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October 01, 2014
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Report lauds Catskills’ foodshed potential

CALLICOON, NY —A new report issued by the Open Space Institute (OSI) in conjunction with the Urban Design Lab of the Earth Institute at Columbia University investigates food production in the Catskills region of New York—a region the report finds has the potential to produce enough healthy, locally grown food to feed millions of people in New York City and beyond. “Ground Up: Cultivating Sustainable Agriculture in the Catskill Region” will be presented at 12 noon on April 23 at the Callicoon Farmers Market.

“The demand for locally produced agricultural products equals more than $866 million per year in the New York metropolitan area,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s CEO and president. “Existing local production accounts for $147 million in sales each year.”
In 76,000-person Sullivan County, New York, home to only 235 farms in 2003 (there were 3,543 in the county in 1920), surveys indicate that residents value rural landscapes and the agrarian lifestyle, yet there has been no support from the state’s Farmland Protection Program to preserve the county’s farms. The report makes the case that the trend is one worth reversing.

New York Assembly member Aileen Gunther and a representative from Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s office will be in attendance on Saturday for the release of the report.

Damascus passes zoning amendment

DAMASCUS, PA — Without a lot of fanfare, the Damascus Township Board unanimously passed the zoning amendment that would ease the way for gas companies to conduct drilling in over 90% of the township, even in the township’s residential zones.
The only areas where drilling would be restricted are the river district and the five neighborhood development areas, small sections of the township.

The amendment changes the existing ordinance on drilling from a special exception to a conditional use, which removes the Zoning Hearing Board from any role in approving or denying drilling and gives the power of approval to the supervisors.
Objections had been made that, since all the supervisors who voted on the issue have signed leases, the vote constitutes a conflict of interest. “We have clarified this question often in the past,” said Jeff Dexter, chairman of the supervisors, in response to the objection. “Our attorney and PSATS (Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors) say that there is no such conflict of interest.”

Court hours reduced due to budget constraints

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — The Hon. Mark M. Meddaugh, Sullivan County Family Court Judge, has announced that, due to fiscal restrictions imposed by the state budget, the hours of operation and the services that are provided by family court will be curtailed effective immediately. The court will open at 9 a.m. and will be closed from 12:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. All court proceedings will terminate at 4:30 p.m.

Although the Court will be accepting paperwork at the front desk until 4:45 p.m., any emergency applications for either custody or family offenses must be filed by no later than 4 p.m. Any emergency applications for Orders of Protection after 4 p.m. will be referred to the local Justice Court that has jurisdiction over the case. All court proceedings that have not been concluded by 4:30 p.m. will be rescheduled to 9 a.m., the next day court is in session, or at a time that is convenient to all parties.

Judge Meddaugh further announced that the hours of operation of the day care center, which provides daycare for litigants who appear in Family Court, will be significantly reduced. The actual hours of operation will be made available as soon as they are determined. Mediation services will also be significantly reduced, and the schedule of availability of mediation services will be released when it is finalized.

Even with the cutback in court hours, it appears that layoffs may be necessary, which will further affect the operation of the court.

Frado named CRMC interim CEO

HARRIS, NY — Rosemary Frado has been named interim CEO of Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC), effective May 2.
The move by the board of directors follows the resignation of Steve Ruwoldt on April 13, citing health reasons. Since his appointment in 2007, Ruwoldt has been instrumental in turning around a series of financial and management issues at the hospital.

Prior to this appointment, Frado was vice president of planning and marketing for the Greater Hudson Valley Health System. Her responsibilities over more than 35 years of experience have included strategic and business planning, grants management, regulatory filings and marketing and public relations initiatives.

The board plans a search for a permanent replacement.