New Jersey man drowns in Delaware

BARRYVILLE, NY — A 37-year old man from Patterson, NJ drowned in the Delaware River near Barryville on Saturday, August 19. State police said the victim, Brian Lennon had not been drinking and did know how to swim. They speculated that he may have suddenly stepped into a ten-foot deep section of the otherwise shallow river and panicked.

Witnesses said nearby rafters were slow to respond to the situation as the man began struggling to save himself. When it became clear that Lennon was drowning, people jumped in the water, but it was too late to save him.

Lennon had been camping with his 33-year-old wife, Migdaris, a 13-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, and other relatives at the Kittatinny campground.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pataki vetoes Gunther’s bill on nurses

Governor George Pataki has vetoed legislation authored by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, which would have required that a registered nurse “circulator” be present in the operating room during surgery.

“In the operating room, patients can’t make their own decisions,” said Gunther, a former emergency room nurse. “The circulating nurse serves as the patient’s advocate for the entire procedure and is the only person solely dedicated to monitoring the patient and all of the proceedings.”

Gunther said the circulating nurse is responsible for a wide variety of tasks including assessing the patient for allergies to drugs, maintaining infection control, overseeing blood transfusions and coordinating the use of surgical instruments and monitoring devices.

“This bill was passed overwhelmingly by both houses in the legislature, so it boggles my mind as to why the governor would veto this important legislation,” Gunther said.

More river gages requested in wake of June floods

MONTICELLO, NY — Representatives of five counties, which were heavily impacted by the June 28 flooding, are going to request more river gages to measure the flows in the region’s rivers and streams.

Richard Martinkovic, director of emergency management and homeland security for Sullivan County, told lawmakers last week that representatives of Sullivan and Orange counties in New York, Wayne and Pike counties in Pennsylvania and Sussex County in New Jersey who meet four times a year, discussed the flooding at their most recent meeting two weeks ago.

It was agreed that more gages in the area’s rivers and streams would provide valuable information for those responsible for managing disasters. A request for additional gages will be made to the U.S. Geological Survey, the agency that maintains the current ones.

PA Commissioner: Voting machines need no paper trail

HARRISBURG, PA – Some concerned PA citizens asked the Department of State to clarify its position on voter verified paper records (VVPR) or paper trails in districts using electronic voting machines.

In response, Elections Commissioner Harry A. VanSickle restated the position of the Rendell Administration on the issue.

“We have no opposition to the infusion of VVPR for electronic voting systems,” VanSickle said in a letter to county commissioners on August 10.

The Commonwealth has already certified four optical scan voting machines that have VVPR capability, he said. While all counties have the ability to use VVPR, forty-four counties have opted to use direct recording electronic voting systems, which do not have a paper trail function.

The commonwealth has 67 counties in all.

Sherwood recovering from heart surgery

WASHINGTON, DC —Congressman Don Sherwood, who represents District 10 in PA, including Wayne and Pike counties, is recovering from heart surgery performed Friday, August 18.

According to his press secretary, Jake O’Donnell, Sherwood experienced pain similar to heartburn for a couple of days, then sought medical treatment. O’Donnell said Sherwood did not have a heart attack. He said Sherwood underwent coronary bypass surgery as a precaution.

According to news reports, Sherwood was up and using the phone on Monday. His release from the hospital is expected sometime this week, though it has not been determined when he will be able to resume campaigning and other activities.

Sherwood, a Republican who became embroiled in a sex scandal last year, is defending his seat against Democrat Chris Carney, a former Pentagon intelligence analyst.

Hinchey presents overdue medals to local vets

MONTICELLO, NY — Though World War Two (WWII) ended more than 60 years ago, there are still veterans from that war who have not received all the medals they are due. Congressman Maurice Hinchey helped change that a bit last week when he presented medals to three Sullivan County residents; two were veterans of WWII and one was a vet from the Vietnam conflict.

Eugene Young, who joined the Navy in 1944 at age 17, was presented with four decorations including the WWII Victory Medal.

John Simihtis, who served in the Merchant Marines beginning in 1942 when that organization was part of the Coast Guard, received five honors including the WWII Victory Medal.

George Becker, who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971, was presented with eight honors, including the Vietnam Service Medal & Bronze Star.

Hinchey, who has been a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said he is a strong advocate for veterans’ issues. Hinchey served in the Navy in the 1950s.