State assembly votes to keep Department of Health in Monticello and more

What's new in the Upper Delaware region March 17 to 23

Posted 3/15/22

What's new in the Upper Delaware region March 17 to 23

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State assembly votes to keep Department of Health in Monticello and more

What's new in the Upper Delaware region March 17 to 23

Posted

Indictment announced in connection with body found in Liberty Cemetery

LIBERTY, NY — Sullivan County District Attorney Meagan Galligan and Village of Liberty Police Chief Steven D’Agata have announced the indictment of Kenneth Alger III, 38, by a Sullivan County grand jury for second-degree manslaughter. The indictment alleges that on or around February 28, Alger intentionally caused and aided Amanda Alger, 31, to commit suicide.

Amanda Alger’s body was discovered by Village of Liberty police officers on March 2 in a secluded area of the Liberty Cemetery on Cold Spring Road in the village of Liberty. Village of Liberty police, with members of the New York State Police and the Sullivan County district attorney’s office, conducted an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death and the grand jury returned an indictment in the case on March 9. Kenneth Alger was arraigned before Sullivan County Court Judge Jim Farrell on March 10 and was remanded to the Sullivan County Jail without bail pending further proceedings in connections with the case, which are scheduled for May 10.

Mayday declared at Liberty fire

LIBERTY, NY — On March 8, a structure fire at Barkley Gardens apartment complex in Liberty led to a mayday being called for a firefighter in danger. According to a Facebook post by Timothy Fink, assistant chief of White Sulphur Springs Volunteer Fire Department, he had gone into the complex to help evacuate its residents and called a mayday when he saw a fellow firefighter hanging from a window one apartment over. Fink remained in the complex until the firefighter was rescued, after which Fink was himself supplied with air and helped to safety by fellow firefighters.

Stephen Volger, an officer with the Fallsburg Police Department and a member of the Liberty Fire Department, has identified himself as the firefighter in the window. "I would like to personally thank everyone who came to my assistance Tuesday night. Fire, EMS, Dispatch, ER staff I can’t thank you all enough, as well as everyone who has reached out since then. I am doing well and healing," he wrote in a Facebook post. 

A Facebook post from the Fallsburg Police Department stated that officer Vogler sustained non-life threatening injuries serving at the scene. Published reports have indicated that one resident of the complex was injured and taken to a hospital.

“This was quickly deemed an MCI (Mass Casualty Incident),” wrote a member of the Rock Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps, describing the scene in a post on its Facebook page. “We witnessed a MAYDAY call. With the quick thinking of the fire department, appropriate action was taken and was quickly resolved. Extraordinary situations require extraordinary teamwork. Thankfully, everyone on call made it back home safely.”

Sullivan Medical Reserve Corps earns $5,000 federal grant

LIBERTY, NY — Sullivan County’s newly recognized Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) learned that it is one of only three New York-based MRCs to receive federal funding in 2022.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials announced the 2022 Medical Reserve Corps Operational Readiness awards, of which Sullivan qualified to receive $5,000. These awards are intended to build the operational readiness capabilities of MRC units to meet the emergency preparedness and response needs of local, regional, and statewide stakeholders.

The MRC program was established to provide a way to recruit, train and activate medical and public health professionals and other volunteers to respond to community health needs during disasters and other public health emergencies. The Sullivan County MRC has been assisting at COVID-19 vaccination clinics, delivering supplies where needed, and providing critical education to the public.

For more information or to join the MRC, visit sullivanny.us/Departments/Publichealth/clinicvolunteer or email MRC Coordinator Shannon Hornbeck at VolunteerMRC@sullivanny.us.

Scranton area man convicted by jury in large fentanyl seizure in Pike County

MILFORD, PA — Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin announced that on Friday March 11, 2022, a Pike County Jury convicted Paul J. Wassel, Jr., age 52 of Taylor of Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance (fentanyl) and Criminal Conspiracy (both felonies) and related misdemeanor charges after a three-day trial in Pike County Court.

Tonkin presented evidence that the Pennsylvania State Police vice unit, along with the Pike County District Attorney’s Office, discovered that Kenneth Smith of Honesdale would be bringing a large quantity of heroin/fentanyl from Paterson New Jersey to Northeastern Pennsylvania. According to the evidence, Wassel agreed to provide a rental car and travelled to Paterson with Smith to obtain the fentanyl. Troopers obtained a search warrant for the vehicle Smith was driving; upon searching the vehicle, they discovered over 2300 bags of fentanyl located in the engine compartment of the vehicle and over $600 in cash.  

After the verdict, President Judge Gregory H. Chelak revoked Wassel’s bail, remanded him to the Pike County Correctional Facility to await sentencing on June 3.  Wassel faces a minimum of between six and seven-and-a-half years on each felony charge when sentenced. Smith is awaiting trial and is currently housed in the Pike County Correctional Facility.  His trial is currently scheduled for May 2022.

State assembly votes to keep Department of Health in Monticello

MONTICELLO – Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) announced on March 14 that the New York State Assembly’s budget proposal includes language and funding to keep the Monticello Department of Health Field Office open and operating. “This proposal is a huge win for our community,” Gunther said. The Department of Health had proposed closing the office, located at 50 North St., and moving it to Orange County.

The Assembly, Senate, and Executive will now negotiate the terms of the final budget, due by April 1. “I want to thank my colleagues in the Assembly for recognizing how important it is to keep the Department of Health in Sullivan County. I’m hopeful the Senate and governor will agree that this is the best way to move forward,” she said.

Correction and clarification

The article “UDC swears in officers” published in the March 10-16 issue of the River Reporter misspelled Michael Crane’s name and misstated that the UDC’s fiscal sustainability workshop occurred February 25, when it actually occurred February 5.

In addition, the article “Sullivan, briefly” published in the same edition stated that there had been 342 overdoses in total throughout the county in 2022; that statistic was specifically the number of overdose calls responded to by Mobilemedic in 2022.

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