Drug and child abuse growing concern for Delaware County officials
By Cheryl Petersen
Awareness overload was dealt with along with regular business at the Delaware County Board of Supervisors meeting on April 9. Three resolutions were passed to bring awareness to Crime Victims’ Rights Week, National Public Health Week, and Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The board also entertained Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Coordinators, Jude Maroney and Jeff Knight, who detailed the plight of methamphetamine (meth) in New York. Maps show meth confiscations were more prolific in central upstate New York decades ago, but now are found all over the state.
Not a new problem
“In the many years I’ve lived here in Delaware County,” said Stamford Supervisor Mike Triolo after the meeting, “meth has been trouble. In central New York, anhydrous ammonia from the farms probably made it easier to produce meth. But, the DEA presentation was informative because it shows new materials being used today to make meth. We need to be aware, so we can handle the problems that always come with drugs.”
The coordinators gave a history of clandestine laboratories (clan labs), or illicit operations that produce controlled substances. In 2010, there were 31 labs confiscated. Last year there were 138 labs seized. Sixty five percent of the labs are found purely by chance while performing regular duties such as answering fire calls and following through on an arrest warrant.
Meth can be easily cooked up into many forms, however, its stimulating affect is highly addictive and ruins lives.
“A third of the labs we seize have children in them,” said Maroney. “The parents don’t even notice the children.”
As for the crime resolution, Americans are victims of more than 22 million crimes each year and continued effort needs to be made to advance the cause of justice for crime victims.
The Public Health Week resolution brought attention to the statistic that nearly one quarter of all students in Delaware County do not graduate from high school on time. Board members also recognized that more than half of all cancer deaths could be prevented by making healthy choices like not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active, and getting recommended screening tests.
Discussion on Child Abuse Prevention, received a comment from Commissioner William Moon, “The Department of Social Services (DSS) wants to thank the board for agreeing to four new caseworkers last year, and two more this year. The new caseworkers have completed their training and we’ve noticed a reduction of pressure and stress on the caseworkers dealing with child safety.”
Hamden Supervisor Wayne Marshfield emphasized, “Let’s wear the color blue all month to bring notice to our obligations as leaders to ensure each child can pursue their dreams in a safe and loving way.” The DSS provided blue ribbons to pin on to clothing.
In other business, resolutions were passed to establish a second county judge in the Delaware County, and to commence with eminent domain proceedings in the Town of Franklin. To continue upgrading the 911-radio communications system, a tower will be built at the Johnson site after acquiring said property in the Town of Franklin. The existing tower will be removed.
Adding a judge
As for establishing a second county judge in Delaware County, Masonville Supervisor Mike Spaccaforno, said, “The county is experiencing extreme court cases. In the 1980s, family court had 1,400 cases per year. Now the court is dealing with 3,300 cases per year.”
Harpersfield Supervisor and Board Chair Jim Eisel said, “The New York Unified Court System has budgeted for 20 family court judges to take office in 2015. Delaware County sorely needs one of them.”
The board approved of a grant amount of $7,815, received to accommodate the increased demand from Medicare recipients for technical assistance for 2014. The sheriff’s office was awarded $20,000 from Constitution Pipeline to purchase Automated External Defibrillators.
A bid was put out for Cold in Place Recycling. “Public Works uses the Cold in Place method for paving roads,” said Hancock Supervisor Sam Rowe. “It reuses the old road base by crushing it and mixing in new materials before applying it to the road surface. We attribute fewer pot holes to the method.”