What's new in the Upper Delaware region December 30 to January 5
TOWN OF THOMPSON, NY — Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19) announced almost $11 million in rural development grant and low-interest loan funding for water infrastructure improvements was obtained for the Town of Thompson. The first rural development investment will deliver $915,000 from Rural Energy for America Program grants and $312,000 in loans to the Melody Lake Water District. The second project will deliver a direct loan of $4 million and two grants totaling almost $5.7 million for the Harris Sewer District.
The project in the Melody Lake Water District will replace water mains, install a new hydro pneumatic tank, extend the casing on a well and construct a new building with a flow meter. The project in the Harris Sewer District will replace three of the existing pump stations (Harris, Old Route 17 and Benmosche) and add one additional pump station on Kaufman Road.
ALBANY, NY — The New York State Department of Health (DOH) announced new guidance on December 24, allowing healthcare workers and other members of the critical workforce who test positive for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated to return to work sooner than previously allowed in order to provide healthcare and other essential services to New Yorkers. This follows updated guidance from the CDC in the face of increasing COVID-19 cases and the highly contagious omicron variant.
The new guidance from the DOH allows fully vaccinated healthcare workers and other fully vaccinated members of the critical workforce who test positive for COVID-19 to return to work after five days if they meet certain criteria and if there is a critical staffing shortage. They must be asymptomatic or, if they had mild symptoms, their symptoms must be resolved or improving.
Workers participating in this program should be instructed to practice social distancing from coworkers whenever possible, separate themselves from others when removing their mask to eat or drink and self-monitor for symptoms and seek re-evaluation if symptoms recur or get worse.
ALBANY, NY — On December 20, Gov. Hochul announced that she is making $65 million available to counties across New York State to help with the costs associated with administering vaccines and boosters and enforcing the mask-or-vaccine mandate for indoor public places that went into effect statewide the week before. Up to $1 million will be available for most counties, with larger counties eligible to receive up to $2 million.
The new funds will apply to expenses incurred by counties and local health departments from when the “mask-or-vaccine” mandate was announced on December 10 until its expiration on January 15, 2022, and will be provided on a reimbursement basis through an application to the NYS Department of Health. Eligible expenses include staffing and venue-specific costs for any sites offering vaccines, boosters, and/or tests; personnel costs associated with mask, test, and vaccine/booster distribution; personnel costs associated with mask protocol enforcement; and public awareness efforts for the mask-or-vaccine protocol.
MONTICELLO, NY — While the county and the state grapples with increased cases of COVID-19, Sullivan County Public Health Services advises that influenza is also widespread statewide. According to the New York State Department of Health’s flu tracker dashboard, Sullivan County had 30 cases of flu in the week ending December 18.
According to the CDC, “Because some of the symptoms of flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory illnesses are similar, the difference between them cannot be made based on symptoms alone. Testing is needed to tell what the illness is and to confirm a diagnosis. People can be infected with both flu and the virus that causes COVID-19 at the same time and have symptoms of both influenza and COVID-19.”
ALBANY, NY — On December 15, New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon announced that she would reconvene a wage board to hold virtual public hearings. The board will hear testimony to consider the existing overtime work threshold for farm laborers and the extent to which the overtime work threshold may be lowered in New York State.
The wage board was first convened under the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, under which farm laborers became entitled to overtime premium pay starting on January 1, 2020, for any work that they perform in excess of 60 hours per week and for work performed on their designated day of rest. As part of that act, Reardon was required to convene a farm laborers wage board to hold hearings and make recommendations as to overtime work and as to whether the threshold could be lowered below 60 hours per week. The wage board met in 2020 and recommended that the threshold remain at 60 hours for at least one year, but that the board be reconvened toward the end of 2021 for further evaluation and study.
Hearings will be held on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at 3:30 p.m., on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 5 pm, and on Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 5 p.m. Testimony will be heard from the public. All attendees are encouraged to preregister. Speakers will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis, and three minutes will be allotted to each speaker. Individuals can register at dol.ny.gov/farm-laborers-wage-board-hearings. Links for the virtual hearings will also be posted there on the Friday before each hearing.
WHITE PLAINS, NY — According to published reports, Daniel ‘Butch’ Resnick is facing allegations of money laundering in a criminal complaint unsealed the week of December 12 in the White Plains court of the Southern District of New York. The complaint alleges that Resnick laundered approximately one million dollars in transactions witnessed by an undercover FBI agent from around August 2019 to around November 2020. Daniel Resnick is the CEO of Resnick Equipment Inc., founded by his father Bill Resnick, and has played a large role in revitalization efforts for the hamlet of Mountaindale.
MONTICELLO, NY — Sullivan County Community Resources Commissioner Laura Quigley and public safety commissioner Thomas Farney announced on December 27 that the county has received 34,500 KN95 masks from the state and is ready to distribute them.
“KN95 masks are far more effective than plain cloth masks at filtering out airborne particles, including the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19,” Farney said. “We’re making these masks available—for free —to any county resident who would like to have one.”
“We’re distributing 4,000 to some of our local housing complexes, starting this week, and we welcome more complexes to give our Community Assistance Center a call (845/807-0925) if they would like masks for their residents,” Quigley said.
The KN95 masks will be available at the government center during normal business hours at the sheriff’s desk in the lobby. Proof of Sullivan County residency is required. (Note that all county facilities will be closing at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 30 and remain closed Friday, December 31, reopening Monday, January 3, 2022.)
The state has indicated that more masks—and at-home test kits—will be delivered in the coming weeks.
“Hopefully, it will make a significant dent in the skyrocketing rate of active coronavirus cases we’ve been experiencing,” Quigley said.
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