Why Sullivan is low-ranked in health and more

Letters to the editor September 2 to 8

Posted 8/31/21

ARPA funds could have helped the community

The U.S. Treasury awarded Sullivan County $14,000,000 in COVID-19 Relief Funds. The county received $7,000,000 this year and will receive $7,000,000 in …

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Why Sullivan is low-ranked in health and more

Letters to the editor September 2 to 8

Posted

ARPA funds could have helped the community

The U.S. Treasury awarded Sullivan County $14,000,000 in COVID-19 Relief Funds. The county received $7,000,000 this year and will receive $7,000,000 in 2022.

This money was intended for hazard pay, economic hardship in the community, public health services, behavioral services, anything in our community that took a direct hit as a result of this pandemic. Here is the link to the U.S. Treasury FAQ on how this money should be spent: www.home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf

Your county manager and your Sullivan County Legislature in a 9-0 vote decided that this $7,000,000 should go to roads and boilers instead of services for the people in a raging pandemic in a county next to last in terms of poorest health.

County frontline workers were given 500 taxable dollars out of a contingency fund, not the COVID-19 Relief $14,000,000 fund, because the county did not want to do the work in separating who was frontline and who was not.

This legislature has failed all of us, as our resources are paper-thin and our medical system and behavioral services are in dire need of financial resources. Just think what this money could have done for the people of this community.

JoAnne Omar

Liberty, NY

The reason Sullivan is low-ranked in health? Because politicians don’t care

The Sullivan County Legislature recently voted to spend all $7 million of the COVID-19 Federal Relief Funding (ARPA) allocated to us for 2021 on road repairs and new boilers for the college. Not a single legislator piped up that these funds are actually meant for repairing the damage that COVID-19 has done to our community’s minds, bodies and finances and for preparing our public health infrastructures to better cope with the pandemic as it continues to rise and fall.

The silence from the local politicians and human service agencies has also been deafening, apart from a small group, including this writer, who routinely protest at this legislature’s public meetings.  A survey that was conducted during the spring to collect opinions from the community about how that money should be spent was totally ignored, and there were no public hearings and very little discussion, besides arguments about giving the frontline workers a stipend. Ultimately, legislators voted for the “Premium Pay” stipend, but then voted again to remove it from ARPA to the county’s “contingency” fund. The chairman stated that premium pay should be negotiated as part of union contracts instead, but that since frontline employees would now be getting a stipend, he would be withdrawing the one percent increase he had been willing to consider.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand why Sullivan County is persistently rated 61 out of 62 in the county health rankings, which measure length and quality of our lives.  Even when we are gifted $7 million to spend on COVID relief, not a penny of it is spent in any way relating to improving the health of the community, despite soaring numbers of overdoses, suicides, domestic violence, child abuse reports, numbers of children in foster care, mental health needs, homelessness, and so on. You can thank your legislators.

Lise Kennedy

Neversink, NY

Make life easy for the virus—don’t get vaccinated

Hi there!  My name’s Cocky Covid—kinda a cocky fella, see, and proud of it!

At heart, I’m a crafty opportunist. I take advantage of an opening wherever I can find it. Since I’m a virus, I don’t care if you’re filthy rich or pathetically poor, drop-dead gorgeous or ugly as sin, sweet as honey or mean as rotten fruit.

What I’m looking for are easy openings. Do you know what’s easiest for me? The unvaccinated! I LOVE the unvaccinated! They make my job easy. And let’s be clear—my job is to invade wherever I can and cause Trouble, with a capital T!

That’s what we viruses do. When you don’t get vaccinated, you make my job easy. And thank you for that!

So, here’s hoping you won’t get vaccinated, OK? Because if you do, you’ll be making it harder for me to invade your system. And then, you’re not likely to get sick—and especially not likely to die! Well, that sure stinks from my perspective.

Take care now, and thanks for not bothering to get vaccinated!  (Heh heh)

Cocky Covid (and Joan Rosenfelt)

Pond Eddy, NY

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