This year retired town clerk Barbara Dawes was named the 2021 Citizen of the Year at the Plattekill Day celebration this past Saturday. Esther Coppola chairs a committee that accepts the names of nominees from the public that are considered for this honor.
“I thank you all, I do love the Town of Plattekill,” Dawes said. “I grew up here since I was 10 and my parents were very involved with the town and were always here somewhere doing something and we always were a part of the town.”
Dawes recalled with fondness her time serving as the Town Clerk for Plattekill.
Supervisor Joe Croce said it was a privilege to have worked with Dawes at the town hall.
“She is deserving of this award...and nobody more than Barbara,” he said. “She has been there for all of our people. She made arrangements to meet people there after normal town hall hours. If you needed something, if you needed to know something Barbara knew what you needed to know. That was a great help to me and all the citizens of our town. I do miss her dearly.”
On behalf of the Ulster County Legislature Councilman Darryl Matthews presented a Pride Of Ulster County to Dawes, “for your timeless service and dedication to our community.”
Councilman Dean DePew has known Dawes for nearly his entire life.
“I have to tell you to come to this day and to see you go on to the next journey is remarkable. You have touched so many people in this town and it’s really been an honor to work with you,” he said. “Congratulations and best of luck to you in the future.”
Councilman Mike Putnam has known Dawes since moving to Plattekill 20 years ago.
“You have helped me and my wife out a lot and also we at the Town Board. It has been an honor,” he said.
The Town Board also honored Lynda Byrnes for 10 years in planning and organizing Plattekill Day. Croce pointed out that, “every year it seems to have gotten better and better.” Croce said she is stepping down from the position, “but we wanted to make sure that she was recognized.” He presented Byrnes with a Certificate of Recognition for her dedication to ensuring that Plattekill Day is a wonderful event for all who have attended over the years.
Sis Morse, Chairperson of the Plattekill Veterans Committee, also thanked Byrnes for her service to the town and for her caring for the town’s Veterans Memorial.
Allen Woodruff entered his 1928 Model A Ford pickup roadster in the car show.
“It’s a traditional built hot rod. The whole idea is that it has a ‘41 Mercury drive train in it. It’s kind of in-between the pre-war and post-war in the way it’s built,” he said.
Woodruff described what a hot rod is; “you take the fastest parts you got and put them on the cheapest car you have. It’s pretty much what it is; you built with what you had.”
Woodruff keeps busy restoring a 1951 Ford custom club coupe and a 1946 Ford pickup.
Ben Antzak and Glenn Geher are the President and Vice President, respectively, of the Friends of the Plattekill Library board. The Friends support activities and manpower for events while not using taxpayer money.
“We provide funding for pilot library programs and sometimes the manpower to test them out,” Antzak said. “We also coordinate with local businesses and find volunteers for various things.”
Their activities and upcoming events are posted on Facebook at the Friends of the Plattekill Library page.
Geher said Tantillo Farms donated 60 small pumpkins that kids got the chance to paint in fanciful ways.
“We had a scavenger hunt that was really successful,” he noted. “It was photo-based and they had to take a picture of yellow flowers, a black pickup truck and an American Flag and bring it back and win prizes for the grownups and the kids,” he said. “Everyone seemed to be having a good time.”
Theresa Barringer brought a variety of her ‘Tastefully Simple’ goods to Plattekill day.
“It’s boxed mixes of cakes and a lot of seasonings, blends, cheese ball mixes, nuts, drink mixes and avocado and roasted garlic oils. It’s all stuff for cooking,” she said. “I love it, its delicious.”
Representatives of Ulster County’s Project ORACLE brought their program to Plattekill Day. The acronym stands for Opiod Response At County Law Enforcement.
Jessica Merck said, “I am a peer advocate and a social worker and do a lot of community outreach and Narcan training. We also respond to a lot of overdose calls and perform any crisis intervention, whether it be at the hospital or at the person’s house or with family members and try to advocate for whatever services that person needs like treatment, rehab, detox, long-term treatment and youth treatment; anything along those lines as well as with insurance, housing or transportation needs. The resources and services that we have are really limitless.”
Merck said although overdoses are rising in Ulster County, the number of actual fatalities is declining due to the availability of Narcan to law enforcement and other agencies.
Merck said events like Plattekill Day gives her time to educate people about the pitfalls of heroin, which is often cut with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that was originally designed for pain management and is 80 times stronger than morphine. She said even marijuana and cocaine are being laced with fentanyl.
Patrick Carroll said the program also allows people to turn in old prescriptions rather than disposing them down a toilet, which can potentially enter a water supply.
“That’s the worst,” he said.
Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa said Merck and Carroll work for his department.
“I have a social worker and two peer advocates. I have a $900,000 grant from last year that helps fund this program,” Figueroa said. “We also do crisis intervention training, finding housing and other resources to help people even with food, whatever it takes,” he said.
Figueroa said the medical assistance treatment program is expanding at the county jail with a ‘maintenance program’ to help those entering who have a drug problem.
“The last phase is to help people get jobs because if you don’t keep their minds occupied they are going to go back to what they were doing,” Figueroa said. “It’s a big project that started in 2019. It has been a great success and has helped so many people. The team itself is what makes this program work. It’s been amazing so far.”