Former county court Judge LaBuda chastized, and more

What's new in the Upper Delaware July 15 to 21

Posted 7/14/21

PA turnpike raises 2022 toll rates

HARRISBURG, PA — On July 6, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) approved a five-percent toll increase for 2022 for both E-ZPass and Toll By Plate …

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Former county court Judge LaBuda chastized, and more

What's new in the Upper Delaware July 15 to 21

Posted

PA turnpike raises 2022 toll rates

HARRISBURG, PA — On July 6, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) approved a five-percent toll increase for 2022 for both E-ZPass and Toll By Plate customers. The increase is slated to start at 12:01 a.m. on January 2, 2022 and will be effective across the entire system except on the Southern Beltway (PA Turnpike 576) west of Pittsburgh. 

“Today’s action is the first time in six years that the rate of increase is under six percent,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. The measure is generally required to meet escalating debt-service costs resulting from the PTC’s payments to the Commonwealth of PA for transit operations under Pennsylvania Acts 44 and 89. But the PTC plans to make its final annual payment of $450 million later this month, allowing for a less steep increase.

Even with smaller annual payments, tolls on the PA Turnpike will continue to increase, with annual increases of five percent through 2025, of four percent in 2026, of three point five percent in 2027, and of three percent annually from 2028 to 2050. These toll increases will finance the PTC’s annual payments to PennDOT of $50 million until June 2057 and will allow the PTC to pay down debt incurred from previous borrowing needed to fund Act 44 payments.

Radio Catskill has a new board

JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — Radio Catskill, public radio for the Catskills and Northeast Pennsylvania, has announced the election of new board of trustees officers and new board members. 

The new board officers are Kirsten Harlow Foster, president; Sally Staurt, vice-president; Duncan Cooper, treasurer; and Kathy Geary, secretary. The two new board members are Dale Blagrove and Barbara Demarest. The other current board members are Jeff Barnes, Amy Brightfield, Kevin Cooke, Leila McCullough, Angela Page, Judith Schwartzstein, Clay Smith and Mike Williams. 

“I am personally delighted to welcome such strong new board members, and I look forward to serving with each of them in the coming year,” said Foster. “I’m also very pleased to lead the new board as board president during this transformational time in the station’s history and on behalf of the entire organization, I want to thank outgoing president Thane Peterson for his steady leadership for the past two years.” 

Beechwoods Road to be closed for a month for bridgework

HORTONVILLE, NY — The Sullivan County Division of Public Works will close a portion of Town Highway 5 (Beechwoods Road) in the Town of Delaware to repair County Bridge 455. This section of road will be closed to traffic starting at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 12 and will remain closed for approximately four weeks. The Sullivan County Division of Public Works will post a detour route using Schwartz Road (Town Highway 41), Buddenhagen Road (TH 4), Radio Tower Road (TH 57) and Beechwoods Road (TH 5).

Drapkin to step down from Pattern for Progress

NEWBURGH, NY — Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress—a policy, planning, advocacy and research nonprofit operating in the Hudson River Valley—announced June 8 that the organization’s longtime leader Jonathan Drapkin would step down from his role as President and CEO at the end of the year, allowing him to explore other interests. 

“Throughout the Hudson Valley and New York State, Jonathan’s insight and guidance were often sought after,” said Suzanne Loughlin, chair of the Pattern for Progress board. “With the support of his talented staff, Pattern’s influence was felt in shaping the delivery of government services, the realization of downtown revitalization, understanding regional demographics, housing and so much more,“ Loughlin commented.

“I wish to thank all of the board and staff—past and present—who I have had the privilege to work with. I have always considered being the CEO and president of Pattern for Progress to be the best job in the Hudson Valley,” said Drapkin, “I look forward to continuing to be a part of the regional dialogue and I know the pattern team will continue to do good work for our community.” 

A search committee of the board has been formed and has begun the process of finding Drapkin’s replacement.

National Park Service and Boy Scouts to co-manage Ten Mile River Access

TEN MILE RIVER, NY — National Park Service Superintendent Joe Salvatore announced July 6 that the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America, executed a co-management agreement for the Ten Mile River Access with the National Park Service. The agreement allows the NPS to provide visitor amenities such as orientation, portable toilets, trail usage and natural and cultural resource protection, along with use of the property as a “river access point, river rest stop, parking area and [to] provide access to the hiking trails.” The license term is through March 31, 2022; the NPS previously had a five-year agreement with the Boy Scouts for the co-management of the river access.

Delgado-led letter urges Biden to address milk pricing

RHINEBECK, NY — Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19) led a letter to President Biden on July 6 highlighting continued challenges from COVID-19 facing the nation’s dairy farmers. In the letter, Delgado led 24 members of Congress to call on the President to reimburse producers for losses resulting from the combination of a 2019 change in goverment milk-pricing formulas and Covid-19-related market disruptions.

“I’m proud to lead this letter in support of reimbursing dairy farmers for as much of the approximately $725 million in Class I mover-related losses as possible,” said Delgado. “Our dairy farmers, especially small and mid-sized producers in the Northeast Region, have been seriously impacted by these losses throughout the pandemic. I strongly support efforts to ensure dairy farmers are reimbursed.”

Upper Delaware claims fifth drowning victim

MINISINK FORD, NY — A 17-year-old resident of Peekskill drowned in the Upper Delaware on July 4. A report was made of three swimmers in the water near the Cedar Rapids Campground on Route 97 without life jackets; while two were recovered, the third was seen going under and did not resurface. 

The victim’s body was discovered in the morning of July 7, with the Lumberland Fire Department, the Highland Fire Department, the National Park Service and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department all present, among others. This victim is the fifth confirmed drowning along the Upper Delaware since June 18, with a drowning off the shore of Port Jervis bringing the total for the Delaware as a whole to six.

Former county court Judge LaBuda chastized

ALBANY, NY — A July 1 decision from the State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division Third Judicial Department declared former Sullivan County Court Judge Frank LaBuda to have made biased and racist comments in the judgment of a September 2018 felony burglary trial. 

The court’s statement cited LaBuda’s unprompted remarks on the defendant’s mental state, including that the defendant’s brain was “probably retarded in growth,” and said that, “It is shocking that any court, in 2018, would refer to this Black defendant’s brain, frontal lobes and retardation of growth in concluding that defendant’s brain was not developed.”

“We find the court’s commentary dehumanizing and offensive,” said the decision. “To invoke such reasoning today is utterly racist and has no place in our system of justice.”

LaBuda had initially sentenced the defendant to a prison term of 15 years to life. In light of the bias shown in that sentencing, the State Supreme Court modified the defendant’s sentence to a prison term of five years, followed by five years of post-release supervision. 

Sullivan County announces vaccination clinics, report forms

LIBERTY, NY — County-run vaccination clinics will occur on Wednesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. through August 25, at the Sullivan County Public Health Services office at 50 Community Lane in Liberty. These clinics are open to all, with walk-ins welcome, although residents are encouraged to register for appointments to ensure there will be room. These clinics will provide the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to any resident over the age of 12.  

The county has also instituted a online form for residents who received vaccinations outside New York State to report their immunity. “The NYS Vaccine Tracker indicates that 60% of Sullivan County residents age 18 and older have had at least one vaccine dose,” said public health director Nancy McGraw. “We believe that percentage is higher.” Residents can find the form at www.sullivanny.us/Departments/Publichealth/Coronavirus/OutOfState, or they can contact the public health department at 845/292-5910.

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