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Friday, April 16, 2021


A huge step backwards

To the editor:
It was great to see that Jack Danchak, past President of the Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, is still looking out for the welfare of Sullivan County's fish and wildlife! His article on the new trout fishing regulations being imposed in New York State was right on target.
As a 40-year employee of the Department of Environmental Conservation's Bureau of Fisheries, I worked with fisheries biologists and technicians who were diligent and dedicated to protecting the trout and their environment; we worked to improve the fishing.
Most anglers know that streams and rivers differ in trout populations, species, growth rates, abundance, habitat, and fishing pressure. A special regulation that may improve the fishery on one stream may not work on another. Streams and rivers were at times over-fished, and stocking more fish was not always the answer to improving the fishery.
Catch and release fishing began in 1963 on a section of the Amawalk River in Westchester County, and the number of wild trout increased dramatically, more than doubling by 1965. Wild trout are held in high regard by anglers, as well as by fisheries professionals; and through the years, additional special fishing regulations followed that increased the number of wild trout in our streams.
However, these new regulations allowing fishing during trout spawning season are a huge step backwards - they exploit spawning trout! There is no sport in this type of fishing, nor is skill needed to catch them; trout are concentrated in their spawning areas and are quite vulnerable.
Although the regulations specify that the trout caught are to be returned to the water, handling spawning trout is harmful to them. It is common for a spawning female to discharge her eggs when handled; these eggs will never be fertilized. Those eggs that are fertilized and are lying in the stream bed can be trampled and destroyed. The natural stress of spawning is so difficult that some fish do not ever recover.
Recognizing this, trout spawning was protected by a law passed by the Sullivan County Board of Supervisors in 1849 - 172 years ago!
Regulations in the past were enacted to protect fish and wildlife; it cannot be stressed enough that allowing fishing during the spawning season is unsportsmanlike. In fact, looking online, NYS Environmental Conservation Law, ENV 11-1321, current as of January 1, 2021, states:
“…Bass, walleye, trout, lake trout and salmon shall not be disturbed on spawning beds in the closed season, nor shall their spawn or milt be taken from spawning beds at any time.”
From the many people I've discussed this with, the only ones who admitted they were in favor of the new regulations were a few fishing guides. What exactly is being promoted here? In what way is the DEC protecting the bass and trout?

Ed Van Put
Livingston Manor

Upper Delaware Litter Sweep

To the editor:
The lovely Delaware River is calling on you to participate in the first ever Upper Delaware Litter Sweep April 17 - 25 in celebration of Earth Day 2021.
It is time to shake off the cobwebs of our long COVID sequester and sweep the river corridor clean by removing the unsightly trash left to us by thoughtless visitors and residents.
Litter Sweep initiatives will take place on both sides of the river. You may contact the Upper Delaware Council for what's being coordinated in your area (call Ashley Hall-Bagdonas at 845-252-3022). We will be able to assist you with safety equipment, bags and pickers and disposal support for collected trash.
You don't need a special invitation. You can work on your own or as part of a group. If everyone does “something” we will all have a cleaner Delaware River corridor that we all can be proud of. You might just litter pick your own road frontage.
The brilliant novelist, scientist, philosopher Johann Goethe said it best two centuries ago, as chief minister at Weimar - “If everyone sweeps before his own front door then the street is clean; the whole world would be clean.”
I invite my Town of Highland friends and neighbors to “sweep” your own properties or join a group with me. The Highland Transfer Station where the trash is to be deposited or recycled is open on Saturday, April 17 and Tuesday, April 20, Thursday, April 22 and Saturday, April 24. It would be best to be there before 2:30 each day.
I will take care of your collected trash if you give me a heads up. Contact me by phone at 845-557-8319 or email me at Let's make this year a special celebration of “Earth Day”.

Andy Boyar
Eldred Parent

NY budget is reckless

To the editor:
The legislators in Albany have passed a new budget of approximately $212 billion. That number should shock the citizenry, but, as usual, the budgetary wheels will be put in motion, days will pass and the people the legislators serve will simply be left to kvetch about the price tag - or leave New York State.
To put this budget in perspective, know that Florida has almost three million more people than New York and is geographically much larger than New York. Logically, you would think that Florida's budget would exceed New York.
Alas, Florida's 2021-2022 budget is less than half that of New York and has no state income tax - which is increasing under the new NYS budget.
Even more shocking is the fact that the new NYS budget even exceeds that of California, a state with twice as many people as New York.
I understand that state government has to pay its bills and invest in projects that benefit its citizens, but our elected representatives need to explain how a budget of this size is possible, especially compared to states of similar or greater size. Perhaps there is a good explanation for this budget or the fact that, despite a cash infusion from the Feds, it's an increase of 10% over last year.
Without an explanation of any kind (I've asked), I will be left to my opinion that this budget is reckless, harmful and an insult to all New Yorkers.

Tim McCausland

Facts matter

To the editor:
Especially in these times of rampant “fake news,” facts matter now more than ever.
When anyone can get on a soapbox and go on a tirade against the governor while, almost undoubtedly, having turned a blind eye to the twenty-six woman who accused former president Trump of various degrees of sexual misconduct, it is important to be reminded that it was Sam Cooke who wrote “A Change is Gonna Come,” not Otis Redding.
And I'm sure he is turning over in his grave at the thought of his civil rights anthem being invoked in such a manner.

Paul Stankus

Is there a Facemask penalty?

To the editor:
I'm left to wonder if a facemask penalty was called on two recent plays shown in the Democrat sports pages. Clearly, two Ellenville football players and a Roscoe player were not wearing the mandatory masks over their faces - a requirement for playing and practicing all high risk sports in New York State.
This is not a judgment on the rule, but an observation on its enforcement and ensuring that equity is maintained throughout all high school sports. I think it's safe to say that players without masks would find it easier to breathe, run and perform than those wearing masks.
If one team has players wearing masks and another does not, advantage to the team with maskless players. Also, I'm sure volleyball and soccer players would like to play without masks, but cannot hide under a helmet.
It's not clear what the penalty or consequence is, if any, for players not wearing a mask. Just another layer of confusion New York State and Section IX have created by allowing full-time athletics but not full-time academics.
As one parent said recently at a Sullivan West Board meeting, “how is that from 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., my kid has to social distance in the school as a student, but after 1:30 p.m. when he becomes an athlete and goes to play his sport in the same building, he doesn't? What kind of message is that?”
The same contorted message that Section IX is sending by not allowing spectators to indoor events such as volleyball even though New York State has approved it.
I realize managing schools and school athletics in the COVID era has been extraordinarily challenging and ever-changing. But all we are asking for as parents and residents is consistency and common sense.

Ken Cohen

Community spirit is alive and well

To the editor:
The Youngsville Firecrackers, a Cornell Cooperative Extension Community Group would like to thank everyone that contributed to our 2020 Sock drive. Although we could not meet together regularly due to Covid 19, our sock drive was outstanding.
Carla Dworetsky coordinated, collected, and organized all the socks, hats, mittens, scarves. Area businesses housed donation collection boxes, members Tracy, Mary, Patti and June helped collect from businesses, receiving a grand total of 1,314 items.
Community members knitted and crocheted beautiful hats, scarves, mittens. The St. Francis, St. Georges and Youngsville Reformed Church members also collected for the drive.
Items donated helped the churches fill 33 community baskets, deliveries were made to the Jeffersonville Adult home, First Way Life Center, Recovery Center, United Way, Sullivan West Elementary and High School, Corona Self Help Center, and any family in need.
If you know of any non profit organization that could use items please contact Carla Dworetsky (845) 482-4588.
Thank you to everyone that donated, knitted, and crocheted, businesses that housed collection boxes, your generosity and kindness is appreciated.
Youngsville Firecrackers would also like to announce our 2021 Scholarship. Applications will be available at Sullivan West Central School Guidance Office, APRIL 30, 2021 DEADLINE. Applicant must be a SWCS Senior, living in the Youngsville Fire District.
Applicant must be pursuing further education in field of choice, and is intended for educational path of choice, not only college. Contact Jane Doughty (845) 707-2250 for info.
Youngsville Firecrackers are proud to live in our towns and county where communities come together to support each other. If interested, our community group normally meets at the Youngsville Fire House every third Wednesday, at 7:00 p.m., Sept - June thanks to ours hosts the Youngsville Fire Dept. However we currently are not meeting due to Covid 19, hoping we'll be able to meet soon.
Our community support, generously, and kindness will help us to continue to help our communities, and we are thankful.

Jane Doughty

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