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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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The following timeline of events was prepared by Lynn Lersch as a convenient reference for Middlesex residents.  Among other individuals participating in the meetings in which multiple attendees are noted are:  Dawn Kane, Leigh Williams, Kevin and Kim Newell, Diane Harris If we have missed details or if there are errors, please correct us, by emailing  or leave COMMENTS below.  This timeline will be updated as events unfold.






Nov. 27, 2011 D&C article:  Lengthy backlog in Group Homes by P. Singer staff writer. (This article documents that the state is getting out of institutional care.  Closing of the Monroe Developmental Center (MDC)  is first seen.  And all 124 individuals will be relocated,  40 of whom will be distributed around the FLDDSO network.  Medicaid costs per individual per year is listed in various types of housing.  Mentions Gov. Cuomo’s intent in closing developmental centers statewide.

Dec, 2011. – family members of occupants at 6166 South Vine Valley Rd. were told that the home will close temporarily for fire safety upgrades and individuals would be relocated. 

Jan. 2012 – Tracy Dunton was verbally notified of her sister, Bonnie’s relocation to Waterloo IRA. 

Jan. 11, 2012 – Tracy contacted the Town of Middlesex to  tell her story of frustration and anger.

Jan  2012– Town contacted Mr. Travis Proulx of OPWDD, Dir. of Communications & Public Affairs – list of questions for OPWDD to respond to referencing FLDDSO intentions with temporary closing of the home.

Jan. 28, 2012
 – Emergency community meeting held to alert community and appeal for support. Tracy Dunton tells her story and how she was treated by the state.  Town appeals to Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike office and the County Community Services Director Pam Larnard with concerns.  Position is that the original intent of the town’s approval of the IRA has now changed and therefore town should have been notified.  (Approval by the town 23 yrs. ago established the new program as a Group Home for Devopmentally Disabled Adults – (9) cap. )  We were told that the Mental Hygiene Law was silent on what happens when the population changes within the law.

Feb. 2, 2012 – Daily Messenger Front Page -couples Middlesex IRA closing with MDC Closing (featuring the Urbano’s story of son Carmen)

Feb 2, 2012 – 5 residents of Vine Valley met with Assemblyman Palmesano in his District office in Bath with Senator Tom O’Mara.  They co-authored a letter on Feb. 6th to Commissioner Burke (OPWDD)and hand delivered it to Albany.

Feb. 3, 2012 – Lynn Lersch contacted Attorney Walter Martin – at Mental Health Legal Services (MHLS) and told him the story.  She  also contacted FL Legal Assistance in Geneva (Phil Dailey), and Western New York Advocacy for Developmentally Disabled (Diedre Staley)

Feb. 4 – Community Meeting – FLDDSO Director M. Feeney, Deputy Director Sherilyn Coleman-Ferrar, and Middlesex IRA Team Leader John Garlock .  Feeney presented position of NYS, reasons for temporary closure of home and relocation procedures with displaced individuals) to approximately 100 community members in attendance.  Audience expressed outrage and frustration with obvious lies, lack of knowledge of this home’s particular situation).  Community finds out that the home will be repopulated with individuals from MDC (6-8 male, mixed population some of whom will be level 2, 3 sex offenders).   Concern about proximity of child next door was also expressed, as well as lack of communication to families of the home’s occupants, disruption to their lives and failure to consult with the community.

Feb. 8, 2012 – Daily Messenger- Gwen Chamberlain article published:  “EVICTED” — Community rallies around group home residents who are moved from their long time setting.

Feb. 8, 2012 – Chronicle Express – Gwen Chamberlain reports on Community Meeting with Director Feeney. 

Feb. 12, 2012 – Associated Press story describes Cuomo’s plan for the Dormitory Authority of NYS to bypass legislative control in process, and give Commissioner Burke unparallelled authority without accountability regarding a wide range of operations and facilities.

Feb. 2012– Petitions distributed.  Community letters sent with 484 petitions to Commissioner Burke’s office and to Governor Cuomo.

Feb. 16, 2012 – Assemblyman Palmesano received reply from Commissioner Burke’s office with after normal business hours, the night before he is to meet with the community.

Feb. 16, 2012 – Laurie Marks writes to Bob Duffy, Lt. Governor.

Feb. 18, 2012 – Second Emergency Community Meeting held.  Assemblyman Palmesano read OPWDD Commissioner Burke’s reply and discussed a need to contact other family members of individuals in this home.  He stated that:  “it’s all in how one asks a question”.  (Re:  Legal guardians contacted by State saying that due to safety conditions at the house, we have decided to move your family member to another safer location.  Answer would in most instances be “yes, please do, and thank you.” 

Feb. 22, 2012 – Chronicle Express – Gwen Chamberlain article regarding Assemblyman Palmesano and Senator O’Mara quizzing NYS on future of Middlesex Home.

Feb. 27, 2012 – WYNN video covering press conference on  MDC Closing.  The Urbano’s speak with at forum with (PEF).

Feb. 28, 2012 – Democrat & Chronicle – “Facility Closing Protested”

Mar. 2, 2012 – Meeting of 4 Vine Valley residents with Yates County Community Services Board – Pam Larnard, Director, presenting a number of questions.

Mar. 11, 2012 – Democrat & Chronicle – “Speaking Out” article.

Mar. 13, 2012 – Meeting of two Vine Valley residents with Community Services Board, Penn Yan

Mar. 16, 2012 – Lynn Lersch contact with WNYADD, Mr. Roger Nellist, Attorney.  Finally after nearly 6 weeks, Mr. Walter Martin, Attorney for MHLS, Rochester, called Lynn Lersch with the news that there is nothing he can do.

Mar. 17, 2012 – Public Employees Federation(PEF) District 3 Legislative Breakfast, held in Rochester, NY.  Lynn Lersch made a guest presentation on the events and conditions regarding the SOS and the  Middlesex IRA situation.

Mar. 30- Apr. 9, 2012 – Lynn Lersch successfully visits (4) of our relocated Middlesex IRA individuals

April 5-9, 2012 – Lynn is denied visits to (4) of our relocated Middlesex IRA individuals.

April 12, 2012 –  Lynn refers denial of visits to the Visitors Board and attends FLDDSO Open Session, stating concerns over reasons for denial.



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