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December 18, 2014
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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.

Tell Cuomo ‘no’ on fracking

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been straddling the fence on horizontal hydrofracking for natural gas (fracking) since he became governor in 2008. In 2011, he gave the anti-fracking contingent half a glass by saying that regulations should not be finalized until a health study was completed—leaving half the glass empty by nixing requests to have the study conducted independently, rather than controlled by the state.  Read more

Being a county legislator

Government for me is about listening to people, reviewing every concern, and doing my best to address the issues. It is about setting goals to research and understand the issues and not simply “rubberstamp” decisions. It is about bringing the issues out in public discussion, as I have come to realize that a government that operates quietly with little public input is likely not a good one. Most importantly, it is about doing what is best for the people of the county as a whole, and not special interest groups.  Read more

Put family farmers back into farm to school

Farm to school programs appeared in the ‘90s with a three-way focus: fresh, local foods in schools; agriculture and nutrition education in classrooms; and purchases that support local family farms. Years since have seen these programs grow to include 40,000 schools and 23 million students.  Read more

In memoriam: Richard Snyder, 1940-2014

MILFORD, PA — Dick Snyder, co-owner of the Hotel Fauchere and a man who made a multitude of contributions to the local community, died on November 14.  Read more

How we kept Thanksgiving at Oldtown

The pie is an English institution, which, planted on American soil, forthwith ran rampant and burst forth into an untold variety of genera and species. Not merely the old traditional mince pie, but a thousand strictly American seedlings from that main stock, evinced the power of American housewives to adapt old institutions to new uses.  Read more

In Memorium: Raymond Rocklin, August 18, 1922 – November 19, 2014

[Sculptor Raymond Rocklin, a resident of Beach Lake, PA, was a prominent artist in the Abstract Expressionist art movement that began in the United States in the late 1940s. His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, Temple Israel in St. Louis, MO, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, and in many private collections.

His wife of 64 years, Carol Rocklin, remembered him at a memorial gathering in Honesdale on Sunday, November 23.]  Read more

Thankgiving’s foundation

Thanksgiving started with the Pilgrims who were Christians who left Europe for the British Colonies to escape religious persecution. They arrived in 1621, but it was not until November 1, 1777 that a national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation was made. Our government’s goals were vastly different back then. Here is what is printed in the Journals of Congress from back then:  Read more

Domestic minor sex trafficking

When I first heard about domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST), my reaction was a strong impulse to turn away from this horrifying cruelty. Participating in a study group helped me process my emotional response. Now I understand that exposing the tragedy is the only way to eliminate it.  Read more

Why I ran for the NY Assembly as a minor party candidate

I ran for the Assembly in NY’s 98th district because voters deserved a choice and a chance to support the only candidate willing to oppose Kiryas Joel’s (KJ) plan to annex a large portion of the Town of Monroe. Evidently a lot of voters appreciated having a choice. Running on the United Monroe line, and buried in an obscure place on the ballot, I received nearly 30% of the Orange County vote in a three-way race. But for the block vote, I would have been the highest vote getter in Orange.  Read more

Recycle old fabric on America Recycles Day

As America Recycles Day nears on Saturday, November 15, national and state recycling leaders challenge New York State residents to keep 1.4 billion pounds of clothing and textiles out of the trash.  Read more

Sham reform on the ballot

The manner in which New York redraws legislative district lines to reflect new census data is in desperate need of reform. Under the present system, legislators are responsible for the task, and they use this power to serve their own interests, not those of the voters. Incumbents competing in the general election have a better than 90% chance of being returned to office—and if you factor out those who are removed from office because they are embroiled in ethics scandals or criminal investigations, then it’s 95% (tinyurl.com/7wnf4d2).  Read more

America: One nation under God

What does it mean to live as one nation under God? To me it means to live with laws that create justice for all. Despite the politics of including God in decision making, God’s values of love inspire and direct good laws and actions. If you look at successes in justice, you will find decisions formed from thoughtful, kind-hearted and fair action and law. When something is wrong in our system, God’s grace works to help us be an instrument of his peace. Recently I was a witness to this grace.  Read more

Got a farm bill? Thank Congressman Chris Gibson

Virtually every sector of New York’s economy benefits from the U.S. Farm Bill. The federal government’s agricultural and rural development programs are absolutely crucial to upstate New York and the country as a whole.

The Farm Bill sets federal policy; including conservation efforts, dairy and crop-insurance programs, medical research into Lyme disease, infrastructure development (most notably broadband programs), beginning farmer and specialty-crop programs, plus farm-to-market promotional and incentive programs.  Read more

Sullivan County’s positive social service reforms

A few years ago the Sullivan County Legislature embarked on efforts to reform the county Department of Family Services. It had become evident that Sullivan County had become a destination for Medicaid benefits. A culture had evolved where housing the poor had became a business, as thousands of Medicaid apartments and shelters became more than temporary placements of the poor and those in need.  Read more

Harms of gas compressor emissions

In August, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) published an Environmental Assessment (EA) about potential environmental effects of the natural gas East Side Expansion Project by Columbia Gas Transmission LLC, a subsidiary of NiSource, in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. This FERC EA concludes that the project would not significantly affect the quality of the human environment and recommends the commission find “no significant impact” and require certain mitigation measures.  Read more

Unforced Errors and Election Odds

Will the governor’s missteps create an opening for a progressive reformer?

Andrew Cuomo must feel like he’s been run over by a truck. A few months ago he seemed invincible. Heading into this fall’s election his campaign had more than $30 million on hand and there was no serious opposition in sight—Republican gubernatorial candidate, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, consistently trailed the governor by 30 points in the polls. A second term seemed assured.  Read more

Reply to unhappy Lackawaxen fishermen

[Editor’s note: On July 30, The River Reporter printed a letter from John and George Westenberger (www.riverreporter.com/letters-editor/4302/2014/07/30/why-stock-lackawaxe...), who criticized the lack of fishing opportunities on the Lackawaxen River this summer due to water releases from Lake Wallenpaupack to operate the PPL hydroelectric plant at Kimble, PA. The Westenbergers received a reply from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and this version of that reply was forwarded from the commission to The River Reporter.]

John and George Westenberger:  Read more

New invasive plant: Battling mile-a-minute vine

UPPER DELAWARE RIVER VALLEY — A new non-native plant species has arrived in the Upper Delaware River valley region—mile-a-minute vine (MAM). This plant is listed on the Pennsylvania Noxious Weed List because it can “directly or indirectly injure crops, other useful plants, livestock, poultry or other interests of agriculture, including irrigation, navigation, fish and wildlife resources, or the public health.” Early detection and rapid response is the best defense to the spread of this aggressive invader. Summer is the ideal time to enlist the aid of the public in documenting the location of MAM infestations as they enjoy the outdoors and recreate along the river.  Read more

NORSU responds to Dr. Nancy Hackett

NORSU response to comments made by Sullivan West School Superintendent, Dr. Nancy Hackett in the July 31, 2014 River Reporter:  Read more

The character of a river hamlet at stake

The Narrowsburg School is not in our backyards. Narrowsburg is in the school’s backyard. In a situation unique to Narrowsburg, the business that goes in the school building will have an undue influence on the nature of the hamlet. If a drug and alcohol rehab, then all of Narrowsburg will be a drug and alcohol rehab.

If a community center, than all of Narrowsburg will be a community center.

This is a simple truth and has nothing to do with emotion or picking sides or NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) or rehab laws or legality of school sale or anything else.  Read more

A cloud collector in The Weather Project

Ever since my husband and I moved into our farmhouse in Beach Lake, PA in 2006, I have dreamed of connecting to the community through my life experience in the arts as dancer, actor, writer. For The Weather Project, Tannis Kowalchuk, artist director of NACL, contacted me to create a cloud character with magical powers of destruction and creation, like the Furies in Greek mythology. My character’s name is Nimbula, a Cloud Collector, member of the Cloud Collectors’ Local 12743. My sister cloud is Queen Cumulus, played by Cass Collins.  Read more

Speaking up in Pike County

As a long term resident of Pike County, I’m sorry to say that I have been negligent in my duties. While enjoying all the privileges of living in this wonderful community, I left it to others to take responsibility for keeping the area pristine and attractive, as many others have done. Politics is an area I endeavored to stay as far away from as possible, feeling that my vote would absolve me of any further responsibility to the community.  Read more

An apology to Joan Buto

[Editor’s note: The following opinion, an apology to Joan Buto and family, refers to the Tusten Town Board meeting of July 9.]

The efforts to bring highly needed services to Sullivan County were not well received by a group of concerned citizens who claim to have the best interests of Narrowsburg as their agenda.  Read more

Clarification about the Narrowsburg School

We would like clarify apparent misunderstandings of, and rectify misstatements made by others regarding our offer to the Sullivan West School Board (SWSB) for the Narrowsburg School building and the nearby 14 acre parcel.  Read more

The long-ago death of a Vietnam soldier recounted

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Readers may recall a feature article in The River Reporter (November 6, 2013) about native son Dennis Baker’s book, “Restless Hearts: What if Fallen Heroes Could Go Home? a fictional account using the real names of local soldiers who fought in and did not return from the Vietnam War. Recently, we heard from Baker, who recounted this incident that is helping bring closure to one soldier’s family.]  Read more

Why the Buto offer is not higher

I feel compelled to bring a major flaw in the thinking of the Sullivan West School Board (SWSB) to your attention and hopefully to the attention of your readers.  Read more

Black bear controversy in the Catskills

The population of black bears in the Catskills is steadily rising. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) 2013 black bear harvest summary, 636 bears were taken in the southeastern zone of the state. This number is up from the 2012 hunting season, which had a take of 442 bears, and is also higher than the previous five-year average of 521 bears taken per season.  Read more

Changes rehab addresses local concerns

First, Changes [Treatment and Recovery, Inc.] would like to thank the Sullivan West Central School Board for all of their hard work and time spent. It was no easy task, knowing how people felt, to make this decision. Secondly, we would like to clear up some of the confusion and misconception that we have been reading about:  Read more

Competitors for the Narrowsburg School speak

NARROWSBURG, NY — This week The River Reporter received press releases from both parties that have placed bids to purchase the old Narrowsburg Central School from the Sullivan West School District. We print these statements here for your perusal.

Press Release from Changes Treatment and Recovery, Inc. (6/16/14)  Read more

A right to peace and quiet

Those of us who live along the Delaware River near the Lander’s Skinners Falls Campground can certainly empathize with the residents of Bethel and the “Backlash over Mysteryland ‘Noise’” described in The River Reporter’s last issue (June 5-11). For years we have suffered music blaring till early morning hours without any noticeable control. As mentioned by Randy Weinstein, the bass from these events can be deafening. Many times one cannot have dinner outdoors or leave windows open on cool summer nights because of the booming bass and illegal fireworks echoing through the river valley.  Read more

A tribute to my mother

Be born at the end of May in 1961. Grow up in a Polish and Irish Catholic household in Queens. Lose yourself in the strident world of ballet. Wake up at 5 a.m. every morning to practice. Get called a “bun head” at school, and be the tallest girl in your grade. Don’t let it bother you, because you like being a tall bun head. Move to Long Island in high school, lose yourself in the transformative world of acting.  Read more

Drug court success, one case at a time

[The following is an open letter to the Sullivan County Drug Court written by Bazely B., a participant in the court’s assistance and oversight program.]  Read more

Obamacare’s bright promise

April 1, 2014 will forever be a bright spot in American history, as President Obama announced from the White House Rose Garden that more than seven million Americans secured health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. For these deserving Americans, having quality, affordable health insurance was no April Fool’s joke. It was a dream that finally came true.  Read more

Another idea for locating the food hub

In Sullivan County, where agriculture is considered one of our primary economies, why not teach it here?  Read more

Will the governor’s property tax reform really work?

Our new New York State (NYS) budget includes an interesting section that Gov. Cuomo believes will lessen our local property tax burden. It builds upon the 2% property tax cap enacted back in 2011 that requires local governments to cap annual tax rate increases at 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever was less. It further stipulated that any proposed taxation above the cap needed a 60% supermajority approval by voters. Now, the 2015 state budget calls for a two-year freeze of residential property taxes for homeowners in jurisdictions that keep their tax increase under the 2% tax cap.  Read more

Would an Orange County casino mean none for Sullivan County?

The time is nearing for developers to submit their applications to build casinos in New York State.

The decision will impact upstate economic development like none other, particularly Sullivan County.

Allowing one, better yet, two casinos in our area will have the potential to revitalize the Catskills, which has experienced years of economic decline.  Read more

The face of addiction in Sullivan County

A few years ago my friend told me that we had friends who were addicted to heroin. I scoffed and said, “Well, I don’t know any.” Little did I know that a few years later I would know all too well.  Read more

Summing up the Bloomingburg election

When the dust cleared on the last day of the Bloomingburg voter registration trial a number of issues were made clear. One very important concern was left unclear.  Read more

‘Sparring’ over the site for a food hub

After reading [last week’s] article in the Times-Herald Record, headlined “Sullivan spars over food hub; most legislators oppose $110k deal,” I can only shake my head. The property they are “sparring” over is an approved lot in an industrial park that I own and developed at a cost of close to one million dollars. The property proposed by Legislator Alan Sorensen is a vacant lot across the street from mine, which is zoned for residential use and has no approvals for any development whatsoever.  Read more