CHEERS: To the Sullivan County’s Women, Infants and Children Program recently honored as the best in the state for its nutrition services. The program was ranked first by the state Department of Health’s Division of Nutrition Services for providing nutrition services with qualified nutritionists 100 percent of the time. It also ranked sixth in the state for the percentage of infants exclusively breastfed at 6 months, at 21.3 percent. WIC operates under the county’s department of Public Health Services and provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, vouchers for nutritious food and healthcare referrals to approximately 1,600 eligible pregnant and post-partum women, infants and children up to 5 years old. “I’m thrilled with this news and give credit to the dedicated folks who run WIC with complete compassion and concern for those they serve,” Sullivan County Legislature Vice Chairwoman Nadia Rajsz said.
CHEERS: To the Open Space Institute for its recent purchase of land that will link the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area in Wurtsboro to Wurtsboro Ridge, Roosa Gap and Shawangunk Ridge state forests. These will help toward the goal of unifying the 71-mile Shawangunk Ridge Trail, from Rosendale in Ulster County to High Point State Park in New Jersey, so hikers never have to walk on private property or roads. Over the last 30 years, the institute has played a critical role in assembling more than 33,000 acres of conservation holdings in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties.
The land covers parts of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Mohonk Preserve and the Bashakill, creating a nearly continuous ecological greenway through the three counties. “If we didn’t have organizations like the Open Space Institute actively going out to conserve parcels like these and open them to the public, we’d lose them, and it’s likely they’d be developed,” said environmentalist Katherine Nadeau, deputy director of Catskill Mountainkeeper.
CHEERS: To the many groups and individuals who spend spring days cleaning up after the winter snow cover has gone and revealed work to be done. Among the examples are the volunteers who removed more than 3 tons of trash and yard waste across the city of Kingston in the 9th annual “Clean Sweep” May 5. According to a press release, more than 300 people participated in the cleanup. They came from 35 different businesses and organizations.
CHEERS: To the Minisink Valley Intermediate School’s K-Kids, a Kiwanis-sponsored kids club, which held a drive recently for the Humane Society of Port Jervis/Deerpark. The club’s service projects include collecting food for local pantries, visiting nursing homes and collecting supplies for the HSPJ. The club donated cat and dog food, towels and blankets and a check for almost $130.
CHEERS: To state police for reminding young drivers about the dangers of using cellphones while driving. While adults also should listen to the warning, national statistics show that handheld cellphone use while driving is found to be highest among drivers ages 15 to 29; in 2016, 3,450 were killed in the U.S. because of distracted driving and a person is 23 times more likely to crash texting and driving, something for everyone to keep in mind as the summer driving season begins.