State aid helps county track some and aid others

HUDSON–Three resolutions that the Columbia County Board of Supervisors passed at its meeting on September 11 authorized the county to obtain investigative software for the Probation Department, the Sheriff’s Office to accept the next annual state grant for child car seats, and the Public Health Department to accept another state grant for its Migrant and Seasonal Workers Farm Program.

The investigative software, called CLEAR, will help locate people, County Director of Probation Vincent Doto explained at the board’s Public Safety Committee meeting August 21. People the Probation Department needs to find include those who owe restitution, victims who should get restitution, and absconders.

Currently about 10% of the adults sent to probation in Columbia County have absconded, Mr. Doto said. CLEAR is “a service” from the government and law enforcement division of “a company that offers a wide range of services,” he added in a conversation August 28. Renting the license to use it will cost about $400/ month, but there is no startup cost. For CLEAR, the Board of Supervisors authorized the county to enter into an agreement with the company multinational Canadian company Thomson Reuters.

The child car seat program has been going on for several years and been renewed each year. The latest Child Passenger Safety Grant will be for $3,300 and last from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020.

The Sheriff’s Office gives car seats to “financially qualifying families” and installs them for free, County Sheriff David Bartlett said at the August 21 meeting. “The good thing is that we install it” the right way, he added. One way people can get car seats is by coming to the Sheriff’s Office and filling out paperwork. But they can also get them at the public events where the Sheriff’s Office distributes and installs them.

The county Health Department Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers program includes visiting farms that employ these workers, holding an annual health fair, and collaborating with other local healthcare organizations and providers to get appropriate services to people who need them. Grants from the New York State Department of Health fund it.

The farm visits include screening the workers and their families for various health conditions, vaccinating them, and educating them on health issues, pesticide protection and available social services. The Health Department provides interpreters and distributes informational and educational material in both English and Spanish. It also arranges transportation to medical facilities for individuals judged to need treatment.

In its annual report for 2018, the county Health Department reported visiting nine farms and servicing 249 men, 76 women and 146 children that year. In addition, it reported, its staff guided four women through pregnancy, with three giving birth to healthy babies that year and one still “pregnant at the end of the year.”

The next meeting of the full Columbia County Board of Supervisors will take place Wednesday, October 19, at 7:30 pm, at 401 State Street in Hudson.

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