Letters – 3/22 to 3/28

The Stella Awards

And the nominations in the Town of Woodstock are…The envelope please.

Howard Harris



Larger Buffer For Vernal Pool

I would like to thank Keith Anderson for keeping the focus on one of the Comeau’s crown jewels, the well known year-around Vernal Pool that abuts the soccer field. I took a few brief German minutes to locate a trove of information on the New York State Forest Owner’s Association website www.nyfoa.org. As the accompanying information makes clear, Woodstock could be, and in my opinion should be, doing much more to protect its identified Vernal Pool. And there may be other pools on that western end of the Comeau that are relatively short lived, but are still just as critical to wildlife habitat.

The “nyfoa” site recommends maintaining natural groundcover and shade up to 300 feet from the pool. My requesting a mere 100 foot buffer may be undercutting what is truly needed and for that I apologize. The current configuration has the soccer field within 25 feet of the vernal pool (my own measurements). Perhaps the town should, as is suggested, “enlist the services of a NYDEC Cooperating Consulting Forester” before closing the book on, and dooming this rare and important feature of the Comeau. And, while I totally support soccer (my father started the first soccer team at Columbia University in the 1930’s) maybe the league should suspend their play on the West end of the Comeau while the critical breeding season is happening. And as the FOA points out, construction of the new expanded soccer field near the vernal pool should clearly wait until it is dry (summer) or frozen (winter).


Stewardship Guidelines for Vernal Pools (from the nyfoa.org website.)

• Locate and identify the pools on your property and in your town.

• Avoid creating ruts and skid roads that collect or change the flow of water. Through runoff, these disturbances can influence the timing of wet/dry periods in a vernal pool, altering the species that can breed there.

• Don’t run heavy machinery through vernal pools wet or dry, to avoid changing the pool’s ability to hold water.

• Avoid clearcuts in or around vernal pools. Removing the shade of the tree canopy can heat up the air, soil, and water in the pool and change the period of time that water remains in the pool.

• Retain ground cover in upland areas within 300 feet of a pool, and in corridors between vernal pools, (logs, surface stones, deep leaf litter) as cover for amphibians, and maintain a moist environment on the woodland floor by retaining patches of cover shade.

• Enlist the services of a NYSDEC Cooperating Consulting Forester before conducting a timber harvest on your property.

• Follow timber harvesting Best Management Practices, (BMPs), and harvest timber near vernal pools only when the soils are either frozen (winter) or very dry (summer).

Michael Veitch

Munich, Germany


Bravo, Tad!

Tad Wise’s “Letter from Venice” in the March 8 issue was absolutely brilliant. His prose could appear in The New Yorker or other nationally acclaimed publications. How lucky we are to have him in Woodstock.

Paula Silbey

Pai, Thailand


A Great Friend Missed…

Cassia, you were a great friend to the Woodstock Library as well as a committed Library Board Trustee. You will be greatly missed.

I hear that your relationship with the Library Board started when you began sitting in on meetings, which were at the time, factious and argumentative. I was told that you were the only non -board member present and that you would come in your flowing purple clothes and sit with your eyes closed as arguments swirled around the room. One by one, those members resigned from the board. We like to think it was your soothing influence that contributed to the shift to a more agreeable and productive board.

Recently, I know you were very excited about the acquisition of the old Laundromat for use as a Library Annex. I enjoyed working with you on this project for the short time we had together. I appreciate your unorthodox approach to fundraising and your suggestion that we get Bob Dylan to contribute. We are going to work on it Cassia. In your last conversations with Amy, your first question was always, “How is the campaign going?” You then would say, “I feel awful that I can’t help with the campaign.” Cassia, we know you are still working with us, from the other side. With gratitude still…

Kim Alderman



Remember Turnau Opera Players?

This September, the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild and the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice plan to present a concert in honor of the Turnau Opera Players, who were in residence in the Byrdcliffe Theatre in the 1950s and 1960s. Right now, we are still simply trying to assemble a list of the operas the company performed, in order to come up with our own program, and would appreciate any information anyone can provide us about performances they remember. In addition, if you have any reminiscences that might enhance our program notes or memorabilia you might be willing to lend to an accompanying exhibit, would you please contact Erica Obey at 212-567-0688 (weekdays) or 845-679-4946 (weekends) or at erica.obey@verizon.net. I’d be delighted to offer you a cup of tea or coffee in exchange for your memories.

Erica Obey



For more letters, see print edition.