Photos by Kathleen Aitken

NEW YORK STATE (September 18, 2014) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently signed legislation (A1896/S6675) that requires property owners to notify their local governments whenever a newly constructed or rehabilitated residential structure is comprised of a truss type, pre-engineered wood or timber construction. While this construction method is safe for normal use, it can also become fragile and collapse with little or no warning when exposed to fire. This required notification process will allow local governments to provide fire departments and first responder organizations with information about buildings that employ this particular construction design.

“First responders put their lives on the line to protect those around them. It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure that they come home safely, and this law is a crucial way to live up to that charge,” Governor Cuomo said. “This legislation will help ensure that our firefighters and emergency personal are made aware of potentially dangerous situations before it’s too late. I thank Senator Martins and Assemblywoman Schimel for their work on this important issue, and I am proud to sign this bill into law.”

Truss type, pre-engineered wood or timber construction is often undetectable without advanced notice, and there have been multiple occasions in recent years where first responders were injured or killed while responding to fires in buildings that utilize this particular construction method and ultimately collapsed.

Under the law, property owners outside of New York City must indicate on a building permit application if this construction method is being used, in addition to affixing a sign or symbol to an electrical box on the building’s exterior. After being notified by a homeowner of the presence of this particular construction method, local governments must also inform the relevant first responders, including the local fire department, district or company, the county fire coordinator, local 911 and emergency dispatchers. The law takes effect on January 1, 2015.

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SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY (September 17, 2014) – At the September 16, 2014 Public Safety and Law Enforcement Legislative Committee meeting at the Sullivan County Government Center, District Attorney James Farrell thanked the County Legislature for approving a new investigative position in May 2014 for  The  Family Violence Response Team (FVRT). The purpose of the multi-disciplinary team is to investigate reported incidences of suspected child abuse and neglect.

Since the Legislature approved two additional positions in the Family Violence Response Team in May 2014, the full team now comprises four Child Protective Case workers, a new Managing Attorney position, the investigator from the DA’s office and an investigator from the New York State Police. With the increase in dedicated staff, the Family Violence Response Team has been able to take on more cases. There have been fifty petitions of child abuse filed in the last five months between May and August 2014 compared to 50 per year prior to 2012 when there were fewer dedicated staff members.

On Tuesday, District Attorney James Farrell highlighted the success of the increased multi-disciplinary team over the last five months. The District Attorney’s Office and the Commissioner of Health and Family Services staff have been researching the possibility of creating a Children’s Advocacy Center, with a location at the Division of Family Services complex in Liberty NY. DA Farrell said that the Center would follow successful models adopted in Westchester and other surrounding New York Counties that have received grant funding for operations.

Health and Family Services Commissioner Randy Parker said the proposed Children’s Advocacy Center would include specialized forensic pediatric nurses and dedicated staff in a child-friendly environment. Children need to feel safe when being interviewed and  having a safe environment, will help reduce the trauma. Commissioner Parker continued “We have the new Director of Services currently attending training to create a Child Advocacy Center. We are working with a child abuse treatment specialist from Westchester and have been working on protocols with schools, social services and legal counsel to improve services and lessen the bureaucratic process. All these measures are crucial in making Sullivan County children safer.”

Public Safety and Law Enforcement Committee Chair Edwards commented: “It is critical that we have a fully active team and move toward a proposed Child Advocacy Center to protect neglected and abused children in our County – children who are our most vulnerable and need the fullest protection of the law.”

How to Report Suspected Child Abuse: 1-800-342-3720: Statewide Hotline. Call this number to report an incidence of suspected child abuse. Your call may remain anonymous if you so choose. Your call will be investigated by a New York State Department of Social Services expert.  In case of emergency please call 911 with location details.

HARRIS, NY (September 16, 2014) – Catskill Regional Medical Center’s Harris Campus has been named a designated Stroke Center by the New York MCA Territory Infarct.svgState Department of Health. According to New York State protocol, emergency responders should always transport stroke patients to the nearest designated stroke center when they present symptoms and signs of a stroke.

As a designated Stroke Center, Catskill Regional has an expert Stroke Team comprised of highly trained physicians, nurses and technicians that can treat stroke quickly and effectively, using the latest medicines and techniques, to minimize brain damage. Having quick access to these types of services within the first three hours of showing symptoms of a stroke is essential to preventing long-term neurological damage.

“This designation signifies our ability to rapidly assess our patients and get them the treatment they need, states Chief Medical Officer and Chief Executive Officer, Gerard Galarneau, MD. “Now, people who show signs of a stroke can be cared for right in their own community, receiving quality stroke care and minimizing the affects that a stroke can cause. ”

A stroke, or brain attack, occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel or artery, or when a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When a brain attack occurs, it kills brain cells in the immediate area. Doctors call this area of dead cells an infarct. These cells usually die within minutes to a few hours after the stroke starts.

“We want to remind area residents to call 911 immediately if they begin to experience symptoms of a stroke — sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and/or sudden, severe headache with no known cause,” said Medical Director of the Stroke Center Dr. Carlos Holden. “In the case of a stroke, every minute counts.”

Additionally, Catskill Regional’s Harris and Callicoon Campuses have constant contact with qualified specialists, regardless of the time of day or weather, through the use of “Doctor Polly” or a “Doc on Wheels.” Doctor Polly is state-of-the-art technology used to help diagnose stroke and other illnesses by remote consultation. This technology was funded with a New York State HEAL 125 grant and was specifically allocated for enhancing services to Catskill Regional’s Emergency Department. Doctor Polly is manufactured by Polycom and is a mobile cart used for bedside consultations between patients and off-site specialists that can also be used to facilitate rapid diagnosis of stroke.

For additional information, call 845-794-3300 or visit www.crmcny.org/strokecenter.

UNITED STATES (September 15, 2014) – More than a book a day faces expulsion from free and open public access in US schools and libraries every year.

There have been more than 10,000 attempts since the American Library Association (ALA) began electronically compiling and publishing information on book challenges in 1990. Thirty-two years after the first observance of Banned Books Week there are still attempts to remove books from public library shelves.

In one case, the Plymouth-Canton school district in Michigan considered banning both Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and Graham Swift’s “Waterland” after complaints from some parents of objectionable content. Both books were eventually allowed to stay on school shelves after a review committee heard from teachers, students and parents in support of the books during public meetings. But, unfortunately, even with the help of outspoken supporters, books are still being removed.

"Forever" by Judy Blume was one of more than 70 titles a Fayetteville, Ark., mother requested be removed in 2010. Twenty-five years earlier, the book was restricted in the Park Hill (Mo.) South Junior High School library because the book promotes "the stranglehold of humanism on life in America."

"Throughout history, there always have been a few people who don’t want information to be freely available. And this is still true. We hope to remind Americans that the ability to read, speak, think and express ourselves freely is a right, not a privilege," said ALA President Courtney Young. "The reason more books aren’t banned is because community residents – with librarians, teachers and journalists – stand up and speak out for their freedom to read. Banned Books Week reminds us that we must remain vigilant."

The ALA and the Ramapo Catskill Library System are endorsing the observance of Banned Books Week September 21 – 27, an annual celebration of our right to access books without censorship. This observance commemorates the most basic freedom in a democratic society – the freedom to read freely – and encourages us not to take this freedom for granted.

Banned Books Week 002“Banned Books Week is about choice and respecting the rights of others to choose for themselves and their families what they wish to read,” says Robert Hubsher, Executive Director of the Ramapo Catskill Library System. “Book banning and challenging has a domino effect. If we stand by and let the first book come off the shelf, we run the risk they will all come tumbling down. American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people.”

There were 307 known attempts to remove books in 2013. Challenges are defined as formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. About 70 percent of challenges take place in schools and school libraries. According to Barbara M. Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five remain unreported.

"We are as busy as we’ve ever been in fighting censorship attempts in schools and libraries," Jones said. "Libraries are no longer simply about books – but also about DVDs, videogames and online information."

The top five most challenged books in 2013 reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey

2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James

5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the ALA, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Now, more than ever, celebrate the freedom to read @ your library! Remember, think for yourself and let others do the same. Elect to read an old favorite or a new banned book this week.

Story and photos by Carol Montana

MONTICELLO, NY (September 14, 2014) – On Thursday, September 11,  2014, the Monticello Fire Department IMG_9742(MFD) paid tribute to the memory of the fallen of the September 11m 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93.

The event included the salute to the American flag led by a local boy scout troop, the Star Spangled Banner sung by Mobilemedic owner and paramedic Albee Bockman, and a keynote speech by Bold Gold Media Group owner Vince Benedetto. The ceremony, which also included a wreath presentation and a photo of the twin towers, was broadcast live by Thunder 102, a Bold Gold Media station.

IMG_9766The members of the MFD stood at “parade rest” during the ceremony, as Alan Kesten introduced Benedetto, who said that he’d had “the occasion to speak in front of many groups for a variety of topics over the years, but I can honestly say that I have never been so touched and so honored than to be here with you today.”

Benedetto shared his experiences with the Air Force OSI (Office of Special IMG_9737Investigations), and the time leading up to and during the events of September 11th. “I’ve also never spoken publicly  about my thoughts and feelings related to the significance of this day 13 years ago. And to be able to share some of those memories and perspectives with you is a true blessing.”

“… There’s a misconception out there that prior to the attacks of September 11th that there was little or no warning that an attack was likely. Far from it… shortly after arriving in Europe our work IMG_9753increasingly became focused around the possibility that Al Qaida was likely to attempt a spectacular attack in the near future. While the specifics were not there, the M.O. of this group, prior to an attempted attack was indicating that something was in the works. Agents were tasked to attempt to get the specifics, and based on the information in hand, most analysts had assessed that there was a high likelihood of an attempted attack coming soon at either a diplomatic post or a military base overseas.IMG_9764

“As a result military bases, particularly those oversees, had all moved to heightened states of alert… and around September 7th of 2001, I traveled from my base in Italy to our United States Air Forces in Europe Command HQs, often called USAFE, located at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. I was there to assist in helping to analyze our force protection measures.

“And then a moment that I will never forget happened… In Germany it was mid-afternoon at the time. I walked out of a USAFE conference room where we had been working…

IMG_9780 “I know you know how personal this must have felt… in my line of work, we’re not supposed to let this happen… so my agency and the CI community of course took this very hard… we were angry. We wanted the gloves to come off, like we had been wanting for a long time, so that we could go after these guys everywhere they were. Up until now this had been mostly a law enforcement and investigative fight… for every bad guy agents took off the streets, by the time we navigated through the global bureaucracy, it seemed like three more popped up! But we would get our chance before too long.”

IMG_9819Benedetto spoke then about the “the out-pouring of support around the globe,” which “led to unprecedented cooperation among law enforcement and counter-intelligence agencies….

“There’s a John F. Kennedy quote etched in granite right near his gravesite in Arlington Cemetery…taken from his Inaugural address: ‘In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger… I do not shrink from this responsibility, I welcome it.’ And that’s true… as evidenced by those of you hear today… Our nation has always paid a high price for freedom, but it’s one we were always willing to pay… and when the moment came “we the people…” have always risen to the occasion. …

IMG_9813“I want to say this… specifically to you as Firefighters. When I stood in the United States Air Forces Command Center in Europe, and I saw the firefighters running into those buildings… I want you to know that right there, you inspired all of us in the Armed Forces… And when those buildings fell, and we knew so many of those brave souls were in there… you steeled our resolve to do whatever it would take to fight back and go after those who dared to attack our homeland like that. And every day thereafter, when fellow airmen and soldiers and I took the fight to these cowards, wherever on the planet they were hiding, your bravery, and what you stood for and continue to stand for, is what so often sustained us!

“… You know that danger is always out there, and regardless, you have IMG_9812accepted a life where you are willing and ready to rush into the flames to protect your neighbors, your community, and your countrymen.

“I don’t know that there will ever be a day more etched in my memory than September 11 of 2001. I do know that my memories of that day are not dominated by terror or destruction… Because of people like you, and your example, and that of my fellow soldiers… my memories are of courage, hope and resilience. And that example set by the firemen and all the emergency responders, remains one of the greatest displays of character and virtue ever seen on the face of this earth… Having traveled much of the world, I firmly believe that no country could have responded the way we did… And because of technology, because of radio and television … we all got to see and hear the greatest of courage on display. …

“…that is why today we pay respect to those we lost and honor their memory… but we celebrate their lives… and we IMG_9788celebrate the rising out of the ashes of that day of our country and this State. And on behalf of my fellow members of the Armed Forces, and on behalf of this wonderful community, I want to thank you for setting that example of service…and always being ready… not just on 11 September…today, tomorrow, and always. …”

HIGHLAND, NY (September 13, 2014) – Enjoy the fall foliage and help celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Trailkeeper.org, the one-source outlet for information about hiking trails and public lands in Sullivan County.

The hike happens on Saturday, September 20 from beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Hickok Brook Multiple Use Area on Baker Road in the town of Highland, NY.

The hike and event are co-sponsored by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Catskill Forest Association, Bushcraft USA and the Trailkeeper partners. Tree and forestry experts will provide an interesting narrative as we hike a moderate trail with a fair amount of elevation change. Trailkeerer says that this is a great hike for families with older children. 

Along the way, there will be hands-on demonstrations to provide guidance on the proper way to care for and maintain our local trails.

Participation is free but pre-registration is strongly encouraged. The public can register with Catskill Mountainkeeper by e-mailing or calling Erin Burch at erin@catskillmountainkeeper.org or by calling 845-707-1326. Please register by September 19.

Visit www.trailkeeper.org and search for “Hickock Brook” for additional information and directions. 

Since its launch in 2012, Trailkeeper.org has inspired residents and visitors alike to explore Sullivan County’s great outdoors and nearby dining, lodging and attractions. In less than 2 years, the website has received over 114,000 page hits.

Trailkeeper.org is a partnership between the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management, the Sullivan County Visitors Association, Cornell Cooperative Extension — Sullivan County, and Morgan Outdoors, with support from the National Park Service, NY/NJ Trail Conference, Sullivan Renaissance, Clif Bar Family Foundation and the Upper Delaware Council.

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY (September 10, 2014) – On October 11 at a reception and ceremony at 3:00 p.m. in the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum Bob Popovics, Paul Schullery, Joseph Bates, Jr. and R.B. Marston will be inducted into the Flyfishing Hall of Fame.

A recognition dinner for inductees and the award of the Lee Wulff Conservation
Award to John Waldron will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Wulff Gallery adjacent to the museum.

The Fly Fishing Hall of Fame was established in 1989 to recognize those who
have made a significant contribution to fly fishing and located at the Catskill Fly
Fishing Center in Livingston Manor, NY. All those honored are memorialized with
an individual cast bronze plaque attached to the exterior of the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum.

image Paul Schullery A scholar in nature and history, Paul has challenged his interests and energies into one of the most recognized authors on flyfishing history
and the nature writing. Paul was the Executive Director of the American Fly Fishing Museum from 1977-1982, before moving to Livingston, MT where he
worked as an independent researcher and writer. His first book published in 1976, Old Yellowstone Days, opened the door to many, followed by his latest the Fishing Life: An Angler’s Tales of Wild Rivers and Other Restless Metaphors in 2013. One title immediately comes to mind is American Fly Fishing: A History
published in 1987.

image Col. Joseph Bates, Jr. – From his earliest book Spinning for American Game Fish in 1947 to the 1996 book entitled Fishing Atlantic Salmon: The Flies and Patterns, Joe will be remembered as one of the authoritative historians and authors of all time. His Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing together with Atlantic Salmon Flies and Fishing provides the fish, the flies, the inventors and techniques required to take both fresh and saltwater fish under the surface.

image Bob Popovics is considered one of the
“Big Three” (Kreh, Clouser@) for his innovations in flyfishing predominantly for saltwater fly fishing of today. It was Bob who initiated the ‘match the hatch’ mentality for saltwater patterns since the late 1970’s, after his mentoring
by Poul Jorgensen. He was inducted into the Freshwater Hall of Fame in 1998, has been actively involved with Striped Bass conservation initiatives. He is a world renowned leader and proponent of saltwater fly designs and concepts, author and spokesman.

image R.B. Marston is best known as the editor of England’s Fishing Gazette in the late 1800’s to early 1920’s. It was Marston who introduced Theodore Gordon and the American fly fishing for trout to the world through Gordon’s writings and articles in the ‘Gazette’. Marston was also an author and editor of other fishing books of the time including publishing the 100th edition of The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative Man’s Recreation; the Lea and Dove edition, 1888. In this historical edition, Marston shares his personal interpretation, insights and observations on angling, making this a most collectible book. In his 1894
book, Walton and the Earlier Writers On Fish and Fishing, is a compilation of important writing from the philosophers who Marston felt contributed to the evolution of the art and culture of angling up to the late 1800’s. This book continues to be a reference book for angling historians to this day. It should be noted that as editor of the Fishing Gazette, Maston’s contributions united the world of modern flyfishing.


The Lee Wulff Conservation Award was established by Joan Wulff in 2003 to recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation of wild game fish and their
habitat through protection of the waters, catch and release and/or education programs for youngsters.

The Lee Wulff Conservation Award is not an annual award. Since inception recipients have been: Philip Chase 2003; Gardner Grant 2004;
Steven Sloan 2005; and Bob Boyle 2009.

imageFor his dedication to the education and introduction of thousands of students to flyfishing, John Waldron will be presented the Lee Wulff Conservation Award after the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame Dinner on Saturday, October 11, in the Wulff

Over his past 36+ year involvement with The Brotherhood of the Junglecock, John has done it all. He started as a student, taught both flytying and flyfishing, served as officers and president in both the Pennsylvania and Parent Maryland
Chapters and, with Stan Zattosky founded the NY Chapter of the Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock (BOJC) with their first campfire in 1997. After serving six years as NY/BOJC, John remains very active with the chapter overseeing
program development, operations and management of the organization.










Reception and installation ceremony is a no charge event. The following dinner is $65 per person and space is limited. For further information please contact the Center via email: flyfish@catskill.net or call 845-439-4810.

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