Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
January 22, 2010 Issue
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Homowack may be headed to court Monday

By Dan Hust
PHILLIPSPORT — Despite a mandatory evacuation order from the state, an estimated 100 children and 25 families are still occupying the old Homowack Lodge in Phillipsport.
And they’ll likely be there for the entire weekend.
“From what I understand, this will go to court on Monday,” Mamakating Supervisor Bob Fiore said yesterday. “I’m very disheartened about this.”
This past Monday, the state Department of Health (DOH) told the Homowack’s owners – a trio of Hasidic groups from Rockland County – to vacate the premises immediately due to a host of fire and water safety and sanitation issues.
Some occupants may have left – only one car was in the parking lot on Wednesday – but apparently the girls camp and summer resort are still in operation, said Fiore.
“They have not proceeded any further,” he remarked, referencing a visit Building Inspector Mary Grass paid to the Homowack Wednesday. “There are still people living there, including children.”
DOH spokesman Juan Merino said the state continues to visit the hotel and pursue enforcement.
“The former Homowack Lodge is in violation of a number of New York State codes such as inoperable fire alarm systems, leaking roofs, plumbing systems that have caused significant mold growth, failure to maintain a sewage disposal system, and failure to maintain disinfection of drinking water,” he explained this week.
“The department's top priority remains the safety and the well-being of occupants at the former Homowack Lodge. According to the Commissioner’s Order to Evacuate, the occupants must immediately leave the site.
“The state Health Department (Division of Legal Affairs) has reserved the right to take additional legal action, should the occupants continue to fail to comply with the order to evacuate,” Merino concluded.
When asked what he’s being told by those in charge at the Homowack, Supervisor Fiore disappointedly related that it remains unchanged:
“The response is, ‘We’re working on it.’”

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