Radio segments produced for the Kingfisher Project are aired on WJFF Making Waves a program on WJFF public radio, 90.5 fm, based in Jeffersonville, NY. [note: The Kingfisher crew is in the process of re-building the audio library of radio shows, in the meantime, you can hear select segments here and here.]

  • Kingfisher Project episodes

Episode 1 – Initial broadcast, aired Jan. 12, 2015. Our Topic: “It’s Not Who You Think It Is” – Features audio recorded at Honesdale High School at the December 2014 Meeting of the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force with substance abuse counselor Jack Heinicke, Honesdale High Principal Rigoletto, Wayne County Deputy Coroner as well narrative provided by Julie Pisall on the loss of her daughter, Rebecca, in a heroin-related shooting and the voice of Sullivan West High School teacher John Ogozalek reading the Kingfisher essay written by Rebecca a few years before her death.

Episode 2 – Aired Jan. 26, 2015. Our topic: “The Stigma Is Deadly” – With audio from the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force Meeting at Beach Lake Firehall – features Pat Resti talking about the loss of his son, Anthony, to a heroin overdose; “Big Red” the founder of the rehab center; Sue Heinicke, speaking about the struggle her daughter has endured; and Bill Williams, whose son Will, died of an overdose after he was denied treatment, speaking to the U.S. Senate about the need to change the law.

Episode 3 – Aired on Feb. 2, 2015. Our topic: “It’s Everywhere” (includes excerpts from the Jan. 31 open community forum in Jeffersonville at Village Hall. Speakers included Sullivan County, NY, District Attorney James Farrell, Sullivan County Public Health Director Nancy McGraw and others including interaction with the village hall audience.

Episode 4 – Aired on Feb. 16, 2015. Our topic: “Know the Signs” – an audio description of items that might be clues someone you know is using heroin.

Episode 5 – Aired on Feb. 23, 2015 – Our Topic: “There Is Always Hope.” Audio recorded at the Gravity Inn on Feb. 19.

Episode 6 – Aired on March 2, 2015 – Our Topic: “Addicts Talking Truth.” In what is to be a recurring feature, Johnny and Dan — two recovering addicts — discuss aspects of addiction and recovery between themselves and with others. In this episode, the topic is surviving the first weeks of sobriety.

Episode 7 – Aired on March 9, 2015 – Our Topic: “Treatment Denied.” Bill Williams, a member of the Kingfisher team, explains recent actions taken by the New York State Attorney General’s office against health insurers who have wrongfully denied coverage for treatment of addiction and for mental health conditions. Plus, excerpts from the March 5 Sullivan County Legislature Public Health and Safety Committee.

Episode 8 – Aired on March 16, 2015 – “Family Matters.” Jack and Sue Heinicke founded the Honesdale Family Support Group only recently. It meets weekly and they’ve already made some powerful connections to families and loved ones struggling against the impacts of addiction.

Episode 9 – Aired on March 23, 2015 – “Don’t Judge.” Wayne County Coroner Ed Howell speaks to 180 people in the high school auditorium in Lake Ariel, PA, for a meeting of the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force. The segment also features Pat Resti as he reads his daughter’s words about judging and Mary Nicoletti Seidl as she speaks about the recent loss of 21-year-old Derrick Clarke to an overdose on March 17. Also, we hear the words Gerald Margraff wrote about the loss of 20-year old Jillian Masgula to an overdose death earlier in March. 

Episode 10 – Our topic – “The Court of Second Chances,” Aired on March 30, 2015 – Following on the heels of the Kingfisher’s day of double public forums, “Heroin in Our Towns,” we bring you this excerpt about drug court, a program that helps addicts in the jail and court system to get into rehab and give opportunity for recovery. Features Kingfisher Project interviewer Deborah Chandler, plus Drug Court coordinator Junn Pato-Ryan and Roderick, a graduate of the program. Then we hear from a mother, Denise, who spoke from the audience.

Episode 11 – Aired on April 6, 2015 – Our second excerpt from the March 28 Heroin in Our Towns public forums. Our topic: “A Tale of Two Moms,” featuring Christine Schiff, wife of Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff, speaking about the effects on her family when their daughter, Ria, became addicted. Then, Laura Resti, speaks about battling against denial to get help for her stepson Anthony who eventually did die when he overdosed this past December (2014).

Episode 12 – Aired on April 13, 2015 – Counseling and Community Services – Further excerpts from the March 28 Heroin in Our Towns public forums. Speaking in this episode are Joseph Todora, head of Sullivan County Community Services, plus addiction counselor Gary Rosenbluth. We also hear a discussion of the importance of shedding light on issues such as addiction through community radio as WJFF conducts a portion of its Spring pledge drive.

Episode 13 – Aired on April 20, 2015 – Greg and Kelley, Staying Clean – When the Kingfisher Project attended the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force meeting on March 19, we heard the stirring personal story of Greg Edwards who generously shared some of the details of his incarceration, his addiction and his eventual coming around to seek recovery. The April 20 segment of the Kingfisher Project presents a portion of that presentation and then we cut live to Greg along with fellow recovering addict Kelley Blessinger in our the Jeffersonville studios of WJFF, 90.5 fm.

Episode 14 – Aired on April 27, 2015 – Stats and Rehab – Gerald Margraf of the grassroots Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force presents local statistics that show an increasing number of deaths. Joel Jakubowski of Teen Challenge talks about treatment and rehab. (Audio taped at a meeting of the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force.)

Episode 15 – Aired on May 4, 2015 – The Things Addicts Do – Kingfisher producer Dan P presents an insightful edition of the Kingfisher Addiction Roundtable as Dan, Greg and Kelley dig deep into their first-hand knowledge of the opiates epidemic and their experiences as addicts so they can help others understand how to cope. They talk about “managing unmanagability” and what to look for if you’re concerned about a loved one who may be addicted.

Episode 16 – Aired on May 11, 2015 – Who Becomes An Addict? – WJFF’s Gandalf interviews addiction counselor Gary Rosenbluth. Their talk includes a discussion of personality traits, including compassion, often found among those who become addicted to substances. Part One of a two-part interview.

Episode 17 – Losing A Daughter. Losing A Son – Aired on May 18, 2015. Kingfisher Crew member Pat Resti suggested we talk to parents about what it is like to lose a child to heroin. This episode was arranged by Pat and features Pat, whose son Anthony died of an overdose, and Kingfisher Founder Julie Pisall, whose daughter was shot and killed in a heroin deal dispute. Special thanks to program engineer Dan Desmond who rearranged the WJFF Making Waves schedule mid-show to allow this show to run for an hour instead of 30 minutes.

Episode 18 – A Community Recovers – Aired on May 25, 2015. The Kingfisher Project attends Wellness Day at Fallsburg High School in Fallsburg, Sullivan County, NY. There, we conducted an interview with school officials and members of the Superintendents Advisory Committee about how the school community is recovering from the headlines about the discovery of a heroin needle and other items in an elementary school faculty restroom.

Episode 19 – Stopping An Overdose Death – Aired on June 1, 2015. Kingfisher Crew members attend a Narcan training session at the Hancock (NY) Fire Department and speak with the organizers. The broadcast crew also became trained in saving a life with naloxone (tradename: Narcan).

Episode 20 – Clean Needles – Aired on June 8, 2015. Sam Avrett and David Barr of the Fremont Center talk about their work in getting clean needles programs into communities where intravenous drug use is rampant and along with that, risk of HIV. Interview by Kingfisher volunteer Dr. Deborah Chandler. Also, Kingfisher Project Founder Julie Pisall speaks with Friends of Recovery NY CEO Robert Lindsey and Friends of Recovery -Sullivan organizer Pam Pesante Kraus about pending legislation to address continuing education for those who prescribe controlled substances.

Episode 21 – Friends of Recovery – Aired on June 15, 2015 – Pamela Pesante Kraus talks about setting up a Friends of Recovery chapter in Sullivan County, NY, hosted at the United Methodist Church, Broadway, Monticello. Pam also tells a little of her own story. Interview by Margaret Langston. Also, we present first broadcast briefing (2-minute segment) “Understanding Addiction,” by Dr. Deborah Chandler of the Kingfisher Crew.

Episode 22 – So Much Loss – Aired June 22, 2015. It has been one year since the death of Rebecca Pisall and we’re reflecting on all the lives that have been lost. This show is hosted by Julie Pisall and features the original Kingfisher Essay reading by Sullivan West High School Teacher John Ogozalek. It also features a reading of the essay “Will’s Willow” by the father of Will Williams. In addition we hear two excerpts from the June 18 meeting of the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force including Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards and Wayne County Prevention Specialist Mary Palladino.

Episode 23 – A Film Tells Truth – Aired June 29, 2015. Adam Wiseman and Kevin McKinson, filmmakers on the documentary called The County talk about opiates and drug abuse in Sullivan County. The young filmmakers explain why it became important for them to use shock value to try to get the county to “wake up” to the devastation that drugs are causing.

Episode 24 – Seven Aspects of Addiction – Aired July 6, 2015. WJFF radio’s Gandalf and addiction counselor Gary Rosenbluth discuss the elements of addiction.

Episode 25 – Paige and Carli’s Journal Drive – Aired July 13, 2015. Paige Muzuruk, 9, and her sister Carli, 11, appeared on the air for the Kingfisher Project at WJFF, telling all about their new project, Family Matters, and the journal drive they’re conducting so that people struggling with addiction, loss, disease or any other issue can express their fears and feelings. Their project is in memory of their uncle Dennis who died in April in a drug-related shooting. After his death, the family found his journals and saw how he used writing to try to sort out his feelings. Paige and Carli’s latest journal drive kicks off at 7 p.m. tomorrow night (Tuesday, July 14, 2015) at the performance of Breach the Barrier at the Callicoon Brewing Company. Admission is free, but bring a journal, a pen, or some markers to donate to the drive!

Episode 26 – A Reporter, A Nurse, a Van Full of Clean Needles – Aired July 20, 2015. Broadcast journalist Jake Harper talks about the series he produced about the small town of Austin in rural Indiana. It’s a place that has recently been compared to Sullivan County due to concerns about the spike in opiate abuse and related health issues. This Kingfisher episode includes one segment, about a public health nurse on a mission, and an interview with Jake conducted by the Kingfisher Project. See Jake’s series here:

Episode 27 – Overdose Forum Preview – Aired July 27, 2015. In advance of the county-wide forum for Sullivan County, NY, on community response to the addiction crisis, we talk to Nancy McGraw and Kate Freda, organizers of the forum for Sullivan County Public Health and to Fred Brason, founder of Project Lazarus.

Episode 28 – Project Lazarus Forum – Aired August 3, 2015. On July 30, Sullivan County NY health professionals and supporters gathered at the Bethel Woods Center for a day long conference aimed at devising a strategic plan to help the county battle the opiates addiction epidemic. This episode features excerpts.

Episode 29 – Faith and Hope – Getting Past Addiction – Aired August 10, 2015. Greg Edwards and his guest Faith Collins both of the Honesdale, PA, area, talk about the paths they have taken to get out of the grip of addiction. Part of a continuing series with Greg Edwards as director.

Episode 30 – Gaining Awareness – Aired August 17, 2015. Excerpts from the Aug. 11 meeting in Livingston Manor, “Heroin: A Community Forum.” About 50 people gathered in the Livingston Manor School cafeteria to hear from individuals in treatment and law enforcement about the epidemic that has caused numerous deaths and drug-related crime in this small community. Plus, we’ll talk about the upcoming picnic to mark Year One for the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force, a grassroots citizens movement that’s been leading the way in northeast Pennsylvania.

Episode 31 – Sister Dee’s Next Mission – Aired on Aug. 24, 2015 – Sister Dee, a retired nun talks about the devastation she sees in Sullivan County, NY, as a result of heroin and opiates addiction. She discusses her experiences as a nun helping disadvantaged youth and how she sees addiction prevention as her next calling. Interview by Julie Pisall with Barbara Gref.

Episode 32 – Aired on Aug. 31, 2015 – Dedicated to Kelley: Stay Grateful! – (note: Due to an archive malfunction, this broadcast was not recorded – we’re piecing it back together. For now, we present this short clip from one of Kelley’s broadcasts this spring). We dedicate the Kingfisher Project broadcast to one of our own, Kelley B, age 22, who lost her battle against addiction this past week after a courageous fight. That’s Kelley in the photo in the WJFF studios this spring, helping others by giving advice and insights into her own journey. We’ll hear a short excerpt from one of Kelley’s Kingfisher broadcasts and we’ll present some other information on Monday which is also International Overdose Awareness Day.

Episode 33 – Signs Your Should Not Ignore – Aired on Sept. 7, 2015 – With Sullivan County, NY, Sheriff Mike Schiff speaking at the Livingston Manor Community Forum paired with and re-broadcast of Suzie Frisch of the Wayne County, PA, Heroin Prevention Task Force, explaining implements people use to shoot up.

Episode 34 – Addict at Law – Aired on Sept. 14, 2015 – Marking September as addiction and recovery month, we present Honesdale, PA, area attorney Anthony Waldron and his story of his addiction and its aftermath told in his own words at the June meeting of the Wayne County, PA, Heroin Prevention Task Force meeting at the Ritz Theater in Hawley, PA.

Episode 35 – Pastor Glen’s Past as an Addict – Aired on Sept. 21, 2015. Retired Methodist Pastor Glen Davis talks about his past as a meth and cocaine addict, the effect it had on his life and how he keeps clean. Interview by Julie Pisall.

Episode 36 – Open Mic Night for Recovery Month – Aired on Sept. 28, 2015. To mark Recovery Month, the Ritz Theater in Hawley (PA) hosts an open mic night. Kingfisher airs excerpts featuring the stories of Jeannette, Faith and Jack.

Episode 37 – Anonymous People, UnAnonymous Movement – Aired Oct. 5, 2015. We talk about the upcoming community screening of the film, The Anonymous People, and about yesterday’s rally UniteToFaceAddiction of 30,000 people on the National Mall. The common purpose, break the stigma and eliminate the shame. Beth Bernitt, Bill Williams and special guest calendar reader Laura Kalina are featured in this segment.

Episode 38 – Sky Lantern Launch & Addiction Info – Aired Oct. 12, 2015. The town Chamber of Commerce invited the Kingfisher Project to sponsor a sky lantern launch acknowledging those who have died and those individuals, families and friends who are struggling against addiction. Audio from the launch in included. We close with the “addiction minute” educational segment from Dr. Deborah Chandler and the Kingfisher Calendar.

Episode 39 – Addiction Prevention – Aired Oct. 19, 2015. We speak with prevention specialist Martin Colavito who works with Catholic Charities, at the Recovery Center in Monticello and in community-based work in Newburgh.

Episode 40 – Sullivan West School Task Force and Kingfisher Calendar with Laura Kalina – Aired Oct. 26, 2015. We attend and air audio from the inaugural meeting of the Sullivan West School Task Force, formed to deal with the issue of substance abuse, addiction and overdose. Then, Laura Kalina announces the Kingfisher Calendar.

Episode 41 – Friends of Recovery Forum – Aired Nov. 2, 2015. The group, Friends of Recovery – Sullivan, hosts a forum at the Methodist Church in Monticello on the topic of solution-oriented dialog with professionals from probation, law enforcement and drug court. Radio host, Laura Kalina.

Episode 42 – Rehab at Dynamite Youth Center – Aired Nov. 9, 2015. (Pledge drive program) Two counselors and two residents from the Dynamite Youth Center long-term drug treatment in South Fallsburg, plus Kingfisher’s Julie Pisall, Laura Kalina and Dr. Deborah Chandler engage in a roundtable discussion tackling questions related to heroin abuse and addiction.

Episode 43 – Gift of Life, Part 1 – Aired Nov. 16, 2015. Kingfisher Project founding producer Julie Pisall summarizes the trip she and her family took to the Gift of Life gathering near Philadelphia for an event where those who have received donated organs and those who’ve been involved in donating the organs of their loved ones meet. The family of Rebecca Pisall, for whom the Kingfisher Project is named, donated her organs after she was shot and killed in a dispute over a heroin deal.

Episode 44 -Gift of Life, Part 2 – Aired Nov. 23, 2015. Audio from the recent Gift of Life gathering captured by Julie Pisall of the Kingfisher Project (see above).

Episode 45 – Overdose Rescuer – Aired Nov. 30, 2015. A friend’s mother suggested to Daniel Shakkour that he become trained in the use of Narcan, the trade name for the drug that can stop an overdose death. Daniel, now in recovery, still knows a lot of people who use, but he never suspected he’d get a 1 a.m. call to come use his Narcan kit on an addict who was about to die. Julie Pisall and Barbara Gref interview Daniel. Jack Heinicke, Daniel’s counselor and mentor from prison, gives some background on recovery with input from Daniel.

Episode 46 – Aired Dec. 7, 2015. This segment is currently missing due to an audio archive malfunction. Efforts continue to try to restore this and other lost programs.

Episode 47 – Students Create Addiction Awareness PSAs – Aired Dec. 14, 2015. Sullivan West High School social studies teacher John Ogozalek is a founding educator of the Kingfisher Project community broadcasting initiative. He’s he teacher who assigned the Kingfisher essay for which the project is named. Now he has taken the effort one step further by creating a Kingfisher unit for his 12th grade government class. This past fall, his students worked in teams to create public service announcements (PSAs) about substance abuse and addiction. We go inside Mr. O’s classroom to hear from the students and hear some of their PSAs.

Episode 48 – Addiction and the Holidays – Aired Dec. 21, 2015. Psychologist and Kingfisher volunteer broadcaster Dr. Deborah Chandler plus Kingfisher founder Julie Pisall team up to give some insights into what addicts and families may face during the holidays – a time of year that can be particularly challenging.

Episode 49 – The New Year’s Eve Alcathon approaches – Aired Dec. 28, 2015

Episode 50 – Federal drug policy, a review and reactions – Aired Jan. 4, 2016

Episode 51 – Suboxone Pros and Cons – Aired Jan. 11, 2016 – We speak with Paul Salzberg, MD, about the medication, Suboxone, and the pros, cons, perceptions of this sometimes-controversial treatment for addiction. Dr. Salzberg is a NYS-based Suboxone prescriber.

Episode 52 – “Addiction Is Not a Spectator Sport” – Aired Jan. 18, 2016. Kingfisher crew member Bill Williams returns to his old high school, the Kent School, Kent CT, where he is invited to speak to a chapel full of current students and faculty about the toll addiction has taken on his family. Also, we read the newspaper opinion piece written by Adrianne Dollard about the loss of her son, Justin. In addition, Gerald Margraf talks about the upcoming spaghetti dinner fundraiser organized by the grassroots Wayne County, PA, Heroin Prevention Task Force.

Episode 53 – Aired Jan. 25, 2016.

Episode 54 – Battle Plans & Spaghetti. Aired Feb. 1, 2016. Sullivan County Director of Public Health Services Nancy McGraw gave some details on how the battle against addiction and opiates in shaping up in Sullivan County. Schools are taking action, officials are pressing for more funds for treatment and Public Health became a certified trainer in naloxone, the medication that can reverse an overdose and save lives. We also heard an uplifting report from the now-legendary Spaghetti Dinner hosted by the grassroots Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force this past Saturday in Beach Lake, PA.

Episode 55 – Kiwanis Forum: “Heroin Is Killing Our Children” – Aired Feb. 8, 2016. In Minisink Valley, Orange County, NY.

Episode 56 – Truth Pharm Addiction Panel – Aired Feb. 15, 2016. Recorded in Hancock, NY.

Episode 57 – Aired Feb. 22, 2016.

Episode 58 – Aired Feb. 29, 2016.

Episode 59 – Aired March 7, 2016.

Episode 60 – Aired March 14, 2016.

Episode 61 – Aired March 21, 2016.

Episode 62 – Aired April 4, 2016.

Episode 63 – Aired April 11, 2016.

Episode 64 – Aired Apri 18, 2016.

Episode 65 – Supervised Injection – Aired April 25, 2016. Svante Myrick, mayor of the City of Ithaca, NY, has proposed a Supervised Heroin Injection Center in Ithaca. It’s a place where addicts can inject heroin under the watchful eye of health professionals. It would be the first and only such Safe Injection center in the U.S. and one of only a handful in the world. Myrick, the 29-year-old son of an addict, discusses the proposal and the controversy surrounding it in this special edition of the Kingfisher Project.

 * * * * *

Kingfisher Project, Special Episode – George’s Story, aired April 17, 2018. George FIelding was in the house when Rebecca Pisall was fatally shot in the head over a heroin dispute. It’s a graphic story, but one that has a lesson to tell.

* * * * * *

  • Kingfisher Project preliminary segments from 2014 – these led to the formation of the project (Audio not yet available):

John Ogozalek reads “My Philosophy,” the Kingfisher Essay, written by Rebecca Pisall – July 2014, Making Waves, WJFF radio, 90.5 fm

Making Waves radio producer Midge Maroni interviews New York State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther about the epidemic of heroin use and addiction – August 2014, Making Waves, WJFF radio, 90.5 fm

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