Photo by Flickr user Jeremy Bernstein. Published under Creative Commons license.
Help! We have too many capital letters in the alphabet as we try to repair damage from Hurricanes Irene and Lee and the recent deluge. I am convinced that if we could just trade in some of these capitals for some lowercase ones, we would be much better off.
Our problem is we, in Olive, have a business district still covered in mud and in need of cleaning crews, plumbers, carpenters and electricians. Notice that they are all spelled in lower case letters. They are being held up by funds from FEMA and various insurance companies with too many capitals in their title.
To complicate matters, agencies like the DEC have jurisdiction over some areas, and the DEP has jurisdiction over others. When roads wash out, highway departments divide into UC (Ulster County), S of NY (State of New York) or T of O (Town of Olive). We could call in the Army Corps. of Engineers (U. S. of A.) to help with the reconstruction. The bottom line, however, is that the GOP and the DEMS on State and Federal levels have yet to agree on funding that will pay for all these organizations to help.
Take, for example, the task of removing trees from a stream. The access road is County of Ulster. No one can own the stream, so the trees have to be picked up. removed and put somewhere before the creek or stream bed can be dug out and re-contoured to divert water. To where? Who knows? No one, these days, wants more of the muddy stuff. There seems to be no one CAPITAL LETTER agency that can coordinate the EPA, DEC, DEP, NYC, UC, FEMA, and AC of E. We need loggers, bulldozers, excavators, and cherry-pickers -- again, all lower case letters., but they can't begin to work until all these capital-lettered groups sort out who does what. (And, what's more important, who pays for what.)
Know who is making money? Whoever prints the reams of paper and produces the red tape and hoops to jump through for permission and funding. Time to rebel against capital letters and let the lower-case alphabet get to work. The only capital letters Olive, Shandaken, Margaretville, Prattsville, Windham and Schoharie need right now can be written in the silt and mud. Those letters are H-E-L-P!
Olive resident and former Onteora English teacher Carol LaMonda was the author of a long-running column in the Olive Press, "A Jar Of Olives," before the paper closed down in 2010. We're delighted to feature her writing on the Watershed Post and its Olive town news page.