Archive 2010





Rail Trail Opens in Kerhonkson (12/4/10)


The Fifth Annual Kerhonkson/ Accord Chamber Of Commerce Gingerbread House Contest  (12/4/10)


Screening of Race to Nowhere  (12/4/10)


Town Government News  (12/4/10)


Broadband/Cable Update  (12/4/10)




Indians sign Sullivan casino pact  (12/4/10)


Bar owner arrested in connection with Kerhonkson brawl  (12/4/10)


Rochester man faces child endangerment charge  (12/4/10)


Deputies arrest two High Falls men after crash, chase  (12/4/10)


Malak gets the max for killing Joseph Martin  (12/4/10)  




Mea Cupla (11/1/10)


Local Nature Photographer John Hayes Featured at DuBois Fort Gallery   (11/1/10)


Kerhonkson Resident will complete in national equestrian championships   (11/1/10)


Town Government News   (11/1/10)


Deputies arrest two High Falls men after crash, chase   (11/1/10)


Rondout Valley Project Day expands students' horizons   (11/1/10)


Kerhonkson Organization Forms to Restore Local Commerce, Pride   (11/1/10)


Letters  (11/1/10)



Cable/Broadband Update  (9/30/10)


Stone Window Gallery to Feature Chris Ursitti’s newest work  (9/30/10)


Friends of Historic Rochester Heritage Day and Pumpkin Festival  (9/30/10)


Accord Artist Marko Shuhan’s Exhibition Reception  (9/30/10)


Accord Artist Sara Harris Studio Show  (9/30/10)


Visions of the Valley Photography Auction  (9/30/10)


Upcoming Little Ones Learning Center Events  (9/30/10)


Wave of Burglaries in Rochester.  (9/30/10)


Rondout Valley school district sets tax rates  (9/30/10)


Town Government Notes  (9/30/10)


Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy Dedicates Headquarters (9/30/10)


Fly-overs in Ulster County net 170 pot plants  (9/30/10)


Malak convicted of murder in Joey Martin's death  (9/30/10)


Woman's Facebook post gets her busted on fraud charge  (9/30/10)


Explosion damages gatehouse at Mohonk Mountain House; no injuries  (9/30/10)


Albany Comes to Accord  (9/30/10)


The Trail to Recovery  (9/30/10)


Crash kills Newburgh motorcyclist  (9/30/10)


Letters to the Editor (9/30/10)





Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy to dedicate Headquarters (8/26/10)


Palentown School House Museum  (8/26/10)


Mohonk Preserve to offer free passes  (8/26/10)


RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES: Synagogue plans holiday services,  (8/26/10)


Court Dismisses Mombaccus Suit  (8/26/10)


Town Government News -  (8/26/10)
Community Loses Two Young Citizens  (8/26/10)


Former Councilman Francis Gray Passes  (8/26/10)


Fire destroys Accord home  (8/26/10)


Rondout Valley schools, college plan collaboration  (8/26/10)


Ulster task force arrests 2 teens on drug charges  (8/26/10)


Letter about veterans’ checks is in the mail in Ulster  (8/26/10)


Letters to the Editor  (8/26/10)





Talk & Book Signing by Richard Geldard 7/26/10


Accord Artist Sara Harris in Rhinebeck  7/26/10


Kerhonkson Synagogue BBQ - August 8th Reading, 7/26/10




Roswell Rudd #1 Trombonist  7/26/10




School Board News 7/26/10


Volunteers repair and improve Kerhonkson Pool 7/26/10


Lifelong Kerhonkson Resident Art Stocking writes local history  7/26/10


Creek Road Streambank Restoration Underway  7/26/10


Business group will help link Ulster County rail trails  7/26/10


School photos, photographer both missing -- Who took those graduation shots?  7/26/10


Town of Rochester undertakes first property reval since 2006  7/26/10


Pair charged with town of Rochester burglary  7/26/10


Kingston man accused of raping woman  7/26/10


Motorcyclist dies after hitting guardrail  7/26/10


Accord man who attacked killer of friend admits violating terms of sentence 7/26/10


 In November, a folk festival in Kerhonkson 7/26/10




Rochester Residents Association Awards Scholarships (6/25/10)


Terrence Kenneth Williams Beals Memorial Scholarship Award (6/25/10)


 Overlook Mountain Amateur Radio Club Field Day  (6/25/10)


Emerson and the Dream of America by Richard Geldard  (6/25/10)


Movie being filmed in Kerhonkson  (6/25/10)


Kerhonkson/Accord First Aid Squad to Disconnect Telephone (6/25/10)


After Hotly Contested Battle, Rondout Budget Passes (6/25/10)


Town Board News (6/25/10)


New airport terminal in Wawarsing (Sheriff Office to relocate from Accord) (6/25/10)


Jag driver leads cops on high-speed chase (6/25/10)


Accord man who attacked killer of friend admits violating terms of sentence (6/25/10)


Three charged in Kerhonkson drug case (6/25/10)


Three-car accident sends 1 to hospital (6/25/10)


Rosendale Theatre Deal Delayed (6/25/10)


A Warning From Dog Control (6/25/10)





Route 213 in Rosendale to be closed until year end.


Rochester Residents Association Scholarships (5/10/10)


Board of Assessment Review Property Tax Grievance Day – May 25 (5/10/10)


Bradford Graves Sculpture Park in Kerhonkson. (5/10/10)


Open Space Institute Acquires Appeldoorn Farm (5/10/10)


Rosendale Group Top Finalist in Nationwide Challenge (5/10/10)


AT&T increases cell phone coverage area (5/10/10)
Homeless student population rises in Rondout Valley (5/10/10)


Rondout School Board Adopts Budget (5/10/10)


Four vie for three seats on Rondout Valley school board (5/10/10)


Town Board News (5/10/10)


Four charged in Kerhonkson fight (5/10/10)


Three charged after fight in Kerhonkson (5/10/10)


Kerhonkson man pleads guilty to starving two dogs, barred from owning animals for three years (5/10/10)


Some rural areas in mid-Hudson region still can't get fast access to Internet (5/10/10)





Update from the Cable/Broadband Committee (3/7/10)


Kerhonkson Resident Astrid Fitzgerald to show work (3/7/10)


Carbon Monoxide Law Goes into Effect (3/7/10)


Appointments by Rochester Town Board (3/7/10)


Hudson Valley Resort Files for Bankruptcy (3/7/10)


Accord man punched and kicked girlfriend, held gun to her head, police say (3/7/10)


Time to apply for inclusion in Ulster Certified Agricultural District status (3/7/10)


Expect Delays at Woodbury Toll Plaza (3/7/10)


Massive Power Failure (3/7/10)


Walkway Over the Hudson faces state budget ax; Minnewaska, Senate House, Clermont also in jeopardy (3/7/10)




Property Tax Roll available Online


Robchester’s Small Part in the History of the Animal Welfare Act


Mombaccus Excavating Sues Town of Rochester to Invalidate Zoning Law


Prodigy with a conscience


Extremely small business a diamond in the rough  

bulletProperty Tax Roll available Online Rochester’s Small Part in the History of the Animal Welfare Act Mombaccus Excavating Sues Town of Rochester to Invalidate Zoning Law Prodigy with a conscience Extremely small business a diamond in the rough Letter to the Editor



Featured Business (1/31/10)


A Letter from the Rochester Food Pantry   (1/31/10)


Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic  (1/31/10)


Cancer Services Program  (1/31/10)


Rosendale Theatre to be Sold  (1/31/10)


State Attorney General Opines on Councilwoman’s Eligibility to Serve  (1/31/10)


Bernardo elected to Board of Fire Commissioners  (1/31/10)


Federal Broadband Stimulus Application Denied  (1/31/10)


Trailer Fire Displaces Ten Residents   (1/31/10)


Rochester Budget  (1/31/10)







Rail trail opens in Kerhonkson

This past Saturday, Nov. 13, the Friends of Historic Kerhonkson announced the opening of the one mile rail trail from the Rochester line to Route 44/55. Visitors to the trail can park at the Vinnie Dunn ball field or at the lot in front of the Kerhonkson Firehouse.





The Fifth Annual Kerhonkson/ Accord Chamber Of Commerce Gingerbread House

Contest for both children and adults starts NOW and must be in the

Kerhonkson Key Bank no later than Monday, December 6. Houses will be

displayed at the bank for patrons to vote through Friday, December 17.

Winners will be announced by phone over that weekend, and can pick up their

awards on Monday, December 20 at the bank.

    Rules: Houses must be homemade, and delivered to the Kerhonkson Key Bank

starting November 23 and no later than December 6. Applications are

available at Key Bank and the Town of Rochester Youth Department at

626-2115, or from the Chamber of Commerce by calling 626-2616.




Screening of Race to Nowhere, Tues Dec. 7th, 7pm.

The Rosendale Theatre, High Meadow School and Hudson Valley Sudbury School have joined forces to show a special screening of Race to Nowhere. Immediately after the film will be a special panel of educators and students who will speak to the issues brought up. Panelists will include Rosario Agostaro, Superintendent, The Rondout Valley School District; Vanessa Van Burek, Founder, Hudson Valley Sudbury School; Ev Mann, Founder, Center for Creative Education; Dr. John Ganio, Director of Academic Affairs at UCCC; Liz Boiko, Public School Teacher and students Marina Lopez and Cameron Farr. The panel will be moderated by Michelle Hughes, Head of School, High Meadow School. Audience members will be encouraged to join the conversation.

Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

Tickets: $10 Suggested Donation, all proceeds to benefit The Rosendale Youth Center




Town Government News

The Planning Board on October 19th approved a permit application submitted by Wayne Kelder for a landing strip on his property on Lower Whitfield Road.  The application was approved with the following conditions:  may be used solely by Wayne Kelder for single-engine personal use, no more than six takeoffs/landings per day, permit may not be transferred, sold, or leased and expires upon transfer of title of the property, permit is valid for three years.

The Planning Board approved a special use permit for the expansion of the Body of Truth Spa on Kyserike Road.  The proposal calls for enlargement of the parking area and the addition of a gym, spa, sauna,  and outdoor event pavilion and expansion of the main house

The Town Board adopted a new local law on October 28th regulating the use of outdoor wood-burning (solid fuel) furnaces in order to mitigate odors and smoke emissions that migrate to neighboring properties. 

The long-awaited Veterans’ Park was dedicated on Veterans’ Day. The park, which was originally conceived seven years ago by the late Town Board member Francis Gray, is located within the Town Park on Scenic Drive, adjacent to Town Hall. 


The Town Board approved its 2011 budget on November 4th.  The budget incorporates a 0.56% increase in the tax levy.  The General Fund budget is $2,025,115, a $47,00 increase from 2010.  The Highway Budget is $1,302,316, $13,000 less than 2010.  Notably, approximately $35,000 of the approximately $47,000 received from Time Warner Cable as a cable franchise fee will be allocated to bringing internet service to the underserved areas of the Town. 



Broadband/Cable Update

The Broadband/Cable Committee is working to update maps indicating service areas of Time Warner and other internet providers in the Town as well as a list of areas that do not have Time Warner service or access to wireless service providers (Virgin, Sprint, Verizon, AT&T) due to topographic conditions.  Areas with residential density that meets Time Warner’s service requirement of 20 homes per mile are also being noted.  For further information, please email:





State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo today announced that James Cusack, president and founder of Veritas Villa in Kerhonkson, is the recipient of the 2010 Governor's Lifetime Service Award. The award was presented by the Commissioner at the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State's Annual Conference this week in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.


Each year, the Governor honors a member of the addiction field for their servant leadership and advocacy in the advancement of prevention, treatment and recovery services in New York.


Governor Paterson said, "Mr. Cusack's extraordinary commitment and years of outstanding service in the field of addiction, his leadership, hard work and dedication to improve the lives of others have advanced the overall goal of prevention and helped many New Yorkers realize the personal goal of successful treatment and recovery."


Commissioner Carpenter-Palumbo said, "Jim Cusack is an outstanding leader in the addiction field who has dedicated his remarkable career to improving the lives of the 2.5 million suffering from addiction. I am proud to present Mr. Cusack with this well deserved honor, as such valuable work merits special acknowledgment and our appreciation."


Mr. Cusack is president and founder of Veritas Villa, the first free-standing facility in the state to provide residential treatment for those with alcohol and chemical addiction. The facility has now been in operation for more than 30 years. Mr. Cusack has been interviewed as a pioneer in the field by Cornell University's R. Brinkley Smithers Institute for Alcohol-Related Workplace Studies, and has received several recognitions and awards. He is also world renowned for his work in the field, including assisting Iceland and Russia in the development of their treatment programs. At the age of 80, Mr. Cusack continues to counsel patients, and remains actively involved with the Villa and the community.


OASAS oversees one of the nation's largest addiction services systems dedicated to Prevention, Treatment and Recovery, with more than 1,700 programs serving over 110,000 New Yorkers on any given day.


Addiction is a chronic disease, but New Yorkers need to know that help and hope is available. Individuals can get help by calling the state's toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day a week HOPEline, 1-877-8-HOPENY, staffed by trained clinicians ready to answer questions, help refer loved ones to treatment and provide other vital resources to facilitate that first step into recovery.


For more information, please visit Follow OASAS: / facebook profile: NYS OASAS / /



Indians sign Sullivan casino pact



Stockbridge-Munsee settle land claim

By Steve Israel

Times Herald-Record

Published: 2:00 AM - 11/23/10


MONTICELLO ­ Countless failed casino schemes were dismissed and a new path to gambling was risked Monday as another Indian tribe signed another deal for a casino in Sullivan County.


Before a crowd of 200 and beneath the bright lights of several TV cameras, Gov. David Paterson and the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians signed a compact for a $700 million casino in Bridgeville, off Route 17's Exit 107.


Standing in the same Government Center room where, nearly 10 years ago, Gov. George Pataki signed a law allowing three Indian casinos in the Catskills, Paterson touted the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars this first casino would mean to the state and struggling Sullivan County, with one of the highest unemployment rates in New York.


"A catalyst for great economic development right here in (the Town of) Thompson and all of Sullivan County," said Paterson, flanked by Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, former Rep. Ben Gilman and other officials.


Earlier on Monday, Paterson signed a deal with the Wisconsin-based tribe with New York roots that settled its land claim against the state in upstate Madison County in exchange for the right to build the casino on 330 acres overlooking the Neversink River.


Schumer promised to again use his clout with the U.S. Department of the Interior to win ultimate approval for this latest casino application. He said the casino that would create 3,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs means "the great days of the Catskills can return once again."


"A royal flush and four-of-a-kind combined," he said.


But while the officials touted the economic benefits of a casino built by the developers of Mohegan Sun in Connecticut ­ including 25 percent of all slot revenues to the state and $15 million in annual mitigation payments to Sullivan ­ they all admitted that the Stockbridge-Munsee casino must yet overcome its highest hurdle: approval by the Department of the Interior. It's an approval that has eluded the other tribe to ink a Sullivan casino deal with the state, the St. Regis Mohawks. They signed a compact with then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2007.


"You've heard this song before," said Paterson, in the room where Sullivan legislators once approved another kind of casino deal ­ Pataki's ill-fated 2004 proposal for five Indian casinos in the Catskills, one of which was for the Stockbridge-Munsee.


This time, the tribe is using a relatively new route for approval of a casino that isn't built on a tribe's reservation. Instead of the so-called two-part determination that hinges solely on whether an off-reservation casino is in the best interests of the tribe and isn't detrimental to the surrounding community, the Stockbridge-Munsee will try a method that's rarely, if ever, been used ­ settlement of a dispute, in this case a land claim, without congressional approval.


Along with lawsuits from environmental groups and challenges from New York tribes who question the local connections of the Wisconsin-based Stockbridge-Munsee, this is why this latest casino attempt is far from a sure thing.


Even Schumer, who's been working for a Sullivan casino for years and was on the phone with the Department of the Interior Monday, acknowledged that.


"But you've got to keep trying," he said.





Bar owner arrested in connection with Kerhonkson brawl

Last updated: 3:25 PM - 11/03/10


KERHONKSON — The owner of a bar in Kerhonkson was arrested Monday after state police said he used a collapsible baton to hit people during a fight at the bar.

William P. Freer, 38, of Wawarsing, was charged with assault with a weapon, a felony, and criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor. State police said Freer is the owner of Hot Shotz, a bar on 42nd Street.

An investigation revealed that Freer used the baton to hit brawling patrons during a fight at the bar Oct. 24. One other man, 25-year-old Rasean Mack of Ellenville, was also arrested for the fight. He was charged with misdemeanor assault for fist fighting, police said.

Both were released with tickets to appear in court. (TH-Record)




Rochester man faces child endangerment charge

Published: Monday, November 29, 2010


ROCHESTER - A town man faces a misdemeanor charge after threatening to burn a 9-year-old child with a cigarette while highly intoxicated, police allege.


Kevin R. Chronister, 46, of Stony Kill Road, was charged with misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child by Ulster County Sheriff’s deputies at 3:24 a.m. Sunday.


Police said they responded to his home and found Chronister was highly intoxicated. Police believe he got into a “verbal argument with a 9-year-old over his high level of intoxication and attempted to burn her arm with a lit cigarette.” The 9-year-old, however, got away, police said. Chronister’s arraignment was postponed “due to (his) high intoxication level,” and he was released on his own recognizance to return to court at a later date.  (Freeman 11/29/10)



Deputies arrest two High Falls men after crash, chase

ACCORD — Two High Falls men face a number of criminal charges after they eluded Ulster County sheriff’s deputies, crashed their car and led deputies in a foot pursuit.


Detectives arrested Kyle Sousa, 21, and Nicholas J. Seaman, 22, charging them with falsely reporting an incident, obstructing governmental administration, making a false written statement, all misdemeanors, and the infractions of leaving the scene of a property damage auto accident, failure to keep right and speed not reasonable and prudent.


Seaman was additionally charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor.


On Wednesday, a sheriff’s patrol on Lucas Turnpike noticed a suspicious vehicle that took off speeding. The deputy followed, finally locating the vehicle off the shoulder of Daisy Lane in the town of Rochester.


A white male, later identified as Seaman, was seen running from the vehicle and was apprehended after a chase. Sousa — the owner and driver of the vehicle — and two passengers had also fled the scene, detectives said.


Detectives said Sousa later contacted the county’s Emergency Communications Center, reported his vehicle stolen from the Accord Fire Department parking lot, and gave a false written statement to the Sheriff’s Office.


None of the occupants of the vehicle was injured in the accident, detectives said. Both Sousa and Seaman were issued tickets to appear in Rochester Town Court. (Freeman 10/29/10)




Malak gets the max for killing Joseph Martin

Saturday, November 20, 2010





KINGSTON — Twice-convicted killer Daniel L. Malak will serve 15 years to life  in prison for the 1996 bludgeoning death of teenager Joseph Martin.

Visiting Judge Paul Czajka sentenced Malak, 30, on Friday in Ulster County Court. Malak was convicted of second-degree murder in the case — which went unsolved for 12 years — after a four-day trial in September.

Czajka ruled Malak’s sentence in the Martin case will run consecutively with the killer’s sentence of 20 years to life in the 1997 murder of 62-year-old George Allison, a New York City man who was shot to death in his weekend home in Samsonville.

Malak has been serving his sentence in the Allison case since pleading guilty in 1998 and currently is incarcerated at the Attica Correctional Facility in western New York. He is eligible for parole in that case on Aug. 4, 2017.

Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnight said Malak’s sentence in the Martin case was the maximum allowed under the law because Malak was only 15 when the crime occurred.

Martin’s relatives, who now have spent nearly as much time without him as they had with him, said the sentence was the best they could have hoped for.

“There is no other legal recourse,” said Lance Lightstone, Martin’s stepfather. “We had the best possible outcome.”

“I think, at this point, it’s a sure thing (Malak) will never get out, which is not just about us, and the memory of Joe, but because he is a danger to society,” Lightstone added.

In a statement to the court before Malak was sentenced, Lightstone called Malak a “homicidal sociopath.”

“It is our duty to keep Daniel in prison forever,” he said, vowing that Martin’s relatives will attend Malak’s parole hearings to urge that he never is returned to society.

Carnright called the sentence “appropriate.”

“Everything we know about him, everything we learned through the course of this, the comments he made on his own behalf, leads you to believe this is a person who has no remorse for the crime that he committed and who presents a continuing danger to society,” the district attorney said.

Martin, 15, disappeared on March 25, 1996, after sneaking out through a bedroom window at his family’s home on Krumville Road  in Kerhonkson, en route to meet Malak and Alexander Barsky, another 15-year-old.

Despite a massive search and a police investigation  that included questioning both Malak and Barsky, no trace of Martin was found and no one was charged in the case for more than a decade.

But in May 2008, under renewed questioning by state police, Barsky admitted his role in Martin’s death and implicated the imprisoned Malak.


Barsky initially was charged with second-degree murder but was allowed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter in August 2008 in exchange for testimony against Malak, who he said was the mastermind of the killing.

Because of his age at the time of the killing, Barsky was sentenced to just 3-1/3 to 10 years in state prison. He will be eligible for parole in May.

Malak was charged with murder in the Martin case in September 2009.

During Malak’s trial in September,  Barsky testified that Malak hit Martin in the head twice with a 2-foot metal pipe, rendering him either unconscious or dead, then handed Barsky the pipe. Barsky said he then hit Martin twice in the legs and that Malak then hit Martin again in the head. He said they attacked Martin because Martin had stolen money from Barsky.

Investigators said the two then hid Martin’s body in a crevice in a nearby rock ledge and that, several years later, Barsky returned to the site, collected Martin’s remains, took them to New York City and threw them into several garbage cans. (Freeman 11/20/10)





Mea Cupla

Our last issue featured an article about the dedication of the Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy’s headquarters building to Virginia Schoonmaker.  We neglected to credit Sherry Chachkin, the author of that article or reference that fact that the article was first published in the Blue Stone Press.  We rely heavily on the Blue Stone Press’ coverage of our town and on Sherry’s outstanding coverage for that paper and apologize for the omission.  Paula Sirc from the Shawangunk Journal also provides occasional coverage on the Town of Rochester.




Local Nature Photographer Featured at DuBois Fort Gallery

New Paltz, New York:  An exhibit of work by photographer John Joseph Hayes opens today in the DuBois Fort Gallery at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz. 

The exhibit features striking images of Ulster County and the Hudson Valley, including local icons such as Skytop and the Shawangunk Ridge.  “The timing is perfect,” says Richard Heyl de Ortiz, the Director of Marketing, Development and Visitation for Historic Huguenot Street.  “More than any other time of year, people are drawn to this region for its beauty.  John’s work captures the unique characteristics that draw so many of us, local resident and visitors alike, to this area.”

John Hayes is a resident of High Falls and New York City.  He spends a lot of time hiking, biking and photographing local landscapes and wildlife. In addition, John and his wife Loretta often vacation in National Parks.  Of his work, John says, “I try to capture that which we all look at every day, but at a time when it looks particularly pleasing.”  John is the Coordinator of Volunteer Photographers at the Mohonk Preserve.  More about John and his work can be found at

 Hayes work, which is available for sale, will be on display for the Celebration of the Arts, which will be held at Historic Huguenot Street on Saturday, October 9th, and will continue through Sunday, November 14th.  The Gallery is located in the DuBois Fort Visitor Center at 81 Huguenot Street in New Paltz.  For more information about Historic Huguenot Street, visit



 Kerhonkson Resident will complete in national equestrian championships

National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) member Jessica Carroll of Kerhonkson qualified for the NRHA Adequan North American Championships in Oklahoma City starting on November 25th.  She is a graduate of RVHS and Morrisville State College.  She started taking riding lessons from Diane Schoonmaker in 1993 when she was six years old.



Town Government News

Planning Board nears approval of private airstrip.  A 1100 foot airstrip proposed by Wayne Kelder for his farm on Lower Whitfield Road was considered by the Planning Board.  A public hearing was held on Sept. 21st.

The Planning Board reviewed a proposal submitted by Michael Baum for a proposed 47-acre subdivision on Cherrytown Road adjacent to the Streamside Estates trailer park.  Lots will range in size from 3 to 21.9 acres.  The proposal was referred to the Ulster County Planning Board for comments.

The Planning Board held a continuation of its public hearing on the proposed expansion of the Body of Truth spa on Kyserike Road, reviewing the precise meaning of current uses and the effect of the 2009 zoning code update. 

The Town Board is reviewing complaints from residents of Berme Road regarding a colony of feral cats (many of whom are extremely ill) who are being fed by a neighbor. 




Deputies arrest two High Falls men after crash, chase

ACCORD — Two High Falls men face a number of criminal charges after they eluded Ulster County sheriff’s deputies, crashed their car and led deputies in a foot pursuit.

Detectives arrested Kyle Sousa, 21, and Nicholas J. Seaman, 22, charging them with falsely reporting an incident, obstructing governmental administration, making a false written statement, all misdemeanors, and the infractions of leaving the scene of a property damage auto accident, failure to keep right and speed not reasonable and prudent.

Seaman was additionallhy charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor.

On Wednesday, a sheriff’s patrol on Lucas Turnpike noticed a suspicious vehicle that took off speeding. The deputy followed, finally locating the vehicle off the shoulder of Daisy Lane in the town of Rochester.

A white male, later identified as Seaman, was seen running from the vehicle and was apprehended after a chase. Sousa — the owner and driver of the vehicle — and two passengers had also fled the scene, detectives said.

Detectives said Sousa later contacted the county’s Emergency Communications Center, reported his vehicle stolen from the Accord Fire Department parking lot, and gave a false written statement to the Sheriff’s Office.

None of the occupants of the vehicle was injured in the accident, detectives said. Both Sousa and Seaman were issued tickets to appear in Rochester Town Court. (Freeman 10/29/10)




Rondout Valley Project Day expands students' horizons


KYSERIKE — Rondout Valley High School’s sophomore class fed the hungry, battled invasive species and took care of abused dogs on Thursday during the high school’s third annual Project Day.

Fran Hertz, the district’s school-to-career transition coordinator, said the students went out into the community to volunteer at 15 locations.

One of the overriding lessons is that “a lot of people need a lot of help,” said Hertz, who was speaking in the cavernous basement of the Queen’s Galley soup kitchen in Kingston, where she was helping students, including Malachi Trent, a junior who is a member of the Service Learning Committee, inventory food in the freezer.

Trent said he chose the project because hunger is an important issue to him and has become a larger problem recently. Last year, he volunteered at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, which he said taught him “a lot about animal abuse and rehabilitation.”

While people in the Queen’s Galley basement inventoried food, students upstairs helped clean, and serve and prepare food for patrons. Executive Director Diane Reeder said the influx of assistance helped volunteers get to “certain things that are often overlooked,” including the inventory work, because of a lack of manpower.

Hertz, who helped coordinate the event, described the service learning project as an opportunity for students to “go out into the real world and see real-world stuff instead of just reading about it in textbooks.”

She said it can be empowering for youths to realize they can be agents of change, and seniors have told her that Project Day changed their lives.

At Minnewaska State Park, students went on an “invasive species walk” and learned about problematic plants, said Invasive Species Field Supervisor Alyssa Reid.

Afterward, 15 students rolled up their sleeves and uprooted 20 trash bags’ worth of Japanese stilt grass, a job that Reid said would have taken the park’s five-man crew two days.

Stilt grass, she said, produces between 100 and 1,000 seeds per year and quickly can choke out native perennials.

At the Rondout Reservoir, a dozen students painted the kiosk at the public eagle watch area. The group also replaced signs, moved and fixed a planter and collected driftwood along the shoreline, said New York City Department of Environmental Protection Regional Manager Ira Stern, who is married to Hertz.

“It was huge because, in three hours, the kids got it all done,” he said, noting that, in the process, students learned about the role of the reservoir in New York City’s water supply and got a lesson on eagles.

“They worked the whole time and didn’t take a break,” Stern said.

Other projects included gleaning for food pantries at Kelder’s Farm, taking care of shelter dogs at Paws Unlimited and Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption, spending time with people who live at Culinarian’s Nursing Home and preparing a senior luncheon at the Rochester Community Center, working with elementary school students and doing landscaping work at the Rosendale Theatre Collective and the Mohonk Mountain House. (Freeman 10/15/10)






Kerhonkson Organization Forms to Restore Local Commerce, Pride

By Troy Shaheen


KERHONKSON – Those walking the rail trail from Accord into Kerhonkson might note the sparkling black coal ground into the well-beaten path along the Rondout. They might notice dull pieces of steel among the underbrush or the sturdy stone foundations flanking the scenic trail. These remnants, though often overlooked, attest to the rich history of commerce and culture that once poured into Kerhonkson on the rail line and the canal. Both lines now long discontinued, their artifacts serve as reminders of what the area once was and as symbols for the immovable foundation that anchors the hamlet during hard times.

Aware of Kerhonkson's fall from form, and determined to restore the hamlet to its former stature, a group of concerned local residents have united to create Friends of Historic Kerhonkson. With the goals of both economic and cultural rejuvenation, the collective developed in 2009 after now president Chris DePew gave a speech at a Fire Department banquet. In his address, DePew expressed a strong desire to restore Kerhonkson. "I said I was tired of things getting worse," he recalls. "I said it was time we started taking action to change things." His words were met with overwhelming agreement and the first meeting was scheduled for shortly thereafter. Spread only by word of mouth, over 50 Kerhonkson residents attended the inaugural gathering. The organization now boasts well over 100 participating members and holds monthly meetings in addition to outreach efforts and community events.

Kerhonkson and the O & W Railway thrived in the area from 1901 to 1956, connecting New York City visitors with the eclectic merchant shops of Kerhonkson and the surrounding natural beauty of the Shawangunks. The hamlet boomed as a tourist destination with successful restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and entertainment venues. Kerhonkson, however, changed drastically following the closing of the railway and the subsequent loss of industry. As train travel disappeared and highways came to dominate, Kerhonkson fell by the wayside and Thruway-accessible towns like New Paltz grew rapidly in popularity.

Engaged in a steady decline, Kerhonkson has also suffered several significant set backs of late. With the relocation of the post office from its central spot on Main Street to the more isolated position on Route 209, the center of town sees fewer and fewer people. When the bridge connecting the hamlet to Route 209 closed for construction in 2009, most people were left with little reason to patron the area at all.

Friends of Historic Kerhonkson is divided into committees with specific focuses on the rail trail, town beautification, bridge reopening, and defining Kerhonkson. The question of definition arises from the hamlet's somewhat precarious positioning within both the town of Rochester and Wawarsing. The committees are now at work on projects that include the speedy reopening of the bridge, the maintenance and promotion of the rail trail for walkers and bicyclists, the addition of attractive signs and banners celebrating Kerhonkson, and the eventual establishment of an annual Kerhonkson day in which the local character is showcased in festival form. Explains DePew, "We want to make Kerhonkson what it used to be. We want people to stop by and remember what a nice little town it is. Hopefully they'll spend some time and maybe spend some money here."

The collective views the bridge as the primary obstacle to the success of their objectives. With Main Street Kerhonkson only accessible from Route 209 via a lengthy detour, the restoration of the local economy has been put on hold by the construction.


"The bridge being closed really puts a stop to things," explains Wayne DePew, Friends of Historic Kerhonkson Treasurer and father of Chris. "Once the bridge is working again, everything else can start to come together."

Friends of Historic Kerhonkson has established a bi-weekly correspondence with the county executives in charge of the bridge construction. This correspondence promotes transparency and allows DePew to relay important information to the community. The organization has also succeeded in rerouting the Ulster County Rural Transportation line so that residents of Kerhonkson's town square can access the bus without enduring the mile-long walk around the detour to the other side of the Rondout Creek.

Another tangible accomplishment of Friends of Historic Kerhonkson is their community clean-up and the clearing of the rail trail from Main Street Kerhonkson to Route 44/55. The trail is now open to the public and extends from Accord all the way through to 44/55, with plans to connect through Napanoch and Ellenville to the south and all the way up to Kingston to the north. This project was conducted entirely by volunteers. Future plans include the reintroduction of sidewalks along the Route 209 corridor, attraction of investors in local businesses following the reopening of the bridge, and signs displaying the exact boundaries of the hamlet.

Funding for Friends of Historic Kerhonkson comes from private donations. Kerhonkson native and local author Art Stockin gives 100 percent of the proceeds from his recently published non-fiction memoir "Closed Until Further Notice: A Fascinating Story of a Small Catskill Mountain Town During the 1930s, 40s, and 50s" to Friends of Historic Kerhonkson. Stockin's book recounts the glory days of Kerhonkson, detailing the specific businesses and families that gave life to the hamlet during his childhood and adolescence. Stockin is the Secretary of Friends of Historic Kerhonkson and his book can be found on sale at many local businesses in the area.

While Friends of Historic Kerhonkson sees that the road to the successful recovery is long, the organization remains positive that change will come.

"Give us a few years," says Chris DePew. "We are going to turn things around and the true character of this place is going to stand out like it used to."

His father, Wayne, whose father settled in Kerhonkson in the 1930s agrees, stating, "We know it's not going to happen over night, but it can happen and we're going to do everything we can."

Friends of Historic Kerhonkson meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Kerhonkson Fire House and is always eager to hear ideas, take on new volunteers, and discuss future projects. The organization can be reached via their Facebook page or by mail at Friends of Historic Kerhonkson, P.O. Box 421, Kerhonkson 12446.  (Shawangunk Journal 10/14/10)






Dear Editor:

Re:  Letter from John Motzer, former NYS DOT employee. 

Mr. Motzer, there have been fatal accidents at the intersection of Route 209 and Lucas Avenue for as long as I have been alive.  Accidents also occur regularly at Kyserike and Lucas, sometimes fatal.

Your qualifications as a former NYS DOT employee could not possibly mean less.  The mess at the corner of Mettacahonts and Route 209 has been addressed and the state refuses to lower the speed limit or remove the passing zone preceding Mettacahonts as one heads south.

When the state says "the accidents are not caused by the road's conditions or speed limits, but by human error," what does that mean?  Cars are generally driven by humans, and humans make errors.

The intersections you speak of, and the previously addressed issue at Mettacahonts, are very dangerous, and yet the NYS DOT decides to put in a stop light at Main Street - where I have never heard of a fatal accident.  NYS DOT doesnt seem to realize that the numbers one gets from surveying devices and little hoses across the road don't tell a complete story.  "We dismiss human error, though it is the SAME human error in the SAME places for the past four decades or more," does not impress me.  Not a whit.


Thank you,

Holly Christiana











Cable/Broadband Update

Time Warner has provided a map of service areas in the Town of Rochester to the Supervisor.  Volunteers are reviewing the map and comparing it to other maps that show housing/residential density to identify high priority areas to install cable lines.  For further information of if you would like to help with this process, email:



Stone Window Gallery to Feature Chris Ursitti’s newest work

Stone Window Gallery on Main Street, Accord will host its second show of Chris Ursitti’s work, including prints and DVD's of his latest animated "Kit Chaos:  Spacewalker"

Saturday October 2, 2010 from 2-5 PM




Friends of Historic Rochester Heritage Day and Pumpkin Festival

Saturday October 2 from 10am to 3pm. Main Street, Accord

The special theme of the day will be the Pumpkin Festival in which kids will have their pumpkins decorated for originality, funny faces, most creative, and scary.  Judging begins at 11:30.  For adults, foods made with pumpkin ingredients will be judged at 1pm.  Prizes will be awarded to all winners.  The event is free and food and snacks will be sold all day.  For more information, call 626-7104 or visit




Accord Artist Marko Shuhan’s Exhibition Reception

Saturday, October 2 · 5:00pm - 7:00pm

SURPRENANT ART & DESIGN, 324 Wall Street, Kingston, NY

More Info



Accord Artist Sara Harris Studio Show

Saturday, October 2 – 11am to 5pm

ASK Studio, 77 Cornell Street, Kingston



Visions of the Valley Photography Auction

57 Visions of the Valley Photographs, including 13 selected for the Visions of the Valley Calendar, will be auctioned to benefit the Rondout Valley Business Association’s scholarship program for Rondout Valley and Ellenville High Schools.

$15.00 per person/advance; $20 at the door, includes hors d’oeuvres and a glass of wine

Rondout Valley Golf Club and Restaurant, Accord

3pm preview, auction immediately following




Upcoming Little Ones Learning Center Events


Sunday, October 3   TOW PATH RUN

The Tow Path Run is a 6K run/walk for literacy from Alligerville to Accord.  9 AM start.  Prizes in all age categories.  Special category for town residents.

All participants will register at the Community Center in Accord starting at 7:30

Visit our website,, to download a registration form. Registration - $18 by Sept. 30, $20 on race day.



Rochester Reformed Church, 5142 Route 209, Accord, Reservations needed.  Chef Nuch Chaweewan will prepare a Thai dinner to delight your palate.


Friday, November 12  BEDTIME WITH BOOKS,   Little Ones Learning Center   6:30-8 PM, Wear your PJ’s and listen to bedtime stories.  Bring a stuffed animal if you would     like. 


For more information on all the above events, call 626-4112 or visit our website at    



Wave of Burglaries in Rochester.

There has been a rash of burglaries in the Town of Rochester, including homes on Krum Road, City Hall Road, Rochester Center Road, Lucas Turnpike, and near the Town of Olive border.  Supervisor Carl Chipman indicated at the September Town Board meeting that  police believe the burglaries are the work of a professional gang that has been targeting people who are away from their homes on some regular basis and told residents to call the police if they saw strange cars at neighbors’ homes. 




Rondout Valley school district sets tax rates

KYSERIKE — The Rondout Valley Board of Education has adopted a $32.31 million property tax levy for the 2010-11 school year.

The total is down $9,256, or 0.03 percent, from the 2009-10 levy.

The tax levy is part of a $60.14 million budget for 2010-11 approved by school district voters on June 15. A month earlier, voters rejected a proposed $61.06 million budget proposal.

The initial proposal called for a 2.81 percent increase in the tax levy.

Tax rates per $1,000 of assessed property value for 2010-11 will be as follows.

• Marbletown: $15.61, up 28 cents, or 1.84 percent, from 2009-10.

• Rochester: $16.26, down 60 cents, or 3.56 percent.

• Rosendale: $15.61, up 94 cents, or 6.41 percent.

• Wawarsing: $945.97, up $11.72, or 1.25 percent.

(Freeman 8/29/10)



Town Government Notes

The Town Board is considering a new local law that would regulate the use of outdoor (generally woodburning) furnaces in order to mitigate potential exhaust pollution on neighboring properties.  A public hearing will take place on October 7th.

The Town Board passed a resolution asking the County to grant authority to the Town for control and maintenance of the Rail Trail from Kyserike Road, near Williams Lumber, to Old Lucas Avenue.  The Rondout Valley Business Association is spearheading a plan to widen parts of the Rail Trail. (Separately certain improvements to the trail made by the Accord Girl Scouts Troop 60187 were vandalized; the Girl Scouts’ improvements included a five-table picnic area, a canoe launch and five resting benches).



Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy Dedicates Headquarters


The sky was gloomy, but  spirits were sunny on Sept. 12 when the Rondout Esopus Land Conservancy (“RELC”) dedicated its headquarters on Creek Road, Alligerville, in the Town of Rochester, to the memory of Virginia Smith Boyce Schoonmaker, a key RELC supporter from its beginnings in the late 1980’s.  The organization was officially established in 1989. Schoonmaker, who was born in 1912 in what is now the Sparrow Hawk Bed and Breakfast on Route 209, and who died last year, would have celebrated her 98th birthday this week.  She grew up in Alligerville, attended high school in Kingston, and, obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University.


RELC  gave her a grand party, complete with champagne and birthday cake, at the building she donated to the organization in 1990.   The  one-room clapboard building, since updated with a bathroom and storage area, had been the Alligerville Post Office from 1935 to 1955.  It had been built by Schoonmaker’s father, Elmer Smith for his wife, Brigetta, the local postmistress.


A plaque honoring  Schoonmaker and gracing the building’s entrance was unveiled by Walter Levy, president of RELC’s board of directors, during the dedication ceremony.  “It really is a pleasure to do this,” he said. The plaque, designed by RELC board member Philip Monteleoni,  reads:  “The Rondout Esopus Land Conservancy is forever grateful to Virginia Smith Boyce Schoonmaker for her generous gift of the land and building, formerly the Alligerville Post Office.  Dedicated in her memory September 2010.” 


Jack Schoonmaker, a founder of RELC and its first president and Virginia Schoonmaker’s stepson, reminisced about her, calling her “a very dear, generous person.”  RELC member Barbara Lawrence, whose 92-year-old mother Iva, a close friend of Virginia Schoonmaker (and described to the BSP as “the matriarch of a very old Accord farm family”), attended the dedication, also spoke about Schoonmaker.  She told the gathering “three things about Virginia”:  that she loved celebrating her birthday; that she “spent her whole life working in the non-profit world;” and that she “believed very much in saying thank you.”  Lawrence said that Schoonmaker “would have turned this [dedication] into a fund-raiser.”


According to a biography prepared by Monteleoni, Schoonmaker, “inspired by her admiration for Eleanor Roosevelt, devoted herself to working for philanthropic organizations.  She pursued graduate work at Columbia and NYU in four fields: public health administration, community organization, epidemiology and social research.  Foremost among her many philanthropic activities and Board memberships, including the presidency of Benedictine Health Foundation, was her full time work for the Association for the Prevention of Blindness, now renamed Prevent Blindness America.  In her long career there, she spearheaded the development of various preventive programs around the world, including in Australia, Great Britain and Israel, and was its executive director for ten years. . . . Schoonmaker took an immediate interest in the all-volunteer organization [RELC] and its goals. . . . She continued to actively support RELC with financial contributions throughout the last two decades, as well as fundraising efforts, and was named to RELC's Advisory Board in 1995.  In 2002 she donated a conservation easement on a large portion of her Alligerville farm.”


RELC board secretary/treasurer Zali Win told the BSP that the organization has been in the process of revitalization under Levy’s leadership.  “Walter has recruited new board members,” he said.  Win also said that RELC is engaged in assessing its “role in the community,” and is conducting an inventory of its conservation easements.  “Our goal,” he said,” is to enhance our presence”  by talking to property owners of land adjacent to current easement land and seeking to form larger “open space neighborhoods.”  Conservation easements represent areas in which landowners have donated certain development rights to a land conservancy – keeping that land as open space in perpetuity -- while the land owner retains ownership of the property.


Win said that RELC “has become the strongest and largest land conservancy in Ulster County, after the Mohonk Preserve, due to the generosity of conservation easement donors, financial supporters, and members of the public with a strong interest in land conservancy.” Win cited two important new easements within the last year:  the Schade property on the Rondout in Rosendale, and the Bewtra-Deli 89.7 –acre donation in Marbletown.  RELC now has 41 conservation easements, protecting about 3,100 acres.   Levy told the BSP that RELC has “benefitted from great community participation.”  He said that RELC “does not have to proselytize.  People come to us.  We’re working from the grass roots up.”  According to Win, RELC’s twice-yearly newsletter, “Conservancy News,” goes out to 11,000 households.  RELC can be found on the Internet at





Fly-overs in Ulster County net 170 pot plants

SOME 170 marijuana plants were seized after the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT), along with the New York National Guard’s Counterdrug Detachment, discovered several outdoor marijuana gardens in Ulster County, authorities said on Friday.

A National Guard helicopter conducted aerial surveillance of Ulster County on Thursday and found a marijuana-growing field on Tobacco Road in the town of Rochester, according to the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, which is part of URGENT.

The Sheriff’s Office said deputies found 75 plants growing inside and outside of the home at 84 Tobacco Road.

They arrested Larry G. Stokes Jr., 32, of that address at 12:30 p.m. Thursday and charged him with possession of marijuana, a felony, and unlawful growing of cannabis, a misdemeanor, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Stokes was released with an appearance ticket and is to be arraigned in Rochester Town Court.

The National Guard helicopter then spotted 70 marijuana plants on the 700 block of Lapla Road in the town of Marbletown and 25 plants on Route 32 in Saugerties, near the Greene County line, the Sheriff’s Office said.

No arrests had been made as of Friday in connection with the Marbletown and Saugerties discoveries.

“We do this periodically throughout the year,” said Ulster County Undersheriff Frank Faluotico. “We identify locations, and then we surveil some of the locations depending on what we find. We collect information of suspected marijuana plots throughout the year, and then we’ll narrow them down to a precise location.” (Freeman 8/28/10)




Malak convicted of murder in Joey Martin's death


KINGSTON -- An Ulster County man already in prison for murder was found guilty late Wednesday of the 1996 murder of Joseph Martin.

Daniel L. Malak, 29, a former Kerhonkson resident now serving time in the Attica Correctional Facility, was convicted of second-degree murder following a four-day trial and seven hours of jury deliberation.

Malak is the second person to be convicted in the death of Martin, who was 15 years old when he left his home on March 25, 1996, to meet Malak and Alexander R. Barsky, ostensibly for a night of comet watching, but never returned.

Joseph Martin remained a missing person until the case was cracked in May 2008 when Barsky, then 27 and living in Brooklyn, admitted his role in Martin’s killing and tipped authorities to what had been the location of Martin’s remains, where remnants of his clothing were found, according to authorities.

Barsky, who initially was charged with second-degree murderm pleaded guilty in August 2008 to a reduced charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to 3 1/3 to 10 years in state prison. At the time of his plea, Barsky agreed to testify against Malak and said Malak was the mastermind of the plot.

Malak, who was a juvenile at the time of Martin’s murder, faces a minimum sentence of between 7 ½ years to life and a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in prison for Martin’s murder.

Malak is serving 20 years to life for the 1997 murder of George Allison, a 62-year-old New York City resident who was shot to death at his weekend home in Samsonville. Malak is eligible for parole in that case on Aug. 4, 2017. (Freeman 9/15/10)





Woman's Facebook post gets her busted on fraud charge

MONTICELLO – An Ulster County woman whose Facebook posting led to her arrest and conviction for stealing $8,975 in workers' compensation benefits has been sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to make restitution.

Alexis Muniz, 28, of Accord, was sentenced in Sullivan County Court in Monticello after pleading guilty to accepting workers' compensation while employed full-time at an apartment complex. She was sentenced on felony charges of grand larceny and workers' compensation fraud.

Muniz was arrested after investigators discovered a posting on her Facebook page where she boasted about her salary and job as an apartment complex manager. She was also accused of lying at a Workers' Compensation Board hearing when she testified that she was not working in any capacity while collecting benefits.

She had been receiving the benefits for a job-related injury while working for a previous employer. (Mid Hudson News 9/13/10)




Explosion damages gatehouse at Mohonk Mountain House; no injuries

NEW PALTZ — A propane explosion early Saturday caused significant damage to the gatehouse at the Mohonk Mountain House on Mountain Rest Road but caused no injuries.

According to Mohonk General Manager Jackie Appeldorn, a gas leak from a propane tank led to an explosion just after midnight that damaged the structure.

“There’s quite a bit of damage to the gatehouse, and we have closed it until the fire inspectors complete their investigation,” Appeldorn said Saturday evening. “Fortunately, there was only one employee working at the time and she was not injured.”

Appeldorn said she was not sure when inspectors would return or how long the building might be closed. (Freeman 9/5/10)




Albany Comes to Accord

New York State Assemblymen Hold Volunteer Services Forum

ACCORD – This past Tuesday evening, at the Accord Fire District building on Main Street, the continuing "Assembly Republican Regional Forums on Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Services" initiative, and its chairman, New York State Assemblyman Clifford Crouch of the 107th district, made its stop in our area. Joined by Assemblyman Peter Lopez of the 127th district, Mr. Crouch hosted a round-table discussion which was well attended by both county and local representatives of fire and first aid services. The discussion's stated purpose: to improve the state of volunteer emergency services, including the improvement of both recruitment and retention of volunteers, statewide.

"Let's find out what Albany might be able to do to help rescue and volunteer fire services," led Assemblyman Crouch, "that's really what we're here to accomplish."


According to Crouch, there have already been ten such forums held throughout the state already this year; the next one is scheduled for September 29, in Medford, New York, on Long Island. The challenge inherent in their goal, said Crouch, is to achieve new ways of supporting and incentivizing such services in such a way that it serves all regions of New York State, both rural and urban.


Still, the forum's focus remains a clear one.


"The safety of our homes and families, as well as the ability of our volunteer firefighters to protect them, must be our number one priority," said Lopez. "New York State must do a better job of providing incentives and reducing mandates on the men and women who save lives."


There are currently more than 97,000 volunteer firemen in New York, as well as over 57,000 certified emergency medical service providers (a majority of whom are volunteers). To keep these essential volunteers, and to increase their ranks, requires creative forward thinking, and a comprehensive understanding of individual regions throughout the state, Mr. Crouch asserted. To that end, said Crouch, listening to testimony from emergency responders about their unique situations is essential to the process.


Among the proposed incentives under consideration are tax credits for volunteers, tuition assistance, cellular phone service for emergency responders, and improved health insurance benefits. In fact, some of these incentives are already in place. With the help of organizations like FASNY, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, certain benefits have been made available, such as a $200 Federal Income Tax credit for qualifying emergency responders. Yet the consensus among the assembled group was that much more must be done on behalf of those who provide these services.


Arthur Snyder, Director of the Ulster County Office of Emergency, who was in attendance at the forum, proffered a means of paying for increased incentives: the 911 telephone surcharge. Each and every cell-phone line, clarified Snyder, is assessed a monthly surcharge of $1.20, collected by New York State. Snyder quoted NYS Department of Taxation and Finance projections, which say that the state expects over $230 million in revenue from these fees. To look at any given bill, Snyder said, one would imagine that the charge, simply referred to as a "911 service charge," would go entirely to funding emergency services. Not so, said Snyder, displaying a pie chart that showed minimal contributions from this pool. Snyder pointed out as an example, that only $10 million is allotted to county-level services, which, he added, stands to be further reduced.


"If you look at the majority of the pie," said Snyder, "it's not being spent for anything in emergency services."


Both Crouch and Lopez agreed that a more equitable distribution of the surcharge money was an integral way to work towards a solution. Also addressed were concerns about setting fairer training requirements, and re-certification requirements, as well as more access to workable training classes and programs. Looking forward to the election year, Crouch, Lopez and their team are optimistic about coming up with new ways to encourage and retain emergency response volunteers.


"We've got to think outside the box," said Mr. Crouch, "we've got to come up with better solutions, and that is what we intend to do." (Shawangunk Journal 9/23/10)





The Trail to Recovery

The RVBA Leads the Way to a Continuous Rondout Valley Rail Trail


RONDOUT VALLEY – This past May, the partnership of the Open Space Institute and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust made an important announcement: the groups have purchased 11.5 additional miles of what had been the Wallkill Valley rail bed, including the famous Rosendale Trestle, a move that will eventually allow for a continuous rail trail that will stretch from Gardiner to Kingston. The purchase presents a significant potential for local economic growth, and could help spark progress within the Rondout Valley.

Some months ago, an inter-municipal agreement was reached between the Towns of Rochester, Rosendale, Wawarsing, Marbletown, and the Village of Ellenville. Its stated goal was to work in concert towards the realization of a rail trail that will span the length of the Rondout Valley, from Kingston to Ellenville. A collective organization, known as the Rail Trail Initiative, includes all of these municipalities in conjunction with the Rondout Valley Business Association, which is acting as a facilitator for the various efforts of the multi-tiered project.


One might imagine that such a diverse effort would be the type of enterprise that could take quite some time to take shape. Not so, says RVBA President Richard Travers.


"We are doing what we can to help everybody push this thing along," says Travers, "And I assure you, it is happening, and it's happening now."


Mr. Travers, the RVBA's President since 2008, makes clear that, with the proper planning and innovation, things are falling into place.


"It's all viable, it's all doable, and it won't cause any trouble for anyone," he says.


This coming Saturday, September 18, will be an example of exactly that: progress actually being made. The RVBA will be out in support of the D&H Canal Heritage Corridor Alliance, and the Town of Rochester Rail Trail committee, widening and clearing the approximately one-and-a-half miles of trail between Kyserike Road and Lucas Turnpike in Rochester. Leading by example, Travers himself will be donating his time, and his equipment, to the project. And that, says Travers, is only the beginning. Travers cites the efforts of Carl Pezzino, head of the Marbletown Rail Trail Commission, who is leading active and visible work throughout the town of Marbletown.


"They are doing a stellar job," comments Travers, "linking rail trail, improving trailheads, signage, and maintenance. Just a wonderful job."


Yet, even if the project does take shape, can it really hope to provide the kind of economic stimulus so desperately needed in the region? Travers' answer is unequivocal.


"For years, we have been searching for an answer: how do we foster economic growth in the Rondout Valley? This is it. A continuous rail trail is the single most important thing we can do to help this economy."


Specifically, plans are coming together which will lead the trail right down Main Street in Accord, if and when an agreement can be reached with the Open Space Institute, which owns the historic Appeldoorn Farm which spans from Airport Road to Whitfield Road along Route 209 — an ideal route to help connect the trail from Lucas Turnpike down to Accord's business district. Looking further south, the planned complete rail trail will make another significant stop: downtown Kerhonkson. A newly formed local advocacy group, Friends of Historic Kerhonkson, is supporting these efforts, which, in combination with the anticipated completion of the Kerhonkson Bridge, will help to revitalize the hamlet.


According to Travers, he has no intention of stopping there. Plans include continuing the trail down to the Village of Ellenville. One of the key elements will be working with the New York State Department of Corrections, to allow the trail to pass through the edge of Naponach's Eastern Correctional Facility ground, where, in fact, the original towpath of the D&H Canal makes for a perfect thoroughfare.


Mr. Travers credits continuing efforts by organizations like the Open Space Institute (, and the D&H Canal Heritage Corridor Alliance (, as well as the continued work of each of the towns involved, and is confident that the visible success will continue to grow. On the horizon, the Rail Trail Alliance is planning a series of local "town hall" meetings to introduce, inform, and involve residents in the process of this valuable work.


"The more people know, the more their going to want to be involved, the more it will happen," says Travers.


For more information, visit the RVBA at (Shawangunk Journal 9/16/10)




Crash kills Newburgh motorcyclist

TOWN OF ROCHESTER — A 40-year-old Newburgh man was killed Monday when the motorcycle he was operating crashed into the rear of a vehicle on U.S. Route 44/state Route 55, according to the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office.


Mark S. Mackay, 40, of Newburgh, died at Ellenville Regional Hospital after suffering traumatic head injuries in the 2:25 p.m. accident, deputies said Tuesday.


Deputies said that Mackay was one of several motorcyclists traveling west on Route 44/55 behind a 2010 Volkswagen driven by Jill Haack, 45, of Wappingers Falls, deputies said. Haack signaled, slowed to a stop, and was about to make a left turn on Zolota Osin Road when the accident occurred, deputies said.


One of the motorcycles passed the Volkswagen on the right, but two others, one operated by Mackay, and a 2005 Yamaha operated by Malvin Winnie, 37, of Ellenville, struck the rear of the Volkswagen.


Winne’s motorcycle careened off the car and into the westbound lane where it struck an eastbound 2010 Harley Davidson operated by Eric Huber, 64, of Walden. Both men were treated at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie and are in stable condition, deputies said.


Mackay was thrown from his motorcycle and his body struck the Volkswagen’s rear window, deputies said. (Freeman 9/8/10)





Letters to the Editor


A Tribute to Elizabeth Aprea


My thoughts about Liz:    Her house was a treasure of harmony, calmness and order.  Every time I passed through her front door, it was like entering a peaceful sanctuary.  A mutual friend and I both agreed that her house was her art.  It was beautiful and absolutely clean.  She loved Mort, her partner for close to 30 years.  She loved her cats, just surrounded them with warmth and coos of affection.  She always happily took care of mine when I was stuck, and would spend a lot of time, slowly gaining their trust.  Whenever we returned after Liz had been my kitty-sitter, my cats were happy and relaxed.  She was my neighbor and a loving friend for 26 years.  I will miss our evenings of pizza at Chefs on Fire which always preceded our Rosendale movie events. Those were good, happy days.  


 I spent time with her hours before she died.  She looked absolutely beautiful.  Her hands looked so small, the size of a child's.  She had a tiny scar on her wrist which I wondered about.  I keep hearing her voice and expecting her to appear again in my life. She was way too young to die.  Safe passage, Liz.   I will miss you very much.


Lorna Massie

Accord, NY


Kim- my husband - wrote this 3 days before she died: 


A Good Woman Dying


She civilized the big old bear,

She taught him the right clothes to wear,

She cooked for him with Tuscan flair,

For her he combed his snowy hair.

When he flagged, she was always there,

But for herself, she didn't care.


Harsh symptoms? Oh well, come what may -

No doctors!  She refused to pay

To work with cures the standard way

For twenty years, Thus came the day

When now the best that one could say

Was that she had a narrowed way.





Dear Editor:


I must start out by say that Carl Chipman and I have know each other for a very long time.


I recently had a conversation, with Carl Chipman, Supervisor of the Town of Rochester. I asked him about the traffic light at the intersection of Route 209 and Towpath Road. Due to impatient kids and out of town people, the remainder of the citizens will have to hold our breath and hope not to get slammed into. It seems that "some people" can not sit for a few minutes and let traffic clear.


Later on in the discussion, Mr. Chipman noted that he was trying to get the speed limit lowered on Lucas Ave. (County Route 1). I inquired as to why he would want to do that? According to Mr. Chipman, there have been "many" accidents along that stretch of highway. I asked "what stretch"? Near route 209 and at Kyserike Road. (County Route 6), was the reply. The highway is, for the most part one of the safest in the valley. I am a retired engineer for the NYS DOT. I know the criteria for reducing speeds. Lucas Avenue has adequate sight distance for the entire length. No sharp curves. There are shoulders and no canopy of trees.


At the Kyserike (CR6) intersection there are oversized traffic control signs with advance warning signs. YES, there have been some accidents, but they are due to operator error. A man crashes the guide rail at 209 ... operator error. Acquaintance of mine had an accident at Kyserike Road (CR6). The operator coming from CR6 was not attentive. He ran the STOP sign. That is called an accident. It was on one of the long tangents with good sight distance. People hit deer, quite often, not unusual and that may account for the recorded number of accidents.


For the most part, this highway is safe. When someone can show me a traffic study that shows the 85th percentile speed, in great excess of the posted speed, I will back the call for the reduction. Before any speeds are reduced, I would hope that the County engineers would do an in depth study.


It has become so easy anymore for a minority of people to change the lives of the majority.


The taxpayers in the Town of Rochester are not the only ones who drive Lucas Avenue It was horrible when the County removed the passing zones. To lower the speed will only fuel more road rage. When I mentioned that this would become a speed trap, Mr. Chipman stated that there is no real police presence now. True, it is a 55 mph zone with no major problems. Reduce it and it becomes a speed trap.


The politicians must stop trying to put a bubble over all of the population.


I believe a petition should be drawn up to submit to the County Legislature before this gets too far.


John C. Motzer Sr.






Dear Editor:


I was approached by residents that live on Kyserike Road between Rondout Valley High School and Route 209 when I was elected. They told me that there were no white speed limit signs on Kyserike between 209 and Lucas. There were plenty of yellow "slow down" signs, but no legal white speed limit signs.


They said that people routinely speed past their house and they live almost next to the school and they felt that it was unsafe. They also called my attention to SCHOOL markings on the road that needed to be repainted.


When I inquired to the County Highway Department about getting some speed limit signs, I was told that they didn't want to put any speed limit signs on Kyserike Road, because the legal speed limit is 55mph. I think that 55mph is entirely too fast on a road with a school and as many twists and turns as their are on Kyserike.


I asked the Town Board to examine lowering the speed limit to something that in good conscience could be posted. I know that you are referring to the action taken on Lucas, but I thought that you should know the background on my request to have the Town Board change the legal speed limit on Kyserike Road.


Additionally, what has been communicated to me through this process is that the County Legislature has no jurisdiction over the speed limit, even on County Roads. Kyserike Road is County Route 6, and there was nothing that I could do through the County Legislature that would get the County Highway Department to put up speed limit signs or change the speed limit. I was told directly that the Town had to send a resolution to the Highway Department.


Terry Bernardo

Ulster County Legislator





Rochester Residents Association Annual Membership Renewal

This free Towncrier is one of the many services provided to our community by theh volunteers of the Rochester Residents Association.  We are in the middle of our annual membership drive and encourage you to join or make a tax-deductible contribution.  Family memberships ar $25.00 and individual membership is $20.  Checks made payable to “Rochester Residents Association” can be mailed to PO Box 257, Accord, NY 12404.  For more information on the RRA, visit


Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy to dedicate Headquarters

Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy invites you to the dedication of its headquarters building to Virginia Smith Boyce Schoonmaker, who passed away in 2009.  Mrs. Schoonmaker was a lifelong resident of Alligerville and one of the Conservancy’s earliest supporters.  In 1991, she donated the building that formerly served as the Alligerville Post Office to the Conservancy for use as its headquarters.   She also donated a conservation easement on her family farm near the Alligerville bridge that will protect the viewshed and surrounding farmland in perpetuity.  The dedication will take place at 11:30 am on Sunday, September 12th at 17 Creek Road, Alligerville (High Falls)  All are encouraged to attend.  Please contact for more information.




Palentown School House Museum

The Palentown Schoolhouse Museum is located at 186 Palentown Road, Kerhonkson (off of Route3/Samsonville Road).  A schoolhouse may have been built on this site, as early as the 1830's.  A deed dated 1851 refers to the property as Philip's Meadow and leases it to the common school district #10.  According to family members,  the present building was constructed by Horace Dymond in the mid 1860s on land donated by the family.  In September 1988, the schoolhouse was  designated a State and National historic landmark.  The 300 pound school bell, still remains in place on the roof.  The window shutters replicate the design of a shutter found in the woodshed attic.

 A small group has formed to protect and care for this historic treasure.

 Open the 4th Saturday of August ( 28nd) and Sept. ( 25th)

 Also by appointment 845-626-4281

 We are still trying to locate items of interest to add to our School House Collection

 Volunteers are welcome and needed.

 For more info. contact Gary Miller at 845-626-4281





Mohonk Preserve to offer free passes

GARDINER — Mohonk Preserve is inviting neighbors from surrounding municipalities to visit and receive a free one-month pass during Eleven Communities Appreciation Weekend, Saturday and Sunday.

Visitors from the towns of Crawford, Gardiner, Marbletown, Montgomery, New Paltz, Rochester, Rosendale, Shawangunk and Wawarsing, and the villages of Ellenville and New Paltz may obtain a pass at any trailhead or the Visitor Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on either day. All that's required is proof of residency.

The 11 communities and the preserve are part of the 85-mile Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway, a network of roads with scenic, cultural, ecological and economic importance. For more information, visit or call 255-0919. (Th-Record 8/25/10)




RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES: Synagogue plans holiday services,

The Kerhonkson Synagogue, 26 Minnewaska Trail, has announced its schedule of services for the High Holidays:

• Sept. 8, Evening Rosh Hashanah, 6:30 p.m.

• Sept. 10, Rosh Hashanah, first day, 10 a.m.

• Sept. 11, Rosh Hashanah, second day, 10 a.m.

• Sept. 17, Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur eve, 6:30 p.m.

• Sept. 18, Yom Kippur, 9:30 a.m.

All are welcome. No tickets are required.

Go online to  for more information.




Court Dismisses Mombaccus Suit

In a summary judgment, New York State Supreme Court Judge Michael Melkonian dismissed the Article 78 suit proceeding filed by Mombaccus Excavating Inc. against the Town of Rochester and the Town Board of the Town of Rochester.  Mombaccus filed the hybrid proceeding in order to annul the Town’s Local Law No. 3 of 2009 that adopted new zoning regulations for the Town.




Town Government News -
August 5 meeting

The Town Board considered a proposed local law to regulate outdoor furnaces and scheduled a public hearing for 7pm, Thursday, Sept. 2nd at Town Hall.  The proposed law is intended to ensure that outdoor furnaces are used in a manner that is not detrimental to the health, safety, and general welfare of residents and was prompted by complaints about the emission of smoke and offensive odors onto neighboring properties.


The Town Board adopted a resolution asking the County to reduce the speed limit on Kyserike Road (CR 60 to 35 mph on both sides of the entrance to the middle and high schools, to place a 4-way stop sign at the intersection of Lucas Ave and Kyserike Road and to reduce the speed limit to 45 mph between the intersection of Route 209 and the Marbletown town line. 


The Town Board awarded a  $19,800 demolition contract for the former Barley Store on Main Street in Accord to Christiana Construction.  While the bid was the not the lowest, it was the lowest that complied with bid requirements.


The Planning Board will hold a continuation of a public hearing relating to the proposed expansion of Body of Truth Spa on Kyserike Road on September 21st.  The proposal involves 20 acres of the 35 acre parcel for which the property owner, Simone Harari, wishes to expan the parking area, install a gym, an addition to the nationally-registered historic main house and to an office building, to add an outdoor event pavilion and spa building.  The owner previously obtained a special use permit in 2003 for a non-conforming use of the property; zoning laws were amended in 2009 requiring a special permit for further expansion of the still non-conforming use of the property.


T he Planning Board will also hold a public hearing on September 21st to hear comments on a proposal submitted by Wayne Kelder to operate a grass air strip on his property on Lower Whitfield Road in Accord.  The property is also the subject of a subdivision proposal.




Community Loses Two Young Citizens


Erica Bell, a lifelong resident of Accord, died on July 15th at the age of 17 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.  Erica was a member of 4H and for several years raised award-winning turkeys.  The 2010 Ulster County Fair was dedicated to her memory.  A celebration of her life was held on July 19th.


Hope Marie Mattice of Accord passed away on July 22 after a long battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Hopey was a 2007 graduate of RHHS and earned her certified nurses assistance certificate from Ulster County BOCES.  She was a long time firefighter with Kripplebush-Lyonsville Fire Department.  She was a good friend of Erica Bell.




Former Councilman Francis Gray Passes

Former Rochester Town Councilman Francis Gray passed away on August 5th at the age of 77.  Francis was a lifetime member of the American Legion post 248, Oxon Hill, MD.  He served in the US Air Force as a pilot during the Korean War era and enjoyed flying the rest of his life.  After leaving the service, Francis continued to serve his country, working for the federal government in the Census Bureau and as a Division and Branch Chief in Information Technology, for the US Dept. of Agriculture.  He also worked in the House of Representatives and for Unisys.  He was later a consultant for Baltimore Gas & Electric and the IRS.  Francis served as a member of the Town Board from 2003 to 2007.

“Francis was a man with strongly-held beliefs and an even stronger and unyielding integrity,” said Zali Win, president of the Rochester Residents Association.  “He fought hard all his life for what he believe was right.  We will miss having him as an advocate and, more importantly, as a friend,”


“Francis was a man of great integrity,” said his longtime friends, Bruce and Beverly Schoonmaker of Accord.  “He always stood up for what he felt was best for the town, regardless of any political affiliation.  He was always a gentle man, yet in the end, he fought hard against his illness, cancer, right to the very last breath.  He always fought hard for his vision for the veterans, creating a veterans memorial for the town.  Francis was a very up front and honest person, who stood up for what he believed.”


In addition to Alice, his wife of nearly 52 years, he is survived by his sisters, Florence Rivenburg of Accord and Hilda Gray of Kerhonkson, and his brother, Charles Gray of Mississippi.  A memorial service celebrating his life will be held on Thursday, September 9th at 11am at Christ the King Church on Route 213 in Stone Ridge.



Fire destroys Accord home

ACCORD – An early morning fire of unknown origin completely destroyed an unoccupied residential structure at 187 Schroon Hill Road.

State police at Wawarsing, who received the call today at about 6:45 a.m., said there was no one in the dwelling at the time and no one at the scene was injured.

State police said Thursday afternoon that a lightning strike could have initiated the fire, stating that the National Weather Service in Albany had confirmed there was lightning in the area between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.

They said the Ulster Fire Investigation Unit is trying to determine how the fire started and state police are trying to locate the owner.

The Accord Fire Company put out the fire. (Freeman 8/6/10)




Rondout Valley schools, college plan collaboration

KYSERIKE — The Rondout Valley school district and Ulster County Community College announced they will unveil more than a dozen joint projects as part of a collaboration designed to look at education from a holistic kindergarten-through-college perspective.

A priority in the effort, which has been called “Rondout + Ulster Connect,” is to ensure students are prepared for college when they graduate, said Michelle Donlon, Rondout’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, who described the initiative as a way to further raise the bar.

As such, educators from the college and school district are working together to revise the district’s curriculum to “ensure students are prepared to meet the college’s requirements and transition smoothly,” reads a news release describing the initiative.

A related joint effort between Rondout and UCCC educators includes a plan to conduct a “professional day” at the Rondout Valley High School this fall to allow regional teachers and professors to compare notes — and data — on social studies Regents and other college requirements.

Donlon said professors will discuss “gaps” they find in preparedness among incoming college students.

An early focus is on writing and global awareness. “We want to enhance our students’ ability to communicate and be members of a global society,” said Donlon, who said the emphasis on writing will include adding more writing assignments to classes ranging from history to science in order to better teach students to convey complex ideas.

Rondout school officials are also planning to incorporate material from college-level globalization classes into high school courses and to promote literacy by “having third-graders develop DVDs containing the favorite stories of children attending the college’s Children’s Center.”

UCCC President Donald Katt said college and school educators from all subject areas were paired up at an April conference which emphasized ways to use technology in the classroom and have been since been learning from one another and looking for new ways to approach teaching.

An example of the collaboration he and Rondout Valley district Superintendent Rosario Agostaro cited was spreading from the UCCC to Rondout the practice of using library staff to help create reference websites for individual classes.

Students can refer to the sites for a list of useful materials for the courses without each having to individually approach librarians for help, said Katt.

Donlon said another collaboration includes jointly developing online courses and increasing access to those courses for Rondout students. (Freeman 8/12/10)



Ulster task force arrests 2 teens on drug charges

KERHONKSON — Two Ellenville teens nabbed in the area of the Hudson Valley Resort were arrested on drug charges Saturday evening. They are Jason Michael Wallace and Ameer Maxwell, both 17.

Members of the Ulster County Regional Gang Enforcement and Narcotics Team were conducting surveillance in the area and spotted the pair, along with several other males.

Wallace was found to have a quantity of crack cocaine. Maxwell had a quantity of marijuana, police said.

Wallace was charged with a felony count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, Maxwell with misdemeanor marijuana possession. Wallace was being held pending arraignment. Maxwell got an appearance ticket for Rochester Town Court. (TH-Record 8/23/10)




Letter about veterans’ checks is in the mail in Ulster

ROCHESTER — Ulster County will cut checks to 177 veterans in the Town of Rochester who missed out on part of their property tax exemption this year because of a clerical error, county Comptroller Elliott Auerbach said.

The checks will range in value from $20 to more than $100, Auerbach said. Letters will be sent Tuesday to the veterans who are owed money. They can pick up their checks at Auerbach’s office in Kingston any time, or Aug. 6 at Rochester Town Hall. (TH-Record 7/28/10)



Cops charge bleeding man

KINGSTON — A 48-year-old Kerhonkson man found bleeding on Foxhall Avenue Saturday afternoon has been charged by Kingston police charged him with two misdemeanors, criminal trespass and possession of a controlled substance.

Police responded to a call Saturday at 3:05 p.m. about a man with an injury at 72 Foxhall Ave. Police on Sunday said they had identified the man as Mark A. Williams of 32 Carlo Drive, Kerhonkson.

Police said Williams was transported to Kingston Hospital by Mobile Life Support on Saturday for what did not appear to be life-threatening injuries. Originally, it was thought Williams was a shooting victim, but, instead, he was treated for lacerations to his arm, they said.

Police on Sunday were unable to say how Williams was injured. They said he was released from the hospital, was not in police custody, and was issued tickets to appear in Kingston City Court on the misdemeanor charges.

Police on Saturday said they recovered a rifle at the scene, but that it was not related to the incident. The Kingston Fire Department assisted at the scene. (Freeman 8/16/10)




Route 44/55 crash injures New Paltz man

TOWN OF ROCHESTER — A 20-year-old New Paltz man was injured in a car accident Thursday afternoon as he was traveling along Route 44/55.

Julian Santo of Plattekill Avenue was heading west at about 5:45 p.m. when he failed to negotiate a curve, veering off the road and striking a sign post and tree, according to the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

They said he suffered minor injuries and was transported to Vassar Hospital in Poughkeepsie.

The Kerhonkson Accord Rescue Squad assisted at the scene. (Freeman 7/24/10)




Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor:


I just wanted to express my appreciation of the lovely picnic tables at the bottom of the trail access road and the garden seats installed along the trail that have appeared since I last ran along the trail a couple of weeks ago.  I don't know if the Girl Scout troop No. 60178 built them, installed them, collected the money for them or what part they played in their appearance but they are a delightful addition to the area!  I just hope trail users keep their eyes open and watch out for them so they don't go the way of the informational signs that were installed when the trail was first updated! 


Judith Tripp





Serving the public interest is lonely work. Especially if one attempts to do what is right rather than what is popular. Francis Gray, born and raised in the Town of Rochester, pretty much a lifelong resident, was a proud Republican. He served in Korea as a pilot. He was honest, hardworking, he had integrity.


He loved his town and its people. Like anyone, when his town officials were questioned, when his town government condemned, he bristled. But, unlike most everyone, Francis researched to find the truth about the charges leveled. The more he uncovered the more he found that the criticisms were valid ones and that changes must be made in order to provide fairness for all; to make government truly of, by and for the People.


Again, unlike most people, Francis resolved to DO something about the problems in our local government. Even though a Republican, he answered the call during the 2003 election and was elected Councilman with the ringing endorsement of the Democratic party.


He was an integral part of the Pam Duke Administration's overhaul of government: Getting rid of a biased Code Enforcement Officer that refused time and again to do his job without bias. Getting rid of an Assessor that refused to do the job required and do it fairly thereby providing a tax subsidy to long time residents at the expense of new ones. Creating a new Comprehensive Plan, a deed that hadn't been accomplished in 36 years after numerous attempts to do so had failed. Creating a new, fair, comprehensive Zoning Code in order to assure every property owner's rights. He was lead man on creating a Veteran's Park to commemorate the contributions/sacrifices of our Vets. And all of that in only two years!


What makes this story so remarkable, is that Francis wasn't a "spring chicken" when he ran for office. He had his ideas of what his town had been yet, when presented with the evidence proving that his town/its officials had become bitter, hostile, biased, dysfunctional, he did a reassessment. Most people, in fact, nearly ALL people find change difficult; no, most find change of core perceptions and beliefs to be impossible. But, not Francis. He followed the facts and changed his mind as those facts warranted. It was no longer possible for him to simply believe things were fine in his home town. They were not. He vowed to set things right!


He worked tirelessly as a councilperson. In fact, my personal belief is that his integrity, his hard work ethic and desire to serve his term as fully as he could disallowed him from taking time off when he was put into the chemotherapy regimen recommended by his doctors after his cancer was discovered. It made him sick, tired, difficult to fully apply himself. But Francis refused to stop or even slow down. He had work to do for the People.


That is why it's so tragic that the People he sacrificed for behaved the way they did once the changes began. They screamed at him, threatened him. Long time "friends" shunned him. Even family members wrote him off. He endured all of that yet refused to buckle. For he knew his mission was righteous. Folks, this is the mark of a true hero; to not waver from the path of goodness even under the most hostile conditions.


Francis gave his all even as his sickness consumed him, even as mobs yelled and shouted and verbally abused him and his board mates; even as State Troopers were called in to control the hostile mob. Through it all, Francis stayed on task. He had seen the truth about the "contented" little town of Rochester and dedicated himself to righting wrongs, to bringing his town into the modern era, to making people live by their rhetoric of being a caring community. For Rochester was a dysfunctional community in every sense of the word. Francis was ashamed of that fact. He would often look at me with incredulity and say, "Is it possible they don't see what's been going on?" To which I would reply, "Oh, they've known for a long time what they were doing and just didn't care." He would shake his head in sadness.


Those ugly crowds were prompted into action by so few self-serving individuals who were afraid of the changes that would no longer allow free reign on doing whatever one wanted regardless of impacts to their neighbors, that would cost them increased taxes as they would now have to pay their FAIR share; those few, doing their best to undermine the necessary changes that were required in order to make this town functional, law abiding, a place for old and new alike, without prejudice.


Francis deserved a medal for his work. What he got was pain, suffering, abuse from those he had considered friends for all his life. Francis proved the fact I've come to accept, Americans don't want true heroes. True heroes are about doing the right thing which is always difficult. True heroes require everyone around them to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. True heroes are a mirror held up to the People. Don't like what you see? Change it!


Francis Gray passed away 5 August 2010.


Francis Gray, true hero.




Steven L. Fornal








bulletAccord Artist Sara Harris' work is featured in an exhibition at Gazen Gallery, 5423 Montgomery Street (US-9) in Rhinebeck through September 6th. For more information, call 876-4278
bulletKerhonkson Synagogue BBQ The Synagogue will hold its allual Tobey Pomerantz Memorial All you Can Eat Chicken BBQ on Sunday, August 8th from 1-4 pm at the Kerhonkson Jewish Center at 24 Minnewaska Trail. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Contact Glenn Pomerantz at or 626-2264 for more information
bulletReading, Talk & Book Signing by Richard Geldard SAVE THE DATE: SEPTEMBER 2, 2010 Barnes & Noble: Broadway at West 82nd St., NYC 7 PM "Spend an hour with Richard Geldard and he will lead you to the inner sanctum and hand you over to the Master. Emersonianism is the American religion. It is not a church or a cult; it is a spiritual discipline, a Way. It teaches the infinitude of the private person, of each private person, of you yourself with your laptop and cellphone. Emerson was a great teacher in his day, but Richard Geldard can get him to you now." - Robert Richardson, author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire "In these pages the mind and heart of Emerson show us why we are here-both as Americans, and as individual human beings in the vast, universal world. Geldard's book offers a landmark interpretation of America's greatest philosopher." - Jacob Needleman, author of What Is God? and The American Soul Visit for all of Richard's titles
bulletRoswell Rudd, resident of Kerhonkson, was voted # 1 TROMBONIST in the Downbeat Critics Poll - He was also voted TROMBONIST OF THE YEAR for the fifth time by the Jazz Journalists Association. Rudd turns 75 in November.
bulletBRADFORD GRAVES SCULPTURE PARK is now open by appointment only in Kerhonkson. There are more than 200 sculptures - an extraordinary legacy carved in stone. Call 845 230 - 0521. Visit the website for a preview -
bulletSchool Board News The Rondout Valley Central School District Board of Education's Policy Committee has been attempting to clarify its policy on censorship of student writings in its creative writing programs. The policy review arose after complaints about what some people thought was "inappropriate" language in a play written by a student in April. The policy is attempting to find a balance between First Amendment rights of free speech and what some in the district find objectionable.
bulletVolunteers repair and improve Kerhonkson Pool Local volunteers from the Towns of Wawarsing and Rochester, as well as public funding from those towns, refurbished the public swimming pool adjacent to the Kerhonkson Elementary School.
bulletLifelong Kerhonkson Resident Art Stocking writes local history Art Stockin recently published a book about growing up in Kerhonkson. The book, entitled "Closed Until Further Notice; A Fascinating Story of a Small Catskill Mountain Town during the 1930s, 40s and 50s" discusses local yore and personalities. The book is available at Saunderskill Farm and all proceeds benefit Friends of Kerhonkson for their revitalization efforts.
bulletCreek Road Streambank Restoration Underway Restoration of the Rondout streambank on Creek Road in Alligerville is underway.
bulletBusiness group will help link Ulster County rail trails TOWN OF ROCHESTER - Members of the Rondout Valley Business Association have agreed to support efforts to connect eight separate rail trails as part of an economic revitalization plan in the heart of Ulster County. Association President Richard Travers said the plan is for 35 miles of unbroken hiking trails in the towns of Marbletown, Rochester, Wawarsing and Rosendale. "We want to promote (the) Rondout Valley as a destination, and our rail trails are important resources that are good for both the economy and the environment," he said. "An interconnected rail trail network will link towns and villages in the heart of Ulster County and help drive clean and green tourism in the area." Travers said some of the connections will directly assist business districts, but the broader intent is for the trail system to become a recreational attraction. "It would be reasonable to say that in season, we would expect hundreds of people would use the trails on a daily basis," he said. "The rail trail, with a connector through Rosendale passes through High Falls, it passes through the hamlet of Accord, it passes through the hamlet of Kerhonkson, and it goes right into the village of Ellenville," Travers said. "This rail trail would directly pass through or be very near areas with commercial establishments." Information about the lengths of all connections needed was not immediately available. The longest connection would be 5 miles between two trails in the town of Rochester. "In Wawarsing, there is the need to link the trail between Wawarsing and the Eastern Correctional Facility, and again in Wawarsing, the trail needs to get linked to the trail in the village of Ellenville," Travers said. "Then we hope to be able to develop a connector trail between Lucas Avenue in High Falls, in the towns of Marbletown and Rosendale, into the hamlet, which would be a connection between the Rondout Valley Rail Trail and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail." Travers said a connection with the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail would allow the association to work with other commercial areas, such as the one in New Paltz, where there has been recognition of how businesses can benefit by nearby hiking areas. "It passes right through the village, and the popularity of that is a pretty good indicator of the type of success the trails can have," Travers said. "The effect on economic conditions of the Rondout Valley is potentially much stronger." Travers said the projected cost of the trail links was not immediately available because each community has different funding needs. "Some towns may get a grant, some towns may have to raise money, so we're really not in a position to put any kind of dollar signs to this project," he said. "Some of the proposed connections will follow what used to be the O&W (Ontario & Western) train lines. Other connectors may very well go over town roads, and the reason for that is some of the actual rail bed is privately owned." (Th-Record 7/11/10)
bulletSchool photos, photographer both missingWho took those graduation shots? Laura Walker, adviser to Rondout Valley High School's Class of 2010, displays the 2010 school yearbook at her Stone Ridge home on Friday. No one can identify the photographer who took the class's graduation photos in June, and the photos have not been delivered. ACCORD - It's a mystery that occurred in front of hundreds of witnesses. Call it the Case of the Missing Photographer. Everything was ready to go on Friday evening, June 25. The Rondout Valley High School Class of 2010 was set to graduate at Ulster County Community College. The school had made special arrangements for a professional photographer to take individual photos of each of its 230 graduates receiving their diplomas. Parents had been assured this would make the ceremony move quickly and would result in top-quality mementoes. All went according to plan, as far as anyone could see. A photographer using a professional-looking camera stood to one side of the stage and took the photos. Which is why Debbie Gottstine, who is high school Principal Andrew Davenport's secretary, was surprised to receive a call the next Monday from the White Plains firm that had been hired to take the photos. "They said they were calling to apologize," Gottstine said. "I said, 'Apologize for what?'" Gottstine was told the photographer hired for the job had been overbooked and had brought in another photographer to do the job. That photographer showed up at the school on Saturday, 24 hours after the graduation ceremony. No one knows who took the photos or why she hasn't come forward to either explain or offer the photos for sale. Hence, the apology. Hence, the weeks-long effort to find out who the mystery photographer was and why she hasn't come forward with her photos. And hence, 230 very angry graduates' families. One of these parents is Laura Walker, whose twin daughters were among the graduates. She's not alone in her disappointment. But because she also served as class adviser to the Class of 2010, she's taken the heat for arranging the photo set-up. "We've been looking everywhere for this woman - I've asked different parents who took videos if I could review their tapes. But I couldn't find her," she said. She's put out alerts on Facebook. Networked with other school employees. Did a lot of explaining. "It's really making me upset - why is she holding on to them (the pictures)?" The only person who can answer that question is described by Walker as a white woman with shoulder-length graying hair, about five feet six inches tall and somewhere between 40 and 45 years old. (TH-Record 7/24/10)
bulletTown of Rochester undertakes first property reval since 2006 ACCORD - The Rochester Town Board has authorized an update of property tax assessments - the town's first revaluation since 2006 - for the 2011 tax roll. The town has hired Valley Appraisal Services of Kingston to assist in the revaluation. The goal of the revaluation is to maintain equity in the tax burden among town property owners and ensure they pay their fair share of taxes in multitown jurisdictions, such as the county or school districts. All property owners have been mailed a notice containing an inventory of their properties. Property owners are encouraged to review the inventory, which is also on file at the town Assessor's Office, to make sure it is correct. Property owners should make any corrections and return the form to the Assessor's Office. The revaluation will include an exterior inspection of all properties from the public right-of-way starting this summer and continuing through the end of the year. Property owners will not be required to allow anyone into their homes, but those who would like to schedule an interior inspection should call (845) 626-0920. Notices of new assessed values will be mailed to all property owners starting in March 2011. The notice will include a comparison of property taxes paid for 2010-11 and the taxes that would have been paid under the new assessment. All property owners will have the opportunity to meet with the assessor to review the information used to determine their assessment prior to the filing of the tentative assessment roll on May 1, 2011. The town has scheduled the following public information meetings about the project: o July 31, 10 a.m., Town Hall, 50 Scenic Road; o Aug. 12, 7 p.m., Alligerville Firehouse, 4 Creek Road. o Aug. 26, 7 p.m., Rochester No. 2 Firehouse, 922 Samsonsville Road. For more information, call (845) 626-0920. (Freeman Online July 09, 2010)
bulletPair charged with town of Rochester burglary TOWN OF ROCHESTER - Two men were arrested Monday morning on charges they burglarized the PX Mart after they returned to retrieve items they had hidden nearby, deputies said. Anthony Rainey, 21, of 150 Steed Circle, Maxton, N.C., and Christopher VanTassell, 17, of 13 Rock Mountain Estates, Accord, were each charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor petit larceny. Rainey was additionally charged with misdemeanor possession of stolen property, while VanTassell was also charged with felony criminal mischief and the misdemeanors of resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration. Ulster County sheriff's deputies said the two were arrested at 9 a.m. Monday while police were investigating a burglary at the PX Mart at 5790 U.S. Route 209. Rainey and VanTassell were arrested when they returned to retrieve items from the mart that they had hidden nearby, deputies said. Both men were arraigned in Rochester Town Court and sent to Ulster County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail each. (Freeman 7/14/10)
bulletKingston man accused of raping woman TOWN OF ROCHESTER - A 52-year-old Kingston man has been charged with felony rape of a physically helpless female, state police at Wawarsing said. Police said they arrested Scipio T. Dubois on Wednesday at 3:55 p.m. following an investigation into the alleged assault on a 41-year-old woman by an acquaintance who was visiting her home. Police said their investigation revealed that Dubois had had non-consensual sexual intercourse with the woman. Following arraignment, Dubois was released on his own recognizance pending further court action. (Freeman 7/2/10)
bulletMotorcyclist dies after hitting guardrail ELLENVILLE - A 50-year-old biker from Kerhonkson died Wednesday, shortly after he lost control around a curve and hit a guardrail. State police said the accident happened when Robert Stanfield made a right onto Lucas Turnpike, a curvy road. Witnesses told police they saw the biker lose control after failing to navigate the quick left on the road, said State police Sgt. Edward McKenna. Stanfield's foot peg apparently hit the road, causing the biker to fall off the motorcycle and slide into the guardrail. Witnesses reported Stanfield riding at a high rate of speed around the curve, just before the accident, McKenna said. The biker was talking to rescue workers at the scene, where he appeared to suffer from internal injuries, as well as possibly head injuries. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Stanfield was transported to Ellenville Regional Hospital, where he died at 4:47 p.m., an hour after the accident. His death marks the fourth serious motorcycle accident in the region and the second fatal one in just over three weeks. (Freeman 7/8/10)
bulletAccord man who attacked killer of friend admits violating terms of sentence WOODSTOCK - Christopher Ronda admitted in Woodstock Town Court on Wednesday that he violated the terms of his sentence for his May 2008 attack on confessed killer Alexander Barsky. But Ronda's attorney, Michael Kavanagh says the six-month jail sentence the Ulster County District Attorney's Office wants Ronda to serve is too harsh. Kavanagh asked Woodstock Town Justice Richard Husted to adjourn the case until July 21 to give Kavanagh time submit a request for leniency. Husted complied. Ronda, 29, of Accord, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal contempt for the attack on Barsky, who at the time was a suspect in the 1996 death of then 15-year old Joseph Martin. Ronda was Martin's best friend. Ronda pushed his way past an Ulster County corrections officer while Barsky was being brought into Rochester Town Court for a hearing evening and assaulted Barsky. Barsky, who was 27, suffered contusions in the incident, but no corrections officers were hurt. Ronda was sentenced on April 15, 2009, to a fine and a one-year conditional discharge, however a month later, he was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and sentenced to one year in jail. He is scheduled to be released in October, but the District Attorney's Office wants to add six months to the end of that sentence. Barsky pleaded guilty in August 2008 to a reduced charge of manslaughter for Martin's death and was sentenced to 3 1/3 to 10 years in state prison. Daniel Malak, whom Barsky implicated in Martin's death, is awaiting trial for murder. (Freeman 6/24/10)
bulletIn November, a folk festival in Kerhonkson Eisteddfod, a festival of traditional folk and roots music, is coming to the Hudson Valley. It will take place Nov. 5-7 at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa, 400 Granite Road, Kerhonkson. The festival will feature performers of folk and traditional music, plus an open mic, late-night singing, a contra dance and outdoor walks. More than 20 performers will grace the resort, with more than 30 workshops available. For more information, visit Freeman 7/7/10




bulletRochester Residents Association Awards Scholarships

The Rochester Residents Association is pleased to announce the award of its two Community Scholarships for 2010 to Jillian Brown and Justin Hayes, both of Accord, NY.

Jillian Brown will be attending SUNY New Paltz, where she intends to study art. Jillian is a member of the National Honor Society and already started doing college-level course work as a high school senior. Jillian is deeply interested in photography and using her talent as an artest to raise money for crises and community emergencies. Her work has been exhibited in Stone Ridge and she has an on-line photo gallery. Jillian is also active in RVHS's Environmental Club and she has tutored first grade students at Rosendale Elementary School.

Justin will be attending Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, where he intends to study biochemistry and genetics. Aside from his superior academic achievements (National Honor Society, and a near-perfect GPA) and passionate interest in science, he is a second-degree blackbelt, a volunteer at the Stone Ridge Library and a staff member of the "The Wayfinder Experience." He also shares his skills with others, tutoring math and science students and instructing others in the martial arts.

We are pleased to be able to help Jillian and Justin as they pursue the next step in their educational paths; we're proud to have them represent our community and to know that they'll still be nearby.

The scholarships are funded by contributions and dues received from members.

bulletTerrence Kenneth Williams Beals Memorial Scholarship Award

Rondout Valley Senior and BOCES graduate Stephen Ulbrich of Kerhonkson was awarded the Terrence Kenneth Williams Beals Memorial Scholarship at June 4th's award ceremony. Ulbrich plans to pursue Culinary Arts at SUNY Delhi this fall. Williams Beals was a 2004 RV and BOCES graduate from Kerhonkson who passed away last winter.

bulletOverlook Mountain Amateur Radio Club Field Day

You're invited to come to Field Day, Sat. June 26, 12N to Sun. June 27, 2 PM at the Town of Rochester, Accord, NY Town Park. Hosted by the Overlook Mountain Amateur Radio Club and your local Ham Radio neighbors. You can see the location by going to.......... (thanks to AB2ZO) or using the ARRL web site Field Day locator at go to More info?? Call Bill, N2VOT at 845-389-2307

bulletEmerson and the Dream of America by Richard Geldard

 July 7 at 7 PM at the Ellenville Public Library: A talk and reading of Emerson and the Dream of America by Richard Geldard Friends and Relations Welcome Refreshments The link below to the New York Journal of Books features a review by Robert Lamb of Emerson and the Dream of America by Richard Geldard. I am pleased to share it with you. The book may be purchased online or in your local bookstore. If you care to do so, forward the review to anyone who might be interested. Thanks

bulletMovie being filmed in Kerhonkson

A movie directed by Oscar-nominated director Bruce Berenson and starring Oscar winning actress Jane Fonda and Catherine Kenner is being filmed in Kerhonkson. The film, entitled Peace, Love & Understanding is a multi-generational story of a conservative attorney (Kenner) who, after her husband leaves her, takes her son and daughter to the home of their estranged grandmother (Fonda) in Woodstock.

bulletKerhonkson/Accord First Aid Squad to Disconnect Telephone Now Dial 9-1-1

KAFAS will disconnect its 44-year old seven digit telephone on December 31st. Emergencies should be reported to 9-1-1, a service that has been in place since 1994. Anyone with a lifeline device should contact their service provider to ensure that the device is programmed to contact 911

KAFAS is a volunteer organization providing basic life support services 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Rochester and a portion of Wawarsing. KAFAS also offers reflective address markers to emergency services find your home; these are available at

bulletAfter Hotly Contested Battle, Rondout Budget Passes By Gregory Schoenfeld

More than 3,000 voters came to the polls this past Tuesday to cast their ballot for the revised "B" budget presented by the Rondout Valley Central Board of Education. The result was a 1,679 to 1,377 vote of approval - representing a full 300 more votes cast than in the voting for the initial proposal on May 18. The now official budget for the 2010-11 school year of approximately $60.1 million includes a proposed tax levy reduction of 0.03 percent; the reduction from the "A" budget's suggested 2.81 percent tax increase may well have made the difference in achieving the vote of confidence. The new budget will also represent a 3.8 percent reduction in staffing, to match the 4.3 percent drop in enrollment district-wide.

After the first budget failed to pass - amidst a wellspring of turbulent public response to the increased tax levy - the Board of Education had this one opportunity to present a compromise that would be amenable to voters, before being compelled to revert to the contingency, or "austerity" budget. That budget would have allowed for no increase in spending to meet steeper benefits costs, and would have resulted in at least an additional 15 staff positions cut, on top of the 19 fewer already proposed. The adoption of the "B" budget over the contingency option also helps to salvage important parts of the curriculum, such as JV sports and afterschool programs, which would have suffered under the austerity budget.

This second round saw a visible increase in community involvement, with a greater number of parents, teachers, and other local residents joining in the debate. More statements and advertisements in local media, along with grassroots efforts to "get out the vote," and more signs lining roadways - both for and against the budget - resulted directly in a greater representation of the community in this decision.

The increased level of involvement is reminiscent of a statement from Superintendent Rosario Agostaro's webpage: "Once we engage family and community, we foster partnerships among schools, families, and the community as a whole." If this vote is any indication, Agostaro and the board do have the community's attention, as they look to find solutions in the challenging years to come.

Superintedent Agostaro has been quoted as saying that new innovations, such as partnerships with Ulster BOCES and nearby Ulster County Community College, will be instrumental in consolidating and improving cost-effective curriculum solutions. A primary challenge, going forward, will be a greatly reduced possible contribution from the district's Fund Balance - by State mandate, the district is only allowed to retain four percent of its budget in its surplus, or approximately $2.4 million, as opposed to this year's $4 million addition. (Shawangunk Journal 6/18/10)

bulletTown Board News 

The ground breaking for the long-awaited Veterans' Honor Park in Rochester took place on Memorial Day. Plans had been discussed for seven years after it was first proposed by former town councilman Francis Gray; construction is expected to be completed in time for a Veterans' Day dedication. The park will feature plaques mounted on large granite stones commemorating the American Revolution, Civil War, World Wars I & II as well as those who served in the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the June 3rd meeting, the Town Board voted unanimously not to participate in the Ulster County shared highway services program on a recommendation from highway superintendent Wayne Kelder. Kelder said that costs would be reduced for the county, however, there would be added expense to Rochester's taxpayers. Under the proposed plan, the town highway departments would assume responsibility for county roads (Samsonville CR3, Lucas Ave CR1, etc.) in exchange for a payment from the County.

The Board of Assessment Review reported that he heard 20 tax assessment grievances in person on Grievance Day in May and received a further 25 grievances by taxpayers who did not appear in person. In addition, the Assessor submitted 12 stipulations and 16 corrections, each of which was approved. The BAR reported that the Assessor had provided a high degree of assistance in the proceedings.

bulletNew airport terminal in Wawarsing

Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum on Friday discusses his department's new substation in Ellenville. The substation is located in a new terminal at Joseph Y. Resnick Airport. WAWARSING - Pilots and sheriff's deputies have a new home at the Joseph Y. Resnick Airport. Later this month, the Town of Wawarsing will celebrate the opening of a new terminal and sheriff's substation at the airport. The building was paid for with state Department of Transportation grants totaling $580,000. Wawarsing also chipped in some $21,357 in labor and cash, the town's consulting engineer said. Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum said Wawarsing received the grant, in part, because the building brought police closer to the airport. "The purpose of the grant was to incorporate police stations at small airports," he said. "Just our presence alone will heighten the security here." The new outpost will replace the sheriff's substation on Main Street in Accord. Van Blarcum said the new digs are an upgrade from the one-room station in Accord. The Wawarsing station has separate interrogation rooms for adults and minors, which are required by law, and a shower stall to wash off hazardous chemicals. The nine deputies stationed here will patrol Denning, Ellenville Hardenburgh, Marbletown, Rochester and Wawarsing. Van Blarcum said his office will also explore running aerial searches for marijuana out of the substation. Those special patrols currently fly out of Newburgh. The other half of the building will be a quasi-terminal for pilots, airplane passengers and visitors to the airport, which is situated at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains. "Currently, we have corporate aircraft coming in once in awhile, but they didn't have any place to do their flight planning or go to the bathroom or anything," said Dwight Coombe, a pilot who advises the town on airport issues. Coombe said the terminal would also host the Young Eagles program, which gives kids a taste of flying. Wawarsing will hold a grand-opening ceremony at the new building June 27. (TH-Record 6/12/10)

bulletJag driver leads cops on high-speed chase

KERHONKSON - A Wawarsing man was arrested Tuesday after leading state police on a high-speed chase across Ulster County. The chase started at 2:51 a.m., when New Paltz police attempted to pull over Mario M. Morales, 27, on Route 32. But Morales sped away. State police said the man drove his 2001 Jaguar so fast that he made the 16 miles from New Paltz to Kingston in seven minutes. He then hopped onto Route 209 and continued toward Ellenville, dodging a few other motorists along the way. Police used spike strips to pop the Jaguar's tires, but Morales kept going and rammed a state police cruiser three times. The 32-minute car chase ended when Morales spun out and hit a utility pole on Route 209, just south of the intersection with Route 44/55. Determined to get away, Morales jumped out of his car and tried to run, but state police quickly tackled him, they said. Morales was the only one injured in the chase, suffering abrasions to his face. Police investigators believe Morales jetted off because he was driving without a license and had a small bag of crack cocaine in his car. He was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, driving while ability impaired by drugs and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, all felonies. He also faces a handful of misdemeanors and violations. Morales already had a prior conviction of driving under the influence of drugs. He was sent to Ulster County Jail on $25,000 bail. (TH-Record 6/18/10)


bulletAccord man who attacked killer of friend admits violating terms of sentence

WOODSTOCK - Christopher Ronda admitted in Woodstock Town Court on Wednesday that he violated the terms of his sentence for his May 2008 attack on confessed killer Alexander Barsky.

But Ronda's attorney, Michael Kavanagh says the six-month jail sentence the Ulster County District Attorney's Office wants Ronda to serve is too harsh.

Kavanagh asked Woodstock Town Justice Richard Husted to adjourn the case until July 21 to give Kavanagh time submit a request for leniency. Husted complied.

Ronda, 29, of Accord, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal contempt for the attack on Barsky, who at the time was a suspect in the 1996 death of then 15-year old Joseph Martin. Ronda was Martin's best friend. Ronda pushed his way past an Ulster County corrections officer while Barsky was being brought into Rochester Town Court for a hearing evening and assaulted Barsky.

Barsky, who was 27, suffered contusions in the incident, but no corrections officers were hurt.

Ronda was sentenced on April 15, 2009, to a fine and a one-year conditional discharge, however a month later, he was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and sentenced to one year in jail.

He is scheduled to be released in October, but the District Attorney's Office wants to add six months to the end of that sentence.

Barsky pleaded guilty in August 2008 to a reduced charge of manslaughter for Martin's death and was sentenced to 3 1/3 to 10 years in state prison. Daniel Malak, whom Barsky implicated in Martin's death, is awaiting trial for murder. (Freeman 6/24/10)

bulletThree charged in Kerhonkson drug case

KERHONKSON - Three Kerhonkson residents were arrested Thursday after the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT) executed a search warrant at a 42nd Street apartment as part of an ongoing investigation into drug sales there.

Daniel Ormond, 27, Marcella Battista, 22, and Erik Fehring, 22, all of 50 42nd St., Apt.4, were arrested at 2:30 p.m., police said.

Ormond was charged with felony sale of a controlled substance, felony possession of a controlled substance; misdemeanor using drug paraphernalia and violation possession of marijuana, police said, while Battista and Fehring were each charged with misdemeanor criminal nuisance.

Police said they received continuing complaints with regard to drug sales at apartment building and that during the investigation, URGENT members purchased cocaine and marijuana from suspects at the location and had arrested several persons who had purchased drugs from the building.

Police said a search of the apartment revealed: diverted prescription pharmaceuticals, marijuana, electronic scales, drug packaging material and other drug paraphernalia.

Police said Ormond additionally was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and misdemeanor assault in an unrelated case by the state police.

Following arraignment, Ormond was sent to Ulster County jail in lieu of $5,000 bail. Battista and Fehring issued court appearance tickets. (Freeman 6/25/10)

bulletThree-car accident sends 1 to hospital 

TOWN OF ROCHESTER - A three-car crash Thursday afternoon on Lucas Avenue sent one person to the hospital and resulted in heavy damage to two cars.

The Ulster County Sheriff's Office responded to the accident, which happened at about 3 p.m. at the intersection of Kyserike Road.

Deputies said that Bohdar O. Woroch of West Orange, N.J., was traveling westbound on Kyserike Road when he ran the stop sign at the intersection of Lucas Avenue. Deputies said he was then struck by a car driven by Mirta A. Wulczyn of Rosendale who was traveling northbound on Lucas Avenue.

They said she then went on to strike a third car driven by Don Whittaker of Olivebridge who was driving southbound on Lucas Avenue.

Wulczyn and Woroch's cars were badly damaged, deputies said. Wulczyn was taken to Kingston Hospital by ambulance. Deputies said she was complaining of wrist pain due to airbag deployment.

Woroch was ticketed for failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to yield right of way. (Freeman 6/19/10)

bulletRosendale Theatre Deal Delayed By Rochelle Riservato

According to Rosendale Theatre's co-owner Michael Cacchio, "the initial, projected, and hoped-for closing date of Thursday, June 10 is on hold." No major details could be discussed at this time, but Cacchio wants to confirm the fact that, "The Rosendale Theatre Collective has the full faith, confidence and backing of the Cacchio family." Cacchio said that once some loose ends and final details are worked through there will be a new date established and announced.

It sounds like a long saga with much press about the sale of "just a theater"; however, the Rosendale Theatre is more like a landmark in the eyes of many people. Folks write in to the Theatre's Facebook page daily. They post stories of all types of memories and escapades they had at, what they feel, is a part of their up-bringing…their growing-up.

Emails from long-time patrons - some near and some far state such comments as: "It's truly a sad time. I will miss the Cacchio family immensely."

And then there are communications received from afar - "This place has always had a very special place in my heart. When my great aunt was a young girl (circa 1920's), the theater doubled as a dance hall, and after the 'moving picture show' they would push all the chairs aside and dance! I had my very first date there when I was 14. I always make a point of, at least, driving by if nothing more whenever I go to New York to visit. I pointed it out to my eight-year-old daughter and told her how it had a special place in our families past."

Meanwhile the program formatting at the Rosendale Theatre will continue uninterrupted with the Cacchios planning a first run movie, with local resident actor and Theatre Collective member, Aidan Quinn starting this Friday, June 11.

Stay tuned for more updates! (Shawangunk Journal 6/10/10)

bulletA Warning From Dog Control 

At times I feel like a broken record, but here I am again with my annual, "don't leave your dog in the car on a warm day" warning.

Every year I assist police agencies with the rescue of dogs from vehicles parked on hot days while owners shop. One case that always stands out was a young, Dachshund puppy who was frantically panting, with dazed eyes, lying on the floor of the vehicle. If we were not made aware of the dog in the vehicle and not remove her when we did, I don't think she would have survived. Another case we did not make it to in time was a Labrador mix that had suffocated from the heat inside the owner's car before we even got to the scene.

Dogs often enjoy going in the car on errands with their owner. Now that the warmer weather is here, taking the family pet along can expose them to the danger of heat prostration. It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle to succumb to heat stroke and suffocation. Most people don't realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However on a 75 degree day temperature in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees - and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun! Even when the outside temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach the danger zone on bright sunny days.

Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating only through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage, and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal's body temperature to climb from normal to 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.

People don't place their animals in jeopardy on purpose. They think they will run their errands in a short time. Yet, weather conditions can change rapidly. A sky that is overcast when a dog owner goes into the supermarket can become sunny moments later. Similarly, a car left in the shade may be exposed to hot sun after owner enters the store. Sometimes a quick errand turns into half an hour waiting on the checkout line.

Heat prostration claims the lives of thousands of dogs each year. It's a cruel death and one that can be devastating to a pet owner. With warm weather upon us, the family dog should be left in the safety of the home.

Jill Shufeldt Dog Control Officer Towns of Rochester







Rochester Residents Association Scholarships


The application deadline is May 15, 2010.  Visit for an application.


Bret Adams Memorial Scholarship for the Performing Arts

The Bret Adams Memorial Scholarship for the Performing Arts is funded by Mr. Adams' partner, Paul Reisch and their son Anthany Rojas.  The $1,500 scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school senior from the Town of Rochester who has demonstrated a strong dedication and serious interest in the performing arts.  The scholarship will be awarded under the auspices of a Scholarship Committee appointed by the RRA. 

Mr. Adams was a successful literary and talent agent and a long time resident of Accord.


Rochester Residents Association Community Scholarship

The $1,000 Rochester Residents Association Community 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 and is funded by the RRA's members.





Board of Assessment Review Property Tax Grievance Day


The Board of Assessment Review of the Town of Rochester will hold its annual Grievance Day on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at Town Hall, with a scheduled adjournment on Saturday, June 5, 2010 available only by appointment for property owners who wish to and are unable to meet on May 25th.


Town Assessor Cynthia Stokes will maintain an appointment schedule for taxpayers, however, appointments are not required for the May 25th session of Grievance Day; appointments for the June 5 session must be made on or before May 25th and all necessary grievance complaint forms must be filed on or prior to May 25th. 


Taxpayers who wish to file an assessment complaint may obtain complaint forms from the Assessor’s Office or download them from:  with associated instructions at:


It is not necessary for taxpayers to present their complaints in person.  Completed complaint forms may be mailed to the Assessors Office, Town of Rochester, PO Box 65, Accord, NY 12404, however, correctly completed complaint forms must be physically received by the Assessor’s Office prior to 8:30 p.m. on May 25, 2010.  Submissions may also be made by fax (626-3702), however, we cannot guarantee receipt and it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to ensure that the form is received by the specified deadline.


For more information, property owners may contact the Assessor’s Office at 626-0920




Bradford Graves Sculpture Park in Kerhonkson.

The life and legacy of sculptor Bradford Graves will be honored with the Bradford Graves Sculpture Park, which will open May 1 in Kerhonkson.

Graves created horizontal slabs and totemic blocks, showing an appreciation for ancient sculpture and structure, while nodding to his idea of the placement of stone. Some of his most famous works are part of the series "This Mirror Can Crack a Stone." At the park, a "Mirror Pavilion" will show how Graves (died 1998) compares somewhat closely to prehistoric man.

Graves had shown in New York City primarily, and recently in Woodstock. In 2009, the Samuel Dorsky Museum in New Paltz offered some of his work.

The park is off Route 209 in Kerhonkson. It'll be open until October, and by appointment. Admission is free. Call 626-4038. You may also visit




Open Space Institute Acquires Appeldoorn Farm


OSI acquired the 300-year old 140 acre farm (also known as the Sykes Farm) on Route 209 in Accord.  The farm, which extends to Airport Road and includes the former “airport”, from Whitfield Road, will be kept in agricultural production and the two stone houses are expected to be sold with conservation easements that will protect the land from further development.  To date, OSI has protected more than 100,000 acres in New York State, including the Lundy Estate in Wawarsing, as well as 3,200 acres in the Rondout and Wallkill Valleys.  Overall, OSI has assisted in the protection of an additional 1.7 million acres in Maine, NH, NJ, NC and GA.  OSI recently joined with local partner Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy to work together on local projects.  Visit for more information




Rosendale Group Top Finalist in Nationwide Challenge


ROSENDALE – The Pepsi Refresh Challenge website has posted that the Rosendale Theatre Collective as "Ranked First in the $50,000 challenge" for their "Refreshing Idea for Arts and Culture." The Collective's presence on the Pepsi site, formerly a place to vote, now states that "the Collective is a finalist for the grant" along with posting that "Voting ended on April 30th."

This $50,000 grant award is projected to make the Collective's vision of purchasing the Rosendale Theatre a reality.

The Pepsi Fresh Challenge project started when the company decided to abandon its $33-million advertising plan for the 2010 Superbowl. Instead of paying for expensive commercial time during the Superbowl's airing, Pepsi decided to put its money towards a more magnanimous purpose — to help small, community-minded businesses.

In January, Pepsi started accepting grant applications from individuals, non-profits and pro-social businesses deciding to accept only 1,000 ideas on a monthly basis. Grants are being awarded to the top vote-getters at each month's end. Then the process starts "fresh" again with the beginning of the next month.

With their "community cause" affirmed as "I want to Preserve a local movie theater and revitalize our main street," the Rosendale Theatre Collective entered the contest and was chosen as a competitor in the April Challenge.

The need for daily voters spread like wild fire. Emails were sent out and forwarded as well as many Facebook announcements. The Collective's own website posted the quest complete with a YouTube video featuring activities they wished to keep going in the beloved theatre. The pursuit for voters mushroomed throughout the community — the country — and the worldwide web.

When the Collective first vied to purchase the theatre in the fall of 2008, they vowed to preserve what the theater had provided the community, keeping with the Cacchio family's history of supporting independent filmmakers, artists and civil and human rights organizations. The family had provided high-quality art films, and provided a community venue for local organizations to hold fundraising events, with the Cacchios, most of the time, offering the venue at no cost.

The Collective's top finalist ranking in the Pepsi Fresh Challenge is not the only reason that it will soon meet its goal for a down payment on the theatre purchase — it's also due to many months of fundraising efforts, private donations and selfless volunteerism to preserve the theatre's status as a cultural center and heart of the town's businesses.

For more information, volunteer or make a donation — go online to (Shawangunk Journal 5/6/10)




AT&T increases cell phone coverage area

ACCORD — AT&T has announced activation of two new 3G cell sites in Kerhonkson and Accord expected to improve wireless coverage along U.S. Route 209 in the Kerhonkson and Marbletown and High Falls areas. (Freeman 4-27-10)



Homeless student population rises in Rondout Valley

KYSERIKE — Over the last two years, the number of homeless students in the Rondout Valley school district has nearly quadrupled, according to district officials.

During a presentation to the Board of Education on Tuesday, Deputy Superintendent Timothy Wade said in the 2007-08 school year, there were six homeless students in the district.

That increased to 19 in 2008-09, he said, and to 23 in 2009-10 for a district that serves a total of 2,450 students.

Wade believes the state of the economy has fueled the increase in the number of students without permanent homes, and, following the meeting, Wade said he expects the trend to continue.

Trustee James Ayers noted the figure does not include younger children who are not yet school-aged.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires school districts to identify homeless students and provide assistance. When the district finds out students are homeless, Wade said they are put on free or reduced lunch, and guidance counselors can help out with supplies.

Homeless students can include those who live in transitional shelters, abandoned structures, or those who have lost their permanent homes and are “doubling up” with another family, perhaps if their homes have been foreclosed on, said Wade.

The most significant cost associated with helping homeless students is transportation, noted Wade.

When most of them find temporary housing, they can be moved to another school bus at no additional cost.

However, the Department of Social Services assigns out-of-district housing to a family, and in that case, Wade said the district must provide transportation up to 50 miles until the family finds regular housing. He said those students are generally seniors who are close to graduation.

In the current school year, six of the 23 students fit into that category. To take students to MidWay of Ellenville, a transitional housing site, for 71 days, it cost the district $13,627, he said.

For 68 days of transportation to the Budget 19 in Kingston, it cost the district $13,051, and for four days to the town of Kingston, it cost $768.

Following the meeting, school board President Gail Hutchins said it is “horrifying” to hear so many more students are in families without permanent homes.

Hutchins said while 50 miles may sound like a long distance to take students to schools, she can empathize because “when your whole life is falling apart around you, sometimes you need consistency.”  (Freeman 4/28/10)




Rondout School Board Adopts Budget


The Rondout Valley Central School District Board of Education voted 7-2 at its April 13 meeting to adopt a $61 million operating budget for the 2010-11 school year.  Voters will vote to accept or reject the budget at a School Budget Vote on May 18th.  If voters reject the budget, a $58.8 million contingency budget will be in effect.


The budget includes the elimination of 14 positions at all three school levels (elementary, middle and high schools), mostly through attrition.  It also includes a 4% pay hike for teachers and staffers and allocates $4 million for its unrestricted fund balance, eliminating the surplus in that account and restoring it to the statutory 4%.  The budget also proposes to hire a full-time grant writer at an annual salary of $83,000; opponents suggested sharing a grant writer with an adjacent district or assigning the task to existing administrators.


Despite the series of annual budget increases, enrollment at the district has declined steadily. In 2000, there were 3,007 pupils, while in 2005 there were 2,823.  An enrollment study commissioned by the district projects enrollment of 2,291 students in 2010-11, 1,989 in 2015 and 1,736 in 2020. 



To obtain an absentee ballot application for the budget vote and school board election, visit:




Four vie for three seats on Rondout Valley school board

KYSERIKE — The four candidates vying for three open seats on the Rondout Valley Board of Education agree that getting a handle on the district’s finances is a top priority.

Michael Redmond, who served on the school board for three terms before he lost a re-election bid last year, is the lone challenger to incumbent trustees William Oliva, Christopher Kelder and Lennart Berg. Each of the three seats to be filled has a three-year term.


“THE MAIN issue is balancing costs with declining enrollment,” said Berg, 46, who was elected to a one-year term last May and is the board’s current vice president. Berg said the district needs to perform a cost-benefit analysis of its programs to determine what is working and what is not, an approach he said will address both costs and student achievement.

In the first 10 months of a transition from former district Superintendent Eileen Camasso to current Superintendent Rosario Agostaro, Berg said, a framework was put in place to evaluate programs on a cost-per-pupil and cost-per-building basis. He said he expects that analysis to be done over the next year.

Berg noted the district’s elementary schools have different programs and that district officials had not previously looked at costs at the building level.

Berg chairs the board’s Budget Committee and Policy Committee, and he is a member of the Technology and Facilities committees.

The director of education services at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and former vice president of operations for Kozy Shack Enterprises, Berg holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Siena College. He and his wife, Christine, a temporary teacher at Rondout Valley High School, have a son who is a sophomore at the school.


KELDER, 44, who is seeking a second term, said financing public education in New York state will continue to be a challenge in the foreseeable future. Looking for efficient ways to provide the best possible education to students while controlling spending is Kelder’s top priority, he said.

He also said the district has to look at restructuring the way it operates and look into better use of technology.

Kelder sits on the school board’s Health and Wellness Committee. The owner of Kelder’s Farm, he is a member of the Rondout Valley Growers Association, the Kerhonkson-Accord Chamber of Commerce and the Ulster County Farm Bureau.

A 1983 Rondout Valley High School graduate, Kelder earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University. He lives on Lower Whitfield Road in Accord with his wife, Jacqueline, a teacher at the Kingston school district’s Zena Elementary School, and his son and daughter, who attend Rondout Valley High School.


OLIVA, 60, a former board president, said the Rondout Valley district is facing the same problems as many others across the state — shrinking revenues and rising costs.

Noting the district’s enrollment has dropped about 18 percent in the last five years, Oliva said managing a shrinking organization is not easy and will require “difficult decisions going forward.”

To both control costs and improve student achievement, Oliva said, “we will have to be innovative and ruthless” and learn to do more with less. “Everything has to be on the table,” he said.

He pointed to the need to improve the district’s graduation rate. According to the state Education Department, Rondout Valley’s four-year graduation rate among students who were freshmen in 2005 fell to 77 percent from 79 percent for the 2004 group.

Oliva is a retired certified public accountant and aerospace engineer who worked on the Apollo and Skylab projects from 1970 to 1972.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

The five-year full-time Stone Ridge resident is the district’s representative to the Ulster County Board of Cooperative Educational Services and chairs the Curriculum Committee. He is a member of the Rondout Valley Business Association, the Marbletown Land Owners Association, the Marbletown Preservation and Investment Commission and the Marbletown Hamlet Development Subcommittee.

He and his wife, Josephine, the special projects coordinator for Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, have two daughters, ages 28 and 30.


REDMOND, 64, noting that the district’s per-pupil expenditure is set to increase by nearly $2,000, to $27,295, in 2010-11, said controlling spending is his top priority. He suggested the district hire an efficiency expert to evaluate operations from top to bottom.

“Taxpayers can’t afford it,” Redmond said. “They’re losing their houses and jobs.”

Even so, the retired New York City reservoir supervisor said he would never vote against a school budget because a contingency budget “hurts the children.” Unlike many others, Redmond said, he can afford to vote in favor.

Redmond also is opposed to cutting school sports, calling the idea “absurd.” He said sports are important in the effort to fight youth obesity.

As a former school board member, Redmond said, he served on the Budget Committee, chaired the Master Plan Facilities Committee and took the lead on high school capital projects. He said the high school’s new science and technology wing and the hiring of Agostaro have put the district on the right track.

Noting that candidates elected to the school board last year were endorsed by the teachers’ union, Redmond said it is important that teachers are represented on the board but there also needs to be a diversity of opinion among trustees.

Redmond is a veteran of the Vietnam War, having served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1965 to 1969. He has taken courses at Ulster County Community College and is a softball umpire.

He and his wife of 44 years, Judith, a retired registered nurse, have a 42-year-old son and a 43-year-old daughter. Their five grandchildren are all Rondout Valley students.


The Rondout Valley school board election and budget vote will be held from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 18 at the district office on Kyserike Road in Kyserike.




Town Board News


May Meeting

The attorney for the Town filed a response to the recent suit by Mombaccus Excavating, Inc. seeking to invalidate the revised zoning code and zoning map adopted by the Town in 2009.  Supervisor Carl Chipman reported that Mombaccus’ suit was “filled with misleading statements and innuendo.” Mombaccus owns and operates a gravel mining business on 269 acres on Rochester Center Road, which it claims are covered by existing mining regulations (not town law).  The parcel was recently combined from a number of smaller parcel that had previously been zoned agricultural and never commercially mined and 90 acres of which currently receive an “agricultural” tax exemption.  The suit further alleges that Mombaccus was not provided adequate opportunity to express its views on the proposed zoning law adoption, a fact disputed by Town Board member Tavi Cilenti who indicated that he offered Mombaccus president Keith Kortright a position on the task force that was charged with drafting the proposed laws but that Kortright declined the position.



April Meeting

The Town Board adopted a local law to require that all town-owned vehicles display a

permanent decal with the town seal on the vehicles’ two front doors.  There have been questions about complaints about unmarked vehicles and mis-identification of official vehicles.  The most vocal opponent of the law was Highway Superintendent Wayne Kelder, who said that the identification issues could be resolved without a law.  Mr. Kelder had been asked without by success by the Town Board on many occasions over the past several years to clearly identify his department’s vehicles.

The Town Board accepted the (lowest) bid of Valley Appraisal Service to conduct a town-wide property assessment.  Work will commence in May.

Mike Callan was re-appointed to the Environmental Conservation Commission.  Haley Swift and Juliette Graham-Hayes were reappointed to the Youth Commission and Alice Schoonmaker and Ward Mintz were reappointed and Gina Crevello was appointed to the Historic Preservation Commisssion.

Groundbreaking for the Town’s Veterans Park is expected to take place on Memorial Day.



Four charged in Kerhonkson fight

KERHONKSON — The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office has arrested four people on a variety of charges following a large fight on Saturday around 10 p.m.

Deputies said they were called to the scene of a fight at 40 42nd St. involving multiple suspects at the location within the town of Wawarsing.

They said they arrested the following individuals in connection with the incident: Jack D. Williams III, 23, of 57 Samsonville Road, Apt 12, Kerhonkson, for felony criminal mischief and violation harassment; James S. Howard, 20, of 106 Glen Wild Road, Rock Hill, for felony criminal mischief; Tabitha J. Williams, 26, of 106 Glen Wild Road, Rock Hill, for violation harassment; Glen A. Peck, 25, of 219 Sundown Road, Kerhonkson, for felony reckless endangerment, misdemeanor reckless driving and violation harassment.

Deputies said a physical altercation took place in the street over a custody issue of a child in common between one of the suspects and the alleged victim. One of the suspects and the victim then left the scene in a vehicle and the other suspects threw rocks at the vehicle, causing damage, according to police. They said Peck, driving the vehicle, then attempted to strike the other suspects with the vehicle.

Jack D. Williams III and Howard were arraigned before town of Wawarsing Court Justice Charles Dechon and both were sent to Ulster County jail on $1,000 cash bail and ordered to return to court on April 30.

Tabitha J. Williams was issued tickets to appear in town of Wawarsing court on May 14. Peck was arraigned before Justice Dechon and released on his own recognizance with tickets to appear in Wawarsing Town Court on April 30.

Deputies were assisted at the scene by state police and the Kerhonkson Accord Ambulance Squad.





Three charged after fight in Kerhonkson


Two women and a man were charged after a violent argument between neighbors on Saturday in the Town of Rochester.

Ellenville troopers were called to 100 Cherry Lane in Kerhonkson. Troopers say Liza Belmont, 30, started fighting with William Vanwagenen, 31, and Tara Blanchard, 24.

Troopers described the events this way. Belmont reportedly brandished two hammers and swung at Blanchard and smashed out several windows of Vanwagenen's truck. Vanwagenen came outside and fired two shotgun blasts in the air. Belmont got into her car and attempted to run over the other two, and Blanchard then smashed out her window with a metal pipe. Belmont sped away in her car, returning home. The fight stemmed from a previous incident, troopers say.

When troopers arrived, Vanwagenen handed troopers a rifle, which wasn't the shotgun he originally used. Troopers searched the home and found three marijuana plants and about three pounds of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, grow lights, scales and three rifles.

Belmont was charged with felony criminal mischief and several misdemeanors. Vanwagenen was charged with misdemeanors related to criminal mischief, menacing and drug possession. Blanchard was charged with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. All were issued appearance tickets and released.  (TH-Record 5/5/10)


Kerhonkson man pleads guilty to starving two dogs, barred from owning animals for three years

KERHONKSON — A Kenhonkson man is barred from owning or possessing any animals for the next three years as part of his sentence after pleading guilty in Rochester Town court last week to starving two dogs, the Ulster County SPCA said.

German Ruiz, 21, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and was sentenced to three years probation. (TH-Record 4-12-10)



Some rural areas in mid-Hudson region still can't get fast access to Internet

Many in Sullivan, Ulster stuck on dial-up

It's the modern equivalent of the telephone, post office and library rolled into one. Yet, despite billions of dollars of available grant money and mandates from the president and governor, thousands of local residents must live without high-speed Internet.

The lack of access in parts of Sullivan County towns like Bethel and Neversink and Ulster towns like Marbletown and Kerhonkson — areas less than 2 hours from New York City — costs residents lucrative jobs and priceless time, thanks to agonizingly slow, inefficient and unreliable dial-up and satellite connections:

An Ulster illustrator for the Wall Street Journal must drive a half hour to a Starbucks to connect with his New York office.


Maps of broadband availablity Cell phones could speek connection

So you're fed up with dial-up and you've had it with satellite. And a connection to high-speed Internet seems as likely as winning the lottery.

What's a disconnected soul to do?

If you can get cell phone service where you live, you might be able to access a high speed connection with an air card, otherwise called a USB card.

You simply plug it into your computer or laptop and access the Internet through a cell phone connection.

The price, according to a Verizon spokesman, ranges from about $40 to $60 per month, not including the initial cost of the card, which ranges from about $10 to $80.

Mobile hot spots are also available that essentially allow you to connect several computers or laptops to a high-speed connection through cell service. The initial cost for that is about $50, with a monthly service fee.

Call your cell-phone provider for details.


Steve Israel

A graphic designer in the Sullivan hamlet of Willowemoc must drive miles to a Chinese restaurant in Livingston Manor to download a program too big for her satellite connection. A young woman in northern Sullivan quits her publishing job because she can't get online fastest enough.

High-speed Internet is also a crucial factor in whether a company moves to — or leaves — a business-hungry county like Sullivan.

Neversink Glass Co., an architectural metal and glass subcontractor in White Lake, almost left the county's industrial park because its satellite connection couldn't download architectural drawings.

After the homegrown company pressured the county and Time Warner Cable, Sullivan's hub for industry was wired.

"We threatened to move out," says Craig Steele, Neversink's project manager. "I mean, this is the industrial park, for God's sake. I hammered away until we got it and they finally gave in."

A lack that could cost lives

Students with dial-up or satellite can't do as much homework as their peers with fast connections.

Some grammar-school kids in the Onteora School District in Ulster County can't even access a common language program, Rosetta Stone, despite living near sophisticated Woodstock.

The lack of high-speed Internet in places like the Ulster County Town of Denning or the Sullivan Town of Rockland may even cost us lives.

Ambulances at accidents or on emergency calls may soon be able to send pictures of X-rays to hospitals so an emergency room will be ready with treatment — if there's high-speed Internet.

"It's one of the most significant quality-of-life issues we have," says Pattern for Progress CEO Jonathan Drapkin, who was a member of an Orange County task force to study where, in the relatively well-wired county, Internet is needed.

"High-speed Internet is the backbone of the modern economy," says Marge Gallagher, deputy director of economic development for Ulster County, which not only applied for the stimulus money, but is now angling for one of Google's ultra-high-speed network grants.

"It's no longer just a nice thing to have," sums up Dave Salway, director of the state's broadband grant program, which has awarded some $77 million in grant money in New York state. "It's a necessity. It's a report card sent home with kids. It's medical records for a loved one. It's essential."

Behind the eight ball

Yet while scores of statewide entities ranging from Chemung and Otsego counties to the St. Regis Mohawks, Sullivan County Community College and the Sullivan Town of Mamakating have applied for stimulus money for high-speed Internet, one of the neediest, Sullivan County itself, didn't.

This, despite the fact that residents like nurse Kitty Vetter and Carolyn Bivens of the Town of Neversink have petitioned town, county and state officials for three years.

In fact, Sullivan is only now applying for a $65,000 grant to map areas that need broadband — something Ulster did months ago, when the grants first became available and County Executive Mike Hein ordered town supervisors to map the underserved areas.

Sullivan County Manager Dave Fanslau blames the county's lack of resources to compile the information needed for the grants — "technical plans, detailed analysis, how to move the broadband to the area" — for the slow start.

Vetter is more blunt.

"They dropped the ball," says the R.N. active in the state nurses association who can't download programs from her colleagues because of her dial-up connection in Willowemoc.

"They did miss the opportunity to get startup money," says Michael Shuipis, director of network development for ION, a telecommunications company that teamed up with municipalities and organizations throughout the state to win a grant that will bring high-speed Internet access to areas as diverse as Hancock and parts of Port Jervis and Monroe.

Hoping for another chance

Fanslau says Sullivan is preparing to apply for the next round of stimulus grants — although the state's Salway says officials are "debating whether there will be another round."

And without those grants for Internet access, communities without broadband may be up a creek without a connection.

Despite the federal money and mandates, high-speed Internet access isn't required — or regulated — by the federal government.

Giant cable TV providers like Time Warner Cable don't have to serve rural, underpopulated areas and Verizon has reached the end of its national plan for fiber expansion.

When towns try to negotiate agreements with cable companies that also provide Internet service, like Time Warner Cable, the requirement is usually at least 20 homes per mile — a density unheard of in most rural areas.

Bottom line?

One industry analyst uses some not-so-high-tech language to describe the future plight of the unconnected.

"As a practical matter, you're screwed," says Dave Burstein, editor of DSL Prime magazine.


Editor’s Note:  Time Warner Cable has not responded to multiple letters sent by the Town regarding its cable franchise contract renewal.





Update from the Cable/Broadband Committee

The Town has responded by letter to Time Warner’s notification of intent to seek renewal of its cable franchise contract and requested detailed information on existing service.  Once this information is received, the Committee will work to develop a list of areas that meet state Public Service Commission minimum density where service is not provided.  We have obtained recent maps indicating where service is provided and will work to update these maps.  Once all this information is gathered, we will initiate renewal discussions with Time Warner Cable with the goal of obtaining the widest possible service area expansion.  If you do not have service at present, you might get an estimate (or updated estimate) from Time Warner to bring service to your home.  If you do get a written estimate, please mail a copy to:  Cable Committee, PO Box 257, Accord, NY 12404.




Kerhonkson Resident Astrid Fitzgerald to show work

Garrison Art Center features two extraordinary artists in its galleries March 5-28, 2010, Leonda F. Finke and Astrid Fitzgerald.

In the Gillette Galleries Astrid Fitzgerald will debut her new assemblages, enhanced by the saturated colors and geometric forms of her large canvas hangings.  The artist’s discovery on her property of a treasure trove of old copper pipes and rough-cut lumber, among other aging items of construction, inspired the assemblages.  With the help of time and the wise artistic vision of Fitzgerald, these somewhat rough objects combine to become this quiet and spiritually elegant collection.  

Dr. Roger Lipsey, noted art historian, editor and author of numerous books will present a talk on Fitzgerald’s work on March 21, at 3pm in the Art Center’s Gillette Gallery.

His viewing of a few of the featured works piqued his interest, and the following initial commentary offers a brief review specific to this body of work.

“Astrid Fitzgerald's assemblages explore the relationships between a surprising and fresh notation for everything buoyant and untouched in us (the blue-green rods, steady and vibrant) and everything else of which we and the world are made (the containments, ties, and other elements in the assemblages).The rods imply a moderately complex order inside: joyous in color, disciplined and definite nonetheless. The containments and ties are not negative presences, as if they deny brightness. Are they a figure for 'how things are'? Every inside has an outside, all living relationships are dynamic interactions.




Carbon Monoxide Law Goes into Effect

Carbon Monoxide detectors are now required in all homes and residential units under a State law that went into effect on February 22, 2010.  Existing one and two family residences are required to have one CO detector installed on the lowest storey of the home having a sleeping area. 

If an alarm is activated, call 911 and leave the home.  Windows and doors should be shut and there should be no effort to ventilate.  The Fire Department will test the home with a more delicate CO detector to determine the source of the CO leak – if the home has been ventilated, it is more difficult to locate the source of the leak.  CO detectors are available from any hardware or home goods store.  (From BSL 2/19/10)




Appointments by Rochester Town Board

The Town Board made the following appointments on 2/4/10:

Board of Assessment Review:  Bruce Schoonmaker

Board of Ethics:  John Cross, Jeff Davis, Tony Spano, Veronica Sommer

Environmental Conservation Commission:  Michael Callin (member and Chair), Laura Finestone, Vice Chair.

Historic Preservation Commission: Maggie Dulka, Walter Levy: Alice Cross (Chair), Jeanne Green, Vice Chair

Youth Commission: Jessica Knapp, Mary Lee, Sue Matson, Haley Swift; Barbara Zaccai, Chair, Pam Stocking, Vice Chair.

Zoning Board of Appeals: Bea Haugen Dupuy (Member and vice chair), Brian Drabkin, Chair

Planning Board: Shane Ricks (member and vice chair); Mel Tapper, Chair




Hudson Valley Resort Files for Bankruptcy

KERHONKSON — Suffocating under more than $26 million of debt, the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa has declared bankruptcy in a last-ditch effort to avoid foreclosure.

Owners of the resort filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, just as the holder of their largest mortgage finished a foreclosure case against them.

Chapter 11 could allow the owners, who operate under Everyday Logistics LLC, to reorganize debts and keep the hotel.

The 323-room resort, formerly known as the Granit Hotel, has stayed open while its owners and lenders battle in court.

Eliot Spitzer (he is not the former governor of New York), one of the Hudson Valley Resort's managing partners, said he couldn't talk about the bankruptcy when contacted at his Monsey office this week.

"This does not affect the actual operation of the hotel," said Spitzer, who owns the property with his partner, Michael Steinberg. "I think we'll be all right when it's all over."

Spitzer and Steinberg owe more than $25 million on six mortgages. They purchased the hotel, its 18-hole golf course and the 400-acre property in 2006 for $18.5 million. Its full-market assessed value is $5.8 million.

The first signs of trouble came in September 2008, after the owners failed to make mortgage payments for four months.c

In court papers, Spitzer said the economic recession cut the resort's revenues.

Kennedy Funding, holder of a $9.8 million mortgage, foreclosed on the property in September 2009. A judge delayed the appointment of a receiver — an independent party to sell the property — until Jan. 7. But Spitzer and Steinberg filed for bankruptcy that same day to stall the foreclosure.

Tom Genova, a bankruptcy lawyer in Poughkeepsie, said bankruptcy is sometimes used to renegotiate mortgages when neither side will benefit from foreclosure.

"If the bank forecloses, what do they get? They get a hotel in the middle of winter in Kerhonkson," Genova said.

Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is the largest private employer in this mountain town, with some 150 people on its payroll. The resort owes the Town of Rochester nearly $40,000 in taxes.

"My greatest concern is for the employees," Rochester Supervisor Carl Chipman said. "A lot of families depend on that place for income."

Spitzer and Steinberg had grand plans to make the resort a Marriott-branded hotel and build 300 upscale homes on the property. They contracted with PGA champion Vijay Singh to redesign the golf course. None of those plans materialized.

Henry Zabatta, who owned the hotel when it was the Granit, is familiar with the scenario that's unfolding. Zabatta went bankrupt on the hotel in 1997 with a $5 million mortgage and said the current owners paid too much for it.

"I don't know who brokered that deal, but it was highway robbery," he said. "You can't possibly operate a hotel in this region with that much debt." (TH-Record 2/19/10)




Accord man punched and kicked girlfriend, held gun to her head, police say

ACCORD — A 37-year-old man was in jail Saturday after punching and kicking his girlfriend, holding a loaded gun to her head and trying to flee with the couple’s three young children, according to police.

The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office said Michael John Hasenflue became involved in a dispute with his girlfriend about 11:15 p.m. Friday in his home at 4653 U.S. Route 209 in Accord. During the fight, Hasenflue punched and kicked the woman and then put a loaded .22-caliber pistol to her head, deputies said. He then tried to leave with the children, they said.

The Sheriff’s Office said deputies arrived in time to find Hasenflue still in the driveway with the children, and he was taken into custody.

The children — all of whom were infant or toddler age — witnessed the incident but were not physically harmed, deputies said. The Sheriff’s Office did not identify the girlfriend and said they weren’t sure whether she and Hasenflue lived together.

Deputies said the injuries suffered by the girlfriend during the fight were minor and that she was treated at a local hospital and released.

During their investigation, deputies said, they discovered Hasenflue was a convicted felon and that the pistol he used on Friday had been stolen from a vehicle in Saugerties last July. They declined to specify the previous felony.

Deputies also reported finding crack cocaine on Hasenflue at the time of his arrest.

The Sheriff’s Office said Hasenflue was charged with felony counts of criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and criminal possession of stolen property; and misdemeanor counts of assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child.

He was arraigned in Marbletown Court and sent to the Ulster County Jail without bail. He is to appear in Rochester Town Court at 6 p.m. Wednesday. (Freeman 2/20/10)




Time to apply for inclusion in Ulster Certified Agricultural District status

KINGSTON -- The Ulster County Legislature will accept requests from March 1 to March 30, 2010 from landowners wanting to have their agricultural lands included within a NYS Certified Agricultural District.

Landowners seeking inclusion into a certified agricultural district must submit a completed Ag. District Inclusion Worksheet with tax map identification number(s), a copy of the relevant portion of the tax map, and a description of the land to Virginia Craft, Ulster County Planning Department, 244 Fair Street, P.O. Box 1800, Kingston, NY 12402-1800 within this 30 day period.

The Ag District Inclusion Worksheet and a brochure explaining agricultural districts are available through the Ulster County Planning Department’s website at: then select Agriculture and click on Annual Agricultural District Inclusions. 

Agricultural District Law adopted by the New York State Legislature in 1971 provides for the creation of Agricultural Districts to protect and promote the availability of land for farming purposes.  Lands within districts are protected from unreasonable local regulation of farm practices, the acquisition by public entities through the use of eminent domain, and the advance of public funds to construct facilities that encourage non-farm development.

Land used in agricultural production within an agricultural district is not subject to special assessments, ad valorem levies, or other rates and fees for the financing of improvements such as water, sewer or non-farm drainage.

Ulster County has four certified agricultural districts containing over 67,000 acres of farmland.  (




Expect Delays at Woodbury Toll Plaza

CENTRAL VALLEY — For two years, the New York State Thruway Authority has been warning drivers that this day of "heartache and pain" would come.

And now it has.

On Monday, the Thruway Authority will close five lanes in the center of the busy Woodbury Toll Plaza for eight weeks to complete the final phase of its $90 million project to introduce highway speed E-ZPass there — and possibly create a bottleneck for as many as 50,000 customers a day.

"We deliberately chose a time of year that has the lowest usage and if you aren't experiencing delays with the construction now, you are unlikely to over the next two months," said Herb Litts, assistant director of the Thruway's New York division.

John Paul Cunningham, the division's construction engineer, noted that the old 5 mph E-ZPass lanes are capable of processing about 600 cars an hour and the four new 65 mph ones about 2,000, and then said: "So, to get there, we're going to have to go through a little heartache and pain."

The engineers, speaking at a media briefing Monday, said the temporary configuration at the toll plaza will be four northbound ticket lanes on the far east side and six southbound ticket lanes on the far west side.

The northbound lanes include the dedicated lane for traffic entering from the Harriman Toll Plaza and Route 17, a lane that will be opened to all northbound traffic on Friday afternoons and other high-volume periods to reduce congestion. Then, all six of the southbound lanes will be open more often to keep traffic moving, too.

Demolition work comes first

Litts said the Thruway's contractors, in the first week, will remove the five toll booths and demolish the old pavement around them. In the second through fifth weeks, they will extend the Jersey barriers that isolate the E-ZPass lanes — two in each direction — through the toll plaza, pour new pavement and erect the overhead gantry for electronic toll collection equipment.

In the sixth week, Thruway personnel will install the toll-collection equipment and, in the seventh and eighth week, test it. The schedule is aggressive, the engineers said, but still has some wiggle room for weather-related delays.

Construction began in 2007 and, at its height, extended over 10 miles as the highway was widened to accommodate the segregated E-ZPass lanes for through traffic. Now, the work zone has shrunk to a fraction of a mile north and south of the toll plaza in preparation for this eight-week sprint to the finish line.

"The plan is that when we open on May 2, we're open," Litts said. (TH-Record 3/2/10)




Massive Power Failure

KINGSTON - Electricity has been restored to more than 130,000 Central Hudson customers as of this morning following two storms that interrupted service in the largest storm event in the utility’s history, the company says.

Central Hudson crews worked through the night and fresh teams were in full force today continuing to tackle the approximately 900 small, localized outages that remain. Utility officials still predict that the majority of customers will have their service restored by Wednesday at midnight, as the utility continues to mobilize a fieldc force of 1,000 people.

Of the less than 20,000 customers that remain without service, outages were located by county approximately as follows: Dutchess: 5,500; Greene: 200; Orange: 7,600; Putnam 200; Sullivan: 500; and Ulster: 6,000, according to the company.

The restoration has now largely shifted from the repair of major facilities and distribution networks to a labor- and time-intensive phase of restoring electricity one neighborhood or street at a time and often even one customer at a time, the company said. New cases of trouble continued to be identified as crews work through neighborhoods, and officials urged residents still without power to contact Central Hudson to report their power condition.

“This storm broke all the rules. It was unprecedented in the amount of heavy, wet snow dumped on the region,” said utility spokesman John Maserjian. “There was quite a bit of damage and widespread damage — virtually every town in the Hudson Valley was affected by this storm.”

Maserjian said the utility has brought in crews from other utility companies and private contractors to help bring power back to customers who have been in the dark for nearly a week.

“We’re working with a contingent five times our normal staffing,” said Maserjian. “We’ve made a lot of improvement and we’re quite encouraged, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

The Ellenville Central School District was closed again on Monday, but Wawarsing Town Supervisor Leonard Distel said students would be back in the classrooms today.

On Monday, while more than 1,000 town residents remained without power, Distel modified the state of emergency in that community, saying conditions in the town had improved to the point where most roads were passable. Several roads, however were opened to single-lane traffic for emergency vehicles only. Roads open to single-lane emergency vehicle traffic only are: Steam Hollow Road in Greenfield Park; Hart Street in Napanoch; Divine Street in Kerhonkson; Yeagerville Road; Oak Ridge Road; Lackawack Road; and Cragsmoor Road.

Ulster County Emergency Management Director Art Snyder said there were other town roads across the county that remained closed, including some in Hardenburgh, where the snow was too deep for the plows to move. He said because many of the homes in those areas were seasonal, there was no real way to determine how many may be occupied. But, he said, there was “not an imminent concern at this point” about the welfare of those who might be stranded in homes in those areas.

Snyder said the shelter at Hawk Health and Wellness Center at SUNY New Paltz closed Monday, but the shelter at the Kerhonkson Firehouse would remain open through noon today.

Central Hudson will continue to distribute dry ice and bottled water, however the site in the village of Ellenville has been moved to the Napanoch Firehouse from the parking lot adjacent to Provident Bank. Additional distribution sites are at the Central Hudson facility on state Route 299 in the town of Lloyd and at the town of Rochester Community Center. (Freeman 3/2/10)




Walkway Over the Hudson faces state budget ax; Minnewaska, Senate House, Clermont also in jeopardy

LESS THAN five months after opening to the public, the Walkway Over the Hudson is in danger of being shut down during the winter months and having its hours scaled back the rest of the year, according to Gov. David Paterson’s office.

Paterson’s office says dozens of additional parks and historic sites — including the Walkway, Minnewaska State Park in Ulster County and the Senate House Historic Site in Kingston — could close or have their services reduced unless state lawmakers draw funding for their operations from New York’s Environmental Protection Fund.

The proposed closings and cutbacks would be in addition to the 79 sites targeted by the governor earlier this month to help close the state’s multibillion-dollar budget gap.

Minnewaska would be shut down under the latest proposal, while the Walkway Over the Hudson, which connects Ulster and Dutchess counties on an old railroad trestle, would be closed entirely from December to March and two days a week from April to November.

The Walkway — a pedestrian span more than a mile long that rises more than 200 feet above the Hudson River — opened to the public on Oct. 3 after 20 years of efforts to convert the former Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge into a public park.

Also targeted for closure is the Staatsburgh State Historic Site in Dutchess County, the Senate House in Uptown Kingston and the Clermont State Historic Site in Columbia County.

But those sites and 47 others could be spared, according to Paterson, if the state Legislature agrees to fund them with $5 million from the state Environmental Protection Fund.

To close an $8 billion budget gap in his proposed 2010-11 budget, Paterson cut $29 million from the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation budget. He included an additional $4 million in revenues to be generated through increased fees and $5 million to come from the Environmental Protection Fund.

State lawmakers across the region blasted Paterson for the proposed closings and accused him of playing politics with the state parks system.

In a press release dated Wednesday, state Assemblyman Kevin Cahill called the proposal to shut down the Senatce House “an insult to our heritage,” and he said he was “outraged” that the governor “is continuing to play politics with institutions so integral to our regional character and economy.”

Cahill, D-Kingston, also criticized Paterson for turning to the Environmental Protection Fund to pay for park operations.

“The very act of holding the Environmental Protection Fund hostage is not only bad politics, it diminishes confidence people have in it as a dedicated fund for environmental protection and conservation,” Cahill said.

Assemblyman Marc Molinaro questioned whether the state would actually realize the savings projected by the closures, saying some level of spending will be required to maintain those sites even if they are closed.

Molinaro, R-Red Hook, said the state could save an amount equal to or exceeding that proposed to come from the Environmental Protection Fund by eliminating some appointed positions and closing down homes maintained for some prison superintendents, but he warned that in order to address the state’s budget crisis, unpopular decisions will have to be made.

That was a sentiment echoed by State Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, who said that while he hoped some of the closings could be avoided, the Legislature’s first priority has to health and safety.

At a glance

Among the parks and historic sites targeted for closure or service reductions unless the state Legislature approves drawing money from the Environmental Protection Fund are:


Minnewaska State Park, close

Senate House State Historic Site, Kingston, close


Staatsburgh State Historic Site, close

Walkway Over the Hudson, close from Dec. 1 to March 31; close two days a week from April 1 to Nov. 30


Clermont State Historic Site, close

Lake Taghkanic State Park, reduce swimming season

(Freeman 2/28/10)




Property Tax Roll Available Online

The Rochester Residents Association has put the Town’s property tax roll on line to assist residents in reviewing comparable property tax assessments.  Personal information, such as property owner name, has been removed and the information is posted in a sortable and searchable Microsoft Excel format.  To view the information, visit




Rochester’s Small Part in the History of the Animal Welfare Act

A dalmation dog, stolen from a farm in Pennsylvania in 1965 led to an investigation of an animal theft ring that provided dogs and other animals to medical researchers around the country.  An article in Slate Magazine traced the 1965 investigation, which led to a farm on Clove Valley Road in High Falls, and the active animal advocacy of our local congressman at the time, Joe Resnick, to introduce and pass the Animal Welfare Act.  The act mandates protections for medical research animals.



Mombaccus Excavating Sues Town of Rochester to Invalidate Zoning Law

Mombaccus Excavating Inc., a sand and gravel mining company owned by the Kortright family of Kerhonkson filed a lawsuit against the Town of Rochester on January 22, 2010.  The suit seeks the invalidation of the Town’s recently-adopted zoning code, adopted in late 2009.  The Kortright family is one of the Town’s largest landowners and the company is managed by Keith Kortright.  Among the allegations in the suit are eight claims (1)  the adoption of the law did not follow the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act, (2) The Town Board improperly delegated its SEQRA lead agency responsibility, (3) The Town Board failed to take the required “hard look” under SEQRA before approving the creating an Aquifer Protection Overlay District, (4) The zoning law arbitrarily and capriciously divides a 269-acre property owned by the company, (5) the law fails to provide for the development of a well-ordered and balanced community, (6) the law is superceded by the State’s Mined Land Reclamation Law, (7) The law violates NY State Town Law, which requires that zoning laws be consistent with the Town’s comprehensive plan, and (8) the town engaged in “bad faith targeting of Mombaccus.”

The zoning law, adopted in late 2009 by the bipartisan Town Board, was the culmination of a community-wide process started in 2003 that involved a series of public discussions and more than 100 public meetings to discuss the future of the Town, its natural resources, and potential changes in the town’s outdated 1969 zoning laws to ensure sustainability for future generations.  Keith Kortright was an active participant in those discussions and, at times, his participation in some of those meetings was viewed as intimidating (dump truck protests at town board meetings) and unneighborly (parking a wrecked house trailer for months on the property line adjoining one neighbor who supported zoning). 

Supervisor Carl Chipman responded to a local newspaper and said that everyone who worked on the zoning revision during town administrations attempted to be as fair as possible and to carry out the 2006 Comprehensive Plan.  Chipman promied that the Town “will defend our new zoning laws.”


Prodigy with a conscience

Oscar and Rene Schnider can be very proud of their son, Gabe. Not only is he a teenage guitar prodigy participating in tonight’s Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, the Accord teen has a social conscience.
“Part of my coursework last year at the Poughkeepsie Day School was learning music theory, transcription and improvisation,” the 16-year-old said. “That evolved into a benefit concert for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital of Memphis. The concert included guest performances by other Poughkeepsie Day School students, music faculty and professional musicians, and showcased my original material.”
Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude’s is the premier pediatric facility in the world It specializes in treating cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Doctors send their sickest patients there. With research and patient care under one roof, St. Jude’s doesn’t turn anyone away. Patients are treated without a bottom-line look at parents’ income.
Fully responsible for conceptualizing and organizing the spring 2009 event that raised $1,500 for St. Jude’s, Schnider this semester has just begun a new independent music studies class at his school. While last year the beneficiary of his talents was a large national organization, this year he has decided on a local non-profit, Kingston’s Center for Creative Education.
“My sister does hip-hop classes there; that’s how I became familiar with the center,” Schnider said. “Their mission is to use the arts as a healing method. They nurture and empower youth and community through the arts.”
Working with Bryant “Drew” Andrews, the center’s artistic director and choreographer, Schnider will see his studies culminate this spring in a benefit performance, including music and hip-hop dance, at Poughkeepsie Day School on May 7. First, though, Schnider is playing at the Grammys.
“I’m part of the Grammy big band that plays concerts throughout Grammy week in Los Angeles,” he said. “I’ll be at the awards on Sunday night, but before that, the Grammy Jazz Band that I’m part of is recording a CD at Capital Records studio.
“The CD will be available through Itunes and,” he added, the excitement evident in his voice.
Born in New York City, where he began guitar lessons at age 9, Schnider eventually moved with his parents to Accord and began studying guitar with Matthew Finck. A terrific guitarist in his own right, Finck taught Schnider how to play his instrument, as well as nurturing his love for music in broader terms, the idea being to take a stand and find his own voice, according to Finck.
Attending the Litchfield Jazz Camp this past summer, as he has for the past two years, Schnider learned about a prestigious Grammy Foundation national music competition from other students at the camp. On his own, he researched the project and its requirements. He soon discovered there were only 28 openings in the 2010 Grammy Jazz Ensembles. The paucity of openings did not deter him. After deciding to audition primarily for the opportunity to play with talented and accomplished high school musicians, Schnider needed to put together an audition DVD.
He assembled a trio consisting of Peter J. Tomlinson on piano, Gene Perla — a Miles Davis alumni — on bass and Peter O Brien on drums. The recording session took place last October. cAttending were James Browne and Martha Baratz, partners and owners of the club Sweet Rhythm in Manhattan. They are good friend’s of the prodigy’s parents.
Said Browne, “Throughout my years of wearing different professional hats as a radio broadcaster, artist manager, record producer, festival promoter and club owner, I have no doubt heard countless musical performances. I have come to recognize some elemental gifts that the truly transcendent artist possesses. Those gifts almost always involve touch and tone and the expert placement of notes, as well as an innate ability to color those notes and give them distinctive power.”
Schnider first played at Sweet Rhythm when he was in fifth grade and has made multiple appearances since.
“Gabe possesses those gifts and more,” Browne added. “His approach to sound and texture is soulful, his interaction with fellow musicians is considerate and interactive. His intellect, empathy and humor comes through in his music.”
It also impressed the Grammy foundation. He was picked as one of the lucky 28.
“The Grammy Jazz Ensembles program brings together exceptionally talented high school vocalists and instrumentalists from across the country to create a jazz choir, combo and band,” csaid Grammy Foundation and Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow in a release. “These young people play with their peers as well as with Grammy-nominated and Grammy-winning artists during a once-in-a-lifetime Grammy Week experience, and in many cases, members of the Ensembles go on to promising professional careers. This program truly underscores the Grammy Foundation’s mission to foster the next generation of music and its makers.”
Schnider’s dream week includes those Grammy-week concerts, culminating with the recording session at the legendary Hollywood Capital Records Studio designed by guitarist Les Paul. Like his peers, Schnider will be present at tonight’s awards ceremony.
“It was my dad who originally spawned my interest in music,” he said. “He’s from Switzerland and my mom is from Hawaii. I’ve learned how vast and infinite music is.
“When I play, there’s an uncomfortability to it that makes me feel like I’m on a great journey What I’ve learned at (Poughkeepsie Day School) is how to advocate for myself, to work with my teachers to balance my (academic) school and my (professional) workload. It means being flexible while maintaining school involvement.”
Schnider also said he finds that jazz has been his preferred area, but. to him, the barriers between musical genres is beginning to fade. As he is considering going to college, he has also learned how to play an impressive guitar by, among other things, listening to artists he admires.
“I really like (musician) Charlie Christian,” he said. “Les Paul is great. And Louis Armstrong, wow! I listen to everything. I like replicating the sound of a sax with a guitar. The guitar is so versatile. It can be a leading instrument, but it’s also fragile.”
When Schnider travels, as he just did to Los Angeles, he has a specially designed case he puts his instrument in to keep it safe. Unlike a bassist who buys an extra seat for his instrument, Schnider’s case allows his instrument to pass through all of the airport and plane rigors without damage.
One thing is for sure: Gabe Schnider at any age is going to keep making music people want to hear. (Freeman 1/31/10).


Extremely small business a diamond in the rough

Kingston jeweler carves niche in small space

KINGSTON — He welcomes walk-ins. But they never get too far. If he gets two customers at the same time, there's a traffic jam.

Barry Barash is the owner of what must be the smallest retail business in Uptown Kingston. Bar-Jan Jewelry's repair shop used to be a vestibule to the Wall Street office building that surrounds Barash's 37-square-foot business space. You'll find more room in an elevator.

Barash's business has been wedged into the space at 291 Wall St. for 10 years. Anyone else in any other business might have felt cramped, having to sit perched behind a chest-high jeweler's bench morning to night. Not Barash. He feels right at home.

His work, after all, demands a perspective that's about as up close as you can get without a medical license. And his business provides insight into how really small businesses are faring in this economy.


After all these years ...

He grew up in Rego Park, Queens, and went to Forest Hills High a few years after a pair of folkies who called themselves Tom and Jerry graduated from there. The folkies turned into Simon and Garfunkel; Barash turned into an art student at Pratt Institute, where he, like them, hoped to make a career of art. After all these years, he's still crazy about sculpture, but instead of stone and clay, his media are silver and gold.

"You gotta make a living," he said, without a touch of regret in his voice.

As an independent businessman, Barash has weathered every social and demographic storm. He came up through an apprenticeship in the city, where he worked for equipment instead of money.


A traveling man

He came north to Kerhonkson in the mid-'70s and found as much work as he could handle in servicing the dozens of independent jewelers' shops in the region. It took 12 years for him to burn out and resettle in downtown New Paltz and then at the Nevele and the former Granit hotels. It's been Kingston ever since for Barash.

No sooner does he announce that he's been at the location for 10 years than a friend named Marc Adin squeezes into the shop and reminds him he was one of his first customers.

Adin cheerfully offers to vouch for the quality of his friend's work.

"That's what I love about this town, about being here on Wall Street," Barash says after Adin departs. "People just come in and we talk. It's a terrific thing." (TH-Record 2/14/10)




Letter to the Editor:


Dear Editor:


It is with great sadness that the Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy notes the passing of Jane Pearson Hansen.  Mrs. Hansen, and her late husband, Clarence, were among the first supporters of the Conservancy when it was founded more than 20 years ago. 


In 1996, the Hansens donated a conservation easement on their beloved Feather Farm, protecting approximately 350 acres of farmland from development in perpetuity.  Upon making the donation, the Hansens stated, “This property is pretty much just as it was 200 years ago and we are interested in preserving it as it is.”  Feather Farm provides the centerpiece of the Rest Plaus Historic District in Marbletown, with panoramic vistas of the Shawangunks, cornfields, and woodlots.  The property has frontage on two creeks and supports a wide variety of wildlife, including rare and endangered species such as eagles, peregrine falcons, ospreys, and red shouldered hawks.


We are grateful to have known Jane Hansen.  We extend our condolences to her son, Harry, and his family and once again thank her for her gifts to our community; we remain honored to be custodians of her legacy, including her dedicated and vocal support of local conservation issues.




Walter Levy, President

Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy, Inc.







Featured Business

Tanya and Michael Kefer have opened Pizza Barn at 5125 Route 209 in Accord in the creek-side location formerly occupied by Xtra’s BBQ.  In addition to its dining area, Pizza Barn offers ten varieties of slice pizzas and a variety of subs, calzones, garlic knots and salads.  Pizza Barn’s hours are Monday through Thursday 11am to 8pm,   Friday 11am to 9pm and Sunday noon to 8pm.  To place orders or for more information, call 626-2300.




A letter from the Rochester Food Pantry


Dear Members of the Rochester Residents Association:


On behalf of the Rochester Food Pantry, I would like to thank you yet again for all of your efforts to support the Food Pantry.  Members of the Rochester Residents Association responded with donations ranging from $15.00 to $1,000, raising nearly $8,800.


In 2009, we served almost 30,000 meals to nearly 2,500 individuals, an increase of 17% over the previous year.  Fortunately, the rate of growth is diminishing (we had more than a 70% increase from 2008 to 2009) but the numbers aren’t going down.  Also fortunately, the community has been responsive and we have been able to continue to meet this increased demand and supplement the requirements of needy families and individuals in our community.


Thank you again, you have made our efforts a lot easier, as well as the lives of many in our community.




Marge Bonner

Correponding Secretary

Rochester Food Pantry


For information on the Food Pantry’s services, please call 626-7501.  Contributions can be mailed to:  PO Box 12, Accord, NY 12404







Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic

Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption, a 501c3 not-for-profit shelter, has announced a new, low-cost spay/neuter clinic.


The mobile clinic is part of the shelter’s Paws 2 Help program, which is designed to help families with food, supplies, low-cost spay/neuter and veterinary care for their pets, so that no one is forced to give up a pet for financial reasons.


The clinic will spay or neuter cats for $50, spay dogs for $150 and neuter dogs for $100. To make an appointment to have a dog spayed/neutered or to make a donation to help families, visit or call (845) 687-7619.





Cancer Services Program

The New York State Department of Health Cancer Services Program has ample funding available in most counties in New York State to provide vital cancer screening services! We need your help to recruit men and women who could benefit from cancer screenings.
Encourage uninsured men and women to get their age-appropriate cancer screening services. Spread this message to your organization, friends and family.
Women 40-64 years old * and men 50-64 years old who are uninsured or underinsured
(Our priority population for federal funding is women 50 and older)
* Women < 40 at high risk or with clinically significant findings for breast cancer and men and women < 40 at high risk for colorectal cancer may be eligible for services.
Mammograms & Clinical Breast Exams
Pap tests & Pelvic Exams
Colorectal Cancer Screenings
Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program for Eligible Men and Women
Call the Toll-Free Recruitment Line for a direct connection to a Cancer Services Program partnership in your community.
1-866-442-2262 (1-866-442-CANCER)





Rosendale Theatre to be Sold

The newly-formed not-for-profit Rosendale Theatre Collective (RTC) signed a binder to purchase the Rosendale Theatre from the Cacchio Family, which has owned and operated the theatre for decades.  The RTC is raising funds from the community and must raise $100,000 by March 15th for a downpayment; the balance of the $500,000 purchase price will be funded by a mortgage.  The group plans to upgrade technology and to continue to use the theatre for community events.  For more information on the group’s plans, visit or call 658-8513.



State Attorney General Opines on Councilwoman’s Eligibility to Serve

In response to a request from the Town of Rochester, the Office of the Attorney General reviewed facts surrounding allegations that Rochester Councilwoman Manuela Mihailescu vacated her office when she executed an affidavit certifying her residency in Rego Park, Queens submitted to federal court in connection with her personal bankruptcy.  Under New York Law, elected officials are required to reside in the jurisdictions in which they were elected during their terms of office.  The Attorney General determined that Michailescu was eligible to serve, however, that the final determination was for the Town Board to decide.  The Town Board has not indicated that it intends to pursue the matter further.



Bernardo elected to Board of Fire Commissioners

Accord resident Len Bernardo was elected to a five year term on the Accord Fire District’s Board of Fire Commissioners in a December 8th election.





Federal Broadband Stimulus Application Denied


Dear Town Supervisors and Broadband Supporters,


Regrettably, IITS, the vendor who submitted our broadband application received a rejection.  The reason given was that we failed to provide a 20% match (only a 10% match was required according to the Notice of Funding Availability!).


The silver lining has several parts:

1) we have accomplished mapping broadband in our entire county

2) only 3.5% of the total funding available under stimulus for broadband was allocated in Round 1(so there's more $)

3) almost all of the funding that was allocated was given to middle-mile fiber projects, not last-mile or wireless projects like ours

4) we are looking into the Round 2 Notice of Funding Availability to consider whether a new application is feasible (which will be due 3/15/10).


I will be in touch with you about our future plans.


If you are interested, materials on the program are available at

If you have any questions and want to discuss this with me further, please do not hesitate to call or email me.


I want to thank each and every one of you for the work you did towards this application.  If there are other people you know in your towns who worked on this or have interest please feel free to pass along my email.


March S. Gallagher, Esq.

Deputy Director of Planning for Economic Development

Ulster County Office of the County Executive

244 Fair Street

Kingston, NY 12401

phone: (845)-340-3528

fax: (845)-334-5724



Trailer Fire Displaces Ten Residents


KERHONKSON — Ten people — five adults and five children — were left homeless Wednesday following a fire that destroyed a trailer home where they lived on Braziel Heights Road in the Accord fire district.
Accord Fire Chief William Farrell said seven fire companies responded to the scene around 5:15 p.m.
Farrell, who did not know the names of the owners of the trailer, said fire investigators also responded to the scene, but were still not sure of the cause. He said they thought it might be a pump under the trailer.
He said the American Red Cross of Ulster County also responded and provided emergency aid to the five adults and five children living in the home. The Red Cross in a press statement said it provided temporary shelter and financial assistance for food, warm winter clothing and medical supplies.
According to the Farrell, the Accord Fire Department was assisted at the scene by the Napanoch, Kerhonkson, Stone Ridge, Kripplebush, High Falls and Olive fire departments. He said the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office also responded. (Freeman 1/22/10)





Rochester Budget

Town, County and Fire District Taxes are all due this week.  Here’s a recap of the Town’s Budget (the County and Fire District budget and tax levies are determined by the elected officials of those separate taxing entities).

ACCORD — Supervisor Carl Chipman is lauding town of Rochester employees for finding ways to trim departmental spending and consolidate services under the town’s $3.29 million budget for 2010.

The result is that town spending will be down by 1.7 percent next year and the property tax levy will fall by 3.4 percent.

The budget was adopted during a recent Town Board meeting, and Chipman noted in a follow-up press release that 2010 will be the second consecutive year with a tax levy lower than the year before.

But services offered by the town are not suffering, Chipman said.

“Services such as library participation were expanded, and certain projects such as improvements at the kennel were included” in the 2010 budget, he wrote.

Chipman said that “belt tightening in all departments and maintenance of conservatively estimated revenue streams” helped to keep the budget stable.

“We know that our residents and businesses are struggling,” he said. “I feel it is my responsibility to do what I can so that taxes do not add to their burden.”

The 2010 budget includes $65,792 for the town supervisor’s office, up 17.1 percent from 2009; $20,300 for the Town Board, up 2 percent; $86,876 for the town justices, up 1.7 percent; $79,323 for the town clerk’s office, up 2.8 percent; $88,109 for the assessor’s office, up 2.8 percent; and $74,473 for the highway superintendent’s office, up 0.8 percent.

Other expenses in the budget:

• Employee benefits, $558,832, up 1 percent from 2009.

• Highway department general repairs, $523,817, up 2.5 percent.

• Garbage and refuge removal, $223,775, up 7.1 percent.

• Highway department machinery, $178,141, up 1.4 percent.

• Snow removal, $159,246, up 2.8 percent.

• Building maintenance, $159,043, down 4.6 percent decrease.

• Safety inspections, $77,383, up 1.3 percent.

• Library, $25,000, up 100 percent.

• Elections, $22,048, up 9.4 percent.

• Cemetery, $5,000, down 50 percent.


(Freeman 11/27/09)