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Wallenpaupack seeks police presence

HAWLEY — School officials have decided they need armed police officers in Lake Wallenpaupack schools.

The Lake Wallenpaupack Area School District reportedly is applying for a federal grant, which would place Pike County Sheriff’s deputies in each of the district’s five schools.

A district official emphasized that the armed officer’s job would be protection of the students, not intimidation.

Shohola park plan moving ahead

SHOHOLA — Township efforts to gain a $54,000 grant to fund a new park are moving forward.

Township supervisors earlier this month announced that the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has asked for extended, second-stage documentation of plans for the proposed Rohman Park on Twin Lakes Road.

Township officials are matching the State’s Keystone Grant funding with the donated six-acre property, valued at $50,000, plus a $4000 private donation.

Park plans include a baseball field, a children’s playground, a picnic area, soccer, tennis and basketball facilities and vehicle parking.

State budget mess will cost Sullivan

MONTICELLO — The lack of a state budget and funding to continue Medicaid cost containment could prompt a big tax hit for Sullivan property owners.

The state legislature adjourned last week without passing a budget or continuing Medicaid breaks for the counties that expire on June 30. Lacking legislation to continue them, a difference of some $1.5 million would be born in a five-percent property tax increase next January.

County legislators last week approved a resolution calling on the state to renew its Medicaid funding support.

Church denied summer school use

WESTFALL — One of their members resigned in protest last week after the Delaware Valley School District Board of Education denied a local church use of school buildings for a summer youth program.

Trustee Jack Fisher resigned in protest to his colleagues’ upholding of a school policy denying building use for religious or political functions.

Fisher charged the policy is in violation of the US Constitution and as a member of the church, the Long Meadow Chapel, said he felt his own constitutional rights had been violated.

The board denied a waiver of the policy by a 7-2 vote and board president Barbara Boriellio said the vote prevented a precedent, which might have required use of district buildings by "undesirable organizations."

Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival at Bethel

BETHEL — Two of the sixties’ most memorable music names will be coming to the original Woodstock site in July.

Allan Gerry’s music promotion arm, GF Entertainment, has announced that the Beach Boys and Creedence Clearwater Revival will appear on July 17. The performance will also headline the band Survivor and feature other local bands.

Tickets, available through Ticketmaster at $19.99 each, went on sale earlier this week.

Additional dates have been released and include: country music concerts on August 1 and August 28, plus the anniversary concert August 13-15. No artists have been announced for any of the August dates.

Sixteen arrested in Port-Pike drug raid

PORT JERVIS — Sixteen persons were arrested by Port Jervis and Pike County police during a June 18 drug sweep. Ten of those arrested were charged with heroin trafficking, including Donald Potter, 25 of Shohola and Carrie Vandervort, 21 of Sparrowbush.

Other arrests involved the sale or possession of imitation prescription drugs or marijuana. Five of those charged were from Pike County and the remainder from the Port Jervis-Deerpark area.

The arrests were the result of a four-month investigation by police in New York and Pennsylvania.

Cellini hopeful about Indian casino

MONTICELLO — Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini is reportedly seeing a light at the end of the Indian gambling casino tunnel.

Cellini was pleased at Governor George Pataki’s recent statement of willingness to negotiate in a response to a Cellini query. Pataki is said to have agreed to attempt good faith negotiations if and when federal officials approve the proposal.

Plans for a 30-acre gaming tract at Monticello Raceway have been under consideration since 1995. The St. Regis Mohawks have applied for federal approval but Pataki has, in the past, has refused to consider the proposal.

Jobless rate falls in Sullivan

ALBANY — Sullivan County’s rate of unemployment dropped half a point in May, contrasting increases throughout the rest of the region and statewide.

Despite a record 6.9 million people working in private industry, the State’s adjusted rate rose one-tenth of a point to 5.1 percent in May.

Sullivan County’s unemployment rate was also down six-tenths of a point from May of 1998.

Lester pleads guilty

MONTICELLO — The landlord of the house where three-year-old Christopher Gardner was beaten to death last year has copped a plea.

Jeanna Lester of Bloomingburg pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted assault, which will carry a penalty of three and one-half to seven years in prison.

The plea came during the second day of her pre-trial hearings on five other charges, including three counts of assault, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.

Lester will be sentenced on July 29.

Jeff man pleads to sodomy

MONTICELLO — A Jeffersonville man has admitted his guilt to five counts of an 87-count 1998 grand jury indictment.

Joseph Belle, 41, of Miller Road was sentenced to serve from 6 to 12 years in prison.

Belle had been charged with sodomizing five boys, ages 10-15, over a period of several years.

Belle reportedly pleaded guilty to federal charges earlier and is scheduled to serve federal penitentiary time before serving the state term.

State and Thompson considering juvenile prison

MONTICELLO — State officials reportedly are considering land in the Town of Thompson as a location for a 300-bed, maximum security juvenile prison.

The project recently was rejected by residents of the Town of Shawangunk in Ulster County.

The $85 million project could generate 200 to 300 jobs and Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini is considering it. But in a June 16 statement Cellini said the facility will not be sited at any Thompson location where it is not wanted.

Cellini also blasted a blanket rejection of the project by district county legislator Steven Kurlander, calling it "pandering to the fears of residents...to mask his ineffectiveness."

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