NY-PA news roundup

New COVID-19 cases in Sullivan, PA at mail-in voting impasse and more

What's new in the Upper Delaware region September 3 to September 9

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New COVID-19 cases in Sullivan

MONTICELLO AND LIBERTY, NY — Sullivan County Public Health Services detected several new positive cases of COVID-19 this past week. At least two at Nelly’s Sports Bar on Saturday, August 15, one employee at Ahava Medical & Rehabilitation Urgent Care Center on August 19, 20, 21 and 23, and one employee at Appletree Kosher Supermarket on August 23 and 24. 

Public health services announced that anyone who visited these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and to contact Public Health Services at 845/292-5910

“Many patrons and employees [at Nelly’s and Appletree] may not have been wearing masks and may have been exposed,” said S.C. Public Health Director Nancy McGraw, asking residents not to become complacent. “Thinking that we’re past this pandemic, or that we’re immune to it, or that we don’t need to wear a mask and social distance anymore is foolish and can have serious consequences.”

According to the Sullivan County COVID-19 dashboard, there were 23 active cases on Monday, August 31. 

D&H Canal secures funding

BEACH LAKE, PA — The Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River announced on Monday that $50,000 in National Park Service (NPS) funds had been secured to update the 1968 National Historic Landmark (NHL) nomination for the Delaware and Hudson (D&H) Canal.  

Today’s documentation standards are much more specific and descriptive and include geographic information system (GIS) data and photographs. Descriptions of the resources currently listed will be made more comprehensive and additional sites may also be included under the update, which will take about three years to complete.

A committee of members from the D&H Heritage Council, including representatives from the D&H Canal Historical Society, the Wayne County Historical Society, the Neversink Valley Museum of History and Innovation, the D&H Canal and Gravity Railroad Conservancy, and the Upper Delaware Council will also be involved.

Metzger announces funding for Sullivan towns

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Sen. Jen Metzger (NY-42) has announced $150,000 in State and Municipal Facilities Capital (SAM) funding for the towns of Callicoon, Lumberland and Thompson to help offset costs to the towns for projects and purchases to meet local needs. The $50,000 grants will allow Thompson to renovate the town park bathroom, Callicoon to purchase a truck for plowing and sanding roads and Lumberland to begin grinding and preparation to replace pavement at the town’s highway garage in Glen Spey.

Pike County voter info available 

MILFORD, PA —The Pike County Board of Elections is reminding residents that resources such as election deadlines, voter registration and ballot applications, mail-in ballot FAQs, COVID-19 safeguards at the polls, and more are available on the elections office page within the county website at www.pikepa.org.

The board also encourages voters to submit their mail-in or absentee ballot applications as soon as possible prior to the October 27 application deadline. “We are confident in the security and integrity of our local elections,” said Elections Director Nadeen Manzoni. “Applying early will further help to streamline the process.”

Casey, Wyden, Warren request nursing home investigation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following official state reports showing the inappropriate use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients in nursing homes, U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (PA), Ron Wyden (OR) and Elizabeth Warren (MA) are requesting further information from federal health agencies.

The senators sent letters to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma requesting information regarding how the agencies have monitored the use of hydroxychloroquine in those settings. The senators also sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General requesting that they open an investigation into the extent to which the experimental treatment has been used on nursing home residents without proper approval and without their consent.

PA leaders at impasse over election code

HARRISBURG, PA — Gov. Tom Wolf and GOP lawmakers in the General Assembly agree that they must make changes to PA’s election code to make for a smoother General Election compared to the primary earlier this year. They remain at odds, however, over what those changes should be.

The changes Wolf is requesting include 1) allowing counties to start pre-canvassing ballots 21 days before the election, rather than on Election Day; 2) requiring counties to begin sending vote-by-mail ballots 28 days before Election Day; 3) allowing counties to count ballots that are postmarked by Election Day but received the following Friday; and 4) easing the deadline and other restrictions on counties to fill vacant poll worker positions.

The Republican-controlled Senate has countered with legislation that includes most of Wolf’s requests, but would also push the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot from one week to 15 days before Election Day—a measure Wolf opposes.

“This [proposal] stands in contrast to the administration, who walked away from negotiations and are [sic] seeking to have their politically motivated plan that benefits the DNC and the Biden campaign implemented through the courts,” GOP House spokesperson Jason Gottesman wrote in a statement.

Sullivan’s discretionary funding on hold

MONTICELLO, NY — Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Robert Doherty has announced that the Legislative Discretionary Contract Program, intended for not-for-profit agencies seeking legislative funding, has been put on hold and is not currently accepting applications for 2021.

“Due to the economic impacts of coronavirus, earlier this year we had to lower and even eliminate some of the $300,000 in 2020 funding we provided to nonprofits,” Doherty said. “As those impacts lessen, we’ll have a better idea of what we can and can’t afford throughout county government in 2021, including the Discretionary Contract Program.”

USPS launches election mail site

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of its ongoing effort to ensure that voters and election officials have the information they need to successfully use the U.S. Mail to vote in the November General Election, the U.S. Postal Service has launched a new election mail website. The website, which “provides clear and concise information about voting by mail,” is available at www.usps.com/votinginfo.

SUNY Sullivan announces layoffs

LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — The SUNY Sullivan Board of Trustees, facing “unprecedented fiscal challenges as a result of the economic disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and expected state aid reductions,” has announced six staff layoffs in response to declining state revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board made an effort last June to incentivize eligible members of Teamsters Local 445 to retire, reducing the number of layoffs, “but given the uncertainty of NY State being able to fund the college at the level committed in the enacted budget, the college needs to find further savings.”

SUNY Sullivan President Jay Quaintance thanked those affected, adding that they’d receive one week’s pay and insurance through September.

Sullivan relaunches town hall series

MONTICELLO, NY – Legislature chairman Robert Doherty and vice-chair Michael Brooks have rebooted Sullivan County’s town hall series, calling it “Let’s Talk Sullivan,” beginning last Monday, August 31 on the county’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Broadcasts will be presented monthly and occasionally more often as circumstances warrant.

The public can submit questions to sctownhall@co.sullivan.ny.us or via private message on the county’s Facebook page. They should be focused on county topics and phrased respectfully and apolitically. Questions need to be submitted by Thursday mornings at 7 a.m. for the following Monday. Proposed topics for future town halls are also welcome anytime via the above methods.

Narrowsburg residents concerned about crime

NARROWSBURG, NY — Amid reports of several burglary and vandalism incidents, drug paraphernalia found on the local playground and a couple of alleged arrests, some Narrowsburg Flats residents have concerns about crime in their neighborhood. 

On August 24, Narrowsburg Flats resident Timothy Mackabee created The Flats Crime Watch, a Facebook group dedicated to the observation and reporting of suspicious and potentially criminal activity on the Narrowsburg Flats. He later changed the name to The Flats Neighborhood Watch. At press time, the group has 44 members.

Several days later, about 25 people gathered for an informal, in-person meeting on the flats recreation field on August 30. There they talked about what they perceived as a sudden rise in crime in Narrowsburg. They also discussed purchasing private surveillance cameras, requesting more frequent police patrols and presenting their concerns at the next Tusten Town Board meeting on September 8.

Calls to the sheriff’s department were not returned by presstime.

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