Letters (June 2-9)

mail-letter-sqTip of the Lyme iceberg

The mystery, wonder, and power of Mother Nature. Think about this. The bite from an infected tick the size of a poppy seed maims, debilitates and can eventually kill a two hundred pound man. In a sense, a modern day David and Goliath; this is Lyme Disease.

When I first became aware of Lyme Disease, I thought it was a simple matter of a tick bite, a rash, and taking some antibiotics. Little did I realize how debilitating and insidious Lyme Disease is until I saw my neighbor Doreen Peone having to be assisted by two people to cross the street. Doreen shared with me all of the numerous tests, treatments, and different doctors that she had to endure to finally be diagnosed with Lyme.

After hearing her story and meeting others who also had horrific experiences with Lyme Disease, I knew that as Chairman of the Ulster County Legislative Standing Committee on Health and Personnel while in the Legislature, I needed to take proactive steps to address this serious disease. I could not ignore the fact that the number of reported cases of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in Ulster County and in New York State had increased significantly. So, in March of 2012 I introduced Resolution #55 to create the Ulster County Lyme Disease Advisory Committee with the expectation that the Advisory Committee would look at tall the aspects of Lyme and provide pragmatic recommendations to the Ulster County Legislature.


On March 20, 2012, the Ulster County Legislature passed Resolution #55 and the Ulster County Lyme disease Advisory Committee started meeting shortly thereafter. The Advisory Committee considered the prevention, the diagnosis, and the treatment of Lyme Disease and advise accordingly. The committee engaged in meetings, informational gatherings, and treatment of Lyme Disease while hearing from members of our county afflicted with the disease.

I was very proud of what the Ulster County Lyme Disease Advisory committee was able to accomplish in a short time but it is only the tip of the iceberg. There is much more to be done and I had hoped to hear of any progress as we enter this dangerous season. Thus, I hope that this will be the beginning of Ulster County’s continuous endeavor to contend with Lyme disease.

Robert Aiello, Former Legislator, District 2



Support the compromise

As Ulster County officials review bids for future tourism rail operations and plan for trail construction in the Ulster & Delaware Corridor, we enter a new phase of shared access to this valuable public asset.

As we go forward, several principles should govern both rail and trail activities: 1) the entire corridor should be preserved, restored and used well; 2) accountability is paramount in terms of finances, safety, and environmental stewardship — neither trail activities nor tourism rail activities should be exempted from standards that are designed to protect the health and well-being of Ulster County residents; 3) aspirations are not the same as resources, capacity, and ability; 4) leadership is needed from both rail operators and trail organizations to insure that restoration and use of the corridor is cooperative and to maximize the complementary benefits of a valuable rail heritage and a unique multi-purpose trail and urban linear park; and 5) all activities must preserve the ecological integrity of the corridor and the lands and waters it adjoins, while promoting other goals such as health, transportation, recreation, and economic benefit.

In 2015, after ten years of review, including a year and a half of extensive legislative investigation and debate, professional planners with expertise in both trail and in rail uses helped forge a hard-wrought compromise that is endorsed by the Catskill Mountain Railroad, the Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail, Ulster County’s Executive, Mike Hein, and the Ulster County Legislature. Having seen the necessity and the merit in establishing a new era of shared use in the corridor, what we make of this opportunity, including its ultimate success, is now up to us. Both rail and trail projects will clearly thrive best the more deeply and fully we embrace emerging prospects for synergy and collaboration.

Kathy Nolan, Kevin Smith
Co-Chairs, Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail


Now’s the time for feedback

The Ulster County Legislature has approved $395,000 for engineering design services for an 11.5-mile trail across DEP land. The current plan calls for scrapping the intact 1911 U&D rails. New York State has already designated about six miles of this planned trail as eligible for the Register of Historic Places. Eligibility gives the same protection as being listed on the Register.

We received correspondence from FEMA about seven projects to return the U&D railbed to its pre-Hurricane Irene condition. The FEMA historic preservation specialist wrote, “The route of the Ulster and Delaware Railroad is significant in New YorkState’s transportation and as such is, in our opinion, eligible for National Historic listing under Criterion A. Under Criterion C we recommend that it is eligible as part of a transportation system … which … represents a significant and distinguishable entity.”

The Citizen’s Guide to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act encourages public vigilance about historic preservation, saying, “… The views of the public should be solicited and considered throughout the process … with the opportunity to influence how projects with federal involvement affect historic properties.” All the FEMA projects from Shokan toPhoenicia are within the eligible historic area.

When will the county solicit and consider the public’s views on the historic significance of the U&D rail corridor? It should be right now while there’s still time for meaningful public input.

Meg Carey
Tobe Carey



Mind-shaping media

In a March New York Times article “Bernie Sanders Had to Overcome Media Consensus Around Hillary Clinton,” Adam H. Johnson of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting wrote: “Who is and isn’t a ‘serious’ candidate in our modern public relations-driven democracy is largely tautological. Whoever the news media say is important early on typically becomes the most important …. This dynamic helped create the artificial consensus around Hillary Clinton early on. A 2015 tally shows Sanders receiving a total of 20 minutes of coverage, Clinton’s 121 minutes and Trump’s 327.”

These figures have since continued in this same warped style. Trump has dominated news coverage, Google searches, social media and virtually every other measure of attention. We hardly need to ask why. We know why.

A similar process goes for our media’s disproportionate, selective coverage on Israel-Palestine. Who determines “all the news that’s fit to print?”  What’s missing from the Times stories?  An amazing film put out by the Media Education Foundation, “The Occupation of the American Mind,” narrated by Roger Waters, features leading observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. media culture and critically  examines the shaping of our media coverage to determine public opinion on this crucial subject.

You can see the film this Friday, June 3, 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, Kingston and make up your mind for yourselves. Not the media’s mind. Your own!

Jane Toby


Shelter Thanks

I would like to thank everyone who made the Yard Sale held at the Saugerties Animal Shelter a huge success. Jeanne and Bruce Fellows and Carol Stahl did a wonderful job organizing the event and spending endless hours sorting, setting up and breaking down, fielding phone calls and recruiting volunteers. Betty Decker spent many hours baking for our bake sale and then manning the bake tables. Thanks to all who also donated bake goods to sell. Ken Post of the Animal Emergency Fund came to lend his support as well.

Many Volunteers came to help, some working the entire day. Diane Snow ( a big supporter of the shelter) Clayton Pickard, Ann Levine, Elizabeth McClain and her Mom, and many more are among those volunteers. I would also like to thank the Blue Kats organization for coming to help set up and break down and for lending us their trailer full of tables and chairs.

Of course we could not forget to thank the Guys at the transfer station Joe, Burt and Mark for all their help and support and allowing to use their space to store things before the sale and the space to have the sale in the first place and  the staff at the shelter for being on hand to show off all the animals.
Since spring is when “Kitten season” starts, all the money from this sale will go to help support the cats and kittens at the shelter.

Elly Monfett
Shelter Manager