News Archive 2007




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News Archive - 2003


News Archive - 2004


News Archive - 2005




    News Archive 2007






Town Board Makes Appointments (12/24/07)


Three Local Farms Gain Protection (12/24/07)


State Archaeologist to speak on Town of Rochester’s Archaeological Heritage (12/24/07)


Hole Appears in Safety Net (12/24/07)


Community Comes to Caregiver’s Aid (12/24/07)


Man arrested for growing pot, police say (12/24/07)


Rochester woman a victim of identity theft (12/24/07)


Thieves take Woman’s Walk.  (12/24/07)


Where the Music Surrounds Him (12/24/07)





Rochester Democrats Chili Dinner


Election Day, November 6


Special Voting Hours at Board of Election


Local Accord Artists to Exhibit in Manhattan


Stone Window Gallery Exhibit


Inaugural Churches of the Valley Music Festival


Preserving Your Land: An Ulster County Conference on Land Protection
High Falls Resident Killed in Auto Accident


Town Awarded Historic Preservation Grant


Local Filmaker’s Production


Rochester supervisor faces election challenge


Rochester candidates square off for seats on Town Board, bench







Democratic Nominees for Town Offices (10/3/07)


Republican Nominees for Town Offices (10/3/07)




Town Board to Hold Public Hearing (10/3/07)


Fire District to Hold Budget Hearing (10/3/07)


Democrats to Hold Harvest Festival on October 13 (10/3/07)




The Small Farm and Rural Living Expo comes to New Paltz (10/3/07)
A century of caring (10/3/07)


1 up, 1 down in Rondout (10/3/07)


Luxury no more- Daily Freeman Editorial (10/3/07)


With an Upscale Spa, a Clash of Meanings for the Word 'Green' (10/3/07)


Remember That Other Casino? (10/3/07)


Scaled-down plan calls for 999 Sullivan homes (10/3/07)


Zoning Questions Answered (10/3/07)


Letters (10/3/07)



New Blog Established for Town of Rochester Community (9/13/07)


Friends of Historic Rochester Annual Meeting (9/13/07)


Balloon Test This Weekend for Cellular Service Towers (9/13/07)


Reflective House Address Markers (9/13/07)


Message from Friends of Historic Rochester: Heritage Day 2007 (9/13/07)


Saunderskill Farms (9/13/07)


Rondout Central School District Capital Expenditures Vote – October 2, 2007 (9/13/07)


Rochester Residents Association Community Scholarship Recipients Announced (9/13/07)


Blaze destroys Accord home (9/13/07)


Skate Time 209 Owners win National Award (9/13/07)


22 boys found safe in Minnewaska State Park (9/13/07)


Upcoming Political Events (9/13/07)



Community Scholarship Program (7/29/07)


Reflective House Address Markers (7/29/07)


Twilight Concerts in the Park (7/29/07)


Flea Market Featured a Saunderskill Farms (7/29/07)


Swimming hole dispute deepens (7/29/07)
Wawarsing Town Board clears way for condo project (7/29/07)


Stone Ridge Orchard Development Plans (7/29/07)


Gnome Chompsky at Kelder’s Farm Inducted into Guinnes Book for World Records (7/29/07)


Heart attack killed swimmer at Mohonk (7/29/07)


Ellenville Featured in New York Times (7/29/07)


Help Wanted (7/29/07)



Community Scholarship Program (7/4/07)
Information Meetings on Draft Zoning Code Revisions (7/4/07)


Special Advance Screening of Racing Daylight (7/4/07)

Stone Window Gallery features Arlene Cohen (7/4/07)
Accord Resident Rob Norris and Bongos release CD (7/4/07)
Milford Ebert Passes (7/4/07)

Rochester Environmental Conservation Commission Seeks New Members (7/4/07)
Rochester Crash Injures 2


Route 209 crash sends Kerhonkson woman to hospital, Cottekill woman to jail (7/4/07)


Planning Board Chastised for Ignoring Law (7/4/07)


Big Plans for Hudson Valley Resort (7/4/07)


Drug sweep nets 17 suspects; two appeared in video with assault rifle  (7/4/07)


Amended casino restriction exempts Wawarsing  (7/4/07)


Schumer makes pitch for casino (7/4/07)


Letters to the Editor (7/4/07)



First Sunday Songwriters Circle with Peggy Atwood, Elise Pittelman, Mark Brown (6/1/07)


Skate-A-Thon for Neighbors in Need at Skate Time 209
Rochester Reformed Church to hold Annual Beef and Berry Dinner


Annual Mohonk Garden Walk and Luncheon June 28 (6/1/07)


Firefighters OK after stairway collapse; family homeless (6/1/07)


Rochester sets June 7 hearing on proposed cell tower leases (6/1/07)


Rondout Valley budget, at $56.79 million, would raise tax levy 3.67% (6/1/07)


Couple seriously injured in Route 209 crash (6/1/07)


Police: Man shot cat with arrow (6/1/07)


Rekindling a lost art // Ulster County blacksmith explains his fiery passion (6/1/07)
For or against casinos, communities want a say (6/1/07)



School District Election and Budget Vote (5/7/08)


Tax Reassessment and Grievance Day (5/7/08)


Annual History Day – Saturday, May 12 (5/7/08)

Firefighters OK after stairway collapse; family homeless (5/7/08)

Group Hopes to Bring $10 million Indoor Pool Facility to Town (5/7/08)


PTA treasurer charged with stealing $19,000 from group (5/7/08)


Rochester officials consider need to remove fuel tanks (5/7/08)


Rochester considers 30-year cell tower lease (5/7/08)


Change in zoning law clears path for senior housing project in Kerhonkson (Wawarsing) (5/7/08)
Minnewaska State Park Featured in New York Times


Letters to the Editor (5/7/08)



Public Informational Meetings on Revisions to Town Subdivision Law (4/7/07)


Earth Day Clean Up (4/7/07)




Mohonk Preserve gives gift to local residents (4/7/07)


April 2007 Town Board Meeting Highlights (4/7/07)


Garden Day 2007 Teaches Gardeners to be Fearless (4/7/07)


Golfer Vijay Singh to Invest in Hudson Valley Resort? (4/7/07)


Kingston men arrested in Rochester home invasion (4/7/07)
Supervisor Duke’s State of the Town Report for the Year ended December 31, 2006.   (4/7/07)


Public Notice (4/7/07)


Upcoming Events (3/11/07)


Ellenville plant closing will eliminate 262 jobs (3/11/07)
Crash claims life of New Paltz man, 39 (3/11/07)


Two Accord residents charged with endangering child (3/11/07)


Car flips, Cragsmoor teenage driver half-ejected (3/11/07)


Letters to the Editor (3/11/07)




Kimberly Smithmeyer and Country Kids Daycare Featured in Blue Stone Press (2/18/07)


Upcoming Events at Little Ones’ Learning Center (2/18/07)


Disaster Readiness Seminar (2/18/07)


Man Leaves Dog Tied up During Storm (2/18/07)


Residents of mobile home park raise stink over sewage problem (2/18/07)


Farmland, ho! Buyers are attracted to protected open spaces (2/18/07)


Ruth Green West (2/18/07)


Letters (2/18/07)


Help Wanted (2/18/07)


Kerhonkson Resident Kali Z. Fasteau to Perform at Cafe Chronogram (2/3/07)


Upcoming Events Hosted by Rochester Democrats (2/3/07)


Photographic Exhibition – Democratic Republic of the Congo (2/3/07)


Accord Artist Sara Harris exhibits at Stone Window Gallery (2/3/07)


A Community’s Kindness (2/3/07)


Town Board Meeting Dissolves in Shouting Match (2/3/07)


Could This be the Same Town? (2/3/07)


Statement by Town Board (2/3/07)


Man Charged with Possession of Pot, Gun (2/3/07)


Diana’s Cats Featured in The Ulster County Press (2/3/07)


Patty’s Angel’s Abuse Case is Appealed (2/3/07)





Upcoming Events hosted by Rochester Democrats (1/14/07)


Town Board Seeks Youth Commission Candidates (1/14/07)


Rochester Veterans Memorial and Database (1/14/07)


Note from the Assessor regarding Star Exemptions (1/14/07)


Kerhonkson Farm Family cited in Spitzer Inauguration Speech  (1/14/07)


3 Arrested in Connection with Robbery (1/14/07)


Three local school districts must improve, state says (1/14/07)




Town Board makes Appointments


Town Councilman Alex Miller resigned from the Town Board on December 10, 2007.  The Town Board voted to appoint Accord resident Lynn Archer to fill the vacant position until a special election in November 2008.  Archer, the owner of Archer Fine Art and Framing in High Falls, is a former human resources executive and is active in many local arts and business organizations.  

 As Archer was a member of the Town’s Board of Assessment Review and prohibited from serving on both boards, Archer resigned from the Board of Assessment Review and was replaced on that board by Martha Tardibuono, a long time High Falls resident. 

At an earlier meeting, the Town Board appointed Robert Rominger and Don Dunn to the Town’s Planning Board to replace Steve Fornal and Robert Godwin as full member and alternate member, respectively.  Both Fornal and Godwin resigned.

Paul Shaheen, Esq. was appointed to the Town’s Ethics Board to replace Alan Bendelius.  Steven Rice was named to the Environmental Conservation Commission to replace Chris Hewitt.  Both Bendelius and Hewitt also resigned.



Three local farms gain protection

NEW YORK - The Open Space Institute has announced the expansion of its agricultural protection efforts, encompassing two farms in Ulster County and one in Orange County, as a result of new funding from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The state will provide 75 percent of the cost of conservation easements.

The funding comes from purchase of development rights grants. The institute will fund the remainder of the cost in conjunction with local partners.

Receiving easement funding are:

* Arrowhead Farm, Wawarsing and Rochester, Ulster County: After nearly 90 years as a commercial dairy, the 293-acre, third-generation family farm is being transformed into a diversified agricultural business that will include growing grains with a no-till method, raising goats for meat and chickens for eggs. Owners Peter and Philip Davis plan to build 10 to 15 small log cabins so visitors can experience a working farm. The cabins are being carefully placed in the woodlands, avoiding harm to soils and viewsheds from the Shawangunk Ridge. The
State awarded this project $1,070,175.  Total project costs will be $1,426,900.  The Town of Rochester sponsored the application in conjunction with the Ulster County Planning Department.

* Domino Farm, Rochester, Ulster County: The 127-acre farm owned by Eleanor and Margaret Anne DeWitt in Accord has been farmed continuously since 1955. The DeWitt family has a registered dairy herd that has a first-place ranking in New York for Jersey herds of its size in both protein and milk production in 2006. In addition to the dairy operation, the farm cultivates hundreds of acres of corn, alfalfa and grass. More than half of the property contains soils of statewide significance.   The farm has received New York’s “Super Milk” award for five consecutive years. This project was awarded  $693,900.  The Town of Rochester sponsored the Domino Farm application in conjunction with the Ulster County Planning Department.

Glen Haven Farm/ Greenwich Orchids International Inc., Crawford, Orange County: The 113-acre farm owned by Ted and Wendy Siegel sits atop an aquifer that is the main source of water for the town of Crawford, and the Siegels run their operation naturally, without the use of chemicals. The land also contains wetlands and prime soils and is in the viewshed of the Shawangunk Scenic Byway, the Mohonk Preserve and the Shawangunk and Schunnemunk mountains. This farm borders the DeVries Farm and is proximate to the Vellenga Farm, both protected by the Open Space Institute. This brings the total PDR/OSI-protected farmland in the town of Crawford to 356 acres.  (Freeman 10/23/07)



State Archaeologist to speak on Town of Rochester’s Archaeological Heritage on 

January 21, 2008 at Museum in Accord


·         Is it true that the Town of Rochester has the most extensive archaeological resources in Ulster County?

·         What do these archaeological treasures consist of?

·         How does the presence of these archaeological sites affect land use and development?

Douglas Mackey, the Field Representative for Archaeology at the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) will answer these questions in a special presentation sponsored by the Town of Rochester Historic Preservation Commission. The talk will take place on Monday, January 21 at 6:00 p.m. at the Museum of the Friends of Historic Rochester, which is a co-sponsor, along with the Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy. The Museum is located at 12 Main Street, Accord.

Douglas Mackey has been working as an archaeologist for more than 25 years. He has been at the State Historic Preservation Office for ten years. Prior to that, he was an archaeologist for the SUNY Albany Highway Survey Program and at two private firms. Mackey teaches Native American Studies, Archaeology and Anthropology at Marist College and SUNY New Paltz. He is member of the Albany Historic Resource Commission and Vice President of the New York Archaeological Council.


Hole Appears in Safety Net


ACCORD - Faced with Leda Walsh's medical situation, most patients doubtless would have a lengthy list of needs.

Walsh, however, has only one simple request, making it all the more frustrating that no solutions seem to be near.

Undergoing intense chemotherapy for breast cancer, Walsh is preoccupied with the well-being of her four grandchildren, ages 2-6, of whom she has custody.

Walsh, 56, has had custody of the children for nearly two years, and helped them to overcome traumatic times in their past. But now, the disease and debilitating side effects of her treatment drain Walsh and make daily physical activities difficult.

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When Patricia Thayer, who knew Walsh as an outstanding home health aide before she became ill, asked if she needed anything, Walsh replied that she was fine, but "could use some help in the mornings getting the kids out the door." If she could just get help for an hour or two on school day mornings to prepare the children for school, she'd be able handle her other issues.

Unfortunately, her need doesn't fit the parameters of the various social service providers and charitable organizations that Walsh and other friends have contacted.

Several representatives of agencies explained that, although sympathetic, their agencies have strict parameters for the types of services they could provide, and neither serving as a liaison for Walsh nor providing extra family support is included in their directives. There were a flurry of referrals, but none could handle the request head-on.

Walsh's dilemma illustrates how even a web of overlapping government and nonprofit service agency safety nets can have holes.

Thayer, a licensed practical nurse, said Walsh was the type of health aide who "always went above and beyond what was required" for her patients."

Thayer hoped that a newspaper might be able to mention Walsh's plight and request, but a modern problem arose. In 2007, even clergy responding to such a call would need to be screened. Some organization would need to handle calls and check references, or provide the service themselves, before Walsh could get the simple relief set up.

Several social service providers and charitable organizations were contacted. Virtually all offered assistance and encouragement in various modes, and Walsh has benefited in several ways from these same agencies in the past, from rent support to a mini-grant that enables her to have occasional housecleaning assistance.

But no agency was able to either provide the specific child-care support Walsh seeks or screening of private individuals who might be willing to help.

Calls were made to various agencies in Ulster County. Christmas gifts, counseling and transportation to and from medical offices were offered, but none had any mechanism for this simple, yet out-of-the-ordinary request.

Walsh has even contacted offices of various politicians seeking information or support, but now her illness has so drained her with nausea and fatigue that there are days when she doesn't have the strength even to answer her telephone once the kids are off to school.

A hint of frustration creeps into her usually cheery voice when she recounts her searches for help. "They all say they can help the patient only," said Walsh, "but I can take care of myself all right. You can't offer to help only a husband and not the wife, or help just the cancer victim but not the children living with them."

In their small, well-kept home down a pothole-filled road in Accord, the children are neat and well-groomed, but active and needy as one would expect four youngsters to be. Dyani, 6, Andrew, 4, Joleda, 3, and Dennis Jr., 2, make "four full-time jobs," says Walsh, grinning broadly with pride and pleasure at their antics.

The affable Walsh said the children went through some very tough days before she gained full custody of them, and thus she's even more determined to keep them together and happy, despite her current physical weakness.  (Freeman 12/11/07)

"Any help at all would be a blessing," she said.


Community Comes to Caregiver’s Aid


Patricia Thayer says the holiday lights aren't as prevalent in her neighborhood this year as in the past, but Thayer herself has helped brighten the lives of at least two local families this winter.

Thayer, a licensed practical nurse with the Institute of Family Health in Kingston, brought to the Freeman's attention last week the plight of Leda Walsh, a 56-year-old cancer victim raising four grandchildren in Accord. The support offered from the community following the Dec. 11 story has overwhelmed both Thayer and Walsh, both of whom expressed wonderment at the community's willingness to step up with various donations.

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"It's been wild," Thayer said. "I've heard from old friends and people I haven't seen in 10 years, all saying to just let them know what they could do to help."

Walsh is undergoing intense chemotherapy. The treatments have cost her hair and her strength but not her determination to be a solid and supportive caretaker for her grandchildren, of whom she has custody.

The former home health aide, who always impressed Thayer with her willingness to do extra work for her patients, was in need of a reciprocation of such efforts, and people in the area responded.

Cash donations have exceeded $1,000, and dozens of people have offered to give their time to help Walsh. A group of educators at New Paltz High School, for example, pledged to fund a worker to come in each weekday morning to help get the children dressed and out the door, giving Walsh time to rest from her debilitating treatments.

The donations have been coordinated, in part, by the Rochester Residents Association, which agreed to serve as a central repository. The roughly 400-member association, led by Zali Win of Accord, presented Walsh earlier this week with a check enabling her to get much of the help she needs and even allow her grandchildren to buy some Christmas presents for their family members.

Volunteers from Saugerties to New Paltz came forward. "So many want to help, we're finding other ways they can pitch in," Walsh said. She was especially touched by one young volunteer who stayed on to chat after the children left, and who mentioned that her own mother had recently died after a battle with cancer.

"It was also just great to be able to sit down and have a cup of coffee with an adult," said the ebullient Walsh.

Thayer's plea even carried over to a second family in need. Thayer was contacted by a friend who knew a family in which the father had recently lost his job and the grandmother needed surgery, making their Christmas prospects appear dark.

The 15-year-old daughter of the family wanted simply to ensure that her younger siblings still received some Christmas presents.

Lincare, a national medical equipment supplier, stepped up. The local branch heard of the teen's request and is giving the family a Christmas tree and "adopting" them for the holiday season.

Thayer lamented the fact that many social service agencies have strict limits to what aid they can offer people like Leda Walsh. "Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could find someone to organize this kind of great volunteer support for others in need?" she asked.

The Rochester Residents Association can be reached at (845) 626-3587 or via e-mail at

To make a contribution, send checks payable to "Rochester Residents Association," Attn: Leda Walsh, P.O. Box 257, Accord, N.Y. 12404. The Rochester Residents Association is a tax-exempt charitable organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.  (Freeman 12/21/07)


Man arrested for growing pot, police say


ELLENVILLE - A Town of Rochester man was taken into custody Thursday after a report of a fire at his home led police to find two marijuana grow rooms inside the house, state police at Ellenville said.

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Police said the Ulster County Sheriff's Office and Ellenville state police responded to 4775 U.S. Route 209 in the Town of Rochester at about 2:45 p.m. to assist the fire department with a reported chimney fire. Fire officials were unable to locate any fire after checking the chimney and the furnace of the home, police said. The occupant of the house, Ernie V. Ferreira, 23, of Allentown, Pa., was present while fire officials continued to search the interior walls of the home, police said.

Police said fire personnel opened a door to a small bedroom and found what appeared to be a fully operating marijuana grow room, along with more plants growing in an adjacent room. The Ellenville state police Bureau of Criminal Investigations unit responded and were notified of the findings made by fire officials, police said.

Ferreira would not consent to a search of his residence, and a search warrant was obtained from Town of Marbletown Justice Davenport and carried out at the residence at 5:35 p.m., police said. The search yielded a Charter Arms 38-caliber revolver as well as about 28 marijuana plants, police said.

Ferreira was charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of marijuana and misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon. He was arraigned in Village of Ellenville Court and remanded to



Rochester woman a victim of identity theft

Rochester - A local woman will spend a good part of the holiday season canceling orders and returning purchases made by identity thieves using her credit card.
Ruth Ellen Quinn-Janney, 42, of Kerhonkson, and James Quinn Jr., 58, of Bushnell, Fla., are accused of gaining access to the bank account and credit card information of an acquaintance, a 63-year-old Town of Rochester woman. They bought goods, including a pickup truck, and took cash advances worth more than $15,000 over a period of a month, police said.
Police said the victim was fortunate to have reviewed her credit card statement before the suspects left town. Quinn-Janney was charged Monday with third-degree grand larceny and forgery, felonies. Quinn was charged with criminal possession of stolen property, a felony. Quinn-Janney and Quinn were arraigned and sent to Ulster County Jail, where they were being held in lieu of $10,000 bail. (TH-Record 12/5/07)






Thieves take Woman’s Walk. 


A section of the rear walkway at Kathy Schulz’s house on Old Kings Highway in the town of Marbletown was taken last week, she said

MARBLETOWN - Where bluestone once led to Kathy Schulz's doorway there's a series of empty spaces.

And the 46-year-old resident of Old Kings Highway in the Rest Plaus Historic District remains nearly in a state of shock over the theft of a section of her bluestone walkway.

"It was just a terrible, low, slimy thing to do," said Schulz, who has lived in the home for nine years.

Schulz, who reported the theft to state police, said Monday that sometime between Wednesday at 3 p.m. and Friday night one or more thieves made off with 17 pieces of bluestone, each weighing about 150 pounds, that had made up a rear walkway. She said about half the walkway was lifted.

She said her home can be seen from Old Kings Highway. Whoever pilfered the bluestone must have used a rather large truck and somebody - a passerby or passing motorist - must have seen something, she said.

Some pieces, she said, were left, but she guessed that between $4,000 and $5,000 worth of the stone was ripped from her landscape. Schulz discovered the missing bluestone on Saturday morning when she went outside.

"They just carted them off," said Schulz, who added that an "unsuspecting" homeowner may wind up with installation of a stolen bluestone walkway.

Further, Schulz said, bluestone is part of the local lore, "part of the community.

"To steal it is disgusting," Schulz said.

Schulz said that she is offering a reward for the return of the walkway or for information leading to arrests. She wouldn't say how much, only that it would "definitely be money."


Update:  The perpetrators were caught and the walk was recovered by police.




Where the Music Surrounds Him


Published: November 23, 2007, New York Times

IT had been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the trombonist Roswell Rudd: a performance in Berlin, a recording session in Brussels and, just hours after he got off the plane in New York, a master class and concert in western Massachusetts. At the end of it all last month, he retreated to his second home in Kerhonkson, N.Y., at the southern edge of the Catskills.


INSPIRATION Roswell Rudd in Kerhonkson, N.Y.

“This is where I feel sheltered, protected,” he said. “It was so good to come inside, have a hot bowl of soup, get in bed. I can hear the birds, the wind in the trees. The stars are easily visible. It feels safe.”

Mr. Rudd was a central figure in the avant-garde jazz scene of the 1960s and 70s. After a long career slump, he has re-emerged in recent years with a series of critically acclaimed collaborations with musicians from around the world. The driving forces behind his comeback, he says, have been his partner, Verna Gillis, an ethnomusicologist and music manager, and the creative energy he gets from their Kerhonkson home and the 21 acres of forest that surround it.

“This place has given me a new start,” he said. “It’s been one of the biggest gifts of my life.”

On a chilly fall afternoon, Mr. Rudd, who is 72, wrapped a scarf around his neck and carried his trombone into the woods. A crow cawed, and he played a piercing, staccato sound in reply. Then he pointed his trombone at the brilliant yellow and red leaves falling from a stand of trees and made a gentle fluttering sound.

“I just consider all this some kind of cosmic musical notation,” he said, gesturing around him. “I’m playing what I feel and what I see.”

Musical synergy also happens inside the modest wood-sided house and in Mr. Rudd’s studio. One December night a few years ago, Mr. Rudd got word that two Mongolian throat singers were giving demonstrations at local schools. He tracked them down, and two days later Odsuren, a master throat singer, and his student, Battuvshin Baldantseren, were settled in his living room for a jam session. Both trombone playing and throat singing rely on combining strong bass notes with high harmonic overtones, Mr. Rudd said, so the result was “an acoustician’s dream.”

That collaboration led Mr. Baldantseren to return two years later with his group, the Mongolian Buryat Band, to record an album, “Blue Mongol” (Sunnyside), with Mr. Rudd in 2005. Last summer, he toured with them in Mongolia and Siberia.

The house’s spacious living room is the usual musical gathering spot. A grand piano sits in its center, beside a tall, colorful drum from Nigeria. The room also serves as Ms. Gillis’s office, so the music-making sometimes moves out to Mr. Rudd’s studio.

Ms. Gillis, 65, has been coming to Kerhonkson since 1978, when she and her late husband, Bradford Graves, a sculptor, bought a cabin and a Civil War-era barn on 50 acres for $50,000 with her brother, David Gillis, and his wife. Ms. Gillis, who does not have children, wanted to spend more time with her brother’s three children. “Anywhere they were,” she said, “I would have gone.”

After her brother and his wife divorced and moved away, Ms. Gillis kept 21 acres. She and Mr. Graves built the house in 1988, using his cottage design. At first, it was only 800 square feet: a bedroom, bathroom, dining room and kitchen. The living room nearly doubled the size of the house when they added it in 1995.

Ms. Gillis had known Mr. Rudd since she was a graduate student at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., in the 1970s, studying with the musicologist Alan Lomax. Mr. Rudd, then working as his assistant, supervised her master’s thesis. The two kept in touch over the years, as Ms. Gillis made a name for herself as a music manager and producer of indigenous music recordings from Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. He performed at Soundscape, a loft performance space she ran in the 1980s on 52nd Street in Manhattan, and at a performing arts center she founded at the former train station in Accord, near Kerhonkson.

“I always liked Roswell,” she said. “He was one of those people you looked forward to seeing.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Rudd’s career had stalled. He moved upstate with his wife and two children, living in and around Woodstock. After a couple of college teaching gigs, he worked several odd jobs, including playing with a band that accompanied comedians, fire-eaters and cabaret acts at the Granit Hotel, a resort not far from Ms. Gillis’s home.

Then, in 1998, Mr. Graves died. Less than a month later, Mr. Rudd’s wife had a stroke and moved into a nursing home. “We both had big losses,” Ms. Gillis said. “We had more in common with each other than with anyone else we knew. That was a real bond.”

Mr. Rudd, who was widowed in 2004, began spending more time with her in Kerhonkson. He “knew how to be in a house,” she said, at ease with cooking and other domestic routines. And he didn’t blink an eye at her penchant for collecting, calling the salt-and-pepper shakers, vintage dresses, Nigerian doors and other loot she’d gathered “marvelous things.”

He also felt at home among her late husband’s abstract limestone sculptures, which stand in the living room, his studio, a storage barn and an open-air pavilion built to store them. Mr. Rudd, who was a close friend of Mr. Graves and used to perform at his art openings, says the sculptures inspire his music. “All of these shapes talk to me,” he said.

As Mr. Rudd’s relationship with Ms. Gillis grew, he realized she held the key to fulfilling a longtime dream: collaborating with international musicians. Ms. Gillis, who helped start the careers of Youssou N’Dour and Paquito D’Rivera, among others, connected him to Toumani Diabate, the Malian kora player.

Mr. Rudd traveled to Mali in 2000 and 2001, and their partnership led to the release of the album “MALIcool” (Sunnyside) in 2003. A rash of similarly ambitious collaborations followed. Mr. Rudd has performed with Li Xiaofeng, a Peking Opera star, and recorded with the Latin music virtuoso Yomo Toro. He has spent a lot of time in Africa and Asia in the last decade, but the warmth of his Kerhonkson home has also brought many musicians to him. Members of the Gangbé Brass Band of Benin once drove all night after a gig in Detroit so they could start rehearsing in his living room first thing the next morning.

These days, Mr. Rudd and Ms. Gillis split their time between Kerhonkson and their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment at Seventh Avenue and 25th street in Chelsea. The couple added a small back porch this year and a second bedroom and bathroom, with a Japanese-style soaking tub that includes a view Mr. Rudd treasures of a weeping birch tree.

Mr. Rudd, who had been living full time upstate before their relationship began, savors the interplay between city and country. Growing up in Lakeville, Conn., he couldn’t wait to live in New York, but after years in the city, he craved the woods. Yet once he moved to the Catskills, he missed New York and its jazz scene.

Now, he has both worlds. “When I get down to the big morass of energy down there, a lot goes out and never comes back,” he said. “This is where I recharge.”

That the Granit Hotel (now the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa), the place he made his living in the years when he was out of the jazz limelight, is just a five-minute drive away does not haunt him, he said. “Struggle is life,” he said. “I’ve had plenty wherever I’ve gone.”

There is far less struggle these days, and he gives credit for that to Ms. Gillis and their Catskill refuge.

“This place is just an improviser’s dream,” he said. “When improvisers get gifts like this when they’re playing, when suddenly there’s a flash and something opens up, you just have to go with it. That’s what this experience is here with Verna. We’re just going to take it to the stars.”











Upcoming Political Events



Rochester Democrats Chili Dinner

Rochester Democrats are hosting a free chili dinner on Sunday, November 4th from 5pm to 7pm at the Accord Fire House on Main Street.  All are welcome.  A 50/50 raffle will be held to raise money for 14 year-old.  Erica Bell, and active 4-H member, Rondout Valley student and field hockey team member — who has been diagnosed with sarcoma cancer that has paralyzed her from the waist down. She’s undergoing treatment in Albany.  And the bills are mounting!  Our 50-50 funds will go to the Bell family. If you want to but can’t attend?: Send your check, payable to Charles Bell, to P.O. Box 373, Accord, NY 12404.



Election Day

Tuesday, November 6th – then all those awful signs will come down!  Polls open from 6am to pm.



Special voting hours at Board of Election

The mailing deadline for absentee ballot applications has passed, but you can vote in person at the Board of Elections on Thursday, November 1st until 7pm and on Saturday, November 3rd from 9:00 am to noon.  The Board of Elections’ office is at 294 Wall Street in Kingston.  Absentee ballot applications can still be hand delivered to the Board of Elections office until Monday, November 5th.


{editor’s note on political event listings – we post all listings received within publication deadline and reserve the right to edit them). 


Upcoming Events


Local Accord Artists’ Exhibit in Manhattan

Local artists Barbara Arum and Sara Harris will be exhibiting sculptures and  paintings with the New York Society of Women Artists at Broome Street Gallery, 498 Broome Street in Manhattan.  The exhibit runs from November 13 to December 2, with an opening reception on Tuesday, November 13, from 5:00-:00 pm.



Stone Window Gallery Exhibit

Accord artist Tracy Leavitt is exhibiting oil pastel and graphite drawings in a show at the Stone Window Gallery, Accord, NY.  Also showing is Brinton Baker's finely crafted ceramics, including his most recent series of one-of-kind teapots.  Tracy, a current fellow at the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY uses color as symbol and nonlinear structural patterns in the drawings.  Her pieces, from a series called Secrets and Dreams, explore intangible concepts and advance a spiritual perspective through the use of text-like markings, a secret code which asks the viewer to draw together the symbols for personal interpretation.    

Stone Window Gallery is located at 17 Main Street, Accord, NY. 626-4932


Inaugural Churches of the Valley Music Festival
Rochester Reformed Church
5142 Rte. 209, Accord NY
Sunday November 4, 2007, 2-4 p.m.

The program will include choirs, instrumentalists, and hymn sing-alongs featuring talents from churches in the Rondout Valley. Light refreshments will follow the musical program.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged enjoy  this afternoon of music with the Rondout Valley community.

There is no charge for the festival, however, there will be offering containers for those wishing make a donation.  Funds will be divided among local food pantries, helping them prepare for the holiday season ahead.  Please share this invitation.



Preserving Your Land: An Ulster County Conference on Land Protection - November 10

Preserving Your Land, a conference for landowners and municipal officials, will be presented on Saturday, November 10, 2007, from 9 AM to 1:30 PM at SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge.  The grassroots, community based land trusts of Ulster County are presenting this event.   These land trusts are the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, the Esopus Creek Conservancy, the Mohonk Preserve, the Rondout Esopus Land Conservancy, the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, and the Woodstock Land Conservancy.

The conference centers on the many options and financial benefits available to landowners for conservation and land protection.  Keynote speaker will be Ezra Milchman, National Director of the Land Trust Alliance.  Workshop topics include: Living with a Conservation Easement, Your Land Protection Team, Protecting Farmland and Working Forests, Everyone Needs Land Protection, and Financial Incentives for Protecting Your Land. Registration for the conference is $15 and includes both breakfast and lunch.   To register visit, email, or call 845-255-2761.




High Falls Resident Killed in Auto Accident

On Monday, Helen Pastore, 85, of High Falls, died after the car she was riding in was struck by a pickup at U.S. Route 209 and Wynkoop Lane in Hurley.

State police at the town of Ulster barracks said Pastore was in the front passenger seat of a 1998 Toyota being driven by her husband, John, and that the car was struck on the passenger side as it turned left from Wynkoop Lane onto Route 209.

The pickup, a 2004 Ford that was heading north, was being driven by Symlie Stam, 53, of Pennellville, police said.

Police said Mrs. Pastore died in surgery at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie and that her husband was listed in critical condition at Benedictine Hospital in Kingston.

Stam was not injured in the collision.

No charges had been announced as of Tuesday afternoon, but police said their investigation remained open. (Freeman 10/31/07)




Town Awarded Historic Preservation Grant

The Town of Rochester has been notified that it has received a coveted Preserve New York grant from the Preservation League of New York State. The Town was one of only 14 communities in the entire state to receive funds.

The $5,000 award will go to the Historic Preservation Commission, which requested funds to research facets of Rochester’s architectural treasures and share the information with Town residents. The study, called a cultural resources survey, will update an earlier one from 1993. (The study can be found on line on the Town Web site under the Historic Preservation Commission.) The consultant for both surveys is Harry Hansen, of Kyserike Restorations in High Falls, a leading preservationist. When his survey is completed, Hansen will present the results to Town residents in a variety of local forums, including, we hope, a meeting of the Town Board.

As you probably know, Rochester is already known for having one of the largest inventories of 18th and early 19th century stone houses in the country. The new survey will focus primarily on buildings from a later era when Rochester’s development was shaped by the presence of the Delaware & Hudson Canal and after that, the Ontario and Western Railroad. It was a time when agriculture flourished and local residents welcomed thousands of New York City residents to their summer resorts.

The grant to the Commission will allow Hansen to examine a variety of structures, ranging from the former train station and Barley’s General Store, around the corner on Main Street, to an unusual group of plank and log structures in the hills above the Rondout Valley that are linked to the 19th century tanning industry. The Friends of Historic Rochester will aid Hansen in his research and will house his report and research materials.

Many of us on the Historic Preservation Commission believe that historic preservation is critical to preserving the rural character of the Town. The more we know about our history and built environment, the more we’ll want to save the structures that illustrate that history and make them a legacy for future generations

If you, or anyone you know, lives in one of the old log or plank houses, please contact Walter Mintz. Harry would like to make your house part of the survey and will probably want to look around inside.


Local Filmaker’s Production

Accord — Oliver Noble dropped out of school — Rondout Valley High School — to pursue a life in the movies. Today, at the ripe old age of 20, he's a writer-director whose latest short film, he knows, will not win him an Oscar. But the film will have its premiere at the Woodstock Film Festival next month, and that's not exactly chopped liver.

Noble's rise from gofer to cinematic auteur took off last summer, when he was doing whatever needed doing on another independent feature, Nicole Quinn's "Racing Daylight." He convinced friends and fellow volunteers to join him in his dream, and in the space of little more than a week, "Night of the Living Jews" was born.

"I got the idea somewhere on a road trip I took on Route 66," Noble said this week. He shot it on his parents' property in Accord, working from dusk till dawn. Total cost might approach $5,000, which is the going cost of a nano-second's production in Hollywoodland.

The impetus for the film, the production notes explain, came with the discovery that "add Hasidic Jews to any situation and that situation instantly becomes a million times funnier."

Hence, "Night of the Living Jews" substitutes the sunken-eyed, staggering and anonymous zombies of George Romero's classic "Night of the Living Dead" with sunken-eyed, staggering Hasidic rabbis. It's the story of a group of Jewish bungalow colony residents who are turned into flesh-eating zombies "by matzoh with a dark history" and goes on from there, Mel Brooks-style.

Funny? The majority of comments on YouTube (search for "Night of the Living Jews") are positive. But Rabbi Garry Loeb of Monroe Temple Beth-El wasn't amused by the trailer.

"I think it's pretty outrageous and appalling, but that's obviously what (Noble) intended," Loeb said. " Is it anti-Semitic? It's just a stupid thing like people are making everywhere."

Noble, who is Jewish, said he knows his film won't be everybody's cup of matzoh ball soup. And, lest anyone fear he'll be revisiting the scene again soon, he has no interest in making "Night of the Living Jews II."

"I don't want to be pigeon-holed as a flesh-eating Jewish zombie moviemaker."  (TH-Record September 19, 2007)




Rochester supervisor faces election challenge

ACCORD - The race for town of Rochester supervisor pits incumbent Democrat Pam Duke, who points to zoning law changes as progress, against Republican Carl Chipman, who objects to the methods used to make changes.

Duke, 64, of 175 Boice Mill Road, Kerhonkson, is a 15-year resident of the town and seeking a third two-year term as supervisor. She has two adult children; is a 1962 graduate of the Lincoln School for girls in Providence, R.I.; earned an associate's degree in liberal arts in 1964 from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt.; and earned a bachelor's degree in commercial art from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz., in 1974.

Duke is a retired management consultant with the Girl Scouts and continues to work with the organization. She also a lifetime member of the Parent-Teacher Association.

"The biggest thing right now is we adopted the (town) comprehensive plan in 2006, and now we are developing the zoning laws, subdivision laws and the zoning maps to support the comprehensive plan," she said.

"In 1969, they did a comprehensive plan in this town and no one used it," Duke said. "I do not want to see this get put back on the shelf and collect dust. We definitely need to continue with that because it lays the groundwork for direction for the town."

Duke said there will be priorities that come out of the comprehensive plan.

"In the plan ... we have short-term, mid-term and long-term goals," she said. "So my priorities will be those short-term goals, which will be to address the housing issues in town."

Duke said work also needs to continue on developing an inventory of natural resources.

"We have a grant that we just received, and we're going to continue with that," she said. "With historic preservation, we have received a grant to do some work with that, to update our inventory because we have the largest inventory in Ulster County of historic homes."

Duke also said work is nearing completion to update the town's emergency management plan.

"We had an emergency management plan but it wasn't utilized," she said.

Also, Duke said, "we have a public hearing coming up for putting cell towers in the town. One of the biggest things that hit me when I first became supervisor was I didn't have any Internet access. How can I connect? So now, with the cell towers coming in, we're going to be able to have not only good cell service but we'll also have Internet access."

Chipman, 47, of 15 Barry Lane, is a 42-year resident of the town. He and wife Margaret have two teenage children.

Chipman is a general manger of Collier Motor Car Co. in Ellenville; graduated in 1978 from Rondout Valley High School and earned an associate's degree in economics from Ulster County Community College in 1981. He was a Rondout Valley Board of Education member form 1995-99 and its president during the final two years. He is a coach with the Rochester Youth Commission basketball program.

"I really want to work toward zoning codes that are not infringing on individual property rights of our residents," Chipman said.

"I think we need balanced commercial development," he said. "We have to balance commercial development with ... residential development in order to keep taxes low in our town."

Chipman also said there have been consistent violations in Rochester of the state Open Meetings Law, including a Town Board session where an overflow crowd was locked out of the Town Hall when capacity was reached.

"When in doubt, I will be calling the (state) Committee on Open Government to follow the guidelines," he said.

"They (Town Board members) do a lot of talking in executive session," Chipman said. "I've never seen a government use executive session like these guys do."

Chipman also would like to change the town budget process to accommodate more public comment.

"One thing that I am proposing is that we have a budget review committee ... (with) regular citizens where budgeting is open," he said. "In January 2006, the current supervisor found $60,000 in the budget for a consultant for the comprehensive plan. I don't want to see any money being found, because when you find something, it means you lost it or you tucked it away."  (10/18/2007)



Rochester candidates square off for seats on Town Board, bench


ROCHESTER - Incumbent Councilman member Francis Gray, a Republican running on the Democratic line, will be on the Nov. 6 ballot with Democrat Donna Ragonese and Republican candidates Ottoviano Cilenti and Manuela Michailescu in the race for two four-year seats on the Town Board.

Gray, 74, of 160 Cherrytown Road, Kerhonkson, is seeking a second four-year term. He is retired as a manager and analyst in the information technology filed. He is a 1951 graduate of Ellenville High School, attended Prince Georges County Community College in Maryland and served in the U.S Air Force.

Gray supports the recently adopted town comprehensive plan as the basis for zoning changes, supports the creation of a cellular tower for Internet services and would like a stronger effort from the town Economic Development/Business Development Committees in attracting companies to the town.

In a prepared statement, Gray said there currently is a "lack of comprehensive and precise code to maintain our rural character and guide commercial and business development for the next half-century."

Gray said a cellular tower would help provide "high-speed data transfers required by most businesses today to further encourage businesses to locate in (the town), allow residents to telecommunicate and provide an annual income of $36,000, minimum, to (the town) to assist in containing town taxes."

Mihailescu, 57, of 5868 state U.S. Route 209, Kerhonkson, has been a town resident for six years. She and husband Jon Dogar-Marinesco own the Old Brick House antique store, and she has a marketing company called Point Blank Inc.

Mihailescu graduated in 1969 from St. Sava School in Bucharest, Romania, in 1974 from the Film and Theater Institute in Bucharest, with a master's degree in film and theater criticism, and in 1988 with a master's degree in marketing and advertising from CUNY/Baruch College in New York City.

Mihailescu said her experience in seeking an appointment to the town's Historic Preservation Committee - during which she was accused (falsely, she says) of having connections to adult Web sites - led her to lose trust in the current Town Board majority.

Mihailescu also is concerned about the authority of the town Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals under proposed changes in land-use regulations and said the Historic Preservation Commission "is going to have huge power with the new zoning law."

"Those are not elected people, and they still have a huge power," she said.

Of the accusations that were leveled against her in January, Mihailescu said: "My specific issue is trust in elected officials."

"I said it back in February, and I continue say that when you lose trust in your elected officials, you lose everything," she said. "Whether it's a small issue of checking a rumor or a major issue like a zoning law, people in the town, no matter what their political affiliation, should be able to trust that their elected officials would be able to judge fairly and not based on a separate agenda."

Ragonese, 66, of 10 Trails End Road, Kerhonkson, has been a full-time resident of the town for nine years and a part-time resident for 18 years. She and husband Gene Gaston have four children.

Ragonese is a 1959 graduate of the Mary Louis Academy in Queens, received a bachelor's degree in education from St. John's University in 1962, received a master's degree in social work from Stony Brook University in 1985 and received a master's degree in special education from Aldephia University in 1967.

Ragonese is president of the board of directors of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, a member of the town Youth Commission, co-founder of the not-for-profit group Little One's Learning Center and a volunteer with Family of Woodstock.

Ragonese is seeking elected office for the first time, and she said she would like to expand programs for children to include civics.

"I would like to involve them more in town government and involve them in a lot of education," she said. "Give them the availability of more education in terms of what's happening out in society, what some of their choices will be in the future, what some of their decisions will be in the future."

Ragonese also would like to work with surrounding towns to determine how Route 209 should be developed.

"I think we also should do research as to the type of business or light industry that might prosper in our town, work on setting up rules and regulations that would attract and encourage them to come and or stay here," she said.

Other issues Ragonese would like to address include planning for a new Town Hall and finding developers interested in construction of affordable housing for senior citizens.

Cilenti, 62, of 31 Upper Whitfield Road, Accord, is an 11-year resident of the town and has one adult child. He is married to Diana Puglisi-Cilenti and is a retired police chief for the University of Medicine and Dentistry at Rutgers University.

Cilenti graduated in 1964 from Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan and served a year in Vietnam while in the U.S. Navy from 1964-73. He is a member of the Ellenville Elks Lodge, the Knights of Columbus in Ellenville and the Gavel-Trowel Masonic Lodge.

Cilenti ran unsuccessfully in 2005 for an Ulster County Legislature seat.

Cilenti said changes in the town zoning law, which he considers to be too complicated to begin with, are being made too quickly.

"I think we need to evaluate, in particular in this town, what's going on with the new zoning law and review that when I get in office and make any appropriate changes that we deem necessary as a council," he said.

"I think it's just too much change too quickly," he said. "It's about 148 or 150 pages. It's very complicated. It's not simple. I think we need to simplify it to some extent."

Other offices

Town justice

Republican incumbent Albert Babcock III is seeking a third four-year term in a race against Democrat Paul Shaheen, a first time-time candidate.

Babcock, of 139 Queens Highway, was not available for an interview, though information was provided by a party running mate.

A counselor for the state Department of Correctional Services, Babcock and wife, Dawn, have raised three children. He is a 1960 graduate of Margaretville Central School, served in the U.S Army from 1961-64, earned an associate's degree in electrical technology from Ulster County Community College in 1972 and later earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in special education from SUNY New Paltz.

Babcock is a driver for the Kerhonkson/Accord First Aid and Rescue Squad.

Shaheen, 52, of 623 Granite Road, Kerhonkson, is a 22-year town resident seeking elected office for the first time.

An attorney with a private practice in Kerhonkson, He graduated from New Hartford High School in central New York, earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Colorado, earned a master's in public administration from the Maxwell School of Government in Syracuse and received a law degree from Vermont Law School.

Shaheen said town justices should be lawyers, something that is not currently required.

Highway superintendent

Incumbent Republican Wayne Kelder, 66, of 11 Pine Tree Lane, Accord, is running unopposed for an 11th two-year term and will appear on both the Republican and Democratic lines.





To the Editor,

Driving on Lucas Avenue Extension in the Town of Rochester last weekend, I noticed that campaign signs for Pam Duke, our incumbent supervisor, had been vandalized.  One large sign was completely pulled from the ground.  The construction grade metal posts of another were bent to the ground.  My twelve-year-old daughter and I  stopped to help members of the town Democratic club repair the damage.  They are having trouble keeping up with all the vandalism this year.  I am glad that I have not seen similar damage to Republican signs.  If I had, we would have stopped to help with them too.

I do not think this is a humorous prank.  I do not accept it as 'politics  as usual'.  This behavior disrespects our heritage as American citizens. Is this the message of democracy for which we honor the sacrifice of those who have answered their nation's call?

These are cowardly acts of intimidation, done in the dark of night by  partisans of a group of candidates, who, year after year, refuse invitations to stand up and debate in a public forum and help the voters of our town make informed choices.  I hope my neighbors are as fed up with the
rumors, personal attacks, and negative behavior as I am and show up on November 6 to vote for a positive agenda of responsible growth and mutual respect.

Respectfully submitted,

Philip Rose
Accord, NY




The Town of Rochester Democratic Committee is pleased to announce the results of its nominating caucus held on September 23, 2007.

Democratic Candidate for Supervisor: Pam Duke
Democratic Candidates for Town Board: Francis Gray and Donna Ragonese
Democratic Candidate for Town Justice: Paul Shaheen
These candidates are also endorsed by the Independence Party and the Working Families Party.

Anthony Jarvis was selected by the caucus to be the Democratic Candidate for Highway Superintendent, however, he instructed us this morning not to submit his name to the Board of Elections as a candidate.


Republican Candidates Announced

Candidates endorsed by the Republican Caucus, held on September 20, 2007

Republican Candidate for Supervisor: Carl Chipman

Republican Candidates for Town Board: Tavi Cilenti and Manuela Mihailescu

Republican Candidate for Town Justice: Albert Babcock

Republican Candidate for Highway Superintendent:  Wayne Kelder

These candidates are also endorsed by the Conservative Party.





Another memorable “Heritage Day” in the Town of Rochester will be held on Saturday, October 6th between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Main Street, Accord.


Sponsored by Friends of Historic Rochester, activities will be concentrated at the Museum grounds, 12 Main Street, Accord.  Additionally, the entire Main Street will be “dressed up” with fall flowers, pumpkins, etc., as well as signage and old photographs along the street explaining the history of each property. A brochure and map will be available at the Museum to facilitate a self-guided walking tour of historic Accord.


A new feature this year will be the GATHERING OF LOCAL AUTHORS with their publications on local history which they will be signing and offering for sale.  Other NEW ATTRACTIONS are goat-keeping, cheese-making and woodcarving.  Returning favorites include displays and demonstrations such as beekeeping, blacksmithing, candle dipping, and antique cars and farm machinery.


The Annual Art Show under the Tent has evolved this year into ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW AND SALES, featuring artists and artisans from the local area.


Visitors on October 6th will have access to MUSEUM displays, old maps, and local history files, including information on over 250 of the historic properties in the Town.  Two “picture walls” in the Museum are covered with 8x10” enlargements of old postcards and photographs of old-time sights, families, and events.  Upstairs will be guided genealogical research using the extensive resources of the Eleanor Rosakranse Genealogical Collection, and of a computer data bank which is focused directly on Town of Rochester and Ulster County families.  Available for purchase at the Museum will be local history materials, books, and other items.


Musical entertainment will be continuing throughout the day, including our own home-town bagpiper, Dorothy Sommer, whose band has won first place in U.S. competition and third place in the world on a recent trip to England.


Additionally, as part of Heritage Day 2007, the newly refurbished and opened PALENTOWN SCHOOLHOUSE MUSEUM will be available to visitors.


Parking is free, and there is no admission charge, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Provident Bank.  Lunch food will be available for purchase.  For further information on any of the aspects of Heritage Day 2007, please call (845) 626-7104 or (845) 687-9998.




Town Board to Hold Public Hearing

The Town of Rochester will hold a Public Hearing on October 9th, 2007 at 7 PM at the Accord Fire Hall re: proposed Local Law #4 for the proposed Zoning Map, Subdivision Law and Zoning Law.  The documents for this hearing have been revised based on comments made at the two Public Hearings, letters received from residents, and  comments from the Ulster County Planning Board. Relevant documents are available for viewing at the Town Clerk's office or for downloading by clicking here.



Accord Fire District to Hold Public Hearing

Public Hearing re 2008 Accord Fire District budget will be held at the Accord Fire House at 7:30 pm on October 16, 2007.  Budget available at the offices of Town Clerk and fire district secretary.



Democrats to Hold Harvest Festival on October 13

Rochester Democrats invite you to join Congressman Maurice Hinchey and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill at a Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 13th.
4:30 pm to 7:30 pm
at the farm of Jeff and Pat Rosenberg
2784 Lucas Avenue, Accord (1.5 miles North of Route 209)
Free admission (suggested donation: $20)

This event will offer a silent art auction featuring works donated by renowned artists Jake, Berthot and Martin Puryear.  Other pieces to be auctioned include those by Jonathan Blair, Kaete Brittan-Shaw, Lesley Dill, Susan Edelman, Kathy Erteman, Annette Finestone, Astrid Fitzgerald, Sara Harris, Dorothy Linden, Lorna Massie, Antonio Perez Melero, Kevin Noble, Nancy Ostrovsky, Amy Rosenfeld, Kathy Ruttenberg, Marko Shuhan, David Urso, Susan VanDerMulen and other very talented local artists.  A selection of featured items can be seen on 


In addition to live music entertainment, and an exhibition of vintage motorcycles, the even will feature a no junk flea market featuring items of unique character, practical use or just plain fun.


Locally produced food and beverages will be served , with catering by Suzy McGrath Catering, cider from Stone Ridge Orchard and wine from Stone Ridge Wine and Spirits and Fox and Hound Wine and Spirits.  For more information or to donate items, call 626-3285 or email



Accord Fire Co. # 1 Auxiliary

Sat., October 13, 2007, Doors open 6 pm, Drawing @ 7:30 pm, Social Hall - Main St - Accord 

All proceeds of this year's 50-50 will benefit the Broekema Family of Kerhonkson!  Chris is a member of Kerhonkson Ladies Auxiliary.  Tickets can be obtained at the Penny Social or by calling Marie at (845) 626-7938.  


 The Small Farm and Rural Living Expo comes to New Paltz
Bring the family on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14 to the Ulster County Fairgrounds on Libertyville Road in New Paltz, New York for the 7th Annual Small Farm and Rural Living Expo. The Expo will be opened 9:00am to 5:00pm each day. Adult admission is $5 per day, Children 5-14 is $2 per day, Children under 5 are free. The Expo will exhibitors covering a wide variety of topics on livestock, horses, commercial horticulture, natural resources, small scale farming and rural living, also an art exhibit featuring local artists, live acoustic music and of course great food.
This unique one-of-a-kind event provides a casual and enjoyable setting for the entire family. Whether you have recently moved to the country from an urban area, or have lived in the country all your life, all are welcome to create and participate in a vibrant learning community while celebrating the arrival of autumn and the harvest season in the Hudson Valley.
The Small Farm Expo is a joint effort of Cornell University, Penn State and Rutgers Cooperative Extension cooperating with over 20 sponsoring agribusiness, agricultural agencies, producers and commodity groups and others interested in supporting small farms and those living in rural areas of the Northeast.

For the most current information go to or call Les Hulcoop at (845) 677 8223 x130 or



 A century of caring

By ROBERT MITCHELL, Correspondent


Esther Yeager's friends on the Ulster County Ambulance Association like to joke about how long the 100-year-old Accord woman will live.

"The last time I went to a meeting they had me up to 138," she said.

Yeager, a co-founder of the Kerhonkson-Accord Fire Rescue Squad, turned 100 on Sept. 7. Did she think she would make it to the century mark?

"I just kept saying I was and I just let it slip by," she said.

Yeager lives with one of her sons, Walter, who says he has to keep an eye on his mother or she finds projects to busy herself.

"She'll go outside right now and rake the lawn if you let her," he said. "She's got to be busy. She's always got to be doing something. I would say that's one of the things that prolonged her life. She was always busy."

One thing that kept Yeager busy was serving on the Kerhonkson-Accord Rescue Squad. She and Walter, along with friends Seymour Pacht and Angela Previll, founded the squad in 1965 when Yeager was 58.

"I was an antique by that time," she said.

The four members of Yeager's squad also were part of the first graduating class of certified emergency medical technicians in Ulster County.

"I rode the ambulance and was the squad leader until I was 88," Yeager said. "If I was free, I could go. I was willing to go."

Yeager says she went out on more than 2,500 calls, and some of them were a little too close for comfort. For 73 years, she lived near the corner of U.S. Route 44 and state Route 55 and U.S. Route 209, which saw more than its share of accidents.

"We had accidents there like crazy," she said. "You'd hear tires squeal, and, if you didn't hear anything else, you figured they went on. But if you heard the tin begin to rattle, you better get out there and see what happened."

Yeager said the squad also was frequently called to Minnewaska State Park, but she didn't mind because her son knows the area well and "areas that nobody else knows about." The park was the scene of one of the worst accidents Yeager ever saw in her career: A young man on a motorcycle was hit by a car near the park's entrance and suffered two broken femurs, a broken ankle and several other injuries.

"He had so many things wrong with him," she said.

She accompanied him to Albany Medical Center and even helped the doctors diagnose some of his injuries because she was the first on the scene. That meant a lot to Yeager, who had considered entering the medical field as a young woman.

"I wanted to be a nurse," she said. "This was the only way I could get to do anything. I always took care of anybody.

"Blood doesn't bother me. They can bleed a bushel, and it doesn't make any difference, as long as I can do something to stop it."

Stanley Hudson of Kerhonkson rode on many emergencies with Yeager and called her a "fantastic EMT." While Yeager may have been small of frame, she made it clear she was in charge, he added.

"She was very, very particular that you had to do things the right way or you didn't do it," he said. "She would sit you down and tell you the way it should be done. You had better listen to her, too, because she was right."

Yeager still meets people that she helped with her ambulance.

There's her next-door neighbor, who cut off his fingers


1 up, 1 down in Rondout 

KYSERIKE - Rondout Valley school district voters on Tuesday approved a proposition authorizing the district to borrow $21.16 million for improvements to the high school and middle school, but narrowly rejected a second proposition for an additional $12.21 million in funding.


The propositions would have totaled $33.37 million had they both been approved. Proposition 1

passed, 1,714 to 1,339, while Proposition 2 failed, 1,529 to 1,505.

"The impact overall on the people of the community is minimal compared to what a quality education in a quality environment can do," said Eileen Cutler, a High Falls resident who voted in favor of both proposals.

Last December, district voters rejected a single capital project proposition totaling $27 million.

"I think, in asking for $33 million this time, they are not paying attention to the voice of the voter," said Joseph Triplo, a Stone Ridge resident with a child in the district. "I don't know what kind of strategy this is."

Triplo argued that there needs to be a change at the state level, and not a continual hike in municipal and school property taxes. He referred to a "yes" vote for the propositions as "an endorsement for a broken system."

"Schools and students are resilient," said district Superintendent Eileen Camasso, who acknowledged that the school's infrastructure needs serious work. "There will be priorities set and decided on."

Board of Education President Maureen Sheehan immediately challenged the failed vote. "I have concerns about Proposition 2," she said. "I believe that some of the people that vote here and pay taxes, I don't know that they are permanent residents. Every absentee ballot has to prove that this is their primary residence."

Proposal 1, which totals $21.16 million, will set aside $10.64 million for infrastructure upgrades in the main high school building; $1.96 million for infrastructure upgrades to a two-section wing; $978,000 to reconstruct a one-section wing; $564,000 for asbestos abatement; $546,000 for improvements to the auditorium; $219,000 for upgrades to the gym; $138,000 to reconstruct an art wing; and incidental costs totaling $4.42 million.

The proposition also lists $50,000 for middle school renovations and incidental costs of $1.64 million at the middle school. Also included in the first proposition are safety improvements, such as wheelchair and restroom access, which is required under standards of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The failed proposition would have included science and music department additions in the high school, tech wing renovations, athletic lighting and a number of energy-saving initiatives.

Officials have promised that the local taxpayer share will be $5.75 million for Proposition 1. The state is picking up the rest of the tab.

"The projects included would be nice to have but they are not life and death issues," said Imre Beke Jr. a former school board member. "It was probably a mistake to mix the two propositions together."

Fate of Rondout Valley borrowing rests with school district voters

KYSERIKE - Rondout Valley School District residents will decide Tuesday whether to authorize borrowing for improvements to the high school and middle school that are projected to total $33.37 million.

Voting will be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the gym at the high school at 122 Kyserike Road.

The projected cost total, divided into two propositions of $21.16 million and $12.21 million, includes "green" energy conservation and other environmental initiatives that were not part of a $27 million proposition last Dec. 7 that was rejected by voters, 1,142-980.

Joseph Triplo, who previously chaired the district's Citizens Facilities Task Force, said the Board of Education should have made the total smaller than the December proposition and focused the money on space needs for educational programs.

"What's even more ironic is that people are paying their school tax bill next week when they're being asked for another $6 million," he said. "What they say is correct - I'm very concerned about energy issues and the school should have that, but the way the (board) has structured this vote is the only way we're going to get 'green' design components into this school is through a $33 million plan.

"The bottom line is they are gambling with the students' future," Triplo added. "If they had gotten a more modest approach ... then we could have all gotten behind the plan."

Superintendent Eileen Camasso said the second vote was delayed several months while school officials conducted a number of meetings to convince critics of the need for the funding.

"We held them every week, for several hours every week, and had presentations from all different groups so that people could hear it all together and help them to hash it out among themselves," Camasso said. "So the proposal that went to board for its consideration was the best that this committee could do in terms of making a recommendation."

Camasso added that there were "many, many points of view" and that the propositions represent "something that everybody could at least understand the need and the hope."

Proposition 1, totaling $21.16 million, would set aside $10.64 million for infrastructure upgrades in the main high school building, $1.96 million for infrastructure upgrades to a two-section wing; $978,000 to reconstruct a one-section wing; $564,000 for asbestos abatement; $546,000 for improvements to the auditorium; $219,000 for upgrades to the gym; $138,000 to reconstruct an art wing; and incidental costs totaling $4.42 million.

The proposition also lists $50,000 for middle school renovations and incidental costs of $1.64 million at the middle school. District officials on Wednesday were not immediately able to elaborate.

Proposed infrastructure and safety improvements under the proposition include:
operate more efficiently and meet state mandated air exchange levels.
instructional tools.
water from penetrating building interiors.
be inefficient and unsafe to operate.
installing fire doors, bringing stairwells up to state codes, installing fire rated shutters between the cafeteria and kitchen, replacing the smoke detection system, and upgrading the emergency communications system.
science classroom areas.
wheelchair access, door hardware, and restroom access.
Proposition 2, which is dependent on voter approval of the first proposition, totals $12.21 million. It would include, at the high school, $3.93 million for a science addition; $3.72 million for a music addition; $476,000 for technology wing renovations; $235,000 for athletic field lighting; $1.15 million for "green" upgrades; and $2.71 million for "soft" costs.
Officials have promised that the local taxpayer share will be $5.75 million if only Proposition 1 is approved and $10.15 million if both propositions pass. Regular state education aid will offset $19.34 million if both propositions are approved and $14.53 million if only Proposition 1 passes; special state Excel aid would offset $871,330 of the cost of Proposition 1. (Freeman 9/27/07)



Luxury no more- Daily Freeman Editorial

The draft Ulster County open space plan is being shopped around the county in a series of public information sessions.

The 100-page plan should get a good, hard, serious look from anyone concerned about the county's future. You can view it on the Internet at

We look forward to studying the details of the plan. But it's safe to say that, in this day and age, few locations in relatively developed areas of the East Coast can afford the luxury of
being without an open space plan. And, frankly, Ulster County is behind the curve.

Our burgeoning population on the dynamic East Coast, once packed vertically into cities, now expands horizontally across the landscape, spreading and filling developable open spaces like ball bearings dumped from a coffee can onto a hardwood floor.

Thus, preserving open space is an imperative.

But it should not be confused with a mechanism for thwarting growth. Any open space plan should both preserve open space and simultaneously nurture growth where it belongs, as long as reasonable precautions are taken to make that growth sustainable.

No open space plan, no matter how comprehensive in inventorying natural resources or projecting needs or recommending best uses, is worth the paper it's written on if it doesn't provide a surefire mechanism for implementation.

That is, the actual safeguarding of open space.

This can happen primarily in one of two ways - through legal prohibition, such as in highly restrictive zoning, or by acquisition of development rights.

We prefer the latter. And that means you need money.


The towns of Gardiner, Marbletown and New Paltz for instance, have made commitments to open space by bonding for open space needs. A democratic society ought to be prepared to share the burden of the public benefit of open space through the raising and expenditure of
public funds. Private property owners ought not be expected to bear a burden of open space imposed by heavy-handed zoning restrictions.

Yet, the mighty open space plan now being shopped around the county defers the question of funding to yet another study group - what it calls the "Open Space Partnership." Too bad.

Other municipalities have plunged ahead on the funding issue to fill what already has been for too long a substantial county leadership vacuum on open space.

On the east side of the river, Dutchess County has bonded for open space and voters in the town of Red Hook have approved levying a local property transfer tax to create a dedicated funding stream for open space preservation.


Of the two mechanisms - bonding and a dedicated tax - we believe the latter is the best guarantor of ongoing funding for what will be an ongoing need. A dedicated tax, tied in some manner to property values, has the added advantage of increasing revenues during hot real estate markets when the pressure on open space - and the cost of preserving it - are greatest and reducing those revenues when the market cools.

The clock is ticking on open space and the county needs to act with some speed.  (Daily Freeman Editorial 9/22/07)



With an Upscale Spa, a Clash of Meanings for the Word 'Green'

ROSENDALE, N.Y., Sept. 21 - This progressive river hamlet about 90 miles north of Manhattan is home to a quirky mix of construction workers, artists and alternative health practitioners among its roughly 6,300 residents.

The town, a cement-mining center in the 19th century, is known for an old-time movie theater, a leafy rail trail and a pickle festival that attracts gourmands from far and wide. It also has some gaps in its teeth, including several vacant storefronts and a ghost town of a shopping plaza on its edge.

So when new places open, they generate a buzz. But the prospect of a major new development has done more than that: It has begun to divide the community.

Developers envision a celebrity spa and sprawling gated vacation-home community at the Williams Lake Resort, a former family-run hotel and beach club with more than 730 acres that has been on the market since 2004. The purchase of additional land would bring the total closer to 850 acres.

The owner, Anita Peck, has a deal to sell the resort property to Canopy Development, which is owned by a company started in 2005 by Stephen M. Case, a founder of American Online.

The company, Revolution L.L.C., also owns Miraval, which runs a premier spa near Tucson that Oprah Winfrey has raved about on her television show and in her magazine. Canopy, a two-year-old Northampton, Mass., builder, creates what its leaders call "high-end sustainable resort communities."

In small meetings last year with town officials and others in the community, Canopy executives acknowledged that Miraval was likely to be the spa and resort brand. Now, they will not divulge such specifics. Canopy has not closed on the property, which is listed for $7.9 million, nor has it submitted plans to the Rosendale Planning Board. It has, however, taken control around Williams Lake by erecting gates and posting no-trespassing signs.

"We do have an operator in mind," said Tom Horton, Canopy's president and chief executive. "That operator does not want to announce at this point in time."

Miraval's chief executive, John Vanderslice, did not return calls seeking comment for this article. Mr. Case declined to be interviewed.

In the private meetings with neighbors, business owners and elected officials, Canopy unveiled plans for a gated community that would include a 100-room hotel and spa and 100 to 300 custom vacation homes starting at $1 million. Mr. Horton described it as "a deep green health- and wellness-focused resort community."

Some here said that is what Rosendale needed to increase its tax base, add jobs and prompt a revival.

"I think it would be good," said Robert Gallagher, the town supervisor. "It would change Rosendale to some degree. You haven't had that type of clientele in town in some time, since the hotel's heyday, and this will bring that back to Rosendale. There will be an increase in traffic."

But many do not agree. Main Street is dotted with blue signs advertising, the Web site of an opposition group. The group, and others in town, worry about losing access to three lakes that have always been privately owned but open to local residents who pay $450 for annual beach club memberships. Hiking and cross-country skiing trails have also been available for a $12 day fee.

Some are also concerned about the development's environmental impact on sensitive land, including more than 400 acres protected under a conservation easement. And some wonder about the social impact of a gated community with potentially high-profile residents and guests, like Ms. Winfrey.

"I'm hoping this project goes somewhere else," said Mark Morgenstern, co-owner of the Rosendale Cafe on Main Street, who moved here with his family in the late 1980s. "As a business owner and resident of Rosendale, I think it's a bad idea."

He described himself as philosophically opposed to gated communities.

"Maybe a smattering of their guests will come and check out the town, like some kind of theme park, but I don't think they'll come down here and have a veggie burger after their spa treatments," Mr. Morgenstern said. "They're most likely going to have their own cuisine, on site. And if they do make an outing, they're going to go to the best restaurants, in Rhinebeck or Woodstock, or to the Depuy Canal House in High Falls."

Mr. Horton said Canopy would reroute part of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, which goes through the property, to give the community access. He also said the company would talk to county officials about making other recreational areas public.

Other developers, including those proposing similar projects described as environmentally friendly, have either withdrawn local proposals or changed them when confronted with opposition.

In August, a group called Preserve Marbletown persuaded the owner of the 147-acre Stone Ridge Orchard to scrap plans for a 350-unit housing development. The plan was to feature "ecological agriculture" and "green building and clean energy technologies," according to the Web site It also would have led to the tearing down of most of the trees.

"If they're taking down an active orchard, how green can it be?" said Manna Jo Greene, a Rosendale councilwoman and the environmental action director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, an environmental group.

This month, Crossroads Ventures L.L.C. agreed to scale back plans for the Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park in Highmount after an eight-year standoff. Crossroads cut the project size and agreed to use organic methods to maintain a golf course.

Many Friends of Williams Lake members hope that Canopy will go elsewhere and that Williams Lake can become a public space, like the nearby Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park.

Nancy Schniedewind, a member of the group's steering committee, likened the advocacy movement to one in the early 1980s that discouraged Marriott from purchasing Lake Minnewaska. The lake and surrounding mountains were purchased by private foundations, which made an arrangement with the state to maintain the area.

"Some people will say making it public means a loss of taxes and revenue," Ms. Schniedewind said. "But Mohonk Preserve did a very intense study that found that open space and state parks bring a great deal of money to local economies."

But not everyone wants Canopy to abandon its mission.

Ms. Peck's brother, a lawyer named Edward Williams, is among those opposed to the initial plans. But he said he hoped developers would come up with something smaller and more sensitive to the environment. He has refused to sell his private cabin and 1.79-acre parcel on Williams Lake. "I am not opposed to Canopy buying the property," Mr. Williams said. "I am opposed to some of its preliminary plans, as recently disclosed to me, and Canopy's lack of sensitivity to the local townspeople, particularly the former Williams Lake Beach Club members."

After the Williams Lake Resort was shuttered in June, club members offered to pay for insurance and lifeguards but were turned away. Mr. Williams and others oppose plans to create beaches on wetlands.

"Such a development of Williams Lake would forever destroy and, in effect, smother the present peaceful and environmentally sensitive character of this small lake," he said.

While downsizing worked for the Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park, it is not clear if Canopy officials are open to that - or to a lengthy wait for approval from the Planning Board and the state.

"We've had a dozen meetings with people, and we'll probably have a dozen more before the end of the fall," Mr. Horton said. "We're trying to weigh the concerns and needs of all those stakeholder groups. We don't want this to take a very long time. If we can't come to a meeting of the minds about what is economically possible and what the community wants, then there won't be a project." (NY Times 9/23/07)




Remember That Other Casino?
By Dan Hust
BRIDGEVILLE ­ September 14, 2007 ­ While some hope for the demise of their dreams, others simply see the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, Band of the Mohican Indians as the runner-ups in a race being won by the St. Regis Mohawks.
Don’t count them out so soon, warned Stockbridge-Munsee President Bob Chicks.
“I do not think it is a question of ‘if’ but ‘when,’” he related in a recent interview.
The Wisconsin-based tribe, which has its ancestral roots in this neck of the woods, recently unveiled its jaw-dropping design for a 650,000-square-foot casino right off Route 17 in Bridgeville.
In a provided drawing, glass panels arch over gigantic hanging plants and cars dropping off visitors to the casino (Phase I) and 15-story hotel (Phase II), planned to be located along County Route 161 on 330 acres overlooking the Neversink River.
The tribe recently held an informational meeting in Rock Hill, designed to let locals know they’re still around.
“Success is somewhat dependent on everyone coming together,” noted Chicks, who has often been the public face of the 3,000-member tribe (some of whom disagree with him on the casino issue).
And bringing everyone together is a tall order – so far, the tribe only has a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under its belt, plus a $15 million mitigation payment deal with Sullivan County and a development agreement with Trading Cove New York (though the tribe will manage the casino on its own).
The Mohawks, on the other hand, already have not only local agreements but a management deal with Empire Resorts, state approval and everything they need on the federal level save for Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne’s signoff to take land into trust at Monticello Raceway (which may never come, considering the secretary’s distaste for off-reservation casinos).
Chicks harbors no animosity toward his casino rivals.
“We’ve always had a good relationship with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe,” he related. “[The area] is certainly able to comfortably support several casino projects.”
As for those who oppose a casino, Chicks pointed out that his tribe’s casino in Wisconsin has increased jobs (including ones with competitive pay and benefits) and the area’s economy.
“The tribe has been involved in gaming for more than 15 years,” he explained. “In our experience, it has been all positive.”
On this side of the Great Lakes, the Stockbridge-Munsees continue to seek official state and federal recognition as a tribe with New York roots – the necessary first step towards their casino dreams.
Then again, they’ve been working on such recognition for 157 years, so patience is apparently in abundant supply.
Plus, they’ve got the expertise of Mohegan Sun developer Len Wolman to guide them.
“The tribe is continuing to move forward in design and development plans,” said Chicks. “We continue to have discussions with the governor’s office and in Washington, DC.”
Tribal workers have already cleared the casino site of 400 tons of material and over 1,000 tires that were leaching chemicals into the river, said Chicks, and the former salvage yard is now being reclaimed by nature.
“They’ve met every single representation,” affirmed Thompson Deputy Supervisor Bill Rieber. “They’ve been a pleasure to deal with – straightforward and honest. They’re gentlemen and ladies, and I think they’d make wonderful neighbors.”
Calling the tribe “realistic” about the casino, Rieber considers it just as possible that the Stockbridge-Munsees will gain a casino as the Mohawks. It remains a waiting game either way.
“I think they’re both exactly in the same boat,” he observed.
Casino-Free Sullivan County leader Joan Thursh agrees in that both tribes are awaiting further governmental approvals.
“I think they are all something to worry about,” she said, speaking for a 50-core-member group that has actively opposed local casinos.
She warned that the Stockbridge-Munsees could face a far bigger fight than the Mohawks should they proceed.
“They haven’t cleaned up the site,” she claimed of the tribe’s efforts, saying they hadn’t dug deep enough to uncover the potentially toxic junk some believe still exists at the casino site.
Thursh is optimistic, however, that any environmental concerns may never be an issue, not just because she believes the majority of Sullivan County residents don’t favor casinos but because of the fact that Kempthorne is still sitting on the Mohawks’ virtually complete application.
“We believe he really is opposed to these casinos,” she observed.
Nevertheless, Thursh knows there is much money and power to move the process along, promising that “should the Stockbridge-Munsees’ application be approved, there will be enormous resistance.”
But it’s not just about a casino in Sullivan County, said Chicks, who explained that official recognition of ancestral roots is most important to his people.
Indeed, at its press conference, the tribe showed off a copy of an old map from the Smithsonian Institution which showed the Town of Thompson area in Munsee territory.
“Behind all of the discussions and talks focusing on gaming is the history of the Stockbridge tribe,” he said (Sullivan County Democrat  9/27/07)



Scaled-down plan calls for 999 Sullivan homes

Times Herald-Record
September 18, 2007

Wurtsboro ­ A Monroe developer says he's pressing forward with a plan to build nearly 1,000 homes in Mamakating and Thompson, plus an industrial park.

Simon Gelb now says he's going to build 649 homes in Mamakating and 350 homes in Thompson in his proposed Kingwood subdivision about two miles from Exit 112.

That's a substantial reduction from his original proposal of 2,000 homes. It still would be one of the largest subdivision plans in the county. At full build-out, the equivalent of a village would rise in a three-mile area of what's currently an undeveloped forest between Rock Hill and Wurtsboro.

"There is a concern," Thompson Town Councilman Bill Rieber said. "It is a major development with regional significance."

Initially, Gelb had planned homes in the Town of Fallsburg as well, but his revised plans don't call for any at this time.

Gelb has presented plans to Thompson and Mamakating's planning boards. Both municipalities are fighting over who will be the lead agency in an environmental review. The commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation will likely determine this month who gets to lead the study.

"I am looking forward to the environmental review process and hearing the concerns of the community," Gelb said. "The project will preserve very substantial amounts of open space and provide very significant new commercial tax ratables, as well as a significant number of new jobs for local residents, so the project will be an asset to the local community."

Environmentalists say the project is too big, and could potentially do harm to the protected Basha Kill preserve.

"The Basha Kill (Area Association) has been closely monitoring this for a couple of years," Basha Kill Area Association President Paula Medley said.

Gelb would build a water and sewer treatment plant. He would develop 724 acres of the 1,830 acres that he owns. That would leave 1,106 acres of open space, of which 309 acres are wetlands. Aside from the homes, Gelb would built a light industrial park on 222 acres in Mamakating.

"Whether it is 1,000 or 700, it is subdivision sprawl in the Catskills," said Mort Starobin, a Manhattan developer who has a summer home in an enclave of historic homes called Mamakating Park Historic District. Those 40 homes and Camp Lacota abut the proposed development.

"If we lose this one, we are not going to stay in the area," Starobin said. "If we want subdivision sprawl with the taxes, we will move closer to the city." (TH-Record 9/18/07)
(Wurtsburo is about 20 miles south of Rochester on Route 209)




Zoning Questions Answered


The recent public hearings on the new Zoning regulations have generated considerable rumor and fear. But, mostly the gossip-based "facts" are just plain wrong and have no basis in reality. Whenever you hear someone say "The new code won't allow..." simply ask for the section number where that is stated. 99 times out of 100 they won't have an answer because it’s not true.


We’re not going to give you cute photos or caustic words…just the clarifications to very valid concerns.


You CAN: Mow your lawn on Sundays, (or whatever day you like), hang laundry, keep dogs and cats in your home, burn wood in your fireplace or heat with wood, fix your car in your driveway, install home outdoor lighting as you wish, and burn brush (with DEC permit as always).


You do NOT: have to landscape your home, pay a fee to put up your yard sale sign, or take down your clothes line.


Other concerns brought up at the public hearings require a little more explanation:


Concern: Why not have a referendum?

New York State Legislature has authorized and recommended Town Boards adopt zoning laws and does not provide a legal means for a referendum process. 


Concern: Families are limited to six people, why should the zoning code define what my family?

The new code, as well as the old code defined “family”. This is not to dictate the size of one’s family but rather is included to prevent the proliferation of illegal boarding houses and will be used only in this manner.


Concern: The code doesn’t let me keep the animals I want

Limitations on the number of certain large domestic farm animals that can be kept in residential zones for non-commercial activity have been law for nearly 40 years. The proposed Code actually increases the number of certain animals that can be kept, such as rabbits (unlimited), fowl/poultry increased from the existing 50 per acre to 100 per acre. If you want to keep a cow or horse and have 2 acres, go ahead.  Under the old code you needed more than 3 acres to do so.  And, there are no restrictions on animals for agricultural use.


Concern: The noise ordinance will limit what I can do, what if I want to mow my lawn and my neighbors complain?

There is no noise ordinance for family dwellings. There is, however a noise limit component contained in the Performance Standards (which have existed since 1969) which will only be applied to new commercial and industrial enterprises.


Concern: I can’t direct outdoor lights around my residence to shine where I want.

Restrictions on lighting exist for commercial enterprises, not single-family dwellings. In particular, the Code refers to parking lot light sources. The new Code was designed to limit ambient light given off by parking lot light fixtures so as to avoid unnecessarily disturbing neighbors. 



Concern: New businesses can’t start on Route 209

The new zoning map recognizes what businesses presently exists.  The “traditional business district” sections of Route 209 will remain. The goal of the new zoning is to provide for planned development where large business operations will not be permitted in the middle of residential zones. The square footage available for commercial development on Route 209 will actually increase, while at the same time preserving the residential aspects of the clusters of residential housing on Route 209.


Concern: What do you mean, I have to have “Open Space” next to my home?

The new Code seeks to get new Planned Districts, Multi-Family residences, Affordable Housing, and Major Subdivisions to preserve open space in their designs by way of incentive bonuses. This does not apply to one family dwellings, which do however have residential setback requirements just like the old code.


Concern: As a Business Owner I’ll have to get a permit each time I change my display.

A change of displayed items does not require approval. The current code requires a site plan review, which requires that all retail display areas be identified for new commercial construction. There is no change in this requirement.

Concern: I can’t put up a new sign, even for a yard sale.

Maybe yes, maybe no. The new Code has a user-friendly chart which shows what signs require permits (most commercial signs require permits under the existing law). There is no fee or deposit on yard sale signs because they do not require permits.


Concern: I can’t subdivide my land.

The new code does adopt some changes in zoning density by increasing the minimum acreage that is required for homes in some areas in order to minimize septic and water problems. One acre zoning can no longer be sustained without threatening the aquifers that hold the town's drinking water. There are also some areas where the environmental circumstances have made these properties greater than one acre. 


Concern: If I can’t subdivide my land, I’m going to lose out when I try to sell, (ie. lower density means lower value.)

Actually, larger lots with lower density are more valuable. The Real Estate market has long been "hot" for properties between 2 – 5 acres with the "hottest" lots at five acres or more. A third of all properties in the town are vacant lots of less than 5 acres so there are still plenty of affordable properties.


For additional information or clarification contact (Steven Fornal; Code Task Force Co-Chair; Planning Board Chairman at or 626-4621) and talk to him.  Don’t be one of those people who keeps “stirring the pot” filled with the wrong ingredients.





Dear Editor:


On September 23, Democrats in the Town of Rochester assembled to select our candidates for Town office for the November election.  The Town’s Democratic Committee interviewed every candidate who expressed an interest in receiving the Democratic nomination and endorsed the best of those candidates based on the candidates’ vision for the future, their experience, and qualifications.  And Democrats who attended the nominating caucus overwhelmingly supported the endorsed candidates: Pam Duke for Supervisor, Francis Gray and Donna Ragonese for Town Board, and Paul Shaheen, Esq. for Town Justice.  We are confident that these candidates, if elected by Rochester’s voters, will serve our community well and make difficult decisions fairly with the best interests of the Town at heart, rather than the best interests of a small minority.


We have been surprised by allegations put forth by political challengers that the nominating process was unfair.  The purpose of the nominating caucus was to select Democrats and candidates who support the Democratic agenda, and that we did.  To assert that the purpose of the caucus was to select their Republicans’ candidates instead discounts our party’s objective of putting forth well-qualified, intelligent, and civic-minded candidates.  Perhaps these challengers genuinely believe that the only way they can win this November is if they deprive voters of choice and win by default.


Rochester’s Democratic candidates are prepared to campaign on the basis of their qualifications and dedication to our community, a positive vision for our region’s future, and solid ideas derived from a free and open exchange of ideas.  Accordingly we have invited the Republican candidates to a Meet the Candidates night; unfortunately they have decided not to respond to our invitation.


This election will be one in which we expect a continuation of the falsehoods and misrepresentations that have been put forth in recent months by our challengers will be the norm.  By contrast, our Democratic candidates will continue to articulate positive ideas and rational discourse.  We urge voters to ignore the distractions and to focus on fact and truth this November.


Zali Win, Chair

Rochester Democrats


Dear All:


I am voting for the $33 million spending plan.  If you spend any time in the High School you know it needs improvements.  There is a large percentage of the project to be matched by New York State so the actual amount for the local tax base to cover is much less than that total.  Manna Joe Green made a presentation to the Rochester Town Board last week.  She has been involved in the process meeting once a week for many months.  Manna Joe supported the $33 million project that includes green building techniques.  This saves money over time.  


The school is in desperate need for renovation.  Please carefully consider the project's benefits to your largest investment, your home.


A YES vote for this project will boost your home's value.  Yes, that means all home values in our school district.  So the share for each of us remains basically the same.  A good school system with good facilities increases the value of our community. 


The most important part of supporting this project is obviously for our children.  What is more important than our children's education?  A loving nurturing family.  Anything else?


Vote YES!




Brinton P. Baker


Dear Editor:

We all want the best bang for the buck. So why are we being asked to support building an even bigger school for 25% less students over the next 10 years. Thats their own figures supported by 3 separate studies, paid for with your money. Now the district is spending $9000 on an advertising campaign to get a yes vote. Bigger will cost more to maintain, it will distract us away from the real issues of improving education standards.
The school needs to be renovated and meet modern standards in heating and insulation. Vacated space created by the falling role can be allocated to those areas in need, such as music and science.
After working on this project for three years they still don't get it. We all want great schools, but the money is not available for glitz, we need to streamline and prioritize.
Adding insult to injury while you are struggling to pull together the thousands of dollars to pay your tax bill by October 5th, you are being asked to vote yes on an unnecessary expansion project, that will raise your future tax bills even more for the next 15 years. Are they so immune to the pain?
In our modest attempt to throw light onto this insensitive behavior we will be countering the coming ad campaign. Alas we do not have $9000 of taxpayers money. So if you support our cause let us know in Money.

Vaughan L Smith



Dear taxpayers,


The problem remains that every "yes" vote for budgets or expansion-no matter how worthy in the long term- postpones any action on  meaningful reform of out-of-control property taxes.


As we in the reform movement have seen, the press and politicians point to the fact that people hesitate to come out and vote "no" on their school budgets as support for the current system.


"They aren't hurting financially or they'd come out in large numbers and vote 'No' ", is the constant refrain of those supporting the chaotic, confiscatory status quo.


We all know those school finance votes are useless and pertain to only that  small fraction of the budget that is  not already decided in advance.


People want to support their schools when, in fact, voting "yes" on these projects just adds to the suffering and postpones reform.


A "yes" vote  allows school people  to  acquire unchecked  power and a ready source of funds -for which they are seldom held accountable, when their expansionist plans go wrong.

No one is suggesting that a dangerous or critical situation shouldn't be taken care of IMMEDIATELY! It should... but expensive, dubious building expansion must be on hold until reform and accountability are in place.


Otherwise already beleaguered homeowners will be writing a blank check with their homes as security in a risky venture.


You will be reminded of the school ceiling that needed bracing before the school year could begin....or the multitude of other missteps and major cost overruns that plague school projects statewide.


Our solution to chaotic school taxes is, of course, a state takeover of funding through general revenue, and state oversight of building and spending which has proven to be effective and less wasteful in other places.


As much as we all support education even when it means sacrifice, at present the level of sacrifice to the property owners statewide is unacceptable.


In addition we know that  the enormous sums of money spent on education  do not necessarily benefit  the children.


We ( are currently asking for a state Blue Ribbon Commission to be empanelled  to finally get the facts on education funding and suggest alternatives to property taxes as the major source.


 A "NO" vote in your situation is a positive response in this instance.

It says, "We need facts; we need oversight; and we need education and funding reform before any more massive elective outlays occur."


Sadly "Yes" votes on this type of district by district enlargement of administrative fiefdoms postpones the day when reform will be taken seriously. We are in  crisis mode.


Gioia Shebar


Coordinating Committee of a non-partisan, citizen's group working in a coalition to reform education funding


Editor’s Note on Political Events.  We publish all events submitted by political parties as a public service and reserve the right to edit for decorum.  We do not endorse any political parties or candidates.


New Blog Established for Town of Rochester Community

We don’t know who established it, but its an interesting way to express your ideas.


 Friends of Historic Rochester Annual Meeting

Friday, September 14, 2007 at 7pm at the Rochester Reformed Church, Route 209, Accord.  Program:  Local History Preservation: History and Benefits, a slide presentation by Julian Adams, Community Coordinator, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. 


 Balloon Test This Weekend for Cellular Service Towers

The Town of Rochester and Homeland Towers have scheduled a balloon test for a visualization of the height of two proposed cell towers to be located at Route 209 and the town transfer station.   The test will be last for four hours over two days September 15 and September 16 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM, (rain dates are September 29 and 30) Please get out and take a look!


Reflective House Address Markers

The Kerhonkson-Accord First Aid Squad is offering reflective address markers for your home.  The markers ($18) are very visible and will make it much easier for emergency responders (first aid and fire) to find your house.  The Squad offers free instalation for seniors and the disabled.  For an order form,





Another wonderful “Heritage Day” in the Town of Rochester will be held on Saturday, October 6th between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Main Street, Accord.


Spearheaded by Friends of Historic Rochester, the day-long series of events and activities begins with a PANCAKE BREAKFAST prepared by the Fire Company at the Accord Fire Hall from 8-11 a.m.  Activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be concentrated at the Museum grounds, 12 Main Street, Accord.  As was the case last year, the entire Main Street will be “dressed up” with fall flowers, pumpkins, etc., as well as signage and old photographs along the street explaining the history of each property.


A new feature this year will be the GATHERING OF LOCAL AUTHORS with their publications on local history which they will be signing and offering for sale.  Other NEW ATTRACTIONS are goat-keeping, cheese-making and woodcarving.  Returning favorites include displays and demonstrations such as beekeeping, blacksmithing, candle dipping, and antique cars and farm machinery.


The Annual Art Show under the Tent has evolved this year into ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW AND SALES, featuring artists and artisans from the local area.


Visitors on October 6th will have access to MUSEUM displays, old maps, and local history files, including information on over 250 of the historic properties in the Town.  Two “picture walls” in the Museum are covered with 8x10” enlargements of old postcards and photographs of old-time sights, families, and events.  Upstairs will be guided genealogical research using the extensive resources of the Eleanor Rosakranse Genealogical Collection, and of a computer data bank which is focused directly on Town of Rochester and Ulster County families.  Available for purchase at the Museum will be local history materials, books, and other items.


Musical entertainment will be continuing throughout the day, including our own home-town bagpiper, Dorothy Sommer, whose band has won first place in U.S. competition and third place in the world on a recent trip to England.


Additionally, as part of Heritage Day 2007, the newly refurbished and opened PALENTOWN SCHOOLHOUSE MUSEUM will be available to visitors.


Parking and admission are free.  Lunch food will be available for purchase.  For further information on any of the aspects of Heritage Day 2007, please call (845)626-7104 or (845)687-9998.



Saunderskill Farms

#1.  SELECT VENDORS WANTED:  for Saundersill Farms'  Monthly flea market beginning August 4 through November on the first Saturday of each month (with Sunday as the rain date). 10 AM - 4 PM. with set up at 9:30 AM on Rt. 209, Accord, NY.  Bring you own table. $15 monthly fee to be donated to local non-profit organizations.  Contact:  Verna  845 626-4038.


 #2.  FLEA MARKET:  At Saunderskill Farms in Accord.  First Saturday of every month beginning August 4 through November.  10AM - 4 PM. 


 Rondout Central School District Capital Expenditures Vote

Here is an excerpt from the school's superintendent's recent newsletter:
High School Capital Facilities Project: The Board of Education approved a public vote on October 2 to consider the updated proposal for the high school facilities project. Information regarding the project will be posted on the website, as well as presentations throughout the month of September to parents, faculty and the community at large. The proposal has been made in two parts, a basic health and safety project, doing what needs to be done to bring the school into compliance with the various new codes for instruction, safety and accessibility, and a second part that focuses upon the instructional needs, particularly in the music, science and technology areas. Much more information will be available on the website and with a district wide mailing, and I encourage the entire school community to review the materials closely. There will also be presentations at parent meetings and a general information forum on September 25 at the high school auditorium. The project vote will be held from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2 at the High School Gymnasium.

Absentee ballot applications for the vote are available online at 


Rochester Residents Association Community Scholarship Recipients Announced


Accord, August 31.  The Rochester Residents Association today announced the recipients of its inaugural Rochester Community Scholarship Program.  Recipients will receive stipends of $250 to $1,000 to assist in expenses related to their first year in college.  The Community Scholarship Program is funded by donations from members of the RRA.  Because of generous donor support, the RRA was able to award more than the one $1,000 scholarship originally announced.  Recipients were selected by a committee of retired and active college professors and educators on a number of criteria including academic achievement and leadership qualities.


“We are delighted by the number of students who submitted applications,” said RRA president Zali Win.  “Each applicant was deserving in his or her own way and showed a diversity of strengths that speaks well of our community and its future,” Win said.  “We are pleased that we are able to help local students in the next step of their lives.”


Scholarship winners:


Anna Brown will attend Barnard College, where she will study art history, which she hopes to one day teach as a college professor.  Anna was a member of the National Honor Society and active in Arts for Peace, where she organized a fundraiser for refugees in Darfur  She was also a member of the Math Team, a co-editor of The Legend (the RVHS school newspaper) and studied Spanish and French. 


Michael Brown will attend SUNY Ulster, where he will matriculate in the Liberal Arts and Sciences program.  He is interested in emergency management and wants to be able to develop and implement methods for local and other governments to respond effectively to emergencies and crises.  At RVHS Mike excelled in programs that taught him how to create computer three-dimensional animation and was active in a number of sports.  He is also, at present, a candidate for the Town of Rochester Environmental Conservation Commission.  Mike will be the first member of his family to attend college.


Zachary Grovenburg will attend Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, where he plans to study environmental science and political science.  At RVHS, Zach was active in the Model OAS and was involved with a number of programs related to the environment, natural resource conservation, and green technology.  He is interested in building coalitions between governments, NGOs and the private sector to combat factors contributing to poverty and to raise public health standards.


Ben Hellman will attend SUNY New Paltz, where he will study Liberal Arts and Business.  At RVHS, Ben was a participant in the WISE Program, where decided that he wants to pursue a career in entrepreneurship.  Outside of school, Ben was a volunteer at Powell House, a youth retreat program in Chatham, NY, where he demonstrated his leadership ability and teamwork.


Andrew Neidhardt will study aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  At RVHS, Andrew was class salutorian, with a GPA of 98.72, a member of the National Honor Society, and active many extra-curricular groups including Student Congress, Model UN, Math Team and Mock Trail.  He was also active in the Cross County, Track and Ski teams. Andrew is the first member of his family to attend college and is a recipient of the Rensselaer Medal.


Emilia Stern will attend the University of Mary Washington in Baltimore, MD.  Emilia is interested in art, photography and design and envisions herself working at a magazine in designing layout or as an arts editor.  At RVHS, Emilia was a member of the National Honor Society and took honors classes in history and Spanish and also attended upper level classes at SUNY Ulster.  She was also played varsity soccer and was active in Newcomers Uplifted and other extra-curricular organizations.  A few months ago, Emilia traveled to Biloxi, MS and worked as a volunteer for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.


We congratulate all our recipients and are proud that you will be representing our community.


 Blaze destroys Accord home

ACCORD - A Sunday-afternoon fire completely destroyed a 2-story home and took more than 6 hours to extinguish.

Click Here!

A call came in about 4 p.m. for a brush fire in the vicinity of 232 Sundale Road, according to Accord Fire Chief William Farrell. When firefighters arrived, they found the home engulfed.

"It had about in hour head-start on us," Farrell said.

Fighting the blaze required the help of companies from several surrounding communities, including Olive, Kripplebush, Stone Ridge, High Falls, Napanoch, Kerhonkson and Cottekill. About 30 firefighters responded and the last equipment returned at about 10:30 p.m., Farrell said.

The occupants were out of town at the time of the blaze and have made arrangements to stay with family members, according to Farrell. The cause of the fire is still unknown and is under investigation, he said.  (Freeman 9/3/07)



Skate Time 209 Owners win National Award

Las Vegas — The Roller Skating Association International has awarded Terry and Len Bernardo, co-proprietors of Skate Time 209 in Accord, the 2007 Victor J. Brown Rink Operator of the Year Award. The announcement, made on Aug. 28 during the opening General Assembly, was one of the highlights of this year's annual RSA Convention.

Joe Champa, RSA president, said, "In the last 46 years, since the award was conceived, there have been several thousand past and current roller rink owners who were eligible for nomination. The fact that Len and Terry have won this prestigious honor in only their second full year of operation speaks volumes to their efforts and devotion to roller skating."

Bernardo, who owns the rink with his wife, Terry, was both ecstatic and humbled by the award victory. "We opened this business with the intention of providing a safe, healthy destination for the many youth in our area who previously had no facility of this kind," said Bernardo. "Our roller-skating rink, along with our very popular skateboard park, has proved successful with skaters of all ages and abilities, and that is reward enough. To win Rink Operator of the Year blows us away, as we know there are many other deserving rinks worldwide who share our vision of service and community."

The Victor J. Brown Operator of the Year Award is given annually as a symbol of respect and business excellence to individuals whose activities within the roller-skating industry go beyond personal business contribution. The honor of Operator of the Year recognizes those who, in the past year, have made an important contribution toward strengthening the position of commercial roller skating, the betterment of the industry, and the advancement of the goals of the RSA on an international level.

Skate Time 209 is a family entertainment center in the heart of Ulster County. Skate Time encompasses a roller-skating rink, skateboard park, snack bar, arcade and Watt's Your Hobby shop. Since opening in April 2006, Skate Time 209 has been named Best Small Business by the Ulster County Development Corp. and Ulster County Chamber of Commerce. Hudson Valley Magazine named Skate Time 209 "Best Place for a Kids' Party" in 2006.

For more information on all features of Skate Time 209, call 626-7971 or visit For more information on the RSA, visit



22 boys found safe in Minnewaska State Park

Ellenville - They were 22 boys, mostly teens, and three adult counselors, all from Brooklyn and all out to enjoy a late-day hike in Minnewaska State Park.
But they got lost on a long trail that runs between the park and the adjacent Sam's Point Dwarf Pine Ridge Preserve.
"It just got dark and they didn't know which way to go," said Lt. David Herrick, of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission Police.
But some in the group had cell phones and called for help. Eric Humphrey, Minnewaska's park manager, said the first report of the lost hikers came in around 9:30 p.m. They had gone into the woods around 5 p.m.
Park rangers and cops and some volunteers headed out. Herrick said the hikers were told to stay where they were - standard policy in such situations.
Humphrey said the youths had split into two groups and had only one flashlight between them. The first group was located around midnight and the other group about 15 minutes later, he said.
The youths and their counselors had been staying at a camp on Kauneonga Lake in Sullivan County and came over to Minnewaska for the day.
"They were cold and wet" after their night in the woods, Humphrey said. Emergency medical teams checked them all out, but there were no injuries and no one asked to go to a hospital, he said. (TH- Record 8/11/07)


 Marbletown Green Plans Withdrawn – A message from the Sponsors

Green concept last Wednesday. From our point of view, it was an eventful night, and perhaps a valuable step forward was taken by all of us.

During the meeting Peter Reynolds explained that our primary goal has been to generate an open and collaborative community conversation about the future of the orchard property, given that it will be sold in one form or another in the foreseeable future.

We undertook to start this conversation over the summer with the sketching of a 'seed' idea, called Marbletown Green. This idea was to first gather as many stated community goals and benefits as possible, into the 'greenest' project yet designed in the country, and then find

a developer to come in and build it. This vision was admittedly bold and the process unconventional. We had hoped it would inspire ideas and conversation and excitement rather

than a fight. But we have learned the obvious: something this large needs to be a publicly guided process or none at all. And we hope that by stepping back, we will provoke the community to look at its goals and strategies for meeting future growth more broadly, certainly before serious consideration of any such collaborative idea could ever take shape.

In an effort to shift attention back to this conversation about our future rather than about a specific idea, we have decided to stop advancing the Marbletown Green concept and have cancelled the

September 15th event. Meanwhile the landowners, Dan and Suzanne Hauspurg, are still open to

having a conversation about the future of the orchard as they reassess their options. If anyone or any group would like to keep talking about meeting the broad array of needs faced by Marbletown, and how this parcel of land could be used for the broadest community benefit, we

would be happy to meet with you. At the same time, if anyone is interested in buying the property so that it can remain an orchard, please contact Dan and Suzanne Hauspurg at the Inn at Stone Ridge. They are in the process of getting the property appraised that should be complete in 4-5 weeks and will consider offers in the meantime.

Thanks for your interest in these efforts so far. We hope to see you at future discussions about how Marbletown can prosper and protect itself heading into the future.






Twentieth Anniversary


To the Editor:


The Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy (RELC) is now twenty-years old. When you're working close to an organization, it is sometimes easy to forget important dates. And so we were surprised to note that the RELC turned twenty in August. RELC was incorporated under NY State’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, and the incorporators were Nancy Copley, Harry Hansen, and Eric Hertz. We congratulate them on their foresight, good sense and determination.


In the beginning, the name of the organization was the Rondout Valley Land Conservancy. At that time, the Conservancy was not yet able to accept easements, and so the first easement, the Gordon/Farquhar farm in  Stone Ridge, was actually granted to Mohonk Preserve and had to be held until the conservancy was approved as a 501c3 public charity by the IRS. That was in 1988. Two years later, the conservancy changed its name to the Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy to better describe its area of service.  Since its inception, thirty-eight land owners have donated conservation easements covering more than 3,000 acres to RELC, forever protecting for future generations open farmland, forest, wetlands and other important natural resources from future development


On behalf of RELC, its current and past board members and many volunteers, we thank our easement donors and the current owners of these important properties for their dedication to preserving open space and the essential character of the region in which we chose to live.


It's pleasurable work maintaining the natural beauty of our region, and we continue to encourage others to donate easements to the conservancy for the purpose of maintaining the rural character of the Rondout-Esopus Valley.


Happy 20th Birthday, RELC. And please visit us at




The RELC Board of Directors: 

Robert Anderberg, Jonathan Blair, Jac Conaway, Jen Cairo, Floyd Lattin, Paul Lenz, Walter Levy, Peter Nelson, Zali Win




To the Editor:


I was puzzled and disturbed by the letter about the Town of Rochester Historic Preservation Commission in the August 3 edition of the Blue Stone Press. With all the capitalized words sprinkled throughout, it verged on the hysterical and its allegations seemed intended to mislead people about the Commission’s current activities.


Since I began attending meetings as a member of the Commission just over six months ago, the major agenda items have included the design of a new Veterans Park on Town land behind the Friends of Historic Rochester and the production and placement of new signs with the names of the our Town’s hamlets. At our last monthly meeting on July 16, open to the public like all our meetings, the speaker was Lynn Garofalini, a staff member of the State Historic Preservation Office in Albany. Lynn, an Ulster County resident, spoke about recent National Register designations in the state and the changing criteria for designation.


As a lifelong resident of the region but a newcomer to the Commission, I want to say how impressed I am by all of the members. It’s inspiring, given our sometimes poisonous politics, to be part of a bipartisan group who take their responsibilities seriously, treat one another with respect and care deeply about our Town.


Embedded in the half-truths of the August 3 letter was the implication that local government has no place in the business of historic preservation. Does it? Of course. Like all the townships in our region, Rochester has a Historic Preservation Commission and has had one for twenty years.


Ward Mintz





Same Ol' Same Ol'


Dear Editor:


This is a response to the three letters of complaint printed over the span of two weeks, all from disgruntled Town of Rochester residents. Longtime residents.


One letter was from the wife of a Republican Club town councilman. One from an ever affable but clueless former supervisor. And one, just a regular longtimer.


All three complained about our longtime assessor not being re-appointed. All three spoke about outsiders getting positions. All three were confused as to what the Town Board was doing.


One example of many, many others should help relieve them of their confusion. In the August 6, 2007 edition of the Freeman, the column Real Estate Transactions listed the following arms-length market transaction in the Town of Rochester: Longtimer home of 52 years sold for $320,000. Newcomer home of 4 years sold for $330,000. The combined general and school taxes for each were $1,504 and $6,128 respectively.


Long time home owner paid one-quarter the taxes that the newcomer did.


The assessor knew when she came into the job that revaluation had not been done for 14 years prior (the State recommends every three years). She was in office another 12 years before a reval was finally accomplished and this was not at her urging rather via a threat of lawsuit.


Of course the longtimers of Rochester are shrieking their shrill complaints about a Town Board that will no longer allow one sector of the population to subsidize another. For the census data shows that over the past 30 years, well more than half the population moved into town. This clear majority has been uniformly charged more than their fair share in order to subsidize the tax bills of longtimers.


The Town Board in the Town of Rochester deserves a most robust round of applause for adamantly committing itself to excellence and competence in government so as to deliver service in the most efficient and proficient manner possible.  We now have a Comprehensive Plan and soon a Zoning Code that will allow the town to manage the growth that is to come. We now have a fine level of competence in government positions (the majority of which are still in fact filled by town residents). We will soon have wireless high-speed internet available on a near townwide scale. A world-class golf academy is coming to town. A rehabilitation center operated by a nationally renowned organization, offering hundreds of jobs is also on the horizon.


Of course, those banshees of doom and gloom must spew. It is what they do, being an election year and all. But, all the whining in the world cannot dismiss the reality as regards the accomplishments of the Town Board under the Pam Duke Administration.


With the above work already accomplished, with necessary statutory tools in place, the Town of Rochester's long term future is bright, indeed.


Steve Fornal






To the Editor;

I grew up in a beautiful, beautiful valley full of many  truck” or vegetable farms, many little old towns, and orchards that bloomed white and pink in the spring, with yellow wild mustard below.

There is not one farm left in that huge, fertile valley now.  All the little streams are encased in concrete.  It is all industrial parks, housing developments, freeways and strip malls.  If you have not witnessed such progress without balance or plan, it can be very hard to believe how completely and irrevocably it will change the land.

I want to thank the Town of Rochester citizens who have served uncounted hours on the Code Task Force, responding to public input and applying modern ideas towards our new zoning law.  Thanks to all the citizens who have participated and spoken up (loudly!) in the many public meetings, from the first Imagine Rochester focus groups to now, to help create a forward-looking zoning and town plan for all of us.

Especially, I commend the town board led by our elected supervisor Pam Duke, which set this open process in motion and has made it all possible.

The beauty of the Santa Clara Valley, where I grew up, has been lost forever.  But I hope and believe that, fifty years from now, farms and open space will still exist here in the Rondout Valley, due to the will of its citizenry.

Pamela Dean Strickler





Dear Editor:


On the heels of a 4% 'surge' in our school tax bill  comes the opportunity to vote on two propositions for capital building in the Rondout Valley School District.

These proposals, proposition A for 21 million dollars for basic health and safety measures as specified by the NYState Dep't of Education and proposition B, the luxury add on, for an additional 12 million for a total for both of 33 million.  While the bulk of these costs will not be born directly by the school district tax payers because of mitigating grants from the state, these costs will nevertheless be paid entirely, if indirectly, from tax dollars from NYState residents.  Bundled in to proposition B is the provision for utilizing 4.5% of the costs to be applied to energy saving measures which WILL PAY for them selves , most likely over the 15 year bond amortization period. This payback is achieved by reducing the amount of energy that has to be purchased each year to maintain the school - these dollars for energy come directly from the taxpayer. If carefully engineered "Green" measures are applied the installation costs can be paid back over a period of 15 years at a rate by the reduction to the yearly maintenance costs. Subsequent to that initial period of years comes nothing but savings that translate directly into local school district tax reductions - a small percentage of the total yearly tax bill but nevertheless a reduction.

After a big  NO vote on the last capital project proposal for the high school,  a Facilities Advisory Committee of pretty much all interested parties was again assembled, ostensibly to come up with a plan that would gain a YES vote.

Unfortunately the marketing 'skill' of the school board as a whole has devised a combination of choices that is  unacceptable.

Ironically some of the advisory committee citizens questioned whether Green building can really "pay back". This while WalMart is currently outdoing Google by building the world's largest photo-voltaic electric generating installation, a 22 megawatt solar array covering 11 buildings in California. Need I point out that if WalMart is investing money in something it most certainly improves their bottom line. The real estate section of the NYTimes is plastered with enticing ads offering newly refurbished condos ranging in price from 500 thousand to 7 million. If one observes the small print they all proudly offer the additional enticement that ALL of these offerings have applied for LEEDS certification, which means that they are being built as Green as can be. One cannot hope to do big business in real estate unless one builds Green.

Meanwhile the correlation between quality of physical plant and quality of education has never been questioned out loud by anyone in these committees. My own experiences as well as many studies show a low correlation between excellence of physical facilities and excellence of education- some really good education occurs in some pretty crummy venues - but Green building pays for itself.  These points alone constitute a significant education.

I am most surprised that self proclaimed Conservatives, some of them recently elected to the school board, have not been heard or read from regarding the tax and spend aspect of these very fiscally expansive proposals, especially when viewed in front of the backdrop of the recent school tax bill increase. I would also look forward to enthusiastic support from so called Conservatives regarding the proven fiscally conservative "pay back" feature of Green building as well as the ecological and energy conservative aspects there of.

I urge vote NO to proposition A. I urge an especially vehement NO vote for proposition B because it cynically and sleazily bundles luxurious educational plant features with "pay for itself" economical Green building.


Wait, I'm not done:


Consider, if you will, the hundreds of billions wasted in Iraq. some especially poignant moments: billions in no-bid contracts to corporations like Halliburton which frequently did not fulfill their way over-priced obligations; many billions in hundreds of tons of 100 dollar bills , shrink wrapped and stacked on pallets(to be used to bribe officials ?), un-accounted for;   billions poured into building schools for Iraqis! Every school district in the United States could have been nicely appurtenanced at no percieved additional cost AND some of our county graduates would still be alive to use their education.

While your at it - also vote NO on the mess in Iraq, when that opportunity comes up.


Claude Suhl - Town of Rochester






Upcoming Political Events

Editor’s Note on Political Events.  We publish all events submitted by political parties as a public service and reserve the right to edit for decorum.  We do not endorse any political parties or candidates.



Republicans to Hold Nominating Caucus

Town of Rochester Republicans will hold a nominating caucus for the purpose of nominating Republican candidates for town offices for the November 6, 2007 general election. 

Thursday, September 20, 7:00 pm

Accord Fire District Social Hall, Main Street Accord



Conservatives to Hold Nominating Caucus

Town of Rochester Conservatives will hold a nominating caucus for the purpose of nominating candidates for town offices for the November 6, 2007 general election.

Friday, September 21, 2007, 7:00 pm

Town Hall, Accord



Democrats to Hold Nominating Caucus

The Town of Rochester Democratic Committee invites all Democrats in Rochester to a caucus for the purpose of nominating Democrats and endorsed candidates for Town Offices to be nominated for the general election to be held on November 6, 2007. 
Sunday, September 23, 2007, 1:00 pm, Accord Fire District Social Hall
Main Street, Accord

Priority admission will be given to registered Democrats and invited guests.  Others are welcome on a space available basis.  Only registered Democrats may be present during balloting.

Democratic Fall Harvest Fundraising Event.
We would like to invite you to a Fall Harvest celebration featuring a silent art auction and "no junk" flea market.  The event will feature works of art donated by local artists, including:  of work from a number of local artists and designers, including Martin Puryear, Lesley Dill, Kathy Erteman, Sara Harris, Antonio Perez Melero, Marko Shuhan, Kathy Ruttenberg, and David Urso.  If you would like to donate something for the art auction or the "no junk" flea market, please email

Saturday, October 13, 4:30 to 7:30 pm, at Jeff and Pat Rosenberg's horse farm
2796 Lucas Avenue (1.5 miles north of 209), Featuring live entertainment, locally grown cider and other locally-provided refreshments.


Democratic Candidates for Ulster County Legislature BBQ
District One -- Ellenville, Rochester and Wawarsing
Please Join us for a Sunday BBQ!!
Sunday, September 16, 1 to 4 PM, Elks Lodge, Napanoch , $20 per person
to benefit Democratic candidates for Ulster County Legislature: T.J. Briggs, Len Distel, Mary Sheeley, Joe Stoeckeler
For more information, call 647-1191.
All proceeds benefit District 1 Democratic Committee




Community Scholarship Program
The Rochester Residents Association (RRA) is pleased to announce the establishment of a Community Scholarship Program.  The scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school senior from the Town of Rochester who demonstrates leadership and academic promise.  The scholarship will be awarded under the auspices of a Scholarship Committee appointed by the RRA. 

Scholarship Amount: 1,000


Application is due: August 15, 2007
Award announcement:  August 31, 2007
Scholarship Criteria:
Applicant must provide the RRA Scholarship Committee with a letter or essay of not more than 500 words outlining how further education will help fulfill the application’s goals or aspirations for the future.
In addition, the applicant must:
1.    Complete an application
2.    Be a resident of the Town of Rochester.
3.    Must provide two letters of recommendation (one from a teacher, if possible).
4.    Provide evidence that applicant has been accepted for admission to an accredited two- or four-year college or university.
All other qualifications being equal, preference will be given to students whose parents did not attend college.
Funds will be disbursed upon evidence of matriculation at an accredited institution.
For further information, contact the Rochester Residents Association by emailing: or writing to: PO Box 257, Accord, NY 12404.  Information is also available on our website, http://www.accord-kerhonkson


Reflective House Address Markers

The Kerhonkson-Accord First Aid Squad is offering reflective address markers for your home.  The markers ($18) are very visible and will make it much easier for emergency responders (first aid and fire) to find your house.  The Squad offers free instalation for seniors and the disabled.  For an application form,


Twilight Concerts in the Park

The third of a series of free concerts in the park will feature Rebecca Coupe Franks on Saturday, August 11th from 6pm to 8pm (rain or shine) at the Town of Rochester Park,  Accord on Saturday, August 11th. Bring your blanket or chairs and picnic (if you like). Enjoy this free entertainment as the sun goes down.  

For additional information, visit

The Rochester Residents Association is proud to be one of many sponsors of
this concert series.


Flea Market Featured at Saunderskill Farms


SELECT VENDORS WANTED:  for Saunderskill Farms'  Monthly flea market beginning August 4 through November on the first Saturday of each month (with Sunday as the rain date). 10 AM - 4 PM. with set up at 9:30 AM on Rt. 209, Accord, NY.  Bring you own table. $15 monthly fee to be donated to local non-profit organizations.  Contact:  Verna  845 626-4038.


FLEA MARKET:  At Saunderskill Farms in Accord.  First Saturday of every month beginning August 4 through November.  10AM - 4 PM. 




Accord, NY, 27 July 2007 – The Roller Skating Association International
(R.S.A.,) the recognized trade association of the roller skating industry, has
announced that Terry and Len Bernardo, Co-Proprietors of Skate Time 209 in Accord have
been included in the 2007 nominations for its highest members’ honor, the Victor J.
Brown Rink Operator of the Year Award.  The winner will be announced at the annual
R.S.A. convention to be held this August 27 – 30 in Las Vegas, NV.

The Victor J. Brown Operator of the Year Award, created in 1961, is given annually as a
symbol of respect and business excellence to individuals whose activities within the
roller skating industry go beyond personal business contribution. The honor of Operator
of the Year recognizes those who, in the past year, have made an important contribution
toward strengthening the position of commercial roller skating, the betterment of the
industry, and the advancement of the goals of the R.S.A. on an international level.

The R.S.A., based in Indianapolis, IN., includes over 900 member roller skating
facilities worldwide. It also serves those involved in various facets of the roller
skating and related industries such as teachers, manufacturers, distributors and other
elements of the roller skating industry. Rink Operator of the Year honors in 2006 were
awarded to Andy Starr of Rollerworld in Colchester, England.

For more information on all features of Skate Time 209, please call
845-626-7971 or click on  For more information on the RSA, please
click on


Swimming hole dispute deepens

High Falls - Hidden in the woods behind houses along Rondout Creek in High Falls, a young man in swimming trunks stares down from a ledge to the dark green pool of sparkling water some 40 feet below.
Suddenly, an impatient friend pushes him aside and launches himself into the swimming hole known to locals as the Ledges.
Behind the idyllic summer scene is a long-standing dispute between swimmers and the owners of the property, the D&H Canal Museum, which prohibits swimming at the site.
Now the museum is cracking down on trespassers.
Last week, the Ulster County Sheriff's Office arrested 12 people for trespassing and drinking on the D&H property.
This is no place for alcohol. A jumper must clear a 6-foot rock ledge before gaining a clear shot at hitting the water.
They don't always make it even when they aren't drinking.
The latest injury occurred three weeks ago, when a young man fell from the cliff and had to be hospitalized.
"There are at least three rescue calls there per year," said High Falls fire company member Martin Koehler, who assisted in the latest rescue. "They don't realize how dangerous it is."
That's not the only problem involving the illegal swimmers.
"The garbage they leave down there is disgraceful," Koehler says.
A beer can floats in the swirling water below the cliff. Discarded clothing, cigarette butts and broken beer bottles are piled up at the bottom of the ledge.
Volunteers from the museum have to clean up the mess that remains after the swimmers leave.
The D&H Canal Historical Society has restricted access to the area where the Ledges are located.
The property is only accessible on the weekends, during museum hours, and a free permit must be obtained from the museum, located on Mohonk Road.
Swimming there is prohibited.
"When you vandalize, you are stealing from the canal society," warns Gretchen Reed, president of the D&H Canal Historical Society's board of trustees.
Reed says the littering and trespassing show "a basic disregard and disrespect of property."
Last week, a 23-year-old swimmer from Rosendale who declined to identify himself disagreed that the area should be closed off to swimming.
"It's mostly just kids having fun," he said.  (TH-Record 7/7/07)




Wawarsing Town Board clears way for condo project

ELLENVILLE - The Wawarsing Town Board has given its OK to two projects that will clear the way for Wawarsing Estates, a 180-unit condominium development at U.S. Route 44/state Route 55 and Route 209.

On Thursday, engineering consultant Dennis Larios of the Kingston firm Brinnier & Larios recommended the board approve plans to form the Wawarsing Estates Sewer District, near the Kerhonkson Sewer Improvement Area, and an extension of the Kerhonkson Water District, both of which would serve the new development. Larios said the addition of new customers will help pay the cost of the existing system.

A representative from Chazen companies said the project developer will pay $400,000 of the cost of the new sewer district, with the town contributing $111,000. New users would each pay a projected $668 in capital costs, as well as projected usage costs of $320, amounting to $988 yearly.

Because that amount exceeds the state Department of Audit and Control's allowable threshold, the sewer project will receive a second layer of scrutiny at the state level, Larios said.

The extension of the Kerhonkson Water District will be funded by a bond secured by the town, and paid for by users. The water project, estimated at $519,000, will be financed by users of the expanded district at a cost of about $599 per year, officials said.  (Freeman 7/9/07)


Stone Ridge Orchard Development Plans

Stone Ridge — Dan Hauspurg wheels his pickup to a stop and steps out onto the rocky hillside.

Beyond the stunted apple trees, the Catskills hang against the western horizon. He sweeps his arm across the tree line and around to the east, where Skytop Tower juts above the Shawangunk Ridge.

There's not a power line, not a house, not a road in sight, none of the things that use fossil fuels for power and, in the process, spew polluting carbon dioxide into the air. Hauspurg sees something new spreading over the hillside — a community where people can live without contributing to the carbon increase. The idea is called "carbon zero."

If Hauspurg succeeds, his Marbletown Green project could be the first community in the country to reach that goal. The lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, devastated by Hurricane Katrina, is looking at the concept, too, but it seems further from becoming reality. The Town of Woodstock in Ulster County is encouraging residents to move in this direction, as well.

The issue has attracted international attention. Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, wants to open a carbon zero city in late 2009. England has mandated all new homes be carbon zero by 2016.

Hauspurg's 147 acres sit at the northeast corner of the intersections of Routes 209 and 213. He did not put a dollar figure on the plan.

He and his partners want to create a development centered on green — environmentally friendly — concepts.

It would mix green housing with similar farming and businesses, he said. The western end of the development would add residential streets at the southern end of the hamlet of Stone Ridge. The center section would remain as farmland, with the eastern portion devoted to multifamily and single-family housing, he said. A new Town Hall, post office and the local library might join the mix, he said.

The development would rely on solar photovoltaic energy from a 4-acre solar farm and building roof installations. Power also would come from Central Hudson Gas & Electric Co.'s nearby hydroelectric plant. Developers would harness geothermal power, he said.

"You can do it with existing technology," he said.

Developers still have lots of details to work out during the next three to seven years, including holding discussions with local residents first.

"We want to get their ideas," Hauspurg said.

The third of four meetings is Aug. 4 at Ulster County Community College. (TH-Record 7/23/07)


Gnome Chompsky at Kelder’s Farm Inducted into Guinnes Book for World Records


Kerhonkson — Gnome Chomsky, the gigantic garden gnome that looms over Kelder's Farm on Route 209, now looms large in the record books. Chomsky has been officially inducted in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Named for the voluble leftist linguist, the towering (13' 6") guardian of the farm's Homegrown Mini-Golf course has become a popular figure around town, famous for his hand-held bouquets, his Christmastime suit of lights and the extra-extra-large clothing, such as a scarf from the local 4-H chapter that he sports in cold weather.

Chomsky is the brainchild of Maria Reidelbach, who worked with fellow artists Ken Brown and John Hutchison to create the concrete giant.

"Kerhonkson needed something big and wonderful to draw attention to this beautiful part of Ulster County," said Reidelbach, "and Kelder's Farm is such an authentic, welcoming place, I thought a traditional, friendly, roadside colossus would be just the thing."

Like so many other residents, Chomsky is a transplanted New Yorker, having started out as a downtown, flower-draped, chicken-wire-and-wood guardian of lower Manhattan. When Reidelbach moved north, Chomsky came along. And when she began thinking about world records, she discovered that he needed more than a face lift to qualify. He'd need to be concretized, same as his miniature garden mates.

It was no easy adjustment, but Chomsky has endured, and in celebration of his official status, the farm will hold a party in the gnome's honor from 3 p.m. to dusk on June 30, featuring live old-time and pop music by local bands, hayrides and mini-golf. (TH-Record 6/23/07)


Heart attack killed swimmer at Mohonk


TOWN OF ROCHESTER - An Ohio woman staying at the Mohonk Mountain House died of a heart attack while swimming in Mohonk Lake on Thursday.

The incident originally was reported as a drowning, according to state police at Highland, but it later was determined that Linda S. Hamer, 52, of Cincinnati, Ohio, suffered a "cardiac event" while swimming with family and friends, police said.

Hamer was taken out of the water immediately by Mohonk staff and family members, who administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation until an ambulance arrived. Emergency medical technicians pronounced Hamer dead at the scene.

She was taken to Kingston Hospital where an autopsy, performed on Friday, confirmed she died of natural causes and that her death was not due to drowning.  (Freeman 7/14/07)


Ellenville Featured in New York Times

TO find Gary Planken on most summer weekends in Ellenville, N.Y., you need to look up. When the wind is right, he will probably be strapped to a hang glider, banking off the breeze some 3,000 feet above Ellenville, a rural village that sits a bit under 100 miles northwest of Manhattan.

From that height, Ellenville’s dozens of former bungalow colonies, now given over to rot and termites, can seem insignificant, said Mr. Planken, a filmmaker from Long Beach, N.Y. But during their mid-20th-century heyday, those colonies drew thousands of vacationers every summer.

What still stands out, though, is what attracted many of those visitors in the first place: nature, lots of it, fanned out lushly between the Shawangunk Ridge and the Catskills, and still abundant, despite the occasional weed-choked ruins nearby.

“The landscape is just endless treetops and rivers and lakes,” Mr. Planken said. “It’s spectacular.”

Those trees also provide privacy for his house, a 600-square-foot former one-room schoolhouse built in the 1930s, which cost $24,000 in 2001, though it lacked heat, plumbing and appliances.

Mr. Planken, who shares it with his wife, Macarena, and their daughter, Nicole, admits the quarters can seem tight — the master bed is a pull-out couch — but compared with the tent they camped in for years in the field that doubles as the hang-gliding landing site, their house is downright capacious.

Plus, he said, “we didn’t want anything big, because my wife didn’t want to clean, and I didn’t want to do too much work.”

Second-home owners for years staked their claims on the fringes of Ellenville, which is ringed by hills. But recent weekend arrivals are venturing closer to downtown, which in the last few years has cleaned itself up, though there are still some problems. Couples now stroll on blocks where, according to the local police, crack dealers menaced passers-by a decade ago.

It’s understandable, then, that one of the first improvements Tachi Taylor made to his house — a 1,900-square-foot 1958 contemporary with three bedrooms and two and a half baths on almost an acre of land in the town’s Westwood neighborhood — was to rip out the security system.

Mr. Taylor, who lives in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, works in the word-processing department of a law firm and runs a tailoring business on the side. In March 2006, he paid $197,500 for the house, though it needed a top-to-bottom scrubbing.

“It was like ‘Sanford and Son,’ with rooms piled to the ceiling with junk,” said Mr. Taylor, who lives with his partner, Harry Rodriguez. “But underneath there was a great house dying to get out.”

Its open layout and large rear windows also complement their collection of midcentury Danish furniture, he said. But in a region dominated by 18th-century farmhouses, finding something with modern contours wasn’t easy, he added.

In New Paltz, or Accord, where they have friends, “everything was either too close to the road or too dark,” Mr. Taylor said. “This feels like a city house in the country.”

The Scene

Buying lumber, paint or wine is usually the reason Mr. Taylor heads to Ellenville’s tiny downtown, which is spaced along two parallel main streets, Center and Canal.

Occasionally, though, he will eat dinner at Aroma Thyme Bistro, a four-year-old restaurant that real estate agents, village officials and longtime residents say has been a spark for revitalization in Ellenville. Fifty people filled the dining room on a recent Saturday night, listening to a man pluck a modernized washtub bass while they ordered from a diverse menu that included vegan options like wheatgrass shots ($4) and seitan cutlets ($16).

Another business that attracts residents to Ellenville’s sidewalks after dark is the Shadowland Theater, but only during the warmer months because it isn’t heated. The theater, a restored 148-seat Art Deco movie hall, began staging plays in the 1980s. It has been under new management for the last three years, and now regularly sells out.

A Mexican restaurant and a pizza parlor opened nearby last spring, joining a recent clothing shop and a florist. And a Sunday afternoon farmer’s market started up in a Center Street parking lot last month.


Brightening other blocks is a task for Ellenville’s burgeoning artistic community, which this weekend starts its second “10x10x10” festival, which will install paintings and sculptures in empty store windows for a six-week run.


The ingredients for a village-wide revival, similar to what has happened over the last decade in upstate communities like Hudson and Rosendale, seem to be in place: low-slung 19th-century storefronts, walkable blocks, manageable traffic and a core of dedicated pioneers.

Environmental conservation efforts, too, are increasing, most notably to protect the Shawangunk Ridge, whose forested flank dwarfs Ellenville’s tallest steeples. With much of the ridge’s northern portions already owned by the state or by environmental groups like the Nature Conservancy, the Shawangunk Ridge Coalition, which formed in 2000, is focusing on acquiring land to the south, before developers arrive.


New York’s governor has the power to approve two Indian-run casinos for either Ulster or Sullivan County without local approval under the terms of a 2001 state law. And, although nearby towns like Saugerties and Woodstock have passed resolutions banning the casinos, Ellenville’s village government is keeping its options open. Many weekenders worry that casinos would put too many cars on Routes 17 and 209, the region’s main roads.

The Real Estate Market

That a vintage single-family weekend home on a sizable lot close to New York City could be had for less than a half-million dollars was hard for Ellen Archer to fathom at first.

Indeed, over a nine-month period, most of the 85 homes available in upstate communities like Gardiner, Stone Ridge and Kerhonkson were “new homes with plastic columns” on one acre, she said.

Finally, in April 2006, Ms. Archer, an actress who lives on the Upper West Side and does audio books and voice-overs for television commercials, found a two-story cedar-shake farmhouse. Built in 1920, it is 1,350 square feet and has three bedrooms and one bathroom — all for $399,900. But the kicker was the 45 acres, mostly woods, that came with it.

“It didn’t make any sense for me to come all the way up here and be able to hear my neighbors’ conversations,” she said.

Her house, which technically sits in Wawarsing, just outside Ellenville, is typical of those found along the village’s edges.

In November 2006, for example, a two-story Cape in Wawarsing’s Napanoch section, on five acres, sold for $190,000, according to the Ulster County Multiple Listings Service. The house, near the Rondout Reservoir, has two bedrooms and two baths and is 1,160 square feet.

In comparison, village homes generally date to the 19th century and are on tiny lots, like those along Maple Avenue, whose shingles, Queen Annes and Greek Revivals are being considered for historic-district status.

Yet across the board, prices aren’t too different. In October 2006, a 2,130-square-foot house on Warren Street, built in 1900, with seven bedrooms and two bathrooms, on about a fifth of an acre, sold for $164,000, according to the same listings service.

Early this month, 100 Wawarsing properties were for sale, priced between $95,000 and $635,000, with an average price of $220,000, though a third of all the listings were between $200,000 and $300,000.

Renovations are usually in order, though, as houses often reflect the tastes of 40 years ago, which is when many owners moved in, said Felicia Raphael, of Coldwell Banker Currier and Lazier Realty in Rhinebeck.

“They probably need an aesthetic upgrade,” she said. “But, over all, people who live in houses for a long time tend to take better care of them.”



POPULATION There are 3,926 people in the village of Ellenville, according to a 2006 estimate by the Census Bureau, and a total of 13,665 in the surrounding town of Wawarsing, which includes the hamlets of Napanoch and Cragsmoor.

SIZE Ellenville is 8.7 square miles, while Wawarsing is about 130 square miles, according to the census.

WHO’S BUYING Actors and cinematographes priced out of New Paltz and Gardiner, N.Y.; couples who want modern midcentury country homes

GETTING THERE From the George Washington Bridge, take the Palisades Interstate Parkway north to Route 6, then west through Harriman State Park to Route 17. At Exit 113, take Route 209 north for 12 miles to the village. Short Line buses run from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan to Canal Street three times a day. The one-way fare is $29.05, and the trip takes two to three hours.

WHILE YOU’RE LOOKING The Nevele Grande Resort & Country Club (1 Nevele Road, 800-647-6000; is a survivor of the Borscht Belt era, and its 1,000-seat Stardust Room still plays host to comedians. It has two swimming pools, tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course. Rooms start at $199 a night and include brunch and dinner. The Days Inn Wurtsboro (21 Perron Drive; 845-888-2727;, off Route 209 in next-door Sullivan County, has weekend rooms for $109 a night.




Help Wanted

Secretarial, Accord.  Seeking part-time (flexible 10-15 hours per week; $12.50/hour) secretary with reliable professional demeanor, excellent organizational and written and verbal communications skills.  Must have work experience in Microsoft Word (type 45 wpm, knowledge of formatting, mail merge), Microsoft Excel (data entry/sorting, account reconciliation).  Experience in database management software (Access) a plus.  Equal Opportunity Employer. Email resume/statement of qualifications to 




Community Scholarship Program

The Rochester Residents Association (RRA) is pleased to announce the establishment of a Community Scholarship Program.  The scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school senior from the Town of Rochester who demonstrates leadership and academic promise.  The scholarship will be awarded under the auspices of a Scholarship Committee appointed by the RRA.
Scholarship Amount: 1,000
Application is due: August 15, 2007
Award announcement:  August 31, 2007
Scholarship Criteria:
Applicant must provide the RRA Scholarship Committee with a letter or essay of not more than 500 words outlining how further education will help fulfill the application’s goals or aspirations for the future.
In addition, the applicant must:
1.    Complete an application
2.    Be a resident of the Town of Rochester.
3.    Must provide two letters of recommendation (one from a teacher, if possible).
4.    Provide evidence that applicant has been accepted for admission to an accredited two- or four-year college or university.
All other qualifications being equal, preference will be given to students whose parents did not attend college.
Funds will be disbursed upon evidence of matriculation at an accredited institution.
For further information, contact the Rochester Residents Association by emailing: or writing to: PO Box 257, Accord, NY 12404.  Information is also available on our website,




Information Meetings on Draft Zoning Code Revisions

The Town of Rochester Code Task Force has scheduled two public information meetings for the purpose of presenting the Draft Zoning Code and Zoning Map for public comments and questions. Residents are encouraged to attend. Written comments are also welcomed and should be mailed, e-mailed, or delivered to the Town Supervisor's office.

The meetings will be:

Saturday July 14, 9 AM at the Accord Firehouse Social Hall

Monday July 16, 7 PM at the Rochester Firehouse #2 (Samsonville Rd)


The draft of the information to be presented is available on the Town of Rochester website.

Please check back for updates as this is a working document.






Special Advance Screening of Racing Daylight

Racing Daylight, a film starring local actors Melissa Leo and David Strathairn, and directed by Accord resident Nicole Quinn, will be presented at a special advance screening at the Rosendale Theatre on Saturday July 7th at 5pm.  The film was shot on location in Ulster County.  Admission is $20 and proceeds will benefit the Marbletown Democratic Committee.


Stone Window Gallery features Arlene Cohen

Stone Window Gallery invites you to an exhibit featuring Arlene Cohen's recent barn series paintings.  The barns  featured are located in the Rondout Valley of New York.   Arlene's focus is architectural motifs.  This exhibit features her latest series of paintings of barns located in the Rondout Valley.  She has been a resident of the Hudson Valley for the last three years. Prior to that time, she lived and worked on Long Island, where she exhibited widely. Arlene was an art teacher.  The exhibition will run through July 28th.



Accord Resident Rob Norris and Bongos release CD

The special edition of the Bongos first CD "drums along the hudson" has arrived, along with a new music video for bulrushes 2007, a new version of the song produced by our long time fan Moby, especially for this CD. 

Be sure to visit our myspace page for more info.

We would like to thank everyone for their love and support through the years. the new CD looks and sounds incredible and the music video is a delight to behold--we are completely thrilled and hope you enjoy them too!


Milford Ebert Passes

Milford Ebert, a lifelong resident of Mettacahonts in Accord, passed away on May 27 at the age of 75.  Mr. Ebert was employed at Channel Master in Ellenville for more than 35 years and served in the National Guard.  He was an editor of The Accordian, the newletter of Friends of Historic Rochester, of which he was a longtime member and dedicated volunteer.  He was an avid outdoorsman and Yankees fan.  He is survived by Lucille, his wife of 42 years,  his son Christopher and his wife Anita of Macedon, NY, and his son Christopher and his wife April of Accord, four grandchildren and his cousin, Bruce Schoonmaker and his wife Beverly of Accord.  Services were held on May 31 in Kerhonkson.  Contributions may be made in his name to Friends of Historic Rochester, PO Box 229, Accord, NY 12404.




Rochester Environmental Conservation Commission Seeks New Members

Do you feel it is important to keep our drinking water clean and abundant, preserve space for hunting and fishing, and provide spaces to enjoy the great outdoors, while balancing the needs of a developing community? The Rochester Environmental Conservation Commission (ECC) has seats available for interested citizens to participate in our town government. Help us conserve the natural features and open spaces that contribute to the rural character of our town.

Applicants should be knowledgeable in, or be interested in attaining knowledge on, the environmental and natural resources of the town; possess a compelling interest in the work of the ECC; be able to work as part of a team in a consensus-based decision-making environment; demonstrate dedication and commitment by attending regular monthly meetings, and be willing to share ideas and debate opinions in a respectful way in a public environment.

The ECC meets the second Thursday of each month at the Rochester Town Hall at 7 pm. Members shall be recommended by the ECC and appointed by the Rochester Town Board.
If you are over the age of 16, a resident, business owner, or property owner in Rochester and are interested in joining the Commission, please send a letter of interest and a resume to: Rochester ECC, Rochester Town Hall, 50 Scenic Road, Accord, New York, 12404 before September 1st, 2007.  After that date candidates will be contacted to set up an interview.  For more information call Kristin Marcell at 845-626-3271.



Rochester Crash Injures 2

Two drivers were hospitalized after their cars collided on Upper Cherrytown Road in the town of Rochester.  Ryan Layton, 18, of Cottekill and Reginald Shorter, 39, of Ellenville, were both taken to Kingston Hospital for evaluation and treatment.  State Police at Ellenville said Layton’s 1995 Toyota pickup truck apparently crossed over the center line and the two cars sideswiped each other.  Layton’s truck left the road and struck a tree, police said.  He was not wearing a seatbelt and sustained head trauma.  Shorter’s 1999 Saturn station wagon half overturned and slid on its side off the road, police said.  Shorter sustained lacerations, scrapes and bruises.  Both men were alone in their vehicles, police said, and there may be charges pending.  Kerhonkson-Accord Rescure assisted at the scene.  Freeman 6/17/07


Route 209 crash sends Kerhonkson woman to hospital, Cottekill woman to jail

A Kerhonkson woman was seriously injured when her car was struck head-on on Route 209 Saturday night, flipping her vehicle onto its side.
Jacqueline McDowell, 40, was driving south at 11:28 p.m. Saturday on Route 209 when a northbound car driven by Jennifer VanKleeck, 22, of Cottekill, crossed over the double yellow line, Ulster County Sheriff’s deputies said. The two cars hit head on, causing McDowell’s vehicle to flip on its side and VanKleeck’s car to come to rest off the side of the road in brush.
McDowell sustained a broken leg and internal injuries. She was airlifted to St. Francis Hospital.
VanKleeck was not injured.
VanKleeck was charged with vehicular assault, a felony, driving while intoxicated, refusing to take a breath test, misdemeanors, and failure to keep right, a violation.
She was arraigned and sent to Ulster County Jail on $2,500 bail. (Freeman 6/19/07)




Planning Board Chastised for Ignoring Law

Planning Board Chair Steve Fornal chastised four senior planning board members at the June 19th meeting, stating that they failed in their responsibility to follow established procedures by refusing to require a public hearing for a mine renewal application.  Such a public hearing is required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and all Planning Board member attended two training sessions on the Act and such procedures.  He indicated that the members didn’t appear to “get it”.  By ignoring the fact that four new homes were being build immediately adjacent to the mine in question, the Planning Board members ignored the conditions of a special use permit that enables the mine to operate.  Fornal  summed up the planning board's handling of the mining application before them: The Planning Board had not demanded an independent noise study for the expansion even as the submitted noise study was demonstrated to be flawed. The Planning Board required no traffic data to be submitted even though the in force Master Plan of the town states commercial trucks should not pass through residential zones. The Planning Board demanded nothing in the way of dust suppression analysis. Therefore, the town's Planning Board essentially allowed a pre-existing, unpermitted mine to expand without any mitigation of impacts to surrounding properties.


Fornal pointed out that chief among a Planning Board's responsibility is to assure everyone's land use rights are honored. To allow unmitigated commercial mining in residential zones negates the right of residential users to a residential quality of life. In other words, the town's Planning Board allowed yet another incompatible adjacent land use to devalue neighboring properties and deny the owners of those properties the use they are entitled to by law.





Big Plans for Hudson Valley Resort

CLEVELAND, Ohio) May 8, 2007 -- Vijay Singh, 31-time PGA Tour winner and 2000 Masters Champion, is set to design a brand new 18-hole, par-72 golf course at The Lexington at Hudson Valley Resort in Kerhonkson, New York.


The 6,500-yard course will be Singh’s first golf course design project to debut in the United States. It is scheduled to open to the public in late 2009. Singh will work with his design partner Brit Stenson. Both men have previously developed two courses together- one in China and the other in Dubai. They are currently working on another course to be constructed in Fiji, Singh’s native homeland.

“We couldn’t be happier that Vijay chose to have The Lexington at Hudson Valley Resort be home to his first and currently only USA signature course,” said Steve Belmonte, President, CEO and Partner of Vantage Hospitality’s Lexington Collection and investor in the current property. “His expertise in golf and identifying the characteristics of what makes a great and challenging course will be reflected in this championship project.”

According to owner and developer Eliot Spitzer of E&S Development and Properties, the existing 18 holes at the resort will not be touched while construction is underway on nine new holes of Singh’s championship course. Once those are completed, the 18 holes will be reconstructed as the other nine.

In addition to the new championship course, a Vijay Singh Golf Academy is also in the plans to open at the resort in 2009.

Throughout the next two years, the 300-room Lexington at Hudson Valley Resort is set to undergo $20 million in renovations. The 41,000 square foot executive conference center, full-service European spa, state-of-the-art amphitheatre, exhibit hall, 12,000 square foot grand ballroom, new outdoor garden terrace tent, indoor & outdoor swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts and miniature golf will all be significantly enhanced. New homes adjacent to the signature golf course will be constructed as well, giving the resort a substantial residential offering.

The Lexington Collection hotel chain premiered to the public in 2006 and has been charting a new course in the hospitality industry since then. The Lexington brand is available to three and four star hotels and offers hotel owners four distinct products - hotels, suites, villas and resorts, and plazas. In addition, the Lexington Collection provides owners with short-term contracts, a low monthly fee, a choice in their amenities and services, all part of Lexington’s freestyle lodging model.

As The Lexington Collection- an innovative and affordable alternative to franchising - continues to make a major impact in the industry, additional major announcements on strategic and operational developments will be made.
For more information on The Lexington Collection, visit or contact Steve Belmonte at 877-LEX-7171.






Drug sweep nets 17 suspects; two appeared in video with assault rifle

ELLENVILLE - Seventeen people, including two who appear in a YouTube video that features an assault rifle, were busted Thursday in a drug sweep that police said took crack cocaine dealers off the street.

Timothy Matthews, a detective lieutenant in the Kingston Police Department and head of the recently established Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team, or URGENT, said the arrests were the culmination of a four-month buy-and-bust investigation into drug trafficking in southern Ulster County, particularly the town of Wawarsing and the village of Ellenville.

"These are the ones who were putting drugs on the streets in the village of Ellenville," Matthews said. "They were organized."

The most significant arrests were made after police obtained sealed indictments against the suspects, the URGENT chief said.

MATTHEWS said some of those arrested were members of the Bloods gang and were known as the Four Block Bloods - a reference to an area they controlled in Ellenville. One of the arrested members of the Four Block Bloods, Antonio Vega, 21, of the Terrace Motel in Ellenville, appears in a rap video called "What It Is" that's been posed on YouTube, a popular video-sharing site on the Internet, Matthews said.

Vega was charged with three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and six counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, all felonies, according to a press release from URGENT.

Matthews said another of the 17 suspects, Tyjuan Price, 28, of the Village Motel in Ellenville, also appears in "What It Is," a four-minute clip featuring rap music, vulgarity and frequent use of the 'n' word. Some people featured in the video wear red clothing and/or red bandannas, signifying membership in the Bloods, Matthews said.

MATTHEWS said "What It Is" and another four-minute video shot in Ellenville and featuring members of the Four Block Bloods were filmed in May in Ellenville but that the drug investigation, which included purchases by an undercover police officer, had begun previously.

Price, who was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, is seen in "What It Is" standing next to a person who is holding an assault rifle. Price was not charged in the sealed indictment, and Matthews described him as an associate of the Four Block Bloods.

ELLENVILLE Police Chief Philip Mattracion said Thursday's arrests, most of which occurred in the early morning, are examples of the impact URGENT can have in small communities that don't have sufficient resources to conduct their own drug investigations.

"It (the drug sweep) has put a major dent in taking down some of the organization here," Mattracion said.

Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum said of the suspects: "They were the guys that were running the show down there, there is no doubt about it."

Mattracion, whose department provided URGENT with some leads in the drug investigation, said Ellenville is made up of "good, hard-working people" and that the people arrested on Thursday are not representative of the community at large.

BESIDES Vega, other suspects named in sealed indictments and identified by Matthews as members of the Bloods were:

* Cory Steele, 21, of 132 Center St., Ellenville, charged with three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and six counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, felonies.

* John Sims, 24, of 18 Park St., Ellenville, charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

* Miguel DeJesus, 18, of the Colonial Motel, Wawarsing, charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

* Emmanuel Martinez, 25, of 140 Ulster Heights Road, Wawarsing, charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

OTHERS indicted, but not identified as gang members, were:

* Nicholas Keener, 24, of 8 Elting Place, Ellenvllle; Rodney Shackelford, 48, of 171 Samsonville Road, Wawarsing; and Robert D. Paulsen, 47, of 10 Academy St., Kerhonkson. Each was charged with two counts of felony sale and possession.

* Rachael L. Irwin, 26, of 24 Washington Ave. Ellenville, charged with two counts of felony drug sale and three counts of felony drug possession.

* Edwin Torres, 27, who is incarcerated at the Somerset County Jail in New Jersey, charged with two counts of felony sale and two counts of possession.

ALSO ARRESTED during Thursday's sweep were: Carl A. Stele, 22, of 132 Center St., Ellenville, charged with two counts of felony criminal possession of a controlled substance; Jesus Lasanta Jr., 24, of 21 Clark St., Ellenville, charged with misdemeanor drug possession; Sarah Gilbert, 18, of 1400 Ulster Heights Road, Wawarsing, charged with endangering the welfare of a child; and Carmen Santiago, 45, of 1400 Ulster Heights Road, Wawarsing, charged on a warrant for promoting prison contraband.

Jennifer L. Smith, no age given, of Central Avenue, Rosendale, and Althea Werner, 30, of 1 Hardenburg Lane, Rosendale, were charged with misdemeanor drug possession after being seen purchasing crack cocaine, police said.

All of the people arrested on Thursday were sent to the Ulster County Jail without bail, expect for Lasanta, who was jailed in lieu of $5,000 bail; Steele, who was jailed in lieu of $30,000 bail; and Gilbert, Santiago and Price, who were released with appearance tickets.

MATTHEWS said a total of 60 officers from various police departments conducted Thursday morning's sweep. Among those involved were members of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, he said.

Matthews said police confiscated about 5 ounces of crack cocaine with a street value of about $14,000. Police also seized about $5,000 in cash, but no weapons, he said.

He also said undercover officers bought about $5,000 worth of crack cocaine during the course of the investigation. (Freeman 6/29/07)




Amended casino restriction exempts Wawarsing

By Katie Young, Freeman staff

06/22/2007 THE STATE Assembly has approved an amended bill that would prevent a casino from being fast-tracked in Ulster County - except in Wawarsing, where town leaders have been receptive to the idea of hosting a gaming hall.

The original bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston, would have required the governor to receive approval from Ulster County before authorizing a casino anywhere within the county's borders. But the bill was amended before Wednesday's vote to exclude Wawarsing, which thought the legislation appeared anti-casino and feared it would discourage casino developers.

Currently, the governor has the power to authorize a total of three casinos in Ulster and Sullivan counties without prior approval from the counties or municipalities. This automatic approval was granted shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as a way to generate quick revenue amid the prospect of a weakening state economy. So far, one such casino has been approved - for Monticello, in Sullivan County.

Several municipalities in Ulster County - including Saugerties, Woodstock and New Paltz - have gone on record opposing casinos, while Wawarsing and the village of Ellenville favor keeping the door open.

Elliott Auerbach, the village manager in EllenvSille, was happy with the amended version of Cahill's bill, which he called a win-win situation for casino opponents and supporters alike.

"The fact he heard our call makes me feel a lot more comfortable and really allows those folks in the county that are anti-casino to get what they want and allow us down here on the southern end to really keep our door open down the road," Auerbach said.

Lanny Walters, chairman of the group No Saugerties Casino Inc., says the Wawarsing exception could expose the rest of the county to the negative effects of a casino.

"Siting a casino anywhere in our area is potentially very harmful to the community," Walters said. "I'd like the (state) Senate to adopt a bill that takes Ulster County out of the equation. What that would mean is Ulster County would be on the same footing as any other county in the state."

The bill approved by the Assembly has no sponsor in the Senate, which was due to recess for the summer on Thursday. "It will not be done before ... the scheduled end of session," Cahill said. "However ... there will be other opportunities, I'm sure, throughout the year, as we adjust and amend those things that we have been working on."  (Freeman 6/22/07)



chumer makes pitch for casino

Monticello — A decision on the St. Regis Mohawk casino at the Monticello Gaming & Raceway is coming soon.

But don't break out the champagne.

That's what Sen. Chuck Schumer said yesterday after meeting for a half hour in his Washington office with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, where Schumer urged Kempthorne to approve the $600 million casino.

It was Schumer's first face-to-face meeting with the former governor of Idaho, the man who could make or break Mohawk casino by agreeing — or refusing — to take just less than 30 acres of land into trust for the casino.

Kempthorne could also do nothing for the remainder of his term, effectively delaying the project for another two years.

Here's what Schumer had to say about the meeting.

What was discussed?

CS: I pressed him very hard on the casino. He played it close to the vest. I think we will get a decision very soon. In general, he expressed misgivings about casinos not on traditional land. We told him that it had been seven years, and had unanimous support of the tribe and the community and we told him it wouldn't create new gamblers.

What are his concerns?

CS: He has never liked casinos off traditional lands. He told me he refused a casino in Idaho when the tribal land was in the same state, but 350 miles away from their traditional lands. That is about the same distance as this one.

What's your take on what he will do?

CS: None. I certainly wouldn't break out the champagne. He was close to the vest, and did not talk about this application, but generally.

Did he give you any idea of when he will make a decision?

CS: Relatively soon. I pointed out it had been seven years, and that we want a decision. He was sympathetic to that.

What's your opinion of how Interior is handling this?

CS: They are taking too long. 

Times Herald-Record
June 28, 2007


Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Kandy Santosky's letter ("In the dark" 17 May 2007) once again (as has become her habit) charges the Town of Rochester government as being closed, of doing things behind closed doors; this despite 60 meetings held in open session over the span of two years as regards the Comprehensive Plan, now adopted, and Code currently being developed.

Residents attending public meetings have politely sat through her repeated charges of closed government knowing that she is clearly misinformed and/or unable to grasp obvious reality.

Her most recent attack concerns Homeland Towers, a cell tower company that answered the town's call for service and has been involved in negotiations, testing, establishing a review process etc. for almost two years.

I personally have attended several meetings during which a Homeland representative has spoken about what the company and town are attempting to do: bring much-improved wireless phone, TV and high-speed computer connections to the residents of this town. Additionally, such expansion can only be extremely helpful to high-tech industries seeking to relocate to this area and, hopefully, provide some good-paying jobs.

Santosky states, "Rochester has a telecommunications law. Duke has presented the Planning Board with a request of waivers from that law. This, too, was discussed in executive sessions, the public being kept in the dark."

The Town of Rochester Planning Board fully discussed the proposed waivers at its February meeting. This meeting was public. This meeting was recorded with the intent of broadcasting it on Cable Access TV as are all Planning Board meetings. The entire Telecommunications chapter was reviewed. The Planning Board voted 4-1 to accept the review parameters established.

But, the audacity of Ms. Santosky's charges can only be truly appreciated when one understands that even as she points her finger, she remains silent about an Administration that actually perpetrated all the things she charges back in 1997-99 when the Town Board-- including her husband councilman Ron Santosky --reworked the entire Code of the Town of Rochester unpublicized at audit meetings, without a recording secretary present, over the span of nearly two years, then attempted to pass the code into law in a single public hearing. Residents found out about this breech of process (including the fact that the town's Master Plan should have been updated prior to code being changed) and forced the Administration to hold more than one public hearing. Hundreds of residents attended voicing their displeasure with many aspects of the proposed code which decimated the property rights of residential land users, only to have the Town Board vote unanimously to adopt the code without a single suggestion offered by the public to be included. As a lifetime resident of Rochester Ms. Santosky's silence at that time speaks volumes!

Perhaps she should heed this bit of self-help advice: When pointing a finger at others, always remember that three fingers are pointing back at yourself.

Steven Fornal


Rondout Valley School District has two events scheduled in the beginning of May.

1. School Board elections are coming up and will be held on Tuesday, May 15th.  A "Meet the Board of Education Candidates Night" will be held on Tuesday May 8th at 6:00pm at the Middle School lecture hall. The six candidates for the three open seats (four year term) are:

Imre Beke, Jr
Christopher Kelder
Pamela Longley
William Oliva
Patrick Sweeney
Kim Wozencraft

2.  The Rondout Valley School Budget Vote will be held on
Tuesday, May 15th from 6 AM to 9 PM in the high school gym.  Links to additional information on the budget
can be viewed online by visiting:

Absentee ballot applications can be downloaded from:

[Absentee ballot applications must be mailed immediately! or can be hand delivered to the school district office.]


First Sunday Songwriters Circle with Peggy Atwood, Elise Pittelman, Mark Brown

A.S.K. (Arts Society of Kingston), 97 Broadway, Kingston, NY   Sunday, June 3

2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

A popular performance series, The Arts Society of Kingston hosts the Songwriters Circle, a carefully selected sampler of the region's finest songwriters, on the first Sunday of every month. The series is curated and hosted by Elise Pittelman and Elly Wininger.

Cover charge $10 / $8 for A.S.K. members

845-338-0331 or (845) 679-8585




Monday, June 4, 2007 at 7PM. The TOR Business Development Committee invites all business owners and interested persons to a special presentation on Monday, June 4th, 2007 at 7PM at the Accord Town Hall.
The Red Carpet Business Services Team will give an informational presentation on the services available to businesses in Ulster County. The presenting team will include the followingCounty Organizations

Ulster Office of Employment & Trainings
Chamber of Commerce Ulster County - On the Job Training
Kingston/Ulster Empire Zone
NYS Department of Labor
Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID)
SUNY Ulster
Ulster County Development Corporation
Small Business Development Center
Ulster County BOCES - Adult Education Center
Mid-Hudson Energy Smart Communities

All are welcome.    Refreshments will be served.


Skate-A-Thon for Neighbors in Need at Skate Time 209
Date: Monday June 11, 2007, Time: 5 – 7PM
Admission: $10 per person – 100% of proceeds go to assist the Pommerencke Family whose house was destroyed by fire on May 5th. There will also be a raffle with great prizes as well as a 50/50 drawing.  Please Contact Kristen Chipman at 626-2508 or 532-8222 for details. 



Rochester Reformed Church to hold Annual Beef and Berry Dinner

The Rochester Reformed Church will hold it's annual Beef and Berry Dinner on Saturday June 16, 2007 at the Church on Route 209 in Accord, NY

The menu will include roast beef,gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, strawberry shortcake,and coffee,tea or, cold drink.

Dinner will be served from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM. The cost is $10.00 for adults, children under 12 will be $5:00.


 Annual Mohonk Garden Walk and Luncheon June 28

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County Master Gardener Program hosts its annual Mohonk Garden Walk and Luncheon on Thursday, June 28, 2007 at Mohonk Mountain House, in New Paltz. Garden enthusiasts will delight as they embark in groups of approximately 15 people on a two-hour walking tour of Mohonk’s formal flower gardens, annual and perennial beds, and greenhouse.
Guided by an Ulster County Master Gardener or a member of Mohonk’s landscape and garden staff, tour participants receive information about how to grow, care for and manage pests in these types of plantings. Enjoy the splendorous beauty of Mohonk’s gardens while gaining insight into how they are created and maintained. Tours begin between 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. The buffet lunch served at 12:00 noon in the West Dining Room features guest speaker, Pieter Hiejnen.
Pieter Heijnen works in the greenhouse at Mohonk and is a Master Gardener. He is an artist and art historian from The Netherlands. Pieter studied art history in Amsterdam and attended art school in Düsseldorf, Germany His talk is titled; Mohonk Gardens and a Historic Perspective of English Romantic Landscaping. In this presentation, Pieter explores the beauty envisioned by Albert Smiley on his first visit to Paltz Point - now known as Sky Top.
The fee is $50.00. Space is limited to 150 people. Pre-registration is required by June 22, 2007. No refunds for cancellations will be issued. For a registration form please call Dona Crawford at     845-340-3990 or download a form at: Participants should plan on arriving early as traffic can back up at the gate. Valet parking is available at the Mountain house.



Firefighters OK after stairway collapse; family homeless


TOWN OF ROCHESTER - Three Accord volunteer firefighters escaped injury Saturday when an interior staircase collapsed beneath them while they were fighting a house fire, authorities said.

The 7 p.m. fire destroyed a house at 14 Shefers Road, leaving a family of six seeking temporary shelter, said Billy Farrell, chief of the Accord Fire Department. One person was home at the time of the fire but got out safely and no one was injured, he said.

The fire chief said three firefighters were inside the two-story home battling the blaze when the stairwell collapsed and they fell into the basement. The firefighters were able to get out of the basement through a rear door.

Farrell said one of the firefighters was his son, William Farrell, a lieutenant with the department. The other two were Paul Ryder and Tom O'Brien. None were injured.

Cindy and Ken Pommerencke lived at the home with their four children, Ryan, Matthews, Dylan, and Emily, the younger Farrell said.

He said clothes that had fallen behind a dryer had apparently ignited, sparking the two-alarm blaze.

Farrell said that he and his fellow firefighters had dragged a hose into the house in an effort to extinguish the blaze.

But as they raced up a stairwell it collapsed, sending him and the two others into the basement.

"At first, you are scared, but we are trained to think quick on our feet," Farrell said.

Farrell, 18, who has been an Accord firefighter for three years, said the three found a basement door leading outside about a minute after they fell through.

About a dozen pieces of fire apparatus were at the scene along with nearly 30 firefighters from various departments.  (Freeman 5/7/07)



Rochester sets June 7 hearing on proposed cell tower leases


ACCORD - The Rochester Town Board has set a public hearing for June 7 on a proposal to lease town-owned property to accommodate two cellular telephone towers.

At a Town Board meeting last week, officials said information about three competing tower proposals is expected to be presented later in June. The three companies were identified by Councilman Francis Gray as JNS Enterprise Inc., SPA Communications, and "an unnamed company made up of residents of our town that want to come before the board and lease land from the town to erect towers."

The June 7 hearing, which starts at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, will focus on a proposal by Homeland Towers.

Under the proposal, two 150-foot towers would be erected on town-owned property at 100 Airport Road and 6140 U.S. Route 209. The Town Board plans to seek recommendations from the town Planning Board on tower design, screening, and access.

The lease agreements, negotiated behind closed doors over the past year, call for the town to receive a minimum of $1,500 per month for each tower and up to 45 percent of gross revenue from at least five service providers over a 30-year term.

Councilman Alex Miller was critical of the three new proposals and of residents who questioned the proposed Homeland Towers leases.

"Why you're getting the information at this time is a little hard to believe considering this is a topic that (was) brought up at least four years ago," he said. "Seemingly there are a lot of people that weren't involved that now seem to be putting their hands up with a sort of 'stop the wedding' mentality of 'My God, I hadn't heard about this.'"  (Freeman 5/9/07)


Rondout Valley budget, at $56.79 million, would raise tax levy 3.67%

KYSERIKE - Voters in the Rondout Valley school district will decide Tuesday on a proposed $56.79 million budget that projects a 3.67 percent increase in the school tax levy.

The proposed 2007-08 spending plan includes a 5.97 percent increase in spending and a $31.87 million, tax levy, up from the current levy of $30.74 million. The 2006-07 budget totals $53.59 million.

Deb Kosinski, the district's business manager, said the proposed budget maintains existing educational programs and small class sizes, adds a reading specialist to the high school to help boost graduation numbers and adds a clerical position to the Technology Department to keep up data reports sent to the state.

"A few of the concerns that the district had were related to keeping class sizes small, maintaining existing educational and extracurricular activities while keeping the tax levy as low as possible," Kosinski said.

Kosinski said the budget continues to support art, music, foreign language in elementary schools, field trips, co-curricular activities and interscholastic athletics.

The budget cuts a teacher and teaching assistant from Rosendale Elementary School due to decreased kindergarten enrollment; cuts a teacher from Kerhonkson Elementary; and cuts a music teacher and drops two seats in alternative education for high school students at Ulster BOCES.

Several positions are being added to the district's Special Education Department, including a teacher and assistant teacher in the high school, four teaching assistant positions in the elementary schools and a physical therapist and certified occupational therapist assistant.

A proposition on the ballot proposes to increase expenditures by $479,118, or 0.89 percent, raising the tax levy an additional 1.56 percent. The money would be used to restore a teaching position at Kerhonkson Elementary, a music teacher to be shared by elementary schools, the two seats in Ulster BOCES' Alternate Education program, equipment and supplies for the Technology Department and building repair funds for the Buildings and Grounds Department. The proposition cannot pass if the budget is not approved. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Rondout Valley High School.  (Freeman 5/11/07)  [Follow up:  The school budget passed by about 250 votes, the budget supplement was defeated.  Elected to the school board were:  Chris Kelder, William Olivia, and Kim Wozencraft]




Couple seriously injured in Route 209 crash

Accord — A Kerhonkson couple were flown to regional hospitals for serious injuries suffered in a chain-reaction accident Tuesday night.

Michael and Lorraine Paterno of Georges Street had stopped their car in the northbound lane of Route 209, waiting to make a left turn onto Mettacahonts Road.

A second vehicle headed north hit the Paternos' car from behind, spinning it into the opposite lane, where it was struck by an oncoming car.

Michael Paterno was airlifted to St. Francis Hospital; his wife was flown by helicopter to Albany Medical Center. He was listed this afternoon in stable condition; she is in critical condition, according to hospital spokespersons.

The four passengers of the southbound vehicle were taken to Ellenville Hospital, where they were treated and released. The occupants were Michael and Stacie Avery of Kerhonkson and their two small children, according to the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

The driver of the car that hit the Paternos was Steve Strimling. Police did not list his address. Strimling was issued traffic tickets for reckless driving, speed not reasonable and prudent, and following too closely. He was not injured, police said.

He is to appear in Rochester Town Court June 19. (TH-Record 5/23/07)




Police: Man shot cat with arrow

HIGH FALLS - A High Falls man is accused of shooting his next-door neighbors' cat with an arrow on Saturday, then dumping the animal nearby to die.

The cat's owner, Helen Creegan, said she and her husband were at a ball game in Rosendale Saturday afternoon and got a call at about 5 p.m. from another neighbor who had seen someone take the cat, a 4-year-old named Zipper, from the Creegans' front porch with a net and drive away with it.

The cat had apparently already been injured, Creegan said, and had managed to get from the woods near the house to the porch.

The Creegans called Rosendale police, who arrested James Meade, 20, of Roman Drive, High Falls, according to Rosendale Police Chief Michael DiBattista. Meade was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, misdemeanor discharging a longbow within 500 feet of a dwelling, and misdemeanor making a false statement.

DiBattista said Meade originally told police he had not shot the cat, then later said he felt justified in shooting her because the animal was getting into his trash.

Meade told police where the cat was, and the Creegans found the animal at about 10 p.m. in a nearby pond with the arrow still in her neck. DiBattista said the cat had apparently crawled to the water.

"I don't know why they do that, when they're injured," DiBattista said, "but I've seen that before. They go to the water, if there's any nearby."  (5/11/07)


Rekindling a lost art // Ulster County blacksmith explains his fiery passion
Rochester - You might think - and with some justification - that blacksmithing is a hot business in only the most literal sense of the word.
You might think again. While you'll never see franchised blacksmithing forges on every street corner, you'd be wrong to consider it a dead industry. Just ask Jonathan Nedbor of High Falls. He's just built a vast new smithy in Alligerville that sports dual forges and a second floor with room for a gallery.
The blacksmith's forge was once a purely functional place where anything considered "hardware" (tools, pots, nails, you name it) was made and sold. These days, blacksmithing encompasses more and less: Its province lies somewhere between the practicality of a hand-forged, historically accurate steel hinge and the artistry of larger-than-life metal sculptures.
Nedbor loves what he does; the more you talk with him, the more reasons he can see for doing what he does.
"It's about problem solving - metal doesn't move 'cause you want it to - you have to push it," he says.
It's that pushing and, as he'll sometimes say, the "squishing" of yellow-hot metal that fires him up and has since he discovered the joys of blacksmithing in the early 1970s.
At that time, blacksmithing was, in fact, a dying art. Its practices and techniques had been closely held secrets for initiates for centuries. By the '70s, time and technology had rendered hand-forged goods nearly obsolete; the trade was in danger of passing into historical oblivion.
Then came the post-hippie, back-to-the-land homesteading movement of the early '70s. Nedbor had grown impatient with a previous enthusiasm - jewelry making - and wound up trading in his tiny squares of precious metal for heavy bars of what another local blacksmith once called "the most precious metal on earth" - iron.
"I was bitten by the blacksmithing bug - I loved the immediacy of forging. It happens as you go; so you need to know where you're going."
Striking while the iron is hot is no mere metaphor to Nedbor.
"Plus," he says, "I love to play with fire."
He wound up in Ulster County in the 1980s, taking root at what was once a general store servicing the D&H canal traffic in bucolic Alligerville. The tin-roofed shop where he's plied his trade ever since is a tumbled-down dream of what a smithy should look like, all rusticated piles of metal and odd-looking tools with obscure names, and outside, piles of cinderblock and stone and metal already covered in creeping vines.
What his new smithy lacks in funkiness it more than makes up for in trim efficiency. It's built as both a showplace and a classroom (hence the double-forge).
It's not a lucrative calling, Nedbor says, but a deeply satisfying one. And for anyone curious about the heavy-metal pleasures of blacksmithing, Nedbor will be offering classes this summer in the art and science and satisfactions of pushing metal around. For more information, e-mail (TH-Record 5/13/07)


 For or against casinos, communities want a say

A FEW communities want casinos, many don't, and some haven't decided. But all seem to agree they should have a say in the matter.

Casinos have been the talk of the town around Ulster County lately, even though there haven't been any recent proposals for one within the county's borders. Still, the prospect of gaming facilities has generated substantial debate and action among local governments because of the impact they could have on the area's economy, services and character.

FIFTEEN municipalities in the county have gone on record, by way of formal resolutions, as opposing casinos: the towns of Denning, Gardiner, Hardenburgh, Marbletown, New Paltz, Olive, Plattekill, Rochester, Rosendale, Saugerties, Shandaken and Woodstock, along with the city of Kingston and the villages of New Paltz and Saugerties.


Gregory Helsmoortel, supervisor of the town of Saugerties, said the town did a lot of "studying and reading on the effects of casinos on other communities, and it didn't take long to realize it's not something our community wants."

A group called No Saugerties Casino Inc. was founded about two years ago, after the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma proposed building a casino and resort on the Winston Farm in Saugerties.

Helsmoortel said the burden on schools, traffic and the social fabric of the community outweighs any revenue that might be generated.

"I don't know if our resources can support it. I doubt they can - our water and wastewater facilities," he said.

"IT'S NEVER been an issue; it's more uniting with municipalities that are against it," Hardenburgh Supervisor Jerry Fairbairn said of the Town Board's recent vote against casinos.

"It's all about how to get the revenue without having it in our back yard," he said of the discussions taking place around the county. "I don't see Hardenburgh affected by a casino, but we want to stand by anyone who opposes it."

BUT SOME municipalities, particularly those in the southern part of the county, where there is a rich history of resort development, say casinos should be considered as a path toward economic development.

Elliott Auerbach, the village manager in Ellenville, said he is not a proponent of casinos but wants to keep the option open - especially because the area has lost hundreds of jobs with the closings of the Hydro Aluminum and Imperial Shrade cutlery plants.

"We are an area that has touted tourism as one of its economic development components, and casinos could certainly do that," Auerbach said. "What a casino opportunity may do here is level the playing field, especially with the resorts in this end of Ulster County."

Auerbach said he understands the concerns of some municipalities but doesn't want to slam the door on casinos altogether.

TOWN OF Kingston Supervisor Frank Brogden said he, too, would like to keep the door open.

Although the town of Kingston has not made a formal decision on casinos, Brogden said he personally would like to see one in the area.

"That's what we need in this county - a casino for economic development," he said.

ALTHOUGH no hard offers have been made, Auerbach said there are a few suitable sites in the southern part of the county. He points to the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma's proposed Catskill Casino Resort on 200 acres of farmland a mile outside of Ellenville, on U.S. Route 209 in Wawarsing; the Nevele Grande Resort and Country Club; and the former Tamarack Lodge, a now-empty resort about a mile west of the village.

Rumors also have circulated about siting a casino at TechCity (the former IBM-Kingston plant) or the former IBM Recreation Center, both in the town of Ulster.

ULSTER Supervisor Nick Woerner said no offers have been made, and he is not convinced the locations in his town would be suitable. He said access to the old recreation center, which is in a residential area, would be difficult, and thinks the extra traffic on the already-busy U.S. Route 9W corridor would be a problem.

As far as the potential revenue that a casino could bring to the community, Woerner doesn't think the town would see much of it. And he expects most of the jobs that would be created to be low-paying.

"People get delusions of grandeur on the money they'll receive as a host community," Woerner said. "Native American casinos don't usually pay taxes.

"It's not the town of Ulster's intent to allow an industry to come in and pay $8 an hour. That's not our idea of economic development," Woerner added.

WOERNER said the Town Board may opt to put casino proposals in a ballot proposition and let the community decide on them.

For now, Woerner said, he doesn't think the community wants a gaming hall. He said a survey conducted last year in Ulster found 70 percent of the 1,100 respondents opposed a casino.

REGARDLESS of where towns stand on the casino issue, they all want as much of the decision-making authority as possible.

Called "home rule" by politicians, the concept is that a town, village or city should be able to make decisions about the things that will affect it.

Some Ulster County lawmakers believe the Legislature should be involved to a certain extent, because casinos affect more than just the individual municipality they occupy: traffic travels through the county; tourists coming to pull the levers on a few slot machines will most likely stop for dinner or stay overnight at a nearby hotel; the employees' children will have an impact on school districts; police forces may need to grow; and so on.

IT'S A SORE spot for the town of Wawarsing because in 2002 and 2003, the Legislature took control of negotiating a $15 million agreement with the Modoc Tribe. Although the casino never came to fruition, the process left a bad taste with many town supervisors.

The county subsequently adopted a "home rule" measure in 2005 that said it would not approve local service agreements for American Indian gaming facilities without the consent of the affected municipality. The resolution also promised not to enter into discussions with tribal governments if the proposed host community opposes casinos.

County lawmakers reinforced that notion in early May with a resolution asking the state to grant decision-making authority to the affected municipalities.

The vote came after weeks of tweaking a resolution in support of a bill sponsored by state Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston. The bill, which awaits action by the Assembly's Racing and Wagering Committee, seeks to prevent a casino from being "fast-tracked" within Ulster County. It would require the governor to gain approval from the county before locating a casino within its borders.

AT PRESENT, the governor has the power to authorize a total of three casinos in Ulster and Sullivan counties without prior approval from the counties or their municipalities. That automatic approval was granted shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a way to generate revenue during an expected economic downturn. One gaming facility has been approved so far - at Monticello Raceway in Sullivan County.

The fast-track system does not require a full environmental impact study, which is why Brian Shapiro, chairman of the Ulster County Legislature's Environmental Committee, brought up the original resolution in support of Cahill's bill. (A full environmental assessment considers a casino's effects on area roads, resources and services.)

MUNICIPALITIES at the southern end of the county thought Cahill's bill seemed anti-casino because it gave developers another hurdle to clear, so county lawmakers compromised.

The final draft of the county resolution endorses the intent of Cahill's bill but further requires the consent of municipalities where casinos would be built. The county would not hold decision-making authority but still would be able to weigh in through a full environmental assessment. (Freeman 5/27/07)

A Note Regarding Tax Assessments from the Board of Assessment Review
In accordance with state law, the Town’s Assessor has mailed “Notices of Change of Assessments”  to property owners whose property assessments have changed.  A copy of the tentative property tax roll for the Town is available for review on May 8th, 10th, 15th and 17th between the hours of 9am to 11am, and 1pm to 3pm with additional hours on Saturday May 19th from 10am to 1pm and Tuesday, May 22nd from 6pm to 9pm.  The Board of Assessment Review will conduct its annual Grievance Day on Tuesday, May 22nd from 6pm to 10pm at Town Hall, 50 Scenic Road Accord.  If you wish to file a grievance, you may contact the Town Assessor by calling 626-0920; such grievances must be received by the Assessor's Office by Tuesday, May 22nd..


New Events at Annual History Day – Saturday, May 12th

Accord – Would you like to see blacksmiths at work, or learn how to raise bees, or find out the value of your favorite family treasure, or discover some missing information about your family tree, or enjoy a cup of delicious Swiss cappuccino and homemade brownies?  If the answer to any of the above is yes, hopefully you will be able to attend the Annual History Day on Saturday, May 12, 2007 from  10 a.m. to 4 p.m., sponsored by Friends of Historic Rochester.  Activities will be located at the Museum, 12 Main Street, Accord, and at the Fire Hall which is also on Main Street.

A new feature this year at the Museum is the Front Porch Café serving Swiss Coffees, Cappuccino and Espresso, as well as fine Teas and a Brownie Bar.  This new feature is being presented by Hans Lupold.

Antique cars and machinery will be on display at the Museum.  At noontime, lunch of hot dogs, chips and soda will be available at the Fire Hall.

One of the main attractions of the day will be Accord’s “Road Show” for appraisal of antiques and collectibles at $5.00 per item.  In addition, several Heritage Crafts are to be demonstrated.  These include blacksmithing by farrier Rick Gray and also by Jon Nedbor making wrought iron items; beekeeping by Chris Harp; candle dipping with Rosalou Novi; plus quilted pieces, large and small, by several expert seamstresses.

Attractions at the Museum are the many photographs, documents and files about local history and historic properties in the Rochester.  A genealogist will be available to assist in research for specific families using the extensive resources of the Eleanor Rosakranse Genealogical Collection and a computer date bank on local families.

Available for sale will be items on local history, plus books of all kinds and LP records from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Parking behind the Museum is free.  There is no admission charge.  A brochure indicating the location of each feature of History Day 2007 will be available to all visitors at the Museum.  For more information please call 845-626-7104 or 687-9998.




Firefighters OK after stairway collapse; family homeless



TOWN OF ROCHESTER - Three Accord volunteer firefighters escaped injury Saturday when an interior staircase collapsed beneath them while they were fighting a house fire, authorities said.

The 7 p.m. fire destroyed a house at 14 Shefers Road, leaving a family of six seeking temporary shelter, said Billy Farrell, chief of the Accord Fire Department. One person was home at the time of the fire but got out safely and no one was injured, he said.

The fire chief said three firefighters were inside the two-story home battling the blaze when the stairwell collapsed and they fell into the basement. The firefighters were able to get out of the basement through a rear door.

Farrell said one of the firefighters was his son, William Farrell, a lieutenant with the department. The other two were Paul Ryder and Tom O'Brien. None were injured.

Cindy and Ken Pommerencke lived at the home with their four children, Ryan, Matthews, Dylan, and Emily, the younger Farrell said.

He said clothes that had fallen behind a dryer had apparently ignited, sparking the two-alarm blaze.

Farrell said that he and his fellow firefighters had dragged a hose into the house in an effort to extinguish the blaze.

But as they raced up a stairwell it collapsed, sending him and the two others into the basement.

"At first, you are scared, but we are trained to think quick on our feet," Farrell said.

Farrell, 18, who has been an Accord firefighter for three years, said the three found a basement door leading outside about a minute after they fell through.

About a dozen pieces of fire apparatus were at the scene along with nearly 30 firefighters from various departments.  (Freeman 5/7/07)



Group Hopes to Bring $10 million Indoor Pool Facility to Town

Valley Community Aquatics, Inc., a newly-formed community group, hopes to build a new $10 million indoor swimming and diving center in Kerhonkson.  The group proposes to use a 26 acre parcel on Cherrytown Road, adjacent to Pine Grove Dude Ranch, that owner David O’Halloran has offered to donate.  The facilities would include a 50 meter indoor pool and a separate diving pool; it would have a capacity of 1,000 swimmers per day and providing parking for spectators – estimated to be 5,000 people for some swim meets.  The group expects to initiate fundraising activity once it obtains its tax exempt charitable organization status from the IRS. 



PTA treasurer charged with stealing $19,000 from group

Kerhonkson – The Kerhonkson Elementary School PTA treasurer has been charged with embezzling approximately $19,000 from the organization over a 12 month period.

State Police at Kerhonkson arrested Lisa Golden, 42, of Wynkoop Drive in Kerhonkson and charged her with larceny in the third degree and forgery in the second degree, both felonies.

She was arraigned in Ellenville Village Court and released on her own recognizance at the recommendation of the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office. (Mid-Hudson News 5/6/07)



Rochester officials consider need to remove fuel tanks

Accord, The RochesterTown Board is reviewing steps needed for the removal of leaking fuel tanks and waste oil facilities at the Town Hall and transfer station.

Questions about the tanks were raised during a Town Board meeting last week, when town Supervisor Pam Duke said the problems were identified as part of a report that found improper disposal of waste oil has damaged existing equipment.

"Now we have to get a whole new pit because there's a hole that's been plugged," she said of the waste oil disposal pit.

Officials are also considering whether the transfer station should continue to take waste oil because of costs involved with testing and said there are doubts about the ability of employees to handle liquids correctly.

"I'm not certain we should accept oil," Councilman Alex Miller said. "It sounds complicated. I'm still waiting, six or eight months now, for some sort of a plan from the gentlemen that run the transfer facility to work on scrap metal, and that's not even toxic."

Duke said a 1,000-gallon fuel storage tank used for "heat in one little part of the shed" at the transfer station also needs to replaced.

"It's a mess, it's old, it needs to be taken out," she said. "They need to put a new one in, a 500-gallon one ... with a meter. There's (currently) no meter, there nothing. We have no idea who's taking what out."

A buried oil tank at Town Hall was also found during the review but information about its history of use was not immediately available and details about estimated costs for removal were not shared with the public.

"No one even knew it was out there," Duke said.

Officials said the current oil tank for heating fuel also needs to be replaced and procedures for monitoring all tanks need to be established.

"They have to be monitored and they have to be recorded every single month on a form as to how they're performing," Duke said.  (Freeman




Rochester considers 30-year cell tower lease



ACCORD - The Rochester Town Board is reviewing a proposed 30-year lease for two cellular phone towers, each of which would bring the town a minimum of $1,500 per month and up to 45 percent of gross revenues from five carriers.

At a 3-1/2-hour meeting Wednesday, Town Board members heard a presentation on the lease from Homeland Towers and learned of possible counterproposals from JNS Enterprises and an unnamed new company of local residents.

The board is considering setting a June public hearing on the proposed agreement to lease two 150-foot towers on town-owned property at 100 Airport Road and 6140 U.S. Route 209. Board members said they will seek recommendations from the town Planning Board on tower design, screening and access.

Manny Vicente, president of Homeland Towers, said discussions with town Highway Superintendent Wayne Kelder helped identify access to the Route 209 site.

"We weren't sure if we could do this, and it was nice to have someone there to tell (which area to clear) is OK and which would be better," Vicente said. "We would have had some problems getting utilities to the site any other way."

Vicente said a state Department of Environmental Conservation review has been requested for access to the Airport Road site over a portion of a capped landfill.

Under the proposed lease, minimum monthly payments of $1,500 would be unchanged through the 30-year agreement.

The revenue from carriers would be 35 percent the first seven years, 40 percent for years 8 through 14, and 45 percent when a fifth provider is found or beginning in year 15.

Officials said discussions began in February 2006 with Homeland Towers, the only provider that responded to requests for proposals. Following his presentation, Vicente said construction would be at the company's expense, but information on the cost was not immediately available. He said it would depend on whether a "stealth" design was chosen.

Councilman Francis Gray, meanwhile, said a group of town residents is seeking to submit a counterproposal for towers.

"A newly formed company made up of residents of the town of Rochester wants to know what the procedure is for going forward with asking the town to give them a lease on town property to erect towers," said Gray, a Republican.

Board members also received a letter from Central Valley-based JNS Enterprises, asking to make a presentation.

Some board members appeared annoyed by the late requests, which come following months of closed-door discussions over the proposed Homeland Towers lease. Democratic Councilman Alex Miller contends the objections are rooted in political disputes against the board's Democratic majority.

"What I find just curious about all this is how this Town Board, from every project that it has worked on since January '06, always at the last moment there's a 'Stop the wedding' sort of notice," Miller said (Freeman 4/29/07)


Change in zoning law clears path for senior housing project in Kerhonkson (Wawarsing)

ELLENVILLE - After months of discussion, the Wawarsing Town Board has adopted legislation needed to allow Wawarsing Estates, a senior housing project, to get town Planning Board approval.
The legislation passed by the board Thursday will allow a building height of 3.5 stories, a change from the existing 2.5 stories now permitted in the BR-BH district.
"The new law will apply only to the U.S. Route 209 corridor and a few other properties, and will make it more economically feasible to provide senior housing, which we desperately need," said town Supervisor James Dolaway.
Councilman Terry Houck said only about eight or nine other sites are available in the area covered by the new law.
Jacob Blau, the developer of Wawarsing Estates, said the new law will move the project toward a hoped-for mid-summer construction start.
The project, proposed for a property at Route 209 and U.S. Route 44/state Route 55, would offer 182 market-rate units for seniors. The fact that the project is in a floodplain necessitates putting parking below the living space.
Underground parking would raise the three floors of living space a foot off the flood plain designation, bringing the total building height to about 50 feet. (Freeman 5/6/07)





Minnewaska State Park Featured in New York Times

April 27, 2007
Spring in Your Steps
JUST what were we thinking, tackling an eight-and-a-half-mile hiking trail with a mostly hearty 6-year-old and a 25-pound 2-year-old (whose weight magically doubles when he's napping)? Well, we were thinking that the calendar said spring - despite the season's early chill, rain and snow - and that our hiking boots were begging to be taken for a walk.
So with a bit of dread (and a loaf of homemade chocolate zucchini bread), four adults - somehow outnumbered by the two children - took off late last month on the engaging Castle Point and Upper Awosting carriageways in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, about 90 miles north of New York City. As we shivered and sidestepped some shaded patches of snow, we marveled at how much colder it was up there than where we'd started out from, the funky university town of New Paltz, about 10 miles east of the park.
We'd been tantalized by the park's longer trails when we had hiked around Lake Minnewaska twice before. The carriageways go on for miles, to spots with names like Gertrude's Nose and Coxing Kill, and we hadn't had the time to follow them then. Now we had the whole day, and plenty of ambition.
We started from the main parking lot, four-tenths of a mile uphill from the entrance, and walked toward Lake Minnewaska, following red trail blazes downhill and to the right. At the bottom of the hill, ice still covered the swimming hole (and the rest of the lake), but we remembered it being inviting during previous warmer visits. Swimming is allowed from mid-June through Labor Day weekend.
We then followed the blue trail, the Castle Point Carriage Road, and without much huffing or puffing we arrived on a ridge of quartzite cliffs that overlook the Hudson and Wallkill Valleys. The stone is 95 percent quartz, and its boxy outcroppings resemble a Cubist painter's rendition of the Michelin Man.
These gravel roads were built for the horses and carriages of hotel guests in the late 1800s when the Cliff House and the Wildmere hotels drew visitors from Manhattan, and are great for four-across conversational hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and mountain biking.
The view from the top of the world, we can report, is stunning. And the panoramas start early.
The prospect across the Palmaghatt Gorge was the geological equivalent of exhilaration, enhanced by the clear air and bright sun. Turkey vultures stirred the space between us and Patterson's Pellet, a large boulder left behind on the opposite cliffs by glaciers. (It's either that or a misdelivered art installation meant for the Storm King Art Center, the outdoor sculpture collection a few exits south on the New York State Thruway.)
We heard chickadees and saw juncos, but, depending on the season, birders can also spot black-and-white warblers, ruffed grouse and towhees, as well as downy woodpeckers and nuthatches.
THE 30 miles of carriage roads and 25 miles of footpaths in Minnewaska State Park Preserve provide hikes that are easy, hard and in between, with intimate views of four "sky lakes" in glacial basins and rock formations that attract rock climbers worldwide. An average of 250,000 people visit the park annually, some in winter, when 20 miles of carriageways are groomed for cross-country skiing.
The preserve is roughly 20,000 acres and was partly created by combining the two hotel properties. The parkland was assembled in sections, starting in 1970, and opened in 1972. The larger portion was added in 1987. The surrounding area was known for producing hand-cut millstones back in the 1800s.
The stingy soils on the glacier-scoured rock here provide footholds for pitch pines. And keep an eye out for "chatter marks," arcing dents left behind by boulders, as glacial ice bumped them along the bedrock. Given that we were stopping about every 10 minutes to bribe the 6-year-old with treats, there was plenty of opportunity to look for chatter marks.
Along the way we saw the Rondout Reservoir, which provides New York City with water. And there were many ledges along the trail with natural human-scale back rests and some glacier-scoured stone that made ideal picnic table, provided we kept a careful eye on the children and one adult photographer, making sure they didn't lurch too close to eternity.
Why would anyone choose to be anywhere but here on a sunny weekend day, I wondered, thinking of the full parking lots of the region's malls that we (thankfully) couldn't see from up here - the valley below seemed beautifully empty of overdevelopment.
Looking across the park's gorges from one cliff top to another reminded me of looking across Lower Broadway from one office to another, wondering what sort of activities took place across the air from me. The flat-topped cliffs looked deceptively close, though they would likely have taken us hours to reach.
At 1.2 miles in, we hit Kempton Ledge, and at about three and a half miles, Castle Point, just a 900-foot gain in elevation from Lake Minnewaska, and the park's tallest point, at about 2,200 feet. There are no castles there, and no solid memory as to how it got its name, but it is certainly a regal spot, looking across the mile-wide gorge and, on a clear day, all the way to High Point in New Jersey.
On the way, we peered into vernal pools, which appear only in the spring. Since they cannot support fish, they provide a safe nursery for frogs and salamanders, but it was too early to see any eggs.
We headed down from the cliffs, passing under Battlement Terrace, crossing through an entirely new ecosystem (taller trees! soil! mountain laurels! hemlocks!). We hit the Upper Awosting Carriageway, which led us to distant and cliff-side views of Lake Awosting, the largest of the park's sky lakes. Near the path to the left that went to the lake, we lingered by a large rock wall that dripped with icicles and with maroon and green mosses.
We passed hikers with dogs (six-foot leashes are required but were not much in evidence) and baby joggers.
Around Mile 7, we were serenaded by a duet of a mosquito-like 6-year-old asking "how much longer" and the basso continuo of a deep-voiced 2-year-old, who has taken to repeating that he is "drinky" when he wants water. But the final descent back to the lake was peaceful, thanks to that patron saint of parents who invented Tootsie Rolls and 20 Questions.
In our two previous visits, the red trail around Like Minnewaska, a two-mile hike with just a taste of cliff views, was delightful. The trail moseys through woods and has views from the remaining gazebo of a dozen that used to charm visitors to the Cliff House. Most other hikes in the preserve branch from this trail.
On the drive south from the park, we saw rock climbers scaling the cliffs along the highway, their bright shirts like early blooms on the cold rock faces. The Shawangunk Mountains have 500 routes on 300-foot quartzite cliffs.
We had worked up a mountain man's appetite, and were well fed at the Mountain Brauhaus, back at the intersection where Route 299 ends at Routes 44 and 55. The Brauhaus has fancier entrees than you might expect from a roadhouse that is more than 50 years old - macadamia-encrusted Alaskan halibut with puréed mango sauce ($24), for example, though the children somehow managed not to like their grilled cheese sandwiches. The range of beer on tap was impressive - try the Spaten Oktoberfest ($3.75 for an 11-ounce mug) or the Franziskaner Hefe-Weiss, an unfiltered wheat beer, in a big fluted glass with a slice of lemon for $5.75..
And after our meal, as we tugged off our hiking boots and buckled everyone into the car, we decided that Minnewaska had been about the prettiest hike we'd ever done on the East Coast.

MINNEWASKA STATE PARK PRESERVE is about 90 miles north of New York City, in Ulster County. Take the New York State Thruway North to Exit 18 toward New Paltz, following Main Street (Route 299 West) through town, across the Wallkill River, to the end. Take a right on Routes 44 and 55, and follow signs to the park. The park opens at 9 a.m. year-round; closing times vary from 5 to 9 p.m., depending on the time of year. Admission is $6 a car. Information: (845) 256-0579;

The Mountain Brauhaus restaurant sits at the junction of Routes 44/55 and 299 in Gardiner; (845) 255-9766.

If you want to make a weekend of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, there is a range of places to stay. The Mohonk Mountain House (1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz; 800-772-6646; has rooms starting at $445 a night, double occupancy, and includes three meals and most recreational activities (and its own array of hiking trails). The six-year-old Minnewaska Lodge (3116 Route 44/55, Gardiner; 845-255-1110; sits at the base of the Shawangunk cliffs, and rooms start at $209 on weekend nights May through October. The four-year-old Super 8 Motel of Highland (3423 U.S. Highway 9W, Highland, 845-691-6888; is six miles east of New Paltz and has rooms for $80 a night on weekends.




Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor,

Thank you for calling to our attention Town of Rochester Supervisor Pam Duke's State of the Town Report, which contains the welcome news that a judge has upheld the denial of an application to expand the Streamside Estate trailer park, the result of a tied vote of the Planning Board in fall, 2004. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those members of the Planning Board who had the courage, in the face of tremendous pressure from the developer and his supporters, to vote no. One of the primary reasons to oppose this development was the danger it posed to the Mombaccus Creek, one of our town's great treasures, a trout-spawning

In the same report, Supervisor Duke also mentions the Town Board's work with Veritas Villa to bring a 75,000 square foot juvenile rehabilitation center to Kerhonkson. The proposed location of this project is land bordering and above the Mombaccus Creek, in the Creek's watershed. We count on this year's Planning Board to be vigilant in defense of the Mombaccus if these new plans for development threaten it. Yes, the jobs such a project might bring to Rochester are welcome, but not if they entail polluting one of our purest streams.

Rebecca Sinos








Public Informational Meetings on Revisions to Town Subdivision Law


The Town of Rochester Code Task Force has schedule two public informational meetings to present a DRAFT version of the revisions to the Subdivision Law, Zoning Map, and Schedule of Uses.

Thursday April 12: 6:30 PM at the Accord Firehouse
Monday April 16: 6:30 PM at the Rochester Firehouse #2 (Samsonville Rd.)

Copies of the revisions are on the town’s website, and at the town clerk’s office.

Editor’s note:  The revisions include, among other things, a revised zoning map that outlines the boundaries of residential, commercial, industrial (etc.) zones.  Minimum zoning in some areas are proposed to be changed from one-acre to as many as five-acres, based on sustainable water/well recharge rates.


Earth Day Clean Up

April 21st and April 28

Join your neighbors in a town-wide roadside clean up in honor of Earth Day 2007.  Prior registration is required in order to obtain garbage bags that will permit you to drop off roadside refuse at the transfer station without charge.  To register, call the Youth Center at 626-2115.




Lasagna Dinner  Veggie /or Meat,

Sat., April 28, 2007, 4:30 pm to 7 pm, Social Hall  – Main St.,

Salad / Bread / Desserts  Beverages , Adults $6 / Sr. Citizens $5; Child 6-12 yrs $4; Child 5 & under Free.  All-U-Can-Eat


Mohonk Preserve gives gift to local residents

April 04, 2007

Gardiner — The folks at Mohonk Preserve are feeling grateful — and they're demonstrating it with their Five Towns Appreciation Weekend on April 21 and 22.

On these two days only, the Preserve will issue free, one-month memberships to visitors residing in the towns of Gardiner, Marbletown, New Paltz, Rochester, and Rosendale.

Visitors with proof of residency can obtain their free membership between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on either day at any trailhead or at the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center, Route 44/55, Gardiner. Otherwise, hikers and bikers pay $9; $15 for climbers. Children 12 and under are free, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Located in five Ulster County towns, the Mohonk Preserve is a mountain refuge — for people and nature. It is a haven for wildlife, a living museum, and a sanctuary where visitors can come to reflect and be restored. The Preserve's mission is to protect the Shawangunk Mountains by inspiring people to care for, enjoy, and explore the natural world.

For more information, visit or call 255-0919.




April 2007 Town Board Meeting Highlights

Youth Department received a grant from the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

Town’s Veterans Park: Names of qualified military service personnel are requested.  The park is scheduled to be dedicated on Memorial Day 2007.

Town is seeking bids for a tractor mower and for the rental of paving equipment.

$45,095 was received from FEMA for emergency road repairs necessitated by the June 2007 flooding.

The Town will post the availability of the Town Assessor’s position, letters of intent due by May 16, 2007.

Public hearing scheduled for May 3 for the potential three-month extension of the Town-wide building and subdivision moratorium to August 6, 2007.



Garden Day 2007 Teaches Gardeners to be Fearless

The saying "April showers bring May flowers" may be true, but Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County's Master Gardeners will definitely have your entire garden blooming with the information they'll teach at Garden Day 2007 on Saturday, April 28 at SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge.  This day long event running from 8:30 am to 4 pm boasts 16 hands-on and how-to classes for all gardeners­from the newest beginners to the most advanced veterans. This year's theme, Fearless Gardening: We'll Show You How!, features an array of experts taking on a variety of the hottest trends in gardening. For those feeling overwhelmed by plant choices and restrictions of both time and money, keynote speaker, Tim Steinhoff promises to help with "Bringing It All Together­Ingredients for Creating a Made-To-Measure Garden." Steinhoff, a horticulturist, consultant and garden designer for the past 25 years, is well known for creating and maintaining public and private landscapes in New York City and throughout the Hudson Valley. Formerly the Director of Horticulture for Historic Hudson Valley and Curator of Heather and Perennials at Tryon Park (the Cloisters) in New York City, Steinhoff most recently redesigned the landscape at the Wallace Visitor Center at the FDR historic site in Hyde Park. Other notable Garden Day 2007 speakers include Sally Spillane, host of WKZE's Gardening Show, and environmental horticulturalist, Diane Olsen. The cost for 4 classes and a full day of garden advice is $30 per person before April 20, 2007 or $35 at the door. Pre-registration is recommended to ensure class choices. For a program and registration information please visit or call our office: 845-340-3990.




Golfer Vijay Singh to Invest in Hudson Valley Resort?

Local papers have reported that professional golfer Vijay Singh will become an investor in Kerhonkson’s Hudson Valley Resort and that he will oversee the re-design of the resort’s golf course to meet PGA standards, in a project that is expected to be completed by 2010.




Kingston men arrested in Rochester home invasion

Two men from Kingston were arrested Monday in relation to the March 15 home invasion in the Town of Rochester, police said.

James M. Mateo, 51, and Joseph L. Buckler, 54, are accused of forcing entry into Rock Hill Road home, assaulting and binding two occupants, then stealing cash from the victims, according to the New York State Police at Ellenville. The two victims later freed themselves and called the police. The victims were treated for injuries at Ellenville Hospital.

Following an investigation, Mateo and Buckler were arrested and charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

The men were arraigned in Marbletown Town Court Monday and sent to the Ulster County Jail without bail. Mateo and Buckler are scheduled to reappear in Rochester Town Court Wednesday. (Freeman 3/27/07)




Supervisor Duke’s State of the Town Report for the Year ended December 31, 2006.  Also downloadable from


State of the Town

December 31, 2006



Dear Fellow Residents of the Town of Rochester:


At the end of my third year as Town Supervisor, I would like to report to you on the state of the Town as of December 31, 2006 and to tell you what your Town government has done in the past year.  As in 2005, our Town’s elected officials and employees have attempted to address the many challenges that are facing our community and to move the Town into a position where it can deal with and embrace the change that will inevitably affect us.


We made a lot of progress in 2006, and I’m grateful for the hard work and dedication of our Town employees, my fellow elected officials and numerous volunteers during the past year.



Comprehensive Plan


I’m very pleased to report that the Town Board adopted a revision of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan in November 2006.  A comprehensive plan is a community’s statement of intent for future development.  Rochester’s Plan was first adopted in 1969, but has not been updated since then.  The Plan as adopted was the result of more than two dozen public outreach meetings attended by hundreds of Town residents and stakeholders in a process that started in 2004.  We are indebted to the many volunteers who sat on the Planning and Zoning Committee.  The tireless work of this broad cross-section of town residents allowed for the broadest possible input and community participation.  I would also like to thank each resident who completed a survey, wrote a letter or provided input into this process.


The Comprehensive Plan revision that was adopted strikes an equitable balance between future business and residential development and the sustainability of our water supply and other natural resources, the conservation of farmland and open space.  A copy of the 2006 Plan is on the Town’s website.


For the past several months, a separate Code Task Force has been reviewing our Town’s codes and ordinances in order to ensure that they comply with the community’s views on future development.  The Code Task Force is compiling a list of recommendations for the Town Board’s review within the next few months.  The Code Task Force’s recommendations will receive full public review and comment as part of the process by which any modification is considered.


In conjunction with the development of the Comprehensive Plan, Steve Winkley, Groundwater Specialist from the New York Rural Water Association, developed a Groundwater Protection Plan for the Town that proactively protects the single most important resource a community has: pure water.  The report detailed the physiography and bedrock hydrogeology throughout the town; identified what could threaten the town's water supply and identified the various public and private water supply wells in use throughout the Township locating wellhead protection areas.  It also established aquifer recharge rates and discharge rates for effluent dilution.  These are invaluable for calculating land density requirements to ensure Town water supplies remain uncontaminated and potable.  Many maps were included to further help in identification of areas studied.






Town Property Revaluation


The Town’s Assessor completed a Town-wide revaluation in 2004-2006 and notices of new assessments were sent by her office to all property owners in March 2006 (with a valuation date of July 1, 2005).  In response to the revaluation, the Assessor met with approximately 720 property owners, covering nearly 1,100 properties, to discuss revised valuations with property owners.  The Town’s Board of Assessment Review, which is a State-mandated citizen’s body to which property owners can file petitions for relief, received 110 grievances and held 77 hearings – every property owner who wanted to meet in person was given that opportunity.[1]  Periodic property tax assessments are required by law in order to ensure that all taxable property in Town is assessed fairly in order to ensure equity in property taxation.  The last Town-wide assessment was conducted in 1999 and, as we know, market conditions and values have changed significantly since then.  The Assessor’s function is independent of the Town Board and the Supervisor, and we have no input into the assessment process or the Assessor’s decisions.  If you have any questions on how assessments are determined, please contact the Assessor’s Office at 626-0920.


Organizational Matters


In 2006, the Town Board adopted a policy that outlined the procedure for appointments to the many various boards and commissions that exist in the Town of Rochester.  Each opening is now advertised in the local newspaper, on our website and in the monthly newsletter, for submittal of letters of interest.  Our policy has been, and will continue to be, to interview and meet with every applicant in a process that identifies the most qualified person for each appointment.  The selection process includes a review of the individual’s professional and related experience and the qualifications that the individual is able to contribute to the respective appointment.  These interviews are held privately in confidential executive sessions of the Town Board.   Confidential executive sessions are permitted by State Law for a limited list of subjects – first and foremost, personnel matters.[2]  In 2006, more than 30 such interviews took place and many new faces were appointed to volunteer positions.  We believe the increase in the number of applicants is an indication of a renewed faith in the process of government and are grateful for the service that volunteers give to our Town.  I would like to extend a heart felt thanks for the many hours they contribute to the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Youth Commission, the Board of Assessment Review, the Environmental Conservation Commission, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Ethics Board, the Planning and Zoning Committee, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Committee, the Business Development Committee, and the many other citizens’ boards and commissions that exist in our Town. 


In order to continue to improve communications, the Town began publishing a monthly Newsletter starting last May. These one-page newsletters, which are photocopied and distributed in high-traffic locations as well as on our website, contain updated information on Town activities in a low-cost manner.  If you would like to receive newsletters by email, please sign up on the town’s website:  The Town Board also received permission from Revenue Markets to display a sign posting notice of Town Board meetings.


In coordination with the existing Youth Commission, the Town Board reviewed the purpose and procedures of this body to bring it more in concert with the other Town Commissions.  The revised resolution was officially adopted by the Town Board in December 2006. 






At of December 31, 2006, the Town had 32 regular employees (included elected officials) as follows:


                        Elected Officials - 9


                        Councilpersons (4)

                        Justices (2)                  

Town Clerk

                        Highway Superintendent




                        Highway Department                  8 full-time employees, 1 part-time and 1 full-time                                                                           secretary

                        Town Clerk’s Office                    Deputy Town Clerk and 2 part-time deputies

                        Transfer Station                         2 full-time attendants, 2 part-time attendants

                        Assessor’s Office                       1 assessor, 1 aide

                        Building Department                   1 full time Code Enforcement Officer and 1                                                                                               secretary

                        Planning Board/ZBA                   1 secretary

Secretary/Bookkeeper                1 full-time

                        Social Services Officer                1 part-time

                        Municipal Worker I/Laborer         1 full-time

Clerk of the Court                       1 full-time, 1 part-time

Court Officers                            2 part-time

Youth Department                      2 full-time, additional part-time as needed

Dog Control Officer                     1 part-time

Municipal Worker /Cleaner          1 part-time


In addition, the town frequently hires part-time temporary workers to cover for vacations and during snow emergencies as well as Election Day workers.  Altogether, about 65 individuals received a paycheck from the Town in 2006, most of whom are part-time temporary employees.


During 2006, the following changes were made:


·         The Town Clerk appointed a Deputy Town Clerk

·         The Code Enforcement Officer became a permanent full time employee


It is with sadness that I note the passing of Frank Garcia, a part-time town employee and full-time friend.  Frank was a friendly, diligent and helpful employee in our Transfer Station for 5 years.



Laws Passed


In February, the Town Board adopted Local Law #1, which established a one-year moratorium temporarily prohibiting the issuance of building permits for any commercial building larger than  20,000 square feet and the subdivision of any property into more than four lots.  This law, which has the option of two three-month extensions, was enacted to enable the Town to discuss and update our comprehensive plan without having to deal simultaneously with the impacts of a large-scale development.  The law provided for an exemption process for developers who had projects in progress who could demonstrate that the moratorium law caused financial hardship.  In 2006 the Board granted exemptions for four projects submitted.


On the recommendation of the Historic Preservation Commission, the Town Board held a public comment session in May to review their draft of an updated Historic Preservation Law.  There was public opposition to some aspects of the law and the draft was referred back to the Historic Preservation Commission for further study.


Financial Matters


The Town’s total operating budget for 2007 is $1.9 million, which is in addition to the $1.5 million for the Highway Fund.  The aggregate Town tax levy for 2007 increased by 2.9% from 2006, this increase is lower than the 3.3% Federal Cost of Living Adjustment.   Overall, taxes paid to the Town constitute less than 12% of total property tax payments, with the largest share of property taxes being paid to the school district.


My colleagues on the Town Board and I have worked hard to try to keep municipal expenditures as low as possible.  In adopting the 2007 budget, the Town Board looked at all costs to see where expenses could be reduced.  Unfortunately, most of the largest expenditures are beyond the Town’s control.  Fuel prices, as you know, have continued to stay higher than in prior years.  The Board worked hard to be included in the County bidding process for oil and gas products, which is expected to save the Town money. Employee benefits (e.g. health, workers’ compensation, retirement, etc) continue to rise.   At the Transfer station, costs for fuel and removal of waste have increased, necessitating an increase in fees.  Environmental and safety concerns required that we include funds to refurbish an existing building.  This continues to be a challenge so that the Transfer Station “pays for itself”.


The Town Board slightly increased the Highway Department’s budget for 2007.  The reason for this was two-fold:  First, the budget that was submitted by the department was virtually identical to that of the prior year and did not provide for known inflationary increases such as fuel, salary and employee benefits.   Second, the budget that was submitted did not include a provision for the repayment of debt incurred in prior years that was scheduled to be repaid in 2007. 


The collective bargaining agreement with IBEW Local 1968, the union that represents the employees of our Highway Department, was extended in 2006 in a new four-year contract that calls for aggregate raises of between 4% and 5% through December 31, 2010.


The Town Board authorized the purchase of two new trucks for the highway department in 2006 at a total cost of $246,000.  These items were not budgeted for in the Highway Department’s 2006 budget and debt was incurred for these expenditures. 


FEMA funds, totaling $497, 739.98 were received in 2006.  These funds were used to continue road repairs necessitated by severe weather.


In an effort to reduce the burden of property taxes on homeowners, I continue to participate in a task force with representatives from other communities in the Rondout Valley to address the issue of rising property taxes and to examine alternate funding sources for educational and other expenses. This project has had wide support from many other communities state-wide, and from the New York Association of Towns.  Various alternative methods of funding local school districts are being seriously considered by the State Legislature partially as a result of these efforts.


Borrowings and Debt


We were able to reduce town debt by $154,460 in 2006.  At December 31, 2006 the Town had the following borrowings outstanding:



Current Principal



Highway Fund - Dump Trucks - Front Loader

 $    154,867

Highway Fund – 2006 Truck Purchases

$    123,295

Highway Fund – Salt Shed

$      64,050

Highway Fund – 2006 Gravel Purchase

$      75,000

Special Road District -  Sages Loop

 $      17,000

Special Road District - Barry Lane

$      45,223




 $    479,435




The Special District debt relates to road maintenance agreements for Barry Lane and Sages Loop, the residents of which pay 100% of the principal and debt service payments through a special tax assessment.  The Highway Fund debt is repaid by all taxpayers through the Town’s Highway Tax.


Future Debt Repayments (principal only, does not include interest payments) are as follows: 











& Beyond

Special Districts





Highway Fund





General Fund






Town debt is in the form of 365-day bond anticipation notes (BANs) that are rolled over at each maturity (with the required principal amortization).   Generally, the amortization period is equal to the useful life of the asset purchased and ranges from one to fifteen years.  The rollovers are subject to interest rate risk, depending on prevailing interest rates at the time of the rollover.  Maturity schedules are prescribed by the estimated useful life of the asset acquired or the project for which the debt is incurred.



Legal Matters


The owner of the Streamside Estates manufactured home park sued the Town’s Planning Board under an Article 78 proceeding because that body did not approve plans for a proposed 64-unit trailer park development.  Judge McCarthy determined that the tied vote of the Planning Board is the equivalent of a denial of the application and that no Special Use Permit would be issued in this instance.  The Court further held that the votes to deny the application were based on legitimate concerns about the project and should be upheld.


The Board worked with on-going pending litigation with Giles Edwards (property cleanup), a Worker’s Compensation case, Patty Abezis (property cleanup), Annette and Charles Rose (property cleanup), and the Sauer case (damage claim from roadside tree trimming).


The Town received a Notice of Claim from Jacquelyn & Stanley Galewaler and later in the year were served with a Summons from them relating to Jacquelyn falling at the Youth Center.


On March 23, 2007 an Ulster County jury convicted former deputy Town Clerk Annette Rose of falsifying business records, a felony, and two misdemeanor counts of official misconduct.  Ms. Rose was acquitted on the charge of theft.  Employees and officials of the Town of Rochester assisted investigators in the case.  In 2004, the Town Board adopted financial procedures for the Town Clerk's office to follow in order to properly account for monies received by that office.


The Town received a Decision and Judgement on the Ample Storage v. The Planning Board case granting that the Special Use Permit be allowed.  




Other Matters

In addition to the items mentioned above, 2006 saw the following:


·         The Town Board actively pursued an opportunity with Homeland Towers to improve communications through the erection of new towers on town-owned land.  This is still being negotiated and is expected to generate revenue for the Town while improving much-needed communications services.

·         The Town Board has been working with a team of people to develop a much needed, updated Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.  The committee consists of emergency services personnel, representatives from large businesses, TOR Highway Department, Rondout Valley School District and many others to bring this to fruition. This group is working closely with Art Snyder, Director of Emergency Management for Ulster County and volunteer consultant, Greg Finger.

·         The Town was an active participant in Heritage Day, which featured a series of open houses and living history exhibitions along Main Street in Accord, spearheaded by Friends of Historic Rochester.

·         More than 1,100 children and adults used the Community Center in 2006.  Highlights of the Youth Department activities included the Summer Program, bus trips, Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween Party and the Haunted Barn, holiday parties, Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day luncheons, plus numerous educational programs geared towards  youth.  The Youth Department also organized Earth Day activities.  Last year town volunteers picked up more than 12,500 lbs of refuse.

·         The Route 209 Sustainable Transportation & Land Use Study was initiated.  The $500,000 received from NY State and Federal Department of Transportation for this multi Town study will look at traffic growth and land use development issues along Route 209.  It will recommend projects and strategies to promote environmental quality and better communities.

·         The Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway, which encompasses portions of the Town, was designated by the Governor.

·         The Town received a grant of $18,500 for the development of a Natural Resource Inventory and Open Space Index to protect natural resources in the Rondout Creek, its tributary system and the watershed aquifer system. The Environmental Conservation Commission will implement this grant.

·         The Planning Board adopted Ethics guidance for their review process.

·         The Town Board began plans for a Veterans’ Memorial Park to be erected behind the Museum in Accord.

·         The Town’s Historic Preservation Commission erected refurbished historical markers along Route 209.

·         The Town Board adopted a resolution moving the polling places for election districts 1 and 5 to the fire house on Main Street, Accord.  This change was due to overcrowding at Town Hall.

·         Town Republicans and others worked to renovate parts of the Town Park.

·         Town Democrats and others sponsored music and movies in the Park during the summer months.

·         The Town received the generous donation of an 85 kwh generator which may be used as a backup power supply to town facilities.


The Town Board worked with the owners of Veritas Villa and Hazeden to bring (pending approval of the Planning Board) a 75,000 square foot juvenile rehabilitation center to Kerhonkson.  This project is expected to create up to 130 jobs ranging from cafeteria and service personnel to clinical professionals. 


Skate Time 209, a 30,000 square foot roller skating and skateboarding family entertainment center opened its doors for business in April.

·         The Hudson Valley Resort and Spa was sold to a new investor group, which is expected to make significant capital improvements which will result in additional job opportunities.

·         The Alligerville General Store reopened and brought new activity to a historically commercial part of the hamlet.


Thank you


In the early part of May, the mountain above Upper Cherrytown Road was ablaze as a large forest fire burned through state-owned land.  Volunteers of the Accord Fire District as well as neighboring fire companies worked together with state and county firefighting officials to contain the blaze.  We’re grateful that the fire was extinguished with relatively few and minor injuries and I would like to again thank the volunteers and officers of the Accord Fire District (including the Ladies Auxiliary) and the Kerhonkson/Accord Rescue Squad for the excellent job that they did in helping our community deal with this event.





With the adoption of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and the ongoing review of our Town’s codes and ordinances, I believe that our Town is now significantly better equipped to deal with the inevitable growth that will occur over the next few decades.  This growth will bring change, not all of it welcome, but we now have the tools to adequately study and act on such growth in order to ensure that it comports to what the members of our community want.


Change and the way we deal with it has the potential to divide our community in very real and unpleasant ways.  My colleagues on the Town Board and I are committed to continuing to encourage active civil participation in the process of government.  We strongly believe that such participation is an essential element of our democratic society and that it is necessary for the sustained strength of our community.


I would like to thank my colleagues on the Town Board, our Town’s employees, and the many residents who have volunteered their services and who have expressed their thoughts for making this a successful year.  I hope that I can count on your continued support in helping our Town’s government make the decisions that are the best for our community’s long-term well-being. If you would like to discuss any of the topics that I have covered, or any that I haven't, please don’t hesitate to contact me.



Pam Duke, Supervisor


The information contained in this letter is believed to be correct, however, no responsibility is accepted for any unintentional errors or omissions.






Public Notice

Notice is hereby given pursuant to Article 24 (Freshwater Wetlands Act) of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law and the Freshwater Wetlands Mapping and Classification Regulations (6 NYCRR Part 664) that NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) proposes to amend Ulster County Freshwater Wetland Map 24 of 37 originally filed in 1988. The amendment consists of adjusting the boundaries to combine Wetlands M-21 and M-22, revising the wetland identification number to M-21 and revising the classification of the resulting wetland to Class I.

Maps showing the proposed revision are available at the Clerk's office in the village, town and county where the change is taking place, as well as at the NYSDEC Region 3 Office, 21 South Putt Corners Rd, New Paltz, NY. Those interested may view the proposed amended maps and ask questions at an information meeting which will be held April 11, 2007 from 6:00 pm -7:00pm at the Rochester Town Hall, 50 Scenic Road, Accord, New York. Those wishing to may submit written comments on the accuracy of the proposed changes to the maps at the information meetings, or by mailing comments to the person listed below through April 27, 2007. A legislative public hearing will be held April 11, 2007 beginning at 7:00pm at the Rochester Town Hall, 50 Scenic Road, Accord, New York following the information hearing. Oral as well as written comments on the accuracy of the amendments will be received into the record at that time. All comments received through April 27, 2007 will be considered.

Pursuant to 6 NYCRR Part 664, once the announcement of a proposed amendment has been made, no activity subject to regulation under the Freshwater Wetlands Act may be initiated without a permit from NYSDEC within the area that is the subject of the proposal (including the 100 foot or extended wetland adjacent area) until the Commissioner has either amended the map or denied the amendment.

Contact: Brian Drumm, NYSDEC Region 3, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561-1620 or phone (845) 256-3091 or FAX (845) 255-4659 or




[1] The Board of Assessment Review’s 2006 report is online under  the Board of Assessment Review page

[2] Section 105 of New York State Open Meetings Law







Upcoming Community Center Events

Town of Rochester Youth Department and Kerhonkson/Accord Chamber of Commerce
will hold a Disaster Preparedness Seminar for Senior Citizens and all other  interested parties.  Tuesday, March 27 at 10:30 at the Town of Rochester Community Center. A representative from the Ulster County Red Cross is the instructor for this free seminar. A continental breakfast will be served. To register please call: 626-2115.


Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Town of Rochester’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt is Saturday, April 7, 2007 at the Town Park. Event starts 12:30 sharp. Signup now: 626-2115. There will be no signups after March 31.


Earth Days:
Town of Rochester road signups are now being taken for two Earth Days, Saturday April 21 & April 28. Call 626-2115 to register your road.


Lawns & Meadows: An Ecological Perspective, March 22, 7-9 PM
Sponsor: Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cost $15
Location: Business Resource Center, 1 Development Ct. Kingston
BRC Room 114, Instructor: Francis Groeters, has a Ph.D. in Ecology. He worked as a
biologist in California, Hawaii, South Carolina, and Australia, returning to the area ten years ago to create Catskill Native Nursery Class Description: The traditional lawn requires considerable amounts of money, time and energy and has little ecological value for birds, butterflies and bees. Life is too short to be spending it mowing! Learn about alternatives to the traditional lawn with increasing degrees of ecological sustainability and value to wildlife.
TO REGISTER CALL: 845-340-3990

Organic Beekeeping: Planning a
New Hive for Spring.  Hands-on beekeeping workshop for beginners, with Bee Doctor Chris Harp.
March 17, 10am - 6pm. Sustaianable Living Resource Center, Rosendale, NY. $85 per person,
advanced registration required.  Visit, email,or call 845-255-6113.


Mushroom Log Cultivation and Composting 
March 31, 9-12am  cost: $20
The workshop will be held at Nearwood Forest, an educational homestead located at 990 Samsonville Rd in Kerhonkson, New York.  We will explore Permaculture principles and application through natural building, sustainable and edible landscaping, and other homesteading projects.For registration and more info please contact Ethan Zickler: phone 845-626-4296 or


Ellenville plant closing will eliminate 262 jobs
Ellenville - Hydro Aluminum told employees yesterday that it will close its extrusion plant here in six to eight weeks, eliminating 262 jobs.
Workers saw it coming, employee Jacob Nadrowski said.
"We had a bad feeling," said Nadrowski, an Ellenville resident who has worked as a supervisor in the plant for a year. "This town is going to become a ghost town."
Glum workers sat in their cars and pickup trucks at the Route 209 traffic light outside the plant after the hammer came down.
The company brought in management from its North American headquarters in Baltimore to dole out the bad news. Hydro said it had tried and failed to find a satisfactory buyer since putting the plant on the market in June.
The Ellenville factory, which makes aluminum tubing, no longer fit the company's goals, Hydro officials said. The market for its parts had shrunk, and customers have turned to cheaper manufacturing in Asia, the company said.
The factory's demise represents the end of the village's long and once-thriving blue-collar economy. The bell began tolling nearly two years ago, when the Imperial Schrade knife factory shut its doors without notice, sending hundreds of loyal, longtime workers to unknown futures.
Some locals say Hydro drove the company into the ground and questioned decisions by management. They say Hydro stripped Ellenville of profitable products and moved them to other plants. They accuse Hydro of haggling with potential buyers over minor issues like how to divvy up the parking lot, all to keep the plant out of the hands of potential competitors.
"That is not the case," said Lynn Brown, a Hydro vice president who was involved in the sale from the beginning.
When the sale was announced in June, Hydro solicited interest from 50 to 60 companies. Six or seven visited the plant and got the full treatment. The field narrowed to one, he said.
"At the end of the day, what (the buyer) was prepared to do was much different from what they had said at the beginning," Brown said. "The terms were onerous to the extent we could not go forward."
The result was much the same with a second potential buyer, whose proposal was not enough to ensure the future of the plant down the road, he said.
"At the end, no deal is better than a bad deal," Brown said. -¦ We threw our heart and soul into discussions with buyers. I can't think of anything more we could have done."
Employees will get severance pay and help finding new jobs. Hydro promised to try to find workers new jobs at other Hydro plants in the country or other similar aluminum plants. The company is keeping the Ellenville aluminum melting and recycling plant, or casthouse, which employs about 75 people.
Local officials are trying to set up a job fair to help the displaced workers find new jobs in the area. But many Hydro workers earned annual salaries in the $30,000 range. Finding similar jobs like that in the area is hard, said Nancy Schaef, director of the Ulster County Office of Employment and Training.
Fifty-seven percent of the households in Ulster County have incomes of less than $50,000, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.
Brown said there are no environmental issues at the site.
Government might be able to help rescue the plant.
"We need to capitalize on all the incentives the county and the state can lay at the doorstep of a potential buyer," Village Manager Elliott Auerbach said.
In the long run, Ulster County needs to re-examine its economic development strategies, he said. "We can't afford to take many more of these hits." (TH-Record 3/3/07)


Crash claims life of New Paltz man, 39


KYSERIKE - A two-vehicle accident at Lucas Turnpike and Kyserike Road in the town of Rochester Saturday morning left a New Paltz man dead and a Kerhonkson man hospitalized.

Ulster County sheriff's deputies said Andrew A. Rigano, 39, of 30 Harrington St., was killed after he drove through a stop sign while traveling westbound on Kyserike Road at about 8:05 a.m.

Rigano's Dodge pick-up collided with a Chevrolet van driven by Lyle Cornielle, 45, of 12 Pine Lane, Kerhonkson, who was headed north on Lucas Turnpike .

Deputies said Rigano was pronounced dead at the scene by the Ulster County Medical Examiner's Office.

Rigano had worked with Rigano Plumbing and Heating in New Paltz, a third-generation business.

Cornielle was airlifted to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, where he was treated for leg and head injuries. Deputies said Saturday evening that Cornielle was listed in stable condition.

Cornielle's wife, who did not want to be identified, said her husband was traveling alone at the time of the accident.

Deputies could not offer any further details on the accident and said the investigation would continue. (Freeman 2/25/07)


Two Accord residents charged with endangering child

Accord - Sheriff’s deputies charged two Accord residents on Wednesday with endangering the welfare of a child.
The two are Christopher Langjan, 20, and Michelle Torres, 19.
The officers accompanied a probation officer during a visit to Torres’ home on Route 209. They found a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the home when they arrived.
Torres’ 3-year-old daughter was at home at the time.
Deputies issued the pair appearance tickets on the misdemeanor endangering charge. The Probation Department will file a violation of probation against Langjan. They are scheduled to be in Rochester Town Court again March 21.
The child is in the custody of a grandmother. (TH-Record 2/24/07)




 Car flips, Cragsmoor teenage driver half-ejected
Accord - A Cragsmoor teen was injured seriously yesterday morning when his car flipped into a telephone pole on Route 209.
Jordan Batrus, 19, was trying to pass another car at about 8:20 a.m. on a straight portion of Route 209 between Boice Mill Road and Queens Highway. Batrus lost control of his Nissan Pathfinder and struck the car he was trying to pass, flipping three times and hitting a utility pole.
Batrus was partially ejected from his car. He was extricated from the vehicle by the Accord Fire Department and flown to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla with numerous internal and external injuries.
Further information on his condition was not available. The operator of the other car was uninjured.
The road was closed for about an hour. (THRecord 2/22/07)




Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor,


Citizens have a right to voice their differing opinions, and over the past 4 years, the Republican Club has become especially good at letting the Town of Rochester know what they disapprove of.  Although negative, I was usually interested in what was on their minds.


With this latest town issue, the Club has stepped over the line. In their effort to rally support for their cause, they have passed from legitimately voicing concern to inciting hatred.  One only needs to visit the Club website to view how they have vilified our town officers and anyone else whose opinion differs.  The Republican Club demonstrated their destructive strategy when they issued postcards to town members demanding the resignation of two town board members (coincidentally the two of the three seats that will be up for election this year ) because of a skewed version of what happened to a candidate for the Historic Preservation Commission in a closed meeting of the town board. The postcard itself was offensive and filled with indignation and rage. 


The strategy seems to be:  be offensive, don’t compromise, don’t think, compromise your opponent, just lash out.  Not pretty, and certainly not productive.  The Republican Club seems to think that they can get what they want by screaming the loudest.


A far more disturbing result of this kind of strategy is the potential for violence.  We’ve already witnessed a taste of violence in our town:  blown up mailboxes, nails in driveways, the humiliating signs, a mysterious fire, and more recently, the threatening, menacing tone at our February town board meeting. This leads me to believe that the objective of the Club is NOT to work towards a better community, but to disrupt, incite anger and destroy any semblance of community.


Republican Club, reconsider your strategy.  Past behavior is unacceptable to many of the Town of Rochester citizens.


Pam Duke’s administration has been the first in my short history here (10 years) to open the door to controversy and conversation.  In fact, she has invited it. The door is really open to you to get what you want without having to scream and holler, but you must enter into the conversation with respect for elected officials and the democratic process.


Gene Moncrief






To The Editor:

[The Ulster Press’] cartoon of February 7 was an unfair partisan attack on the Rochester Town Board. A reasonable argument can be made that the February 1 meeting should not have been adjourned. However, it can also be said that it was the  right to do so considering the hostile and threatening atmosphere. Was your cartoonist there?

But right or wrong this ridule was out of line. The Democratic members of  the Board led by Supervisor Duke have accomplished much in a short time to  make our town a better place to live for all of us.

My hope that in the future you will give credit where credit is due. And that you will avoid taking the side of the divisive and negative elements in Rochester.

Max Finestone
Chair, Town of Rochester Democratic Committee




Dear Editor:


With the Daily Freeman having seen fit to editorialize on the porn—no, make that political – scandal in Rochester, it’s perhaps a good thing that no further action seems likely to take place  until the Town Board meets in March. That gives all concerned time for some realistic thinking while tempers cool.  A few folks might even realize that headline-making stories that seem factual at first often generate more questions than answers.

             To recap: The Democratic-controlled Town Board queried a candidate for a position on the board of a local historical group.  Reportedly in a confidential meeting, she was asked about rumors linking her to an “adult” internet website. After viewing some print-out pages indicating a connection, she denied knowledge of the matter and hurried off to report to her husband, who happens to be the computer-wise internet webmaster for the Rochester Republicans Club.  Within hours, the woman told the press of her ordeal and the Club demanded that Board members resign for having “forced” pornography upon her.  At a volatile town meeting, the Board’s lawyer said members could discuss the matter only if the woman signed a waiver of confidentiality. She refused, and the meeting broke up in confusion.  

             Now, the questions. Let’s start here: Did the Board have a right to investigate rumors that the woman was somehow tied to a pornographic website?   And if she was – or is – so what?

            The Board apparently feels that it has not only a right, but an obligation to investigate the character of persons it appoints to various town committees.  Suppose the rumors were that a person had embezzled funds from another organization or served marijuana-laced brownies as refreshments. If the Board didn’t inquire about it, and if the person in question were named to a prestigious post, only to have the rumors later prove to be justified, wouldn’t the Board be castigated for having given approval?  

             But nowadays does one’s involvement in an “adult” website merit questioning?   Is that a crime?  No, it isn’t.  Unless – and it’s an important “unless” – the website in question involves child pornography. Then, the matter of criminality might well be brought into consideration.  (Hold on, there, this is just conjecture. I have no knowledge that such is the case and make no charges of any kind.)

             Some observers have contended that the Rochester Town Board is not constrained from discussing the matter without the woman’s waiver of confidentiality. The Freeman suggested that the “confidential” meeting should be repeated in public. My legal knowledge stems mostly from watching Law and Order, but if a person was asked in public about a link to pornography, wouldn’t he or she have grounds for a sizable lawsuit – whether or not the charges were true!

            But the evidence?  What about the “evidence” the Board members allegedly showed the woman?  Reports (primarily from the “victim” herself) were that she saw numerous pictures of sexual activity. In an incendiary call-to-arms mailer, the Rochester Republicans Club referred to “many genitalia close-ups, and very obscene x-rated images.”  To date, the Rochester Town Board has not made the material public – again, perhaps to stave off a lawsuit for libel or slander if the rumors of a link were proven false.

            But are they false?  It’s known that when the press broke the story of the “victim” and her denials, some computer-savvy citizens began combing and adult internet sites to uncover a link to the woman in question.  Evidently, nothing showed up except some “close calls,” such as swimsuit photos of a swinging couple on submitted by the wife who calls herself “Naked Manuela” and lives in Zagreb, Croatia. 

             Well, then, doesn’t the absence of substantiating internet material prove the

Board was wrong?   Let’s do some more conjecturing, Law and Order style.  

            If you were the woman concerned and you were NOT involved with the displayed material, would you not simply have said, “No, it’s not me, and if you say it is, you’ll see me in court.”  Or would you start “explaining” things -- as was done in this case, according to reports – such as claiming that an apparent link might have shown up because the Board doesn’t understand how the internet works?   Would you start talking about internet “meta-tags” and the intricacies of search-engine operations?  

            And again, if no one else has found an Internet connection, does that prove there weren’t any?  Not necessarily.  “Hackers” and Internet experts can easily “delete” web pages that could once have been easily accessed.  But computer whizzes also know of websites that hang on to  a great many “deleted” internet pages --- such as and cache – and a diligent search could yet uncover material of interest.  

            And that waiver? Well, let’s suppose that there is no evidence to corroborate the rumors, and never was any.  Then the question arises as to why the woman herself refused to sign a waiver of confidentiality, one that the Town Board attorney says would allow members to speak out and discuss the matter fully.  By her refusal, the “victim” seems able to insure that only her side of the story is heard.  Would signing a waiver perhaps open her up to questions she would prefer to avoid? 

             Finally, since only seven persons directly involved – the Town Supervisor, the town’s attorney, four Board members, and the woman herself – have all the facts, the rest of us are left to ponder questions. By hoping to politicize the matter, did the “victim” and the Republican Club want a “rush to judgment” to protest Democratic rule in Rochester?  Is “porn” on the Internet of overriding concern to the town’s citizens?   Can’t we let our elected officials just take care of business as they see fit to do so?

DON DUNN, Accord, NY



Dear Editor:

         In response to a letter published in the editorial section of the Blue Stone Press

Feb. 2, 2007 by Stuart Fraser I offer the following.

           The justification for the substantial pay increase for the Supervisor should not be done on the back of the Highway Superintendent. I have been elected to the position of the Highway Superintendent ten consecutive times by the residents of the Town of Rochester, being endorsed in many elections of all major parties of the town and 2007 is my 20th year of service to the town.          

           The Highway Department has been utilizing open bidding and receiving quotes for all purchases in the Highway department for years. This is not a new policy that was created by the Supervisor and the town board. The Highway department only makes purchases resulting from bids and quotes. I would like to clear up that all the alleged “unfettered” spending and borrowing that the Highway Department has done has been approved by the Town board. Anything over the amount of $5,000 must be approved by the town board, and has been done so for years.  So all the alleged “unfettered” spending that the Highway department has done has been approved by the Supervisor and the town board.

         There has been no poor financial planning done by the Highway Department, every year for the last 19 years I have handed over to the Supervisor and the town board a request list of equipment including prices for equipment that needs to be replaced for safety and efficiency needs.

     In my opinion responsible debt, such as borrowing money for an asset that will make money for the town, is good business. The Highway department has done this; we have investments in the equipment and material that will save money for the town. In municipal business it is not necessarily good money management to increase taxes to pay off debt, when a debt can be paid off through savings by the town as it is being used. Taking unnecessary taxes from residents is poor financial planning by the town board. The town can borrow money at a much lower interest rate than a resident can. Raising taxes and taking the tax payers hard earned money to accelerate borrowed money principle repayment is not, in my judgment, acting as a responsible government.

      In the future if anyone would like to make any accusations regarding the Highway Department that I have been running for more than 19 years please make sure you get all your facts in order.


Wayne Kelder

Highway Superintendent

Town of Rochester     





Kimberly Smithmeyer and her 15 year old child daycare business, Country Kids Daycare, were featured in a profile in the February 16, 2007 issue of the Blue Stone Press.  Country Kids Daycare is located on Queens Highway in Kerhonkson.




Upcoming Events at Little Ones Learning Center


Clifford the Big Red Dog will be at the Little Ones Learning Center on February 24th from 10 - 12AM.  Come and read books about Clifford, meet Clifford, and participate in craft projects.  The Little Ones Learning Center is located in the basement of the Rochester Reformed Church, 5142 Rt. 209, Accord (right across from the bus garage).  The program is free and open to all.  The Little Ones Learning Center is a not for-profit-early literacy program and lending library geared for children from 0 to early elementary school.  For more information, call 626-4112.

Larry Balestra, former band director at Rondout Valley High School, will present a Musical Petting Zoo at Little Ones on Saturday, March 31st from 10 - 12 AM.  Come and learn about different musical instruments and the wonderful sounds they make.  If you play an instrument, feel free to bring it and share the sound with others.



Disaster Readiness Seminar

The Town of Rochester Youth Department and the Kerhonkson/Accord Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring an AMERICAN RED CROSS DISASTER READINESS SEMINAR for senior citizens and any other interested parties on Tuesday, February 27, at 10:30 at the Town of Rochester Community Center. To register call Youth Department:  626-2115


Man leaves dog tied up through storm

Kerhonkson — A local man left his dog tied outdoors with no food, no water and no shelter during a snow storm, according to police.

Sheriff's officers charged James L. Terbush, 33, of Kerhonkson, with animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, according to a press release.

The dog was left in the cold for more than 12 hours, tied on a 4-foot leash to a piece of farm equipment on Jan. 30. Terbush was not at home at the time. The animal was seized by Town of Rochester animal control officers and taken to the town animal shelter. Terbush was located and arrested the following day. He was arraigned in Town of Rochester Court and released, pending reappearance Feb. 14. (Freeman 2/4/07)



 Residents of mobile home park raise stink over sewage problem

Accord - Jackie Orr tries not to breathe in when she stands outside her mobile home in a 14-trailer park off U.S. Route 209. She says the smell is too much for her to take.

For the better part of a decade, she says, the land around her mobile home park has had a sewage problem that brings with it that unpleasant sewage smell. In the winter, when it freezes over, the smell is bearable, she said.

"It's been a real big problem for 10 years," she said. "But since people started dealing with it, two months."


COMPLAINTS by Orr and a neighbor eventually got the Ulster County Health Department involved with the problem at the Atkins Mobile Home Park. The department conducted dye tests in the trailer's septic systems. The test for Orr's trailer came up negative, but some dye was recovered from a neighbor's system, indicating leaks.

Dean Palen, the county's public health director, said temporary improvements should be under way at the park and an engineer is be working on a permanent solution.

"Clearly, sewage on the surface of the ground is a violation," Palen said. "Hopefully, with the filling in of these holes and the liming, the immediate problem will go away."

BUT DESPITE the Health Department's involvement, Orr doesn't have a lot of faith that things will improve. She said the property's owners, Brenda and Josh Smith, have failed to maintain the site. And she claims she has gotten rude responses whenever she talks to the Smiths about the problem. Also, her request to move to another site in the park has been denied, she said.

"The landlord has made no attempt whatsoever to do any improvements to this park whatsoever," she said.

BRENDA Smith declined to respond to Orr's allegations, deferring the matter to John Sisti, her New Paltz-based attorney. Sisti said the a temporary fix is in the works: a barrier of sand and lime. Sisti also said he believes Smith has "made some phone calls" to an engineer to find a more permanent solution but that solution will have to wait until the weather is warmer.

"It's a little hard this time of year to do this stuff," he said.

ORR SAID the smell is worse in warmer weather. It's so bad in the summer, she said, that her family relocates to a spot at a nearby campsite. She said the family lives there "pretty much" from March to October.

Tarin Orr, one of Orr's three daughters, said her bedroom in the back of the trailer usually catches the worst of it.

"It's an everyday thing," the 18-year-old said. "I can't even open up my bedroom window in the summertime."

Jackie Orr said the family never invites people over because of how bad the smell is.

She also worries that constant exposure to the smell and chemicals in the sewage might cause health problems. She said she had a complete hysterectomy, the result of ovarian and uterine cancer; a neighbor is recovering from cervical cancer; and the park's former owner died of pancreatic cancer.

PALEN SAID it's impossible to know whether these cancer cases are linked to the sewage problem at the park. Cancer statistics are available by municipality, but not by specific neighborhood, he said.

Headaches also are a common occurrence at the trailer park, Orr said, and she believes they are linked to the sewage smell. As a result, she said, her family routinely goes through Tylenol quickly.

"My head hurts all the time," he daughter said.

A NEIGHBOR who asked that his name not be published agreed with Orr's assessment of the smell, which he said is sometimes "unbearable," depending on the weather.

The problem should have been dealt with year's ago, he said, but now it's gotten out of control. (Freeman 2/8/07)



Farmland, ho! Buyers are attracted to protected open spaces

KENNETH Migliorelli, owner of Migliorelli Farms in Red Hook, recently expanded his operation - an unusual move in an era when the very existence of small farms is threatened by the double-whammy of small profit margins and the lure of big money that developers are willing to pay for open land.
Migliorelli was able to buy the orchard adjacent to his because the previous owner had sold the development rights to the land, allowing him to lower the selling price of his property without losing a significant amount of money.
Migliorelli, who also sold the development rights to his farm, said he would not have been able to pay full market value for the additional land but was able to meet the reduced price.
"I was fortunate," he said.
FORMER New York City resident Robert McKeon started buying farmland in Red Hook in 1998 after retiring from a successful real estate business.
He recently added to his holdings a protected 90-acre parcel that once was part of Rose Hill Farm, most recently owned by David Fraleigh.
And Michael Trezza, also of Red Hook, sold his Guski Road farm - not to another farmer, but to someone interested in living on the property because it is protected from development, along with land surrounding it.
THESE THREE sales are among dozens involving lands on which further development is prohibited, and they show that, contrary to the fears of some, protected lands won't necessarily wind up a burden to property taxpayers.
Although land-protection programs have existed for several decades, the Poughkeepsie-based environmental group Scenic Hudson revolutionized the movement in the late 1990s by offering to buy development rights to land.
Similar programs then began cropping up quite quickly. In 1999, Dutchess County Executive William Steinhaus unveiled his Open Space and Farmland Matching Grant Program, which helps pay for the purchase of development rights. And in 2003, the town of Red Hook began its own development rights purchase plan.
Since Scenic Hudson purchased the development rights to the first seven farms (all located in Red Hook), development rights to thousands of acres of farmland throughout Dutchess County have been sold by farmers, allowing them to keep farming now and guarantee quality farmland for the future.
ALTHOUGH the program was embraced quickly by some farmers and others interested in open space protection, because it allowed them to protect their land without losing its potential cash value, others were reluctant, concerned that the inability to develop the land would severely limit those interested in buying it, and, as a result, deflate the selling price.
Those fears were quickly allayed, however, when at least three farms sold almost immediately after Scenic Hudson purchased the developments rights to them. Since then, several other farms have been sold - some more than once - and others have gone on the market.
AND THEY'RE not being sold at fire sale prices.
Trezza said he sold his property to someone who was willing to pay a premium because his farmland, as well as the lands surrounding it, are forever protected from development.
"I actually didn't have any trouble," Trezza said. "The person that bought it wasn't interested in the land as much as they were the barn and the house. I don't think it deters it from being sold. There's a bountiful amount of people around who want farmland."
The new owner, he said, is renting the farm to an area farmer.
"Anybody (who) tells you that you devalue your land when you sell your development rights doesn't know what they're talking about," Migliorelli said. "I'm a farmer, and I was fortunate that I was able to get (the additional farm) for a real good price, but the market has changed."
McKEON is one of a new breed of farmers who came to the industry less than a decade ago as a second career.
"I came to Red Hook truly by accident," said McKeon, who now owns a 400-acre farm. "We were up visiting friends who knew of this farm that was for sale. The moment my family took a look at it, we became enchanted by it. We took it upon ourselves to look into the farm and Red Hook and the work that was already being done and decided to give it a go."
McKEON, who describes himself as a "part-time farmer," spends much of his time working on open space and land-preservation initiatives in the community.
In recent years, he said, there's been a real interest in farming from people, like him, with no previous connection to agriculture.
"There's a lot of folks who weren't originally exposed to farming who are becoming enticed," he said. "The opportunity to have relationships to agriculture and the land is very appealing to them."
MIGLIORELLI said the new breed of farmers and those interested in the land for its aesthetic value are, in part, responsible for the rising value of protected farmlands.
Today, Migliorelli said, he could sell the property he purchased in 2002 for five times what he paid for it. And he can't afford to purchase several pieces of farmland now on the market despite the prohibition against development.
Indeed, there are two Red Hook farms now on the market with asking prices of more than $3 million each, he said.
"You'll always have somebody with enough money interested in buying a tract of land like that, and they don't care that they have a conservation easement on it," Migliorelli said.
"Sometimes you will get folks to buy farms because of the surrounding property, but almost universally, they end up renting out the land to a farmer," McKeon added. "Farmland needs to be actively worked to be a farm. (Agricultural) property tax incentives go away if you don't farm."
SETH McKee, director of land conservation at Scenic Hudson, said the track record across the state is that protected lands do sell.
"If they're not farmers buying the land for themselves, then they buy it and end up leasing it to a farmer," McKee said. "By and large, someone is continuing to cultivate these properties."
THAT, said Nola Hooper, a senior planner with the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Economic Development, is a primary goal of the county's open space and farmland-protection program.
"Farms are working landscape; they're part of the economics of Dutchess County and the third largest industry in Dutchess County," Hooper said. "We want to keep the economics of farming going, and this is one way of doing it."
(Freeman 2/4/07)





Ruth Green West

Ruth Green West, 103, died February 13, 2007. She was under hospice care at her home in Kerhonkson, and died of natural causes. Ruth survived her daughter, Rachael. She is survived by her son, Gerry, her granddaughters Kristin and Anne, and grandsons Tom and James and her great-granddaughter

A descendent of Revolutionary War Gen. Nathaniel Greene, and the DeWitt family, she had been an active member of the DAR and the Ulster County Historical Society.

Her life, spanning over a century saw major technology and societal changes which she documented from a local perspective in an anecdotal book on family/friends events before 1930, yet to be published. One incident
described a friend of hers, Thelma McDowel driving a Model T for the first time as she was slowly going past the Grahamsville Fair, saying “I’ll be there as soon as I figure out how to stop this damn thing.”

She lived in a Quaker family tradition of women’s’ equality. A college classmate and friend was environmentalist Rachel Carson. A woman of diverse talents, Ruth was an accomplished pianist, invited to be a soloist in 1946 with the New York Philharmonic. She received a Masters in Education in 1961 and taught Kindergarten at the Tri-Valley School, Grahamsville NY through 1979. She then took up painting, having studied under Robert Angeloch. In 1988, in a juried art show in Woodstock where chances of acceptance usually are slim, two (she only submitted two) paintings were accepted and displayed between those of former Woodstock artists Georgia O’Keefe and Clyfford Still. Some of her still life paintings capture the sunlit light-perspective qualities of Vermeer, an extremely rare talent among artists.

She was a prolific poet, winner of the Massachusetts Poetry Contest in the early 1990’s, member of the Alchemy Club, and a past editor of Oxalis Magazine (all poetry). A poem, published in Oxalis, Vol. I, No. 1, in 1988; Woodstock Times in March, 1987; and Alchemist, 1995 reads:

The Earth and I

We’re spent, the earth and I
Leaves heap against the door
Quiet creeps through bared trees
beside black bones of zinnias
and marigolds the mums burst
out in a cadenza finale
Pumpkins glow like banked
embers among corn stubble

The river of energy that once flowed
through the house crested long ago
Dream fragrance lingers
in a coat sleeve or a chair
While the sun honors other commitments
the worn silk of days and hours
slips through my fingers

Under the half-closed eye of the sky
silence soon will mound its white
onslaught on emptied field and house
When stars thicken in the sky
and cold sharpens their spurs
they’ll come down close enough
for me and the earth to listen
to unchanging answers to old questions
for in the rush and wear of time
we’ve learned acceptance
the earth and I

…Ruth West

Viewing will be Wednesday, February 21st from 11:00 to1:00 pm at H.B. Humiston Funeral Home, Kerhonkson. The funeral service will immediately follow at 1:00 pm. Burial will be in Pine Bush Cemetery.
In place of flowers, donations can be made to The Nature Conservancy, 108 Main Street, New Paltz, NY 12561. (845) 255-9051.






Dear Editor:


Former Supervisor Lipton is right….GET SMART Rochester Residents


Harold Lipton’s letter to the editor of the Daily Freeman is right on… it’s time to GET SMART residents!  You do that by knowing the full facts, not just what a disgruntled, boisterous spin off group (the Rochester Republican Club---note this is NOT, I repeat NOT the Rochester Republican Committee; this is a splinter group…) wants you to believe.


So let’s just address the issues presented by former Supervisor Lipton.  Harold Lipton questions the recent raise for our Town Supervisor and lack of orderly meetings.   When former Supervisor Lipton was Supervisor it was very simple to keep orderly meetings….he allowed limited opportunity for Public Comment periods,   nothing was publicized and nothing was happening (at least that benefited the Town in general).   Order is easy if you don’t do anything or allow any public dissent.


 Also since nothing was happening (which is why we still had a Town Plan from 1969!!!), it was easy to run the Town on a part-time basis.   Present Supervisor Duke and the present Town Board have been extremely proactive in moving the Town forward.    Want the facts?  Take a look at the Town’s website – (which came about during Duke’s administration) and read her State of the Town reports for the past few years.  This work can’t be accomplished on a part-time basis.


For three years the Supervisor continued to work with part-time pay.  In 2007 her salary was increased to partially makeup for this inequity.  Working 50 hours a week rather than 20, deserves a raise doesn’t it?  While you’re at the website, take a look at the January 2007 minutes and the salaries of Town officials.  Even with the increases, Supervisor Duke still makes less than the Highway Superintendent and Town Clerk (elected Republicans).


The budget that provides for the salary increase for the Supervisor was approved unanimously by the Town Board, including Republican Town Board member, Ron Santosky.  There was also an open hearing on the budget, prior to its passage.   It was available on the website and at the Town Clerk’s office for all to view before that hearing.  Funny,  Mr. Chipman, chair of the Rochester Republican Club,  didn’t raise any questions at that point---I don’t even remember him being there.  He waited until the budget was passed to raise the issue.  Why?  So he could manipulate the statistics and preach one side of the story. 


Supervisor Lipton is right…GET SMART Rochester Residents.  Get all the facts and stop listening to one side of the story. 


Margaret Bonner (Rochester Resident)





Dear Editor,

Subject : Common Sense isn't that common anymore.

As an educated observer living int the Town of Rochester for well over 20 years, I cannot understand the lack of common sense displayed by the other councilman, regarding not seconding Councilman's Santowsky's motion to move the monthly town board meeting to a larger location able to hold the crowd that intially waited patiently outside. This simple action, if allowed, would have lifted the cover on an already boiling pot, allowing some of the steam to escape. Insted by keeping these constitiuents out in the
cold literally, as well as, figeratively from attending and participating in what up to now has been an open form of government, escalated the tension until the meeting hastily closed citing disruptiveness as the cause. This type of circular reasoning, or blaming the victims for waiting to participate in thier town meeting is questionable and quite atypical in this Town's governmental process to date. What was the real goal here? ...not to allow people to speak their opinions and participate because it may have differed form the majority of the Democratic board members. I sat there as Councilman Miller scolded the citizens lucky enough to be inside when the frustrated people left outside started to beep thier horns in clear protest. I, nor any one of us (inside or outside) should have been treated like children, with such a lack of respect, especially when we didin't create this situation, in the first place. Yes, there was alot of emotional issues on the table needing to be addressed, ( when isn't there when dealing with politics), but knowing how to handle crowds and some basic psychology on how not to insight potential riots, not fanning the flames, should be a course offered as training these councilmen.
This poor decision, attempts to control by strong arming, posting state troopers ( who also suggested to Supervisor Duke a change in location, only to be ignored) will only breed more resentment, frustration, or worse... apathy, a proven formula for concerned citizens to drop away, learn not to care and feel powerless. Open Government ? That scenario, history teached us, is fertile soil to grow violence, facists, & dictators, thwarting basic individual rights ( which freedom of speech is one of them, not a "privelege" as Councilman Miller has postulated). The people in this town care, should not be characterized as derailers or villianized. They will remember (an administration that bugrudged them, the taxpayers, a bucket of
sand to throw on the icey spots, and other systematic changes to thier way of life) when the polls open at election time, unless they too get closed because there isn't enough room to handle the glut of people wanting to express thier opinion.

Sincerely Yours,
Toni Sindone



To the Editor:


Years ago, when I was Town Supervisor, our Board Meetings were frequently disrupted by groups whose actions seemed more driven by politics, rather than reason.  The "Moonies", Marriott @ Minnewaska, the racetrack, the zoning regs, etc. are a few of the dust-ups that over-filled our meeting room.  Things haven't changed much since then.


Sadly, I've read about the new controversy surrounding Manuela Mihailescu's non-appointment to the board of the Historic Preservation Commission.  It has become the focus of a political campaign to upset the orderly and legally required actions and reactions taken by the Town Board.


There does seem to be legitimate concerns, which must be resolved; but shouting matches, and inflamatory political agitation are not the way it should be done.  Let the Town Board do its job. When  the facts are clarified, Board, not the mob, will put the matter to rest.  Support the Town Board.


Bob Lohfeld

[Robert Lohfeld was Supervisor of the Town of Rochester from 1982-1987]



Dear Editor


I find it hard to believe that you can blame the financial problems of
this town on the highway superintendent. 1st off the highway
superintendant has to indellably submit a budget proposal to the
supervisor and than it has to be voted uponto be approved. stop throwing
the problems of this town on the people who have been here there whole
lives and have done extremely wel for this town and put the blame where
it belongs at the door step of our unsucessful superviser as
she and her klan of want to be hopefuls from lands far south of here
should have stayed ,. as i see it this town has had nothing but problems
since she was so called elected . not by me thank you or any one in my
family for that matter.and a note for which was stated in the town crier.
cry some more because if the supervisors spot should be a full time spot
because our supervisor ms duke has alot to do than maybe instead of
locking herself in her office and not answering up to the media which is
one of jobs she should face the music she has started to play. DONT LIKE
called need for a fulltime supervisor. ms duke was voted into a part time
position. not a fulltime position. which means what you ask. a fulltime
position needs to be voted on by the people of this town. just as she was
elected. she needs to be re-elected for a fulltime spot . this is the
rules of can not and the people of this TOWN ."also it is
not right for the town highway supervisor to put in an unchanged budget
and then be told to resubmit as it is going to make the supervisors
budget look bad"some thing is wrong here. and our town needs to find it
and fix it .

these are compiled opinions and need to be submitted.


Wayne P. Hamilton





To the Editor:

The Republicans [in Rochester] do not want our current elected officials to succeed.  If this alleged incident did not happen, there would have been something else.  The signs, the rumors, the smashing mailboxes and other unethical practices, it seems, are what the Republicans do best.  They owe the voters in the Town of Rochester and our current elected officials an apology for refusing to respect our democracy and the people we voted in office.  I have lived in this area 30 years and the voters wanted a change. The Republican party needs to respect that and stop their antics.


Marlene D. Shaver, Accord







“It is Truly a Shame”


It is truly a shame

That we live in such fear

Of our neighbors

That we have descended

To a level of fear

That causes us to

Search their names

And their families

And their lives

That threaten us so much

We Google

And Yahoo

And Ask Jeeves

To tell us who they are

Until we no longer form

Our own ideas

By our observations

And conversations

And salutations

But rely on


And technology

As our methodology

To decide

Who they are

Our neighbors


And it is truly a shame

That we live in such fear

Of our neighbors

That we have descended

To a level of fear

That causes us to

Litter the landscape with signs

And to scatter nails

And to burn mailboxes

And to spread vicious stories

We stereotype

And name call

And mock

And say they are

Different than us

We criticize

And demonize

And generalize

Without really knowing

Who they are

Our neighbors


And it is truly a shame

That we live in such fear

Of our neighbors

That we have descended

To a level of fear

That causes us to never know

Or sadder still,

To even care to know

That they love


Or racing

The Yankees,

The Mets

That they are

A Grandparent,

A veteran, a teacher

A trucker, a farmer,

A musician, a writer

Or maybe a businessman

That they like jazz or rap

Or country or swing

Or maybe music

Just isn’t their thing

That they garden

Or paint

Or hunt

Or sing

Do we care?

That they have interests

And lives

And qualities

And gifts?


For fear overwhelms

We choose not to know

Who they are

Our neighbors


And it is truly a shame

That we live in such fear

Of our neighbors

That we have descended

To a level of fear

That causes us to have


“Not me” you say

But yes,

For today it knows

A new name

Not one of race or color

Or sexuality or gender

But one of politics

Of tenure

Of arbitrary determinations

By Us

About Them


Who they are

Our neighbors


And it is truly a shame

That we live in such fear

Of our neighbors

That we have descended

To a level of fear

That we set

Bad examples

For our children

We shout angrily

And point fingers

Accusingly, insanely,


In front of

The next generation

Who we should be

Nurturing, and teaching,

Embracing with love,


Who they are

Our neighbors


And it is truly a shame

That we live in such fear

Of our neighbors

That we have descended

To a level of fear

That causes us to

Attach labels and names

Grouping together

Cityperson, Hick,

Old-timer, Outsider

Us, Them, Troublemaker

Republican, Democrat

Said with such hate

All thrown about

Generically, Carelessly

Callously, Maliciously,

Filled with rage

With no feeling or regard

Forgetting they are

A person first

Before anything else

Who they are

Our neighbors


Michael Baden 

Feb. 2, 2007


Help Wanted:

RUSTY PLOUGH FARM, NOFA-NY certified organic, seeks intern for 2007  season. Come join our family for the season! Learn all aspects of  running a small farm. We have two acres in vegetables, berries and  flowers plus four acres wild blueberries.  Chickens, ducks, a pond,  lots of woods. Ulster County, NY.  One intern, for early May through  mid-October – somewhat flexible. Weekly stipend plus housing and meals.Call Nadia or Oleh at 845-647-6911,

CATSKILL NATIVE NURSERY 2007 Season starting April.Postion #1 - Nursery assistant. We will train you to help with general  nursery duties that include potting up seedlings and plugs, watering, 
and helping our hard working nursery manager keep everything under  control. All work is outdoors (sun shelters) and requires someone who  likes being in nature and is physically capable of lifting plant trays  and moving wagon loads of plants from one place to another. Flexible  hours, could be full or part time.

Postion #2 - Landscape assistant. Possibly starting in Mid-March,  depending on weather. We are expanding our ecological landscaping  services. This is a very physical job, you must be able to move wheel  barrows full of soil/mulch, dig lovely holes through Catksill rock,  help move heavy things and be willing to work in various weather  conditions. We will train you about plants, general garden installation  practices and supply all the tools. We hope to eventually turn this job 
into a supervisory position with profit sharing, so if you hate working  in a office, are in great physical shape, love the great outdoors and   can comfortably lift @75lbs or more, this might be the niche for you.  Must also have a clean driver's license. Great opportunity to learn  about ecological landscaping and native plants. We can work around  college class schedules.
For more information about working at CNN call 845-626-2758 or email:










Kerhonkson Resident Kali Z. Fasteau to Perform at Cafe Chronogram

Artists who have contributed to Chronogram from it's inception to today in an intimate salon style setting. Enjoy an evening celebrating arts & culture in the Hudson Valley community. Music: Kali Z. Fasteau w/ Joakim Lartey; Spoken Word:Art: Sparrow; Sculpture: Emil Alzamora

Art On Wall, 288 Wall Street, Kingston, NY, February 3rd, '07 Start time is 8pm; adm is $5.

For more info, call 845 334 8600 ext. 123


Upcoming Events Hosted by Rochester Democrats

Rochester Democrats are hosting a free viewing of the Oscar-nominated film, “An Inconvenient Truth” at the Accord Fire House on Main Street on Tuesday, February 6th a 7pm. 

Ulster County Democrats are gathering at Skate Time 209 on Sunday, February 18th for a family rollerskating and skateboarding party from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.  For more information on both events, visit 

[Editor’s note on political notices:  We publish political notices and reserve the right to edit them to conform with community standards of good taste.]


Photographic Exhibition:  Democratic Republic of the Congo: Forgotten War

A photographic exhibition featuring members of VII, Ron Haviv, Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil, Joachim Ladefoged, and James Nactwy. Curated by Alison Morley of ICP.

January 25 – February 23, 2007.  Opening reception with Ron Haviv, photographer, and Kris Torgeson, Communications Director of Doctors Without Borders on Thursday, January 25 at 7pm.  SUNY ULSTER, Ulster County Community College, Vanderlyn Hall 265, Gallery hours: M-F 11-3, or call 687-5113 for an appointment. 


 Accord Artist Sara Harris exhibits at Stone Window Gallery

An exhibition of Sara Harris’ recent colorful oil paintings will run through February 28, 2007 at Stone Window Gallery in Accord, NY.  There will be an opening reception on Sunday, February 4, 2007 from 12-5 P.M.  for more information, contact Brinton P. Baker, Stone Window Gallery, 17 Main Street, PO Box 239,  Accord, NY 12404, Tel. 845-626-4932, Email:


 A Community’s Kindness

Accord — Sometimes, a community's kindness can take your breath away.

Eight days after Toni Perretta and her three boys moved to Accord, her youngest, 12-year-old Nico, got hit by a van.

Right out on Main Street, near the youth center.

He was badly hurt. Broken leg, lacerated spleen, fractured pelvis. He spent weeks in a trauma center.

Meanwhile, it seemed that nearly all of Accord, a tiny, friendly hamlet off a stretch of Route 209 dominated by farms and heavy-equipment businesses, pitched in to help.

What happened next has amazed the family. At the Quick Mart where Perretta works, customers handed over cash for her. The Town of Rochester Youth Center is giving the proceeds of its annual Valentine's Dance and a bake sale fundraiser to the family.

From the moment the van hit Nico, the community pitched in.

It happened at 5:31 p.m. on Jan. 9. Nico lay motionless on the pavement.

Tom Bauer, 16, dropped to the ground to check Nico's pulse and to listen for breathing. Leon Decker, 15, ran to call 911, and returned with a blanket. How did these boys know what to do? A CPR and first aid course at the youth center.

Nico's brother, Gino, called their mom, who arrived just in time to give Nico a kiss as EMTs moved him from the ambulance to the chopper that flew him to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

Perretta's boss, Raj, drove Perretta and her mom, Evelyn Pustilnik, to the hospital.

As Perretta sat vigil for days at Westchester, friends brought clothes for her, and candy and coloring books for Nico.

Back at the Quick Mart, the regulars did what they could.

"Customers just started handing me money," said Christine Winne, Perretta's friend and co-worker. "One customer said 'Just put a can up, because she could use the help.'"

And the cash rolled in.

"Not just change," Perretta said, still a little amazed. "Tens and twenties."

Some guys from the Kripplebush Fire Department gave Perretta a convertible couch so she could sleep next to Nico after he got home on Sunday. Yesterday, a regular from the Quick Mart stopped by with a brand-new set of bunk beds for the boys.

"I never knew of a community like this until I came here," Perretta said. She searches for the reasons her neighbors have been so good to her. They know she's a single mom, that she's working hard for her boys.

"I'm good to my customers," she says. "You don't know how many friends you actually have. My friends are the town of Accord. They are wonderful people."

Reporter Deborah Medenbach contributed to this report.

Want to help? You can send donations in the name of Nico Perretta and Evelyn Pustilnik to Eastern NY Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 90, Woodbourne, N.Y. 12788, care of Debbie. (TH-Record 1/24/06)



Town Board meeting disovles in shouting match

Accord — The porno showdown with the Rochester Town Board tonight dissolved in shouting matches, the blaring horns of pickup trucks and a legal standoff.

The jam-packed meeting never got to the demands of the resignation of town Supervisor Pam Duke and Councilman Francis Gray. Members of the Rochester Republicans Club had mailed 2,000 multi-colored, slick paper fliers to town residents urging them to attend the tonight's meeting at Town Hall.

"WARNING: Sexually Explicit Material" the flier blared across the top. The flier said Duke and Gray, among other board members, charged a local woman with being associated with a pornographic web site. The charge came during an executive session to interview the woman, Manuela Mihailescu, for a position on the town's Historic Preservation Commission.

"Ridiculous," Mihailescu said last night. "Absurd." "Inconceivable." That's one side of the dispute, town attorney Rod Futerfas told the crowd of about 80 that jammed Town Hall. Another 50-80 people milled in the cold outside and pickup trucks circled in the parking lot, blaring their horns and flashing their headlights. State Police were on hand, but made no arrests during the session.

If, Futerfas said, Mihailescu waived her right to confidentiality from the executive session, the Town Board could present its side.

'I have already waived confidentiality," she told the board. But she refused to sign a written waiver. Instead, she challenged the board members to waive their own confidentiality. Not without a written waiver from her, Futerfas said.

Not good enough for Imre Beke, a Mihailescu supporter. "This is our town. You answer to us," he, shouted in a loud, horse voice.

Futerfas said the board refused to hold a one-sided discussion and accused Beke of climbing atop a soapbox. "I and the rest of these people will speak tonight," Beke said.

That was it for Councilman Alex Miller. His motion to adjourn the meeting passed unanimously. "See you next month," Miller said, and the board disappeared into a side office. (TH-Record 2/2/07)



Could this be the same Town? [an editorial]

The two preceding articles reflect two very real sides of the Town of Rochester.  Yes, the community did come together to assist the family of Nico Peretta after he was struck by a van, and Yes, the Town Board was forced to adjourn a Town Board meeting because of a raucous mob. – both in the span of a few weeks.  Residents in our Town have a history of helping people in need.  There is also a history of political bullying and intimidation as evidenced by at least three occasions in recent memory when shouting and threats were made at Town meetings.


Let’s look at the facts.  Manuela Mihailescu is a demure woman who has been active in many local organizations.  She sought appointment to the Town’s Historic Preservation Commission.  There had been rumors in Town for several weeks that her name was associated with adult websites and it appears that this information was passed to members of the Town Board.  If presented with the information by local residents, the Town Board would have had a legitimate responsibility to look into the matter.  Not because such an association, even if proven true (which we question), would necessarily disqualify her, but because the Town Board would have had a duty to make such appointments with full knowledge of the facts in order to protect residents from any potential liability.


The Town Board has full discretion to make or not make such appointments.  That’s what the citizens of the Town elected the Town Board to do.  By opening up the nominating process, the Town Board has sought to make these appointments equitable and unbiased.  The fact that they met with Ms. Mihailescu privately to hear her side of the story rather than dismiss her candidacy outright is a testament to their fairness and respect for the process of government and of the people of our community.  As former Republican Club president David O’Halloran wrote, “There are two sides to every story.”


The Republican Club’s recent postcard and a related letter that they circulated stated that the meeting took place in “executive session.”  An executive session is a confidential private meeting of a public body in which only personnel and certain other matters can be discussed.  None of the Town Board members present are legally able to discuss what happened.  As Ms. Mihailescu was not willing to waive her privilege of confidentiality, the Town Board isn’t able to respond in any way to the many charges of misconduct that the Republican Club is alleging.  It’s easy to criticize people for things they can’t respond to.


The mailer put out by the Republican Club states that the Town Board “forced pornography” on Ms. Mihailescu.  Yet the publication also states that she twice requested to see the material and was denied.  It sounds like the Town Board relented only after she asked again.  It doesn’t sound like Ms. Mihailescu was forced.


Could the Town Board have handled this any better?  Maybe.  But in reading the way they handled it quietly with only Ms. Mihailescu present, it sounds like the process was fair.  They met Ms. Mihailescu privately and asked her side of the story.  They haven’t broken their duty of confidentiality to Ms. Mihailescu and no one would have known about the allegations if the Republican Club, in its perpetual search for a cause, hadn’t published it in their mass emails, letters, and postcards.


Should the Town Board comment on this matter?  Yes, absolutely.  But they can’t until Ms. Mihailescu waives her right of confidentiality.  And she shouldn’t have to waive this confidentiality unless she wants to. 


What is troubling is the inability of people with opposing views to discuss their differences in a civil manner.  Angry mobs don’t ever bring justice and don’t encourage communities to work out their differences peacefully.  In this most recent episode, they have again brought shame and embarrassment to our community.  What the newspaper accounts of the February 1st Town Board meeting don’t say is that the raucous noise and horn honking occurred when the Town Board was presenting awards to Tom Bauer and Leon Decker, the two youths who helped Nico Peretti when he was motionless on the pavement.   What impression did our community make on Tom and Leon that evening?   They were being honored for very mature and adult-like action, yet the real adults in the room and outside the building were acting like children. 


There are two sides to our community and we read about both of them.  The question is, which one do we want to strive for?



 The Town released the following statement:


Comments on February 1, 2007 Meeting

Accord, February 2, 2007 


The Town Board of the Town of Rochester regrets the current controversy regarding the potential appointment of an individual to the Town’s Historic Preservation Commission.  We would like nothing more than to permit all residents to hear both sides of this issue.  However, we are advised by the attorney for the Town that until such time as the individual involved signs a waiver of her right to confidentiality, we are not able to give our account of what took place.  The decision to waive confidentiality belongs to the individual involved, she did not do so. We respect her decision, and will not discard her right of privacy.


What we are able to say, however, is that every member of the Board interacted with this individual with respect and courtesy at all times.  We sought to protect and preserve the best interests of the Town, fulfilling our responsibility to investigate matters that potentially have a bearing on her appointment, while at the same time being mindful of the rights of the individual and proper and ethical due process.


After it was determined that the Town Board would not be allowed to address the issue at the February 1st meeting, we attempted to move on with other Town business.  It soon became apparent that this would be impossible because of interruptions from persons who wished to turn the routine meeting into a political rally.  There are times and places for such activities, and we embrace their right to free expression, however, when town business cannot be discussed with mutual respect, and when the public’s physical safety is threatened, the choice to adjourn was an obvious one. 


We are confident that fair-minded people understand that an intelligent decision on any issue is impossible without both sides being given an opportunity to be heard.  We will not speculate on the motivations of those who profess to know what happened without having been there.  Instead, this Town Board will continue to conduct town business as it has in the past:  in a professional, businesslike and diligent fashion, mindful of the rights of all of our citizens and cognizant of our responsibility to conduct business with civility.



 Man Charged with Possession of Pot, Gun

Police said two men were acting suspiciously in an area in Kerhonkson known for drug activity and were found by deputies from the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office to be in possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a weapon.  Police said Kingston residents Blaine Bertling, 36, and Frank Barnwell, Jr., 28, were each charged with possession of marijuana.  Bertling was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon.  According to reports, police smelled marijuana after stopping the vehicle the men were in.  A search then turned up an ounce of pot, as well as a scale, pipes, drug records and packing materials.



Diana’s Cats Featured in The Ulster County Press

The January 17 issue of the Ulster County Press had an extensive profile of Diana’s Cats, a non-profit cat shelter operated by High Falls resident Diana Banks.  Banks began her shelter in 1992 after she retired from a 26-year stint on the board of the Ulster County SPCA.  She said that when that shelter stopped euthanizing animals, it also had to being turning away unwanted pets and strays.  “I wanted to start to do something that was needed,” she said.  “W desperately needed more shelter space for unwanted cats.”  Diana’s Cats is located on Airport Road in Accord.



Patty’s Angel’s Abuse Case is Appealed

Accord resident and operator of “Patty’s Angels” ,Patty Abezis, who was convicted in April 2006 of 38 misdemeanor counts of animal neglect, and her shelter assistant, Tracy Pennington, who was convicted of six counts of failure to provide proper sustenance to impounded animals, have appealed their convictions in the New York Supreme Court in Ulster County.  The Ulster County SPCA worked with the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office in investigating the shelter, located on Whitfield Road, and reportedly discovered more than 90 dogs, 24 cats and numerous other animals that were without food or water and living in spaces contaminated with feces.  The case is being heard by Judge Mary Work.




To the Editor:


I was shocked today when my 9-year old daughter returned with the day’s mail.  Instead of a letter she was expecting from her grandmother, there was a political mailer that contained words and topics that I, as a responsible parent, work hard to keep out of my young child’s life.


I am certainly not naïve to the fact that sex sells just about anything to the masses.  After all, one trip to the supermarket checkout line and the tabloids are in your face.  However, to have to answer questions from my daughter regarding subjects that I feel are quite inappropriate for young children to be exposed makes me angry and I feel like my home space and my child’s mind were violated. 


Unfortunately, a group of people – a club? – feel it is necessary to invade our mailboxes and homes with their racy political propaganda.  If I had any interest in their particular viewpoint, I could easily access it of my own volition, via the club’s website.

Have we reached a point at which we must put a “parental control filter” on our mailbox as we do on our home computer?


My opinion is that if the woman who is referred to in the mailer had or has any issue with the so-called proceedings that took place on Jan. 24, as an adult she had the choice to leave, and if she desires, has the choice to hire an attorney if she feels violated in any way.  My child, on the other hand, did not have a choice in her innocence being violated.


I personally feel that this “club” owes our community an apology for their reckless and malevolent behavior.  Unfortunately, our children and their innocence cannot be mended by a mere apology. 


It is my understanding that the Rochester Republican Club is just that, and does not necessarily represent the majority of the Republican Party members that reside in the Town of Rochester.


Donna Davids, Rochester



It looks like with their recent ad in the local papers the Rochester Republican Club is up to its same old same shell game of misleading deceptions.  Judging by the fact that they had to buy an ad to spread their falsehoods, it appears that they couldn’t persuade a real newspaper to print their “tax story” based on its “truthiness.”


They’re certainly quick about throwing about fancy figures and statistics, but, as usual, they fail to tell us the whole story.  Yes, Town Supervisor Pam Duke did get a raise this year; she now makes $34,592 per year, approximately as much the town’s recreation director.  The ad also fails to mention that both the Town Clerk ($36,415) and the Highway Superintendent ($41,907) make more than the Supervisor. 


In Rochester, the Supervisor’s job was historically a part-time job with a part-time salary.  Now, however, the requirements are more than full-time, and hence a full-time salary is well-earned, as the Town Board unanimously determined.   (Yes even Republican Club member Councilman Ron Santosky voted for it.) Rochester’s future is important enough to require a full time Supervisor.  But, rather than answering the Republican Club’s pettiness with more pettiness, why don’t we examine how much Supervisor Duke and the Democratic Town Board have saved the town’s taxpayers?


Supervisor Pam Duke and the Democratic town board have improved financial controls throughout town offices and opened bidding to find lower cost suppliers of goods and services, ending some cozy relationships with friends of former town officials.   They have brought in new grant funding and set a course for openness and reform that the Republicans never thought of in their decades of local government control.


Supervisor Duke and the Democratic Town Board have focused on reducing the unfettered spending and borrowing by the Highway Superintendent.  How many people in Town know that 100% of the Town’s $355,000 in debt was caused by poor financial planning in the Highway Department?  The Republicans brag about their agenda to bring in tax reductions, yet during the last three years of Republican control, tax rate increases ranged from 2.91% to 5.31% and in 2001 the highway tax rate increased by nearly 9%.


It’s unfortunate that after a period of peace and quiet, the silly sign epidemic notwithstanding, the Republicans are tying to stir up the pot with their disinformation and voodoo statistics.  Personally, I think Pam Duke and the Democratic Town Board are doing an admirable job for all the people of Rochester, regardless of who they are and who