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.
[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
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
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
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
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
[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
[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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
We’re just emerging from the worst economic recession since the 1930s. Unemployment, “underwater mortgages” and property tax burdens took their toll on struggling homeowners throughout the nation. Sullivan County suffered more than most. Even today, years after hitting bottom, the New York State Labor Department finds 8.9% of Sullivan County’s workforce unemployed, a number higher than the state or national averages and much higher than the 6.5% rate reported just prior to the recession. Read more
I cannot help but feel that some of my colleagues have enjoyed talking the talk about economic development for the past two years, but have failed to walk the walk when it comes time to support initiatives that would truly benefit Sullivan County’s economy. Read more
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has opened a public comment period with the nation’s state agriculture departments to hear their suggestions for hardening the security of dairy farm milk houses and bulk milk tanks. Design of potential new security regulations comes in the final implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). Under the act, FDA alone is tasked with oversight of developing anti-terrorism security measures to be implemented on dairy farms. State recommendations to FDA are due by March 31, 2014 and will be published in the Federal Register. Read more
Art Peck was a unique individual. Much has been written about him since his death such a short time ago. Art left his mark on this community in many ways. He successfully expanded the market he bought on Main Street, Narrowsburg, NY to a new building on Kirk Road and later opened two more stores in nearby towns. He then found a way for Peck’s employees to own the business. Read more
This article is the continuation of “Why are property taxes so darned high?,” a multi-part series examining Sullivan County’s local property tax burden. Most recently, I wrote about two reasons for our high taxes: (1) a huge growth in the size and costs of local governments and (2) the rural nature of the county with its sparse population footing the bill for local services, especially road maintenance, which is very costly. Here are a number of other reasons for our high property taxes.
Reason #3: Lack of commercial tax base Read more
The first article in this series, published by The River Reporter on December 26, 2013 revealed that Sullivan County’s local property tax burden is among the highest in the nation, more than twice the national average. The second article, published in our January 30, 2014 issue, provided a general overview of the kinds of local government services that tax revenues pay for. This, the third in our series, explains why our local property taxes are so high today. Read more
Most of New York State’s drinking water comes from right here in the Catskills, and it is renowned for its taste and purity. Our water is simply amazing, and we need to protect it for all of us who live here, and the 19 million people in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania who rely on water from our Delaware and Catskill watersheds. Our Catskill water is so pure, it reaches the taps of New York City unfiltered. Sadly, for the most part, we take it for granted that its purity and supply is being protected with vigilance by governmental regulatory agencies. Read more
The first article in this series (published in the December 26, 2013 issue of The River Reporter) focused on the comparative cost burden of Sullivan County’s property taxes. It revealed a sobering fact: measured as a ratio of the incomes of the county’s residents, our property taxes rank among the very highest in the entire country. Indeed, our “property tax effort”—our ability to pay—places our taxes in the top 1% nationwide. Property taxes take almost 7% of the annual incomes of Sullivan County residents, while typical homeowners elsewhere in our nation pay less than half this much. Read more
Jennifer Young’s op-ed piece, “In defense of the slaughterhouse,” (The River Reporter, December 19-25, 2013) demonstrates in-depth awareness of the horrors of factory farming, yet characterizes meat consumption as okay as long as it’s “grass-fed.” She admits “it’s healthier to be a vegetarian,” but adds, “not because meat is bad for you.” Read more
Small towns are fragile, none more so than Milford, a town of a half-mile square that sits on the edge of the largest and most economically active metropolitan region in America. The fact that it exists, mostly intact, is a testament to its citizens and some luck. But it is facing a major change that could end up being the tipping point of protecting this national treasure. Read more
The fraudsters behind a pyramid scheme go to great lengths to make the program look like a legitimate multi-level marketing program. Pyramid schemes don’t work unless somebody loses. Those at the bottom of the pyramid are essentially defrauded by those on top.” (www.sec.gov/answers/pyramid.htm) Read more
The derailment of the Metro North 5:54 a.m. from Poughkeepsie was tragic indeed. Derailments are rare, but they do occur more often than we hear about. Most of the derailments happen at low speeds and rarely involve injuries. The 5:54 wasn’t so lucky. As it rounded the curve after the Spuyten Duyvil station, it derailed, left the tracks, and the head car barely missed landing in the Harlem River. The engine and all 10 train cars crashed that morning, most landing on their sides or seriously listing. Read more
Regarding the small privately owned wind turbine electric generator proposed to be placed above Yaegerville Road in the Town of Denning, it should be obvious to everyone that energy produced from clean accessible renewable sustainable “green” resources is better for everyone than to burn coal, or gas, or nuclear fuel in a thermal electric generation facility. We should encourage the use of wind energy. Each project though small, though tall, will be an incremental improvement for our environment. Read more
The same factors that contribute to urban homelessness, that is, a lack of affordable housing and insufficient income, also lead to rural homelessness. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness Geography of Homeless report, there are approximately 14 homeless people on average for every 10,000 people in rural areas. Perhaps the most distinguishing factor of rural homelessness is the access to services. Many rural homeless assistance services lack the infrastructure to provide care to their homeless population. Limited modes of transportation and the tendency for federal programs to focus on urban areas are contributing reasons for the lack of adequate services for the rural homeless. Rural areas also tend to have higher rates of poverty. Read more