WASHINGTON, DC —Editorials in The New York Times and USA TODAY support Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s call for reform in the handling of sexual assaults in the military. A new Department of Defense report shows that in 2014, almost the same number of service members—19,000—reported unwanted sexual contact as in 2010. Less than three out of 10 are willing to report the incidents, and the 62% retaliation rate went unchanged from the year before despite retaliation having being made a crime last year. Read more
NORTH BRANCH, NY — About 40 people braved the freezing rain and turned out to an event to honor Sullivan County Legislator Cindy Gieger in the Old North Branch Inn on December 5. Among those on hand were fellow legislators Gene Benson and Cora Edwards. On several issues, the three Democrats have teamed up with the two Republicans in the legislature to form a majority in the legislature. Read more
CALLICOON, NY — A new pharmacy has opened in Callicoon at 39 Lower Main St. Riverside Remedies Health Mart Pharmacy features a full pharmacy offering prescriptions, custom medications and over-the-counter needs. It also has toys and art supplies for children, cards, health and beauty supplies including e.l.f. Cosmetics, housewares, gifts and more. Read more
MONTICELLO, NY — The Sullivan County Legislature is getting close to the adoption of an Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan (AFPP) and as part of the process, county legislators received a briefing on the plan at a meeting on December 4. Read more
PORT JERVIS, NY — Santa Express, complete with Santa, Mrs. Claus, elves, gingerbread man, snowman, and other well-loved characters, appeared in Port Jervis to start the holiday season for the second year in a row the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The area around the already busy Front Street was lit up with the Christkindlmarkt, a kind of open-air holiday market that took place earlier in the day, already drawing a full crowd. A tree lighting took place, and in a festive atmosphere, families with small children stood in hundreds to catch a glimpse of Santa, listen to Snow Queen who sang Christmas songs, and to dance with Santa and the characters on the Santa Express. Read more
PORT JERVIS, NY — At the November 24 council meeting, Raymond Zukowski, a member of Empowering Port Jervis, a volunteer organization that aims to help the most vulnerable citizens of the city, stood up and made a surprising connection between two events. He tied the announcement of the arrest of Dennis McBee, who is accused of killing the beloved shopkeeper Joseph Kutcher, with the recent city decision to move the county offices that provided social services, public health and probation service, to Middletown. City officials have described the moves as being mandated by the state in response to serious budget deficit issues. Read more
POND EDDY, NY — When Ana Arvela, the owner of the newly opened 97 Bar and Grill, heard that one of her customers had lost his house in a fire on November 14, she wanted to do something to help. She said, “I want to thank all the locals for coming in my restaurant. It’s been wonderful meeting my neighbors, a great experience, I really enjoy it. I’ve established new friendships.” Among those is Kenneth Van Tuyl of Van Tuyl Road, Pond Eddy who narrowly escaped the fire with only the clothes on his back, and without shoes—a big deal for the almost seven-foot-tall man whose shoes have to be replaced by special order because of the unusual size. Read more
ALBANY, NY — College students seeking to become farmers may be able to avoid paying back up to $50,000 for college loans under the New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program, which is intended to bring more young people into the farming business. Applications for the program must be made by December 15.
The program is available to individuals who obtain an undergraduate degree from an approved New York State college or university and agree to operate a farm in New York State, on a full- time basis, for five years.
Applicants must: Read more
PIKE & WAYNE COUNTIES — Well-water tested in Pike and Wayne counties contains low-to-moderate concentrations of naturally occurring methane, according to new studies by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Read more
CHERRY RIDGE, PA — Brian and Ryan Wayne (father and son) were arrested for fighting with each other. Brian, the father, told police that Ryan and his wife wanted him to sell his rifles to buy marijuana, which he refused to do. Read more
ALBANY, NY — The New York Gaming Facility Location Board is expected to make a decision about which four proposed casino projects in the state will get licenses to operate. The board has received 16 applications, with one license allocated to the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region, one to the Capital Region, and one to the Eastern Southern Tier Region. The fourth license may go to any of the three regions, although the prevailing view has been that it will go to the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region; it is possible, however, that only three licenses could be awarded. Read more
REGION — Santa is going to be ubiquitous over the next several weeks, showing up at stores and in towns all over the country. The modern Santa Claus has a connection to the real-life Saint Nicholas, who lived in the third and fourth centuries in what is now Turkey, and whose reputation was repeatedly enhanced over the centuries. Eventually, Nicholas was credited with performing all kinds of miracles, such as bringing new life to children who had been murdered. He also, of course, gave gifts to children. Read more
LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — At the November 20 meeting of the Sullivan West Central School District Board of Education, a contingent of 35 to 40 senior veterans, some with World War II service, presented an eloquent plea for adoption of the Alternative Veterans’ Tax Exemption (AVTE) law. Read more
REGION — The dictionary definition of “confluence” is “1. a place where two rivers or streams join to become one or 2. a situation in which two things come together or happen at the same time.” So it’s fitting, then, that a group whose mission is to collect and share stories from local artisans to unite and promote tourism on both sides of the Delaware River would call itself the Confluence Project. Read more