Serving the Towns of Wawarsing, Crawford, Mamakating, Rochester and Shawangunk, and everything in between
SJ FB page   
Gutter Gutter
Thanks For The Hanukkah Story!

Thank you that you put such an important article "Happy Hanukkah!" written by Chris Rowley on the front page of the Shawangunk Journal of December 6, 2012. It certainly brings to mind wonderful and happy memories of growing up in the 1950s in Ellenville, as I did. The truisms that "...the village of Ellenville was both a vibrant commercial center... and home to one of the region's largest Jewish communities" made my childhood especially rich and socially balanced. Most of my friends were Jewish and, to this day, that is the "extended family"' that I cherish and with which I still keep in touch. Growing up in Ellenville gave those of us Christian youths the proper introduction to living in a world which is a mosaic, creating a beautiful, harmonious social interaction among people which these days is sadly being eroded internationally.

I wish for all of the people in the world to realize "no man is an island" but a part of the whole which greater than the sum of its parts.

Thank you again for that article 'Happy Hanukkah!'

Dagmar Mielisch Yaddow

Ulster Legislators Need Better Leadership

Considering myself an "accidental" politician — way "too honest" according to a party leader — I thought that upon ending my four-year term as councilwoman, I'd be out of politics for good. I was honored with a plaque recognizing my dedicated service to the town of Rochester. During the same January 2012 ceremony, Terry Bernardo — freshly elected chairwoman of the county Legislature — received a specially created "Pride of Rochester" certificate.

A few days later, it was painful to watch our legislator from Rochester voting against the opinion expressed by Supervisor Carl Chipman. Later in the year, the Legislature's budget for 23 legislators dwarfed the previous one for 33 legislators. Promises were broken. Ethics conflicts abounded. Finding solutions to important problems took a back seat to unnecessary partisan bickering.

Soon enough I realized how hard it is to keep out of politics... Legislative District 21 needs a true public servant. Rochester and East Wawarsing deserve a legislator who listens and truly represents them, able to find the best solutions to our local issues. If anybody is tempted to dismiss my concerns because I ran for the same legislature seat as Terry Bernardo, here is proof of bi-partisan outrage:

William West, former chairman of the Legislature, wrote to Roger Rascoe, the Ulster County GOP chairman: "I would urge that as quickly as possible you meet with Ms. Terry Bernardo and ascertain whose team she is on. Is her goal the destruction of the party? In a short two months she alone has caused more damage to our Republican Party than any of the 30,000 county Republicans have ever done."

Jeanette Provenzano, the Democratic legislator, made her opinion public: "We waited over 30 years for a woman to be a chairperson. Bernardo has done a disservice to all women in Ulster County."

The reorganizational meeting for the coming legislative year will be held on Jan. 2. Bipartisan predictions were made on Ulster County blogs. From the left (Ulster County Cloakroom): "But when it comes to Bernardo being bounced from her leadership post, I'll always wager on timidity and entropy. In other words, it's far easier to chicken-out and do nothing than it is to do hard work." From the right (Liberty Coalition): "Bernardo gets reelected because none of the Republicans have enough backbone or spine to challenge her even though they are sealing their own fate for next year's elections."

Look at the bright side: Bernardo could recycle her 2012 inaugural speech.

Manuela Michailescu

Protecting Local Citizens, Not Incoming Businessmen

The following was read to the Wawarsing Town Board at its December 6 meeting...

Dear Supervisor and Town Board Members,

As you are aware, the 4x4 obstacle course has been under scrutiny by the Planning Board for a year now. Our group has been lobbying steadfastly against the project including submitting a petition against the proposal with 170 signatures to the Town. Clearly everyone wants new business and jobs to come to our Town. But this project creates no new jobs and brings in no new Business. It benefits only the Jeep drivers and at a huge cost to the Town and over 200 tax-paying neighbors.

Let's step back and take a look at the proposal as it has evolved. Although their overall business plan is thin, TCJ Enterprises has stated that participants will come largely from NYC and Westchester — approximately an hour and a half from the course. The course operates from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and participants are told to bring a bag lunch. The drivers would leave their homes at 7:30, arrive at the course by 9, and eat lunch in the course picnic area. When finished at 3, they would drive south home through Wurtsboro, possibly stopping at Danny's or Stewarts for some food or gas. They'll hop on Route 17 and be home in time for dinner with the family. Why would the participants drive out of their way to go to the Town of Wawarsing? So where is the business for the town?

Meanwhile the 200 families on Tempaloni, Otens, Anderson, Oak Ridge, and Route 209 will endure the noise from the course eight months out of the year. No matter how slowly you are driving, a Jeep will have to rev its V6 engine in order to climb over obstacles. That's the whole idea of the course. And the Jeeps, some hauled in by trucks on trailers, will be running past a lot more neighbors than just those adjacent to the site. And you know and I know that trespassers will be on that unsecured course during the week wreaking havoc on dirt bikes, ATV's and snow mobiles. Security cameras cannot identify helmeted, goggled teens. And who will enforce the course operation on the weekends? Is the town now forced to pay a code enforcement officer for weekend hours? We have a letter from an appraiser stating that property values will be adversely affected should the obstacle course be approved. This premise is hard to substantiate with empirical data. But common sense dictates that a rural home for sale next to an obstacle course will not be as valuable as a rural home in a pastoral setting.

Our group has been told that the project review is totally in the hands of the planning board. But our lawyer has advised us that the town board has the authority to amend the zoning code, even during the application process — grandfathering does not legally apply. And as our elected representatives we count on you to protect us, the existing citizens. It is totally appropriate, at this moment, to rewrite the code to state that a 4x4 Obstacle Course or School is an inappropriate use under the RU zoning. Sure the town is averse to being sued by either the applicant or the townspeople. But here's the bottom-line question: why would our town fathers champion two guys from Westchester over hundreds of their own constituents? This project provides no new jobs or new business to the Town of Wawarsing.

Please amend the zoning code to exclude this use.

Catherine Abate

Please Support The Pine Bush Library

Residing within each of us is the desire to do good and to leave a legacy we can be proud of. One way to accomplish this is to share with those in need. At this time of the year, we customarily reflect upon the opportunities to do so. There are many people and organizations in need of our support as Hurricane Sandy has proven. There are organizations here, in our area, that cannot survive without broad community support. One of these is the Pine Bush Area Public Library. It operates on one of the lowest budgets of all the libraries in the Hudson Valley, yet it serves thousands of enthusiastic patrons, many of whom are children learning the pleasure of reading books. The Pine Bush Area Library provides a broad array of services at a low cost. It needs your help if it is to continue to grow and serve the community and its patrons. Please give the library a gift and pay it a visit. You might enjoy spending time in the library's new Community Center reading a book or participating in one of the library's many programs. Check the website at for a list of activities available and stop by. You will be happy that you did.

Support the library by sending a check, payable to the Pine Bush Area Public Library, to 227 Maple Avenue, Pine Bush, NY 12566. Thank you for your help.

Peter R. Eriksen
Pine Bush

Remembering The Vegetarian Hotel With A Cookbook...

I was in Ellenville Monday and read Chris Rowley's article on fruits and whole grains in schools for lunch. When I was going to school in the '30s I would make the stove to keep warm and make some hot chocolate and a sandwich made of whole grain bread. We only had whole grain bread. The only time I saw white bread was when I went to visit my aunt in Brooklyn. Sometimes I would not eat breakfast as I was just not hungry. I would just make a sandwich of whole grain bread. Getting back to the article you wrote, it could have been written by my parents.

I am a lifelong resident of Woodridge and I have just written a vegetarian cookbook incorporating recipes from the Vegetarian Hotel, an establishment owned and operated by my family for more than seventy years.

My parents came to Sullivan County from Brooklyn, having emigrated from Russia several years earlier. They decided to leave Brooklyn after my mother's place of business, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, burned to the ground, killing scores of immigrant women who toiled in that sweat shop. Fortunately my mother did not go to work that fateful dat. She and my father ventured northwest and settled in Woodridge, NY. They purchased a small house without heat or running water on 5.5 acres of land that had a large garden and a milking cow. For them it was Eden.

As their land was not terribly conducive to gardening, they decided to explore the hospitality industry and began renting rooms and serving meals, creating a rooming house/hotel-type establishment. My mother was a wonderful cook and neither she, or my father, believed in killing animals for food and so the Vegetarian Hotel was born. By the 1940's the hotel had blossomed — 100 modern hotel rooms on more than 100 acres of beautiful Catskill country and three sumptuous, healthful vegetarian meals daily. As I indicated, I have compiled a book of our recipes in a book entitled, "The Vegetarian Hotel Cookbook". It is a wonderful tribute to my family, our lifestyle and our commitment to healthful living.

Verb Konviser

Gutter Gutter