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December 10, 2016
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Fireworks, flagpoles and firearms; Tusten gets closer to final decisions

The flagpole in front of the Tusten Town Hall will remain where it is.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

While no resolution has been made concerning the Narrowsburg fireworks, steps have been taken to reach a final decision. At a town board meeting on February 12, councilman Anthony Ritter read a report from the fireworks committee detailing those steps.

The first issue was the big two questions: who will sponsor the fireworks and where will they be held? The location has been narrowed down to two places, Narrowsburg Fire Department/Landers Field, where it has been held in the past, and the 14 acres owned by Sullivan West School District on Kirk Road. Further, Councilman Ned Lang volunteered to donate use of the land he owns on Irish Hill, where the Christmas star is located.

As for who will sponsor, that is still up in the air. Ritter announced that the cost of the fireworks will be approximately $8,000, which will be funded through donations. The committee has created fliers that will be sent to residents of Tusten asking them for their contributions.

Lang offered financial support, saying if they do not reach their goal of $8,000, he will make up the rest. He said, “It’s the right thing to do…. We need to have the fireworks back; it’s important.” Lang and others in the crowd urged the Narrowsburg Chamber of Commerce to sponsor, but chamber president Jane Luchsinger said that they do not have the funds.

The hotly debated issue of where to place the flagpole in front of the town hall came to a resolution. A petition was presented to keep the flag in the position it is now, as opposed to moving it in front of the building between the two benches. The petition, started by Luchsinger, had over 60 signatures. When it was put to a vote, both Lang and Ritter cited the petition and said they were there to act on behalf of their constituents. They voted in favor of keeping the pole where it is. With the additional support of supervisor Carol Ropke Wingert, the resolution to keep the flag in its current position passed 3 to 2.

As to who will be in charge of the installation of the flagpole, it was a choice between Tom Coacci and Kevin Freda. The board agreed to choose Freda for the job. Freda assessed that it will cost $800 to install each flag, coming to a total of $1,600. The installation must be complete by April 15.

The meeting ended with the resolution to hold a public hearing asking for input regarding the resolution to oppose national gun control legislation. The towns of Thompson, Callicoon and Cochecton have already passed such legislation. When the issue came up, whispers of “it should be passed now” and impassioned speeches about Constitutional rights as Americans flew through the air. After being urged to sign the resolution right then and there, Ritter expressed the importance of having a public hearing on the matter. It was put to a vote and it was unanimously passed that there will be a public hearing to be held on March 12 at 6:30 p.m. The next board meeting will be the same day at 7 p.m.