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April 23, 2014
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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.

Petersheim: ‘Bravo for Ned Lang’

It’s easy to forget that Ned Lang’s successful entry into politics began because the current town board singled him out for a zoning infraction, attempted to fine him $90,000 for a sign, and tried to charge him with felonies for infractions far less than other examples all over town. He fought back, the town residents respected it and have now elected him twice to the town board. Bravo, Ned Lang—that’s exactly what America is about.  Read more

Food hub talk

There seems to be general agreement that the time has come for the creation of a Sullivan County food hub. There are unresolved logistical questions, but the question of where to situate it has become political. Legislators Kathy LaBuda, Jonathan Rouis, Ira Steingart and chair Scott Samuelson want to move ahead with the IDA proposed location in Glenwild, with the purchase of property owned by Butch Resnick. Legislators Cindy Gieger, Alan Sorensen, Cora Edwards, Kitty Vetter and Gene Benson have reservations about both the location and whether the cost of the property is justified.  Read more

‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’

Last week, a teenager stabbed 20 people at a Murrysville, Pennsylvania, school. As I write, four of them remain in critical condition, but compared to what we’ve seen, this sounds like “good news.”

We don’t have to imagine what might have happened if that kid had been armed with an AK-47. That scenario has become all too familiar. At this point, we have to be thankful for the smallest of blessings.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” which is why we need to keep guns out of their hands.

Anthony Splendora
Milford, PA

Sullivan marks Public Health Week

The Sullivan County Health Services Advisory board supports Legislator Cindy Geiger’s resolution to dedicate April 7 through 13 as National Public Health week in Sullivan County.  Read more

An opinion offered about Shalom Lamm

In keeping with his reputation for saying incredible things, Shalom Lamm has done it again. On the heels of being publicly exposed in court for taking part in what the Sullivan County Board of Elections called a voter registration “sham,” and what Judge Schick tactfully characterized as an attempt to “stuff the ballot box,” Lamm had the gall to release a long-winded, post-election tract offering an olive branch to the people of Bloomingburg.  Read more

Praise for five legislators’ diligence

Sullivan County Legislators Alan Sorensen, Cora Edwards, Cindy Gieger, Kitty Vetter and Gene Benson were honoring their election promises to ensure the best deals and services for taxpayers when they tabled an IDA request for $110,000 until costing and other information on the food hub project was made available for review. Instead of providing the information, people with interests in keeping the status quo on this deal unleashed a storm of criticism, dismissing costing concerns as being invalid and politically motivated, needlessly jeopardizing both the project and the county’s economic recovery.  Read more

Progress needed on climate change

Thank you for your important and powerful editorial piece “Mired in Fossil Fuel” dated March 26. Fossil fuels are damaging to us all and at all phases: during extraction, transportation, processing and finally, in burning. The dangers of fracking waste, toxic oil spills from trains and pipelines in our neighborhoods and spills in our oceans destroying our food are only just the beginning. We also face the overwhelming buildup of greenhouse gases that are causing extreme weather events, ocean acidification and sea level rise.  Read more

Clean energy cuts carbon pollution in New York

As public concern about extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy ramps up, New York is proving that we can win the fight against global warming. The statements that Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand made at an all-night event on the floor of the Senate this week served as a clear sign that they understand the need for climate action.  Read more

Is gun violence an epidemic?

About a year ago I was listening to an emergency medical services podcast from Albany Medical Center, as I normally have done in the past. I was shocked to find out that the speaker was a lawyer rather than a resident MD as the teacher, and this lawyer arrogantly brought forth the case that guns kill and gun violence is an epidemic.  Read more

Heroin: It’s here

Heroin use has been rising since 2007, growing from 373,000 yearly users nationwide to 669,000 in 2012, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  Read more

USDA steps up for small farmers

On March 10, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced changes to the Farm Storage Facility Loan program that will benefit the growing number of smaller farmers seeking to access opportunities in local and regional food system growth.  Read more

A college student supports a casino for Sullivan County

Orange County has recently added a plot twist to the fate of the once famed Borsht Belt. With only days until the applications for upstate casinos are due to the state-appointed commission, two more developers in Orange County want to steal Sullivan’s County’s one shot at a revival.  Read more

Seeking a renewable energy future

With Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc on our communities, New York’s families are already paying the price for global warming.  Read more

A fiscal reality

To convey the message of the need for sound fiscal decisions on the county level, I have advocated that all bond requests with resulting debt service payments include a summary and cover memo detailing the impacts on the county budget and tax levy. This will result in a more thorough review of the county’s ability to pay and resulting burden on the taxpayer.  Read more

Heeding ‘area closed’ signs in winter

I read the ‘Ice Advice’ article in the February 13th River Reporter. I was especially glad to see the picture displaying the sign at Skinners Falls, “Area Closed.” This is helpful information for the safety of visitors and residents.  Read more

A call for crossbow hunting in New York

I have sent a version of this letter about being in favor of legalized crossbow hunting in New York State to Gunther, Bonacic, Sweeney, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Cuomo. I believe last year the legislation for crossbow use by all hunters was derailed because of the unconstitutional SAFE Act.  Read more

Do you believe in angels?

[This unusual letter to the editor comes from Margeline Hoheusle of Narrowsburg, NY.]

Do you believe in angels? I do.

There is one in Lava, Narrowsburg, NY. She has many friends, some enemies. My angel has made it easier for me to adjust to the everyday hardships I have had to endure, because of my condition. She keeps me smiling most of my waking hours. When I am on a roll, she is soft and caring, bringing me back to reality, reminding me of all the love I have right here.

I don’t thank her often enough, for as you know, “angels need no praise.”  Read more

Tax credits for wind energy still needed

The latest market report that the American Wind Energy Association has released shows a sharp contrast between the small amount of wind power that was built in 2013 (1,084 megawatts) and the record-breaking amount of wind power that is under construction this year (12,000+ megawatts).  Read more

National columnist focuses on region’s Congressional race

Every voter in the 19th Congressional District should read George Will’s recent analysis of that Congressional campaign (www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-f-will-a-race-to-watch-in-the-hud...).  Read more

A call to reject ‘fast track’ and a new international trade agreement

President Obama is pressing for passage of a new trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPP). Leaked sections of the secret deal demonstrate it is light on environmental preservation and heavy on corporate protection.  Read more

Isn’t there a legal defense fund for that?

I can’t see why Town of Highland Supervisor Andy Boyar is bemoaning the cost of defending a gas drilling lawsuit.  Read more

Ongoing dialog with Senator Bonacic: an open letter

To Senator Bonacic:

Thank you for your response to my concerns re: the new group of addicted gamblers that will result from more gambling “opportunities” in Sullivan County.  Read more

An open letter: A new group of addicts for Sullivan County

Dear Senator Bonacic,

Thank you for the update, “What’s Next in Gaming?” and your invitation to comment. Sullivan County residents will soon have the “opportunity” to gamble at a resort destination casino.

Newly legalized gambling opportunities will create a small but significant percentage of residents who will become addicted, and this percentage will increase as new casinos advertise directly to Sullivan County residents. Advertising works!  Read more

Guns and God

Times have changed since I was a boy in the 1970s when people were protesting the “Startsky and Hutch” TV show for being too violent. “The Brady Bunch” and “Little House on the Prairie” were on TV, and Batman and Robin were clearly good guys. The Dark Knight and the Dukes of Hazzard were an anomaly, as “Duck Dynasty” is today. In schools, parents could come and go as they pleased because the doors were not locked; all a parent had to do was see the secretary in the office. Back then, only a few children in the whole school had a single, out-of-wedlock mom or divorced parents.  Read more

NSA spying

Edward Snowden is a whistleblower not a traitor, and Congress should reform the National Security Agency (NSA). In addition, Congress must pass bills like those proposed by Reps. Holt and Sensenbrenner to grant clemency for Edward Snowden so that he can return to the U.S. without threat of prosecution. Regardless of your political or social beliefs, it is rather evident that the NSA stepped outside the boundaries of what is clearly acceptable in terms of collecting intelligence data. That said, it is time to uphold the Fourth Amendment and also to grant clemency to Edward Snowden.  Read more

Arts groups enhance communities

Referring to the homeowners he has so far kept from voting, Gary Maas, Cochecton town supervisor, was quoted in a local newspaper article “Votes Don’t Count” as saying community members’ “ties to the community were pretty weak” as most of their involvement has been with “arts groups.” As a member of arts organizations, an active participant in arts activities in Sullivan County and a long time resident of the Town of Cochecton, having lived, worked, and been born of several generations of Sullivan County residents, I was saddened and very disappointed that our town supervisor maintains such a  Read more

The ‘dangers’ of junk food

In the U.S., there is a growing obesity problem due to the availability of junk food. Junk food is cheaper, faster and more heavily advertised than natural foods. This obesity problem cannot be blamed on human craving alone.  Read more

Are high school sports overregulated?

If you assumed that football is the most dangerous sport in high school, you’d be correct. However, you’d never guess that cheerleading is second.  Read more

Support for renewable energy from windmills

[Editor’s note: Any decision concerning approval or rejection of plans for a controversial windmill project in Catskill State Park has been postponed until the Town of Denning, NY receives recommendations from Ulster County and its planning board.]  Read more

The debate over the ‘right to vote’

As most readers probably know by now, there is a voting rights issue to be determined soon in the court concerning some part-time residents who chose to vote here in Cochecton during the last election. Since the Sullivan County Election Commissioners could not agree to deny these votes in question, the votes were deemed acceptable. However, a Republican committeeman has chosen to challenge the right of these peoples’ votes to be counted.  Read more

Crossbow hunting in New York State

I have written this letter about being in favor of legalized crossbow hunting in New York to Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, state Sen. Bonacic and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. I believe the legislation for crossbow use by all hunters was derailed because of the unconstitutional Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act. I would like to see crossbow use legal for every hunter preferably in rifle and muzzleloader season rather than archery season, however I am not against it being legal for all seasons as the bow is.  Read more

Heating with wood pellets

Imagine this: it will save you money (as much as half the price of heating oil); it is sustainable and carbon-neutral; it creates local jobs; and it could spur whole new industries for the region. Idle fields with poor soil could be put to productive use.  Read more

Saluting Climate Smart communities

Congratulations to the Cochecton Town Board for voting unanimously to adopt the Climate Smart Communities Pledge.  Read more

Warning about Lyme disease

I am writing to your readers regarding Lyme disease. Discovered in 1975, it has become prevalent in the northeast. In New York, Columbia and Greene counties have the highest rate per capita in the country. I am a transplant from Long Island where a lot of people I know have contracted Lyme disease and have been completely misdiagnosed by their doctors with a host of illnesses from psychiatric disorders to rheumatoid arthritis, with dozens of illnesses in between. (There are over 300 illnesses that mimic Lyme disease.)  Read more

A call for a plant-based diet

The enthusiasm over the opening of a new slaughterhouse in our area comes at a time when many are questioning the wisdom of consuming animals. To quote The River Reporter (October 17-25), “... no matter how much the community supported the idea of a slaughterhouse, almost no one wanted it to be built in their backyard.”  Read more

Neighbor cites concerns over proposed windmill

I am writing to voice my opposition to the 170-foot wind generator construction project proposition (SBL 58.2-4-23 on Eve Eden Road off Yeagerville Road, Town of Denning, Ulster County). I am a neighbor whose opinion was neither sought nor considered. The owner failed to inform me or publicize any aspect of these proceedings.  Read more

Wind turbine proposal stirs controversy

The Town of Denning Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is reviewing a proposal for the installation of a 170-foot wind turbine. Few residents were aware of the September 30th workshop (only four residents attended). At the public hearing on October 30, there were over 20 members in attendance, the majority of whom objected to the project on the grounds that adequate independent research has not been done into the possible impacts of the turbine. Unfortunately, the ZBA has scheduled a vote on the project despite the glaring lack of information.  Read more

Casino opponent regrets election vote

As an activist involved with No Saugerties Casino— one of the organizations working to defeat Ballot proposition One (the casino referendum)—I’ve learned two things from this experience. The first is that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will think it is true. Despite the facts, people chose to accept Albany’s word that it would be an economic development engine.  Read more

A post election word of thanks

Fellow Lackawaxen Township residents,

Yesterday (Election Day) was like no other day I’ve ever experienced. I spent it with my opponent Brian Stuart, his wife Sharon and their two wonderful children, Michaela and Andrew, at the polls.  Read more

Hunter and angler warns of threat from climate change

The recently released report by the worldwide Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. In short, it threatens our planet, our only home.”  Read more

Nearby homeowner calls Monticello Motor Club a ‘blight’

We are residents of Rose Valley Road near the village of Monticello. Although we work in New York City and come up throughout the year, it has been our plan to retire to our beautiful Monticello home. We vote in the county, pay taxes here and support county institutions. We look forward to weekends and vacations for peace and tranquility. Our 1850s farmhouse is on a large plot of land, and we love hiking in our forest. All this has changed with the arrival of the Monticello Motor Club.  Read more

A voice in favor of the Food Safety Modernization Act

In 2006, I almost died after eating spinach contaminated with E. coli. I spent nearly a month in and out of multiple emergency rooms and urgent care facilities. When I was able to return home, I had lost nearly 20 percent of my total body weight, and my recovery lasted five additional months of continuous treatment.  Read more

A veteran remembered

Every Veterans’ Day I pay tribute to my nephew Jacob, a son, a brother, a U.S. Marine and most of all an American hero. This Veterans’ Day I am deeply saddened in our nation and what is becoming of it. The American flag was a symbol of who we once were—a great nation.  Read more

One voter cronyism

In his 20 years as a Lehman township supervisor, Department of Environmental Protection records two violations of illegal burning: in October 2008 and a revisit in April, 2009 for failing to desist burning. Menditto is quoted saying, it was in an effort to save resident tax dollars, insisting all was clean burn material, though DEP documented, ‘all waste material.’ Nonetheless, the Township exercised its own jurisdiction by reporting a local resident for illegal burning when the smoke filled the Township office.  Read more

Menditto garners more support

With Election Day drawing near I would like to remind everyone to get out and vote for Paul Menditto for Magisterial District Judge. I have known Paul for many years, and I have always known him to be a kind, helpful and generous man. He is always working to help out and better our community. Always volunteering for various community functions, as well as encouraging others to follow suit. He is a family man with values and principles. Integrity is a sign of a true leader, just one more reason to vote for Paul Menditto in the upcoming election.

Dave Cavanaugh
Bushkill, PA

Voices of support for magistrate candidate

Paul Menditto has been in our township for multiple years and has supported our community and neighboring communities relentlessly. He has always been a helping hand when someone called for assistance, whether large or small. Paul has shown true resolve and unwavering character. Paul Menditto is a man of integrity and will be a judge for the people, who will be fair, honest and thorough to all concerned.

Please join me in supporting Paul Menditto for magistrate.

Cathleen M LaBosco
Bushkill, PA

Endorsement for Lehman Township (PA) Magistrate Judge

"That rare end product of what happens when Americans of all parties and places come together in common purpose to consider something more than the politics of the moment."—President Barack Obama

In this political climate an ideal such as this is a rarity, even nonexistent. However, this is exactly what I bore witness to with my own eyes on October 20 at the Paul Menditto Barbeque Fundraiser. Republicans, Democrats and Independents came together to support Menditto for Magisterial District Judge.  Read more

More support for Paul Menditto in Lehman Township (PA)

I have served with Paul Menditto as a Township Supervisor for the past 10 years and for several years before that on the Township Planning Commission. During this time, Paul has served with integrity and diligence always striving to do what is best for the people of Lehman Township.  Read more

Township supervisors lend candidate support

I have known Paul Menditto for over 20 years. During that time, I have found him to be a forthright and honest person who knows how to treat people with dignity and respect. He makes decisions after carefully examining all the facts and strives to make fair judgments.  Read more

Eldred voter favors casinos

One organization named “property tax relief, job creation, and more education funding” as reasons for passing Proposition 1. The case for four New York casinos, though, goes much deeper.

First, increased tax revenues, from income as well as corporate profits, would cover much more than education support or lowered property assessments.

Second, even one casino-hotel would greatly help Sullivan County tourism. Old resort areas need new reasons for people to come back. Gambling, government-allowed or not, has loomed large in Catskills history, and today’s players want it clean and legal.  Read more