2017-11-08 / Mailbag

Reader loves Andes Hotel

To the Editor:

Thank you for making me aware of the Andes Hotel dining room through your articles about area restaurants, and your advertising. I moved to the Catskills this summer and have been making the rounds of eateries in Ulster and Delaware Counties. The Andes Hotel dining room gets the blue ribbon so far! The menu has a plentiful array of standards and "different" appetizers and entrees; delicious and visually appealing dishes; generous portions; and acceptable prices. The dining room is comfortable -- neither stuffy nor raucous, with friendly service. We especially enjoyed the strip steak, smoked trout, shrimp & chicken gumbo, hot fudge sundae and key lime tart. Expectations exceeded by each! Well worth the drive from Big Indian, and we intend to return to enjoy more of the menu. I would not have known about the Andes Hotel dining room without the Catskill Mountain News.

Dick Bowden,
Big Indian

Volunteers needed for holiday meal

To the Editor:

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner is coming together, but we need people who are willing to help make it happen. We need people who are willing to bake desserts, serve, clean up or help in whatever capacity they can. The goal is to offer a free Thanksgiving meal to people in the greater Margaretville area on Thanksgiving Day.

Volunteers, dessert makers and dinner reservations should be made by contacting Iris Mead at 845 586-4689.

Dinner reservations are not needed, but they are helpful for our planning.

We are also asking for donations from our community to help fund the meal. In the past we have had generous donors, especially Freshtown, who provided the funds needed to pay for the food supplies, and we are asking for that same spirit of generosity to do it again this year. The meal preparation and serving is done by volunteers, and we hope that others are willing to express their thanks through donations. Excess funds are given to the Community Pantry.

Donations can be sent: Interfaith Council, P.O. Box 702, Margaretville, NY 12455.

For more information, please contact Rev. Rich Dykstra 607. 326.7101 or gouldchurch@catskill.net

Richard Dykstra,
Interfaith Council

Asher closes chapter at Skene Library

To The Editor:

On the retirement of longtime Trustee Marilee Asher, the Board of Trustees of the Skene Memorial Library wants to share this tribute to our colleague. The Board of Trustees notes with gratitude and pride the years of outstanding service Marilee extended to the Skene, to the communities it serves, and to her colleagues on the Board of Trustees.

With hand and heart— and often with her arms embracing boxes of books—Marilee worked tirelessly to make the Skene everything a small, rural library can be in fulfilling its mandate to patrons near and far.

A diligent volunteer for the community events in which the Skene participated, a thoughtful and rigorous respecter of detail, especially in financial and policy matters, and a calm, ever courteous voice in private and public meetings, Marilee Asher was an outstandingly effective crusader for libraries and their power to do good.

And she was a delight to be around.

The staff of the Skene, its Trustees, and the people it serves will miss Marilee Asher and wish her a long and happy future filled with good reading.

Roy Todd, President
Skene Memorial Library
Board of Trustees

Columbus important historical figure

To the Editor:

Every now and again a letter disparaging America and, implicitly, white Americans, appears in print. Most recently the writer claimed that Columbus discovered nothing, "Native Americans" [Indians] were here first, and "Isn't it time to own up to our centuries of genocide and land-grabbing." Let's "own up" to some facts. About 250,000 years ago the first true humans appeared and supposedly committed genocide on and "grabbed" land from whomever or whatever preceded them. They used their various advantages, earned and unearned, to advance their own interests, often at some expense to others. The agrarian societies overran the hunter-gatherers, the agrarians succumbed to the urban societies. The agrarian tribe who exterminated a hunter-gatherer tribe thought nothing but good about what they were doing in their self interest, ditto the 8th century Muslim hoards, the 11th century Crusaders, the 15th century Conquistadores. They were people of their time, as we are of ours. Columbus was the vanguard of civilization in the Western Hemisphere; his discovery was relative to the civilized world. Since there were no laws here at the time, he needed no "documents". The hundreds of thousands of Indians at the time were living "full lives", raping and killing each other, holding slaves, trading women for arrow heads and sea shells. Full lives indeed. Their ability to commit genocide and grab land was limited by their technology. And the Indians were not first in the Western Hemisphere. A couple of decades ago, skeletal remains were found in the Pacific Northwest. Study showed them to be Caucasian, and they predated the Indians by 3,000 years. They're gone now; any genocide or land-grabbing to own up to? [When news of the discovery got out, Indians in the NW got a court order to seize the remains as Indian remains, and removed them from study. Casino licenses and tax-free cigarette sales were unaffected.] America stands at the apex of civilization, leading the world in human rights, technology, and opposition to the forces of evil. Columbus is on the first page of this chapter of civilization.

Don Kalibat

Patriotism questioned

To The Editor:

As I am writing this - we have not gone to the polls to vote. However, it turns out, we owe a sincere thank you to our current men and women serving in our armed forces and to the millions of veterans that have served in the past. And let’s not forgot the families of these brave patriots who came forward to keep our country free.

I would like to share this note that I received from "Help Heal Veterans" with your readers:

"Dear Veteran, Thank you for preserving our country's independence and the personal freedoms I enjoy here in America. I understand that you made great sacrifices in defense of our nation. What you and your fellow veterans have done for me is forever etched in my memory. It is too important to ever be forgotten. Without the heroic actions of our men and women in uniform, America simply would not and could not be ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave.’"

In summary, I am appalled at the current state of our country. We owe a debt of gratitude to these individuals yet we sit back and protest the rights of illegals in our country. We are not condemning 'Sanctuary Cities.' We believe it is all right for NFL players to disgrace our country by kneeing for our 'Pledge of Allegiance' by saying it is their right of freedom of speech. We have millions of homeless and starving veterans, yet we reachout to help refugees.

As President Trump stated, it is time for America to come first. We owe it to our veterans to make a stance on this Veteran's Day, November 11. They gave so much for us. It is time we returned the gratitude. Make this Nov. 11 a turning point for our country.

Richard Rossi

Railroad plans on the wrong track

To The Editor:

On Tuesday November 14 at 7 p.m. the Ulster County Executive Office, through the planning department, will be asking the Ulster County Legislators to approve by vote Resolution 423 and 424, a request for an additional $118,000 for a total of $668,000 in planning, engineering and inspection costs in the Ashokan Rail Trail (without rail) project and a request for $943,000 to be used to pay a contractor to remove 11.5 miles of rails, ties and trees in the Ashokan Rail Trail (without rail) project. If passed, these two resolutions could be funded solely by the Ulster County taxpayers.

Research for an independent short documentary ‘Disappearing Rails’ by Ben Rounds and myself has uncovered some very disconcerting issues that all residents, and even second homeowners in Delaware and Ulster counties, should know.

For 150 years, the rails of the Ulster & Delaware corridor hosted freight, passengers, commerce and tourism. Thomas Cornell, the businessman responsible for the commencing of Rondout and Oswego original railroad construction in 1866, must be restless in his grave. As are the immigrants who sacrificed blood, sweat, tears and even their lives to build these rails. Why?

Because of those entrusted with the responsibility to represent the people, the land and the future of both. Because the politicians, legislators and obstructionists of Ulster County are poised to delete the railroad permanently. We won’t name names. Ok, yes we will: Mike Hein and Kathy Nolan.

Instead of working together with the people, the City of New York and the County of Ulster are joined in the shortsighted vision of removing the rails for a “trail only” instead of the more feasible and fair “rail with trail.”

Construction costs are expected to be $9.5 million. NYCDEP has promised $2.5 million and Ulster County says other monies from various grants and FEMA are pending, so the actual taxpayer burden is unknown. Once the rails are removed, easements and rights of way or NYCDEP security concerns could halt the building of a trail along the Ashokan Reservoir DEP controlled land all together and the rails will have been dismantled and deleted for nothing. In the Catskill Park there are already 120 miles of mountain biking trails. There are 35 high peaks of 3500 or more feet waiting to be conquered by adventuring millenials. So why are the 39 miles of railroad such an impediment for foot travel in the Catskills?

A massive historical structure will be wiped from the landscape, as will future possibilities for rail travel connecting from Kingston, passed the reservoir to the Emerson Resort, on to Belleayre Mountain, through to the successful Delaware & Ulster tourist train out of Arkville to Roxbury, where another word class resort will be opening in 2019. A more immediate impact will be felt by the taxpayers and business owners of Ulster County. Expert studies show that for every $1 spent on a ticket, $7 are spent at surrounding businesses. More than $1.1 million potential tourist dollars will be lost yearly in Ulster County.

Now it is up to the lawmakers, the caretakers of this democracy and the representatives of the people to do the right things and vote to against Resolutions 423 & 424. Vote to leave the rails in place!

Rebecca Andre.

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