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Sullivan receives federal funds for emergency food

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Sullivan County has been awarded $54,648 in federal funds under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program Phase 27. The funds are to be used to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

The selection was made by a national board that is chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, United Jewish Communities, Catholic Charities USA, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and the United Way of America, which will provide the administrative staff and function as a fiscal agent.

The local board will meet on January 15 at 10:00 a.m. to determine how the funds will be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service organizations in the area. Organizations chosen to receive funds must 1) be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, 2) have an accounting system, 3) practice non-discrimination, 4) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 5) if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board.

For more information call 845/794-1771.

CARI appeals ruling on alternative NYRI powerline route

REGION — Communities Against Regional Interconnect (CARI) filed an Interlocutory Appeal with the New York Public Service Commission asking for reconsideration of a ruling by the Administrative Law Judges in the New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) Article VII case, related to the high-tension cable proposed by the company. The ruling, in December of 2008, withheld making a decision on the reasonableness of the Thruway Buried Cable Alternative suggested by CARI.

CARI contends the information it presented on the Thruway Alternative along with the volumes of information referenced in the Empire Connection Project proposed in an earlier Public Service Commission case provide more than enough information to determine that CARI’s Thruway Buried Cable Alternative is a reasonable alternative route to the NYRI project.

Eve Ann Shwartz, vice chairperson of CARI, said, “The judges’ action effectively puts the burden of proof on CARI and active parties in this case instead of on the applicant as required by public service law. This decision has the inherent effect of eliminating public participation in the Article VII process by shifting the financial burden of evaluating alternatives to the active parties.”

CARI also requests expedited action on the appeal in light of possible federal intervention by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

For more information on CARI visit www.caricoalition.org.

New bill introduced on Sullivan casinos

ALBANY, NY — Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther is co-sponsor of a measure that would make a constitutional change to allow for three casinos in Sullivan County. The bill is in the Racing and Wagering Committee, and was introduced by Gary Pretlow, chairman of that committee.

To be enacted, the bill would have to be approved in two successive years by both the assembly and the senate. New York voters would also have to approve the measure in a referendum, and Gunther said there would be a local referendum in Sullivan County. The earliest possible date of approval, 2011, would correspond with the planned opening of the new Cappelli development at the site of the old Concord.

SEC ruling gives gas companies a boost

WASHINGTON, DC — A proposed U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule would allow producers of natural gas and oil to claim probable and possible reserves, instead of just proven reserves, as part of their total reserves. The reserves would be valued at the average oil and gas prices over the previous 12 months, rather than at a year-end value.

Because possible as well as proven reserves would be considered assets, the impact could be substantial upward revisions in assets on balance sheets. The exact wording of the rule is not yet publicly available, and it is not clear whether companies will be able to call reserves possible even if there are currently no technological methods that can profitably be used to extract them.

One of the companies whose financial statements are expected to benefit from the new pricing rules is Chesapeake Energy Corp., a major player in our region.

The rule still is subject to review before publication.

Fire departments get federal dollars

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — The Highland Lake and Lake Huntington fire departments have been awarded substantial grants to purchase new equipment, obtained with the assistance of Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY).

The Highland Lake Fire Department will purchase a new firefighting vehicle. The funding will cover 95 percent of the cost of the new vehicle. The Lake Huntington Fire Company has been awarded $35,526 to purchase a heavy duty washing machine to clean its turnout (protective) gear, and an emergency power generator for the firehouse, and will help pay for a system that will refill their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) tanks.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Hinchey has worked to secure full funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program since its inception in 2001, and sponsors workshops across his congressional district to help fire departments successfully navigate the grant application process. The funds come from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA).