What's new in the Upper Delaware region September 23 to 29
HARRISBURG, PA — A new survey conducted by partners of the Start Strong PA campaign quantifies Pennsylvania’s current child care crisis, which threatens both parents’ ability to work and the overall economy.
According to the survey, nearly 26,000 children are currently on waiting lists, more than 34,000 additional children could be served at respondents’ sites if they were fully staffed, 92 percent of respondents reported staffing shortages, and 51 percent of respondents have closed at least one classroom. Child care providers also continue to incur additional pandemic-related costs while operating significantly under capacity. Between March 2020 and August 2021, over 850 Pennsylvania providers have closed permanently and another 350 have temporarily closed.
“The current child care crisis poses a real threat to Pennsylvania’s economic recovery,” said Minesh V. Pathak, executive director of the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce. “Staffing shortages among child care programs cause staffing shortages in all other economic sectors. Efforts to strengthen and stabilize the child care industry will benefit the overall economy.”
MIDDLETOWN, NY—Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) announced Monday that she has secured $1 million in funding to expand crisis intervention services in communities around Orange County. According to Darcie Miller, commissioner of Orange County Social Services and Mental Health, the money will be used to bolster services in the cities of Middletown and Port Jervis, and the towns of Wallkill and Mount Hope.
Gunther, chair of the Assembly’s Mental Health Committee, said the county will be able to upgrade equipment and hire additional personnel who are suited to deescalate crisis situations. “We wanted to work with our partners in law enforcement and mental healthcare to ensure that people who need help are able to get it,” she said.
The county will hire a full-time crisis intervention team coordinator who will identify residents who have frequent interactions with police departments. This will allow the coordinator to build engagement and rapport with these individuals to explore unmet needs.
ALBANY, NY — On Friday, September 10, NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced the appointment of Jen Metzger as the Senate’s appointee to the Cannabis Control Board. Metzger is a former New York State senator from the 42nd District.
The Cannabis Control Board is responsible for the statewide implementation and regulation of New York’s adult-use cannabis industry created through the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA). The board will also ensure the cannabis industry is socially and fiscally equitable throughout the state. The board will also issue regulations for the at-home cultivation of cannabis.
Metzger said, “I am honored to have been selected by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to serve on the Cannabis Control Board. New York is entering a new chapter with legalized adult-use marijuana, that has been a long time in the making for our state. I look forward to ensuring this market is environmentally sustainable, equitable, and accountable so that New Yorkers can enjoy fair access to both the product and to the new economic opportunities it offers. I’m excited for the work ahead.”
ALBANY, NY — Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Sunday, September 12 that Suffolk and Sullivan counties are approved to be added to the previously declared major disaster declaration as a result of the devastating floods caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida earlier this month. Both counties are now eligible to receive federal financial reimbursement for public assistance to help municipalities recover and rebuild publicly owned infrastructure and facilities.
ALBANY, NY — On Thursday, September 16, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a series of universal mask requirements designed to protect New Yorkers against the highly contagious delta variant and the recent surge in COVID-19 infections statewide.
The requirement applies to New York State Office of Children and Family Services-licensed and -registered child care centers, home-based group family and family child care programs, after-school child care programs and enrolled legally exempt group programs during operational hours. New masking requirements will also apply to congregate programs and facilities licensed, registered, operated, certified or approved by the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. These requirements apply to anyone medically able to tolerate wearing a mask, regardless of vaccination status.
TUSTEN, NY — On September. 6, National Park Service (NPS) Ranger Ron Babus contacted Environmental Conservation Police Officer Glen Parker to collect an injured great horned owl rescued from the Delaware River. Parker met Babus and NPS Ranger Kali Bunn at a halfway point at the Ten Mile River Delaware access point.
After collecting the owl, Parker and Babus heard an individual screaming for help in the middle of the Delaware River at the Ten Mile River junction. Officers noted that a kayaker had flipped their kayak and was struggling in the current. Bunn responded with a canoe to rescue the boater while Babus and Parker stood ready with a throw rope. Bunn escorted the boater back to shore where the subject was assisted by Babus and Parker. The subject did not require medical attention. After assisting the boater, Parker brought the owl to Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center for further care.
HONESDALE, PA — On Sunday, September 19, White Mills Volunteer Fire Department Company #32 was dispatched to a fire at the Taco Bell at the Route 6 mall in Honesdale. Companies 9, 12, 13, 18, 21, 26 and 28 responded after the situation was classified as a two-alarm fire, together with Honesdale Fire Department Engine 1, Engine 3, Ladder 2 and Ladder 4. No injuries were reported, according to Honesdale resident James Ankins.