Dan Hust | Democrat
Retiring Sullivan County Veterans Coalition Secretary John Lacey of Wurtsboro, right, was honored Thursday at the Legislature’s Veterans Committee by Veterans Service Agency rep Howie Goldsmith, who presented him a plaque of appreciation for his involvement in the founding and activities of the Coalition, a nonprofit group which works with the county and area veterans groups to aid vets young and old. A member of the Mamakating American Legion Post #1266, Lacey will remain active with the Coalition and now has this handsome plaque, complete with the insignia of the five branches of the armed forces, to hang on his wall.
Red meat red tape
Story by Dan Hust
MONTICELLO June 11, 2013 An anticipated groundbreaking of the long-awaited red meat processing facility in Liberty continues to be delayed by red tape.
Today, the IDA Board is expected to submit its own application to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for a $50,000 grant originally promised to the effort.
The rest of the $1.6 million project has been financed through a variety of grants, but this one grant was given to the former Agricultural Local Development Corporation, which was dissolved and merged into the IDA last year.
The feds told the IDA, however, that they’re not sure they can transfer the grant over to the IDA, and the IDA finally tired of the lack of a definitive answer, Executive Director Jennifer Brylinski told legislators.
“If all goes well,” added IDA Board Chair Ira Steingart, “we should have funding in July or August and be ready to start.”
Planning slims down
Planning ahead just got more difficult for the staff-strapped county Planning Division.
On Friday, Agricultural Planner Jen Mall left the division to become the Industrial Development Agency’s (IDA’s) vice president of Government Affairs and Business Development.
Add in the ongoing absence of a commissioner and staff cuts over the years to the division, and there’s only three people left.
Two of them will be going on vacation next week, leaving just one person to staff the busy office.
Legislature Chairman Scott Samuelson said part of the issue is that his colleagues are determining what they want to do with the division i.e., whether to replace former Commissioner Luiz Aragon or restructure the division entirely.
Mall will remain available to work with her successor for the next month or two, said Samuelson, and legislators are considering hiring a consulting firm to aid the staff.
A public discussion on that is anticipated at the Planning Committee meeting this Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at the Government Center in Monticello.
Fraud arrests up
“As of today’s date, we have 21 arrests,” the county’s new chief fraud investigator, Gerry Dietz, told legislators Thursday. “We’re also working on a plan to arrest as many deadbeat dads as we can.”
Dietz said there are nearly three dozen active warrants that the county is pursuing to ensure those fathers pay what they owe. Some go back as far as three years.
News of the county’s increased fraud detection efforts has even scared some violators into calling to settle outstanding amounts, he added.
“I think we’re sending a great message,” replied Legislator Gene Benson. “... I just want to make sure that we’re not spending more than we’re saving.”
Not ‘Lost,’ but found
Sullivan County Visitors Association CEO Roberta Byron-Lockwood informed legislators Thursday that the makers of the ABC hit “Lost” are scouting locations in the county to shoot an HBO series.
She promised she’d have more info to share on “The Leftovers” once production begins.