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December 04, 2016
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Growing drug problem locally

“We have a severe drug problem,” Darnelle Prunka told the Lumberland Town Board last week, referring to the community at large.

Prunka stayed on last Wednesday evening after delivering the director’s report of a successful town summer youth program earlier in the meeting, where she had shown photos from field trips and examples of the projects and crafts made by kids during the July program.

Speaking at the end of the agenda, Prunka said the drug problem is “all over… not just in Lumberland, but in Eldred and Yulan… drugs have no boundaries.”

Supervisor Nadia Rajsz agreed. She said she learned of the problem when her own daughters were in school at Eldred, while she served as president of the Parent Teacher Student Organization. “It’s been around many years.”

Prunka said she works in Monticello, where the property at her job site is littered with the leftover trash of drug use. “I don’t want this area to be like Monticello,” she said.

She said she has spoken to the school board, the constables and state police and hasn’t seen anything being done. “Things need to be investigated… It’s bad and getting worse. It’s all over,” she said.”

“When my kids were at Eldred the school didn’t want to hear about it,” Rajsz confirmed.

Lumberland chief constable Patrick Cahill said there are things happening. “We report to the sheriff’s department and the state police. They have the resources to investigate,” he said.

In unrelated business on August 14, Rajsz said Lumberland would opt in for a new coordinated sign program for the Route 97 Scenic Byway.

Heather Jacksy of the Sullivan County Planning Department outlined the program of state-provided signage along the Route 97 Scenic Byway to better direct visitors to local recreational amenities and services, while keeping them off private property. Jacksy also detailed a riverfront revitalization program with funding of $125,000 to create six new river access areas. County-owned property at the Pond Eddy Bridge will be developed in Lumberland.

Lumberland Fire Department President Ann Schulte Steimle reported on several rescues accomplished by Lumberland firefighters over the prior weekend during recovery efforts following a drowning at Knight’s Eddy.

Speaking of the recovery and the rescues, councilman Joe Carr said too many people see only the costs for maintaining the fire department. Noting the donated time volunteers give to training and fundraising, he said, “People in town don’t understand… it would cost a lot more without them.”

The town board approved a resolution urging support for the state constitutional referendum on casino gambling, prompting Rajsz to comment on the ease in gathering support for this resolution. “But every time I bring up (eliminating corporate) tax exemptions, I’m told it can’t be done.”

She was concerned about the budget impacts of likely Industrial Development Agency exemptions which could be offered to casino developers. “They were granted to the Millennium Pipeline, and they’re making millions. Give them abatements… yes, during construction; then they pay their full share,” she said.