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Traffic fatality in Tusten

NARROWSBURG, NY — Julianna Simonet of Cochecton was killed on September 5 in a traffic accident on Route 97, north of Narrowsburg between Perry Pond Road and Gables Road. The accident happened at about 6:50 p.m.

According to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, Simonet was driving a 2003 Dodge Caravan when she struck a tree just off the northbound shoulder of the road.

Deputies determined that she had been driving the minivan south when the vehicle crossed the road into the oncoming lane and then into a ditch. The car travelled about 100 feet in the ditch before slamming into the tree. The vehicle hit the tree with such force that the engine and transmission were thrown some 50 feet away from the rest of the wreckage.

The Narrowsburg Fire Department and Tusten Volunteer Ambulance responded to the scene within minutes, but the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sea plane summersaults on Swinging Bridge Reservoir

TOWN OF THOMPSON, NY — A sea plane crashed while attempting to land on Swinging Bridge Reservoir on September 5, flipping over in a head first summersault. The pilot, Robert Ripchick, 44, of Montgomery and his passenger, Darla Fidanza, 33, of Pine Bush, suffered only minor bumps and bruises.

Lieutenant Paul Pratti of the Sheriff’s Marine Patrol had witnessed the plane make several take offs and landings on the water earlier in the day. “According to the witnesses, the engine sounded like it was really laboring on that last run and the plane couldn’t seem to get its nose up,” Pratti said.

After the crash, the pilot and his passenger managed to get out of the aircraft on their own, and were rescued by several pleasure boats that sped to the scene.

The plane was a Cessna 180 equipped with pontoons. It was towed to Swinging Bridge Marina where it was lifted out of the water by crane. Sheriff’s deputies were assisted by the Monticello Fire Department and Mobile Medic who responded to the scene.

Pike library vote

MILFORD, PA — After an at-times heated discussion between the Pike County commissioners and Tom Hoff, the vice president of the Pike County Library Board, the commissioners prevailed in their demand that the wording of a ballot question concerning a library tax on the November ballot will be the exact wording of the library petition which received over 2,000 local residents’ signatures.

The ballot question reads: “Should Pike County levy a special tax of one mill dedicated to the maintenance, improvement and regional extension of library services and facilities throughout the county, for the use of all residents of Pike County? (1 mill is .001 times the assessed value of a property; for example, if the assessed value shown on a tax bill is $35,000, the tax will be $35.00).

Hurleyville fire district lowers budget

HURLEYVILLE, NY — The board of fire commissioners of the Hurleyville Fire District has adopted the district’s 2010 budget. After examining each line of the budget, the commissioners were able to lower the budget by more than 5.5 percent.

According to the commissioners, the decrease in the budget will not result in a cutback of fire district operations or emergency services provided to the community by the fire district.

Also, as part of the commissioners’ efforts to continue to monitor costs, the fire district recently completed an energy audit of the firehouse. The commissioners say they are actively following through with the recommendations of the audit to further reduce the fire district’s energy consumption.

A public hearing on the fire district’s 2010 budget will be scheduled in October.

Supplemental reservoir releases announced by DRBC

REGION — The Delaware River Basin Commission announced on September 2 that an agreement has been reached to provide temporary additional releases from the New York City reservoirs to the Upper Delaware River.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is now in effect, the total supplemental water available to be released from the Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink reservoirs could be as high as 50 billion gallons over the course of this program. The program is scheduled to expire on May 31, 2010. The temporary releases will be in addition to water that will be released under the September 2007 Flexible Flow Management Program, and the amendment to the plan which was completed in December 2008.

The additional releases come in anticipation of a future shutdown of the Rondout to West Branch Tunnel. The 45-mile-long tunnel transports water from the city’s Rondout Reservoir to its West Branch Reservoir in the Croton Watershed.

The tunnel will be shut down for repairs, and during that time water that is normally diverted from the Cannonsville, Pepacton and Neversink to the Roundout will not be diverted, leading to an excess of water in those reservoirs.

The date of the shutdown has not yet been set.

John Hanger, the secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Conservation, lauded the move and said that in addition to benefiting the freshwater fishery in the river and creating more reservoir storage capacity, the increased flows will allow Pennsylvania and other states in the basin to test a new weather and river forecasting tool that was recently developed by the National Weather Service.

The system will incorporate long-range weather forecasting and weekly monitoring to determine the amount of water to be released to maintain adequate reservoir levels and to provide sufficient flows to support aquatic life and recreational uses.