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January 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.

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

Difficult appointment, easy choice

On October 8, 2014 the Town of Callicoon lost a dear friend and town clerk of 23 years, Janet Brahm, who lost her courageous battle with cancer. To all who knew her, Janet was a warm, friendly, hard-working individual who absolutely loved her job and was recognized by fellow town clerks as one of the best in New York State.  Read more

A message to Rep. Gibson on climate change

The elections are over, and now that the dust has settled I’d like to congratulate Chris Gibson on his re-election as our representative in Congress. I am thrilled that he has publicly acknowledged the evidence supporting the human contribution to climate change. Rep. Gibson has indicated that sound environmental policy is one of his priorities, and he is well positioned to help overcome the gridlock in Congress and actually make progress in addressing this issue. Climate change is not some vague future risk. It’s happening now, and will only worsen with time.  Read more

Comments continue on Town of Highland tax increase

Supervisor Boyar seems to be so assured of his local position and reputation, that he didn’t even bother to do the hard work of budgeting in 2015. To me, it seems he added up the numbers, put them on paper, and said ‘that’s the best I can do.’ No determined statement about how they will find a way to reduce the tax hike, no articulate vision of expense reduction and shared sacrifice, no year-long effort to find a way to make the hard choices and decisions required of him.

I personally know the real impacts of his failure to lead; some of my neighbors already have a hard time keeping up.  Read more

Highland resident objects to Petersheim letter

I am grateful to receive The River Reporter so I may keep up with the news from my town while I am away.

In response to a letter to the editor from Charles Petersheim [in the issue of October 30] (, I feel I must express my opinion.

For Charles Petersheim to suggest that Andy Boyar, our supervisor, resign over a proposed tax hike or anything of that nature is preposterous.  Read more

Trailers for Lumberland: Part II

This is in response to Hall Smyth’s letter [of October 29] titled “Trailers for Lumberland” ( Smyth heard the end of a conversation. I am not taking issue with the storage of RV’s/camping trailer’s. I felt that RV’s/camping trailers should not be used as a residence. The gentlemen who responded “no” to my “poll” in the audience, who built/designed his home and pays $10,000 in taxes, emphatically does not want a camping trailer on a lot next to his.  Read more

Breaking the ‘duopoly’ in Washington

I recently had the distinct pleasure of watching Nick Troiano (, the independent candidate for U.S. Representative for the 10th District of PA, in action before a meeting of the conservative Patriot Connectors discussion group in Hawley. Troiano, a Pike County native, is a young and well-educated technocrat with a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. He impressed me as more concerned with finding workable solutions to our problems, rather than maintaining strict adherence to ideology.  Read more

Petersheim takes Highland officials to task for proposed tax hike

If Supervisor Andy Boyar has any honor, he would resign immediately.

While the Town of Highland completely trusted his financial stewardship, he was obviously asleep at the switch. No other town is trying to insult their taxpayers’ intelligence with the cockamamie dishonesty Boyar spewed in explaining his 10% tax hike.

And the rest of the board—a board that gets paid handsomely— should be tarred and feathered as well for their complete failure at governance.  Read more

Trailers for Lumberland

At the October 21 meeting of the Town of Lumberland Zoning Board of Appeals member Caroline Akt took a poll of all people present: “Would you want to look out on the neighbor’s recreational trailer?” The implied correct answer was “no.” In a separate conversation with Lumberland’s code enforcement officer Dave Sparling, he asked if I would want to live next to the Antique Emporium in Barryville. The spoon-fed answer, again, is understood to be “no.” Visitors to the area see the Barryville shop as a rare destination. The code enforcer sees a messy, unregulated eyesore.  Read more

When the polar ice caps are gone…

I’d like to comment on Clem Fullerton’s observation that the average temperature of the earth hasn’t increased noticeably in 18 years (, in his letter titled “To predict the temperature at the year 2099 is a fool’s errand.”  Read more

Ill-timed tax bills for Social Security recipients

[Editor’s note: This letter to the Sullivan West Central School Tax Collector was also sent as a letter to the editor at The River Reporter. The writer owns property in the Town of Tusten.]

I am probably not the only retired taxpayer on a fixed income who must avail himself of the monthly payment plan of the annual school tax bill. Officials in your position should be aware that monthly Social Security checks are credited to the recipients’ bank accounts always on the second Wednesday of the month.  Read more

A peace poem

The President makes wars like kings and queens of old

And sends the bills to Congress, which is not so bold.

The economy can’t support the load in any way,

So the Fed like the cavalry of old steps in to save the day.

Now the Fed creates so much money out of thin air that it is obscene,

and how long this travesty can continue is yet to be seen.

Tim Shera
Liberty, NY

Why have locks and keys to our homes?

The Monticello Town Board and the Monticello Planning Board gave the Monticello Motor Club the right to invade our homes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with penetrating noise. Members of the town and planning boards made the following comments: “Look we have to give a little,” “The noise is perceptive,” “You get used to the noise. I did.”

What is a little? What is perceptive? Invading noise allowed into your home for six to seven days a week? Maybe if you are compensated for either allowing parking, docking and doing business with this development you would get used to it.  Read more

Protecting riparian buffers in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association urges [PA state senators] to oppose HB 1565. Enactment of this legislation would cause irreversible harm to Pennsylvania’s water quality and increase the destruction wrought by flooding. (See The River Reporter’s editorial at  Read more

Contract to purchase Narrowsburg School reassigned

Dear friends, supporters and neighbors,

We thank you all for your continued encouragement and support for our plan for the Narrowsburg School building. We share with you the news that the closing of the Assignment of the Contract to Purchase the Narrowsburg School building and the nearby acres took place earlier today [October 3].

We thank Joan Buto for completing the assignment. We look forward to beginning the next segment of this great adventure—our due diligence on the properties.

With much thanks,

Brendan and Kathy Weiden
Narrowburg, NY

Ode to the volunteers

By Bernie Creamer

The People Who Make it Happen

(You know who you are)

They save our lives, they plant our flowers.

They work for free for many hours.

They sort our books, they pick up our litter

and I’ve never seen them be bitter.

They feed our needy, they help the churches,

They never leave you in any lurches.

They help our town in every way and never ask for any pay.

They are all around us in every way and we should thank them every day!

[Bernie Creamer has been a Narrowsburg resident for many years.]

A new war

Yesterday unleashed a tsunami sweeping across the deserts and towns of Syria and Iraq.

Promoted by our leaders and executed by our airmen who will never experience the terror and suffering of their attacks.

Violence always leads to more violence, never uplifting hearts and minds, too.

Please forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.

Tim Shera
Liberty, NY

‘To predict the temperature at the year 2099 is a fool’s errand’

The editorial regarding global warming ( was quite disappointing. The one scientific fact that you deliberately failed to mention was that there has been no discernable rise in the temperature of the earth for the past 16 years (Ross McKitrick, professor of economics, University of Guelph, Canada; Robert Carter James Cook University, Australia; David Whitehouse, Global Warming Foundation, London, United Kingdom). Every one of the global warming models completely failed to predict this fact.  Read more

JP’s eight ways to solve crime and violence

How can we stop crime and violence? I have a few ideas. 1. We can have the NRA come into our towns and cities and supply the good guys with tactical semi-automatic weapons and they can shoot or chase off all the bad guys. 2. We can have all the good guys stay inside for a week or two and bring in even more gang members, mobsters, rapists and add some terrorists and some armed psychotic people into to our towns and cities and have them kill each other. 3. We could remove a few thousand people from the welfare system and hire more police to walk the beat with the money saved. 4.  Read more

Literacy volunteers help open doors

International Literacy Day was September 8. Few people realize the illiteracy problem that our country and state face. In New York, an estimated 2.7 million adults lack basic literacy, math and employment skills. Poverty and illiteracy are linked and Sullivan County is a poor county.  Read more

Judge rules against Buto for reneging in school sale assignment

Dear friends, supporters and neighbors,

We thank you all for your continued encouragement and support for our plan for the Narrowsburg School building.

We share with you important information about today’s 10 a.m. hearing at the Sullivan County Courthouse.  Read more

Concerns about Narrowsburg Bridge construction on hamlet

As many Narrowsburg residents are aware, PennDOT is planning a major renovation of the bridge that links our town with Route 652.

This is a plea for sensible scheduling while the project is underway.  Read more

Writer warns against Pond Eddy Bridge construction

On September 10, The River Reporter published “UDC: Pond Eddy bridge work ‘going to get somebody killed.” This dramatic headline tells of “work” that is unprecedented. This work would necessitate closing the river for over two years. This work would require closing a lane of Route 97 for over two years. This work will kill untold numbers of migrating fish species, freshwater eels and other wildlife. This work may even cause the death of an innocent visitor boating on the river, or perhaps someone you know and love. This work is an unprecedented and obvious violation of our beloved river.  Read more

Who’s leading Sullivan County?

A recent column in a regional titled, in part, “Don’t ever count Sullivan County out,” drew attention to the “handful of folks [who] seem to insist that Sullivan County is all but done for [without a casino]….” It made me wonder about those in that “handful” serving in our county legislature and economic development agencies, particularly those claiming to be democrats; their allegiance to the casino/Sullivan County victim card was particularly revealing this primary season.  Read more

‘No Milford compressor expansion’

On September 11, 2001, I lived five blocks from Ground Zero. (For health insurance reasons, it is still my legal residence.) After the attack, many large financial institutions evacuated. Their reasons were valid; the toxic cloud that spread over lower Manhattan, a grave concern.  Read more

Town of Highland adds clarification

I write to clarify the situation that was the subject of your front page story “No Woodstock experience for Highland” ( All references to the property and the concern that the town had with events taking place on the property in August pertain to the new owner, 211 Mail Road LLC. The town would like to make clear that Sokol aka Sokol USA and Sokol Woodlands Inc. was a fine taxpaying entity for many decades and a good neighbor. Sokol sold the property in June, 2014.  Read more

Sokol no longer owns former Barryville property

We wish to express our displeasure of reporting the property involved as “Sokol” property. Though the caption under the photo does indicate “former Sokol Woodlands,” the article contained statements that could be construed as Sokol still being involved in the operation or activities on the property.  Read more

Backroom maneuvering?

The backroom maneuvering of Ed Sykes’ Town of Delaware board is once more demonstrated by the continuing membership on the board of Harold Roeder, who has sold his Hortonville home and purchased a home in Pennsylvania. Legally, membership on the board requires residence in the town. Is Roeder residing with his son, whose residence is in Delaware Township? Certainly the sale of one home and the purchase of another imply intent to change residence.  Read more

Another vote for Teachout

As governor, Zephyr Teachout would ban unconventional horizontal hydrofracking and fracking waste in New York State. She has been stating those commitments regularly. In contrast, Gov. Cuomo has not banned fracking and has accepted nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from pro-fracking interests.  Read more

‘Let’s elect a clean-government candidate for governor’

New York State Democrats have a clear choice for this year’s nominee for governor. They can run Andrew Cuomo, an “Albany Insider” who has cut spending for public schools, betrayed his earlier pledge to clean up the political corruption by disbanding the Moreland Commission, blocked proposed tax hikes for the rich, and represented Wall Street while ignoring Main Street. Or, they can vote for a breath of political fresh air, Zephyr Teachout, the “anti-Albany Insider” candidate.  Read more

Dangerous drivers on Route 17B

In regards to all the deadly crashes on 17B in the past year: Is the sheriff’s department even aware of what appears to be a new sick type of “chicken game” most likely for kids and those warped in the brain? I experienced this myself one Saturday night [in August] and it was traumatizing to see a row of six-plus cars coming from the other direction, with each car passing each other, squeezing in [before] the car in front of them (if they can), coming right into the oncoming traffic lane.

Dawn Havas
Beekman, NY

‘Thanks’ from The Weather Project

On behalf of the NACL Theatre board, staff and the many organizations, funders and individuals who participated in and sponsored the two-year Weather Project, I wish to thank the Town of Highland, the Yulan Fire Department and the Upper Delaware community for the support shown throughout the Weather Project and recent community play in Yulan, NY. Thanks, too, for the ongoing attention and interest devoted to the project by our regional media.  Read more