By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO July 1, 2003 On July 24, New York becomes the third state (behind California and Delaware) to prohibit smoking in public places such as restaurants, offices and taverns.
In honor of this landmark piece of legislation, the Sullivan County Tobacco Free Coalition has several events planned throughout the month to get the word out and to help people live a smoke-free life.
On Saturday, the coalition teamed up with the Monticello Sullivan First Group to hold the first annual Smoke-Free Fishing Derby at DeHoyas Park in Monticello. The contest was open to children ages 18 and under.
We want people to use the park all the time, commented event organizer Joe Cross. This will be a pleasure for us to do every year.
This is part of our celebration of the state passing the smoke-free legislation, remarked Tobacco Free Coalition Coordinator Bob Korabic. We want to get the message out. This is a milestone in public health. Also, we hope everyone has fun and enjoys the day.
During the event, Sullivan Renaissance Founder Sandra Gerry toured the award-winning park. She was impressed at the improvements made since it won the Sullivan Renaissance beautification contest last year. Just last week, a fountain was installed in the lake.
The coalition gave the prize money, paid for the fish and provided beverages at the derby.
On Saturday morning, 265 rainbow trout were dumped in the lake for the contest. Some of the fish had orange and yellow tags. The fish with an orange number 1 would earn $50 for the person who caught it. Also, prizes were given for other fish in the lake, which included perch, catfish, bluegill, and sunfish.
Nine-year-old Kevin Uhl of Monticello won $15 for catching a catfish.
This was nice and fun, Uhl said. I couldnt wait to get here. I look forward to doing it again.
Young Bob Bittinger also won $15 for catching a catfish.
Event organizers decided to extend the event until this Friday. The reason was because the trout were not yet accustomed to the water and were not caught.
Organizers also plan for this fishing derby to be a yearly event.