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Resident told Nighthawks not funded by taxpayers


CARTHAGE — Taxpayer dollars do not support the newly organized drill team, a concerned citizen was told in a letter from the Carthage-Wilna Fire District secretary.

Linda R. Prashaw reported to the board of commissioners during Wednesday’s meeting that Wendell Papineau had written a letter expressing concern about taxpayers footing the bill for the Nighthawks drill team.

Ms. Prashaw responded that the drill team is part of the Carthage Fire Department, with which the fire district contracts for fire protection. She said drill teams are viewed as a training tool for departments. Furthermore, she told Mr. Papineau that the drill team has been hosting fundraisers to support itself.

The team plans to continue to hold monthly chicken barbecues and was given approval at Wednesday’s meeting to host a rose sale concluding on Valentine’s Day.

The board also approved a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the newly formed Fire Department Auxiliary. That event, to be held Feb. 9 at the station, 685 S. James St., is charging $8 for adult meals and $4 for dinners for children 12 and younger. Delivery will be available by calling Jennifer Schermerhorn at 777-7782. To ask questions or purchase tickets, call Mckenzie Roberts at 493-1070.

In his report, Fire Chief Sean P. McHale said that with the influx of new members, the department has had to ask inactive members to return their gear. He said many members lack the 15 percent response to calls.

The board of commissioners approved four people to begin the probationary process: Zachary Intorica, Lanny Jones, Ricardo Falcon and Steven Ainsworth.

All of the prospective members have passed their physicals and arson background checks.

Chief McHale said there were 191 calls in 2013 and the response from new members has been good.

“They’re a young group — Johnny on the spot. We have 16-18 people turn out. It’s a great thing,” the chief said.

Head driver Brian J. Draper said he rarely goes out on a call alone.

Commissioner Ernest L. Prievo praised the chief: “You’re doing a good job in recruiting.”

“I have to give credit to these young guys. With all the required training now, if I had to start over, I don’t know if I’d do it,” commissioner Norman L. Barkley Jr. said.

The chief also announced cold water rescue training in conjunction with the Croghan and Harrisville fire departments on Feb. 8 in Croghan and upcoming hazardous waste training to be conducted by Mr. Barkley.

In other business, the commissioners:

n Approved expenditure of $85 for online required commissioner training for newly elected commissioner Mr. Barkley.

n Gave approval for the fire chief, head driver and one other unnamed firefighter to attend the Fire and EMS Management Conference from March 27 to 30 at Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, at a total cost of $1,543.

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