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December 15, 2017
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my view

The River Reporter may print submissions of up to 600 words as My Views on its editorial pages. They must be signed and include the correspondent’s phone number. My Views are printed on an as-space-permits basis only; we recommend that readers who want to be sure that their views are represented submit a 300-word letter. No more than one My View from any one author will be printed in any three-month period. The deadline is 1 p.m. on Monday.

From the Publisher

With Christmas in the stores, and a winter landscape all around, it’s tempting to skip over Thanksgiving and move straight into December and a different holiday crush. With the unfolding drama of the reorganization of the United States government and heartfelt differences between family members on both sides of the political spectrum, it almost feels like self care to ignore the annual celebration of that first shared meal between different peoples on these shores.  Read more

Are you privileged?

I woke up yesterday with a heavy heart, full of deep sadness and fear. My feelings were so strong that it made me feel physically sick. I heard the voices of many loved ones who were also feeling overcome with fear and sadness. People feel dehumanized, people feel devalued, people feel scared, people are literally fearing for their lives and future. This is a reality for many people. If you do not feel any of these feelings, consider yourself privileged  Read more

Honoring veterans

Just recently a “For Sale” sign appeared on the Veterans Memorial Hall at Liberty and North streets in Monticello. Perhaps this is a good thing in that veterans have fewer needs today for such a building. Perhaps it is a sad thing that veterans are just not being remembered enough for their contribution to keeping America free.  Read more

Our Country Has Been Hit by the Karma Bus

Hillary is there
in the pillory (it seems)
with Trump fast
up her rump (by any means possible) but he’ll get his...

No matter who’ll be coming
to get in, this impossible election being what it is,
is hard to predict... never mind how it is bound
to impact on all of us; alas! and a lack!
Fact is, given each with their own chosen staff out
to stuff it up for the other, produces The Equal
of the image of Bill’s cigar for playing
(like an erection to wit) with Monica
and her country’s honor...

It’s down rather close now to the wire
and no matter what  Read more

America’s last great threat

Fifty-four years ago, America was at the threshold of nuclear war. Cuba was armed with Russian nuclear missiles pointed at America. In October 1962, I was a United States Marine stationed on Boca Chica Island in the Key West Chain, 90 miles from the Cuban/Russian missiles. That was America’s last great threat. I was a patriot then, and at 75 years old I see an even greater threat to our beloved country and our revered way of life.  Read more

On second thought: Bullies r us

Bully for the Sullivan County Human Rights Commission and Monticello schools, who have committed to an all-out assault on bullying in our schools. While it remains to be seen what impact this new approach will actually have, it is clear that to succeed, we will need to change our adult-created culture of bullying.  Read more

A silly lobster story

It was a silly idea. Shoprite was holding a live lobster sale: $7.99 a pound, but $5.99 with your Shoprite card. Growing up in city, I loved lobster, but only broiled or steamed in an ocean-side seafood restaurant—or far more frequently, in a Chinese restaurant, Cantonese style, which I prefer even to those on holiday, or special family occasions, after scaring the kids, cooking the lobster on the outdoor barbeque, or gleefully dropping the lobster(s) in a big pot of boiling water.  Read more

Gadfly: Domain of the gods

At the turn of the 20th century, Albert Einstein, standing on the shoulders of Galileo and Newton, told of the enormous energy stored in the nucleus of the atom. Soon enough, inventive minds, in government employ, worked out the “how” of Einstein’s theory, and we had Atoms for Peace (and War). The door to the gods’ chamber of secrets was opened a large crack.  Read more

Remembering 9/11

[On the one-year anniversary of 9/11, The River Reporter printed a section titled “Release and Recovery” to mark the occasion. As editor Laurie Stuart wrote at the time, the idea was loosely based on a dance concept created by Doris Humphrey, who “was interested in the fundamental importance of tension and relaxation in the body... Unlike [Martha] Graham, who stressed the tension in the cycle, Humphrey located the height or recovery as the focal point of her dances.” For the section, readers were invited to send in their writings as part of the 9/11 tribute.  Read more

Be the river you are

We stare in amazement at the way you wrap yourself so tightly around the steep cliffs and then gradually turn and disappear into the distance… leaving only a glimmer of light. Your shadow on the hill and the sunlight on your surface draw us closer, draw us toward your beauty, and beckon our spirits to follow… to discover more.  Read more

Malick: end the fossil-fuel era, pass the Health Act

My name is Pramilla Malick. I’m a candidate for New York State Senate from the 42nd district, which includes all of Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange and Ulster counties. I’m not a politician; I’m a homemaker and a mother of four.  Read more

The Pond Eddy bridge to nowhere

It was a beautiful Sunday morning, so I decided to take a trip to see for myself if what I had been hearing about the latest construction on the Delaware River was true. I remembered that over the years, the Delaware has been so carefully guarded by an assorted group of government bodies (UDC, NPS), by volunteers (Delaware Riverkeepers) and primarily by local residents and those who have lived here for years. Now, however, this careful guardianship seems to have given way to a misguided effort to build a bridge across its width at Pond Eddy.  Read more

Solarize Sullivan

A couple of weeks ago at the Catskill Brewery in Livingston Manor, the new “Solarize Sullivan” campaign was launched to make it easier and more affordable for homeowners and businesses to install solar panels. I’m very pleased and proud to be part of this innovative, citizen-led effort as a way to help our community and our planet.  Read more

‘Kairos,’ space for listening

The Sullivan County Human Rights Commission, Dialogue to Change initiative has sparked an action plan to cut bureaucratic red tape by creating a direct line of communication between community and government. This will be achieved by creating regularly recurring, two-hour-long gatherings every month, in a public space such as a firehouse, church or community center, for people to convene, share and listen to one another.  Read more

The foxes guarding the henhouse

Do you find it interesting that the recent shootings that took place in Louisiana and Minnesota immediately sparked violent and widespread protests in Texas and New York? The fact is that Texas leads the nation in wrongful convictions, followed by New York. They are not wrongful convictions; they are unlawful convictions. The residents of these states suffer the most from injustice. Why and how does this happen?  Read more

Somebody in DC notes the plight of U.S. dairy farmers

On Friday, July 15, U.S. Senator for New York Kirsten Gillibrand released a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack. Therein, Sen. Gillibrand strongly advocated that USDA refund the unused portion of the approximately $73,000,000 collected from the U.S. dairy farmers that participated in USDA’s Dairy Margin Protection Program (DMPP) for the 2015 calendar year. The DMPP was initiated in the 2014 Farm Bill; it was supposed to serve as an improved milk-price safety net for U.S. dairy farmers. To date, even for a government program, it has been wildly unsuccessful.  Read more

Open letter on the visitors’ center

[The below letter was sent to Tusten Town Supervisor Carol Wingert.]

This letter concerns the approximate $535,000 of funds, long thought gone, currently in the hands of the DOT and earmarked for a visitors’ center in the Upper Delaware River Valley.  Read more

Let’s hear it for Narrowsburg’s beauty queens (and kings)!

If you haven’t noticed, Narrowsburg gets prettier and prettier every year. That’s not by chance. There’s a lot of hard work and coordination behind this beauty secret.

Last week, judges from America in Bloom ( visited Narrowsburg to decide how our little hamlet meets their mission to spotlight “communities across the country as welcoming and vibrant places to live, work, and play—benefiting from colorful plants and trees.” That certainly describes Narrowsburg today.

The town has a real chance to win national recognition.  Read more

Winning SEEDS Sustainability Contest essay

[SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support) recently held an essay scholarship competition for local students, on the theme, “If you were an environmental adviser to the President, what would you recommend to promote sustainable energy in rural communities in the U.S.? What can northeastern PA residents do now to live more sustainably?” Below are excerpts from the winning essay, which we run without copy editing.]  Read more

Growing Older Together: A community initiative

In 2012, 43.1 million people age 65 and over lived in the United States, accounting for 14% of the total population. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the population aged 85 years old and over could grow to 18.7 million by 2050.

That percentage is even higher in our region. According to the 2010 census, in Wayne County, PA, 20.1% of the population is 65 years of age or older, and in neighboring Sullivan County, NY, 16.2% are 65 and older.  Read more

To the person or persons who broke into a thrift shop

Sometime between Tuesday, June 14 at 5:15 p.m. and Wednesday, June 15 at 9:45 a.m., someone thought they needed to break into the Calling All Angels Thrift Shoppe in Milford, PA. This shop is operated by Calling All Angels Mission, a nonprofit staffed mostly by volunteers, and is in the business of helping those in our community in need.  Read more

Government failing on Millennium

Six months ago, Millennium Pipeline announced its plans to put a compressor station on a property they acquired from the Eldred Preserve. Citizens immediately and passionately spoke up and, shortly thereafter, the towns of Highland, Tusten, Bethel, Lumberland and Mamakating passed resolutions in opposition. This type of facility was already forbidden by local law. Should a private corporation be able to usurp our laws and force a toxin-emitting facility onto our community?  Read more

Sneaky business

I am writing about the state of the Sullivan County government. Eight years ago, and for a number of years afterward, I expressed my dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency and open government surrounding the jail project. At the time there was a lot of shiftiness with regards to the process. After I and others complained, which was reported in the newspapers, the government began giving better notice of meetings and improved in many respects.  Read more

Our fellow Americans

I was fortunate enough to attend a barbeque on Sunday, May 15 at Islamberg, a community just upriver from us near Hancock, NY. The barbeque was a wonderful event brought about by unfortunate circumstances. A group called ABUAJ (American Bikers United Against Jihad) planned a ride to protest against the Muslims living at Islamberg in the woods near Hancock.  Read more

Saving the world

It has been agreed by most all scientists (at least, those not in the pay of Exxon-Mobil or the Koch brothers) that human activity has heated planet Earth wantonly by increasing the greenhouse gases in its atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are the two worst culprits. They are produced principally by burning coal for electric power plants, drilling for gas and oil, and using gasoline and diesel fuel for cars, trucks, airplanes and ships. But not far behind on the short list of worst offenders are war and the military preparations for war.  Read more

A guideline for purchasing within Sullivan

I’m writing as a small business owner and taxpayer in Sullivan County, looking to convey an idea that might make a change in the way business is done by our school districts, government offices, or any organization supported by taxpayer dollars that occasionally buys goods and services from a variety of outside vendors.  Read more

Protesting high-stakes testing

Recently parents and teachers across New York State kicked off another year of protest against high-stakes testing.

I support them.  Read more

Who can best fill the ECSD board seat?

For the last couple of years, the Eldred Central School District (ECSD) has undergone some serious changes relative to the prosperous 2000s. Many decisions have been made recently by the ECSD Board of Education that have directly—and indirectly—led to problems such as rapidly declining enrollment, deficits, and the loss of student and faculty pride. With all of these issues, it is no surprise that many ambitious parents have stepped up to run for the board of education seat this upcoming May 17.  Read more

New Jersey says “Hell no” to the Upper Delaware

Releases of cold water from the three New York City dams on the headwaters of the Delaware virtually dictate the conditions of the ecology of the upper river. Over the past five years, a consortium of conservation organizations has repeatedly petitioned the parties to the 1954 Supreme Court decree (the Decree Parties), who govern river flows, to include in their Flexible Flow Management Plan (FFMP), two simple science-based modifications that would significantly enhance the aquatic environment at no risk to the other river stakeholders.  Read more

Make addiction recovery a priority in New York State

In early February I joined several hundred recovery advocates to meet with lawmakers in Albany. We told our stories of an addiction epidemic that is killing 362 people daily in our communities, stories of struggle, recurrence of the disease, lack of services, incarceration, and unspeakable loss. At the time I wrote about some of these stories on Medium (see  Read more

Let’s wean ourselves off the grid-iron

Now that even the National Football League’s spokesperson has publicly affirmed the link between the violence of football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)—a very serious brain injury—it is truly time for parents to reconsider allowing their children to play tackle football.  Read more

PA budget-process reform proposal

A serious, nasty, and debilitating budget deadlock that boils over into a second calendar year should be the catalyst for fundamental reforms of the state budget process. People argue about everything these days, but that assertion is hard to refute.

The entrenched political, philosophical, and regional differences found across Pennsylvania mean the state budget process is unlikely to ever be straightforward and harmonious. Throw in negative economic and fiscal factors and the odds are against a healthy budget surplus easing the discord soon.... *  Read more

Marino embraces Trump, embarrasses district

Calling it a “life-changing moment” akin to the adoption of his children, Congressman Tom Marino announced his endorsement of Donald Trump on Monday—one day after the presidential candidate refused to denounce the KKK during an interview on national television. It’s the latest embarrassing headline Marino brings back to his district.  Read more

The costs of neglecting voter fraud

Your January 27 editorial about voter fraud in Sullivan County, and especially in recent elections in Bloomingburg, is commendable. Voting is fundamental to our democracy. It is how we choose the people we trust to run our government and to make the often difficult decisions that are needed to navigate the challenges that our communities face. For this reason, it is crucial to our democracy that citizens not only have, but believe they have, fair and honest elections. Citizens who lose faith in the integrity of elections don’t vote.  Read more

Mammals threatened by climate change

Many Pennsylvanians remain blissfully unaware that every decade for the past 40 years has been warmer than the previous decade. And 2015 was the hottest year since recorded weather history began.

So it’s no coincidence that almost every day we witness vivid news reports about destructive and costly hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, forest fires and droughts here in the United States and around the globe.  Read more

Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do

The argument against raising the minimum wage (in a letter to the editor on page 6 of the January 28 River Reporter) is so fraught with false presumptions that it is hard to know where to start in refuting them. The writer, whom I venture to say has never had to support himself or find employment, brands all people working in low-wage jobs as generally uneducated and unskilled, and deserving no better than the low pay they get.  Read more

Cuomo’s distorted view of the dairy industry

“We began in 2011 with our partnership to stimulate dairy production through our Greek yogurt industry expansion and it has worked.... our dairy industry is booming because the yogurt companies are consuming all the milk we’re producing. It has been a great victory and an important lesson, and besides having some cows suffering sore udders, it has been a great, great success.”

So said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2016 State of the State address.  Read more

Be wary of solar farm leases

The solar revolution has arrived in Sullivan County in a blizzard of paper. In recent weeks thousands of Sullivan County landowners have received solicitations from a company called Cypress Creek, which is seeking to lease land for solar farms. Some landowners contacted the company and received boilerplate leases that offer $1,000 an acre a year for leased land. On the face of it, this might sound like a good deal—but in this instance, the devil is truly in the details.  Read more

A celebration of the life of Jack Yelle

On December 17, 2015, the community of Roscoe lost one of its most beloved friends: Jack Yelle.

Jack was a family man, a friend, watercolor artist, teacher, veteran, community volunteer, chess player, camper, nature enthusiast, fly fisherman, generous, a gentleman—and the list continues... well in one word, Jack was extraordinary. A man who went above and beyond, a man who would be the first to say thank you, give praise, compliment, ask about your loved ones, and the first to ask how he could help with anything going on in the community.  Read more

Why more people need to be involved with Eldred’s Board of Education

As an involved student and Eldred community member, I am interested in the impact of the community on the actions of our board of education. This interest has led me to do extensive research, using the meeting minutes for the last five years. The data suggest that when there is more community participation, a more democratic and efficient process takes place.  Read more