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September 24, 2016
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News in brief

Father arrested for killing infant in Lake Ariel

LAKE ARIEL, PA — Pennsylvania State Police at Honesdale and the Wayne County District Attorney announced the arrest of Christopher Thomas Fitzpatrick, 20, in Lake Ariel, Wayne County. He is charged with criminal homicide, concealing the death of a child and abuse of a corpse.

Fitzpatrick is accused of taking his newborn infant daughter to a wooded area behind a business at 1178 Hamlin Highway in Lake Ariel. Once there, he is accused of striking the baby twice with a cinder block causing the death of the infant. The arrest took place on June 10, four days after the alleged killing.

The investigation started when state police were notified by the Sussex County, NJ Sheriff’s Department. They were able to provide state police with information that they received from family members about their suspicions on the baby’s welfare.
Fitzpatrick was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jane Farrell, Waymart. Fitzpatrick was transported to the Wayne County Prison without bail.

The mother of the child, Jennifer Barrise, 20 was also arrested and is being held without bail. Fitzpatrick allegedly told Barrise he was going to get rid of the infant because the couple could not afford to have another child. They have a one year old son.

Shepstone responds to activists

REGION — Responding to two emails to The River Reporter reporting the severance of his relationship with two professional organizations, Tom Shepstone, the Honesdale-based planning consultant, said he dropped his affiliation with the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Planning Association in 2008. He said he pulled out of the organizations because they had become “very leftist.” A letter he sent at the time indicated he disagreed with the direction the organizations had taken regarding such things as global warming and eminent domain.

Critics charged that Shepstone was still using the group’s acronym, AICP/AMA beside his name on some documents on his web site. Shepstone said that he had long ago scrubbed his site of the acronym, but had missed perhaps four documents which he has now addressed.

Shepstone has drawn increasingly sharp attacks from anti gas-drilling activists since he became officially associated with the pro-drilling group Energy in Depth.

Upper Delaware bridge work

UPPER DELAWARE RIVER — The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) announced this week that bridge maintenance work is being performed on the Kellam-Stalker Bridge connecting the towns of Fremont, NY and Stalker, PA. The work began on June 13, and will be performed daily between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Motorists will encounter alternating lane closures. Work is expected to be completed by June 23, weather permitting.

The impact to river users will be minimal. Work will include welding procedures beneath the bridge. All welding work will cease when river users approach the work area. A DOT representative will be responsible for monitoring the approach of river users. The DOT representative will advise river users how to proceed past the work area.

As motorists approach work zones, they are advised to stay alert and calm. Slow down when instructed to do so. Merge safely. Keep a safe distance between vehicles. Obey the posted signs within the work zone. Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of the driver’s license.

New DCNR secretary named

HARRISBURG, PA — Ellen Ferretti will lead the state park and forest operations of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, acting DCNR Secretary Richard Allan announced on June 13. “Ellen has tremendous experience in the private and non-profit sectors,” Allan said.

“In her most recent position as president of the northeast regional office of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, she worked very closely with DCNR and its partners on landscape conservation efforts. Her wealth of knowledge will be a valuable asset to the department.”

As deputy secretary for Parks and Forestry, Ferretti will assist the secretary in managing and directing the operations of the bureaus of State Parks; Forestry; and Facility, Design and Construction.

Ferretti will also work to develop policy on a variety of issues, including Marcellus Shale oil and gas development and drilling; maintaining relationships with stakeholders; enhancing outdoor recreation activities; and establishing or revitalizing best practices for environmental education.