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New Forum Group to Serve as Liaison Between Public and Plum IslandBy Jan Suszkiw
September 5, 2000
PLUM ISLAND, N.Y., Sept. 5The U.S. Department of Agricultures Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) has created a forum groupfor public affairs and safety and emergency preparednessto provide new conduits for communication with the centers neighbors.
The forum includes eight local officials who represent communities in New York and Connecticut within commuting distance of Plum Island. The forum will initially meet once a month with USDA scientists and other staff as part of an ongoing dialogue on the centers research activities, responsibilities, and general operations.
The forum participants can then pass information along to others in their communities, as well as address issues on a person-to-person basis, said Dr. David Huxsoll, PIADC director. The idea is to offer another outlet for public information.
Participants on the Public Affairs forum are Ben Burns, Village Trustee of Greenport, N.Y.; David Fishler, Commissioner, Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, Suffolk County, N.Y.; Timothy Griswald, First Selectman, Old Lyme, Conn.; and Michael Pace, First Selectman for Old Saybrook, Conn.
Safety and Emergency forum participants are Thomas OBrien, Deputy Chief, Director of Emergency Management, Old Saybrook; Debbie OKane, North Fork (Long Island) Environmental Council; Michael Spera, Deputy Director of Emergency Management, Department of Police Services, Old Saybrook; and Tom Watkins, Fire Chief of the Greenport Fire Department.
The forums first meeting was Thursday, Aug. 31, on Plum Island. There, scientists of two USDA agenciesthe Agricultural Research Service, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Serviceconduct research and diagnostics on animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease that arent present in the U.S., but could pose a major economic threat to agriculture in this country.
The Plum Island webpage, which includes information about the centers research mission, scientific accomplishments, safety measures, history, and a virtual tour, can be found at: