(Exclusive video of NJ Governor Corzine, the Superintendent on the NYSP and others talking to Yeshiva World, has been linked at the bottom)
Just before the actual ‘vacation season’ sets upon the Catskill region, local law, safety and health officials held their annual meeting in order to discuss pertinent issues.
The conference – which took place at the Monticello Municipal Building on Monday, June 23 – was chaired by the Sullivan County Legislator, Jodi I. Goodman, and included Sullivan County Sheriff Michael A. Schiff, representatives from NY State Police Troop F (Liberty), Commissioner of Public Safety Richard M. Martinkovic, Terri Hess President/CEO of Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, Special Assistant to the Superintendent of the New York State Police Rabbi Bernard Freilich, Representatives of Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC), Representatives from the Misaskim Organization, Rabbi Simcha Bernard who is the Chaplain of the Sullivan County Sheriff Department & Chaplain at CRMC, Rabbi Joel Gold who is the Chaplain of the Ulster County Sheriff Department & Chaplain at CRMC, Conservation Police, Fish & Wildlife Representative Carl Lindsley, Catskill’s Hatzolah coordinator Baruch Gibbs, Alex Rau E-911 Coordinator, Meir Frischman from the Association of Jewish Camp Operators and other elected officials.
The sole purpose of the annual meeting is to organize and prepare for a safe, coordinated summer. To their credit, local authorities give it their best shot to accommodate everyone in the most pleasant manner as possible.
Among the items discussed were the following:
BEARS: Carl I. Lindsley took the chair by relating how the bear population is growing rapidly. Lindley advised those who spot a bear NOT TO CALL 911! 911 is only for emergencies, such as bodily harm or life endangerment cases. Additionally, he said that extra care should be exercised to minimize the possibility of bears in public places. Garbage pails on campgrounds and bungalow colonies should be emptied daily, as the bears are attracted to food scraps. Bird feeders also are a significant problem, enticing bears into the area.
Lindsley said they will be cracking down on camps and bungalow colonies which do not properly cover their garbage dumpsters, and have them constantly emptied.
Besides the challenges presented by the bear population, Lindsley said that coyotes, pose a threatening presence, citing the instance where a coyote attacked one person in the state of New Jersey, resulting in wounds that required 47 stitches.
Coyotes resemble German Shepards, tend to have rabies, and instinctively go after bats and other small pets. If encountered by a coyote, the smart choice of action is to chase it away; they will typically run off.
CRMC: Catskill Regional Medical Center, formally known as Harris Hospital and the frum community have been working closer than ever, and a team of new doctors have been brought in. Among the steps that the hospital has taken to assist in expediting treatment was the recent acquisition of the Life Net 75 helicopter (medevac), stationed at the Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC), twenty-four hours a day, all year round. This vital medical transport unit is accessible for all trauma emergencies – and helped save countless lives last summer.
The CRMC also has included a kosher menu to its meals and designated “Chesed Rooms” in the hospital to accommodate frum families of patients. It also has incorporated a patient advocate program with frum liaisons available from June 20 until September 19. Additionally, 200 staff members underwent a mandatory cultural sensitivity training provided by Birkur Cholim and the Catskill Hatzolah members at the Flatbush Hatzolah Garage in order to impart an awareness, an understanding and an insight into the Jewish patient presence.
Bikur Cholim tell YWN that they are fully prepared to deal with any situation which can Chas V’shalom arise.
STATE POLICE: In the very near future, GPS will be installed in all state trooper vehicles, where all camps and colonies will be featured – enabling their expedited response in case of an emergency. This system was designed by Catskill’s Hatzolah.
The State Police said that there will be a zero-tolerance for speeders this summer – especially in construction zones. There has recently been a new unit formed which has placed patrol cars in many construction zones on NY Route 17. “If the speed limit says 45 or 55, that’s what they better be doing, not a bit quicker than that,” the NYSP told YWN. There will also be strict enforcement of seat-belts, no talking on cell phones, and usage of appropriate car seats.
State Police Captain Boylan (Troop F Liberty) told YWN that a phenomenal plan that was close to being finished, whereby all camps and bungalow colonies would be notified of an emergency via a thought out network – even on Shabbos. The catalyst for the strategy was the terrible incident that was reported by YWN (HERE) where a man shot his gun in a Jewish Center in Seattle two summers ago during the Israel/Lebanon War. State police were concerned that the incident would have repercussions in the Catskill region and they wanted to notify the Jewish public to take precautions, however, due to the Shabbos they were in a dilemma. Driving to hundreds of camps and colonies over the next 24 hours, notification was provided in a most inefficient manner.
Anyone who has any information to be added to this notification list should please fax it to the Association of Jewish Camp Operators through Rabbi Meir Frischman, at 845-292-6217.
911 System: Children should be supervised in order to eliminate unwarranted phone alerts to 911, and should never be given cell phones to play with. If the police are summoned in error, they should be notified immediately. People need to be aware that on any occasion that someone calls 911 and hangs up, contact is attempted on the landline; if there is no response, a patrol car MUST be dispatched.
Unfortunately, due to this phenomenon, a situation similar to ‘the boy who cried wolf’ occurred. Due to the high volume of false alerts last summer, police did not respond appropriately to a true call for help.
Also, if an individual witnesses an accident and calls it in to 911, he is asked by police to leave the scene after help arrives.
Alex Rau, the Sullivan County E-911 Coordinator encourages everyone to sign up for NY-Alert, which sends out emails and/or text messages about important information regarding weather, traffic etc. The user can choose what types of alerts he wishes to receive along with the areas. Visit www.nyalert.gov for more information.
120,000 copies of the Center of Community Resources fully colored magazine, chockfull of safety tips, was mailed out. (Check your mailbox!)
The newly appointed NYPS Superintendent Harry Corbitt also conveyed his wishes with Rabbi Freilich for a relaxing and safe summer to the entire community, and apologized for being not being able to attend to to time constraints.
Amid the natural beauty of the Monticello setting in the Catskill Mountain region, the 2008 pre-summer meeting of local law, safety and health officials, ended on a promising note. As witness to the symposium, YWN can attest that the local government representatives in Sullivan County are doing everything they possibly can to make this summer precede smoothly, easily and safely.
What must be noted is the extreme dedication, devotion, and tireless efforts that Rabbi Freilich along with Rabbi Simcha Bernard, Rabbi Joel Gold, Rabbi Meir Frischman, and representatives from the Center For Community Resources/Misaskim have been working with in the past few months to ensure that the summer runs as smoothly as possible. Most folks don’t realize what hard work goes into each item mentioned above, and the hundreds of item which have not been mentioned.
YWN publicly commends these Oskei Bitzarchei Tzibur, and we wish all of our readers a truly happy, healthy, enjoyable summer!
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