When will they come?

First responders say new policy means injured will wait

RED ROCK–A county policy called “Emergency Medical Dispatch Response Assignments” means that dispatchers will no longer send local Basic Life Support First Responder fire companies to non-life-threatening situations in most local communities. The policy, put in effect last July by Columbia County 911, is seen as a way to handle emergencies more efficiently. But some fire companies say it may leave patients with injuries like broken bones waiting for up to half an hour for assistance.

According to County 911 Director Rob Lopez, dispatchers are trained in a unified, medically approved system to determine the priority of incoming calls and to dispatch appropriate help. Non-life-threatening calls can be Priority 3 (broken bones, allergic reactions) or Priority 4, (general illness). According to the policy, “the appropriate response… will be automatically selected by the software.”

Read more…

School budgets pass in every county district

HILLSDALE–Voters in Columbia County’s six public school districts approved budgets Tuesday. The vote totals for the budget propositions in all districts showed comfortable margins in favor of the spending plans, with Ichabod Crane’s budget passing by nearly a two-to-one margin.

A $6.1 million roof replacement proposition in the Hudson district and bus purchase propositions in the Chatham, Taconic Hills and Ichabod Crane districts also won easily, as did a proposal for expanded voter registration in Taconic Hills. Read more…

LVPA rescue squad makes plans to disband

NEW LEBANON–Suppose you called 911 and nobody responded?

That scenario, though unlikely, is one possibility January 1 for residents of New Lebanon and those who live in the part of Canaan designated as Ambulance District #1. They are currently served by the Lebanon Valley Protective Association (LVPA) rescue squad. The squad learned in February that as a part of a fire company, it may not bill for its services, something it had been doing for years. Squad officials apprised the two towns that they had ceased billing but could not continue the service past the end of the year unless the towns picked up the $100,000 shortfall in the squad’s budget created by the restriction on billing. Read more…

Homes for people with mental illness alarm some

GREENPORT–A facility to house 8 to 12 persons with mental health issues on Arthur Avenue drew about 50 residents to the May 5 Town Board meeting. Responses from the public to the proposal by the Mental Health Association of Columbia and Greene Counties ranged from skeptical to outright hostile.

The association hopes to buy two duplex townhouses at 24, 26, 28 and 30 Arthur Avenue to provide “licensed treatment apartments” for patients working to re-enter society, with about six staff providing supervision and training in cooking, cleaning, personal maintenance and other life skills. Read more…

Gravel mine applicants sue Taghkanic over delay

TAGHKANIC–Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Jim Romaine announced at the May 10 ZBA meeting, that both the ZBA and the Town Board are defendants in an civil suit filed by Berry Pond LLC, the entity seeking a permit from the ZBA to start a gravel mine on Livingston Road. Read more…