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April 25, 2015
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letters to the editor

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; longer letters may not be printed, or may be edited down to the appropriate length. Deadline is 1 p.m. on Monday.

Against fast track for the TPP

At a time when Americans are looking for Congressional leadership, we can’t afford to tie the hands of Congress on the most important trade issues of the day. Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 replicates the old failed model of fast track that enables the President to send already signed trade pacts to Congress for limited floor debate, no amendments, and a straight up-or-down vote. With fast track, Congress loses its ability to ensure that trade pacts protect communities and the environment.  Read more

Fight animal abuse in Orange

I am writing to call attention to a much-needed law in Orange County: Rocky’s Law. It is being proffered by Legislator Mike Anagnostakis, and seeks to create an animal abuse registry in Orange County.  Read more

Let’s target underage drinking

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) since 1987, this year’s theme is “For the Health of It: Early Education on Alcoholism and Addiction.”  Read more

Set a solar goal for New York

With the start of the new season, sunny skies are ahead of us. Spring is all about renewal and regrowth. We should start spring by renewing our commitment to solar energy and growing the industry here in New York. Our solar industry employed 7,284 New Yorkers in 2014, according to the Solar Foundation’s new solar jobs census. Nationwide, solar jobs grew by over 20% for the second year in a row, now totaling over 170,000 jobs.  Read more

School district needs to wake up

Bar graphs on the superintendent’s website at Eldred Central School’s homepage pretty much tell the story. Enrollment dropped from 772 to 603 in 17 years (22%). The budget and the tax levy have more than doubled to $16 million.  Read more

Time for a change in Pike

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve come to realize our country (and county) is nearing a precipice caused by partisan politics, special interests and government officials who no longer serve “We, the People.” As a political independent, I would therefore need a very good reason to make me affiliate with one of the major parties again. But that’s exactly what happened recently. Here’s why.  Read more

The status of values

David Brooks’ March 10th New York Times column, titled “The Cost of Relativism,” began by describing symptoms and then declared that the symptoms were the cause.  Read more

Warning: please don’t drink river water

The front page headline and the title of the article by Stephanie Kroll, in The River Reporter’s lifestyle magazine FISH 2015 inserted in the March 26 issue, “If the fish thrive in it, it’s good for you to drink,” is erroneous and dangerous advice. A warning posted on the National Park Service website about the Upper Delaware River states: “The water in this part of the Delaware is very clean, but that does not mean it is ready for humans to drink. Intestinal ailments, such as giardiasis can strike days or weeks after drinking ‘raw’ water.  Read more

Report highlights fracking’s dirty record

A new Environment New York report (see www.environmentnewyork.org/reports/nye/fracking-failures) highlights fracking’s dirty track record. The analysis of the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania shows that all types of gas fracking companies are prone to infractions of environmental and public health protections. Over a nearly four-year period, the top 20 violators of regulations included Fortune 500 companies, mom-and-pop operators, and even companies like Chevron that tout their green records.  Read more

Trade pact undermines U.S. sovereignty

Buying local and U.S. products helps our farmers, our workers, and transport costs. How would you like being told that buying local is no longer a choice?  Read more

Kudos to Eileen Hennessy

I would like to thank Eileen Hennessy, the writer of the “Lake Huntington News” column in your paper. With all that is going on in her life, she still manages to write a very interesting and informative column. She keeps everyone informed on the happenings in the area; how often we would likely forget an event if it were not mentioned in Eileen’s column. Not only does she remind us, but there’s not one charitable organization that she does not in some manner participate.  Read more

Stand up publicly

In my mailbox I recently found the third in a series of slick political flyers entitled “Highland Highlights,” which purports to be “news for the 99%”—whomever they are. The flyer bears the masthead “Taxpayers United For Fairness,” which is abbreviated as “T.U.F.F.” They advertise their mission as “providing a local alternative voice for the majority of the citizens of Highland.” The flyer was filled with critical invective directed primarily at Supervisor Andy Boyer, with glancing shots taken at Zoning Board of Appeals Chair Larry Fishman and returning assessor Lori King.  Read more

Look at the bigger picture

Mr. Ned Lang, in your March 4 issue, vented his array of concerns to our U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. Before he blasts political happenings here and abroad, I would suggest he look beyond the blinkers and see the broader picture. So as not to generalize, he must explore deeper data and further not to limit his knowledge to Fox News as his sole informational source. Try RT.com, TheNation.com or Democracynow.com to get a balance, weigh data and provide a reliable perspective.  Read more

Legitimate and crucial unanswered questions about 9/11

[The events of] 9/11 were seminal for our world. At the time people said, “It will change everything.” Our worldview has been changed, as well as our priorities as a people and a nation. We have become afraid, perhaps unlike any time in our lifetimes.  Read more

An overdose IS an accident

In The River Reporter article “A second look at heroin,” it is reported that information from the Center for Disease Control “said that for young people the leading cause of death in this country used to be accidents and injuries; now it’s drug overdoses.” A drug overdose is an accident. That is, unless a young person purposely seeks to commit suicide by taking a lethal dose of heroin and/or other drugs.  Read more

It’s important to speak out

This is in response to the article “Petersheim Stirs the Pot.” I am always a supporter and would encourage taxpayers to be informed and speak out. I have done it myself in my own town and have been accused of also “stirring the pot.” But it’s always those who don’t want to be exposed that are using that very term. Taxpayers should applaud Charles Petersheim for starting TUFF (Taxpayers Unite For Fairness) on Facebook, as it is a newsletter to shed light on rising taxes and why it is occurring.  Read more

Enjoy the show

I attended last week’s Catskill Art Society art show in Livingston Manor and very much enjoyed the work of the various artists. While it’s true, art is always “in the eye of the beholder,” I think it is important to truly challenge ourselves, to step back and broaden our perspective to allow light in from the ends of the spectrum, not just from the ends of our field of view.  Read more

Too many does, not enough big bucks?

I cannot speak for the deer population in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 3A but I do hunt in 4W, 3H and 3M. All these areas have plenty of does on private land. The issue is a lack of bucks being seen and harvested. The ration of does to bucks is imbalanced for sure, and at most a one-buck limit for all the seasons should be implemented as part of the resolution to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  Read more

Frustrated in Cochecton

I shake my head in disgust and trepidation at the elected representatives in Congress who would put safety of family, friends and the public at risk because of politics. In this world of ISIS and others who would do us harm, does it seem logical that an issue as vitally important as funding for the Homeland Security Agency should be dealt with and settled on its own? If the representatives in Congress cannot deal logically and reasonably with an issue of utmost importance, can we expect different action on other issues?  Read more

History will repeat itself

In its cover letter and determination of February 27, 2015, the Sullivan County Board of Elections reports that a definable number of persons who registered to vote in, and affect, the September Special Election have been determined, with full due process, to have been ineligible to vote in Bloomingburg even six months later.

Affidavit: I swear or affirm that

• I am a citizen of the United States.

• I will have lived in the county, city or village for at least 30 days before the election.

• I meet all requirements to register to vote in New York State.  Read more

Letter to Senator Schumer

Good morning, Senator. I am a business owner and sit on the Town of Tusten board. I watch Fox News every night and I can’t say how strongly I oppose the fact that our President is attempting to allow illegal aliens not only to become citizens illegally, he also wants to allow them to have access to Social Security and Medicare.  Read more

Stop work on Milford compressor station

I attended the hearing regarding the construction of the Milford compressor station, and it was obvious that there was overwhelming resident input that favored using electric engines instead of the proposed 9,400 horsepower natural gas version. It was clear to me that the public was demanding electric instead of gas due to the emission of harmful pollutants that will impact public health and area air quality.  Read more

‘Save the habitat, save the hunt’

In my My View of February 5, I mentioned that the Federation of Sportsman Clubs of Sullivan County, NY wants to improve the deer herd by drastically shortening hunting season and sending a resolution to the DEC/Albany. I did not have the resolution in front of me, and I made an error. Bow season is to be only one week long prior to regular season, and firearms (regular) season would combine muzzle loader and crossbow for also only one week long, both in November.  Read more

Buying the 2016 elections

Here we go again. Seems like just yesterday that we had the Presidential elections. Well, here they come again, and everyone and his brother and sister are vying for position to get on the ballot. Unfortunately, they are all the same actors and dynasties (Bush and Clinton). Can’t America be more original and bring in some fresh faces with new ideas and ways to handle the enormous challenges that we face?  Read more

Not a developer

As per your February 12 article about the Town of Highland Planning Board, “Planners recommend brewery and parking changes,” I’m not a developer.  Read more

Drops in propane costs lag others

I’ve been comparing energy costs for my Sullivan County family.

Using my collected gas station receipts, oil bills (home heat source) and propane bills (cooking and hot water), here’s what I found:

From early July to early October (‘14), gasoline at the pump fell by 13%. Fuel oil fell 6%. Propane had a 0% price change, nor was the propane company’s added charge of $5.90 per delivery reduced.  Read more

Pond Eddy Bridge

This is in response to a letter in last week’s issue, “Saddened and perplexed.” The Pond Eddy Bridge is both beautiful and historic. Yes, it serves only a very small number of Pennsylvania residents. So, the question is why would both New York and Pennsylvania spend millions of taxpayers’ money on replacing the bridge? There is the Parkers Glenn Road that runs from Twin Lakes Road down to the Pond Eddy Bridge. Why not let Pennsylvania foot the bill for their residents, spend a fraction of that money to upgrade the road and leave New York out of it?

Caroline Akt
Glen Spey, NY

Pike fights heroin epidemic

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 8,257 heroin–related deaths in 2013, compared with 5,925 deaths in 2012. This increase is being called an epidemic.

The CDC also reports approximately 443,000 people die from smoking cigarettes or exposure to second-hand smoke each year. This is business as usual.

It is time to accept that criminalizing arbitrarily chosen drugs is irrational, ineffective, and too expensive.  Read more

Saddened and perplexed

I am both saddened and perplexed at the official news that the Pond Eddy Bridge is going to be replaced. One of the truly breathtaking sights in this area is coming around the bend on Route 97, from either direction, and seeing that beautiful, historic structure set against the river and the surrounding wooded hills. I can’t imagine ever tiring of it.  Read more

Secret services left out of exemptions

I am writing in regard to veterans exemptions on home property taxes. First, I think the state should be helping out municipalities with this issue. Second, as a father with a son soon to be deployed overseas and as the son of a man who spent over six years in the jungles of Burma (Myanmar) during WWII, I am totally in favor of an exemption for our veterans.  Read more

March for Life

Thousands of women, men and children who believe that the child in the womb needs to be loved and nurtured and raised rather than aborted met in Washington, DC for the annual March for Life on Thursday, January 22. House Republicans managed to put forth a legislation tightening restrictions on abortions with a 242-179 vote.  Read more

Thanks from PCHOH to the Knights

Pike County Hands of Hope (PCHOH, www.pikecountyhoh.org) would like to recognize and thank the Knights of Columbus for their contributions both to our organization, and the community. Ray Proulx, trustee of the Knights of Columbus, recently presented Jim Pierce, vice president of PCHOH, a check for $300 to further PCHOH’s work with the homeless and near-homeless of Pike County. Pierce said these funds would benefit “those PCHOH serves by providing about four nights of shelter for local homeless persons.  Read more

Weil comments on Mamakating incident

[The below letter relates to the news brief “Former Mamakating supervisor accused of knocking down activist,” on page 2.]  Read more

Five billion dollar surplus

Five billion dollars is a lot of money. That is the amount that Gov. Cuomo says New York State has in a budget surplus and now he wants to decide how to spend it. Spend it? A budget surplus, if I am correct, is created when revenue exceeds expenses. So in order to have a surplus, you have either raised more revenue (this would be taxes) or you have spent less than you anticipated.  Read more

Thanks for the helping hands

As the magic of the holiday season ends, our thoughts turn to our neighbors who were in need of assistance during the season. We wish to express our appreciation for all those special people who adopted families, and to those who made generous donations to the St. Francis Zavier Outreach Program.

We also want to send a special thank you to the staff of The River Reporter for all the publicity during the holiday season. It if weren’t for them, these programs would not have been so successful.

We would like to wish everybody a healthy and happy new year.

Bob and Barbara Drollinger  Read more

Days of auld lang syne

Watching the ball drop on TV the other night with a small group of relatives and friends who were, let’s say, middle-aged and a little past that, some of the comments we made were:

“They’re all so young”—referring to the million people in Times Square in 20-plus degree (with wind, “Feels like” 14 degrees) weather.

“Every band’s the same—all they do is jump around like idiots and wear almost nothing.”

“Yeah, as long as they have a beat behind them so the audience can jump up and down, they are zillionaires!”

“And hardly any are singing, they’re mostly screaming.”  Read more

The true meaning of the holidays

We have already been blinded by the Christmas lights and baffled by the too-big lawn decorations all before Thanksgiving or even Halloween. Contrary to the new popular belief, Christmas is not all about a dying pine tree, booze-filled eggnog, sparkly lights, or pointless gifts you’ll never use. It’s actually all about Jesus Christ. Whether you believe it or not, the true meaning of the holiday is written in the Bible. There is no mention of shopping deals or family antics there, which is strange because that is what American holidays are all about.  Read more

After the ban

Even with such cloudy weather in recent weeks, I and so many others are basking in the glow of success since Gov. Cuomo decided to heed the science and the recommendations of his health and environment commissioners and ban fracking in New York. Now I won’t have to move away from the home I love in order to secure my health and safety. And that goes for all New Yorkers, including those who supported fracking, who will now not suffer the catastrophic impacts of heavily-polluting industrialization of our region.  Read more

Open letter to Cuomo

Dear Gov. Cuomo:

I’ve been a local journalist in and around Sullivan County for over 30 years. I’ve watched and reported on the county’s casino efforts—state constitutional amendments, Indian casinos and the rest throughout my career.

I remember trying to get a response about casinos from your dad when he spoke at the state press association convention (at the old Concord) in 1987. He out-foxed me, but that’s another story. The point is that it has been difficult to get an answer about Sullivan County’s problems from anybody in Albany for many years.  Read more

The meaning of Christmas

What is a holiday tree anyway? Should I say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays?”

Should I only sing holiday songs of the season that don’t mention God? Is Christmas just another holiday equal with Kwanza, Ramadan, Vesak and Festivus (from Seinfeld)? Is Jesus Christ the Son of God, fully God and fully man, part of the Trinity?  Read more

Thank you Chris Gibson?

In response to a suggestion that we thank Rep. Chris Gibson for his intention to introduce a resolution to “recognize the reality” of climate change, I have to say to the Congressman that he has not been putting his votes where his mouth is on this issue. He recently voted for instant approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a climate-damaging project if ever there was one. James Hanson said that if this project is built it is “game over” for the future of humanity. Congressman Gibson also says he supports only safe, clean fracking.  Read more

New blood, but it hasn’t cured the problem

It has been well over 20 days since I made a Freedom of Information Law request to the Town of Mamakating, Sullivan County. As of December 14, 2014 I had not received a response to my request. Supervisor Herrmann and council members Taylor and Geraldi ran on a position of open and fair government.  Read more

Thanksgiving: Now Black... Thursday?

The first Thanksgiving was a day on which the Pilgrims celebrated with the Native Americans to give thanks for the crops and survival through the hardships they had faced. Thanksgiving Day is a day in which we should give thanks for what we already have, just as they did. Whether we reflect on the gratitude we feel for our family, our friends, our health, anything that we are thankful for, Thanksgiving should not be overridden by starting your Christmas and Black Friday shopping on Thursday rather than Friday—a habit that many people are beginning to acquire.  Read more

A hero in the making

In regard to the recent article in the December 5 National Journal, “House Republican Plans to Introduce Pro-Climate-Science Bill,” I would like to thank Rep. Chris Gibson for going public with his intention to bring forth a resolution regarding recognition of the reality of the science of climate change. As one of his constituents, I recognize the importance of Mr. Gibson’s concern for the welfare of working-class families and small businesses in regard to making changes in our lives that would ameliorate climate change. Mr.  Read more

Vote “no” to save the school

I am the father of three young children in the Eldred School District. To save our kids’ school, my family will vote “no” next Tuesday. We love our school and consider ourselves very fortunate to have such outstanding and caring teachers, support staff and administrators. Because we are a small community of hard-working families and fixed-income retirees, with low enrollment and a small tax base, we need to be especially responsible with our school funding decisions.  Read more

Gibson leads on climate change

This week, Rep.Chris Gibson emerged as a potential leader in Congress in one of the least looked-for places: addressing climate change.

Rep. Gibson announced his intention to introduce a resolution to help others “recognize the reality” of climate change and ensure lawmakers are put on the record. He has recognized that the science is clear: we are not moving quickly enough to avoid catastrophic climate change. He has recognized that our country needs firm leadership to reduce our emissions. He has decided to lead his party and others in recognizing that it is time to do what is right.  Read more

Thanks to some big hearts

We are writing to give a big thank you to Diane Daly, Brenda Seldin and Shirley Masuo for their selfless community service. They have been contributing countless hours capturing local feral cats and delivering them to vets to be neutered, wormed and given rabies shots. These volunteers have successfully captured and returned 15 cats from our immediate area. They require no payment but do accept donations to Animal Rescue.

In a time when we read about people who take advantage of others, perhaps we should take the opportunity to salute those who quietly perform community service.  Read more

ECS proposal is over the top

The Eldred Central School District’s (ECS) proposal to add $5.5 million in new debt and tax increases is over the top. The proposal includes spending for enhanced athletic facilities for a School District that is struggling to survive financially as symbolized by the included spending for the deferred maintenance items at both facilities.  Read more

Saluting Cindy Kurpil Gieger

On the evening of Friday, December 5, her many friends and supporters will be gathering at the Old North Branch Inn to honor Sullivan County Legislator Cindy Gieger, thanking her for the huge contribution that she’s making to good government in Sullivan County. Her tireless efforts to reform the county’s social services are saving county taxpayers millions of dollars, ensuring that scarce aid resources find their way to the truly needy, and bringing to justice those who are trying to cheat the system, robbing from the public purse.  Read more

Yes, Virginia

Yes, Virginia, there are still caring people! Amidst the negativity and selfishness reflected in the news every day, there still are folks who simply wish to make their neighbors’ day a bit brighter and cheerier. On Sara Lane in Glen Spey, a few of those folks came together and organized a wonderful Thanksgiving buffet for any and all who needed or wanted a complimentary meal with all of the trimmings in the beautifully decorated environment at the town hall. It was especially timely, given that so many people were without power from the snowstorm.  Read more