Meeting Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Present: Linda Aumick, Board President – Action Toward Independence
Margaret McDowell, Gardiner Senior Resource Committee
Matt Pfisterer, Director, Middletown Thrall Library
Deborah Worden, Assistant Executive Director & Systems Advocate, Action Towards Independence (ATI)
Janet Dymond, Senior Librarian – Eastern Correctional Facility
Dan Hulse, RCLS Development Officer & COSAG Chair
Mimi Vilord, Rockland County United Way (participating by phone)
Kelly Corrado, Programming/Promotional Services, Greenwood Lake Library
Absent: Grace Riario, RCLS Public Services Consultant & Outreach Coordinator
Terri Thal, NYS Perinatal Association
Joann Hargabus, Director of Services – Action Toward Independence
Josie Longstreet, Independent Living Inc.
Carl S. Berkowitz, RCLS Board of Trustees
Allison Johannessen, RSVP Coordinator, Orange County Office for the Aging
Laura LaSusa, OrangeWorks
Chair Dan Hulse called the meeting to order at 1:35 pm. Introductions were made around the table.
Mimi Vilord made a motion to accept the minutes of the October 22, 2014 meeting as submitted. Margaret McDowell seconded. Motion passed.
Issues & Concerns: Dan Hulse updated the committee on the New York Library Association’s Library Advocacy Day 2015, which was held in Albany on Wednesday, February 25. Due to the efforts of many Library Champions and advocates who attended, the Legislature reinstated $5 million to the State budget for libraries, bringing the total amount of State Aid to $91.6 million. While this is a pleasant victory, libraries are still short of the $102 million funding required by State Education Law. Another accomplishment coming out of this year’s Advocacy Day was the repeal of the MTA Tax concerning libraries. Going forward, libraries and library systems have permanent exemption from the MTA Tax.
Linda Aumick shared with the group that Literacy Orange is without a home. The roof of their present location, 90 North Street in Middletown, had major structural problems causing flooding of the Literacy Orange office which damaged computer equipment and furniture. She asked that if anyone knew of office space that was available in the Middletown area to please contact her as soon as possible.
Matt Pfisterer reported that there is a Winter Warming Station for the homeless in Middletown, located in the basement of St. Paul’s Methodist Church. During the winter, it is open from 9 pm to 6 am. This past winter, 265 unique individuals made use of the program. The congregation there will be taking a vote on June 3 as to whether or not to continue the Warming Station during the winter of 2015-2016. Pastor Ryu of St. Paul’s has been supportive of the Warming Station as have been the Middletown Interfaith Council. A major proponent for the warming station, Rabbi Joel Schwab of Temple Sinai and leader of the Interfaith Council will be retiring in August and this will mean there won’t be such strong support from the Interfaith Council in the future. City of Middletown officials are lukewarm in their attitude and support towards the warming station; feeling why should Middletown shoulder all the responsibility for all the homeless that come from other communities in Orange County. The growth of this population shows that they will need COSAG and Social Services.
Linda Aumick added that Port Jervis has tried to start a warming station, but there is not much community support to get one going.
Matt Pfisterer explained that in the wintertime, during the day, many of people that take advantage of the warming station come into Middletown Thrall Library. Many times these individuals create disruptions and distractions while in the building. Matt shared that on more than one occasion it was necessary to summon the Middletown Police Department and there have been instances where they have had to use Narcan to revive someone who has overdosed. Matt Pfisterer has discussed with the RCLS Director’s Association the possibility of holding sensitivity trainings for the frontline, direct service library staff that interact with this population on a regular basis. Kelly Corrado agreed and shared that she would like to see more training sessions like this for library staffers.
2015 Outreach Grant Projects: The council members asked if Grace Riario would please provide an update electronically, via e-mail on the status of the Outreach Grants Program for 2015 upon her return to work.
55+ Guide: Dan Hulse reported that the 55+ Guide can be accessed online through the RCLS web site. It includes a pdf format of the guide that can be downloaded and printed. By having the online version, adding or updating any agencies and services’ information can be done immediately. He asked that if any council members knew of a local agency’s change of address or telephone number, to please let Grace Riario know so that the online version can be corrected.
The possibility of printing another hard copy version of the Guide will be revisited in 18 months.
Announcements: Kelly Corrado of the Greenwood Lake Public Library announced that Joan Carvajal has retired as director after 18 years in that position. Jill Cronin, former Children’s Services librarian is now the new Director.
Linda Aumick, former Board President of Literacy Orange announced that Literacy Orange has office space in the Newburgh Library on Grand Street and has also established a small office in the Unity Center at 321 South Williams Street, which is also the former Newburgh Armory.
Janet Dymond shared that prisons are now receiving more sensitivity training for inmates with mental health issues. There has been tremendous growth of this population in the corrections system. She also explained that her correctional facility is a step-down facility for inmates that are close to their time for being released. Janet has been conducting more resume writing workshops and job searching seminars for those inmates. These programs are quite popular and very much needed. Upstate Department of Labor (DOL) is sending people into the prisons to coach inmates near their release date and help them. Janet wishes they could get that going in this area of the state. COSAG members encouraged Janet to approach Stacey Rein at the United Way of Ulster County and Sandra McIntosh of Consumer Services of Cornell Cooperative Extension for assistance with these programs.
Margaret McDowell explained that her Gardiner Senior Resource Committee deals with the needs of and providing information for senior citizens. There is no charge for their services. The committee has ten volunteer members who are all retired schoolteachers, healthcare workers and educators. They have been focusing on workshops about living wills, healthcare, financial planning and other programs of interest to seniors. She said it is very rewarding to work with this group and that their number is growing. She also shared that the Ulster Senior Volunteer Program to replace the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) will be located on Albany Ave in Kingston in the Business Resource Center.
Deborah Worden updated the committee on the activities of Action Toward Independence (ATI) which is headquartered in Monticello. The agency works with seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans and is now conducting workshops for work readiness with the coming of casino gambling to Sullivan County.
Mimi Vilord of United Way of Rockland County (UWRC) reported that she has been re-invigorating their Volunteer Organizations Assisting with Disaster (VOAD). This project has been very labor-intensive and UWRC is going to be focusing on this during the summer of 2015.
Linda Aumick, ATI Board President and Deborah Worden, ATI Assistant Executive Director reported on a new initiative focusing on transportation in Sullivan County, which is one of two counties in New York State that lack a Comprehensive Transportation Plan. This Plan was presented to the Sullivan County Legislature last week. There were 38 agencies in Sullivan County that had input into this Plan. The recommendation to the Legislature is to hire a Transportation Director. A vote of the Legislature will take place in early June to create this position and put it into the county budget. By adopting the Plan, Sullivan County will become eligible for federal grants.
For the Fall COSAG meeting date and time, Mimi Vilord recommends holding the meeting at either 9:30 or 10:30 am in the morning; or from 3:30 to 5 pm in the afternoon, so as not to break up the workday. The council would like Grace Riario to include this in the next Doodle poll she sends out for scheduling the Fall meeting date. Grace Riario will send out a Doodle scheduling request soon with multiple dates for members to select the day that is best for their schedule.
Meeting adjourned at 3:12 pm.
Minutes Author: Dan Hulse