up to date, new households were not added, old
ones were not removed and some customers were in arrears. We had
fixed most of the billing problems in the 3 quarters following
the purchase and kept personnel costs low, and I believe with
little more time these changes can bring the company back into
the black without additional billing.
Second, The Pine Hill Water District Coalition did not question
or disapprove of the District purchase. The Pine Hill Water
District Coalition questioned the NYS DEC issued permit that used
the data that the engineers working for Crossroads Ventures have
now admitted was in error.
That is, Crossroads' own consultants have validated the
concerns legitimately raised by the PHWDC: (1) Flows of
streams have been revised due to faulty calibration of a flow
meter. (2) The minimum flow of Bonnieview Spring
was lowered to 65 gpm from 84 gpm. (3) It is finally agreed that
the flow from Silo B and Station Road Spring are one and the same.
This means that minimum flow is 28 gpm not 56 gpm from this source.
The Water District Coalition has remained involved because that
erroneous permit still stands!
Third, There is an additional $10,000 available from the Water
District tax, 70% of which is paid for by the NYC DEP Wastewater
Fourth, We did not own the Water Company until nearly 6 weeks
after the filing deadline for tax-exempt status had passed, and
I started the legislative process to make the district tax exempt
before I left office.
Fifth, The Town of Shandaken did not receive the $ 400,000 HUD
grant money in 1998; the money was not released until April 2003
when we had a signed contract for the water system.
Sixth, I did not apply for the loan of $ 316,069. Neither the
Town of Shandaken nor I applied for this EFC loan. We had to transfer
Dean Gitter's grant and loan package because our grant from
EFC had expired while Dean Gitter owned the system.
Seventh, I did access the loan to pay Attorney Robert Feller for
work he did for the district prior to my administration because
I had promised the taxpayers of the whole Town that they would
not pay for Pine Hill's water system costs. I accessed the
loan to pay Attorney Robert Feller around $ 22,000 for his work
in 1999-2000 when he was hired by the Town, at the request of
Al Frisenda, to help with the Town's original EFC grant
application and for his subsequent work during the first round
of negotiations between Dean Gitter and the Town.
Eighth, I did not cost the District $4 million in EFC grant funding.
Anything not in the original application is eligible for additional
grant funds. Moreover, the EFC has a limit of $2 million. The
$4 million cost of the entire project referred to here includes
many things that were not part of the original application such
as installation of water meters, filtration and such. Christopher
Rienzo of EFC, confirmed that anything that wasn't in the
original project application is eligible for a new application
for funding subject to the Town's ranking, and the projects'
rating. Filtration, if the Department of Health (DOH) requires
it here in the future, as they did in Phoenicia recently, would
be an example of a project that would be eligible for substantial
additional EFC funding.
Several other things in the letter are in error:
1. Activating the loan did not freeze our grant funds. Closing
on the grant and loan package when we purchased the water system
set the amount we were eligible to obtain at the cost of the project
that was applied for.
2. Since the purchase of the water system was sidetracked
by Dean Gitter's untimely interference so he could remove
Crystal Spring/Silo A from the original DEC water supply permit
during his ownership, the costs for materials for the project
have increased and the approved grant and loan package will not
go as far. You may hear arguments about whether or not all the
sources were part of the Pine Hill Water Company but the simple
truth is that Crystal Spring/Silo A was listed in the Town's
original HUD and EFC grant applications, the NYS DEC Water Supply
Permit # 5889 issued in 1970 and in the package that the Town
was buying from Ben Odierno previous to Dean Gitter's purchase
of the company.
3. The only way we could have applied for more money would
have been to reapply for a new grant, subject to the Town's
rankings based on the new census data. Mr. Rienzo informed me
that we would likely have had less of a chance of success at that
time and we would have risked losing the money that was already
approved as that grant and loan package was soon expiring. That
in turn would have jeopardized the HUD grant that was dependant
on our receiving the EFC money.
In closing, several things come
1. If I followed the advice in the letter, we would not
have a municipal water district in Pine Hill nor the money to
start rehabilitating it, something that has been attempted unsuccessfully
since the 1950's.
2. The Town should follow up with the legislature to make
the district "tax exempt' and get us a rebate on taxes
due. The new administration has been in office over 8 months and
has not yet arranged for legislative tax relief.
3. The Supervisor should talk to Dave Philips of the DOH
to find out what parts of the project were not in the original
application and are eligible for additional funding.
4. I am happy that he applied for and received an additional $
75,000 from USDA for repair to the Bonnieview spring boxes, but
I would also look into the FEMA funding made available to municipalities
for repairs due to the damage caused by the flooding.
I leave it to you to decide whether the current Supervisor is
simply out of touch with the issues surrounding the Water District,
or if he is using taxpayer's money to further perpetuate
the smear campaign that has marked his entire term of office.
Peter Di Modica
Fellow Pine Hill Water User
P.S. There is a meeting of the Water District Executive Committee
and the Supervisor on Thursday September 2nd at 7:30 at Town Hall.
This is an open letter to the person who wrote in support of the
Federal Marriage Amendment, which would, in her words "define
marriage in the U.S. Constitution as the union of one man and
I can only think that a person who would write such a letter in
support of an amendment to the constitution that is specifically
designed to prevent an entire segment of the population from enjoying
the full rights and privileges of citizenship is sadly misinformed.
The misunderstanding often begins with the use of the phrase "gay
marriage." First of all, those involved in the Marriage
Equality movement are not asking for anything that would be characterized
as "gay marriage." What the movement is fighting for
is the right to solemnize loving, committed relationships in the
same manner that heterosexual couples are entitled to. The term
gay marriage implies something other than traditional marriage,
but gay couples who wish to marry are seeking something quite
What the woman who wrote this letter fails to understand is that
gay and lesbian families already exist. They share homes and commitments,
raise children, and grow old together. They do all this without
the benefit of over 1,000 rights and privileges routinely afforded
to married couples.
Do you know what you are really saying when you say that there
should be a constitutional amendment denying gay and lesbian couples
the right to marry? Think of a couple that is raising a child
together, equally sharing in all of the joys and responsibilities
of parenthood. If some tragedy befalls the biological parent of
that child and the other parent has not completed the lengthy
and expensive process of adoption, that child would suddenly become
an orphan. The surviving partner who had raised that child would
have no legal rights. Or imagine a couple that has been together
twenty or thirty years. One partner lands in the hospital, and
the other is not allowed to have a say in health care decisions,
or even to visit if their loved one is in intensive care. Or imagine
a couple that spends a lifetime together and shares a home, but
the home is in only one of the partners " names. When this
partner dies, the grieving survivor is homeless.
Sure, for the more savvy and resourceful there are legal precautions
couples can take to avert a few of these disasters, but not all
of them. There is no way a surviving partner can collect social
security benefits or a gay or lesbian couple can file a joint
tax return. Unless one of the partners works for a company that
offers Domestic Partner benefits, there is no way one partner
can protect the other with health insurance. So what you are really
saying when you support the Federal Marriage Amendment is that
you wish to deny tax paying citizens the full benefits of being
Americans because you disapprove of their choice in partners.
in your letter that the supporters of this amendment, "simply
want to preserve the institution of marriage as it has served
society for centuries." This argument completely fails to
take into account the fact that marriage has already changed over
time. At one time marriage meant that a husband owned his wife.
Not too long ago a woman's property automatically belonged
to her husband. There are many of us alive who remember when it
was illegal for people of different races to marry.
What are you so afraid of? How is it that you think that your
marriage will somehow be diminished if others are allowed to embrace
the institution? Why would gay and lesbian couples wish to harm
an institution in which they are asking to participate? It's
not as if granting gay and lesbian couples the right to marry
would suddenly break up heterosexual marriages and cause a groundswell
of homosexuality. And certainly, your wish to deny gay and lesbian
couples the right to solemnize their relationships will not stop
lesbian and gay people from forming lasting bonds. Gay and lesbian
couples have always managed to build lives together despite a
lack of the same support that is routinely granted to others.
Make no mistake, though. This is the Civil Rights Movement of
the 21st Century. Gay and lesbian people will not stand by indefinitely
and be treated like second class citizens. All loving, committed
relationships are worthy of being honored and celebrated. Supporters
of the Federal Marriage Amendment need to remember that the people
whose lives they wish to limit participate in American society,
despite being denied full civil rights by narrow-minded bigots.
Just like you, lesbian and gay people work, pay taxes, and vote.
Amanda Gulla and Ann Sherrill
It seems like President Bush will do almost anything to get himself
re-elected. Recently he announced an overhaul of our military
and then on August the 19th he vowed to push for more Guard
and Reserve benefits. Why did he wait until this late in the election
process to make these announcements? If those two recent announcements
weren't made to get the military and military family vote
I don't know what else you could call it. And, I expect
to see some big promises come out of the Republican convention.
I don't think Bush deserves to be re-elected because
he took this country to war for reasons that some of those reasons
have proved to be untrue, gave the biggest tax breaks to the very
wealthy and his economical and employment plan doesn't seem
to be working. I haven't heard him talk about what he's
going to do about health care coverage and a real prescription
plan. I haven't heard him talk about any of his accomplishments
and I haven't heard him address the high price of gasoline and
fuel oil. According to an article in the Daily Freeman Steve Schmidt
a Bush campaign spokesman said that the Bush campaign has never
and will never question John Kerrey's service in Vietnam.
Yet so far Bush hasn't denounced the ad put out by the "Swift
Boat Veterans for Truth. The ad questions Kerry's war record.
Over 950 young men and women have died and thousands have been
wounded since the war began. I wonder if Mr. Bush watches the
news and if he does, I wonder what he thinks about all those that
have died and those that may never walk again.
We held our first Phoenicia Area Garden Tour in July, and attendance
exceeded all our expectations. On a gray, sometimes rainy, Sunday,
gardeners poured down Rt. 28 to pick up their tickets and maps
and then take off to explore the variety of gardens on the tour.
Our deepest thanks to the gardeners who opened up their gardens
to the public for the tour: Alfred and Jane Peavy, Marilyn Manning,
Terry Spies and Dominique Thongs, Veronica and Jon Rowe, Dean
Riddle, Tom Mohan, Jim Goss and Joe Murray, Sylvia Leonard Wolf
and Leonard Levitan, and Laura Jean Passantino. We all appreciate
the countless hours and the endless details involved in grooming
your gardens to such perfection. Each garden, with its own distinct
personality and setting, was a delight and an inspiration. Thanks
for being such gracious hosts, answering all the questions about
Thanks to Jimmy McGrath for letting us use the Phoenicia Plaza
as the staging area for the tour; it was a very convenient and
accessible location. Thanks to our local newspapers for great
advance coverage of the event. Thanks to the Phoenicia Business
Association for its continuing support of our efforts.
Finally, thanks to all the business people who took the time to
sell advance tickets for the event and keep track of the details
for us: Phoenicia Belle B&B, Phoenicia Wine and Liquors, Tender
Land, Tender Land Home, Terrace Farm Nursery and Greenhouse, and
Zena Green Nursery.
The proceeds from the tour will be used to support our Main Street
Phoenicia beautification projects, which we hope everyone enjoys
as much as we do!
Elizabeth Holland Kern
for the Phriends of Phoenicia
As fewer of my WWW two generation are alive to speak out, I want
to tell you what shape our great country is in now.
Our nation has been involved in many foreign wars since President
Roosevelt. I have always supported our leaders, no matter what
party they belonged to.
We are facing now a most serious threat to our existence. We are
not realizing that we could lose this war against Islamic terrorism.
Not many of us realize what losing this war would mean to our
This war actually started in 1979 when American hostages were
taken at our embassy in Teheran. Many attacks have happened since,
the worst the attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
Please note that all these cruel attacks were done by members
It is interesting to note that 25% of the world population is
Why were we attacked without provocation all over the world? Possibly
envy of our position in the world, our economic success and our
democratic freedom. In general that religion is a peaceful one.
A small group of fanatic terrorists have taken over the leadership
and made themselves the undisputed spokesman of millions.
They do not hesitate to kill their own kind if they speak against
them. What would anybody do, stay silent or get killed? We forget
what Hitler did to the Germans that were against him.
We can easily lose this war because we cannot visualize what losing
means. Many of us hope that when we finally bring our troops back
from Iraq and Afghanistan things will get back to normal. This
is far from the truth. Their attacks would not subside, rather
increase. The unseen enemy wants us paralyzed, not living in peace.
If that happens to us, other civilized nations could not support
us anymore, for fear of reprisal to them. If we become impotent
and demoralized, other nations will be their next target. Just
recently, Spain was attacked by them and had to pull their troops
out of Iraq. France has already a 20% Moslem population and could
very well be their next objective.
If we lost the war our production, our income, our exports and
our way of life will vanish as we know it now. Nobody would dare
to trade with us if threatened by the Muslims. We must find a
way to stop this from happening.
We do not realize yet how serious the situation is. We must be
united as a nation and put 100% effort into winning. We could
easily lose the war by failing to recognize who the enemy is and
what their real goal is. If we are united then we can not lose
this secret war. If we continue to be so divided we will lose.
We may have to give up some of our civil rights and other privileges
for the duration. Better of to lose them for a while, then to
lose them all together.
Expecting a clean, lawful and honorable war was [naïve.]
None of these words apply to this cruel war. We are giving the
enemy the impression that we are divided and weak, doing great
damage to our cause.
A recent example was the treatment of Iraqi Prisoners of War.
These are the fellows who killed thousands of their own when Saddam
Hussein was in power. Nobody talked about it then. We are the
laughing stock of the world. We forget fast the beheading of one
of our brave soldiers. It was shown all over the world by the
Neither us, nor any of our allies can benefit by our current internal
strife. We are the last bastion of defense against terror and
have been called arrogant in the past. That is true in some way.
We Americans believe that we are smart, good and powerful in many
ways. We used to believe that we could win the hearts and minds
of those we can defeat militarily. That is not true any more.
If we do not recognize that soon our nation as we know it will
not survive. After the up-coming presidential election we must
be ready to be united and focus on the critical situation we are
in now. To save our country we must change direction.
I can still recall with feelings of great frustration the shock
and consternation I felt in the days after the 2000 election.
I kept waiting for my fellow Americans to show their outrage and
not accept the tainted outcome in Florida. I wrote letter after
letter to no avail.
We must not neglect our birthright again this November. The voting
machines without paper backup are highly suspect. Hacking is a
cinch; everyone knows this! How can we put our vote in peril via
computerized, easily fiddled machines? I beseech my fellow Americans
to protest now - before it is too late. Don't allow the out-and-out
cheating that the CEO of Diebold virtually admitted he was planning.
Hunting and shooting bears has been the time-honored tradition
of "controlling" populations of animals that we don't
care for or are challenged by. There are some significant problems
with this approach. In a bear hunt the mother bears are frequently
shot leaving their young with even fewer skills for hunting in
the wild. Bears, like all wildlife will look for the easiest supply
of food. Bears need a food supply that will give them sufficient
energy to hibernate through the winter season. We know from studies
by wildlife biologists that animals breed in numbers suited to
the food supply. The large population of bears in the Catskills,
despite our continued encroachment on their arboreal habitat,
is an indication of ample food supply. And what is that food supply?
It is obvious that the human population with our generous offers
of birdseed, garbage and pet foods is making a huge difference
to the bears. The food that we throw away, our leftover pizza,
sweets, bar-b-que and yes, our tofu offer a high calorie, high
fat and high sugar diet to the bears. Bears are not immune to
this addictive diet any more than we are. It is also a diet that
allows them to gain the necessary pounds needed for hibernation.
I've heard suggestions that we cut down some of our forests so
that there will be new growth of food for the bears. This will
not work because the quality of food offered by the new growth
forest cannot compare to the food we are offering to them.
It is helpful to put yourself in the place of the bears to understand
their behavior and the reasons why they are coming into our homes.
From their perspective humans are a truly generous and jolly lot.
We are not only supplying them with food, but we are also friendly
for the most part. Black bears are timid and shy by nature. Their
usual defense is to run away or climb a tree. We are notably rude
in our behavior towards bears, ignoring their requests to move
away and leave them alone. Our repeated behaviors eventually habituate
the bears. The stories about the bears in Phoenicia and other
Catskill communities illustrate the pattern. Many people love
to see the bears, and an individual bear taking leftovers out
of a dumpster can be cute and fun. It doesn't seem to be a problem.
The bears feel the tolerance and get over their shyness. Eventually
there is more than one bear and problems arise. It seems a very
short time passes between the cute bear stage and the problem
bear stage. The DEC has a policy of trying to trap the problem
bears three times, and then the bear is killed. It is important
to note that the DEC no longer has any place to take a problem
bear. So this exercise is fruitless. As a wildlife rehabilitator
who has studied bears with Lynn Rogers, Phd, the world's chief
bear authority, I receive many calls about bear problems. People
want me to "do" something, and this is what I heard
in Phoenicia and Shandaken recently. If I tell the caller to take
in their garbage or take down their birdfeeders they frequently
say they don't want to. Well, then you will continue to have problems
with bears. The time where we asked others to take care of these
problems is over. It is unfair to call the town boards, the police,
the DEC or the rehabbers and say, "Do something!" Each
of us must address this problem now, individually and as a community.
Birdfeeders must become a winter activity. A single person cannot
be the exception. All garbage must be stored in bear resistant
garbage cans (see sources below), or garbage must be put out in
the morning the day of your pickup. Town boards can help by working
with other towns to work out agreements with the waste disposal
companies. These companies are developing and beginning to over
specially built dumpsters for restaurants and businesses that
are bear proof. We can ask for pick up times that start at 7:30
a.m. instead of 5:30 a.m. It is unreasonable to ask people to
get up at 5 am to put out their garbage. In our area we have many
weekenders who need help to put their garbage out. Perhaps the
towns could have a drop off for garbage. Our response to the bears
needs to be community based and thorough. Information must be
offered to all residents and to all visitors and that information
is needed now. By 2005 Woodstock could be having the severe level
of problems being experienced by Phoenicia.
It is possible to coexist with bears. There are many towns that
do this. Instead of war against the bears, involving throwing
things, trapping and killing them we can instead live in balance
with them. We are both part of the ecosystem of our planet. Our
behaviors influence each other. By nature both humans and bears
are compassionate peaceful creatures. We can take responsibility
for eliminating the food supply. We can learn more about the black
bears. Bears and people CAN live harmoniously together. It is
an opportunity to try peace here at home.
To learn more about bears go to www.bearstudy.org and www.savenjbears.com
For information about bear proof garbage containers contact the
Save New Jersey Bears website above or the Region 3 DEC office
at 256-3061. Ravensbeard Wildlife Center one of our local wildlife
organizations also has pamphlets available at Sunflower Health
Foods in Woodstock and other local businesses.
In reply to the letter above, which I read in other newspapers,
I am rarely outraged enough to be bothered to submit a reply but
this letter sent in by Fred Jacobs of Woodstock really infuriated
If you did not read this bit of propaganda last week it is easily
found on the internet, as it has been available since last May.
Sorry Fred. It is easily found on many "Christian" sites,
just search for the title of the letter and you will find it.
It deceptively leads you to think it is a non-partisan commentary!
This letter is just another ploy to add fuel to the fear factor
that keeps people on the course we are on. Here is my response
to that letter.
If the goal of Arab Muslims for years and years has been the death
of Israel and they haven't destroyed Israel, how could they possibly
destroy the U.S.?
When this letter suggests we are losing because Spain pulled out
of the war in Iraq, he is correct. We are losing in Iraq, just
as Britain lost in India, the U.S. lost in Vietnam and Russia
lost in Afghanistan. In his book, Jon Schell shows how imperialism
doesn't work. People don't want to be occupied.
This letter is the worst kind of propaganda. Just as Hitler pointed
to all of the Jews for the problems of Germany, this letter says
all the Muslims are a threat to the U.S.A. Be afraid of anyone
who blames the world's problems on one group of people. If he
is right, and the Muslims are going to rise up as one, the next
logical step is genocide, killing of Muslims by us, the good Christians.
Instead of worrying about Muslims being deceived into following
the Muslim Extremists, we should be worried that normal Christians
will continue to be deceived by the Christian Extremists and their
leader, George Bush. Instead of decisions based on intelligence
and the values of fairness and acceptance of all people, these
Extremists base their decisions on the fact that 'He' chose them
and whatever they do must be right because they do it in 'His'
name. It will start out as school prayer, then move to state religion
and finally lead to all out preemptive war against Iran, Pakistan
and Indonesia. It's the Dark Ages and the Crusade all over again
if we do nothing to stop them now.
I am voting for John Kerry and I am telling everyone I know to
vote for John Kerry, not because I am against Republicans. I would
happily vote for John McCain or many other capable Republicans
for our president. We must however, not allow the Christian Extremists
who are running our country to continue. Vote Bush Out!
Crossroad's council warned at the Issues hearings: The Belleayre
Ski Area, three new hotels and a new housing development planned
for Pine Hill and Margaretville, the Watershed Museum, the Interpretive
Center, even the Catskill Mountain Railroad better make way for
The Belleayre resort. X-Roads claims they are not legally obligated
to consider the cumulative impact of their "Super Sized"
project on any of these popular local examples of how revitalized
our towns are becoming.
Instead, X-Roads argues that if there is a problem with too much
traffic or too little water or any other conflict, all those other
projects will have to yield to the mighty Belleayre Resort, and
if there ain't enough to go around, they lose. Why? According
to X-Roads they are only a "gleam in the eye" and don't
count. Whose eye is gleaming? I and most others say it's Gitter's
eye that's gleaming. Boy, does he know how to make enemies.
Another tid-bit for all who still support the "Moby Resort"...
A financial expert speaking in favor of the project explained
that it's so risky that no sensible investor would take it on
unless there was a personal motivation... that the only way big
resorts like the ones in Sullivan County get backing is with gambling
casinos. Now, keep in mind that the local millionaire backers
are only in it for the permits and then plan to sell the development
rights to a hotel chain. What's the chain hotel's personal involvement
in our towns? None! So get ready to roll the dice, or prepare
for a dead white whale on the hill.
Is it just me or does anyone else find it absolutely amazing
that once mad-cow disease threatened us, the U.S. government could
track a cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the
stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington, and determine
exactly what that cow ate. They can also track her calves right
to their stalls, and tell you what kind of feed they ate.
But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering
around in the country, including people that are trying to blow
up important structures in the U.S.
My solution is to give every illegal alien a cow as soon as they
enter the country.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
Big Indian, NY