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May 29, 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.

Zero tolerance for animal abuse

Man am I proud to be an Orange County resident. On Thursday, May 7, the Orange County Legislature voted unanimously to pass Rocky’s Law, the toughest animal abuse registry in the country. Under this law, one convicted of animal abuse is precluded from owning another animal for 15 years. A second conviction earns you a lifetime ban on pet ownership. Oh, and if anyone sells you an animal, they get in trouble, too.  Read more

Why the levy increase in Eldred?

In this Sunday’s Times-Herald Record it was reported that Eldred Central School District’s budget increased .8%, as had also been reported by the district in its newsletter. What the newsletter did not report was that the tax levy has increased by 2.9%, which is the highest increase in Sullivan County. Eldred is also the only district in the county where the increase in the levy was greater than the increase in the overall budget. In an earlier report in the Times-Herald Record, Superintendent Dufour had acknowledged that the district’s level of state aid had decreased, but did not know why.  Read more

Kudos to Patrick Harrison

Last fall I stopped at a rural cemetery in upstate New York to check on some ancestral graves. Finding one of them badly tilted, I later called a local funeral home, which arranged with a monument company to straighten and stabilize the stone, a service for which I, as requested, sent a check upon reported completion. A few weeks ago, again being in the area, I bethought myself of the injunction to “trust but verify” and stopped to see the stone. Unfortunately, I found it flat on its face.  Read more

Too many deer, or too few?

I enjoyed your article “What to do about too many deer;” however, the problem for many hunters is not enough deer (and turkeys) or too few “shooter bucks” that meet the antler restrictions. I own property in Milanville, PA, and live in Livingston Manor (LM) and I can tell you we must have at least 30 deer in several different herds within about a two-mile radius of town in LM, but that is not the case near the state land in the Parksville, Debruce, Lew Beach and Willowemoc areas.  Read more

Novick’s important contribution

I certainly enjoyed reading the article about Mr. Harold Novick in the March 23 issue of The River Reporter. His articles in The River Reporter were always interesting and informative. However, he left behind a far more lasting legacy than mere fishing columns.  Read more

Help available for disadvantaged students

Tuition at the University of Pennsylvania for the upcoming (2015-16) term will be $43,838, as announced in the Pennsylvania Gazette, May/June 2015, p. 25. For that term, the average grant—not loan—from Penn will be $43,800, with 47% of undergrads expected to receive needs-based grants. Other Ivy League and highly selective schools will be in lockstep with this schedule, as they always have been.  Read more

Remembering Richard Castellano

Richard Castaldo Castellano passed away at home over Easter weekend. As a close friend of 15 years, I’d like to memorialize Richard, the superhero/supervillain of Narrowburg, NY.

Richard will always hold a place in local history. A guy you loved to hate and hated to love. Before he fell from grace, he held an endearing place in the hearts of many people.

I would just like to ask those of you who had an experience with him, good or bad, to take a moment to remember what we loved about Richard.

Sharlene Kall
Damascus, PA

Novick’s important contribution

I certainly enjoyed reading the article about Mr. Harold Novick in the March 23 issue of The River Reporter. His articles in The River Reporter were always interesting and informative. However, he left behind a far more lasting legacy than mere fishing columns.  Read more

Time for a new DA

I am a Democrat and a Pike County resident. Regardless of party affiliation, I think we all want a district attorney who will prosecute all crimes, including child abuse. We want a district attorney who will not sit back and allow our crime rate to continue to increase. We want a district attorney who will try new ways to stop the growing drug epidemic. We want a district attorney who has respect for our law enforcement and veterans. Aside from a conviction rate, which I believe he has manipulated, the current district attorney has nothing to show for his seven years in office.  Read more

Gaughan the best for DA

Kelly Gaughan is well qualified, my friend, and an excellent Pike County District Attorney candidate. I have no doubt, after knowing her for many years, that she will win this election. My old Jeep proudly displays her campaign signs, as well as my entire corner and street. I have had numerous occasions to speak up for her, relevant to her qualifications—as well as my concerns about Raymond Tonkin—and not one person could refute my arguments. It’s only a question of time before the informed voters of Pike County will proudly welcome her as our new district attorney.

Dr. Bob DeYoung  Read more


Pennsylvania lawyers are bound by a Professional Code of Conduct. The code specifically prohibits a district attorney from “making an extrajudicial statement that a lawyer knows… will be disseminated by public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter.”(Rule 3.6) In other words, don’t say anything that might lead potential jurors to prejudge a defendant.  Read more

Re-Elect Jamie Burns

As someone who’s deeply involved with the Eldred Central School School District as a parent, taxpayer, coach, philanthropist and businessman, I’ve seen firsthand the commitment, ideas, leadership and openness of current school board member Jamie Burns.  Read more

Siegel: ‘Be the change you seek’

Next Tuesday’s election is your rare opportunity to be the change you seek. With most Eldred School Board elections uncontested, it may be several more years before someone has the courage to stand up and fight against the status quo. Give me a seat on the school board, and I’ll save that seat for you.

Polls are open next Tuesday, May 19 from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. at the Eldred High School. You need not be registered with the school. If you are a registered voter living in the district, this change can be yours!  Read more

Siegel for Eldred school board

I would like to express my support for Brian Siegel for the Eldred School Board. In the brief time I have known Brian, I have found that he is not only young, ambitious, passionate and committed, but he is willing to ask the tough questions and, perhaps most importantly, to listen for the answer.

With three young children, Brian has a personal stake in the success of our school system and, if he is given the opportunity, he can make a positive difference for many years to come.

John Conway
Barryville, NY

Smart voting at ECS

The current Eldred Central School District (ECS) board candidate running for re-election is attempting to promote his financial responsibility. I say, if anyone has shown financial responsibility over the past five years, it has been the voters. The people voted down Proposition 3 (repair reserve) in May 2010, and a second time at a December vote the same year. My interest was piqued. Even the “student concert” strategy did not overcome the wisdom of the people.  Read more

School as community center

If there was ever a place where a small school can thrive, it’s right here in our own wonderful community. Blessed with talented, generous, hardworking people, we can accomplish so much if we join our hearts and minds.  Read more

Supporting Ruby and Guccini

It is time for leadership in Pike County, and we support Dave Ruby and Steve Guccini.

Reading the news and letters to the editors, one would assume that most of us are divided along political party lines. However, many may actually be like us: we vote for people, especially in local elections, not parties. We have been registered at one time or another in both parties. We have an opportunity for fresh faces and change in our county government. We want to take it.  Read more

Ruby and Guccini will make Pike more prosperous

Having known Dave Ruby and Steve Guccini for 20-plus years, I know their commitment to the people of Pike County. With Dave and Steve working as one team, these two leaders will bring new and long lasting businesses to Pike County as commissioners.  Read more

Support NY Health, real affordable care

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) envisioned an expanded, improved Medicare-type system, offering high-quality, low-cost comprehensive health coverage, without regard to age, income, employment status or existing health conditions, using providers you want. But as happened with Medicare D, the for-profit health insurance industry hijacked ACA, ensuring that outrageous executive salaries, excessive bonuses, inflated administrative costs and profit-driven policies/operations would continue to make healthcare unaffordable and unattainable for millions of Americans.  Read more

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 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, or 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