'Celebrating the Tusten Highway Department' and more

Letters to the editor March 17 to 23

Posted 3/16/21

Letters to the editor March 17 to 23

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'Celebrating the Tusten Highway Department' and more

Letters to the editor March 17 to 23

Posted

Celebrating the Tusten Highway Department

I enjoyed reading Greg Triggs Narrowsburg News column regarding the Tusten Highway Department. It was just what we needed to read: how hard the crew works keeping our roads safe, along with who they are, etc. They are a very talented crew and deserve recognition. I served five years on the Tusten Town Board and was an advocate back then to let the public know what we were doing. There was a stereotype then about highway workers and what they do. I convinced one superintendent who had the town back­hoe and a small crew and the water super. He took a couple of pictures of a water leak they were working on. The fix and a short story were sent to the River Reporter. He could not believe what a positive reaction he received. The same would apply now to the sewer and water department.

On another note, I would like to comment on our new LED street lights. They are doing a good job, but on the playground—where there was much discussion this past sum­mer about suspicious behavior going on—there are no lights to be seen. There was a group formed that held meetings; however, the area is still dark at night. There does not seem to be any follow-up on projects. The playground itself is a prime example. Much ado about cutting trees; now we have no shade when it’s 95 degrees out, and the project does not appear to be anywhere near completion. I’ve watched parents bring children in the heat and, within five minutes, were back in their cars going up the road. I would have by-passed the improve­ments and added to the playground equipment.

A final subject: I talked with a young man this past summer who had young boys suited up to practice for baseball. He asked me “what is that out there?” I told him it was a community garden. I will not tell you what he said.

Edward M. Kraus
Narrowsburg, NY

‘SC schools are open to the extent possible under the regulations’

Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has undermined the learning of all of our children, with its greatest harm on those students who can least afford it, we all want to see our schools fully open and all children able to attend school in-person. All school districts are bound by the guidelines set by Gov. Cuomo, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York State Education Department and the New York State Department of Health (DOH), as well as input from county Public Health and local government officials. School boards and administrations across the county continue to work diligently to find ways to increase capacity within the confines of the requirements that have been set forth, and to that end, our Sullivan County schools are open to the extent possible under the regulations.

Many schools across New York State have been shuttered, relying solely on remote learning for all students. These schools are now making headlines as they begin to reopen and offer the hybrid programming most of Sullivan County has been doing since September.

Recently released information from the CDC regarding an update of guidance for schools to follow has not changed the basic parameters originally established. Districts must comply with regulations set forth by Sullivan County and the DOH.

Pandemic response has required our school districts to shift resources to meet the demands for personal protective equipment, physical barriers, health safety equipment and such. As we move forward in implementing additional opportunities for in-person learning, we must remain compliant with 6-foot social distancing, masking, school and transportation sanitizing, and additional mitigating safety measure requirements. As these expenses were unanticipated and unfunded, rural areas such as ours have been and will continue to be impacted causing a financial burden on our district budgets and ultimately our taxpayers. We will continue to be fiscally mindful of balance as we plan on increasing curricular and extra-curricular learning experiences for all students.

Our students are our future and we must continue to provide the best possible education and support social-emotional wellness in a safe environment for all despite the pandemic. We know this work as we transition out of this pandemic will not be easy but, we are unified in our commitment to all of our children.

The Central School Districts of Sullivan County
Stacey Sharoff, President
Sullivan County School Board Association
Liberty, NY

For a great cup of coffee, ‘please let Hunter Hill know’

I was saddened recently upon reading Hunter Hill’s column regarding how he and his wife make coffee during a power outage. My family has a gas stove, so we can heat water without power, but there’s still the issue of the beans. How to grind them?

Before storms, or when high winds overnight are predicted, we grind before going to bed as well as fill the kettle. To get a great cup of coffee, it is important to use recently roasted and freshly ground beans. Please let Hunter and his wife know.

Gary Handel
Obernburg, NY

Christian terrorists?

Especially during the years immediately following 9/11, many professed conservatives took offense at many Americans who might say “terrorist” rather than their preferred descriptor of choice, “Islamic terrorist.” In the same vein, today one wonders if those same conservative individuals might ever suggest using the phrase “Christian terrorist” as opposed to the commonly used phrase “domestic terrorist.”

It was reported that on January 6, before their Capitol march, the Proud Boys “stopped to kneel in the street and prayed in the name of Jesus” (www.nyti.ms/3eC5UoS). Before they marched, brandishing a banner of “Jesus 2020” and multiple patches, including “Armor of God,” Confederate flags, QAnon conspiracy signs, Trump banners and, of course, the requisite anti-Semitic T-shirts, they prayed to God for divine protection. Subsequently, these terrorists killed five and injured numerous fellow human beings as they wantonly and gleefully destroyed American public property at the Capitol.

In previous years, a wide brush painted terrorists who were followers of extremist Islam as “Islamic terrorists” and thereby, by association, tainted the 1.9 billion overwhelmingly peaceful followers of the Muslim faith. That was as wrong-headed then as it would be today to associate the world’s 2.4 billion Christians with the actions of our domestic U.S. terrorists who may also profess some skewed flavor of Christianity.

I suggest that we have clarity in terms and otherwise avoid the confusion created by implicit, vague and pejorative prejudice. We should always refer to the enemies of our democracy by using explicit and exact descriptors. How else might we ever construct an effective response to their villainy?

John Pace
Honesdale, PA

River Reporter helps reader get vaccinated

I have been trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine for over a month. I registered at Walgreens, CVS, et al. Finally achieved my goal after finding the correct phone number to call; it was listed in your March 4 edition on page two. I passed the information on to neighbors and they were equally impressed.

Thank you for your terrific coverage.

Joan Fergus
Eldred, NY

‘Reckless disregard for liability’

When on January 22, Sullivan County District 1 legislator Robert Doherty, posted his defamatory remark against legislator Alvarez to the county’s website, he made clear his reckless disregard for liability he exposed taxpayers to.

You’d think levying an unsupported accusation, using taxpayer resources to do so and misrepresenting his personal grievance as the legislature’s, would have set off alarms for the county attorney, Michael McGuire. How, then, did McGuire advise his clients: Alvarez, Doherty, and the entire legislature?

The lawsuit Alvarez has since filed places a finer point on whether our tax dollars going to pay McGuire delivers sound advice for his clients and, in turn, us.

It’s inconceivable he’d been unaware of Doherty’s defamatory remark, if only because he represented the county on February 18, where he heard witnesses to the record confirm no knowledge of where it came from. And we know Doherty’s remark remained on the website six weeks, through some time on March 11, all of which circles back to my question.

In December, I discussed in these pages that the public record indicates McGuire misrepresented ownership status of our Adult Care Center on multiple occasions last year and that doing so stymied the legislature’s work.

In May, I also discussed in these pages how the record indicated my legislator, Alan Sorensen, along with Doherty, Conklin, Brooks and Salamone, circled their wagons to justify hiring him, despite the state commission’s decision last March to remove then judge McGuire, from the bench for cause.

“And if that’s the kind of leadership we can expect from this group of mostly newbies … we could be in serious trouble,” I wrote in May. A shady appointment, misrepresenting status of the care center, and now the Doherty-Alvarez affair, says that’s where we find ourselves.

Dave Colavito
Rock Hill, NY

UPDATE: The organization sponsoring the letter from the Central School Districts of Sullivan County was originally misidentified. It was submitted by the Sullivan County School Board Association and not BOCES.

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