By Jessica Cohen
For the Gazette
PORT JERVIS - A new Port Jervis recreational event was suggested at the Common Council meeting on Monday.
Resident Barry Benson proposed organizing a triathlon that would begin with a 5K race in Narrowsburg, followed by 34.6 miles of canoeing to West End Beach, 10 minutes to change clothes, and then a bike ride up to Point Peter and back down to Riverside Park. He estimated the race would take 10 hours.
Benson suggested that the event be held annually. He noted the good fortune of another city that initiated an annual canoe race with 10 to 15 canoes. “Now there are 100 canoes, and 1,000 people come to follow them,” he said.
He said that money would have to be spent on prizes and having first responders available, but money would also come to the city in visitor spending. He has a group interested in doing a “trial run” of the triathlon in May, he said.
“That’s a great idea,” said Mayor Kelly Decker.
Later, Michael Ward, president of the Port Jervis Outdoor Club, also expressed enthusiasm and said he would discuss the idea with other club members and with Port Jervis Recreation Director John Faggione.
Other happy news during the public comment period came from Carol Zaleck, who said that traffic to the dump near her house that had previously disturbed her at all hours had ceased. She thanked Decker. But later Department of Public Works Director Jack Farr said that the most significant change was that police were not driving there for target practice at night, since they had completed the tests for which they had been practicing.
However, Farr said, “I make sure the gate is locked at the proper times.”
Meanwhile, fire calls declined from 465 in 2018 to 372 in 2019, Fourth Ward Councilman Stan Siegel said. He attributed the decrease to fewer false alarms, because having a fire inspector, who was hired last year, allowed for more smoke alarm checks.
However, Siegel also pointed out the need for more fire department volunteers, as was highlighted at a recent fire call.
“Someone looked around and noticed that none of the firefighters were under 65,” he said.
Siegel also warned that phone and internet scams are proliferating. He cautioned people not to pay for handling or anything else for a “free prize,” nor have checks picked up by courier.
“Don’t pay for anything in advance. Don’t believe claims about the danger of a ‘missed opportunity.’ Don’t talk to anyone who calls and says they’re from a consumer protection agency. Don’t give out your social security number, credit card number nor date of birth. Hang up and notify police about suspicious calls,” he said.
Third Ward Councilman Geri Oney informed residents that lane closures would occur near West Main and Clark streets as work begins on the new Orange and Rockland substation there.
During public comment, Peter Grech said that he had checked with the state Committee on Open Government about required disclosure of executive session content.
“Saying ‘personnel matter’ is insufficient,” Grech said. More specificity about the nature of the issue is needed.