Sullivan meetings, briefly

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 3/10/21

MONTICELLO, NY — It wasn’t much of a barrier—more symbolic than anything. A dark ribbon separated the audience from the Sullivan County Legislature at last Thursday’s …

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Sullivan meetings, briefly

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MONTICELLO, NY — It wasn’t much of a barrier—more symbolic than anything. A dark ribbon separated the audience from the Sullivan County Legislature at last Thursday’s committee. 

Speakers could still access the podium, but the barrier caused some raised eyebrows and a couple of caustic comments from the public.

It was there for two reasons, said county director of communications Dan Hust: “both... geared toward maintaining proper spacing in the hearing room.” First, members of the public had previously gone up to legislators’ places on the dais and rummaged through their papers while the legislators were in executive session. And the ribbon reminds everyone about social distancing, he added, and that talking to legislators on the dais isn’t necessary. 

Contact information for legislators is on the county website.

Emergency snow removal

When there’s an emergency, you do what needs doing. 

Last month, county coroner Albee Bockman told legislators that when a medical emergency arose during the big snowstorm (the one that dropped two feet of snow on the county) he had to plow a road himself so the ambulance could get through. 

Anything to save a life, but that doesn’t mean he wants to do it again.

He brought the issue up at last Thursday’s public safety meeting, again in public comment. “When everyone is told to stay home... our first responders are out. They’re not being protected,” he said. Bockman suggested keeping a plow on standby to clear roads in emergencies. “I feel it is important enough now that the season is closing” to work out what to do before the snow flies again.

The pandemic and the college

SUNY Sullivan enrollment has been affected by the pandemic. It’s down 14 percent, said college president Jay Quaintance. 

That’s not surprising. Inside Higher Ed found that nationally, enrollments were down 9.5 percent, but they only heard back from less than half the states—perhaps the ones with better numbers.

It’s “kind of middle of the road,” Quaintance said. They’re hoping to boost enrollment with people who just want to take a class, and they’re working on the summer term, transitioning back to in-person learning. 

Vaccine clinic in the fieldhouse

From EMS to SUNY Sullivan, reports came in about the vaccine clinic, held in the fieldhouse at the college. Hundreds of shots were administered: second doses on Wednesday and first doses to be done Thursday and Friday last week. 

Healthcare is the career of the future

When the Roscoe Nursing Home was sold to VestraCare, the previous owner donated $250,000 to SUNY Sullivan. President Jay Quaintance announced that the money will be used to start a nursing program at the college. Potential certified nursing assistants can get training; that can lead to licensed practical nursing training and, if they want to go further, students can get their BS in Nursing from Empire State College. 

“So, we’d have here in Sullivan County a soup-to-nuts program on the nursing side, right here” at the college, Quaintance said.

Serve the people

It may feel like we just finished a major election, but the county’s board of elections is already gearing up for the next one. 

Petition season is starting. Eighty local and county positions will be filled, said co-commissioner Cora Edwards. “Supervisors, tax collectors, town clerks, council[members], highway superintendents” as well as 500 positions in county parties. 

March 2 was the first date for signing designating petitions, and they’re to be filed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Monday, March 22 to Thursday, March 25. Social distancing and masks are required. 

For more information, go to the board of elections’ website at www.sullivanny.us/Departments/Elections.

More resorts, perhaps

Three “large-scale destination resorts” are looking into building in the county, said Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development president/CEO Marc Baez. The Town of Liberty, Mamakating and a third area were mentioned. For those frustrated by the hints, or perhaps for a legislature looking for ways to cut costs, chairman Randy Resnick emphasized that their work tends to be secret until they’re free to comment. “A lot of the people that we’re dealing with are really depending on us to keep it quiet,” he said.

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