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Will AT&T call on Youngsville?
    YOUNGSVILLE: According to AT&T records, this Sullivan County hamlet doesn't exist.
   
   By Steve Israel
   The Times Herald-Record
   sisrael@th-record.com
   
   Youngsville sure looks like it exists.
   The hamlet nestled in the snowy mountains of western Sullivan County has its own post office with big blue letters that say, "Youngsville 12791."
   It has a general store/gas station, Baim's, with a rack of yellowing 55-year-old postcards that proclaim, "Welcome to Youngsville."
   It has another general store, John's, that's been ringing up everything from decks of pinochle cards to pairs of socks on the same manual register for 60 years.
   "We're definitely here," says the woman sitting behind the register, Anna LeRoi.
   But AT&T doesn't think Youngsville exists, according to one of its 500 or so citizens, Sandi Shirdon.
   All Shirdon wanted was a phone line for her family's new computer that sits in one of the neat two-story homes that dot the main street of Youngsville.
   Here's what she says happened:
   In October, when the leaves were still on the trees in her back yard, she called AT&T. The first of at least a dozen calls was promising. The corporation was as helpful as the operators who handled each Youngsville phone call as recently as 1950.
   Shirdon would have her new line in 15 days.
   When she didn't, she called again. And again. Her phone calls piled up as fast as the Sullivan County snow. Just as fast, the computer kept spitting out her orders.
   She could do anything to her old phone line, for which she was billed every month. New orders were a different story one that didn't have a happy ending for Shirdon.
   Last week, when the chirping of birds heralded spring, she got a straight answer from an AT&T woman named Charity:
   "Youngsville doesn't exist as a place in our computers."
   When The Times Herald-Record called the same AT&T number as Shirdon, someone named Debra answered in Pittsburgh. She didn't know Youngsville from Margaritaville. But she did know the number that handles media calls.
   The media man also acted like Youngsville didn't exist.
   "I never heard of it either," said Gary Morgenstern. He said it would take a few days to get to the bottom of Shirdon's problem. He said this from his office in Basking Ridge, N.J.
   Shirdon still doesn't have any idea when she'll get her phone line. But she does have something to say to that AT&T man.
   "Where's Basking Ridge?" she asks. "In Illinois?"
   

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Telephone 845-341-1100 or 800-295-2181 outside the Middletown area.
Copyright March, 2001, Orange County Publications, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc., all rights reserved.