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May 04, 2016
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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.

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

Modern Minutemen

I have always had a deep sense of appreciation and respect for the members of the volunteer fire service. This has caused me to reflect on the recent devastating brush fire that occurred on the Shawangunk Ridge in Summitville, NY. Several hundred men and women went into the woods and put themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of people whom in many cases they didn’t even know. In the end, there were no deaths, no homes lost and no serious injuries. An amazing feat given the odds they were up against. They are true heroes.  Read more

A winning approach to the drug problem

Pike County’s drug problem has gotten worse over the last 10 years. Heroin and Oxycontin, as well as other powerful pain pills, are readily available, in addition to other illegal drugs. Unfortunately, this problem has not been properly addressed by community leaders. That is one reason why I am supporting Steve Guccini and Dave Ruby for Pike County commissioners in the Democratic primary on May 19.  Read more

Support EPA’s Clean Water Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are close to finalizing a rule clarifying longstanding Clean Water Act protections for many streams, wetlands and other waterways important to fish and wildlife, our communities and our economy.  Read more

Textiles: another recyclable

We congratulate the millions of people who recognize Earth Day and thank the legions of people who work in environmental professions. We have made remarkable progress in the 45 years since the first Earth Day in protecting our environment and conserving natural resources.  Read more

Climate change is no longer in dispute. Now what?

Earth Day often brings warnings of a dark and uncertain future.

Looming most darkly is global warming, as temperatures increase and extreme weather abounds. In our area, climate change brings increased flooding, record-breaking cold temperatures and devastating storms. Vector-borne diseases like Lyme are on the rise and food prices are vulnerable to far-away droughts. Onerous infrastructure repair and reinforcement are becoming commonplace.  Read more

Route 97 state of disrepair

Like many of those who live in our community, we spend much time and money commuting great distances to either work, doctor appointments or shopping for basic necessities. We have come to accept certain tradeoffs living in such a rural area. We rely upon personal transportation to get us to those destinations. We pay our taxes to local, county and state governments, with the expectation that services for health, safety and protection will be provided. It is with those expectations and the lack of government attention to follow through that we write this opinion piece.  Read more

From Agent Orange to a new herbicide cocktail for America’s food crops

The January 1 River Reporter editorial referred to the use of Agent Orange, a defoliant used by the U.S. military in the Vietnam War. The editorial describes how warnings from experts about its long-lasting effects on humans and the environment were ignored. “But now… the evils of Agent Orange are well known, the victims of exposure are being compensated by the U.S. government, and so are some of their children, who have suffered birth defects because of their parents’ exposure.”

Have we learned nothing about the risks and dangers of widespread use of such chemicals? Apparently not.  Read more

Adelaar: seize the opportunity; Resort can lead the way on sustainability

With the groundbreaking for the new Adelaar casino only months away, and the developers’ promise at the Sullivan Renaissance Fair to be very transparent and collaborative, Adelaar has done nothing, said nothing, and explored no options to guarantee that the new casino will be developed in a way that demonstrates the economic, environmental and social power of sustainable building and energy use.  Read more

A war we can’t afford to lose

I am the constable of Mount Pleasant Township in Northern Wayne County, and have been a professional EMS provider for over 38 years, including work in New York City.

At one time I was an instructor for programs geared to allow EMTs, police and firemen the ability to administer drugs to emergency patients with certain illnesses. Pilot programs were done to see if we could render treatment prior to the arrival of paramedics. After successful clinical trials, this is now done all over the country. Thousands of lives have been saved because of early intervention.  Read more