Sullivan County Leglisature Seeks Seneca Casino

MONTICELLO - The Sullivan County Legislature today approved an agreement with the Seneca Nation of Indians, a federally recognized sovereign Indian Nation, the Seneca Catskills Gaming Corporation, a wholly-owned corporate entity of the Nation, and Sullivan County to develop a Class III Gaming casino on 63 acres of land at exit 107 off of Route 17 (Interstate 86) in the Town of Thompson.

Sullivan County's Annual Litterpluck Scheduled For This Saturday, April 25th

MONTICELLO – Sullivan County’s Annual Litterpluck Day takes place this Saturday, April 25. All school and community groups, as well as private citizens, are urged to participate.

Fired Village Manager Misuses And Misinterprets Village Code To Attack Minority-Owned Business

A basic principle of American government is that everyone deserves equal protection under the law, including in the Village of Monticello.

Among the criticisms of the former Village administration was that the now-fired Manager targeted ethnic minorities for selective enforcement of trumped up (phony or exaggerated) Village Code violations.

The disgruntled former manager is now peddling a flier in which he falsely claims, "[Carmen] Rue has little concern for zoning. She has operated a Nail Salon in her home for years. This home occupation is in the category of barbershop/beauty parlor classification which is prohibited by zoning" [sic].

John Barbarite just doesn’t get it. He was fired as Village Manager largely because his actions were often misguided and misinformed. Still he misuses the Village Code for to fulfill his own narrow selfish interests and to curry political favor.

According to the sworn testimony of a career Building Inspector for the Sullivan County Department of Family Services, Barbarite blames the decline of his own residential neighborhood on the influx of "Spicks" (click for digital audio recording of the sworn deposition).

As a native of Peru (and U.S. citizen) who speaks with a Spanish accent, should it surprise anyone that Barbarite singles me out obsessively for repeated hateful attacks and ridicule? He is a sad and pathetic figure.

It is true that I am licensed by the State of New York as a Nail Specialist. I am proud to say that I have worked hard all my life. This fact apparently means nothing to Barbarite. He has published nearly a dozen newsletters over recent weeks, all obsessively attacking me as the only Latina member of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees.

As to Barbarite's misguided claim in his newsletter dated March 28th that my small private manicure business "is in the category of a barbershop/beauty parlor", it is clear he has not done his homework.

Before I started working out of my home as a manicurist nine years ago, I asked Village Hall what was required. The Office of the Village Attorney addressed a legal opinion to the Mayor about my request to operate a nail salon as a "home occupation" as described in the Village Code.

The Attorney cited Section 280-5: "Home occupations shall not be construed to include such uses as the following: clinic or hospital, barbershop or beauty parlor, real estate office, restaurant, animal hospital or dog kennel."

However, the opinion went on, with specific reference to my proposed business activity:

"Beauty parlor" is not defined by Village Code, and technically a nail salon is not a beauty parlor, even though nail services are customarily provided in a beauty parlor. In this instance, where the only services that will be provided are manicures, pedicures and related services, it is my opinion that these services are not specifically excluded by statute and are therefore acceptable as a home occupation. Therefore, no permit or variance is required under Village Code for this home occupation.

The above was not written by my lawyer, but by the Office of the Village Attorney of the Village of Monticello. Relying on this advice, I opened a business in my home which I continue to operate. Why has Barbarite never complained about my business before? He has certainly known about it for years. His latest attack on me is just another example of his arbitrary and capricious misuse of the Village Code to suit his purposes.

In the same document, I was granted permission to hang a sign that is "two feet in area and materials and equipment", stating that such signage would not be subject to the permission of the Design Review Board. I have not yet chosen to hang such a sign, though I may do so someday.

To me, this attitude illustrates the very type of problem behavior which led the board to fire Barbarite first as Deputy Village Manager and later as Village Manager. He does not do research before leveling false allegations of Village Code violations. He pretends to be an expert and uses his supposed expertise to go after those he doesn't like, often in a confrontational, caustic, and self-righteous manner.

Even in cases where he may have been correct on the law, Barbarite's litigious and nasty style got him (and the Village) into trouble more than once during the months he was Village Manager and Deputy Village Manager, costing many thousands of tax dollars in unnecessary legal fees. He still hasn't learned.

Fortunately for the taxpayers, Barbarite no longer holds power. He has been reduced to peddling false and misleading political hate literature, taking his unsigned fliers house-to-house like so much litter delivered by an unemployed former mailman.

We are still paying for his past mistakes.

If Barbarite comes to your house to do a so-called inspection, even if he is escorted by an official of the Village, do not let him in. He has no authority to inspect buildings on behalf of the Village of Monticello. If he enters your property unlawfully, including for the purpose of depositing unwanted papers or other trash, call the police at once.

Meanwhile, all five members of the Board of Trustees must work together to encourage more new businesses to locate in Monticello, and to be friendly to homeowners and businesses already are here.

I am committed to reaching out to all members of the board and all segments of the community for the good of Monticello. This vision and purpose should be a top priority in the Board of Trustees' selection of our next Village Manager. Bigots need not apply.

Hard Lessons Learned - Hear The Tape Yourself - Extending The Hand Of Partnership To All

Congratulations to attorney Danielle Jose for successfully arguing a case on behalf of the Village of Monticello. The Village had to pay Ms. Jose almost $7,000 in legal fees after she left office to continue defending this suit. Unfortunately for the taxpayers, the present salaried Village Attorney couldn't fit into his schedule to handle the case himself. Ms. Jose did so admirably both while and after she was Village Attorney.

The Appellate Division of NYS Supreme Court issued a decision this week affirming a January 2008 judgment by Judge Robert Sackett of Monticello. Appeals courts usually render very narrow decisions focusing on particular points of fact or law, and this case was no different.

The higher court's decision stated simply:

"Supreme Court did not abuse its discretion in denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration, which it correctly treated as a motion to renew. Petitioner failed to show a reasonable justification for failing to raise the additional facts while the proceeding was pending." [Full Text]

Appeals courts allow lower courts a certain breadth of judicial discretion. Unless an appellant can show that judicial discretion was abused or an error occurred, appeals are usually unsuccessful.

The fact that the appellate judges ruled that Judge Sackett did not exceed his discretion in denying the plaintiff's "motion for reconsideration" by treating it as a "motion to renew" says nothing about the actual merits of either the plaintiffs' or the Village's position with respect to a certain rooming house on North Street.

Wasteful and wheel-spinning lawsuits like this one are less likely to occur when code enforcement is fairly and uniformly managed.

Monticello's former village manager is a case in point. John Barbarite was fired by the Board of Trustees because of disrespectful and discriminatory language and behavior toward residents and property owners of the Village of Monticello. Barbarite himself has been the central figure of too many lawsuits against the Village of Monticello, though his name did not appear in this case. Barbarite has lost most if not all of the lawsuits he has filed against the Village of Monticello.

He is still the target of multiple Federal civil rights suits stemming from his behavior as Village Manager. Yet a few still blindly defend him.

Linked below is an audio recording of a sworn deposition taken under oath during an official investigation of Barbarite's short conduct in office. This document, in audio and written form, is a public record.

Among other statements, Barbarite referred to his neighbors on Cottage Street as "Spicks" and commented that he hoped someone would die in a fire to teach building owners to better secure vacant buildings, according to the testimony of Vincent Meyer, Building Inspector for the Sullivan County Department of Family Services, given under oath and under penalty of perjury.

Full audio recording of SWORN TESTIMONY OF SULLIVAN COUNTY DSS BUILDING INSPECTOR VINCENT MEYER IN REGARD TO JOHN BARBARITE, January 2, 2008, in which Barbarite is quoted as referring to his neighbors as "Spicks" and stating that he hopes someone dies in a fire to teach building owners to secure their premises.

Mr. Meyer is an honest, hard-working man. Unlike polygraph results, which are notoriously unreliable, his sworn testimony is credible and admissible in court. I have not spoken with him since the early 1990s when my husband and I chaperoned several "Independent Living Jamboree" youth events with him, held by Sullivan DSS at Frost Valley YMCA Camp.

But hearing Mr. Meyer, in his own voice, relate his experiences with Barbarite led me to believe Mr. Meyer. Subsequent experiences I have had with Barbarite, as the sole Latina on the Board of Trustees, have sadly removed any remaining doubt.

Searching For A Professional Manager

It is well known that the Board of Trustees is seeking a professional Village Manager. Manager Zachary Kelson has performed a valuable public service by filling in briefly at the board's request in order to prevent threatened reprisals and malfeasance in office. My respect for Mr. Kelson has been increased ten-fold by the patience and leadership he has shown amid unfair abuse heaped upon him during his short tenure.

It is also well known that the former Village Manager has lately demonstrated his complete lack of professionalism by going door-to-door with amateur newsletters produced on his home computer aimed at obsessively attacking not just me personally over and over as the only Hispanic member of the board, but also his former employer, the Village of Monticello. I can live with the attacks on me, considering the source. This man's intolerance, hatred, and ignorance are transparent and pathological. His obsession with me is scary.

Even as he demonstrates his pathology, I respect his First Amendment rights and trust the intelligence of Monticello's 7,000+ residents to see and fairly judge what's going on, including those who choose not to attend out-of-control Village Board meetings, preferring to e-mail me, call me on the phone, or talk to me in stores, in the post office, and other public places. I am truly grateful for all these kind words and I genuinely feel supported.

Barbarite's ongoing vicious public insults to individual dedicated career Village employees and private citizens are reckless and inexcusable. He has absolutely proved the wisdom of the Board of Trustees in voting to fire him not once, but twice.

We all make mistakes, including me! What's important is our willingness to learn from and not repeat them.

The entire Village of Monticello Board of Trustees must begin to work together in the best interest of our community. I have repeatedly extended my hand of partnership to all and will continue to do so. Trustees Schoonmaker and Marinello have done likewise, and I am sure they will also press forward toward better times and better conditions in Monticello.

The long local nightmare of the Barbarite era is over. He is out of power and has been reduced to pumping out silly and inaccurate newsletters, passing them out house-to-house like so much litter delivered by an unemployed former mailman.

It is time for the Village to move on.

We invite the public to join in building a better and more positive place to live, work, and play.

Trustees Take Care Of Business In The Sunshine: The Public Is Always Invited To Attend

Trustees of the Village of Monticello are committed to following the letter and spirit of the Open Meetings Law. We respect advice from NYS Committee on Open Government.

Robert Freeman of that office recently wrote an opinion that our January 8th "workshop" meeting was lawfully held, despite the fact that votes are not usually not taken in work-sessions, as I myself pointed out to Village Attorney Jacob Billig during the work-session.

Freeman guessed (based on allegations in an inquiry obviously not written by Mayor Jenkins, but signed by him) that any votes supposedly taken at our work-session would "probably" be upheld in court.

Contrary to this, our own Village Attorney Jacob Billig telephoned all five board members immediately after the January 8th meeting to admit that he found out he had given us bad legal advice and he now believed any decisions we might have made that night were of no effect because the public was not notified that actions would be taken at the meeting. My phone call from Billig came at 10:00 PM that night.

Billig was very apologetic.

I understood from the start was that the work-session was to discuss what we want from our next Village Manager. That was what we told the public. Discussion should not have strayed from this, and we never announced that we planned to take any votes at the workshop.

Billig later advised the board again, in response to a question I asked during a public session in a regular meeting of the board, that because any actions that might have been taken at the work-session were not legally binding, it was not necessary to rescind any alleged votes.

Billig's bad advice caused much confusion and, until rectified, seemed to be leading up to a lawsuit.

Internal memos from the Mayor give the impression he is colluding with twice-fired former Manager John Barbarite to file an Article 78 petition against the Village based on Freeman’s advisory opinion.

Freeman's thoughts on the January 8th meeting were based on incomplete facts, but that is now moot. It would have been against the Village's interest to provide Barbarite with a phony issue to use in another of his infamous time-wasting lawsuits.

The majority of the Board of Trustees voted with me on March 7th to rescind and void a vote supposedly taken on January 8th, removing what seemed to be a cornerstone of Barbarite's planned suit. In my opinion, it was urgent that we take this action in a timely manner before Babarite made a bigger mess of it.

Barbarite has a long history of filing pro-se lawsuits (representing himself, without an attorney) against the Village of Monticello. Over the years he has sued our municipality multiple times. He has lost every single time, but his wasteful litigation costs the Village legal fees, energy, and aggravation.

We have more important issues facing Monticello than to pay serious attention to a man who numerous people have sworn, under oath, refers to minorities in insulting terms, using racial and ethnic slurs, and who brought more than one lawsuit upon the Village by allegedly abusing his power to discriminate against minorities.

In my opinion, Barbarite seems to find frivolous lawsuits a form of recreation or entertainment that feeds his fantastic ego.

Mayor Jenkins is unwise to accept advice from a disgruntled former employee who has recently threatened to sue the Village and/or various officials. Mayor Jenkins looks foolish when he tells a newspaper that a March 7th meeting which he himself called to order and chaired was a "secret meeting". The meeting was legally called and duly noticed. Mayor Jenkins seems to be begging Barbarite to please sue him and the Village, relying on the taxpayers to cover the costs.

The Board of Trustees was right to cancel its March 2nd meeting due to a snowstorm, as attorney Billig agreed in an e-mail he sent that day to the entire board at 1:24 PM. The County of Sullivan, Town of Thompson, and Village of Monticello offices all closed early that day due to hazardous road conditions which Billig agreed were “getting worse”.

The Board of Trustees also made the right decision to move important business originally planned for March 2nd to specially scheduled sessions held on the March 4th and 7th. Had we not done so, we would have missed important deadlines for Restore-NY grant proposals and Federal stimulus funds to pay for portions of the Broadway renovation project which Barbarite cut out from the plans without the Board of Trustees’ approval before being fired.

Due and timely notice is always given to the media and public for our meetings, whether regularly scheduled or otherwise. The public is always encouraged to attend, listen, and offer appropriate feedback.

Stop The Political Thuggery! Monticello Village Trustee's Car Windshield Smashed In Driveway.

I call on law enforcement to stop the political thugs who have been harassing me and my family.

This morning we found our car's rear windshield smashed by an octagonal paving stone. The interior of the car was also damaged.

A brief report of the incident on the website of the Times Herald-Record is headlined Monticello trustee's car window shattered by stone; police looking for suspects. Hopefully, publicizing this crime will help the police identify the culprit.

Later in the day, the likely source of the stolen stone was identified as a construction site at 32 St. John Street, a few blocks from the Mayor's home on Clinton Avenue, which was reported to the police who are continuing to investigate. The stone was evidently taken from the construction site and carried across the Village to our residence with the deliberate intent of targeting my husband and me.

According to county records, the construction site at 32 St. John Street is owned by Rental Inc., which is principally owned by Brian Amiel. Is it coincidence that the felon who has been targeting ethnic minorities and political enemies for hate crimes around the Village chose this particular property to victimize by criminally trespassing and stealing paving stones? Does the have an axe to grind there too?

In a letter last year dated February 5, 2008, Mr. Amiel specifically ordered then Deputy Village Manager John Barbarite, "not to enter in or on to any of my propertis without prior notification to my attorney."

Contacted by phone on February 22nd, Mr. Amiel said he sold the St. John Street property about a year ago to Dino Rossi. On March 10, 2008, Mr. Rossi is quoted in board minutes as saying he was "indicated that he [was] proud of the Village Board" for firing Barbarite, citing similar experiences as Mr. Amiel.

These stones, neatly piled on his construction site at 23 St. John Street, are unusual in appearance, and are precisely the type the one that was used to attack my car.

Dutch Versa-Lok paving stoneAccording to its packaging, the octagonal red brick used in this hate crime was evidently imported from Branchville, New Jersey, where they manufactured by CST Pavers as part of the "Dutch Stone series" product line. To seriously investigate this felony, police should contact the manufacturer to determine whether these unusual stones have been sold to anyone else in Monticello.

Mayor Gordon Jenkins' and appointed Trustee Theodore Hutchins' silence in response to this incident has been notable. If they were not directly involved themselves, I would ask them to effectively use their connections in the community to aid police in identifying and holding the criminal(s) accountable.

The campaign of T.C. Hutchins, who is running for Village Trustee against Republican/Conservative/Independence challenger Kieth Rieber, is managed by Barbarite, just as Barbarite managed the Jenkins campaign last March.

This latest attack is part of a pattern of political harassment, coinciding this same week with the publication of two newsletters styled The People's Voice, published by disgruntled and twice-fired former Village Manager John Barbarite. Both newsletters attacked me by name. Also this week, a political button appeared my personal Trustee's mailbox warning, "SHUT UP CARMEN!" with insulting and racist imagery.

These hateful publications originated directly from members of the Hutchins campaign.

Barbarite is the same fellow who was reported under oath by a career Sullivan County employee to have attributed the deterioration of his neighborhood on Cottage Street to the influx of "Spics".

Very few people have access to Trustees' mailboxes at Village Hall, so the list of possible suspects who could have placed these items there is very short. I can say with absolute certainty that they were not put there by Deputy Mayor Schoonmaker or Trustee Marinello. Who does that leave?

As one of the only Latinas (if not the only) elected official now serving in Sullivan County, as the only woman on the board, and in light of published attacks against me for voting my conscience and speaking out on the web opposing unfair extra trashes collection charges against Landfield Avenue Synagogue and the temple's rabbi sought by the Mayor and his relative, Trustee Hutchins, I consider this assault on my home to be a hate crime.

My husband and I are grateful for Monticello police officers' work to investigate this incident. As of February 23, 2009, the case has been reassigned to the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department for investigation.

Monticello is on its way to becoming a lawless community. I was elected to serve until 2012 and my resolve has been strengthened to continue to do the right thing for Monticello, to improve conditions here. I support support law-enforcement in their efforts to catch and prosecute criminals. This incident has helped me make up my mind to run for re-election in 2012 and serve the community at least through 2016.

Added to the above, during September board meeting Mayor Jenkins physically bumped my husband in an attempt to cause a confrontation. Tom asked Jenkins if he was trying to knock him down. Jenkins replied, "If I wanted to knock you down, you'd still be lying there." He repeated this aggressive statement to a reporter the next day (link).

We all know where all these attacks are coming from. It's time for law-enforcement to reel in the thugs. There is no excuse for leniency.

To be clear, we have never said Barbarite, Hutchins, or Jenkins threw a brick through our windshield. We have said they are bigots, as shown by the literature they produce and the things they say.

The brick speaks for itself.

"Unanimously Approved On A Roll Call Vote" Means All 5 Members Were Present And All 5 Voted Yes

The Rules of Procedure of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees have been in effect for many years. Section 6 says:

"An abstention, silence or absence shall be considered a negative vote for the purposes of determining the final vote on a matter. A vote upon any question shall be taken by ayes and noes..."

A photocopied newsletter published by John Barbarite called The People's Voice, circulated around the Village today, attempts to rationalize the anti-Semitic arguments of the Mayor and his right-hand-man and puppet, T.C. Hutchins at last month's meeting, claiming that I made an error when I stated (see below) that Trustee Gordon Jenkins was present and voted "Yes" on June 18, 2007 to benefit his relative, Mr. Hutchins.

The minutes are unclear about the time during the meeting when Trustee Jenkins walked into the room. But the explicit report that the vote which financially benefited Hutchins was "unanimous" means Jenkins was present (assuming, of course, the minutes are correct).

On June 18, 2007, either Trustee Jenkins arrived late for the meeting and the Village Clerk failed to note it in the minutes, or her record of the outcome on the resolution is wrong where it says the vote to give Mr. Hutchins a break on his water bill passed "unanimously".

Does he now wish he recuse himself because of his family relationship to Mr. Hutchins? It's too late.

Mr. Barbarite is the core of the Hutchins campaign, hoping to get his job back yet again after having been fired twice by the Board of Trustees in the last two years -- first for referring to his neighbors on Cottage Street as "Spics", then for a host of other reasons.

If Trustee Jenkins truly failed to attend the June 2007 meeting, the minutes are in error where they say Mr. Hutchins' was "unanimously approved". But is there a difference? Either way, the minutes are wrong, but the financial benefit to (and hypocrisy of) Mr. Hutchins is the same.

In the minutes of the next meeting, July 9, 2007, it was "unanimously approved on a roll call vote to adopt the minutes of the meeting of June 18, 2007 as presented."

Once again, "unanimously approved" means all were present and all voted "Yes" -- 5 to 0. There can be no other meaning of "unanimous" under the Village Board's own rules of procedure.

This example illustrates why it is important for members of the Board of Trustees to correct errors in the minutes before voting to approve them. If Mr. Jenkins truly didn't bother to attend the meeting that night, as he now claims, he obviously couldn't have voted to benefit his relative, Mr. Hutchins. However, the minutes themselves (which he voted "Yes" to approve at the following meeting) show otherwise.

It's time for Monticello to move on from the childish bickering and attack politics of the Jenkins/Hutchins/Barbarite era. It's time to stop the insanity and to politely show Mayor Jenkins' hand-picked relative, Mr. Hutchins, whom Jenkins appointed to the board last April, the door.

The People's Voice, published by John Barbarite

Anti-Semitic Bias Vs. Synagogue And Rabbi; Or Just Hypocrisy?

Mayor Jenkins and his family have repeatedly alleged that the Board of Trustees fired the former Village Manager, John Barbarite, because of anti-Black bias. This is patently absurd and divisive, in part because of Mr. Barbarite's history of blatantly racist remarks about a number of ethnic groups, according to the sworn testimony of multiple plaintiffs and credible witnesses.

Evidence recently came to light that Landfield Avenue Synagogue and the residence of the temple's Rabbi were consistently being overcharged for trash pick-up fees with knowledge of the former Manager and present Mayor. When the Department of Public Works was asked to investigate, career employees determined that an overcharge had occurred. A recommendation was made that the overcharge be reversed. Monticello attorney Henri Shawn appeared, pro bono, representing the temple, asking for a reasonable reduction in the penalty charges for the incorrect bills which had piled up. Trustees Marinello, Schoonmaker, and I agreed.

Trustee T.C. Hutchins and Mayor Gordon Jenkins argued visciously against the adjustment on the wrongful fees fees, each of them making long speeches attacking the synagogue, the Rabbi, and even brings an unrelated Jewish bungalow colony into the discussion.

In my view, this is simple anti-Semitism, which does not suprise me because I have experienced anti-Latina racism from the same men, as well as the former Village Manager. Mayor Jenkins and Trustee Hutchins had no reason to bring the bungalow colony into the discussion. The matter on the agenda pertained only to the overcharges and penalties against the Landfield Avenue Synagogue and the Rabbi's home.

There is also an element of hypocricy at work. In 2007, Mr. Theodore Hutchins appeared before the Village Board of Trustees, hat in hand, begging for an adjustment of his water bill. There appears to be a double standard with Mr. Hutchins, as evidenced by the following resolution from the minutes:

MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2007
* * *


Ted Hutchins explained that he is challenging the determination of the sewer charges that he was billed since the charges are for filling his pool. He noted that last December he received $1,400 water/sewer bill and was advised to speak with the Water Department regarding these charges. The Water Department informed him that the reason for the high bill was because the water department had been unable to read his meter in two years and this was an actual reading. He has since had a remote meter installed to allow the water meter reader to get a reading without entering the building. He is requesting the penalty fee in the amount of approximately $200 be waived.

Water Superintendent Clarence Decker explained that he that two year time period the meter reader had left postcards in his doorway so he could read his own meter and mail back to the Village at no charge to him. He explained when someone fills there pool in the summer the homeowner needs to make a request to the sewer department to adjust the water used for that purpose only, and the bill will be corrected. He did not feel any of the extra water usage comes from filling his pool, even if it was three times last summer.

Trustee VanDermark felt the penalty amount should not be removed only the amount due the for the pool fill.

A motion was made by Trustee Marinello, seconded by Trustee Schoonmaker, unanimously approved on a roll call vote to reduce the amount owed on Utility Account 2736 be reduced to $103.59.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES RULES OF PROCEDURE: "Section 6. VOTING. Pursuant to Village Law each member of the Board shall have one vote. The Mayor may vote on any matter but must vote in case of a tie. A majority of the totally authorized voting power is necessary to pass a matter unless otherwise specified by State law. An abstention, silence or absence shall be considered a negative vote for the purposes of determining the final vote on a matter. A vote upon any question shall be taken by ayes and noes, and the names of the member present and their votes shall be entered in the minutes."

Sullivan County Action Toward Independence Opens Agency Offices On Broadway In Monticello

On January 8th, Action Toward Independence opened a new office at 209 Broadway, Monticello. Pictured above is the grand opening and official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

ATI is part of the New York Association on Independent Living. The local chapter was established in 1988 to serve Sullivan and Orange County residents by representing and advocating for the rights, needs and viewpoints of people with disabilities; empowering them to control the direction of their own lives, choosing their goals, plotting their course and taking responsibility for their actions and the results.

The above video combines clips of New York Senator John J. Bonacic and Assembly Member Aileen A. Gunther who spoke at the grand opening ceremony. Video and photos by Carmen Rue and others.

A Quorum And A Minyan Light Broadway's Menorah As Hanukkah Ushers In Holiday Spirit

Menorah lighting in ront of Sullivan County Court HouseMembers of Monticello's community united to celebrate the start of Hanukkah on December 21st with Rabbi Benzion Chanowitz of Landfield Avenue Synagogue lighting the menorah in front of the court house, knee-deep in snow.

Rabbi Chanowitz related the story of the Maccabees' heroic stand against tyranny and the miraculous enlightenment of liberty's defenders, a parable for modern times; tossing chocolate gelt to children and adults alike and sharing jelly rolls.

Four members of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees (Mayor Gordon Jenkins, Deputy Mayor Scott Schoonmaker, and Trustees Carmen Rue and T.C. Hutchins), Village Manager Zachary Kelson, County Court Judge Burton Ledina, and Thompson Justice Martin Miller, and a diverse score of participants danced, sang traditional songs, and united in celebrating the victory of Light and freedom over darkness and slavery.


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