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October 31, 2014
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TRR photo by Amanda Reed

UPPER DELAWARE VALLEY — According to many experts Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, is a feast which became a Christian festival, but may have started as a Celtic festival. It is said to have been specifically influenced by the Gaelic Samhain, a festival to mark beginning of the darker half of the year, and the end of the harvest.

Other experts believe that it was not influenced by these pagan rituals and was strictly a Christian festival.

News in brief

Holbert appeals filed

LACKAWAXEN, PA —Save Lackawaxen, a group of landowners living near the Holbert quarry, and the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) have both filed appeals of the Lackawaxen supervisors’ approval of a permit to expand quarry operations to 40 acres. The UDC appeal requested that the decision be reversed, or alternatively that it be vacated and the issue remanded for another hearing.  Read more

County to change tax bills, cost of federal, state programs to be highlighted

Sullivan County lawmakers have long complained that the majority of county spending is mandated by officials in Albany and Washington D.C., and local lawmakers have no control over it. Now, they have moved to change property tax bills so that they show how much of the money will go to state and federal programs, and how much will go for local programs and uses.  Read more

Liberty lawmakers talk about guns. Pistols on town property?

At a meeting on August 15, the Liberty Town Board discussed whether it should adopt a new gun policy. Council member Chris Austin had been studying the gun law from the Town of Neversink, which prohibits the discharge of a firearm in a town park.

But, Austin said, “If I’m reading this right, it still allows people to have a firearm in a locked personal vehicle on town property, and it allows people to possess a validly registered firearm pursuant to the terms and conditions of the permit issued, which means if you have a pistol permit you can carry a handgun on town property.”  Read more

Workers’ Compensation Board visits,county building permits to be audited

As a business advocate for the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), Neil Gilberg is sympathetic to the challenges of operating a small business. He has worked hard to assist businesses that have had penalties with the WCB, that have since come into compliance, to receive lower fines. Still, he wants all businesses to comply with state law.  Read more

Honesdale water now tastes great, or haven’t you noticed?

If you lived in the Borough of Honesdale in recent years, you simply did not drink the tap water because the smell and taste was akin to rotten eggs. Now, that’s all changed and the taste and smell are gone.  Read more

Time for trenching

(This story has been updated below)

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP), a subsidiary of El Paso Corporation, expects to begin excavating a trench across the Lackawaxen River this weekend in preparation for laying the length of 30-inch diameter steel natural gas transmission pipeline that will connect on either side of the river to existing pipeline sections.  Read more

Human Line of Hope headed for Highland, Conga Against Cancer, head shavings and more

They’ll be dancing in the streets, forming a line of humans linked by love and hope in the Town of Highland. They’ll be holding letters that spell the names of loved ones battling cancer, or lost to the increasingly common disease that has claimed far too many lives.  Read more

Helping a Honesdale youth

After coming across a poster describing the struggles of Peter Freshour, a 2009 graduate of Honesdale High School who has been diagnosed with Wilson Disease and cirrhosis of the liver, Vanessa DeGori decided she needed to help. “As the mother of three healthy boys, I am aware of how lucky and blessed my husband and I are,” she said.  Read more

A conservation leader reemerges; Delaware Highlands Conservancy earns esteemed accreditation

At a critical juncture in the dialogue and dynamics surrounding our region’s land use, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy (DHC) is prepared to be a significant voice in the conversation. The organization is now officially recognized by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance (LTA).  Read more

Humvee for Sullivan Sheriff’s Office

There was a hulking black vehicle sitting on the lawn outside the government center in Monticello on August 18. It was a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, better known as Humvee, which once belonged to the U.S. Army at Fort Drum.  Read more

Rural Heritage candidates advance despite Callicoon Republican surprise

Several candidates who are running on the recently announced Rural Heritage (RH) line in Sullivan County have also captured Democratic Party nominations, though not without a bit of a struggle.  Read more

Scenic Byway resolution urges ban of some truck traffic

The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway has passed a resolution that urges all levels of government to exercise their authority to prohibit heavy trucks involved in “new forms of heavy industrial use and mining” from New York State Route 97.  Read more

Rural Heritage Party unveiled;trumpeting agriculture, tourism, healthcare

About 30 candidates and their supporters turned out to the government center on August 16 to announce a new line that will appear on the ballot this fall—the Rural Heritage line.
The party has endorsed candidates in the towns of Fremont, Delaware, Callicoon, Cochecton and Tusten and they are running for the positions of supervisor, councilperson and highway superintendent. At the county level, there is one candidate, Cindy Geiger, who is running for the county legislator seat in District Five.  Read more

Employing off the books; the art of getting around workers’ comp

Contractor Patrick Murtagh estimates that there are hundreds of construction employees who work off the books every season in Sullivan County.  Read more

Monticello Motor Club defended

Ari Straus, president and one of the owners of the Monticello Motor Club, turned out to the government center on August 11 to defend the facility and to spell out for lawmakers the benefits it provides to the community.  Read more

LEAF: life-changing nature internships

Preparing tomorrow’s environmental leaders is an effort underway today, in a special program with a 17-year history conducted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) is a long-term initiative to empower future conservation leaders and equip them with the skills and knowledge to address pressing environmental challenges.  Read more

Illegal fishponds to be closed; no permits sought before construction

A blue heron was trapped in monofilament line that had been strung across the pond to prevent it and other birds from eating the teaming tilapia fish in the water below. Exhausted, the big bird struggled to lift its head out of the water to take a breath then let its head drop back below the surface.  Read more

Support sought for special memorial

As September nears, volunteers involved with the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) Memorial Monument in the Town of Highland continue working to complete tasks and to raise the necessary funds to establish the community site. But can it be done?  Read more

Peace Vodka unveiled

The Dancing Cat Saloon, located on Route 17B, just a stone’s throw from Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, has been up and running for more than a year. But the Catskill Distilling side of the business is now offering its first locally distilled product called Peace Vodka.  Read more

Firefighting: a family affair

Residents of the Town of Lumberland and surrounding region can rest more soundly now that six young men from the area have completed the demanding Sullivan County Fire Training Center Firefighter One course and will shore up the ranks of their town’s firefighting team.  Read more