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November 30, 2015
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“Sarah Hale portrait” painted by James Reid Lambdin (1807-1889) — Richard’s Free Library, Newport, NH

REGION — Most Americans know that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims in the fall of 1621, with a feast that was shared with many members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Native Americans. What’s not as well known is that it did not become a national holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November until many years later.

News Analysis: fracking in Cochecton; divisiveness is ‘heartbreaking’

Fracking is already thriving in Sullivan County. Not the same controversial natural gas extraction method that makes headlines. No, this is community fracking, the social byproduct of the hydraulic fracturing debate, pumping tension through Sullivan County communities that face the possibility of gas wells dotting their landscape.  Read more

Sullivan West voters approve spending

Sullivan West taxpayers voted to approve spending $2.698 million from the Capital Reserve Fund to pay for repairs and construction for two school campuses. At the elementary school in Jeffersonville, the money will go to resurface the track, repair the cross country trail, replace the 1961 roof, replace an underground oil tank and to create a storm water retention pond for a planned sports field.  Read more

Shohola resident withdraws complaint

Shohola resident Carrie Thomas elected to withdraw her August 9 complaint against Shohola Township for various violations of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, which she claimed occurred during a special meeting of the board on July 12.  Read more

Pike and Wayne arts grants

STROUDSBURG, PA — Wayne County Arts Alliance and the Ritz Company Playhouse in Hawley as well as the Black Bear Film festival in Milford are the top grant recipients among Wayne and Pike County artists and arts organizations named to receive Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Grants. The announcement came this week from the Pocono Arts Council.  Read more

Highland burglaries

A series of burglaries in the Town of Highland have come to an end with the arrest of an individual suspected of committing those crimes. Chief constable Michael Walton reported during the town meeting on October 16 that the perpetrator had been breaking into the basements of vacant homes and stealing copper wiring. Patrols have been increased throughout the town. Walton reminds residents that any unusual activity should be reported to the constabulary at 845/557-3489 or by calling 911.

PA farmers applaud vehicle regulation; wider equipment will be accommodated

CAMP HILL, PA — The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) praised the State Assembly and Senate for passing legislation to update the state vehicle code and resolve a long-standing transportation problem experienced by farmers. The legislation will allow farmers to move over-sized, modern equipment on public roadways from field to field and from barnyard to farmstead.

While newer equipment has enabled farmers to increase productivity, they are wider than vehicles typically used by farmers 30 years ago.  Read more

Angry Chicopee Road Angry residents want potholes filled; highway deptartment overwhelmed with funded FEMA repairs

A group of disgruntled residents from Chicopee Road returned to the Damascus Township Supervisors’ meeting on October 15, and they were angrier than ever.  Read more

Protecting Pike’s ‘Water Wonders’

PIKE COUNTY, PA — The Pike County Conservation District (PCCD) wants to get the word out—Pike County can still claim excellent water quality and should make every effort to protect its valuable water resources.  Read more

Caught in FERC legal limbo

For residents fighting the compressor station, the good news is that the relevant federal agency has agreed to a rehearing. The bad news is that the project may be completed before the rehearing is held.  Read more

Artist Cecily Fortescue dies at 82

Cecily Fortescue, who passed away on October 19, was a ubiquitous presence in Sullivan County and the Upper Delaware Valley, and so were the elegant and graceful pots and vases she created.

Fortescue, who attended Oxford University, was born in England and became a “university lecturer.” But she grew tired of the academic world after four years and turned her attention to pottery and music.  Read more

Baking up a bagel bash; go big or go home

There will be movie stars, sports celebrities, sculptures made specifically for the weekend, the biggest tie-dyed bagel ever made and the longest bagel chain ever assembled.  Read more

Sullivan will hold open tourism meeting

After encountering pressure from reporters and members of the public, the Sullivan County Legislature scheduled another round of presentations by the two nonprofit organizations who are vying for the contract to promote tourism in the county. The presentations are scheduled for October 30 at 10 a.m. at the government center in Monticello and will be open to the press and public. The contract comes with some $500,000 in room tax revenue.  Read more

Liberty camps may expand without public input; public hearing scheduled for local law

Several years ago, the Town of Thompson passed a law prohibiting any expansion of nonconforming uses, including summer camps in residential neighborhoods. The Town of Liberty appears to be headed in the opposite direction with a new law that will allow the planning board to waive a site plan review on some projects, and that includes waiving the public hearing that accompanies a site plan review for a nonconforming use.  Read more

A new attempt to reign in tax exempts; carrying the issue to Albany

Several times over the decades, Sullivan County Legislators have tried to convince Albany to reign in the liberal laws regarding tax-exempt properties. A couple of times the state senate has passed legislation that would have eased the situation, but the effort has never succeeded in getting all three entities that must be on board—the senate, the assembly and the governor—on the same page.  Read more

Tax money stolen from Wayne County office; former employee indicted

A former employee of the Wayne County Tax Claim Bureau has been charged with the theft of over $11,000 in tax money. A criminal complaint was filed on October 3 against former employee Jeannie Brooks of Prompton, alleging several crimes of theft and forgery at the tax claim bureau office.  Read more

Honesdale may hire two police officers

Council member Bob Jennings threw another bomb at the meeting of the Honesdale Borough Council on Monday, October 8 when he suggested that the police force be expanded.  Read more

No tax hike in Shohola

Again, the new budget for Shohola Township will not contain a budget increase. The millage rate will stand at 9.25 for the township and 1.75 for the fire department, as was the case last year.  Read more

$13.8 million for wind projects

ALBANY, NY — The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has announced the availability of approximately $13.8 million in incentives to encourage the installation of wind energy systems for residential, commercial, institutional, or government use.  Read more

Healthcare quality week in Wayne

A number of professionals connected to the Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers (WMCHC) and Wayne Memorial Health System attended the kick-off of Healthcare Quality Week, which will occur from October 14 to 20.  Read more

New evaluations for teachers

Teachers and administrators across the state are dealing with a new way of evaluating teacher performance this year; it involves more testing of students and more visits by administrators into classrooms.  Read more