SPARC NEWSLETTER [ FALL 2003 ]
"Is No News Good News?"
Appellate Decision Pending
Last April 29th, 2003, on a sunny Tuesday morning, attorney John Caffry represented our team: SPARC, Sierra Club, O.C. Federation of Sportsmen, before a three-judge panel of the Federal Appellate Court, 2nd Department.
At the hearing, three lawyers spoke for the opposition: James Wood of the U.S. Attorney General's Office, Lisa Burianek of the NYS Attorney General's Office, and Richard Golden for the 'Stewart Regional Alliance', a business group that filed an 'Amicus' brief supporting the interchange highway plan.
Following the testimony and arguments, Presiding Judge Rosemary Poole extended the existing 'stay' and injunction against the I-84/Drury Lane Interchange highway project "until the Court issued a "short order", to be followed by a "full decision". (The injunction was first ordered last November 2002, and has been in force since then.)
It is now four months and counting since the hearing and there has been no word. Boosters of the project expected a quick decision supporting the lower court in its rejection of SPARC's legal case. In the Hudson Valley Business Journal (6/30/03), Richard O'Bierne of the Construction Contractors Assn. was quoted saying, "Drury Lane keeps me up at night." "We thought the court would rule in favor of New York State within a matter of days, but that was nearly two months ago . . . Sometimes governments worry more about wetlands than people." , he added. (When will we all realize that wetlands are important for people.)
It is impossible to know when and how the Appellate Court will rule. It could take months, or even a year----or we could hear tomorrow. SPARC and Co-plaintiffs remain hopeful that the outcome will be favorable. But until the decision is actually issued, it is impossible to predict what it will say and what our responsive actions would be.
Meanwhile work is starting on the connection between Rt. I-84 and the NYS Thruway, at Rt. 300 in the Town of Newburgh, reported in the THR of 8/28/03. Be careful not to confuse this with the Rt. I-84/Drury Lane project.
And think positive thoughts.
Citizens for Crestview Lake | An Update |
By Louisa Flaningam
Citizens for Crestview Lake is a grassroots organization started in 2002 by myself and Jean Antonelli, to insure the continued operation of this unique and wonderful recreational facility in Orange County. Located on Stewart lands near Drury Lane, it has been a public facility open to all N.Y. State residents since the Buffer Lands were taken 30 years ago.
The Town of New Windsor operated Crestview for about 27 years, but in 2002, Supervisor George Meyers abdicated the responsibility for the Lake's operation, offering it to the County. In October 2002, Orange County Executive Ed Diana announced the county would assume operation of Crestview, but this spring the County backed out of its promise with the startling announcement that Crestview would not open.
Citizens for Crestview Lake quickly mobilized, held meetings, collected 2,500 petition signatures in less than a month, as individuals wrote numerous letters, and the local press offered great support. This put great pressure on the County and the closing of the lake was reconsidered. We cheered at the June meeting of the O.C. Legislature, as funding was approved to sign a 100 day lease with Stewart Airport operator NEG.
Crestview Lake was soon opened in late June and compliments are due O.C. Parks Commissioner Graham Skea for his terrific last-minute effort to open the lake with less than 2 weeks' notice. The Mid Hudson Times of 8/20/03 reported 10,970 admissions by August 17th. Skea said the lake was at a financial break-even for the summer and that was fortunate when one considered the rainy weather. He also indicated that this would be taken into consideration when planning next year's budget. What a great statement!! He must want the facility to continue as part of the O.C. Parks Department.
This is great news and we can build on this for the future of Crestview. Are there improvements that could be made, sure. But Crestview Lake has shown county government that it is treasured by all our residents. Citizens for Crestview will continue to bring attention to the lake and communicate ideas and suggestions to the county.
We will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2003, at 7:00 PM at the Little Britain Grange. This is a great opportunity for all to share thoughts, ideas and suggestions for the future. Be sure to come. For info call Louisa at 569-9366 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Cheers for Hamptonburgh
Last April 1st, 2003, SPARC was pleased to do a presentation for Supervisor Jankowski and the Hamptonburgh Town Board at their regularly scheduled meeting. Sandra Kissam and Rudy Vallet discussed SPARC's goal to save the Buffer Lands and its relevance for controlled growth in the Town of Hamptonburgh. Attendees included local residents, as well as former councilman Paul Van Niewerburgh and Ralph Grimaldi of the Town's Master Plan Committee. Both Van Niewerburgh and Grimaldi support SPARC's land conservation goals and expressed this at the meeting and to town officials.
Then, at its regular meeting of May 6, 2003, the Hamptonburgh Town Board took action. A resolution was offered by Supervisor Jankowski with the motion seconded by Councilman Lawrence, to support the saving of the Stewart Lands. It passed the five-member Board with three 'ayes', one 'nay', and one member absent.
"Now, therefore be it resolved that the Town of Hamptonburgh Town Board advocates the saving of the Stewart Buffer Lands west of Drury Lane, including those lands still offered for development on Barron Road and between Maple Avenue and Drury Lane, as open space for passive recreation, wildlife habitat, farming, environmental protection, and a noise and safety buffer for Stewart Airport."
The Board is to be congratulated for their brave and thoughtful action in passing this resolution. SPARC hopes the time will soon come when all of our communities have the foresight to see the wisdom in protecting these irreplaceable Stewart Buffer Lands.
SPARC must correct two recent oversights. In the last newsletter, the article about the Stewart Buffer Trail Ride was written by Board member Linda Meyer. An unfortunate typo kept her name off as we went to press. Please also note that the appealing image of little Jakob was photographed by member Ronnie Brown. Apologies are due Ronnie
for omitting credit.
The O. C. Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs has scheduled its annual fundraising dinner. This enjoyable evening, offering excellent food, door prizes, wonderful raffles, and good fellowship, will be held on Friday, October 10th, 2003.
As always, the location is Kuhl's Highland House, on Highland Ave. in Middletown. Tickets are $30 each, and the meal includes hot/cold hors d'oeuvres. The evening starts at 6:30, with a buffet dinner starting at 7:30.
If you would like to attend, contact Carmen at 782-7449. Contact SPARC as well, and we may be able to reserve a table. Let's get out and support our sportsmen friends!
Linda, Lizzie and Lilou
In honor of Lilou Irvine, our beloved newsletter editor, who passed away in May of 2002, and in consideration of her roommate and dearest friend Lizzie Ocskay, our own Board member Linda Meyer has done something wonderful.
She has constructed a simple cement and wooden bench that will remain on the Buffer Lands, with a view of surrounding vistas, as a place for rest and quiet reflection. How appropriate to have this peaceful seat, embraced by vegetation and wildlife, in memory of Lilou.
We thank you Linda, for your creation.
Antiques, Goods and Services Auction Coming
October 11, 2003
SPARC is excited to announce a repeat of their successful auction event of 1999, now in 2003, and promising great fun and great 'finds', as before.
We are thrilled that William J. Jenack, Auctioneer, of Chester will rejoin us to conduct our upcoming Antiques, Goods, and Services Auction. Be sure to plan on coming to this wonderful fundraiser on Saturday, October 11th.
Our venue has moved indoors and we will be at the American Legion Post #1420 Meeting Hall, located at 1169 Union Ave., Town of Newburgh, less than a mile north of the intersection with Rt. 52. Post #1420 has hosted SPARC for many events over the years and we thank them.
The auction will start with a Preview from 12 Noon to 1:30 PM, with the bidding starting at 1:30 and continuing till 5:00 PM or when everything has been sold. Light refreshments will be available during the entire event. You simply mustn't miss this opportunity to have fun and find that item you've been looking for.
Donations will be received from 9:30 to 11:30 AM on Saturday, or from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Friday evening October 10th. Please consider a donation of clean, usable, and desirable objects and furniture to offer at the auction. Services could run the gamut, anything from a kayak lesson to a massage to a home-cooked meal to babysitting a pet. Your skills and imagination are the limit. Included with this newsletter is the donation form. Your donation will be completely tax-deductible and of course supports our goal to save the Stewart Buffer Lands. You can send in the form as soon as possible so we know what you are planning to provide.
You may email SPARC at email@example.com, using the form as a guide, or you may FAX the form (keeping a copy) to: Linda Meyer, 845 895-8623 (phone 845 895-3409), or to SPARC at FAX/phone 845 564-3018. A copy of the form, for your use, can also be found at SPARC's website, www.frontiernet.net/~sparc.
Don't delay. Mark October 11th on your calendar for the auction. And check out your items for a donation. (Clothing would not be accepted.)
Give SPARC a helping hand, as we work to save the Stewart Buffer Lands for us all!
This is our 16th year of public service.
Item or Service____________________________________________
Estim. value ( item or service)____________________________
Donor (Indiv. or Business)____________________________________
Please fax this form to Linda at 845 895-8623 or SPARC at 845 564-3018, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Items may be brought to the American Legion Post #1420, 1169 Union Ave., Newburgh between 5 PM and 8 PM Friday, Oct. 10Th or between 9:30 and 11:30 AM Saturday, Oct. 11th. Sincere thanks for your donation.
Unsold items must be picked up day of auction, or SPARC will dispose of same.
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Grateful for Support
SPARC wishes to acknowledge donations received from two additional organizations since we published a list of donor groups in our newsletter last spring.
Our deepest thanks go to The Cragsmoor Association and to Friends of the Shawangunks. Both of these organizations are dealing with land preservation issues on the Shawangunk Ridge, and yet were graciously willing to contribute to SPARC's legal efforts. Again, accept our sincere gratitude.
Running for Office
SPARC cannot legally endorse candidates, but mention must be made of members that are fighting for public office in our communities.
SPARC member Jean Antonelli is running for a council seat on the New Windsor Town Board. Jean is also heading up the Citizens for Crestview with Louisa Flaningam. SPARC member Bob Leibmann is also running for a council seat on the Newburgh Town Board, and will be in a primary.
Citizens for Montgomery, an organization that had joined SPARC's coalition several years ago, is running a full slate of candidates for the Town Board in Montgomery. Running for Town Supervisor is Susan L. Cockburn, and for Town Council positions are Joan Buck Smith, Judy Noorlander, and Dr. James Fischer, DVM.
Candidates' Night: next SPARC Meeting
SPARC has scheduled three open public meetings for this Fall 2003. Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, September 17, 2003. This will be our Candidates' Night and we welcome anyone running for office in our local communities to attend this meeting and discuss their campaigns, particularly their position on the Stewart Buffer Lands. Please contact SPARC as soon as possible if you plan to come.
The meeting will be at the Community Room of the Bethlehem Church at Jackson Ave. and Rt. 94, and will start at 7:30 PM. Light refreshments will be served. For info call SPARC at 845 564-3018, or email to email@example.com .
Looking ahead, in November our SPARC meeting will be on Wednesday, November 19th, 2003 and a Potluck Holiday meeting will be on Wednesday, December 17th, 2003.
We want to thank the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church Board of Trustees, especially Chair Mildred Collard and Members John and Pat Hunter, for providing SPARC with this wonderful site for our public meetings.
"Clean Water. Healthy Planet."
A critical Sierra Club campaign for awareness of clean water protection has been launched and our own Ramapo/Catskill Group of the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club is working on this campaign.
How? By sponsoring a Hike/Walk-a-Thon for "Clean Water in New York State".
We are thrilled that the site of the event will be the Stewart Buffer Lands, which are overflowing, especially this summer, with gorgeous wetlands, streams, and ponds.
Please jump at this chance to join the national Sierra effort, especially since the 'Clean Water Act' is under tremendous siege in Washington.
Now the details. A five-mile course will be laid out on the Stewart Buffer for the event scheduled Sunday, Sept. 28, 2003. Walkers should arrive between 8:30 and 8:45 AM for light refreshments and a start time between 9:00 and 9:30 AM. Maps will be provided for the route. The starting location will be the parking lot on the Buffer adjacent to the Ridge Road/Rt. I-84 bridge. Ridge Rd. intersects with Rt. 17K in the hamlet of Coldenham, Town of Montgomery. When arriving from the east or west on Rt. 17K, turn south onto Ridge Rd. just west of the traffic signal in Coldenham.
Ramapo/Catskill Group is calling for walker/hiker volunteers immediately. Some have already stepped forward, but many more are needed and your skills are vital in the campaign. The sooner you receive your forms, the more time you have to sign up sponsors. Please contact Rudy Vallet at 845 294-7209 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to request your Sign-Up and sponsorship sheets. Do it right away.
Your sponsors can choose their pledge rate per mile: either $25, $20, $15, $10, $5 or even $2, for walking/hiking up to the full five miles. You may either mail in your sponser sheet/s with your checks or bring it/them the day of the event. (Cash will only be accepted on the day of the event.) This is a great way to earn recognition and financial support for the Sierra Club, in this important campaign.
The Sierra Club says "Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet". With the Hike/Walk-a-Thon on the Stewart Buffer you can do all three at one time. Go for it!
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Thank you, Bikers, Sponsors, Volunteers!
SPARC's 4th annual Bike the Buffer was a triumph of hard work over the weather. Rain fell on and off for days, and the morning of the Tour was a question mark. But numerous Bikers came and registered anyway, and the water drops stayed up until the event was over.
Deep appreciation is due our sponsors: Gold Sponsors Hudson Valley Sports & Physical Training Services of Middletown, Dr. John P. Handago, PC, of Middletown, and Beverage Plus in Goshen: Silver sponsors Loughran's Restaurant in Salisbury Mills, computer expert Mary J. Nally in Campbell Hall, Joe Fix-Its in Goshen and Monroe, Atty. Michael H. Sussman in Goshen, and The Print Shop in Newburgh.
Our Bronze sponsors included: Good Spirits in Washingtonville, Not Just Bagels in Goshen, The Deli in Goshen, JC Bagels in Washingtonville, T & M Deli in Salisbury Mills, John's Deli in Washingtonville, and Robert Metaxas in Newburgh.
Thanks to all our sponsors, for their support.
As the event drew near, our great volunteers put the event together, both before and on the day of the ride. Our sincere thanks go out to Rudy Vallet, Diana Krautter, Jimmy Shovan, John Gebhards, Joe Giglio (BBQ master!), Sue Mischo, Pat Williams, Brian McMillan, Tom Forsyth, Sandra Kissam, Brian Kuen, Art Cordani, Adrian Cordani, Chris Cusumano, Brian Dunlevy, Vinny Emanuele (Trail Master!), Greg Maher, and Scott Wasserman. Special mention goes to Mary Nally who once again designed our brochure for the Ride, and, of course, our Tour coordinator for the fourth year in a row, Ralph Grimaldi.
Many businesses contributed great gifts for our raffles: Our thanks to Bryan's Bikes, Ski Haus, Dark Horse Cycles, Village Fitness Center, Wheel 'n Heel, and Ramsey Bike & Ski. Our event was listed by Mountain Bike Magazine, Road ID, the Orange County Bicycle Club, JORBA, Bicycle Touring Club of New Jersey, and Dirt Rag Magazine.
We are also grateful for refreshments donated by Adams Fair Acres, Shoprite Supermarkets, and Burger King Restaurants.
Without a doubt, the efforts of many folks helped to make our 4th Buffer Bike Tour a success, and weather notwithstanding, SPARC cleared almost $3,000 to use for our legal efforts.
A Chance to Volunteer
During September and October SPARC will have information tables at a number of community fairs and festivals. These events give folks a chance to learn about our mission, as we connect with them on a one-to-one basis. We also can publicize our events and meetings. The experience is really interesting and it would be great to have you join this effort.
You might be available for several of these upcoming events, even for part of a day. On Saturday, September 6th, we will be at Montgomery Day; Saturday, September 20th is the Cornwall Quaker Fair; Saturday, October 4th we will be at Shawangunk Day in the hamlet of Wallkill; finally, on Sunday,October 19th, we will have our "Adopt a Highway " Cleanup.
We may also be at an Open House that the American Legion Post #1420 in the Town of Newburgh will hold to raise awareness of veteran's issues, even as they promote the value of the American Legion organization to the community. This event will start Friday evening Oct. 17th, go into Saturday, Oct. 18th and continue the afternoon of Sunday, October 19th. Our SPARC Board member Tom Forsyth is the newly elected Commander of Post #1420.
Get back quickly and call us at 845 564-3018, or email email@example.com. Experience the satisfaction of sharing our mission with people and learning from them.
Sat., Sept. 6th: SPARC table, General Montgomery Day, Village of Montgomery
Sat., Sept. 13th: Sterling Forest Day, hikes, exhibits, call Mary Yrizarry at 845 783-4302
Wed., Sept. 17th: SPARC Candidates' Night, Bethlehem Church Community Rm., 7:30 PM
Sat., Sept. 20th: SPARC table, Cornwall Quaker Fair, Friends Meeting House, Cornwall
Sun., Sept. 28th: Sierra Club Walk/Hike-a-Thon, Stewart Buffer Lands, 8:30 AM
Tues., Sept. 30th: SAC meeting, Stewart Administration Bldg., 8:00 AM
Sat., Oct. 4th: SPARC table, Shawangunk Day, hamlet of Wallkill
Fri., Oct.10th: O.C. Federation Dinner, 6:30 PM, Kuhl's Highland House, Middletown
Sat., Oct. 11th: SPARC's Antiques, Goods, and Services Auction, Noon to 5 PM, American Legion Post #1420, Union Av.,Town of Newburgh
Sun., Oct. 19th: "Adopt-a-Highway" road cleanup, 9:00 AM till Noon, call Joe at 845 778-3189
Wed., Nov. 19th: SPARC meeting, Bethlehem Church Community Rm., 7:30 PM
Tues., Nov. 25th: SAC meeting, Stewart Administration Bldg., 8:00 AM (call airport to confirm)
Wed., Dec. 17th: SPARC Potluck Party, Bethlehem Church Community Rm., 6:30 PM
The Website Connection
Don't forget to check SPARC's website for lots of information and photos.
When you receive this Newsletter, Webmaster Bo Eriksson will already
have it loaded on the site. If you are not on our email list, send your
address to us right away. We'll put you on the list, and you can get
breaking news as it happens!
The website is www.frontiernet.net/~sparc. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org.