Friday, July 22, 2011

MCDP Raffle Tickets Available...Win Some Beautiful Framed Art Work From Bird Photographer Ed Frampton

Mountaindale Community Development Project (MCDP) are pleased to announce that Raffle Tickets are now available, the three winners receiving signed and framed photographs from birding enthusiast and photographer Ed Frampton. The proceeds from this fundraiser will be used for MCDP's ongoing efforts here in the hamlet of Mountaindale. Tickets are $2 (two dollars) each, or six tickets for $10 (ten dollars) and your donation is tax deductible.

Tickets are available and for sale through August 5th, 2011 and the drawing will be held on Saturday August 6th, 2011 at 12 will be notified by phone or email, and you can pick your prize up at 51 Main Street in Mountaindale. Items can be shipped at winners expense.

First Place Prize (click each to enlarge images)

Second Place Prize

Third Place Prize

If you would like to purchase tickets, please contact Barb Schmitt at (845) 434-4747 or Sherwood at (845) 693-4513. You can also order tickets by mail:

Mountaindale Community Development Project
P.O.Box 333
Mountaindale, NY 12763

*Please make checks out to Mountaindale Community Development Project

The Looming Federal Debt Crisis...One Man's Opinion

Political Editorial...the views expressed in this article are those of Sherwood Martinelli, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of this blog.

August 3rd is fast approaching, and not so wise men (and women) in Washington DC are making decisions that will affect us all...will we lift the debt ceiling, should we lift the debt ceiling, and what are we as a nation going to do about our 14 Trillion dollar federal debt? The decisions which are made will affect all of us, and this American is tired of all the fighting in Washington DC, tired of the party line posturing. Democrat or Republican, politicians once elected are supposed to represent ALL THEIR CONSTITUENTS, not just those who got them elected, not just the special interest lobbyists that line their campaign coiffures with gold...there is no black and white world in which lines are drawn upon party or class boundaries, but instead there are myriad shades of gray, yet we are led to believe the fix for our nation's budget and economy woes is found along party is not.

To the Republicans who do not want to raise taxes on the uber rich, the millionaires and billionaires...stop your whining and raise taxes so the once proud United States of America can get out of the interest trap that is strangling our economy, killing our nation. Your party mantra is, "Don't raise taxes on the job creators". WHAT JOBS? It is not like you have incentives in place that would lower a rich man's taxes based on creating new jobs...instead, you want us as average citizens to believe these wealthy Americans will create more jobs if we just let them sit on their coins. It is not working, just as trickle down economics has not worked. Most out of work Americans don't want the promise of a job, they want a job, a job that pays them a living wage, allows them to meet their own financial obligations, raise their families.

The Democrats don't get a free pass either...there should be no sacred cows...America is in crisis, we cannot maintain our current pace of spending, must find whatever way forward there is that PAYS DOWN OUR DEBT, gets America out of the interest trap. Is means testing fair for Social could and should be argued that means testing is fair depending upon where the line is drawn in the proverbial sand. Also, is it fair that someone earning $250,000 a year only pays Social Security taxes on less than half of their income...that is a regressive tax, a tax that in some ways, based upon that line in the sand is onerous to those in the lower and middle class. Our social programs should be on the table, but with some of those is leaving benefits (including cost of living increases) intact for all those who are 55 and older on the day the changes are signed into law. 79 million baby boomers have played by the rules, paid into the system for over 40 years by the time we retire...we should not be penalized because the Federal Government MISMANAGED OUR FUNDS, stole our contributions.

A few suggestions of my own as the politicians in Washington DC dig in their heels, threatening our way of life in that process which more resembles a kabuki dance than fruitful negotiation.

1. Enforce our immigration laws and make E Verify the law of the land. Some may disagree with this, but fact is, there are 7.5 million illegal aliens that have jobs in our American Economy while over 16 million Americans are out of work. Remittances alone sent back to foreign lands deny our economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year in much needed fuel.

2. Change the retirement structure for our elected members of Congress. A Congressman qualifies for a $42,000 (and that amount continues to grow) retirement payable from the first day they are out of office after serving only five years. Disgraced New York Congressman Weiner for the rest of his life will collect a yearly retirement north of $80,000 for about 12 years of service. Shave the numbers back, and do not start the retirement package till these politicians have reached the age of retirement set for all Americans to collect our Social Security. All Federal, State and local government retirements should be benchmarked to this same age requirement as well...not saying government workers do not deserve a great retirement package, but do question when they are allowed to start collecting it.

3. Greatly reduce for a period of time our Foreign Aid, and do away with USAID, which is nothing more than a candy store owned by the State Department, and used to dispense vast sums of our hard earned tax dollars to foreign lands in the name of our political interests. We need to invest that money in paying down our own debt, need to invest that money in rebuilding our nation's public infrastructure, rather than spending it building up infrastructure in foreign lands.

4. Reduce the size and budget of our military by 25 it or not, at this point in our nation's history we cannot afford to be the world's policemen. We need to disengage from both Iraq and Afghanistan, let the Middle East straighten out their own issues, while at the same time we make sure to stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally, and close friend Israel. The policy set forth by George W. Bush, and carried forward by Obama of nation building is not working, has been a complete disaster. America has been the greatest country in the world, has been respected around the world because we led by example. Now it seems we have lost our way...are we leading by example when we try to force our will, our democracy on foreign lands? Are we leading by example when we cannot even balance our own federal budget, state budget, local budget? The collective debt of our government here in America if you take local, state and federal is in excess of 100 trillion dollars...what kind of example is that, and what kind of example is it when we fight wars in foreign lands that our citizens cannot afford?

5. There is NOTHING WRONG with a little bit of protectionism...China practices it every day of the year, and if our Federal Government will not take the necessary steps to protect American jobs, we as Americans can do it ourselves. 43 percent of China's exports are dumped on the shores of our lands. We can restore our private industrial infrastructure, end this product dumping on our shores with our pocketbooks. Retail stores will stop lining their shelves with products made in China or India when we as Americans stop buying them. When we as Americans return to the practice of BUYING AMERICAN companies will again start producing goods made in America. Where is your smart phone, IPOD, IPAD or other favorite electronic gadget produced? Chances are, not in America.

6. Stop lending our money (taxes) to the banks at near zero percent interest so that they can turn around and lend it back to us at exorbitant mark ups. Furthermore, cap credit card interest at 12 percent. Interest rates on some credit cards is now running as high as 30 percent, and that is LOAN SHARKING. Our government must get out of the interest trap, but they also must provide a pathway for the citizens of America to get out from under that same trap.

7. Unions are not a bad thing, and our government at every level needs to stop enacting laws that steal away our collective bargaining rights...we as a nation do not need to slide backwards to the days written about by Upton Sinclair in his classic novel, "The Jungle". Sure, many of our jobs have left our shores because said goods can be produced off shore less expensively, and primarily because those offshore manufacturing locations have unsafe work places, and pay what could be considered slave this what we want for our own citizens? Furthermore, is buying something cheaper by having it produced overseas a good thing when it supports slave wages, puts Americans out of work? We need strong unions, not less unions or weaker unions.

At almost 56, I remember the days when Americans citizens were proud to be Americans, where we said the Pledge of Allegiance and Lord's Prayer at the beginning of every school day. I remember the days when we as a nation believed in dreams bigger than ourselves, like putting a man on the moon in ten years. I remember a day when every American citizen felt they had a duty to Buy American first whenever possible, and when those ready and wanting to work had a job, were able to pay their bills and raise their families.

It is my belief that we cannot return to those better days until and if we address our government debt at every level, and to do that, we ALL MUST EQUALLY SHARE IN THE PAIN. We have to make hard choices, and that means we all must be willing to sacrifice today for a brighter tomorrow. No one likes higher taxes, but if higher taxes will pay down our debt, provide our children and their children the opportunities they deserve, then we should be willing to pay those taxes. As someone fast approaching retirement, the thought of having Social Security Benefits shrunk is a scary prospect, but if cutting those benefits in a fair and equitable fashion in the name of shared pain, duty and responsibility is what is needed, I'll accept that reality. What I will not accept, what every American should not accept is a Federal Congress that kowtows to the rich and elite, that caters to special interest lobbying, rather than representing the will of the people. We are in a crisis here in America, and it is time for our elected officials to stop their party posturing, and get on with with the task they are charged to take care of, "The peoples business".

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Special Thanks To All My Volunteers and Those Who Have Offered Us Encouragement As We Built a Train

Years from now when I look back on this summer, it will be remembered as the summer that I, along with a plethora of volunteers built a train in our small hamlet of Mountaindale. The task that many thought would not happen is rapidly coming to a close. The project on our little section of the Rails to Trails coming to an end as our volunteers, my summer intern, Aaron Schmitt, and I put the finishing touches on the sculptural interpretation of the old O&W steam locomotive number 33 that crashed here back in 1904.

Hundreds of hours have been poured into this project, and countless volunteers have given of themselves, their time, and their assets to make it possible. There were days that seemed too long until someone would come along the trail walking, biking or on a segway to say hello, and offer us a kind word of encouragement. I remember the day we took the forklift and brought the first section of the train up onto the trail, remember the day we welded together four old 55 gallon drums over beside Raymon's studio, and recall that Saturday when Barb Schmitt and I went over to the Manza Family Farm to pick out our plants. Those and so many other memories will stay with me.

As the project came together, and our efforts started seeing a dream come into reality, rehab materials, lumber, drums, screws and found parts starting to resemble a train, plants going into the dirt, people started showing up to help out and lend a hand...especially children, a whole flock of them that would stop by each evening around 5:30 wanting to know what we were doing on this particular day, and what they could do to be a part of it all. Somehow, just at the crucial moment, things we needed, or needed done all just fell into place, someone stepping up to provide just what it was we needed at that precise moment in time. Our little train was not the singular effort of one person, one group, but a collaboration of some of the most wonderful people I have ever had the privilege to work with.

Sitting here with my morning coffee, I realize my days on the trail are realistically now measured in hours, not weeks and days, the time when you could find me on the trail almost any time of the day seven days a week all but over. Those days have been hard days, but happy ones, and ones that will be missed. So, to all those who gave of themselves and their time, to all those who volunteered, to all those that made a hard task so much easier with your kind words and compliments, I offer a heart felt Thank You, and want all of you to know that our 2011 Renaissance Project, our train garden stands as a testament to all of you, a tribute to what Community is truly all about.

Atlantis Has Landed and With It We Saw The End Of an Era

I go to sleep and wake up every day with CNN on, have been a news junkie for about as long as I can remember, reading the Journal Herald newspaper at the end of my route each morning sitting on the steps of City Hall. This morning I woke up to the news that the space shuttle Atlantis had safely touched down, it's final mission to the space station over, the Space Shuttle program officially coming to a close.

How many of us recall President John F Kennedy's challenge to America to land a man on the moon in ten years? Remember the Apollo Program, and those immortal words, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" when we actually accomplished that goal?

I grew up watching the space program unfold, and knowing the space shuttle will no longer be lifting off into outer space leaves me with a certain emptiness inside. NASA goes on, but a part of it seems missing until we again have the ability to launch our own astronauts into space to continue our exploration of that final frontier.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rails to Trails Sullivan Renaissance Time Capsule...Contribute Items

Early this year I attended the Sullivan Renaissance Winter Conference, and one of many things that stuck with me, is the fact that Sullivan Renaissance has seen it's way through ten successful years of beautification projects, is now in its eleventh year. Quite a bit of history involved in a decade of public beautification projects.

As our own project here in Mountaindale is rapidly reaching a point of completion an idea has germinated in the minds of those involved in the project...what if we took our small storage area of the train now sitting proudly in it's siding, and turn it into a time capsule to be open up ten years from now as the Sullivan Renaissance begins its 21 year of service to our community here in Sullivan County. A poll of those involved in the project including our volunteers shows a great deal of support for this idea, so we are going to go ahead with it.

If you have a small item you would like to have placed into this time capsule, please contact Sherwood Martinelli at (845) 693-4513 or Barb at (845) 434-4747. You can also drop items off at 51 Main Street, Mountaindale NY. Please drop off all items no later than July 31, 2011. The capsule will be closed and placed into the train on August 1st, 2011 and opened again on August first, 2021!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sullivan Striders Second Annual Rails To Trails Run/Walk Photographs Available

As reported earlier, the Sullivan Striders Second Annual Race/Wal on the Rails to Trails was a huge success. For those who participated, a great time was had, and I enjoyed taking pictures of the event and would like to make them available to any one who would like to download a picture I might have snapped of you! You can find the pictures over on my Picaso page for the event. Just click this link, and feel free to copy for your own personal use any pictures taken of the event.

Take a Ride On The O&W Railway With Woodridge Segway Tours!

The Mountaindale/Woodridge Rails to Trails is a beautiful stretch of pathway available for public use every day of the year...though winter traversing at times can be rather difficult. During the summer months, there is a unique opportunity available to those of us who live in the area, and who visit here. Stop by Mountaindale's entrance to the Rails to Trails, and you are most likely to see small groups of people circling around the parking lot of our Train Station/Visitor's Center on Segways before they make their way back to their starting point in Woodridge.

These tours are offered by Woodridge Segway Tours, and are a very fun, unique way in which to tour the Woodridge/Mountaindale Rails to Trails corridor. You can make your reservations today by calling (800) 979-3370. This is a ride you will not soon forget...beautiful scenery, a fun four mile plus ride, and doing it all on a Segway!

Benefits of taking a Segway Authorized Tour

  • Tour operators have the latest Segway product information and training

  • Tours follow Segway recommended safety guidelines promoting a smooth and safe experience

  • Smaller guide-to-glider ratio enables more personal attention

  • Tours are pedestrian-friendly and conform to all local regulations

Two Great Events on Saturday July 23rd Here In Sullivan County

There are two great events happening this Saturday, and we hope you will support both of them. First on the list is Mountaindale Community Development Project's fund raiser to support their 2011 Sullivan Renaissance Project...the train is almost completed, and you can see it just inside the entrance to Mountaindale's Rails to Trails corridor. The event hosted by Committee Chair Sherwood Martinelli will include fine food and wine selections from the Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville NY.

Saturday July 23, 2011 FUND RAISER-2011 Benefitting MCDP & Mountaindale Renaissance Project

You are cordially invited to join the Mountaindale Community Development Project on Saturday July 23rd, 2011 from 7-10 PM for a Gala Evening of fun, food and music here in Mountaindale, NY as we raise funds for our organization and this year's beautification project being orchestrated just inside the entry to our section of the Rails to Trails corridor.

Renowned organic Chef, and healthy foods Guru Marcus Guiliano, owner of the well known Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, NY will be teasing our taste buds with a wonderful sampling of wines and tasty treats from his menu of healthy delicious slow foods from his and his wife's restaurant which is located at 165 Canal Street in Ellenville NY. For restaurant reservations, you can call Marcus or his wife Jamie at (845) 647-3000.

There will be a candle light tour of this year's Renaissance Project for those who would love to see the sculptural interpretation of the old O&W 33 steam locomotive which crashed here in Mountaindale back in 1904. Sherwood Martinelli, this years Committee Chair and project designer will be happy to take you on a walk about and answer any questions you may have, and share some of the unique history of the area around the project.

Tickets for this all inclusive evening of fun and community is $25 per person. For reservations, or to make a donation please contact:

Sherwood Martinelli (845) 693-4513 or 346-2345
Barb or Ken Schmitt (845) 434-4747

You can also get tickets by mailing in your check to: (Make checks out to MCDP)

Sherwood Martinelli
Committee Chair-2011 Sullivan Renaissance Project
PO Box 71
Mountaindale, NY 12763

Also on Saturday is the Third Annual Sullivan County Garden Tour with and event ending meet and greet at the Bashakill Winery! This event supports a very worthwhile cause...Sullivan Arc Horticultural Program.

End at Bashakill Winery:
View Private Gardens in Sullivan County on Saturday, July 23

SULLIVAN COUNTY – The Third Annual Sullivan County Garden Tour features eleven private gardens between Liberty and Wurtsboro. The one-of-a-kind gardens will be open for visits only on Saturday, July 23 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The tour is sponsored by SullivanArc and Sullivan Renaissance to benefit the SullivanArc Horticultural Program.

These beautiful and unique sites include: flower and shade gardens, traditional gardens, whimsical creations, pathways, water features, enclosed yards and an orchard. Individuals may follow the predetermined route or select their own route – visiting as many or as few gardens as they prefer and time allows. A wine and cheese reception for ticket holders and garden owners follows the tour at Bashakill Vineyards in Wurtsboro.

A limited number of tickets will be sold on the day of the event. Cost is $25 per person. They are available between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. at the following locations along with self-guided garden tour maps [with addresses and directions to each of the gardens].
Catskill Harvest Market, State Route 52 and Ferndale-Loomis Road, Liberty
The Cutting Garden, State Route 52, Youngsville
Delaware Valley Farm & Garden (Agway), 30 Viaduct Road, Callicoon
Everlasting Spring, 3195 State Route 52, White Sulphur Springs
Hillside Greenhouse, 1 Kaempfer Lane, Liberty
Monticello Greenhouses, 217 E. Broadway, Monticello
Stephenson’s Garden Center, 1706 State Route 52, Liberty
Vita’s Farm Market, 4789 State Route 52, Jeffersonville

Advanced tickets may be purchased at these garden centers or directly from SullivanArc at 845-796-1350 ext. 1050 or online at and click on “Buy Tickets"

SullivanArc is a not-for-profit agency dedicated to providing support and services to over 850 individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and to their families. Sponsorship for the tour is provided by Key Bank. Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation. Additional funding has been secured by U.S. Representative Maurice D. Hinchey. Sponsors include Bold Gold Media Group/Thunder 102, Robert Green Dealerships, Sullivan County Democrat, The River Reporter and WSUL/WVOS.

Sullivan Striders Second Annual Rails to Trails Race/Walk Huge Success

This past Sunday, camera in hand, I was up and out of my camper at 6:30 in the morning heading into Mountaindale for the Second Annual Rails to Trails Run/Walk which started and ended in Mountaindale. The community was out in force to support the Sullivan Striders and the run, and a fabulous time was had by all!

The Mountaindale Fire Department was on hand, had set up cones to handle the traffic into and out of town, and the ambulanceman seemed like really nice folks. The Sullivan Striders had all their bases covered...great food on hand for their runners, plenty of water at the firehouse, and out on the trail, and more than adequate staff to handle the rush of people at the registration tables.

The race started a tad late, and for good reason...they were still registering people that wanted to run or walk our community's beautiful section of the trail that runs from Mountaindale to Woodridge.

Some of my own favorite highlights of the event included the students from Upstate Karate who seemed to have shown up in mass to participate in the event, all of them in their official Karate garb. Janet from Radiant Yoga leading those same students in some pre-event breathing exercises. Lastly, the awards ceremony, where it seemed like almost every participant received recognition, and a beautiful perennial plant from Manza Farm's nursery.

A lot of businesses sponsored the event, almost too many to mention, but one particular one stands out, deserves special recognition...Kohl's stepped up big time for the Sullivan Striders with five employees volunteering for the event, and the company making a very large donation to the event, so thank you Kohl's for being such an ardent supporter of the Sullivan Striders, our community, and the Rails to Trails.

All monies raised from this event are spent doing maintenance and improvements on the Rails to Trails, so thanks to everyone who participated! This year's Second Annual Rails to Trails event is over, but many of us are already looking forward to next year's event, are pleased that this event will be around now for decades to come.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Saturday July 23, 2011 FUND RAISER-2011 Benefitting MCDP & Mountaindale Renaissance Project

You are cordially invited to join the Mountaindale Community Development Project on Saturday July 23rd, 2011 from 7-10 PM for a Gala Evening of fun, food and music here in Mountaindale, NY as we raise funds for our organization and this year's beautification project being orchestrated just inside the entry to our section of the Rails to Trails corridor.

Renowned organic Chef, and healthy foods Guru Marcus Guiliano, owner of the well known Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, NY will be teasing our taste buds with a wonderful sampling of wines and tasty treats from his menu of healthy delicious slow foods from his and his wife's restaurant which is located at 165 Canal Street in Ellenville NY. For restaurant reservations, you can call Marcus or his wife Jamie at (845) 647-3000.

There will be a candle light tour of this year's Renaissance Project for those who would love to see the sculptural interpretation of the old O&W 33 steam locomotive which crashed here in Mountaindale back in 1904. Sherwood Martinelli, this years Committee Chair and project designer will be happy to take you on a walk about and answer any questions you may have, and share some of the unique history of the area around the project.

Tickets for this all inclusive evening of fun and community is $25 per person. For reservations, or to make a donation please contact:

Sherwood Martinelli (845) 693-4513 or 346-2345
Barb or Ken Schmitt (845) 434-4747

You can also get tickets by mailing in your check to: (Make checks out to MCDP)

Sherwood Martinelli
Committee Chair-2011 Sullivan Renaissance Project
PO Box 71
Mountaindale, NY 12763

Event Details

Date: Saturday July 23, 2011
Time: 7-10 PM
Location: 62 Main Street, Mountaindale NY
Your donations are Tax Deductible.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

August Events-Art in the Garden Workshop

Hope you can join us for this workshop!

Cornell Cooperative Extension Hosting
Garden Sand Casting Workshop!

Ferndale NY, - August 6th at 10am Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County will be hosting their second “Art in the Garden Workshop” taught by Susan Dollard. Susan is a local artist and art teacher, whose art work has been exhibited in Sullivan and Orange County. She and her husband, Tim, own a studio and gallery called “Off the Beaten Path”, in Smallwood, NY.

The Sand Casting workshop is fun for all ages, and an especially great summer activity for children. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Learn how to embed or make imprints of your favorite found objects such as leaves, shells, pebbles, sticks, tiles or even broken pieces of glass and pottery. Be as imaginative as you’d like and create a unique piece of art for your home and garden.

This program is made possible with funds from the 2011 Decentralization Program, a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by Delaware Valley Arts Alliance. It will be held at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 64 Ferndale Loomis Rd., Liberty, N.Y. on August 6th, 2011 at 10:00- 12:00.

The workshop will cost $40.00 per person which includes all casting supplies and materials. Preregistration and payment are a must to hold a spot in this popular class. Call Susan Dollard at 845-292-5250 for more information.

Leni Binder/Jodi Goodman Bethel Woods Ticket Scandal...Much Adieu About NOTHING

Was in Tony's over in Woodridge last night getting a bite to eat when I became aware of a supposed scandal involving local politician Leni Binder...she was born here in our small hamlet of Mountaindale, NY. After reading one article on the matter in the Riverkeeper, I am left shaking my head, wondering what the big deal is, why something that should not be an issue at all became news worthy.

Any one who has met me has little doubt where my own political leanings lay, and they are not beliefs that could ever see me residing in the Republican tent...that said, sometimes one should simply stand up for what is right, and this scandal seems to be the proverbial tempest in a teapot, certain people trying to cast suspicions where none reside, and as a person with left of center liberal leanings, feel compelled to speak up. I've met Leni Binder, she seems to be a very straight shooter, a commonsense, find compromise person...what she is not, is a woman, a politician who would accept a bribe, could be bought off at any price. Taking a tempest in a teapot and making it a front page news article is just wrong, and one has to wonder the political motivations driving it so close in on our own election season here in Sullivan County.

The gist of the scandal...Sullivan County Legislators Leni Binder and Jodi Goodman have been accused of sitting in box seats at certain concerts compliments of well known orchid dealer and philanthropist Stuart Salinger...the guy is LOADED. Some are claiming that sitting in those box seats compliments of Stuart Salinger could be portrayed as payback for previous support when he wanted some of his land included in Agricultural District No. 4 (see article). The vote to include those lands in District 4 was 7-2 in favor...even if Binder and Goodman had abstained from voting, the measure in question would have passed. Others are claiming the value of the gift exceeded the $75 gift limit...Do they?

If you visit the Bethel Woods website, those box seats start at $5000, and head north... if you look at the way things are set up, the price of box seats would seem to escalate based on the number of these special reserve seats you want...a block of two costing less than say a block of six or eight. Two box seats for $5,000 is for THE ENTIRE SEASON. Now, some might want to argue that certain events and the seats for them have more value, but the simple reality is, buying box seat tickets guarantees you tickets for EVERY EVENT/CONCERT held at Bethel Woods during the season...all FIFTY ONE OF THEM if you go too the Bethel Woods calender and count they up from May through to the end of the season. Doing some simple math, dividing the $5,000 by 2, then by 51 events quickly shows one that the value of these tickets based on a per event amount is about fifty bucks. Also sure we can all agree that most of us would not go see every event...IE, how many people holding say season tickets of any kind would want to go see all three nights of Phish?...well, how many people beside me would want to go see Phish all three nights? Point being, sure almost any one holding season tickets, from the lawn up through these supposed coveted box seats has tickets to give away, rather than seeing them wasted.

In addition to living in Mountaindale, I am a seasonal camper in the area. Many of the friends I camp with have seasonal tickets to Bethel Woods, some on the lawn, others under cover, and some may even have these box seat tickets similar to the ones purchased by Stuart Salinger. These friends of mine have on numerous occasions offered me FREE TICKETS, asked me if I wanted their seats for certain events...I doubt seriously they were offering me those tickets to curry favor, or to get preferential treatment at my campsite Tiki Bar, better placement around my campfire, and I doubt seriously that Stuart Salinger offered any one including Sullivan County Legislators Leni Binder and Jodi Goodman seats in the hopes of purchasing their votes, or currying favor.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rails To Trails Project Making Great Strides Forward

First, a reminder...don't forget to put this upcoming Sunday, July 17th 2011 on your calendar! The Sullivan Striders are hosting the Second Annual Rails to Trails Run and Walk here in Mountaindale, and we hope all our readers will join them in the walk or run, with the proceeds benefiting the Rails to Trails corridor, the money being used for maintenance and improvements.

For all of our summer visitors (waving to all my friends from Skyway), want to let you know you can rent bikes from the Cinder Track Bike Shop in Mountaindale. Charlie is a great guy, and his rental bikes ARE TOP OF THE LINE! He also has a full service repair department, and can tell you from first hand experience that he does wonderful work...he tuned up both of my bikes this year, and they have never pedaled better.

It's been awhile since I have done a update on Mountaindale Community Development Project's Sullivan Renaissance project, so let's jump right into it.

Yesterday we had a volunteer work day, and it was a huge success with lots of work getting done on the trail, and around town as we race to put things in pretty good shape for all the guests we are expecting on the trail this upcoming Sunday. People young and old showed up at various times throughout the day to lend us a hand on various projects, and when we put our tools away at around seven in the evening, you could see the bounty of everyone's efforts. *A special thanks to Eric Lynch, a fellow camper at Skyway and a New York City Fire Fighter who showed up and worked on the difficult task of figuring out how to attach certain additions to our train. We also want to thank Master Instructor Alexandra Th. Lalieu and her Upstate Karate students for all the help they provided yesterday in the task of spreading yards and yards of mulch...their discipline and ability to stay focused were very apparent and appreciated.

A check list of sorts...

1. We have already put out ten hanging baskets on Main Street to compliment the flowers boxes. Hanging baskets are a experiment in progress as we learn what does best hanging seven feet up in the air...some plants do a lot better than others, and all the baskets require a lot more watering than the flower boxes do.

2. Thanks to some of our local Girl Scouts, who were in attendance yesterday, we were able to complete a new flower bed on the side of our community Mountaindale Art Center located at 58 Main Street. The girls were fast learners, and as always, their help invaluable as we move through our projects this year. Cannot wait to get the mulch down this morning so that this item can be crossed off our to do list as completed.

3. The BASIC TRAIN is now officially up on the trail in the old O&W siding across from the old lumber yard.

4. We HAVE WATER! A very special THANK YOU to Steve Vegliante, Will Illing, the Water Department, and the entire Town of Fallsburg government for making this happen. We appreciate all the help we are receiving in doing some of the heavy lifting that needs to be done, and water was a crucial component! *Another special thanks goes out to Allen Frishman for his work on the trail this past week.

4. The basic framework for our Litter Control station is in, and with luck that part of our project will be completed and in use just in time for the Second Annual Rails to Trails Run and Walk on July 17th.

5. The workout station areas have been completely weeded (Aaron Schmitt, our summer intern can be thanked for this) and re-mulched...we are hoping to start repainting and staining this week at some point.

6. One of our O&W Railway relics is now surrounded by a beautiful new flower bed, and we have brought in some beautiful stones that beautify the area, while at the same time make it harder for all terrain vehicles (which are NOT allowed on the trail) to access/exit the trail from our Mountaindale entrance.

As of right now, we are hoping to be doing a MAJOR PLANTING on Tuesday afternoon evening, so if you are looking to volunteer, you can call Sherwood at 845 346-6523 (cell), or just show up with a shovel or trowel. Again, thanks to our many are the force that makes community improvement and beautification possible.

Friday, July 8, 2011

WINDOWS ON BROADWAY Student Artwork Exhibit to Open this Sunday

[LIBERTY] – The work of area high school student artists will soon be on display in the windows of the Strong Building on Broadway in Monticello. An opening "Sidewalk Reception" is scheduled for Sunday, July 10 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

The Windows on Broadway Project is a collaboration of youth and adult volunteers who came together through a series of discussions about Monticello, the County Seat. Last fall the "12701 Youth Summit" was held at the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello. Students from Monticello gathered for the day to talk about their community, what they liked and what they would change. From the summit emerged the Youth Appearance Corps and the idea of doing something to enhance and clean-up Broadway in Monticello. In February, the Monticello community meet at the fire house to hear about the progress on projects in Monticello and to "sign on" to volunteer. From that event emerged several committees, including one that would focus on storefronts.

A call for submissions went out to all Sullivan County high schools. The work was photographed, mounted and hung in the windows creating a sidewalk art gallery. The initial installation showcases the work of students from Monticello, Eldred and Liberty High Schools. Artwork from Livingston Manor and Roscoe schools will be included during the summer.

“Sullivan County has a wealth of young artistic talent. It is important to showcase their talents and work, and nurture and support them whenever we can. These pieces reflect the voice of our youth, and our contemporary culture,” said artist Laurie Kilgore, one of the project coordinators. In addition to the prepared artwork, the Youth Economic Group of Rural Migrant Ministries will use an area to document their work through images and photographs.

The installation is being done at the Strong Building on the corner of Broadway and Landfield Avenue. The space has been made available by Mark Vrancich, who owns the building and Nature Lounge, along with his brother Scott. “We were happy to see something go into that space that would add to the changes happening on Broadway," Mark Vrancich said.

The public is invited to attend the opening reception to see the work and meet the artists, some who will be in attendance. Refreshments will be served, catered by Nature Lounge. For information or to RSVP to the reception, contact Sullivan Renaissance at 845-295-2445 or

Sullivan Striders Practice Run-Rails To Trails

First, a reminder...a week from this Sunday on July 17th, come out and be a part of it all as the Sullivan Striders host the Second Annual Rails to Trails Run and Walk. You can find more information, and print up the application form here.

Last night while working on this year's Mountaindale Beautification Project along the trail, we were fortunate to be on site when the Sullivan Striders showed up in force for a practice run for next week's BIG EVENT. Let me tell you, these people are serious about their sport, and I was amazed at how quickly they made the run.

Also pleased to announce, that they were the first group EVER to have their group picture taken in front of Mountaindale's new train as it takes shape, comes to life on the trail...thank you Sullivan Striders for taking a few minutes to let us capture the photographs we are sharing here! Looking forward to being there next Sunday to lend you a hand, and take photographs of your event. Again everyone, make sure to come down and be a part of the Second Annual Rails to Trails Run and Walk...proceeds to benefit improvements to the trail.