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NEW YORK STATE (August 26, 2015) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation to protect children across New York State from exposure to 2000px-No_Smoking.svg second-hand smoke. The bill prohibits individuals from smoking near schools while after-school programs are in operation.

“This commonsense measure will help protect children from the dangerous effects of second-hand smoke and complements ongoing efforts that have resulted in smoking in New York hitting an all-time low," Governor Cuomo said. “I thank the sponsors for their efforts to make this a stronger and healthier New York."

This bill (S.993-A/A.5917-A) expands the ban on smoking within 100 feet of the entrances, exits or outdoor areas of public and private schools to prohibit smoking during after-school programs. The ban would be in effect only during those hours in which the after-school programs are in session. Residences or residential property within the 100 foot perimeter would be excluded from the new law’s smoking ban. In addition, the new law requires such programs to post signs specifying the times at which smoking is prohibited.

Photos by Carol Montana

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY (August 24, 2015) – The Livingston IMG_9255Manor Labor Day Festival is good old-fashioned family fun! The event will be  held on Sunday, September 6.

This year the pre-festival activities will include a 5K run at 10:00 a.m. and fun runs for kids at 11:00 a.m., both starting on Main Street.

Festival activities will open in Renaissance Park (near the traffic light on Main Street) at 11:00 a.m. starting with music by Doug Rogers and the Backseat Drivers who will be followed by guitarist Cat Wilson and a talent show highlighting the abilities of local youth.

IMG_9447 The talent show will be opened by the gifted singer Tessa Nettleton, 8thgrader and last year’s talent show winner. Children can have fun with country-fair-style games, face painting and crafts.

Library volunteers will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers from Snowdance Farm, and Thai food will be available from Sweet Basil. Visitors will find vendors with child-friendly products including handmade toys and dolls; view vintage cars from local car clubs and browse the colossal book sale.

IMG_9648Three beautiful handmade quilts will be raffled off to benefit the library; the Livingston Manor Central School (LMCS) 8th grade class will hold a bake sale; and the LMCS teachers will have free iced coffee for festival-goers.

This event is sponsored by the Livingston Manor Library and the Livingston Manor Chamber of Commerce with support from Global Natural Foods, Livingston Manor Rotary Club, Jeff Bank and M&M Auto Group.

Proceeds benefit the children’s programs of the Livingston Manor Library. For more information call (845)439-5440. To register for the 5K run, go to livingstonmanorlibrary.org for a printable registration form or active.com to register online.

NEW YORK STATE (August 23, 2015) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that New York State is expanding its efforts to prevent Ask Me Logocolorectal cancer, the state’s second leading cause of cancer death. Over five years, $8 million in federal grants will go toward new screening initiatives that will be administered by the New York State Department of Health. Each year, nearly 10,000 New Yorkers develop colorectal cancer and more than 3,000 die as a result, however with regular screenings, many of these diagnoses and deaths can be prevented.

"Early detection is the key to successfully fighting this form of cancer and this funding will go a long way toward educating New Yorkers on the benefits of early screening," Governor Cuomo said. "I thank our federal partners for helping secure this funding and helping make this a stronger, healthier New York."
Colorectal cancer screenings look for small growths or ‘polyps’ that could turn into cancer. Most colon cancers start from these small growths, but if found through screening they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Early stage colorectal cancer may not always cause symptoms, making regular screenings the key to early detection.

This 5-year grant, awarded from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will support the expansion of screening efforts by the Department of Health’s Bureau of Chronic Disease Control in traditionally underserved and high need areas in the North Country, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester and New York City. The first component provides $732,400 per year to support work with Federally Qualified Health Centers and Medicaid Managed Care Plans for evidence-based interventions that promote regular colorectal cancer screenings. This includes providing feedback to providers about patients eligible for, but not up to date with screening, sending patient reminders and implementing strategies to reduce barriers like transportation assistance and paid time off for cancer screening. Specific organizations slated for funding are yet to be determined.

The second component provides $915,500 per year to target eligible uninsured and underinsured residents between the ages of 50 and 64 years in the Bronx, an area identified as having an elevated level of late-stage colorectal cancer cases. In addition to providing funding for the screening tests, this grant will support patient navigators at three key New York City Health and Hospital Corporation health facilities, all serving the uninsured in the Bronx: Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, North Central Bronx Hospital and Jacobi Medical Center. The use of patient navigators has been shown to be a highly effective strategy for removing barriers and facilitating screening completion.

Both components support the objectives outlined in the New York State Prevention Agenda 2013-2017 and the New York State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan, as well as the Department of Health’s work to achieve an 80 percent colorectal cancer screening rate by 2018. Funding levels for both components beyond the first year are contingent upon the availability of federal funding.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer can include having blood in the stool, stomach pain with changes in bowel movements, or losing weight unexpectedly. New Yorkers with any of those symptoms should speak to their physician immediately.

All New Yorkers age 50 and older should get screened for colorectal cancer. Those with a personal or family history of colon polyps, colon cancer, or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease are at a higher risk. These individuals should talk to their doctors about when to begin screening and how often they should be tested. If colorectal cancer is found early, treatment can be very effective. In addition to regular screenings, all New Yorkers, regardless of age, can reduce their risk for colorectal cancer by quitting smoking or never starting, maintaining a healthy diet, limiting alcohol use and increasing their physical activity.

Individuals who have insurance, including Medicaid and insurance through health plans participating in the NY State of Health, can obtain colorectal cancer screening by talking to their physician.

For individuals without insurance, DOH’s Cancer Services Program offers colorectal, breast and cervical cancer screening to eligible individuals in every county in the state. To find a local Cancer Services Program near you, visit http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/services/community_resources/ or call 1-866-442-CANCER (2262).

Average blood-alcohol content of motorists caught driving while impaired statewide more than .14—nearly twice the legal limit

NEW YORK STATE (August 22, 2015) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed New York State Police to ramp up enforcement efforts as part of a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Overnational crackdown on impaired driving. The 20-day campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 (Labor Day) and is aimed at significantly reducing deaths and injuries caused by motorists driving drunk or impaired by drugs. The New York State Police, together with the important work of local law enforcement, will be vigilant in screening for impaired drivers.

"Driving drunk is both reckless and selfish, and we have seen too far too many avoidable tragedies that occurred after someone got behind the wheel when they shouldn’t have,” Governor Cuomo said. “I urge all New Yorkers to drive responsibly, and want everyone to know that impaired driving will not be tolerated in this state.”

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee 2014 annual report found that while the number of alcohol-related crash injuries were down in New York State by nearly 800 over a five-year period starting in 2009, 364 people were killed in such crashes in 2013 and about 30 percent of New York’s crash fatalities are alcohol-related. Additionally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,076 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher 2013.
In New York State, .08 percent BAC is the legal threshold for driving while intoxicated, but many offenders are arrested at nearly twice that level: statewide, the average BAC of those arrested for alcohol-impaired driving is more than .14. Alcohol, however, is just one substance contributing to traffic fatalities. Drugs other than alcohol, such as marijuana and cocaine, are a factor in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says.

Even when drunk or impaired driving does not end in death or injury, its effects are particularly costly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the annual economic cost of alcohol-related motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States totals $49.8 billion.

In June 2015, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State had kept more than 7,500 repeat offenders off the road since implementing tougher DWI regulations in September 2012. Those individuals were denied relicensing either permanently or for an additional five years for having three or more alcohol or drug-related driving offenses on their record. As of July 31, the number has risen to more than 8,000.

Also in June, Governor Cuomo announced a statewide multi-media campaign, “Impaired Drivers Take Lives. Think,” using billboards, radio, television and social media to remind motorists about the deadly impacts of impaired driving. As part of the campaign, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee produced a 30-second public service announcement that can be seen on television and viewed on YouTube.

On November 1, 2014, even stronger penalties were enacted in New York to deter impaired driving. Drivers convicted of DWI or DWAI three or more times in 15 years face a Class D felony charge, up to seven years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.

New York’s anti-impaired driving enforcement campaigns are funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and STOP-DWI, a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining highway safety program that allows participating counties to qualify for the return of all fines collected for alcohol and other drug-related traffic offenses.

To learn more about the risks of impaired driving and for traffic safety tips, visit the DMV website and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee website.

HURLEYVILLE, NY (August 19, 2015) – The Columbia Hill Neighborhood PictureAlliance (CHNA) will host the first “What the Hill” Friend-Raiser at the Hurleyville Fire House on Sunday, August 23 at 11:00 a.m.

The community celebration will feature information on the history of Columbia Hill and environmental issues that the responsible development of Columbia Hill demands … the water, the wells and wildlife.

Live entertainment will be provided by Little Sparrow, Debbie Fisher Palmarini, Hurleyville Ukulele Orchestra, Lion Zen, Eric B. Gordon, Darren Steele and Al Defino/Larry Radvin.

Partymaster will be there with lots of fun activities for kids of all ages.

Vendors and exhibitors include Aunt Nenee, Nardi’s Family Restaurant, Light Curves, A Maize-n-Hog, Nature Photography by Gloria Wagenknecht, Essential Oils/Autumn Rausch, Catskill Laser Engraving, Walk on Water and the Basha Kill Area Association.

The event is open to the public and admission is free. Refreshments will be available.

Parking will be available at the firehouse at 166 Main Street in Hurleyville.

CHNA volunteers are dedicated to the preservation of natural resources and the rural character of Columbia Hill and the neighboring communities in the Towns of Thompson and Fallsburg. CHNA demands that the high density, multi-family projects, Gan Eden and Kelli Woods, planned for Columbia Hill and Anawana Road be properly conceived and scaled. It is only when we ensure a viable infrastructure that our environment will be protected.

Visit us at www.columbiahill.org or on Facebook for more information on the Columbia Hill Neighborhood Alliance.

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY (August 18, 2015) – On Saturday, September 12, 2015, the Sullivan County Democratic Committee (SCDC) invites you to join Heastie them at the 98thAnnual Jeffersonian Dinner.

The celebration, “A Salute to Democratic Leadership,” will be held at The Clubhouse at the Villa Roma Resort & Country Club in Callicoon, NY. A cash-bar cocktail hour begins at 5:00 p.m. and dinner follows at 6:00 p.m.

The special guest for the evening is the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, the Honorable Carl E. Heastie (photo left).

Also in attendance will be Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther; Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature Scott Samuelson; and Sullivan County Democratic Party Chair Darryl Kaplan.

At the dinner, the SCDC will present its third annual eJournal, a PowerPoint presentation of sponsors. Sponsorships are available for $250 (Benefactor), $100 (Friend), $75 (Supporter), and $25 (Booster Listing).

Tickets for the 98th Annual Jeffersonian Dinner are $55.00 per person or $100 per couple, inclusive, with entrée choices of Sliced Roast Sirloin, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Salmon Dijon and Pasta Primavera. Tickets include a one-hour cash bar cocktail hour and dinner.

For reservations and additional information, including journal ad sponsorships, contact Sullivan County Democratic Committee Secretary Rich Altman at 845-707-1810, email him at SCDCJeffersonian2015@yahoo.com. Or mail your reservations to SCDC, PO Box 502, Kiamesha Lake, NY 12751. Please make checks payable to: SCDC.

Reservations and sponsorships are due by September 2, 2015.

As a special arrangement for the SCDC’s guests, the Villa Roma is offering attendees overnight accommodations for only $99.00. Call the Villa directly at 800-727-8455 before September 7, 2015 and reserve with the “Sullivan County Democratic” group.

Photo by Carol Montana

ROCK HILL, NY (August 16, 2015) – The public is invited to join residents of Rock Hill at the Rock Hill Farmer’s Market for a “Golden Feather Celebration” Golden Feather on Saturday, August 22 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.  Visitors are encouraged to come early and enjoy the farmer’s market which runs from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Rock Hill received the Golden Feather Award, a $25,000 grant presented by NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther at the Sullivan Renaissance Awards Ceremony earlier this month. It was given to one of five large Sullivan Renaissance projects that exhibited the highest level of excellence by incorporating beautification as part of a long-term strategy.

The celebration kicks off at the farmer’s market at 223 Rock Hill Drive with a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. including presentation of the Golden Feather check and recognition of volunteers.  Musicians will entertain guests, while a slide show displays photographs of the volunteers and the projects.  Light refreshments will be served, sourced from local restaurants.

Maps showing the locations of the gardens will be distributed. Starting at 2:00 p.m., visitors are encouraged to tour the gardens and public art throughout Rock Hill. Rennie, the Sullivan Renaissance Rooster, will be present for pictures at the community center.

In the event of rain, the event will be held at the Rock Hill Fire House.

For a flyer showing eleven winning communities announced at the Sullivan Renaissance Awards Ceremony, go to www.sullivanrenaissance.org and click on the “Winning Projects Map” Quicklink in the upper right hand corner. The flyer will also be available at the Rock Hill Farmers Market on Saturday.

Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation. Sponsors include Bold Gold Media Group/Thunder 102, FisherMears Associates, Kristt Company, Robert Green Dealerships, Sullivan County Democrat, The River Reporter, Thompson Sanitation, and WSUL/WVOS.

For information about Sullivan Renaissance, contact 845-295-2445 or www.sullivanrenaissance.org.

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