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December 19, 2014
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ALBANY, NY — During a cabinet meeting in Albany on December 17, Howard Zucker M.D., the Acting New York State Commissioner of Health, said that he could not recommend that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) should be allowed to go forward.

Sullivan legislature votes to change charter; majority seeks new county manager

The Sullivan County Legislature voted four to one in committee to revise the county charter to change the provision that requires a super majority—or six of the nine legislators—to appoint or remove a person to or from the position of county manager.
  Read more

Tractor Supply Co. nears completion

Construction is near completion on the new Tractor Supply Co. store in Honesdale, the company’s 66th Pennsylvania location.

Tractor Supply Co. is the largest retail farm and ranch supply store chain in the United States, and has been operating in Pennsylvania since 1965. The store will be located at 240 Willow Ave. and will employ 12 to 17 full- and part-time employees. The store will include a sales floor and support service space. A fenced exterior will be used for storage and displaying items such as fencing, sprayers and livestock equipment.  Read more

Township denies business park request

A request by Michael Sullivan, the director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority for a reduction of the setback rule that applies at the Pike County Business Park from 150 feet to 10 feet was turned down by the Blooming Grove Township Board.

Sullivan was attempting to accommodate a new employer who wanted to park large buses at the site. The Davis Company has a fleet of 25 school buses that would need room for a garage and parking area.  Read more

Congress acts to protect dairy farmers; Also to keep price of milk down

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Senate and House voted to extend parts of the expired 2008 Farm Bill through September 2013, a move that would prevent milk prices from immediately surging.

The White House fact sheet on the big fiscal deal Congress passed, of which the extension was part, has exactly one sentence about the farm bill extension. It says it will avoid the doubling of milk prices that would have kicked in automatically in the absence of any farm bill. The action was being called avoiding the “dairy cliff.”  Read more

Rouis calls for change in county government; Opposition seeks separate legal representation

There is a split in the Sullivan County Legislature, but it doesn’t run along party lines. Instead, it pits four legislators who want county manager David Fanslau to remain in office for at least the next two years, against five legislators who want him to leave.

At a news conference at the government center on January 3, legislator Jonathan Rouis, the former legislative chair, called for the establishment of a charter revision committee to study the notion of changing the county government to one that would have a county executive, as is the case in Orange and Ulster counties.  Read more

New York court upholds towns’ zoning power; DEC does not trump local rules

TOWN OF NASSAU, NY — The New York State Appellate Court has affirmed that towns have the ability to limit activities in the town, even if a state agency has issued a license that allows the activity. The case was Troy Sand & Gravel versus the Town of Nassau and the decision was issued on December 27, 2012.  Read more

Gambling with the lottery; Pennsylvania on course to privatize

HARRISBURG, PA — The state lottery is a cash cow for Pennsylvania, bringing in some $3.48 billion in the year ending June 2012. That represents an 8.5% increase over the previous year, which was also a year in which profits grew 10.4% to about $1.06 billion.

All that money is used to pay for programs that benefit the state’s senior citizens. According to the Pennsylvania Lottery Commission, the money pays for Pennsylvania’s low-cost prescription drug programs for older adults, home-delivered meals as well as property tax and rent rebates among other things.  Read more

‘Distressed’ Hawley designation makes Cozza ‘walk’

Lines were drawn and battles were waged to the point where an incensed Hawley Planning Commission member stormed out of the meeting on January 1 amid angry words from the public and the commission. While the fiscal cliff in Washington was averted New Year’s Eve, and still with unanswered questions, Hawley seems poised on its own fiscal cliff, with no answers in the foreseeable future.  Read more

DEP to present radon program

HARRISBURG, PA — As part of National Radon Action Month, the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will present an episode on the subject as part of its quarterly webinar series, DEP at Home, on Wednesday, January 16, from 7 to 8 p.m.

“Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and affects almost half of all Pennsylvania homes,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “Everyone needs to test their homes for radon.  Read more

Longtime Narrowsburg fixture retires

When Charlie Knapp first started cutting hair in Narrowsburg, the Second World War had ended just three years earlier. Knapp took over the business from his father who started in back in 1911.

Knapp has now officially retired, saying he was forced to do so because of a problem with his arm. But, he said, there will still be a hair-cutter in town, as Diane Daley is still taking customers. Knapp and Daley joined forces in one business location since 2004.  Read more

DRBC goes paperless

WEST TRENTON, NJ — The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has announced the launch of an online reporting system for its Water Supply Charges Program (WSCP). Designed to simplify surface water use reporting for WSCP participants, the new system eliminates the need for paper reports.  Read more

Hudson Valley Regional Council honors retiring chairman

The Hudson Valley Regional Council (HVRC) recently honored A. Alan Seidman on the occasion of his retirement, after 11 years as chairman and 18 years as a member. The ceremony, held at Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, recognized Seidman, the former chairman of the Orange County Legislature, for his extensive work for the HVRC.

“It was so appropriate to honor him at Washington’s Headquarters,” said the council’s executive director, Patricia Pomeroy.  Read more

UDC 2013 officers elected

Jeff Dexter, supervisor of Damascus Township in Pennsylvania, has been elected chairman of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) for 2013. Andy Boyar, supervisor of the Town of Highland, was elected vice-chair, and John B. Niflot, the Town of Fremont representative, was elected secretary-treasurer.

The election was held at the UDC meeting in Narrowsburg on January 4. There will be a swearing-in ceremony and public reception at the February 7 UDC meeting.  Read more

Deer rescued from frigid river; New air boat passes the test

The picture of the deer in the back of the ambulance went viral on Facebook, and the tale is sure to go down in the annals of local rescue lore.

On January 5, the Lumberland Fire Department was dispatched in response to a call that an animal had fallen through the ice in the Upper Delaware River near the Pond Eddy Bridge. Fire chief Eric Robles and a crew went to the scene to check out the situation.  Read more

Residents, businesses urged to ‘Take the Tusten Energy Survey’

TOWN OF TUSTEN, NY — Starting this week, Tusten residents and business owners are being asked to take the Tusten Energy Survey as part of a town-wide initiative to improve energy efficiency and to reduce energy costs in homes, businesses and in-town operations. The survey is part of Phase Two of an ongoing energy project by the town.  Read more

Rouis calls for change of government; opposition calls for separate legal representation

At a news conference at the government center on January 3, Legislator Jonathan Rouis, the former chairman of the legislature, called for the establishment of a charter revision committee to study the notion of changing the county government to one that would have a county executive as is the case in Orange and Ulster counties.
  Read more

Judge Schick sworn in; From legal aid to the bench

The swearing in of Judge Stephen Schick offered a look back at 30 years of jurisprudence in Sullivan County. Schick, who had served as executive director of Sullivan County Legal Aid and as a legal aid attorney, was sworn into office on December 29, at the county court house in Monticello. He is now New York State Supreme Court Justice for the Third Judicial District, which serves Sullivan County, as well as Ulster, Green, Albany, Schoharie, Rensselaer and Columbia counties.  Read more

Concord project on track again; Cappelli out, EPR Properties in

The project to turn the former Concord Hotel site into a destination resort seems to be moving forward again. A company called EPR Properties (EPR), formerly Entertainment Properties Trust, is in the driver’s seat, and developer Louis Cappelli, who was formerly driving the project, is now on the sidelines.  Read more

Shohola to hold public hearing; Tax abatement law considered

Shohola Township supervisors have approved advertising a public hearing for a proposed local tax abatement law.

“The law could give Shohola a fighting chance to compete for businesses that are seeking to locate in the Tri-State area, and specifically in Shohola, by giving such companies a tax break,” said Michael Sullivan, director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA).

The hearing will be held at the beginning of the township council meeting on February 14 at 7:30 p.m.  Read more

Pennsylvania launches PennWATCH

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania has launched the website PennWATCH, which officials say is “your window into Pennsylvania state government.” The site allows visitors in-depth information about the state budget and revenues, how that money is being spent and the results that the tax dollars are achieving.

Governor Tom Corbett signed the Pennsylvania Web Accountability and Transparency Act into law on June 30, 2011, providing for the establishment of a “searchable budget database-driven Internet website detailing certain information concerning taxpayer expenditures and investments.”  Read more