Letters to the Editor

EDITOR'S NOTE: The River Reporter welcomes letters on all subjects from its readers. They must be signed and include the correspondent's phone number. The correspondent's name and town will appear at the bottom of each letter; titles and affiliations will not, unless the correspondent is writing on behalf of a group.

Letters are printed at the discretion of the editor. It is requested they be limited to 300 words; correspondents may be asked to cut longer letters. Deadline is 1:00 p.m. on Monday.

Letters can be sent by e-mail to editor@riverreporter.com

A pointless giveaway

To the editor:

The Industrial Development Agency (IDA) in Sullivan County has recently voted unanimously to grant tax breaks to the Millennium Pipeline Project. This pipeline passes through several towns here in western Sullivan County. The project is to replace the existing 12” pipeline with a larger 30” pipe.

Cochecton stands to be affected perhaps the most of any Sullivan town. Depending on what figures are used, we will be affected by approximately $500,000 in lost revenues over the next 15 years. Our total annual budget for the town is about $1 million.

Justification for such generosity from the pockets of Cochecton residents? If not granted will the pipeline people take the existing pipes and leave? Maybe some residents would like to have back the full use of their properties. Certainly the town hall/garage could benefit. We were forced to remove our salt shed because it encroached on their right-of-way. With no other space available, the highway crew is forced to travel 18 miles round-trip each snow or ice storm to obtain salt.

We’re told this project will generate jobs. I hope someone provides me with the names and addresses of all the Cochecton residents that obtain jobs with this project so that I may send them holiday cards. And I’m still looking for that steel mill in town that might supply the replacement pipe.

Many residents are fighting the proposed NYRI power line on the grounds that it goes against home rule. The same can be said for this gift giving.

One reads about communities in the old days that tarred and feathered individuals that did misdeeds. I invite all the IDA board members to visit Cochecton. Just give us notice; we still have a couple of chicken farms in town.

Larry H. Richardson
Cochecton, NY

In the interests of full disclosure

To the editor:

Thanks so much for publishing my recent letter (“Who will pay the piper?” in the December 21 issue of The River Reporter). But, my whole name was not printed. It’s Eileen Haworth Weil, not Eileen Haworth. I think most people who have any interest in the subject will know I authored it, but wouldn’t want anyone to think I was trying to hide the fact.

Great editorial, as always. Happy holidays and a wishing you and yours a brighter and peaceful new year.

Eileen Haworth Weil
Summitville, NY

A night to remember

To the editor:

On December 12 I attended the Sullivan West High School winter concert. The elementary and junior high school bands and chorus performed their concert. Every year that I attend these performances, I’m amazed at the level of talent that is showcased on our great stage at Sullivan West High School.

Both nights were very well attended. The musical performances of Sullivan West band and chorus students are remarkable at the elementary and junior high levels, and absolutely outstanding at the high school level.

The children’s talents and skills are developed by a musical and artistic staff that help them hone their skills to near perfection. Congratulations to Ms. Ellmauer, Ms. Krentz, Ms. Auditori, Mr. Reynolds and Ms. Eschenberg on another job very well done. The love of your art shines through these children

The River Reporter covers the events of our children in a most flattering way, but if you did not get to see and hear this season’s talent for yourself, come out for the spring concert and treat yourself to something very, very special.

Angela Daley
Lava, NY

Maybe we could use a little anger

To the editor:

Lisa Lander obviously cares very much about the future of Sullivan West School District. However, I take exception to her “don’t worry, be happy,” “can’t we all just get along” position. The problems at Sullivan West are far more serious than a public relations miscue. It appears there were deception, fraud and negligence involved in the approval of the merger and the construction of the school.

Earlier this year, the Department of Public Works chiefs got sent to prison for stealing some used lawn equipment. Many CEOs of large companies are being sent to prison for mismanaging and misleading their shareholders. Why are there no severe legal repercussions for picking the pockets of a generation of taxpayers? Where is our district attorney?

Mr. van Swol is angry, and it’s a relief to see someone who is still angry about a school board and superintendent who saddled the district with unaffordable taxes just so they could glorify themselves in a high-profile school merger and a big-budget construction project. Maybe if someone was held accountable, the next big budget project dreamed up by unqualified individuals will be approached with more professionalism, due diligence and caution.

While I am sure the people responsible for the dire financial crisis at Sullivan West would like to see Mr. van Swol go away, I personally hope he keeps on being loud and angry. I wish more people were being loud and angry about the lack of progressive leadership in this county. A shrug of the shoulders and “we won’t see changes in my lifetime” approach probably won’t help much.

Charles Petersheim

Kenoza Lake, NY

Aid and comfort to the enemy

To the editor:

Re: Ramon Lockier’s “My View: Why I Voted Democratic,” in the December 21 issue of The River Reporter: we are attacked by Islamic extremists and you want to attack the man who has the salt to go after them. Then you spout that liberal pap about the Constitution being shredded. The President is hunting terrorists, and you want him to do it blindfolded with his hands tied behind his back.

You conspiracy freaks and Bush haters have put power and party ahead of national security. Stop it. Your over-the-top rhetoric does give aid and comfort to the enemy, so don’t whine about being called unpatriotic when you do it.

Either America is worth fighting for or it isn’t. So, choose a country, not a party.

P.S. Sorry about the name-calling, but you did it first when you called our president a dictator.

P.P.S. Thank you for your past armed service.

W. Holbert

Lackawaxen, PA

Letter to Governor-elect Spitzer: Stop the casino

To the editor:

I am writing to request your aid. I, and many others, dread that a casino will come to Sullivan County, forever devastating the natural and social landscape of our homeland. You are our only hope.

You know what has happened in and around Atlantic City and other casino locales. A national TV network recently reported government officials were having a problem with big-time drug trafficking at Indian reservations in Arizona. We don’t want our girls and young women working the streets or lying dead in ditches. We don’t want our families devastated by drug or gambling addiction. We believe that no money in the world is worth such atrocities.

Ask Sullivan County District Attorney Stephen Lungen what he projects for his already crime-laden county, should a casino be built here. Sensible, objective, and in office for 30 years, Lungen has condemned casinos in public, but the powers that be have repeatedly pretended not to hear.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) may have completed its environmental review, but it doesn’t take a Ph.D. to predict that millions more motor vehicles headed to a casino would wreak havoc on air quality. One also need not be a scientist to foresee the litter that would line our highways, or the mountains of garbage generated by the casinos themselves.

If a casino absolutely must be built, build one where highways, medical facilities, law enforcement agencies, etc. will be able to handle the increased load—in or around Albany or New York City, for instance. Let’s not defile a part of our state where—as yet—air and water remain relatively clean, and open space with wildlife abounds. We need to recognize it as precious, rather than treat it as if we could buy it any time at a neighborhood dollar store.

The government of the Empire State has been run so inefficiently for so long that there’s never enough money to make ends meet. But given your razor-sharp mind and the minds of your advisers, I’m sure you will find more creative and more wholesome ways to refill state coffers than to build a casino.

Had a referendum been held, residents of the Sullivan County area would have had a chance to determine their own destiny. As it stands, you hold the cards that will decide the future of our beloved homeland.

We appeal to both your heart and common sense as inauguration day approaches. Please, Governor-elect Spitzer, please save Sullivan County. In years to come, you, the residents of the area and all of the Empire State will thank their lucky stars that you did.

Susan Kross
Dairyland, NY

Children at risk

To the editor:

I recently read an article in which it was stated that “Children in Sullivan County are at the highest risk in New York State (outside of New York City) for developing alcohol and other drug problems....” I contacted the Recovery Center in Monticello, and they not only verified this, but added Sullivan County has the highest AIDS/HIV rate in the state as well. I found myself prayerfully crying after finding out all that. They assured me measures are being taken to counteract this, and I asked how I, and the church I attend, could get involved.

I am married and have an awesome four-year-old boy, and I am very concerned about the future of this beautiful county. Just when I thought it could not get any worse, a New York City newspaper spilled the beans that casino gambling is definitely coming to Sullivan County and, I heard, to the Poconos in Pennsylvania as well. God help us, gambling will only exponentially increase the risk. If you are a believer, now is the time to pray and then obey. I am hoping to be involved with some form of public, free youth outreaches to educate the teens on Biblical values. If you want to help or want more information, contact me at 845/665-1918 or www.csbsny.org.

J.P. (John) Pasquale
Livingston Manor, NY

Message from Supervisor Cellini

To the editor:

The Town of Thompson is moving in a positive direction, and is witnessing many improvements in government and in our community as a whole. Our goal for 2007 is to enhance awareness of the rich cultural and political history of our town, inspiring the members of our community to continue to work together in helping it recapture its former splendor.

The current developments we are witnessing are preparing the town to once again take on a role of prominence. We are engaging in the redevelopment of the economy, beautification, tourism, recreation and the awareness of what the Town of Thompson has to offer. This progress is a milestone in reshaping the town as a whole, but it is not the only element necessary. The residents and taxpayers of the Town of Thompson have done their part too, and continue to contribute actively to the growth and rebirth of our wonderful community. Some of the major projects now underway are the Drive & Race Club, the planned resort development at the Concord Hotel and the imminent gaming casino being constructed at Monticello Raceway.

Consequently, I envision the town government as a force that will stir the hearts of all our residents to take pride in our community and to dedicate themselves to actively contributing to its vitality and pro-gress. My outlook for the Town of Thompson is to have government and citizens consciously work together as partners in fostering pride in our town. This will accomplish better living conditions, economic prosperity, restoration and development.

I invite all to join our ongoing efforts on behalf of our wonderful community. Be a part of it. We welcome your suggestions, concerns and innovative ideas, so contact me at 845/794-2500, ext. 306 with your thoughts.

Wishing all a happy and healthy new year.

Anthony P. Cellini, Supervisor
Town of Thompson, NY