Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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April 30th, 2015

How Low Can We Get?

Study after study and the results are all the same. Sullivan County is one of the unhealthiest counties in New York State. In fact, only the Bronx is beneath us.

None of us should be surprised with the recent independent findings because it’s the same year after year.

Not only are we amongst the unhealthiest and poorest counties in New York State there is a new statistic that is equally alarming – Our population is down several thousand and with foreclosures at record highs and taxes bleeding us to death – We can expect an even further decline.

The rankings of these studies are based on factors such as quality and access to health care, health behaviors such as smoking and alcohol, and economic factors such as education and income.

Regrettably, Sullivan County excels in all of the above.

There is a direct correlation between poverty, unemployment, and access to health care. We don’t need a study to tell us what we can all see before our very eyes. Sullivan County is indeed on the critical list.

Yes gaming is coming, but not fast enough.

Our County Officials need to put an end to their smoke and mirrors. The lies and deception that things are getting better is nothing but pure deception. People need to be held accountable – and if they cannot get the job done – they need to be fired.

We can have all the health summits in the world, but we need results.

Our County Officials are busy with backroom politics and protecting self serving interests all while we are being ripped apart from our very core.

How many consultants and outsourced attorneys do we need to hire costing taxpayers thousands upon thousands of dollars while we get nothing in return?

Our County Manager along with his staff knew HEAP and SNAP would be a debacle, but yet did NOTHING to prevent it. They reacted only after a public outcry.

Some legislators like Kathleen LaBuda found every excuse why not to hire additional staff at DFS. When it came to cutbacks her record and statements illustrate across the board cuts for every department.

To show you her hypocrisy – As soon as the HEAP and SNAP outcry became public she reversed 180 degrees and became the poster child to display mismanagement at DFS when it came to HEAP processing.

As someone who has made being a legislator her lifelong career – You would have thought she would have been outspoken years ago.

Our County Manager and his inner circle pretend as if legislators are not allowed to ask questions. If that is the case – Why do legislators chair committees and all the department heads attend them?

We hear terms like micromanaging and that our legislators should not micromanage. That is pure bunk. Legislators have a mandate from the electorate, and they are accountable to us. Perhaps some of them really care and that is why they are poking their nose around our government!

Legislators have a right to know and they have a right to ask questions and to be given answers.

We have no accountability or transparency in our government. We have a closed door Minyan of people covering up for one another and playing Two Card Monte with our lives – With the results being high taxes, record foreclosures, a population decline, and being one of the poorest and unhealthiest counties in New York State.

Perhaps all this leads to a solid argument as to why we need a County Executive and NOT a County Manager.

It is amazing how we have gone from one of the most thriving regions in New York State to one of the most depressed. Sullivan County has an epidemic when it comes to poverty, drug abuse, and obesity. Our quality of life stinks, and anyone who doesn’t see it has blinders on.

To think at one time Sullivan County was number one in New York State for longevity of its residents.

According to the New York State Health Department, obesity and overweight are currently the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States and can soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death.

Although we are enriched with all “Mother Nature” has to offer, we are an extremely depressed county. When people are depressed they eat, when they are even further depressed, they eat junk food.

The New York State Health Department states that “failing to win the battle against obesity will mean premature death and disability for an increasingly large segment of New York residents. Without strong action to reverse the obesity epidemic, for the first time in our history children may face a shorter lifespan than their parents.”

Sullivan County schools has some of the most overweight and obese children in the state. Why is that? We live in an agricultural community where healthy food is plentiful and we have fresh air and lots of opportunities for kids to get exercise. What is wrong with this picture?

What is really happening with our local support of the Farm to School efforts? Why are we not supporting this when our farmers are struggling to make ends meet and need a market to sell to?

Despite all the efforts of our public health department, CRMC and other organizations trying to promote health, prevention and healthy lifestyles, the end results are still horrific and appalling.

Perhaps there is not enough investment in public health education and prevention. Our health department’s budget has been cut to the bone for years, and there is literally no staff to do the work.

There is one bright spot on the horizon and that is what SUNY Sullivan is attempting to do with a Healthy World Institute and we must all rally behind it.

According to the mission statement, “Located on SUNY Sullivan property as the gateway building near the main entrance to campus, the Healthy World Institute aims to improve people’s health, the health of the food shed, the health of the land, and the health of the local and regional economy.”

“The Healthy World Institute is the engine behind a rebranding effort for SUNY Sullivan – one that will not only transform people’s lives through education, but also increase enrollments to healthy levels that will support a healthy budget.”

The Healthy World Studies Institute will include:

• Health Sciences Programs: The Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, and Medical Assisting programs will relocate here and will be housed alongside the new Ultrasound Technology program

• Nourishment Arts & Science program, a new program that examines the food shed, healthy agriculture practice, nutrition science, and culinary arts training that caters to resorts, health care organizations, and schools

• 2nd Year Culinary program with restaurant and a Community Learning kitchen
• Green Building Management program

• Applied entrepreneurship studies classroom (“open” offices, business style conference rooms)

• Applied Research Labs: Water, Food Systems, Agriculture, Data sensor technology and analytics

• University partners: classrooms and offices

• Learning community classroom (seating for 80 with seminar breakout rooms)

• Large lobby area with student friendly seating

I understand our county is not immune to the influence of the real world, but there is no excuse why Sullivan County is doing so poorly. If we continue on the same path, it won’t be too long until we surpass the Bronx, and we hold the title as the unhealthiest county.

Indeed – We must all ask – How Low Can We Get?

This Is What the Bronx Is Doing to Fight Their Health Rating as being the Unhealthiest County in New York State – Please Remember that Sullivan County is right under The Bronx

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.

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