I’ve written to the minority leader of the Ulster County Legislature, with copies to all of the Legislators, asking for information regarding how much land in the Ulster & Delaware corridor is actually owned by Ulster County and how much is private property with railroad easements. I have not received one response. Is this because no legislator knows the answer?
The phrase “county-owned U&D corridor” is used frequently, perhaps inaccurately, in written and spoken comments. What do we know about ownership of properties along the entire 38-mile corridor? This is basic information needed for any long-term planning about the future use of this historic railroad corridor.
The June 15, 1911, Agreement between the City of New York and the Ulster and Delaware Railroad Company states in Section 4: “The City agrees to, and hereby does give, grant, and convey to the Railroad Company, without expense, a perpetual and exclusive easement for railroad purposes in a strip of land acquired for this purpose … ” across its land.
It’s my understanding that this perpetual easement is still in effect. Therefore, unless and until Ulster County abandons its right to the “perpetual and exclusive easement,” the New York City Department of Environmental Protection cannot unilaterally claim that a train will not be allowed on the corridor that runs along the Ashokan Reservoir. Are the people of Ulster County willing to give up such a valuable easement at the end of the Catskill Mountain Railroad’s lease? Would the DEP grant a perpetual easement for a trail, or would they only offer a short-term agreement?
The DEP’s priority is to maintain safe drinking water for the 8.4 million people in New York City and one million residents in the Hudson Valley and Catskills. Would the DEP change its mind about a trail across its land if the hikers and cyclists should decide to leave the trail to enjoy a picnic on the shore of the beautiful Ashokan Reservoir? What if on a hot day people decide to jump into the clear waters for a refreshing dip, perhaps with their dogs as well?
Now, as reported in the Freeman, Commissioner Emily Lloyd states the DEP requires an increased police presence to secure the water supply “…as environmental and criminal threats become more complex.” Would the DEP eventually consider the number of trail users to pose a danger to the security of the water supply? And, if so, will they decide to restrict or forbid the use of the corridor by hikers and cyclists or would they require proof of identification and permits?
I support the intent of Res.155, “Creating the Ulster & Delaware Corridor Advisory Committee.” It has been described as a “deep drill down” and “a fact-finding mission”. The committee’s purpose would be to work collaboratively and gather, study, and analyze all data, as well as conduct additional research. Only then would the committee have essential information to issue a report on the best long-term use of the U&D Corridor going forward.
Meg Carey, Glenford
An objective look at alcoholism
Anyone interested in alcohol recovery should read the article featured in the April 2015 edition of The Atlantic, easily found on the Internet. It is a balanced, well documented appraisal of the current recovery industry and includes alternatives to popular courses of treatment.
Like many, I’ve questioned why a hereditary bio-chemical disease has been treated with faith healing (Alcoholics Anonymous) and not medicine. Gabrielle Glaser, author of the article, chronicles the history of alcohol in America, through prohibition, to now in which a non-professional, peer support organization (AA) is considered the gold standard despite a lack of scientific evidence.
Now that the Affordable Care Act, which mandates payment for alcohol and drug treatment is in effect, lawmakers and taxpayers may realize the alcoholism industry spends money on an approach with a meager success rate. This approach also violates our constitutional separation of church and state.
Many hospitals and alcohol rehabs receive state funding as well as payments from Medicaid and Medicare. Twelve percent of AA members are mandated by the courts despite its reliance on a Christian conception of “god.” AA doctrine has never updated itself to include a secular framework.
AA with its proselytizing, evangelical style evolved in the middle 1930s before any alternatives were viable. Being a predominantly Christian country few professionals felt they could question AA and the “decision” by default of their institutions to neglect science. No other fatal disease employs such an antiquated treatment. Cancer, heart disease, and others have breakthroughs frequently.
Relying on a religiously conceived support system to treat a biological disease has been a quagmire, if not stalemate, for over 80 years. One hopes in the interest of suffering and recovering individuals (and taxpayer dollars), professionals will take an objective look at the current literature.
Sharon Stonekey, Woodstock
New plan, new vote
The Kingston schools superintendent explains the problems encountered without yet a shovel in the ground in the construction of the new High School at a cost of $137.5 million as “bumps in the road” and “potholes along the way” and “no need to think about a revote now.” I disagree.