Germantown is last stop for Opioid Crisis Forum

GERMANTOWN–The town hosts the fourth of four community outreach efforts to educate the public about Columbia County’s Opioid Epidemic Response Plan Thursday, October 12 at 6 p.m. in Town Hall.

The forums began at the Hudson Area Library in August and continued in Valatie and Copake in September.

Residents can expect a panel of county officials and community-based service providers to discuss their efforts, with a focus on the County Response Plan, what the county has done to this point to stem the crisis, and available services. Panelists will also take questions from the audience. Read more…

Educators join responders on latest drug crisis panel

VALATIE–St. John the Baptist Church hosted a Substance Use Disorder Community Forum last Saturday afternoon. Representatives from Twin Counties Recovery Services, the county mental health department, Mobile Crisis Assessment Team (MCAT), a volunteer “angel” with the Chatham Cares 4U (CC4U) program, and Columbia Pathways to Recovery (CPR) were on a panel, along with Ichabod Crane High Assistant Principal Daniel Farley and family physician William Murphy, who has a practice in Chatham.

The theme of the September 23 forum was “to create awareness and de-stigmatize substance use disorder while providing resources for education and treatment options” according the flyer and posters around the church meeting room. At the very beginning of the forum the 35 or so audience members watched a video from the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. The video had interviews with young people who were in recovery telling their stories.

A lot of the panel members talked about accepting addiction as a disease that needs to be treated and understanding that people dealing with addiction can come from all types of families or communities. Ichabod Crane Elementary School teacher Adam Vooris, who moderated the forum, said, “There is no doubt the drug epidemic is in our community.” Read more…

Game of drones? Not for the DEC

GHENT–Have you recently noticed a loud, buzzing sound while strolling through the woods but a swarm of angry bees was nowhere in sight?

Perhaps you were within earshot of one of the fleet of 22 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones recently deployed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation across the state “to enhance… environmental management, conservation and emergency response efforts,” according to a September 25 DEC press release.

Bordering Massachusetts and Vermont on the east and Pennsylvania on the southwest, DEC Region 4, which includes Columbia County, along with Albany, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Schoharie counties, is one of seven DEC regions where DEC drones are currently stationed, Benning DeLaMater at the DEC press office told The Columbia Paper this week. Read more…

Chatham spreads risk… in writing

CHATHAM–Town Supervisor Maria Lull announced last week that the president of the Ghent/Chatham Area Seniors group has signed an agreement that the Town Board had been asking for since January. The board required the group, which sponsors trips and meetings for local seniors, to agree to a written commitment to protect the town from liability for the group’s activities. The Town Board was withholding $2,000 budgeted for the group until the agreement was signed.

Supervisor Lull said at the September 21 Town Board meeting that the funds for the group would now be released. Ms. Lull had sent a letter to The Columbia Paper in August saying that “the signing of an agreement is a New York State legal requirement that the town has to comply with, as we have done with all other organizations.”

Councilman Henry Swartz thanked Mike Blasl for talking to the group’s leaders about the agreement. “He managed to negotiate this somehow,” Mr. Swartz told the board. Read more…

From Washington, Faso targets New York’s Scaffold Law

Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

ALBANY — Congressman John Faso (R –19th)unveiled federal legislation on Tuesday, September 19, that would pre-empt what critics say is a costly, outdated law that leaves property owners and contractors liable for some construction site injuries.

Mr. Faso, a former state Assembly minority leader who worked on the issue while in Albany, is targeting the controversial state Scaffold Law as it applies to projects that utilize federal money.

That law, initially passed in 1885, puts absolute liability for workers’ gravity-related injuries, such as falling from a ladder, on contractors and property owners when it is found that proper safety measures weren’t in place. The Republican’s bill would require that a “comparative negligence” standard be applied for projects using federal funding, allowing courts to consider if workers were even partially at fault if injured in an accident. Read more…