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December 09, 2016
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Dolores seeks Damascus seat

Despite being past the deadline for getting on the official primary ballot, she decided to run. Keesler said that both Democratic districts in the township are supporting her write-in candidacy. Last week, she and others mailed letters to 1,300 Democratic and Republican voters in the district, asking them to write her name in on the ballot for the primary election on May 17. Keesler is a write-in candidate for both ballots.

The letter highlights Keesler’s years of involvement with Damascus Township. That experience hearkens back to the days when township officials met in Elvin Swenson’s basement with barely enough room for a few chairs. When she learned in 1971 that the government was going to do something with the river, she went to see the supervisors, only to be told there was nothing they could do. She began reaching out to neighbors.

Today, Keesler seeks to correct the perception that she does not support private property rights. In fact, she fought hard for those rights as a result of the Tocks Island Dam Project, which forced the sale of her aunt and uncle’s beloved property containing the now public—and very popular—Buttermilk Falls. Despite the loss, Keesler says that she appreciates the National Park Service’s role in the region, cleaning up trash, performing law enforcement duties, enhancing river safety and protecting the natural resources.

Having participated in the long struggle and even longer healing process that ensued, Keesler anticipates a similar process related to natural gas development in the region. “People on both sides of this issue need to sit down together and seek common ground,” said Keesler. “Whether you’re a leaseholder or not, if something goes wrong, we all need to be on the same page to protect our way of life. That’s one reason why we shouldn’t rush into this.

“Our township is a valuable asset, and the citizens feel it should remain so. We are capable of going into the future with ways for the township to thrive, as other areas have done in similar circumstances. I have a belief in American ingenuity.”
Keesler’s parents owned a property in the Upper Delaware and she and her husband bought their own on River Road in 1965. She began teaching for the Wayne Highlands School District in 1975 and retired in 2001. A lay speaker for Callicoon United Methodist Church, Keesler says that her life has been an unpredictable path that tends to follow God’s lead.

As she rounds this next bend, she asks, “Where do You want me now?” And she’s confident of the answer.

God's Lead?

Ms. Keesler seems to be a Pandora's box. She believes in American ingenuity but isn't crazy about horizontal drilling. She wants to follow God's lead but thinks we shouldn't rush into domestic energy production. How many oil wars must we fight before God gives Ms. Keesler the green light? This also begs the question of what God was thinking when he put this valuable resource beneath us.

I notice that Mr Barth is unhappy with anonymous people that disagree with him. How does he feel when we see that the River Reporter accepts money from energy companies in the form of advertisement revenues? You see, this is good for the economy and no one understands that better than the River Reporter. My name is Tyler Durdan and I approve this message.

Tyler Durdan, or Tyler Durden?

I didn't see "Fight Club", but it seems that the anonymous fellow sees himself as Brad Pitt, playing the character Tyler Durden.

The Wikipedia description of the character Tyler seems fitting: ""Because of his nature,"[18] Tyler works night jobs where he sabotages companies and harms clients. He also steals left-over drained human fat from liposuction clinics to supplement his income through soap making and create the ingredients for bomb manufacturing, which will be put to work later with his fight club. He is the co-founder of Fight Club, as it was his idea to instigate the fight that led to it."

While this description is fitting for that anonymous commenter, Bob Dole seems to be the inspiration for the other commenter's propensity to speak in the royal "we", or the third person. Still, he too is a co-founder of the Wayne County chapter of this "fight club". Indeed, he is possibly the same person, but, no matter.

In both these cases, I continue to ask TRR if this is the kind of commenter the paper wishes to encourage. They seem to desire to rile up, or pick fights, simply to disengage from the specific, important, realities of the issue.

They seem to want to boil the impacts down to a simple equation where their opponents are obstructionist, outsider, "hypocrites", who own little land, and therefore, have no standing in their eyes, while they are the comic book protectors of the (self)righteous, multi-generational, inhabitants, who own a lot of land.

Actually, it just comes down to that last bit, doesn't it? Owners of large tracts of land, primary resident or not, who have leased, vs. those whom they portray as having little, and who either don't want the drilling, or if done, want it to be proved non-contaminating (a virtual impossibility).

These anonymous commenters even seem to resent it, and rage against it, when local newspapers cover the stories that portray the legitimate questions raised about shale gas drilling. They truly hate it when the disasters are covered. However, they can not deny those happen, so they just attempt to minimize and mock the impacts.

TRR, please require commenters to post their real names. It will improve the level of the comments immensely, and we may even see other locals participate.

Proving my point

I misspelled Tyler Durden. My bad. Is it likely that Mr. Barth is a fan of the movie Fight Club and remembers the character well or is it more likely that he googled the name? If he googled the name, what was his motive? I humbly submit that it was to get the dirt on me and smear my name in order to make my arguments less credible as has been his want in the past. This is why anonimity is preferrable. When you read the above tirade, who is being rude, parallel, or otherwise. I wish to discuss and in many many instances debunk, the arguments of the anti drilling crowd without resorting to character assassination. Mr Barth seems to have real difficulty understanding that an attack on his position is not an attack on his person. I issued a challenge earlier to stick to the issues and not devolve into this behavior and said we will see who casts the first stone. Does this qualify? Thanks for proving my point. I am Louis Friend and I approve this message.

Identity crisis

Are you saying that those who disagree with you should be silenced because you don't know who they are? What difference does it make? We should put up our identities so some mean spirited hatemonger can look up a name and make an unwelcomed appearance? No thanks. Thats what promotes violence JB, don't you know? Plenty of other papers elsewhere that will welcome opinions with no strings attached

Who are the fear mongers?

This is our local area. I would like people to step up to the plate, and speak under their real names. Real people speaking to real people are more respectful. There is very little possibility for a meaningful, respectful, dialog between anonymous people and identified people.

There are no social inhibitors, or character repercussions, when the anonymous incite, lie, misrepresent, distort, or disrespect. There is also little incentive to learn, or even read what the other is saying. The anonymous have free reign to just sling the mud onto the wall, distort the other's words, or fabricate fictional motives in relation to the other, with the only restriction being the site moderator. That obviously does not work in our area, just look at the Wayne Independent.

An example of self-serving distortion is: "Are you saying that those who disagree with you should be silenced because you don't know who they are?", when my issue clearly is not about silencing different opinions than mine about issues, but is clearly about the structure of this newly formed comment section.

This is not splitting hairs to me, it is about circular, or parallel discussions, that are a waste of time. This comment section will either be between anonymous people, or self-identified, real people. The twain shall rarely meet between the two.

Look at the difference between letters to the editor, and posts in the anonymous blogs of any newspaper. I am aiming for the higher elevations of the former.

That is the choice I am asking TRR to make. If the publisher chooses the anonymous blog, then so be it. It will join all those other worthless, blogs that foul the internet air, and little value will be given to our Delaware River area.

If TRR chooses anonymity, I will have the choice to post anonymously, or not to post, but I will not have been "silenced". It is my choice, and I simply no longer want to spend time in anonymous blogs.

If TRR chooses self-identification, the anonymous will have a choice. It will be theirs to make. No one is "silenced".

I realize that I am asking for something that newspapers seem to not want to set up. I hoped TRR was different. At some point, I will stop banging my head against the internet wall.

Not an issue.

Mr. Barth, for whatever reason, keeps hammering away about how he does not want commenters that do not reveal their names. Has there been an article about anonymous commenters? No? That would indicate that Mr. Barth is not staying on topic. This is not his personal paper, published to further his agenda, much as he seems to believe otherwise. We all appreciate the opportunity offered and the risks taken by this paper to encourage public discussion of the issues before us. The comments have been thoughtful, as well as thought provoking. This is democracy in action, and it is a wonderful thing. By the way, did Ms. Keesler secure the Democratic nomination in Damascus?


There have been no real disasters related to natural gas drilling. Every now and then someone gets hurt, or even dies, but that is the way of life, commerce, business and transportaion. The last great "disaster" where a well head malfunctioned in Bradford County has, with time and rational research, become a non-disaster. Perhaps it is more that obstructionists resent when it is pointed out that they are trying to fear monger, without facts or actual disasters, or try to turn accidents and problems into events they term disasters. Voodoo math doesn't work and fear mongering is slipping rapidly. What's an obstructionists to do... write about fight club? Complain about how he wants others to be like him and use real monikers? What's in a name? The thoughts and ideas expressed here remain the story, not your identity. (Tyler really does not want you talking about Fight Club!)


It seems TheNatural just denied that disasters in natural gas extraction have ever happened, right after Mr. Barth assured us that we could not deny such a thing!

Hick sick?

Tyler Durdan? I'll be looking you up. Expect a visit and knock on your door from me. At least Im a happy, good lookin, appreciative, responsible landowner. Can't speak for obstructionist procrastinators but I think youv'e lost your mind throwing your name out here. I can help you create some very interesting booby traps though if need be. See you soon, lol!

This saga will continue.

Since Ms. Keesler needs only ten valid votes to get on the ballot in the fall, unless her opponent garners even more write-ins than she, this would seem like a done deal. That would make the issue of write-in votes moot. Both candidates should be on the ballot and squaring off in November. If it was a fall write-in campaign, the odds would be much tougher. A campaign to get ten write-in votes is less than earth shattering. This election should be interesting.

Over the next five months, Ms. Long will have the opportunity to tell us all about "Delores" in glowing, personal terms, while ignoring her opponent, what's-his-name? Good luck to all of the candidates in the area, to this paper and its agenda, and especially to the citizens and voters of Damascus. With Ms. Long's unbiased reporting on "Delores" and "what's-his-name", her willingness to accept voodoo math, and her awe of the tough questions Ms. Keesler asks, it will be a long campaign, and well covered by this paper.

Perhaps at some point, we will see a photo of "what's-his-name" along with a story decrying his insensitive nature, the easy questions he asks, and how voters need a change? Never underestimate the power of the press, citizens and voters. Ms. Long will have this bully pulpit to espouse the many virtues of "Delores". Politics, American style. Gotta love it!

Desperately seeking the truth.

Is this a paid political ad, or is the RR presenting this as factual news? It appears to rely on some obstructionist voodoo math as far as who leased, who votes, and how many of each there actually are. ("While a large percentage of the land in the township is under lease, the number of leaseholders representing that acreage is estimated to be considerably smaller than the number of non-leaseholders who live and vote there.") Who made this estimate? Was it someone with a dog in this fight?

This paper is making every effort to make this contest a referendum on drilling, as well as doing all it can to promote Ms. Keesler. That's cool. We have Fox News and MSNBC pushing agendas everyday, so what's one more media outlet with an agenda? Does this paper make any claim to be an impartial reporter of facts? Or is it an agenda driven Mickey Mouse paper?

Take this quote from the story, "But even before she was elected chair, Keesler regularly asked tough questions when she felt it was necessary. It’s a practice that has gained her respect from some and wariness from others."

Exactly who made this determination? An unnamed reporter? If this is a press release, it should be so stated. If this is supposed to factual reporting, why all the opinions? Readers have no problem discerning which horse the RR is backing.

Desperately writing ignorant opinions

This anonymous lessor, knows from the Wayne Independent, that I was the primary researcher, and author, of the Damascus Township leasing and property ownership study to which Sandy Long may be (briefly) referring in her article. Nothing in that report has ever been contradicted, or refuted, and there is no other study, or report, that has been done on this matter, in Damascus Township.

The report may be accessed at the DCS website.

The data clearly showed that less than one third of the property owners in the township had leased for drilling, that the lessors owned sixty-nine percent of the acreage, and that they were assessed for only thirty-nine percent of the tax base. To most objective minds, that is revealing information that strongly undermines NWPOA's self promotion as being the "majority" of the property owners, as well as their false description of themselves as the foundation of the tax base.

The Damascus Township ownership data was purchased directly from the Wayne County Tax Assessment Office, and the gas leasing data was gathered from the Citizens Voice gas lease database for Wayne County, for which the link is:

If this anonymous, NWPOA lessor, is going to continually mock (his common practice in the Wayne Independent) this study as "some obstructionist voodoo math", then he needs to produce the data that disproves the math, and that makes it "obstructionist voodoo".

If he were not posting anonymously, he would not be able to post misinformation without consequence. His lack of character would become known. This person does not like truth, let alone seek it with "desperation".


The bottom line math, is the defecit. Federal level as well as individual states. Now, speaking for PA, nevermind federally, what would be the quickest way to close said defecit and at the same time wien our dependance from crude, gasoline, oil, possibly and probably driving down the fossil fuel extortionary going rate? Back to the federal defecit: How much do they stand to make in the form of various taxes, fines, penalties, etc.? Is extraction going to happen? I think so. I'd much rather see extraction rather than extortion! Can somebody who has some time on their hands please work out this math?


You are telling us that Ms. Long uses the DCS website as a source of factual information for a so-called news article? She did not reveal the source of her mathematical information. Why is that? Perhaps it would have demonstrated the inherent bias in her article if she had, in fact, lifted it from that organization’s website? We can safely assume that neither the DCS, nor its website are considered, at least by many of us, an unbiased and impartial purveyor of truth in matters concerning gas drilling in Wayne County. The DCS has a known agenda. It is populated with non-citizens of Damascus, with a few township residents sprinkled in. How does anyone even know for a fact that the voodoo math in question and referred to by Ms. Long in this story, came from the tortured mind of a Berlin Township resident and a main player in the oddly named Damascus Citizens for Something (as long as it includes doing nothing). It seems a bit presumptuous for anyone to assume that Ms. Long would turn to the DCS for accurate and impartial information. Sorry, JimBo, but we cannot accept your assertion that these numbers came from your particular brand of algebra. The brilliant empirical mathematical deductions posted on the DCS website are the work of true genius, in your opinion !

The natural drama queen

When this person's avowed intent is simply to ""rile up" the "obstructionists" in the "rag" River Reporter", as this lessor drama queen frequently phrases it in his posts in the Wayne Independent blog, it is not surprising that this same fellow would distort reality at his whim.

This type of back and forth would be avoided, if only TRR would require the use of real names in order to post.

Exchanging thoughts

Once again, Mr. Barth tries to confuse the issue. He stated to the readers that he was the major author of the math referred to by Ms. Long in this story, yet she never mentioned him or his web site, so that seems to be a bit of a stretch. But, if it were accurate, it would indicate that she is using the propaganda of an agenda driven organization as fact in her reporting. The DCS is firmly against drilling, and pretty much any sort of progress. They go with the BANANA theory, which is Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. Let us hope that news reporters are more careful and selective with information sources than borrowing fiction from a splinter organization and reporting it as fact.

good medicine

Delores Keesler seems like good medicine for the township's
sad state of health. I'm thankful she has put herself out as a candidate, and I wish her well.