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my view

The River Reporter may print submissions of up to 600 words as My Views on its editorial pages. They must be signed and include the correspondent’s phone number. My Views are printed on an as-space-permits basis only; we recommend that readers who want to be sure that their views are represented submit a 300-word letter. No more than one My View from any one author will be printed in any three-month period. The deadline is 1 p.m. on Monday.

Let’s hear it for Narrowsburg’s beauty queens (and kings)!

If you haven’t noticed, Narrowsburg gets prettier and prettier every year. That’s not by chance. There’s a lot of hard work and coordination behind this beauty secret.

Last week, judges from America in Bloom (www.americainbloom.org) visited Narrowsburg to decide how our little hamlet meets their mission to spotlight “communities across the country as welcoming and vibrant places to live, work, and play—benefiting from colorful plants and trees.” That certainly describes Narrowsburg today.

The town has a real chance to win national recognition.  Read more

Winning SEEDS Sustainability Contest essay

[SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support) recently held an essay scholarship competition for local students, on the theme, “If you were an environmental adviser to the President, what would you recommend to promote sustainable energy in rural communities in the U.S.? What can northeastern PA residents do now to live more sustainably?” Below are excerpts from the winning essay, which we run without copy editing.]  Read more

Growing Older Together: A community initiative

In 2012, 43.1 million people age 65 and over lived in the United States, accounting for 14% of the total population. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the population aged 85 years old and over could grow to 18.7 million by 2050.

That percentage is even higher in our region. According to the 2010 census, in Wayne County, PA, 20.1% of the population is 65 years of age or older, and in neighboring Sullivan County, NY, 16.2% are 65 and older.  Read more

To the person or persons who broke into a thrift shop

Sometime between Tuesday, June 14 at 5:15 p.m. and Wednesday, June 15 at 9:45 a.m., someone thought they needed to break into the Calling All Angels Thrift Shoppe in Milford, PA. This shop is operated by Calling All Angels Mission, a nonprofit staffed mostly by volunteers, and is in the business of helping those in our community in need.  Read more

Government failing on Millennium

Six months ago, Millennium Pipeline announced its plans to put a compressor station on a property they acquired from the Eldred Preserve. Citizens immediately and passionately spoke up and, shortly thereafter, the towns of Highland, Tusten, Bethel, Lumberland and Mamakating passed resolutions in opposition. This type of facility was already forbidden by local law. Should a private corporation be able to usurp our laws and force a toxin-emitting facility onto our community?  Read more

Sneaky business

I am writing about the state of the Sullivan County government. Eight years ago, and for a number of years afterward, I expressed my dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency and open government surrounding the jail project. At the time there was a lot of shiftiness with regards to the process. After I and others complained, which was reported in the newspapers, the government began giving better notice of meetings and improved in many respects.  Read more

Our fellow Americans

I was fortunate enough to attend a barbeque on Sunday, May 15 at Islamberg, a community just upriver from us near Hancock, NY. The barbeque was a wonderful event brought about by unfortunate circumstances. A group called ABUAJ (American Bikers United Against Jihad) planned a ride to protest against the Muslims living at Islamberg in the woods near Hancock.  Read more

Saving the world

It has been agreed by most all scientists (at least, those not in the pay of Exxon-Mobil or the Koch brothers) that human activity has heated planet Earth wantonly by increasing the greenhouse gases in its atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are the two worst culprits. They are produced principally by burning coal for electric power plants, drilling for gas and oil, and using gasoline and diesel fuel for cars, trucks, airplanes and ships. But not far behind on the short list of worst offenders are war and the military preparations for war.  Read more

A guideline for purchasing within Sullivan

I’m writing as a small business owner and taxpayer in Sullivan County, looking to convey an idea that might make a change in the way business is done by our school districts, government offices, or any organization supported by taxpayer dollars that occasionally buys goods and services from a variety of outside vendors.  Read more

Protesting high-stakes testing

Recently parents and teachers across New York State kicked off another year of protest against high-stakes testing.

I support them.  Read more

Who can best fill the ECSD board seat?

For the last couple of years, the Eldred Central School District (ECSD) has undergone some serious changes relative to the prosperous 2000s. Many decisions have been made recently by the ECSD Board of Education that have directly—and indirectly—led to problems such as rapidly declining enrollment, deficits, and the loss of student and faculty pride. With all of these issues, it is no surprise that many ambitious parents have stepped up to run for the board of education seat this upcoming May 17.  Read more

New Jersey says “Hell no” to the Upper Delaware

Releases of cold water from the three New York City dams on the headwaters of the Delaware virtually dictate the conditions of the ecology of the upper river. Over the past five years, a consortium of conservation organizations has repeatedly petitioned the parties to the 1954 Supreme Court decree (the Decree Parties), who govern river flows, to include in their Flexible Flow Management Plan (FFMP), two simple science-based modifications that would significantly enhance the aquatic environment at no risk to the other river stakeholders.  Read more

Make addiction recovery a priority in New York State

In early February I joined several hundred recovery advocates to meet with lawmakers in Albany. We told our stories of an addiction epidemic that is killing 362 people daily in our communities, stories of struggle, recurrence of the disease, lack of services, incarceration, and unspeakable loss. At the time I wrote about some of these stories on Medium (see http://bit.ly/1oyuNVu).  Read more

Let’s wean ourselves off the grid-iron

Now that even the National Football League’s spokesperson has publicly affirmed the link between the violence of football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)—a very serious brain injury—it is truly time for parents to reconsider allowing their children to play tackle football.  Read more

PA budget-process reform proposal

A serious, nasty, and debilitating budget deadlock that boils over into a second calendar year should be the catalyst for fundamental reforms of the state budget process. People argue about everything these days, but that assertion is hard to refute.

The entrenched political, philosophical, and regional differences found across Pennsylvania mean the state budget process is unlikely to ever be straightforward and harmonious. Throw in negative economic and fiscal factors and the odds are against a healthy budget surplus easing the discord soon.... *  Read more

Marino embraces Trump, embarrasses district

Calling it a “life-changing moment” akin to the adoption of his children, Congressman Tom Marino announced his endorsement of Donald Trump on Monday—one day after the presidential candidate refused to denounce the KKK during an interview on national television. It’s the latest embarrassing headline Marino brings back to his district.  Read more

The costs of neglecting voter fraud

Your January 27 editorial about voter fraud in Sullivan County, and especially in recent elections in Bloomingburg, is commendable. Voting is fundamental to our democracy. It is how we choose the people we trust to run our government and to make the often difficult decisions that are needed to navigate the challenges that our communities face. For this reason, it is crucial to our democracy that citizens not only have, but believe they have, fair and honest elections. Citizens who lose faith in the integrity of elections don’t vote.  Read more

Mammals threatened by climate change

Many Pennsylvanians remain blissfully unaware that every decade for the past 40 years has been warmer than the previous decade. And 2015 was the hottest year since recorded weather history began.

So it’s no coincidence that almost every day we witness vivid news reports about destructive and costly hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, forest fires and droughts here in the United States and around the globe.  Read more

Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do

The argument against raising the minimum wage (in a letter to the editor on page 6 of the January 28 River Reporter) is so fraught with false presumptions that it is hard to know where to start in refuting them. The writer, whom I venture to say has never had to support himself or find employment, brands all people working in low-wage jobs as generally uneducated and unskilled, and deserving no better than the low pay they get.  Read more

Cuomo’s distorted view of the dairy industry

“We began in 2011 with our partnership to stimulate dairy production through our Greek yogurt industry expansion and it has worked.... our dairy industry is booming because the yogurt companies are consuming all the milk we’re producing. It has been a great victory and an important lesson, and besides having some cows suffering sore udders, it has been a great, great success.”

So said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2016 State of the State address.  Read more

Be wary of solar farm leases

The solar revolution has arrived in Sullivan County in a blizzard of paper. In recent weeks thousands of Sullivan County landowners have received solicitations from a company called Cypress Creek, which is seeking to lease land for solar farms. Some landowners contacted the company and received boilerplate leases that offer $1,000 an acre a year for leased land. On the face of it, this might sound like a good deal—but in this instance, the devil is truly in the details.  Read more

A celebration of the life of Jack Yelle

On December 17, 2015, the community of Roscoe lost one of its most beloved friends: Jack Yelle.

Jack was a family man, a friend, watercolor artist, teacher, veteran, community volunteer, chess player, camper, nature enthusiast, fly fisherman, generous, a gentleman—and the list continues... well in one word, Jack was extraordinary. A man who went above and beyond, a man who would be the first to say thank you, give praise, compliment, ask about your loved ones, and the first to ask how he could help with anything going on in the community.  Read more

Why more people need to be involved with Eldred’s Board of Education

As an involved student and Eldred community member, I am interested in the impact of the community on the actions of our board of education. This interest has led me to do extensive research, using the meeting minutes for the last five years. The data suggest that when there is more community participation, a more democratic and efficient process takes place.  Read more

Equity first: transitioning to basic education funding fairness

As we finalize the Pennsylvania state budget agreement and allocate new money to education, we have a historic opportunity to fix a quarter-century disaster known as basic education funding. In June 2015, after meeting for a full year and receiving hundreds of hours of testimony and recommendations, the bi-partisan Basic Education Funding Commission unanimously approved a new basic education funding formula based on science.  Read more

Reforming judicial diversion programs

New York City Police Officer Randolph Holder was shot and killed in the line of duty on Tuesday, October 20. Officer Holder dedicated, and ultimately sacrificed, his life to protect and serve New Yorkers. He was given no breaks, no easy road to achieve such an honorable profession. Yet his alleged shooter, Tyrone Howard, a known, life-long criminal, was afforded every break and every alternative to incarceration that our state judicial system has to offer.  Read more

Another pipeline and compressor station

Buckingham Township citizens need to get more information about the proposed pipeline and compressor station in their backyard. At the August 14 public meeting, about 45 people, mostly local taxpayers, listened to a presentation by Linden Enterprises Services (LES) informing us of the proposed pipeline on the O&W Railroad bed, a local road owned by the township. The supervisors, acting “to provide income” to the community, agreed to the pipeline exploratory stage, which will then become the construction stage if LES finds the pipeline feasible on that route.  Read more

Why invite the John Birch Society?

I am shocked that a local “tea party” political organization, the Patriot Connectors, based in Wayne County but with a number of Pike County supporters, recently featured the long-time president of the John Birch Society as their honored guest and featured speaker.

For more than 50 years, the John Birch Society has promoted extremist conspiracy theories, opposed civil rights and promoted anti-communist paranoia (their national headquarters is in Wisconsin, close to where red-baiting demagogue Sen. Joseph McCarthy is buried).  Read more

National Geographic responds on geotourism

Thank you for writing about the new Delaware River-based Geotourism project. I am writing to correct errors in “National Geographic, Murdoch and the River” (September 16, 2015), and to share my perspective as someone committed to destination marketing that benefits residents and promotes stewardship of the places where we live and travel.

Since October 2011, I have served as chair of the National Geotourism Council’s board of directors. Since September 2008, I have served as coordinator for the Greater Yellowstone Geotourism Stewardship Council (www.yellowstonegeotourism.org).  Read more

Fracking moratorium and ban provide powerful protections and benefits

Thirty years ago, before I became the Delaware Riverkeeper, my mother bought 68 acres of beautiful forest in Columbia County, PA. For decades our family and friends enjoyed this haven of natural beauty and peace. But over the past eight years, this beautiful land has been increasingly intruded upon by the growing truck traffic associated with shale gas extraction, drilling and fracking. In time, the intrusion, the pollution, the noise and the heavy presence of industry became too much, and so Mum’s forest was entrusted to its original owner to protect, and we began seeking a replacement.  Read more

The eagles and the old tree on the Delaware

An eagle pair chose an old, dying tree to make their nest and have a family. It’s pretty tall, and without a speck of green—mostly bare of long or thick branches, too. Despite its older looks, this tree stands proud, independent, away from all others in the nearby forest. To me, it’s decidedly quite a reliable type, by the mere fact that one of the most magnificent raptors chose to nest and raise babies in its treetop for at least the past three years.  Read more

It’s my party

Our major parties are supposed to represent a broad cross section of the general public, but in Sullivan County at least one major party doesn’t work that way. The Sullivan County Democratic Committee operates according to rules and procedures that concentrate power in the hands of a few insiders and discourages pubic engagement.  Read more

Potential impacts of shale gas development on the Delaware River basin

[The below is a slightly condensed version of commentary given at a press conference on a new report by CNA, a non-profit research and analysis organization, about the potential impacts of shale gas development in the Delaware River Basin (https://www.cna.org/news/releases/future-fracking-drb).]

I am Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea, the Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering Emeritus at Cornell University, and a founding member of the board of PSE Healthy Energy, a not-for-profit science-based organization of physicians, scientists and engineers.  Read more

A neighbor’s thoughts on the Long Eddy access

[Editor’s note: Both this and the My View on page 6 appeared as an interchange on the Fremont Concerned Citizens email list.]

This is in response to a very thoughtful letter writen by Karen Gibbons.

Never has there been so much misinformation disseminated by the Sullivan County Planning department, given to various newspapers, and spread by word of mouth. I, Don Downs, live adjacent to the property in question. Some clarifications follow.  Read more

Some problems with the Long Eddy river access proposal

As two of the “several residents” in Long Eddy who are against improving the access (almost 200 people have signed the petition), we are moved to speak in order to clarify our point of view. We bought our Long Eddy home 30 years ago, lovingly renovated the property, and ran a B&B here for 18 years. We have strong opinions about the expanded river access proposal affecting the road leading to our home.  Read more

In praise of Clem Fullerton

Many of your readers, especially those who fish, will remember “The Complete Tangler,” a column that appeared in The River Reporter over a period of years, written by Clem Fullerton.  Read more

Winning a battle, not the war

The hopes and prayers of many New Yorkers were answered on Monday, June 29 when our state’s top environmental officer, Joseph Martens, issued a “Findings Statement” putting a fracking prohibition in place.  Read more

Let the fireworks return

Below is a copy of a letter written to Richard Lander by
Eileen Falk on behalf of the Tusten Local Development Corporation’s Fireworks Committee

Dear Mr. Lander,  Read more

More on the Cochecton question

I am writing this letter in response to your recent editorial, “The Cochecton voter question.”

I was surprised that a newspaper I long considered progressive would support restricting the right to vote. The right to vote, along with freedom of the press, is protected by the First Amendment. The New York State Appellate Court, in its wisdom, overturned the Sullivan County Supreme Court decision, which would have disenfranchised 16 Cochecton voters.  Read more

Responsible gaming

The sun is out and summer is almost here. Like most of you, we’ve done our spring cleaning and gotten our ducks in a row to make sure we can make the most of this action-packed season in the Sullivan County Catskills.  Read more

Upper Delaware River taking heat again

For the second time this season, warming temperatures are threatening the Upper Delaware River watershed. Very low river flows and high daytime and nighttime air temperatures will likely pose serious threats to the health of the world-class cold-water ecosystem that defines this region.  Read more