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December 08, 2016
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Copyrighted photo by David B. Soete

RIVER VALLEY — As many people know by now, founding father Ben Franklin thought more highly of the American Turkey than the American Bald Eagle and wrote as much in a letter home from France in 1784.

No tax increase for Damascus

DAMASCUS TOWNSHIP, PA — The Damascus Township supervisors approved a 2014 budget with no tax increase and also decided not to adopt a special tax for road and bridge improvements.
The balanced budget of $1,130,063 was approved unanimously December 23 with the millage rate set at 2.15, the same as 2013’s budget. A mill is a $1 tax for every $1,000 in assessed property value.  Read more

Update on ag projects

At the Town of Delaware meeting on December 11, Tom Kappner, who’s worked on United Nations Development Program and is a town resident, presented his update on the Sullivan County Economic Plan.  Read more

Green Tourism Working Group announces conference

The Green Tourism Conference at Villa Roma in April will be a first-of-its-kind opportunity to unite food service and lodging facilities, tourism agencies, “eco” product suppliers and recreational activity businesses from the Catskills to the Poconos around the common cause of promoting eco-tourism.  Read more

Catskill Art Society seeks color photos

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Photographers are encouraged to submit up to four color images for the Jeff Bank 2015 Calendar Photo Contest. Submissions will be accepted February 21 to April 18, 2014. Organized by the Catskill Art Society (CAS), the contest has the theme, “ Four Seasons of Nature and Landscapes in Sullivan County.”

Interested artists may submit up to four color photographs, preferably depicting each of the four seasons. Recognizable locations are preferred, but not mandatory.  Read more

Tusten bans use of fracking brine on roads

At its December meeting, the Tusten Town Board passed a resolution to ban the use of fracking brine on any town roads. The text of the resolution appears in the sidebar. All members of the board voted in favor of the resolution. Councilman Ned Lang was not in attendance.

The use of fracking brine on roads has been banned on county roads in Sullivan, and so far the Town of Tusten is the only town in the county to pass a ban. On June 21, 2012 the Sullivan County Legislature adopted Resolution 248-12, which is similar to Tusten’s resolution.  Read more

Pike confirms courthouse estimate

County officials on December 19 made another effort to end the criticism of the county’s plans to demolish a historic building on Broad Street and Peach Alley for the construction of an addition to the county courthouse.  Read more

Tourism opportunities increase in NEPA

Regional resort development is expected to provide jobs and additional visitors in the coming year, but increased promotion and activity in neighboring states will challenge the region, according to Carl Wilgus.

Wilgus, the executive director of the Pocono Mountain Vacation Bureau (PMVB) and Lake Wallenpaupack Visitor Center manager Keith Williams reported to the Wayne County Commissioners on December 19.

Overall, Wilgus described July 2012 through June of this year as a “record year” for the four-county region including Wayne, Pike, Carbon and Monroe counties.  Read more

Cell towers approved for Damascus

The Damascus supervisors voted unanimously on December 16 to approve conditional-use applications for a corporation looking to construct two broadband cellular towers in the township.
The next step for Cellco Partnership, doing business as Verizon Wireless, is to file land-use development applications with Damascus. If those are approved, building permits would be sought by the company.  Read more

PA Supreme Court strikes down portions of Act 13; municipalities may control drilling through zoning

PITTSBURGH, PA — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has stuck down section of Act 13, the legislation that said in part that municipalities must allow gas drilling in all districts within their borders. The court determined that the legislation violates the Environmental Rights Amendment to the state constitution.  Read more

Update on ag projects

At the Town of Delaware meeting on December 11, Tom Kappner, who’s worked on United Nations Development Program and is a town resident, presented his update on the Sullivan County Economic Plan. He was invited to be a member of the Economic Development Steering Committee by the county legislature, and is working with one of its groups, the Agricultural Development Group.  Read more

Eagle celebration to return; update from the Delaware Highlands Conservancy

When the Sullivan West School District stopped heating the Narrowsburg school in 2011, it brought an end to EagleFest, which had been bringing hundreds and then thousands of visitors and their dollars into Narrowsburg in the middle of the winter since 2002. Without the school as a focal point of activity, the festival disappeared.  Read more

The arrival of 2014

UPPER DELAWARE VALLEY — The unseasonal blast of warm air that had temperatures rising enough to blanket many areas with fog is behind us, and more typical winter temperatures are upon us. What will the future bring regarding temperature and precipitation?  Read more

Chapin lots tax issue settled

Lots on a private road are worth substantially more than those same lots if the road suddenly becomes public. That’s the view of just about all parties involved in a tax appeal regarding 34 lots in the Chapin Estate.

In January 2012 a court ruled that owner of the development must allow the public to travel to a recreation area on the Toronto Reservoir, and in May 2013, an appeals court upheld that decision. The road in question, which had been blocked and private, suddenly became open to the public.  Read more

Matamoras woman sentenced for resisting arrest

Nicole Devries, age 22, of Matamoras, was sentenced to a state correctional facility for 25 to 60 months, ordered to pay a fine of $ 1,750 and had her driver’s license suspended for two years for resisting arrest, escaping from parole officials, recklessly endangering another person, driving under the influence and possessing drug paraphernalia.  Read more

Carbon monoxide law signed

HARRISBURG, PA — Legislation that would enact standards for carbon monoxide alarms in various existing buildings and properties was signed into law on December 17 by Governor Tom Corbett. The author of the bill in the House was representative Frank Farry. “Senator Browne and I introduced legislation in the house and senate to ensure this important issue was addressed,” Farry said. “This bipartisan, bicameral effort will help protect more Pennsylvania residents against the silent killer.”  Read more

Recycling of mercury thermostats

ALBANY, NY — A new law signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will require manufacturers to collect and recycle mercury-containing thermostats at no cost to consumers, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced on December 19. The law implements a statewide thermostat product stewardship program to ensure that hazardous mercury is properly handled, preventing potential adverse health effects and damage to the environment.  Read more

Legal action regarding sewage violations

The Blooming Grove Township Supervisors said they will take court action in connection with ongoing sewage violations at the Village Plaza strip mall on State Route 739.
“We are starting legal procedures now,” chairman Randy Schmalzle said at the December board meeting.  Read more

Split decision in Cochecton voters case

Judge Stephan Schick handed down a split decision in the case of second home voters in the Town of Cochecton who voted in the November election.  Read more

Liberty students join national arts program

A group of Liberty art students on December 12 became the first-ever students from Liberty High School to join the National Art Honor Society (NAHS). The students were inducted in a ceremony in the gallery space owned by Green Door Magazine on Main Street in Liberty.  Read more

Liberty votes in ‘casino’ zoning, gets grant

The final regular board meeting of 2013 was a quick but meaningful one for the Town of Liberty.  Read more