The Town Board of the Town of Olive will conduct a morning
Planning Charrette and hold an afternoon Public Hearing regarding
the preparation and content of a Town of Olive Comprehensive
Plan in accordance with the standards and requirements as
set forth in ß272-a of New York State Town Law.
Public participation is encouraged as it is vital to ensuring
a Comprehensive Plan
which respects the desires and direction of the entire community.
Thus, the Town
Board invites all Town residents, property owners, business
owners and other
interested stakeholders to attend and participate in either
or both the Planning
Charrette and/or Public Hearing.
The events will start at 10:00 AM on Saturday, October 2 at
the Olive Free Library on Route 23A in West Shokan. A published
agenda has the main design discussion regarding planning running
from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM, the Formal Public Hearing starting
at 2:00 PM, and open discussion following.
The word charrette refers to any collaborative session in
which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem.
While the structure of a charrette varies, they tend to serve
as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating
the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people.
For further information, please call in advance to the Supervisor's
Office at 657-8118 or email Supervisor Leifeld at: email@example.com
The 10th Annual Catskills Local Government Day, a day of workshops,
panel discussions and training for local government officials,
Catskills residents and businesspeople, will be held Friday,
Oct. 1 at Catskill Mountain Foundation's Doctorow Center for
the Arts, Main Street, Hunter. Sponsored by the Catskill Watershed
Corporation (CWC), the event runs from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM.
Pre-registration is required and may be done on-line at www.cwconline.org,
where the agenda, workshop descriptions and presenter profiles
may be found. For info call 586-1400.
Concurrent morning sessions will be held in the comfortable
three-theater arts center operated by the Catskill Mountain
Foundation (CMF), which will be represented on a panel discussion
titled "For the Good of the Community: Local and Regional
Foundations and How They Work." Helen Budrock of the
Gerry Foundation, and Diane Brown of the Community Foundation
of South Central New York will also be on the panel. A roundtable
discussion with four area businesspeople will follow on the
topic "Stimulating Business Through Public/Private Partnerships."
A team of planning experts will present a two-part workshop,
"Putting the Main Street Toolbox to Work." The keynote
address will be delivered during lunch at the CMF Red Barn
across the street from the theater. Cynthia Nikitin, Vice
President of Project for Public Spaces, will give a presentation
on the role that civic institutions can play as community
anchors and partners of opportunity. A resident of Boiceville,
she will provide inspiring examples of rural communities in
the Catskills and beyond that have created multifaceted partnerships
to build upon public spaces and other existing assets, enhancing
functionality, community pride and economic activity.
Following a buffet lunch, participants may choose from two
field trips led by CMF staff: The Sugar Maples Arts Center
and Farm in Maplecrest, where multidisciplinary art classes
are offered all summer in a renovated former resort, and where
the CMF operates a 4.5 acre farm utilizing the Natural Agriculture
method taught by the Japanese organization, Shumei or the
Orpheum Theater in Tannersville, a prime example of arts-based
economic development of the local and regional area. CMF expects
to open the new theater later this fall.
In New York, the last state to comply with a federal law calling
for simpler voting, the switch to a fill-in-the-dot ballot
fed into machines had a bumpy start last week, with scattered
reports of delays caused by flustered poll workers and malfunctioning
equipment throughout the state.
Instead of pulling levers - as New Yorkers had done for 80
years - polling sites presented voters on Primary Day with
the new ballots and two scanners at each polling station.
Where the machines worked, voters shrugged and mostly agreed
the new system was easy to use. But problems elsewhere caused
backups and frustration.
The nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition, which monitored
the New York City situation with teams of poll watchers and
a voter hot line, said it was aware of at least 10 polling
sites of the 1,358 citywide where machines broke down or poll
workers had trouble setting them up in the morning. At one
site, setup problems delayed its 6 a.m. opening by 2 1/2 hours.
And Sen. Charles Schumer's polling site in Brooklyn was also
late opening by about 15 minutes, his office said.
The Board of Elections said it had been working to address
the voting snags and asked voters to be patient.
The Help America Vote Act was enacted in response to the contested
Florida presidential vote in 2000. It directed states to adopt
simpler voting systems to avoid problems like what led to
the infamous recount there. The lever machines violated HAVA
guidelines because they were difficult for people with disabilities
to use and did not provide a paper trail if the outcome of
a vote was disputed.
The Central Catskills Collaborative will meet to advance its
nomination to the NYS Scenic Byways Program for designation
of Route 28 as a Scenic Byway. The Program requires the corridor
communities to outline the strategies they will use to market
and promote the byway. The group will move to incorporate
these strategies into its developing Corridor Management Plan
- the key document for nomination. A design for a scenic byway
logo will also be presented and discussed; and there will
be updates on the new Catskill Park signs and the Route 28
The public is welcome to participate in the meeting, which
will be held at the Catskill Center on Route 28 in Arkville,
Thursday, September 23rd from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Refreshments
will be provided.
For more information, please contact Peter Manning, Regional
Planner, at 586-2611 ext.104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel L. Malak, 29, a former Kerhonkson resident now serving
time in the Attica Correctional Facility for a Samsonville
murder in the late 1990s, was convicted of the second-degree
murder of Joseph Martin last week following a four-day trial
in Ulster County Court and seven hours of jury deliberations.
The other suspect in the case, Alexander Barsky, was arrested
in 2008 and ultimately pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
"It is hard to imagine the pain that this family went
through over all of these years, not even knowing if Joseph
was alive," said Ulster County District Attorney Holley
Carnright. "I hope that this verdict offers them some
Martin was 15 when he disappeared on March 25, 1996, after
sneaking out through a bedroom window at his Krumville Road
home in Kerhonkson to meet friends Malak and Barsky, both
15 at the time, ostensibly for a night of comet watching.
Despite a massive search and police investigation that included
police questioning both Malak and Barsky - no trace of Martin
was found, and he was classified as a missing person.
In November 2007, state police Senior Investigator Stanley
O'Dell assigned the case to Investigator Peter Cirigliano,
who requestioned Barsky, then 27 and living in Brooklyn. Under
questioning in May 2008, Barsky admitted his role in Martin's
death and implicated Malak.
Barsky was charged with murder but was allowed to plead guilty
three months later to a reduced charge of manslaughter. Barsky
told authorities Malak was the mastermind of the murder plot,
and he agreed to testify against him.
Because he was only 15 when Martin was killed, Barsky was
sentenced to just 3-1/3 to 10 years in state prison. Malak,
behind bars for a 1997 homicide in Samsonville, was charged
with murder in the Martin case in September 2009.
Carnright said Barsky testified during Malak's trial that,
the night Martin snuck out, Malak hit Martin in the head twice
with a 2-foot metal pipe, rendering him either dead or unconscious,
then handed Barsky the pipe. Barsky said he then hit Martin
twice in the legs and that Malak then hit Martin again in
Investigators have said the two then hid Martin's body in
a crevice in a nearby rock ledge, and several years later,
Barsky returned to the site, collected Martin's remains, took
them to New York City and threw them into several garbage
Barsky said in court in 2008 that he and Malak intended to
hurt Martin because Martin had stolen money from Barsky a
few days earlier.
Because he was juvenile at the time of Martin's murder, Malak
faces a minimum prison sentence of 7-1/2 years to life and
a maximum of 15 years to life. He is to be sentenced on Oct.
Malak currently is serving 20 years to life for the 1997 murder
of George Allison, a 62-year-old New York City resident who
was shot to death at his weekend home in Samsonville. Malak
is eligible for parole in that case on Aug. 4, 2017.
Unemployment declined last month in all Mid-Hudson Valley
counties but rose slightly in New York state as a whole. The
statewide jobless rate in August was 8.4 percent, up from
8.2 percent in July, according to state Labor Department statistics
released last week.
In Mid-Hudson counties, the August unemployment rates were
as follows. Ulster: 7.6 percent, down from 7.9 percent in
July. Dutchess: 7.4 percent, down from 7.6. Greene: 7.5, down
from 7.7. Columbia: 6.8, down from 7.1. Delaware: 7.9, down
from 8.2. Sullivan: 7.7, down from 8.0. Orange: 7.8 down from
Local emergency service personnel on recently asked state
lawmakers to fund rescue equipment and signs clearly indicating
hazards to hikers in the region, after meeting in the Devil's
Kitchen area of Greene County's Platte Clove where a high
school junior fell to her death last Spring.
State Sen. James Seward and Assemblyman Peter Lopez received
information about recent hiking deaths and rescues in advance
of their visit to popular Catskills hiking spots, including
Kaaterskill Clove, where loose stones and soil can make footing
treacherous along ledges hundreds of feet high.
"Instead of having scattered unmarked trails that aren't
even real trails, having some dedicated trail access to key
access points that are safer, well-graded and well- signed,"
said Lopez, outlining one of the recommendations. "Another
key recommendation was to identify areas where there could
be more aggressive signage."
Another key problem is a parking area off state Route 23A
that is 0.2 miles west of the trail leading to Kaaterskill
Falls. The road, a major truck route, runs along a steep ledge
with a dropoff of several hundred feet on one side and a rock
embankment that with no room for pedestrian traffic on the
Seward said he was getting his first look at the terrain and
empathized with rescue crews who have to help fallen hikers.
"It's no question when a fall or accident does occur
it's very challenging for our first responders, our rescue
squads, our firemen to respond at all here," he said.
"It's time-consuming and a cost to them, and that's an
issue, of finding a way to assist our first responders with
what they do."
Four have died hiking Greene County Mountaintop trails in
the past year.Units typically called to respond to injuries
are the state police, state environmental conservation police,
state forest rangers and rope rescue teams from the Tannersville,
Haines Falls, Palenville, Centerville-Cedar Grove and Woodstock
It is now expected for the legislators suggestions to be taken
up by the state Department of Environmental Conservation for
Be safe when in the park...
As the nights get crisp and the leaves begin to fall, ski
centers are planning for their seasons. This year Belleayre
is leading the way, announcing plans to open the 2010-2011
season on November 13th, almost two weeks before Thanksgiving.
On September 17, Belleayre's Superintendent Tony Lanza also
let the region know that he and staff are currently ramping
up in preparation for the 31st Annual Fall Festival and Craft
Fair on Columbus Day Weekend on October 9 and 10.
"This year is going to be bigger and better than ever
with an expanded entertainment village including concerts
by a number of local favorites including the local rock of
Detour, the classic reggae of The Big Takeover, Belleayre
regulars and favorites The Trapps fresh from opening for America
at the Belleayre Music Festival and the alt-rock of New Paltz
based Ratboy," he said this week. "The popular zipline
run by Catskill Outback Adventure will be back this year.
And of course the festival will feature an expanded selection
of local artisans and craft fair vendors and fair food vendors
that have been the core attraction of this long-standing popular
event which traditionally draws around 5000 people per day."
Hunter Mountain has not yet announced an opening date for
skiing but is instead busy installing a new six-passenger
chairlift, which Hunter says will be the only one in New York
Nearby Windham, nor Plattekill, have set opening dates yet
either, but the latter will be hosting their first ever Count-Down-to-Winter
Celebration. Also set for Columbus Day weekend, the main event
will surround a big Ski and Bike Swap Sale run by the resorts
volunteer ski patrol as a fundraising effort, with a percentage
of the proceeds to be donated to the Plattekill Ski Patrol.
The swap hopes to encourage everyone to clean out their garages,
basements and storage areas of all their used and/or unused
skis, snowboards, bikes, gear, clothing, and perhaps even
trade it in for something else. This event will also provide
an outlet for people to sell their used equipment and purchase
items at a low cost alternative to paying retail prices for
Plattekill's event will also include kid and family activities
from games, face painting and temporary tattoos, to a kids
bounce house, just to name a few. The mountain will also be
featuring Live Music on the deck both days, accompanied by
hearty menu options on the outdoor grill and fall beverages.
In addition, Plattekill will be hosting their season finale
mountain bike races with lots of action for spectating. Scenic
fall-foliage chairlift skyrides will be open all weekend and
rides will be free for anyone that purchases a Plattekill
Mountain 2010-11 Winter Season Pass that weekend.
Plattekill Mountain is located in Roxbury, NY. For more info
contact Plattekill at (607) 326-3500 or at their website at
For more Belleayre information call (845) 254-5600 or check
U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey told a federal hearing last week
that the Environmental Protection Agency must regulate hydraulic
fracturing, the natural gas extraction process that he said
has contaminated water near drilling sites around the country.
"There are numerous reports of water contamination related
to hydraulic fracturing in states across the country,"
said Hinchey, D-Hurley. "Despite the fact that EPA is,
in many ways, precluded from taking regulatory action in response
to these reports, I believe EPA must investigate to understand
what is being done - to keep water supplies safe and secure."
Congress has ordered EPA to conduct a new fracking study and
EPA is considering how broadly to construct it, since the
agency's 2004 study that declared the technology safe was
widely criticized as flawed. The earlier study had enabled
passage of 2005 energy legislation exempting fracking from
federal regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, leaving
regulation to individual states.
New York's Department of Environmental Conservation has halted
issuing drilling permits until it draws regulations to govern
the process. Complaints of wellwater contamination and surface
spills of post-fracking water have forced revision of state
rules in Pennsylvania, where more than 1,600 wells have already
been drilled in the Marcellus Shale and more than 4,000 permits
have been granted.
The process, also known as fracking, blasts millions of gallons
of water mixed with sand and chemicals, some of them carcinogens,
deep into the earth to free gas from dense shale deposits.
As a gas rush sweeps parts of the vast and lucrative Marcellus
Shale region that underlies New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and
West Virginia, environmentalists are concerned for the watershed
that provides drinking water for 17 million people from Philadelphia
to New York City.
Environmentalists fear the process, which leaves as much as
90 percent of the post-fracking water known as "produced
water" deep underground, will irreversibly taint aquifers.
Hinchey's opponent for the House election in November, George
Phillips, is meanwhile against any EPA oversight of fracking
procedures, saying current state regs are enough... and the
economic boost from such activities are needed.
"The real decision we face is whether this is a matter
to be handled by our state or turned over to bureaucrats in
Washington, D.C," Phillips said recently. "The rich
reserves of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale represent a
huge opportunity and it comes at a time when we need opportunity
more than ever. Our state is still bleeding jobs and economic
ruin is a constant threat...Turning our backs on this opportunity
and allowing Washington to dither while our region continues
to decline would be the height of folly."
No water supplies have been poisoned by fracking, the petroleum
industry says, and the process - which promises lucrative
industry profits and thousands of jobs in economically depressed
areas - is safe.
"Billions of dollars in economic impact on New York and
its citizens is at stake here," said Brad Gill of the
Independent Oil and Gas Association, with drilling promising
more than 60,000 jobs in New York alone. "The positive
impact is staggering but it doesn't come at the expense of
Hundreds of people on both sides gathered for the last of
four public hearings on a pending EPA study of fracking in
Binghamton last week.
Paul Rush of New York City's Department of Environmental Protection
noted that half the state's population, residing in New York
City and its environs, depend on unfiltered water from the
Catskills-Delaware watershed that is in the Marcellus Shale
region. Two DEP studies showed serious risks to the watershed
if gas drilling is allowed there. He urged the EPA to read
the studies posted on the DEP's website.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration urged gas companies to
voluntarily disclose the toxic chemicals they inject in the
ground in a type of natural gas exploration that uses hydraulic
fracturing, or fracking. In letters sent to nine leading providers
of fracking services, the EPA said it is seeking data for
the first time on the "chemical composition" of
the drilling fluids and their hazards to human health. Full
cooperation from gas firms is expected, EPA declared to the
"If not, EPA is prepared to use its authorities to require
the information needed to carry out its study," it said.
Fracking giant Halliburton, a recipient of one of the letters,
said that it "will of course fully cooperate with the
EPA's request." Others in the industry welcomed the EPA
disclosure as a way to give fracking a credibility boost.
But Kate Sinding of the Natural Resources Defense Council
expressed cautious optimism with companies' eagerness to cooperate
"In the past [their practice] has been to hide behind
this trade-secret, proprietary information veil," she
said, adding that pressure is clearly on to release the ingredients
contained in the chemical stew. "We're getting to a tipping
point where the companies feel like they can't withhold this
information from the public anymore."
She added that the "disclosure of the chemicals at this
point is long past due."
But the industry claims the information is already available
to U.S. officials and even the public. And all the industry
groups remain staunchly opposed to federal regulation.
EPA pledged to respond to heath concerns while its fracking
study, due in late 2012, is carried out.
"EPA will do everything in its power, as it is obligated
to do, to protect the health of the American people and will
respond to demonstrated threats while the study is underway,"
said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
Kingston Police Chief Gerald Keller said police will set up
a station on Oct. 2 at Broadway and Henry Street in the city
to let people exchange guns - illegal or not, no questions
asked - for debit cards. The buyback will be from 11 a.m.
to 2 p.m., or later if necessary.
Participants will get Key Bank debit cards ranging in value
from $75 to $150, depending on the size of the guns. The buyback
is only for "working guns."
Keller, citing a shooting in Boiceville last week for which
two Kingston teens have been arrested, described the buyback
"If we can even get one gun off the street, it's worth
it," the chief said.
Last year's buyback took more than two dozen handguns, shotguns
and rifles out of circulation, Keller said, noting that the
event went so well that the Police Benevolent Association
donated more debit cards when the ones provided by individual
donations ran out.
With the potential for two multimillion dollar construction
projects on the horizon, Ulster County legislators are taking
steps to avoid a repeat of the Ulster County Jail debacle
of a few years back. A five-member ad hoc committee has been
appointed by the county's returned GOP majority, who lost
power after (and because of) the jail difficulties, to create
a policy and possible local law that would require a special
legislative oversight committee for any major capital projects
and make it a crime for contractors to submit inaccurate information
about the status of the project to the committee.
Appointed to serve on the ad hoc committee, which will establish
a framework under which the oversight committee would work
and develop the policy and potential local law, were Republicans
Dean Fabiano, Kenneth Ronk, Terry Bernardo, and Mary Beth
Maio, with Peter Loughran the sole Democrat. Fabiano, the
chairman of the Public Works Committee, said the county could
face capital projects for Golden Hill Health Care Center and
the Ulster County Family Court facility.
Although both the Legislature and County Executive Michael
Hein instituted a number of procedures designed to protect
the county from a similar construction debacle, legislators
said more needs to be done.
Meanwhile, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and multiple
community leaders met earlier this week to urge interested
Ulster County residents to join the pool of candidates for
the Charter-created Reapportionment Commission. This effort
is being undertaken sooner, rather than later, so that every
opportunity is made to provide a diverse pool of eligible
Commissioners to the Legislature. The County Executive is
seeking individuals who will design fair and equitable election
districts which will be in effect for the next ten years.
This action is designed to counteract partisan politics when
redrawing election district lines and avoid gerrymandering.
"This is an important and historic task," said Ulster
County Executive Mike Hein. "It's an opportunity for
the citizens of Ulster County to create a fair and level playing
field. We need dedicated, honest and hard-working volunteers
to make this a reality; and I thank all the advocates of good
government who are joining me in this effort."
Good government leaders who spoke at a September 20 meeting
on redistricting included Blair Horner, Legislative Director,
NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group); Dr. Gerald
Benjamin, Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement
and Director of CRREO at SUNY New Paltz and former Chair of
the Ulster County Charter Commission; and Dare Thompson, President,
League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region.
"What Ulster County is preparing to undertake can be
a model for New York State, which begins its redistricting
process next year," said Blair Horner, Legislative Director
"I am delighted that we have reached the point where
we are beginning a process to assure fairness in representation
in the Ulster County Legislature," said Dr. Benjamin.
"The League has been fighting for fairness in elections
for a very long time," said Dare Thompson. It is so exciting
to see this type of initiative right here in Ulster County.
We hope that people will step forward and participate in this
Hein requested that these good government advocates as well
as all Ulster County citizens watch and evaluate this redistricting
process under the new Charter form of government.
Commission members must be Ulster County residents, eligible
to register to vote and cannot be public officers or employees.
Anyone interested in participating can apply on the County's
website: www.ulstercountyny.gov. The deadline for applying
is Friday, October 29.
The Catskill Watershed Corp. has awarded a low-interest, 15-year
loan of $1 million to the Ashokan Foundation, a non-profit
organization that is redeveloping the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge.
The environmental education and cultural center is being relocated
out of the Esopus Creek floodway and reconstructed with an
emphasis on sustainability.
The corporation previously awarded the Ashokan Center a grant
of $250,000 toward renewable energy applications to be employed
in the new buildings. Site work has already begun, with completion
expected sometime in 2012.
The Center is currently gearing up towards its October 16
Harvest Festival, where it will be welcoming the local community
and showing off its recent progress.
When catastrophic illness drops out of the blue, medical expenses
typically devastate nest eggs and bank accounts to magnify
the struggle. Beyond the limits of health insurance, beyond
family resources, friends and good neighbors are a merciful
resort and that's what Ed Kahil was doing on Olive Day at
a little table near the edge of the field.
Friends of Judi Emrich at her place of employment, Brinnier
& Larios engineering company, had organized a barbecue
at Robert Post Park in Ulster between 2 and 6 PM on Saturday,
September 25th to help toward the purchase of life support
equipment for her husband of 40 years, Joe, and Kahil was
selling raffle tickets connected to the event.
Joe Emrich of Olivebridge was an active outdoorsman involved
in Town of Olive sports programs as a coach and past president
of Olive Athletic Association and Onteora Sports Fans before
being stricken, 3 years ago, by ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
or "Lou Gehrig's disease") in his fifties. No longer
able to work as a demolition specialist for D&K Rock Service,
Joe is immobilized at home, on a ventilator and unable to
speak. Many of the medical necessities associated with his
condition are not covered by insurance and, as Kahil said,
volunteers have come forward to help this humble and private
family meet their needs.
Food will be provided by the widely praised Joe Beez Deli
of Kingston and music by DJ Brian of Saugerties. Tickets are
available from Peggy at 338-7622 and all are welcome. For
those who cannot attend but would like to help, donations
payable to Joe Emrich will be gratefully accepted at "A
Day for Joe" c/o Brinnier & Larios, P.C., 67 Maiden
Lane, Kingston, NY 12401
Experts in palliative care and renowned spiritual teachers
will gather from October 1 - 3 at The Menla Mountain Retreat
Center in Phoenicia for a conference that inspires us to rethink
the way we face death. "The Art of Dying IV" responds
to a clear call in contemporary American society to talk about
death in new and more open ways.
The conference brings doctors, nurses, therapists, hospice
workers, and bereavement counselors together with spiritual
teachers possessed of profound and sophisticated approaches
to death. Presenters include acclaimed teacher Marianne Williamson,
author of the bestselling A Return to Love; Frank Ostaseski,
co-founder of the first Buddhist hospice in America, who was
honored by H.H. Dalai Lama in 2001 for his years of compassionate
service to the dying and their families; and Robert A.F. Thurman,
PhD, professor of Indo-Tibetan Studies at Columbia University.
Together, presenters and participants will examine such key
issues as: What is death? How can our own death and the death
of those we love be faced with courage and awareness? Does
consciousness survive death and, if so, what might we expect?
How can we best prepare? And how can we work more compassionately
and intelligently with the dying? "The Art of Dying IV"
aims to help us make peace with our death and, in doing so,
find better ways to live.
Previous Art of Dying conferences have taken place in Manhattan.
Ralph White, Conference Director states "The Menla Retreat
provides a beautiful place for conference participants to
engage with a subject as profound as death and dying. The
beauty of the Catskills will provide an evocative backdrop
for this meaningful conference that will speak to both professionals
in the field as well as members of the public currently engaged
with the question of death."
More information and a full conference schedule can be found
A Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) expected
to run for 18 months, stopped accepting new screening applications
this week, just nine months into the program. Rural Ulster
Preservation Company (RUPCO) announced that more than 1,000
persons have been served since December 1, 2009 when it launched
the $1 million program in collaboration with Family of Woodstock.
Applications already received are still being processed and
the housing assistance and case management services already
committed will be delivered until all program resources are
"More than 300 households with more than 1,000 family
members have already been assisted by this grant," said
RUPCO Executive Director, Kevin O'Connor. "Originally
we anticipated serving just 225 households and a total of
450 people, so we've stretched the dollars further than we
thought we would," he added. "That said, we have
been astounded by the need brought on by the current economic
conditions and we're very concerned about preventing homelessness
Kathy Germain, Director of Housing Services at RUPCO said
"Housing options in Ulster County are in an incredible
state of flux right now. With the foreclosure crisis, which
we are also addressing, many former homeowners have been forced
to become renters and many renters are getting squeezed out."
Germain added that "our goal is always to keep people
housed. If we can prevent people from becoming homeless, we
may be able to help them stabilize their situations and move
In response to a growing need exacerbated by the global economic
crisis, RUPCO, collaborating with Family, applied for the
Homeless Prevention & Rapid Rehoushing funding from the
NYS Office for Temporary Disability Assistance in July of
2009 and was awarded just over $1 million in funding. The
program was projected to run until July of 2011, however it
now appears that funding will likely run out before the deadline.
Germain said that RUPCO's active participation in foreclosure
counseling continues through Hudson Valley Foreclosure Prevention
Services. Foreclosure prevention work involves strategizing
with homeowners to get mortgages modified, sell homes, or
otherwise work out mortgage issues before a foreclosure takes
place. The HPRP was designed to assist when other measures
have failed and helps residents who are either homeless or
at imminent risk of becoming homeless. The program is intended
to serve households that can achieve housing stability and
self sufficiency with one time or short term assistance.
All HPRP participants must be able to demonstrate the hardship
contributing to their housing condition and be willing to
receive case management services which will help them re-stabilize
their households. Counseling and education may be part of
the case management component, as needed. Financial assistance
may include rental or utility arrears, security deposits and
Those who need help should contact 331-9860.
Ulster County officials are noting that their ProAct Prescription
Drug Discount Program has resulted in a price savings to Ulster
County Residents totaling $44,805.89 for the months of July
and August alone. This is approximately $13,500.00 more than
the amount saved during all of 2009.
Ulster County Government partnered with ProAct to help residents
save at the pharmacy. During the first week of July, ProAct
mailed over 82,000 cards to every household in Ulster County.
Thru the month of August 2010, 754 cards were used for an
average price savings of $30.88.
Here is an overview of the highlights regarding the program:
Any resident of Ulster County based on criteria established
by ProAct, regardless of age or income can participate and
use this program, or if a particular benefit is not offered.
?????????There is no need to sign up or fill anything out
in order to participate.
Every household has received a card in the mail. If for any
reason a household was missed or someone requires an extra
card(s) they can visit www.NYRxDiscountCard.com to print a
card or call the ProAct, Inc. help desk at 1-877-776-2285.
This card is of most use and benefit to those who are un-insured
The cards cannot be used in conjunction with any other type
of insurance or to discount co-pays. Folks who currently have
insurance can use the card in the event that a particular
drug is not covered under their current insurance plan.
- No cost to the County and no cost to participants.
- Discount Card covers all prescription medications, brand
or generic. Prescriptions for pets are also covered, as long
as the prescription can be filled at a regular retail pharmacy.
- Discount card will also provide discounts on vision, hearing
and LASIK services; for details please refer participants
Various County agencies have been provided with a supply of
cards to keep on hand. Any agencies and/or County offices
that haven't received a supply of cards and would like to
receive them can contact ProAct, Inc., at: 1-877-776-2285.
Also, your towns, villages or other organizations may contact
ProAct, Inc., to arrange for a supply of cards.