Mary Ann Teeter says the Hawley Public Library serves almost a quarter of Pike’s population but receives only about $2,000 in Pike aid, compared to some $200,000 funding for the Pike County Public Library (PCLP).
Seeking additional funding in the new county budget, Teeter last Wednesday presented letters from the supervisors of Blooming Grove, Lackawaxen and Palmyra (Pike) townships supporting Pike’s funding of the Hawley library.
She said that with insufficient Wayne County and state funding, the library faces service and personnel cuts. Teeter said Hawley serves 23% of Pike County’s population in the western townships that are no longer served by the PCLP, but receives only about 1% of the county funding awarded the Milford-based PCLP.
PCLP officials say all Pennsylvania libraries are facing budget cuts and any new Pike funding outside the county will proportionally reduce PCLP’s state funding and that the majority of Pike taxpayers who don’t use the Hawley library should not be forced to fund it.
The commissioners’ panel has not commented on any of the three requests they have heard from the Hawley and Newfoundland libraries this summer and fall, but library funding was said to be among the unfinished questions in the 2014 Pike plan, which is to be unveiled in the first week of December.
Pike unveils bicentennial plans
On a less controversial note, the commissioners announced a fundraising effort and the basics of a 200th birthday celebration schedule for Pike County in 2014.
Pike County Historical Society Museum Director Lori Strelecki said she has been traveling to the county’s 13 townships and boroughs beginning the coordination of birthday events.
Of those currently scheduled, the first comes up with the January 31 celebration of Zane Grey’s birthday. One of the world’s most read novelists, Grey spent many years at a Delaware River home in Lackawaxen, which is now a museum managed by the National Park Service. “Zane Grey Day” in 2014 will be celebrated with a program at The Columns Museum in Milford, complete with a portrayal of the author.
The Columns’ “Hiawatha” stagecoach will also be appearing in parades and at birthday celebrations throughout the year, she said.
Grey’s extensive reputation as an angler will also be noted with a season-long trout fishing contest, which will run through a July 12 celebration in Lackawaxen. Contestants are being asked to submit photos of their catch, along with a ruler, for judging.
On March 25, the day of Pike County’s birth will be celebrated with a banquet, which Strelecki said now is tentatively planned at Woodloch Pines.
In addition Pike elementary school students will be competing in bicentennial- related drawing contests and a 200-word essay contest.
The commissioners also introduced bicentennial commemorative items including a collectable coin and calendar, proceeds from which will help fund 2014 birthday events.
The large coin features the state seal on one side and the county courthouse on the reverse.
The 2014 calendar has 13 months, (including January of 2015) each with a photo selected by one of Pike’s 13 municipalities. The coin and the calendar sell for $5 each and are available at the commissioners’ office.
Commissioners’ Chair Rich Caridi, who enjoys poking fun at Commissioner Karl Wagner’s seniority, said Wagner has offered to sign the calendars, “since he’s been here for the last 200 years.”