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December 10, 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.

Ag sales increase in New York and Pennsylvania

REGION — The sales figures compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture for 2013 were released in December and showed increases in both New York and Pennsylvania.

In New York, cash receipts for the year total $5,677,561,000, up more than $200 million from the previous year, with about $2.8 billion coming from dairy and milk products.  Read more

Mom arrested for stealing from son in Afghanistan

Town of Greenville, NY — A Town of Greenville woman has been arrested; police say she stole $27,000 from her son while he was stationed in Afghanistan.

The New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Middletown says Pearl Smith, age 46, was arrested on December 23rd and charged with grand larceny aggravated identity theft.

Police say Smith was developed as a suspect after her son, a U.S. Army soldier deployed to Afghanistan, reported to troopers that someone had used his identity information to withdraw money from a personal banking account.  Read more

Sheriff warns of scams

MONTICELLO, NY — Sullivan County sheriff Mike Schiff warned in November of a scam involving customers of Orange and Rockland Utilities in the southern part of the county. That scam has progressed into Sullivan County proper and now involves customers of New York State Gas and Electric (NYSEG).  Read more

Looking back on 2014

REGION — The early part of 2014 was marked by the polar vortex, which sent cold air into the region and the country resulting in record-breaking cold temperatures in many areas. Forecasters are not predicting a return of the phenomenon; in fact, winter may be warmer than average, especially if El Niño conditions form in the southern Pacific Ocean, which has been given a 65% chance of happening by the Climate Prediction Center, the National Weather Service and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society.  Read more

NPS natural gas summit issues

NARROWSBURG, NY — National Park Service (NPS) regional and local staff, Delaware River Basin Commission and Army Corps of Engineers staff journeyed west for the National Park Service Natural Gas Summit in September. They viewed Pennsylvania’s gas fields and gas facilities as far afield as Susquehanna and Bradford counties and spoke with people there and in the Upper Delaware.  Read more

Honesdale meeting

HONESDALE, PA — The Honesdale Borough Council raced through the 45- minute public portion of its December 8 meeting, as if anxious to get down and dirty in the executive session that followed. It was there that Police Chief Rick Southerton and the council planned to hammer out temporary police duty schedules that fall within the borough’s end-of-year budgetary constraints.  Read more

Damascus braces for winter

DAMASCUS, PA — Barely had those assembled for the December 15 meeting of the Damascus board of supervisors finished reciting the Pledge of Allegiance than Chairman Jeff Dexter was extending the board’s wishes for safe and happy holidays and adjourning the meeting.  Read more

Tusten considers cost of deck

NARROWSBURG, NY — It was recently brought to the attention of the Town of Tusten that the deck on Main Street in Narrowsburg will need to be replaced. In August, the Tusten Town Board agreed that it would be their responsibility to replace the deck. At the September meeting, the Narrowsburg Beautification Group contributed its Golden Feather Award of $25,000 toward the rebuilding of the deck, and the $106,000 grant from the state for the Waterfront Revitalization Project will go to the deck. In November, it was announced that the cost would be around $300,000. Now, at the December Town Board meeting, the board discussed the cost, saying it is too high.  Read more

Wayne’s budget finalized

HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Commissioners on December 18 voted final approval of Wayne County’s $30,513,407.57 appropriations budget for 2015.  Read more

Tourism recovering slowly

MILFORD, PA — In an area where tourism is king, the nurturing of the hotel and tourism industry is economic development.

Carl Wilgus, president and CEO of the four-county Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB) emphasized that point early on in his annual report to the Pike County Commissioners, saying the bureau’s business is “economic development through tourism marketing.”  Read more

Cuomo lands at Bethel Woods

BETHEL, NY — With a line that got a pretty good laugh, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said of New York State Sen. John Bonacic, “When I first met him, I thought he had a speech impediment: ‘casino, casino, casino.’” The joke ultimately became praise for Bonacic and for his persistence in pursuing a casino for Sullivan County for so many years.  Read more

Toys stolen in Honesdale

HONESDALE, PA — A lot of toys, worth between $2,000 and $3,000, were stolen from the Toys for Tots program in Honesdale on December 19. Shari Tirado, the coordinator of Toys for Tots in Wayne and Pike counties, said a thief made off with the toys that were intended to go to teenage boys and girls, as the organization was preparing to go into a second round of handing out the toys.  Read more

Winter photo contest

FERNDALE, NY — The Sullivan County Visitors Association (SCVA) is hosting its second online photo contest, this time centered on the region’s beauty during the winter season.

The organization’s first contest, focusing on fall foliage, resulted in more than 1,000 votes cast for 174 photos submitted by 91 photographers.  Read more

Port Jervis judge to be sworn in

PORT JERVIS, NY — The race for city court judge in Port Jervis has been certified by the Orange County Board of Elections, and James Hendry will be sworn in by outgoing Judge Victoria B. Campbell on December 31 at 1 p.m. in city council chambers. The ceremony is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.  Read more

Fourth year for Liberty CFA grant

LIBERTY, NY — For the fourth year in a row, the Town of Liberty was successful in obtaining a grant from the New York State Consolidated Funding (CFA) process. This year’s award is in the amount of $599,500 for a much needed replacement of a major water line in the White Sulphur Springs Water District. This water line replacement represents Phase 5 of the plan to address the town’s water infrastructure needs. Past grant awards have been used to correct deficiencies at the Loomis wastewater treatment facility and other work in the White Sulphur Springs Water District.  Read more

Berlin Township adopts 2015 budget

BEACH LAKE, PA — In a December 16 meeting that lasted only 40 minutes, the Berlin Township Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted its proposed 2015 budget, without comment from the board or questions from the public. It also adopted a new ordinance electing township participation in the Pennsylvania State Association of Townships (PSATS) Unemployment Compensation Trust, which will allow the township to pay lower unemployment insurance premiums. And it passed a resolution to advertise public review of a proposed nuisance ordinance.  Read more

Triumph (for now) of the fractivists

REGION — They were so committed, active and numerous that a new name had to be created to describe them—fractivists, or activists opposed to high-volume hydraulic fracturing.  Read more

Racial bullying charges at Sullivan West; disabled veteran tax breaks discussed

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Sparse attendance at a relatively brief December 18 Sullivan West Central School District Board of Education meeting may have undercut somewhat the serious student welfare and social conscience issues presented.  Read more

No new Pike taxes in 2015

MILFORD, PA — Beginning his announcement of the county’s new budget proposal last Wednesday, Commissioners Chair Rich Caridi began with the salient point, “There will be no new taxes in this budget.”

The combined county millage (tax) rate remains at 18.54 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The proposed $37.9 million spending budget includes a $473,000 cut in spending, which reflects a similar projected reduction in county revenues.

This would be the third consecutive year without a tax increase, and county spending has dropped $3 million in that period.  Read more

Wayne seeks tax anticipation quotes

HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Commissioners on December 3 approved a request to seek quotes for a $2 million tax anticipation note.  Read more