on the News
The Water Bad?
He explained that Rick Ricciardella, as Phoenicia
Water District's licensed Water Treatment Operator, had batch-disinfected
with chlorine the water in the clear well and the 250,000 gallon storage
tank. Since the scare, which Ulster County Health Department officials
blamed on earlier low chlorine levels, chlorine residuals have been
elevated throughout the District.
believes the bacteria started in an infiltration gallery on the Esopus
Creek, which provides water to the hamlet, but it remains a mystery
as to what carried the bacteria, which comes from the remains of dead
animals or from animal or human feces, into the water.
said he suspects that the weekend's flood waters washed away whatever
the source of contamination was.
still don't know how it got in....." he said, "and we never
did find the source."
Larios, the engineer involved with the design and construction of the
plant, said Tuesday that he has participated in discussions about this
month's e-coli trouble with town and County Heatlh officials.
said it's "dangerous" to speculate about where the bacteria
came from, noting that it could have been from a broken water main that
sucked in septic effluent, from the Esopus creek, or from the system's
reservoirs up on the hillside. He also said that technicians are now
reprogramming the hi tech chlorinator in the new filter plant. It is
believed that the device was not reading data properly, but Larios said
it is not clear that that is what caused the trouble
Palen, Director of the Ulster County Health Department, was at the scene
the morning after the infection, and lauded the efforts of Phoenicia
Water Commissioner Ric Ricciardella, who operates the new system. Palen
said that the new system, brought on-line several weeks ago, does not
protect the water supply from e-Coli and Coliform. It's chlorine that
takes care of those.
chlorine disinfection has been utilized in the system long before the
new plant, and continues to be used, Palen said the level of chlorine
in the system could not overcome the recent infection.
levels were too low," he said.
chlorine level was immediately brought up to a level "very high,"
Cross said, until sampling indicated that the water was safe.
humans, the incubation period for the disease is typically 3 to 9 days,
although shorter and longer periods are not that unusual.
infection is characterized by the sudden onset of abdominal pain and
severe cramps, followed within 24 hours by diarrhea. As the disease
progresses, the diarrhea becomes watery and then may become grossly
bloody. Vomiting can also occur, but there is usually no fever. In most
infected individuals, the illness lasts about a week and resolves without
any long term problems.
few years ago the Village of Ellenville in southern Ulster County was
not so lucky, when an e-coli outbreak went undetected long enough to
cause illness among many water users.
remember Ellenville. I don't want to go through that again," Palen
new filter system was turned on two new chemicals were added to the
mix. The chemicals, soda ash and "a polyphosphate," may be
new to Phoenicia but date back to the late 1800's as water supply additives.
One of the new chemicals has been added to reduce pipe corrosion that
comes from Phoenicia's aggressive water. The other is added to reduce
the amount of copper in the water.
like the e-coli scare are the reason why many in Phoenicia refuse to
drink the water they pay for, and rely instead on bottled water.
Up On Dean's Call
The original resolution introduced by Democratic legislator Hector Rodriguez
of New Paltz and passed on Thursday, September 9 recommended that the
numerous issues which were the focus of three months of Issues Conference
hearings before Department of Environmental Conservation Administrative
Law Judge Richard Wissler all be treated to full adjudication because
of the size of the project and the seriousness of the raised issues.
Wissler is set to decide over the coming months, after legal briefs
are exchanged between lawyers for and against the project, which issues
should move to a full trial-like setting to decide whether mitigation
is necessary. His decisions can be appealed to DEC Commissioner Erin
for the resolution was prepared with the help of Marc Gerstman, attorney
for the Catskill Preservation Corporation, an ad hoc consortium of environmental
groups that have been raising issues at the recent Issues Conference.
Gerstman was formerly lead counsel to the state DEC.
According to Republican legislator Wayne Harris of Clintondale, chairman
of the legislature's Economic Development/ Education, Tourism and Cultural
Affairs Committee, he decided to look into rescinding the resolution
he originally okayed after he received a call directly from Gitter on
Monday, September 13.
"I'd never heard from the man before," Harris said last week.
"He described the impact his attorney had told him that full adjudication
would have and asked if that was how I saw the case. What he was saying
was that we were now asking for a trial on every single item'- and then
he asked if he could address our committee."
the next meeting of Harris' Economic Development/ Education, Tourism
and Cultural Affairs Committee on Wednesday, September 15, Theresa Bakker
of Whiteman, Osterman Hanna, attorneys for Crossroad Ventures, Gitter's
development company, addressed the committee's six members. But a vote
to rescind the Rodriguez resolution stalled along party lines, 3-3.
later said that he would reintroduce the resolution for amendment at
the next full meeting of the Legislature on Thursday, October 14.
the Daily Freeman ran an editorial asking for similar measures in an
editorial on Sunday, September 19, even though it had never reported
said he started re-thinking his vote on the Rodriguez resolution after
speaking with Gitter. He said he immediately phoned County Attorney
Frank Murray, who said he concurred with Gitter's point of view. A decision
was made not to go back to the environmental organizations, and to seek
a second opinion, in time for the next legislative meeting, from the
was my misunderstanding," Harris, said about his initial okaying
of the resolution. "I didn't realize that this term, full adjudication,
had the significance of what was presented to us the other night, and
to me, it seems like while we were trying to support the process, this
kind of puts us in the process, and I didn't think that's where we wanted
them to have made such a determination would mean that each and every
one of these issues are a substantive and significant issue that should
to go a trial-type hearing ... and we believe that what the Legislature
meant to say is what they've said before, that they want the process
to proceed forward, and want the DEC law judge to make that determination,
not that they want to tell him what to do," Bakker said of her
issues she was referring to include water quality, wildlife, pesticide
use, visual impacts, noise, traffic, and community character, among
resolution originally passed by the Legislature on September 9 pointed
out that the body, "will not take a position in favor or opposition
to the project until a thorough review of all environmental issues has
been completed," but adds that the resort's potential impacts on
local community character, water quality, and other issues need to be
fully addressed. It further noted the county's historical support for
the protection of its open space and natural resources and supported
full adjudication, "to ensure a thorough review that protects the
quality of the Watershed drinking supply, the rural character of the
Catskill region, and the residents of Ulster County and New York State."
Legislative Chairman Richard Gerentine, one of the three lawmakers who
originally voted against the move, explained that "The resolution
asks the judge to adjudicate all issues connected with the resort. That's
something I would hope he would do; it's his job anyway. I agree that
(DEC) should carefully adjudicate all of these issues, but I feel it
was a little offensive to the judge."
majority leader Mike Stock of Woodstock, however, voted in support of
what he termed "a memorializing resolution." But this
past week, Stock was whistling a different tune.
is a process we shouldn't be involved in. We support the economic development
side of the project but shouldn't be giving the court any direction
on this," he said.
December 2002, before legislative chairman Ward Todd resigned his position
to become head of the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce, the Legislature
passed a resolution in support of the Belleayre Resort project. Todd
and his wife Jane, a Town of Shandaken board member, have since been
accused by opponents of the project of having conflicts of interest
with any review of it, due to land purchases made at the time the project
was being put together involving possible rights of way tied to the
never expected to get pulled into this thing like this," added
Lark In The Park!
"I encourage all New Yorkers and visitors to
begin planning now to participate in the many educational activities
and outdoor adventures that are a fitting way to celebrate the centennial
of this unique Park."
options include more than 60 free guided hikes, walks, paddles, biking
tours, and fly-fishing events, as well as exhibits, book signings and
festivals. Co-sponsors range from The Catskill Center for Conservation
and Development and Adirondack Mountain Club, to the Catskill 3500 Club,
for all those who have had the stamina to scale the region's top peaks,
and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
will be fly-fishing lessons at Pine Hill Lake and the Frost Valley YMCA
up past Big Indian and Olivera , as well as a spin-casting fishing derby
for kids up at Lake Cole in distant Claryville. The Winnesook Club,
a private residential community founded in 1886 as a gentleman's fly-fishing
club, will open its doors on Sunday, October 3, for an illustrated program
about the club's history followed by a walk around the lake near the
range's highest peak, Slide Mountain. There will be tours of the Catskill
Fish Hatchery at Mongaup Pond in Sullivan County, as well as the state
Department of Environmental Conservation's spawning beds at Trout Pond
in Delaware County.
different walks and hikes are being offered, from a gentle, one-mile
nature walk around Alder Lake to strenuous hikes of several of
the 98 Catskill high peaks over 3,000 feet, including a "triple
header" over Slide, Wittenberg and Cornell Mountains. Sunday, October
10, is being termed "Catskill Fire Tower Day," with more hikes
to all five of the recently restored historic fire towers on the summits
of Overlook, Tremper, Hunter, Red Hill and Balsam Lake mountains.
City is leading special watershed and reservoir walks. There will be
a trio of biking tours to choose from, including a 10-mile ride through
the Bluestone Wild Forest, a 20-mile scenic pedal around the Pepacton
Reservoir, and what is being described by organizers as, "the Catskill
Park's version of the Tour de France," a 100-mile, 10-hour Centennial
Century Ride led by DEC Region 3 Natural Resources Supervisor Bill Rudge.
then there's the historic and cultural side of things-
the former, there will be walk and talks illustrating the history of
bluestone quarrying in the region, as well as the legacy of the Depression-era
Civilian Conservation Corps' (CCC) local efforts. The Byrdcliffe Arts
and Crafts Colony in Woodstock, which celebrated its own centennial
last year, will be offering a tour of its Arts and Crafts-style cottages
and studios. The Second Annual Cauliflower Festival on Saturday, October
2, in the Route 28 Delaware County town of Margaretville, will celebrate
those olden days when the flowering white vegetable was the reigning
cash crop of the area.
October 2, the Town of Lexington Historical Society in one of Greene
County's more scenic western towns will be hosting a slide lecture and
book signing to celebrate the release of "Cool Cascades: A Celebration
of Catskill Mountain Waterfalls" from 2 to 5 p.m., a new book from
Black Dome Press by author/photographer Russell Dunn.
weekend of October 9 and 10 will witness the 25th annual Belleayre Mountain
Fall Festival, with sky rides and live music, crafts and fine food.
That Sunday, October 10, will also witness the Third Annual Catskill
Mountain Ginseng Festival, also at Catskill Point.
more information about the Catskill Park Centennial, go to:
or call 877-426-0323 (or e-mail CatskillLark@aol.com)
for a free program guide with a listing of all Centennial events.
In small town areas like ours, one does what one has to when job offers
arise. Johnson, who moved to the Catskills 17 years ago from Long Island
when her husband decided to follow his long-held dream of relocating
to the idyllic area his grandparents had kept a home in, shifted to
the library from teaching work when an opening occurred. Now, a degree
in Library Sciences from SUNY-Albany later, she's loving that moment
had always wanted to be a teacher and get students interested in reading,"
she says of her lifelong love of books and all things literary. "I
loved going to the library as a kid, and I grew up always surrounded
by books. My mother was always an avid reader."
says her own reading has tended towards mysteries, particularly by such
women authors as Sue Grafton and Agatha Christie.
says she's looking to start visiting a number of the many fine libraries
throughout the region that are part of the mid-Hudson Library System.
She touts the organization for the number of volumes available through
their vast network, as well as accessibility online.
for the particulars of the Phoenicia Library, Johnson loves the friendliness
of the place, the way it feels like home. She gets along wonderfully
with the lively volunteers who have long lent the place on Main Street
its special élan. And she's gradually getting to know the myriads
who call the place a second home, from those using the upstairs internet
access or one-of-a-kind fishing collection to the many kids and young
adults who thrive in the back room.
fact, two of the projects Johnson's looking to get up and running over
the coming months are a new children's reading program, as well as a
shifting of collections ˆ putting mysteries in with general fiction
ˆ to allow for a special section solely for young adult readers,
so they don't have to be lumped in with children any more.
role of libraries is important in this area," she says. "They
help the schools, who can't keep as large collections as some places.
We help to fill in the gaps."
mother of three also talked about the community role a place like the
Phoenicia Library serves, allowing a place for kibitzing as much as
meet with one another and chat," Johnson notes. "And the staff
knows everybody, making life always interesting in here."
what does she think of this new view of the area, via Main Street Phoenicia
and the Town of Shandaken?
a great town. Everybody's friendly," Johnson replies.
as always," she says. "Libraries need money like people need