Mom can’t find venue to discuss cancer fears
Lost son at age 4, suspects a cluster
A Summitville woman whose 4-yearold son died of brain cancer is battling local officials for a place to speak about her concerns that local industrial contamination might be to blame.
Kim Ann Candela has been denied a venue by both the town of Wawarsing and the village of Ellenville for a public discussion regarding a possible cancer cluster.
Candela was living in Ellenville, which is within Wawarsing, while pregnant with her oldest son, Jackson Joshua Smith. The child died of brain cancer on April 12, 2016.
Candela says she suspects contamination at the nearby Channel Master site, later owned by Imperial Schrade and Hydro Aluminum, was the cause.
“A lot of people have questions; it’s an important issue,” Candela said. “If there’s a chance this town is contaminated, and we may never know, I don’t want anybody else to have to go through that.”
Candela said she intends to present a slide show, with maps of local rivers and factories, attempting to connect the dots with known cancer cases.
Other potential indoor meeting places are now being pursued for a forum, including local firehouses and the Ellenville Public Library.
So far, a video of Candela’s appeal to town of Wawarsing Supervisor Leonard Distel, posted on Facebook, has been viewed nearly 3,000 times.
Distel argued on camera last Thursday that it would be too difficult to have someone turn off the alarm system at Town Hall after the regular 4 p.m. closing time to accommodate an anticipated crowd of up to 100.
Village officials refused as well despite the fact that the village building stays open late and houses Ellenville Police Department.
“I don’t give up that easy. If anything, this motivates me more, and I’m thankful for that,” Candela said. “I’m a strongly opinionated, loving bitch who has been through hell and refuses to be bitter. We were just hoping our local elected politicians would help.”
Additional contaminated areas locally include the old Napanoch Paper Mill, now an abandoned federal Superfund site, written off as a lost cause in 2014. Environmental activist and local gadfly Mike Wendel of Maximum Waters says he has linked ownership of the paper mill to Channel Master through property deeds in the Ulster County Clerk’s Office.
Tests conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey between 2009 and 2011 revealed the presence of strontium-90 and uranium, both radioactive, in the groundwater below the Ellenville state police barracks. The corresponding well is indexed as U1647 on pages 34 and 35 of the report, which can be found online at on.doi. gov/2ffLogb.
The radioactive waste allegedly originates from experiments conducted by the U.S. Army on mentally incapacitated Napanoch prison inmates starting in 1945 to study the effects of fallout on agricultural crops.
Kim Ann Candela is shown with her son, Jackson Joshua Smith, who died this past April at age 4.