PENNSYLVANIA — One of the major stories of the year was that the Pike County Commissioners and a local group called “Save Cummins Hill” protested a plan by the Tennessee Pipeline Company to cut through environmentally sensitive land around Cummins Hill Road to lay a 7.1-mile stretch of pipeline as part of the company’s 300 line called the Northeast Upgrade Project (NEUP). The new line will carry gas produced from the Marcellus Shale gas fields in central Pennsylvania to markets in New Jersey and New York. Read more
NEW YORK STATE — In Sullivan County, 2012 started out with six newly elected legislators out of a total of nine. The newcomers came in looking to make changes, and one of the first shake-ups was they wanted to put the tourism contract out to bid, after the contract had been awarded to the Sullivan County Visitors Association (SCVA) every year for a decade. Read more
“I think the assets you have here, and the focus that’s being brought to agriculture, and the fact—and it’s not a fad—that people want to know where their food is coming today; they want to know how it’s produced, where it’s produced, who is producing it, and how it got from the farm to their dinner plate. People read labels today. And that puts Sullivan County, I believe, in a very unique position to be able to fill a lot of the niche markets that are out there for local food, to one of the largest marketplaces in the world.” Read more
ALBANY, NY — Awards for the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council were announced on December 19, and a significant amount of funding was targeted to Sullivan and Orange counties. Most significantly, the Center for Discovery will receive $2.5 million toward a $42 million project.
Another project that will benefit from the awards is the waterfront development in Narrowsburg, which in the announcement by the council is still called the Big Eddy Esplanade project. It will receive $106,400. Read more
After spending much of the day negotiating cuts to the final Sullivan County budget for 2013, at about 9 p.m., the legislature voted to adopt a budget that comes with an 8.9% tax increase. That’s down from the tentative budget that was adopted on November 1, which called for an increase of about 13.77%. Read more
Holly Huebsch, 43, of Monticello, has been arrested by the New York State Police at Liberty after an investigation into the theft of prescription pain killers from the Family Drug Store located on Broadway in the village of Monticello. The arrest was made on December 11.
The investigation determined that Huebsch, an employee of the store, was stealing the drugs over the course of the past several months and then selling them. Read more
The Wayne County Commissioners are proposing the new 2013 budget that will carry a 4% hike in property taxes. The commissioners expect to adopt the new budget at their final meeting on December 27.
The current 2012 budget saw a decrease of 1.16% from the previous year. There was no increase in property taxes in the 2012 budget. The millage rate has not increased since 2009. Read more
The food and wine festival proposed to be held in Hawley has been nixed because a majority of the Hawley Borough council thought it was not a good fit for the town. The council vote four to three on December 12 that the event would not go forward.
Opponents said they were concerned with liability issues with allowing alcohol to be consumed in a public park should something go wrong. Read more
Patrick Milliken, 20, was arrested on December 16 for making a “terroristic threat” at the Delaware Valley Job Corps (DVJC) in Callicoon, where he is a student. According to a release from the Sullivan County Sheriff’s office, officials at the DVJC called police and said that Milliken had threatened to go to his home in Newburgh, obtain a gun, return to the facility and “shoot the place up.” Read more
The Sneaker World store in Liberty was only open for about month in August before it was closed due to asbestos contamination. The NY Department of Labor (DOL) investigated the building and found asbestos in the basement that had been improperly handled. DOL ordered that the store be closed, and the shoes, because they had been stored in boxes that had holes in them, be destroyed. Read more
At a surprise press conference at the government center in Monticello on December 17, legislators Gene Benson and Cora Edwards called on their fellow legislators not to renew the contract of county manager David Fanslau when it expires at the end of the month.
The two accused Fanslau of a litany of shortcomings, including withholding information from legislators, or distorting it. Read more
SKINNERS FALLS — The bridge that runs between Milanville, PA and Cochecton, NY is once again closed to traffic. An initial analysis of the Skinners Falls Bridge showed that it could withstand up to seven tons of weight but a later in-depth analysis showed that it could withstand less than four tons.
A spokesman for PennDOT strongly advised motorists not to move the signs and drive across the bridge, which some drivers had been doing, as this could be dangerous and could also result in a fine.
The repair of the bridge is expected to take about six months. Read more
DOWNSVILLE, NY — If you’re the mayor of a city of 8,000,000 people, one of the things that would likely concern you during an emergency is that your citizens have access to clean water, because it’s just not practical to deliver bottled water to that many residents. Read more
A small group of residents gathered in Central Park in Honesdale for a candlelight vigil on December 14 to honor the victims of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT and to pray for their families.
Similar gatherings were held throughout the nation sponsored by the progressive group Move On. Those who gathered held a moment of silence and then talked about the need for restraint of automatic fire arms that have no other purpose than to kill people more efficiently. Read more
The question of whether or not Hawley is an impoverished town was food for discussion for the approximately 50 people who attended the Hawley Borough Council meeting on December 12.
Investors in the Hawley Silk Mill want the borough to designate an area around the Silk Mill and the downtown area as “distressed,” which would allow the borough to adopt an ordinance that in turn could take advantage of the state’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA). The investors are asking that the borough then approve tax abatements for the Silk Mill over five years. Read more
There are a couple of large hurdles with the wind projects that are proposed for the Town of Liberty. For one of the projects the estimated cost is $5.3 million, which is a figure that will surely put up an immediate red flag, as county legislators struggle with a double-digit tax increase for 2012.
But at a presentation of the projects at the Liberty Senior Center on December 14, members of the company Sustainable Energy Developments (SED) explained how the projects could be structured in such a way as to benefit the county. Read more
A coalition of national, regional and local conservative groups are requesting a federal court to stop a transmission line from cutting through three national parks.
The coalition sought a preliminary injunction to stop the 145-mile Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line through the Delaware Water Gap National and Recreational Area, the Middle Delaware National and Recreational River and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Read more
With reports of the economy finally on a slight upswing and housing starts leading the way, the Town of Highland vigorously debated the merits and detrimental effects of Local Law Number Four at the town board meeting on December 11. Essentially, the law would impact large projects that would result in a significant number of truck trips, and cause the owner of those trucks to pay for any damage to local roads. Local contractors see it as infringing on their businesses in particular and the economy in general. Read more
They came out early on December 16 and then they just kept coming, and by the time the fourth annual Children’s Holiday Party was over, nearly 1,000 people stopped by to enjoy the festivities at Monticello Casino and Raceway. The party was sponsored by the raceway and the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association. Read more