NYT on dairy farmer suicide

The New York Times paints a devastating portrait of Dean Pierson, the Copake dairy farmer who shot and killed 51 of his cows and then himself last month.

George Beneke, the family vet for 40 years, said Dean Pierson was a good farmer, just as his father was. But being a good farmer gave Helmer Pierson a successful farm to pass down to his son and being a good farmer gave Dean Pierson a life where you worked a 15-hour day and at the end of it handed someone a $100 bill for the privilege.


Gilboa landowner sues summer camp for $1.25 million

The former owner of a shuttered Gilboa resort is suing the site's new owners, accusing them of fraud, stealing his golf cart, hot-wiring his tractor, and letting animals trample his lawn.

In 2006, Jerome J. Gauthier sold the site of the former Golden Acres resort in Schoharie County to Oorah, Inc., a New-Jersey-based organization that runs Jewish Girl Zone, a girls-only summer camp with a mission of “awakening Jewish children and their families to their heritage.”

Last May, Gauthier filed a complaint in state court demanding $1.25 million from Oorah and its CEO, Eliyohu Mintz, for breaching an agreement to buy more of his land. On January 8, the case was transfered to federal court, where a hearing is scheduled for March 4. 


Delaware County formally accuses Cuomo of violating 1997 agreement

Delaware County Board of Supervisors chairman Jim Eisel submitted a grievance today to the Watershed Protection and Partnership Council.

**Update: It has come to our attention that the letter below is a draft.

***Update 2: The county has sent it to the WPPC.

In the letter, Eisel claims that:

the actions of the Attorney General in creating his own set of regulations for the management of excess pharmaceuticals and forcing small poor rural health care facilities to implement his program subject to fines, stipulated penalties, his attorney fees, and without any opportunity to negotiate a practicable and legal solution has destroyed the trust created by the MOA and destroyed any sense of security that the upstate communities had that the MOA would ensure that the State, EPA and the City would operate openly, in good faith and in cooperation with their upstate partners in protecting the City Water Supply.

Full text below.


The Internet: Local writer's doing it right

Never mind dancing hamsters. This is what the internet was made for.

Mt. Tremper writer Tony Fletcher, whose jazz-to-punk history of the New York music scene, All Hopped Up And Ready To Go, came out last year, has teamed up with 8tracks.com on an online radio station playing the music he chronicles in the book. It's a work in progress. Fletcher is going chapter by chapter, starting with the Harlem jazz scene in the 1920s.

It's pretty cool stuff, and a testament to how many powerful tools the web is offering now. Not long ago, a project like this would have required serious tech skills.

Having 8tracks.com at my back will enable me to focus on what I do best, writing about music rather than programming software.


Who needs baggage anyway?

SUNY New Paltz student Steve Deffabia reports that his study abroad program in Cardiff has gotten off to a rocky start:

We get to the baggage claim area where it is just me, Nina, and Christine waiting for our luggage. Christine grabs hers. Nina snatches hers off the conveyer belt. I wait. Approximately 30 seconds later, a gentleman politely comes over and informs me that ‘if my luggage has not yet arrived… it will not be arriving.’ …great. 

But still, I’m in Wales!

He'll be blogging regularly from his program, along with a few other SUNY New Paltz students.


Are you local? A guide to supporting your neighborhood organic dairy farmer

Sad fact: Even in the world of organic, not all milk is created equal. Dairy farmer Dean Sparks breaks it down.

I live in Upstate NY, and I frequently check the dairy code numbers on products. Many organic products touting the “local” claim are actually made in California, Colorado and Wisconsin. Not exactly local.

You’ll find this especially true if you are buying the store brand “private label” milks from large grocery chains like Target, Safeway, Kroger, and many others. Many of these chains purchase cheap “organic” milk from large CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) out West. Do they know they are doing this? Sure they do, but they think that you, their loyal customer, are seeking value for your dollar in these tough economic times. And sure, we all are.

But not for the cost of our integrity.

Sparks has some tips for finding out what kind of farm your milk comes from, and how far it traveled to get to your fridge.

Stephen Colbert to Eliot Spitzer

From the Colbert Report last night:

Ben Bernanke--who oversaw the collapse of not only the United States, but pretty much the entire world’s financial system, and brought our economy to its knees--has been reappointed as head of the Fed. Does this give you hope for being re-elected governor of New York?

Because, may I remind you: He screwed everybody.

Redlich vs. Lazio

At the Kingston Progressive blog, Ulster County legislator Mike Madsen weighs in on Warren Redlich, a Tea Party/libertarian type who's looking to topple Rick Lazio in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Question is, what are the chances of the New York Republican machine letting Warren even get his campaign started before they work their magic?



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