Public comment period now open for Skinners Falls Bridge and more

Posted 12/7/21

Public comment period opens for Skinners Falls Bridge

MILANVILLE, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is set to release a draft Purpose and Need document for the Skinners …

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Public comment period now open for Skinners Falls Bridge and more


Public comment period opens for Skinners Falls Bridge

MILANVILLE, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is set to release a draft Purpose and Need document for the Skinners Falls Bridge project. The draft was has been released as of Tuesday, December 7, and public comment will be accepted from then to Saturday, January 8.

The Purpose and Need document is meant to identify past and projected future traffic demands, identify circulation needs to support the local economy, identity safety and emergency provider needs and use public feedback to support transportation needs of the area and associated goals for the project. The document is being prepared as part of a Planning and Environmental Linkages study for the Skinners Falls Bridge, which will guide the weighing of alternatives for its repair or replacement.

For more information on the draft document, see To read the draft Purpose and Need document and to fill out the comment form, visit BIT.LY/COMMENTSFB (link is case sensitive), or visit the Skinners Falls Bridge project page. Print copies are available at the Milanville General Store and Western Sullivan Public Library, Callicoon and Narrowsburg branches; to request a mailed copy, email the project team at or call 610/234-5148.

Relief available for NY homeowners

MONTICELLO, NY — Sullivan County Treasurer Nancy Buck wants local homeowners to know they may qualify for state assistance in paying delinquent taxes and other charges.

The New York State Homeowner Assistance Fund has been approved by the United States Treasury to provide financial assistance to homeowners with financial hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The State of New York has advised that a homeowner may be eligible for assistance if they are delinquent with any of the following items due to hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: mortgage payments, property taxes, water or insurance charges, homeowners’ association or maintenance fees, manufactured home loans and retail installment contracts.

This is a state program that does not involve the Sullivan County Treasurer’s Office, so those who are interested should visit for eligibility and application information.

Grants for PA firefighters

NORTHEASTERN PA — Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-08) announced on November 30 that fire companies in Northeastern PA received awards totaling $3,242,857.59 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant from FY2020. Grant awardees include Honesdale Hose Company No. 1, which received $4,285.71, Ledgedale Volunteer Hose Company, which received $76,033.33, and Westfall Township Volunteer Fire Department, which received $193,229.52.

An application period closes on Friday, December 17 for applications to the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program for fiscal year 2021. For more information, contact the fire grants help desk by phone at 866/274-0960, or by email at

USDA ReConnect program is open

RHINEBECK, NY — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for loans and grants to help people in rural communities get access to high-speed internet. Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19) and USDA Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced funding for the ReConnect program in October. Delgado also voted to provide another nearly $2 billion in funds via the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

This funding, which does not include the nearly $2 billion from the IIJA, is available for projects that serve rural areas where at least 90 percent of the households lack broadband service at download speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 20 Mbps. Applicants must commit to building facilities capable of providing broadband service at speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in a proposed service area at the same time.

Eligible applicants for the ReConnect program are state, local or territory governments; corporations; Native American tribes, limited liability companies and cooperative organizations. Applications for funding must be submitted through USDA Rural Development’s online application system on the ReConnect webpage at

PennEast Pipeline Company confirms project’s cancellation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a letter filed on November 30 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the PennEast Pipeline Company stated that it has “ceased all further development of the project.”  

In a November 23 letter sent to the PennEast Pipeline company, noting that court filings had alerted the agency to conflicting statements about the expected future of the PennEast pipeline, FERC required the company to explain the status of the pipeline project within seven days.  

On November 30, PennEast filed its response. “The PennEast member companies, following extensive evaluation and discussion, recently determined that further development of the project is no longer supported given the challenges in acquiring certain permits needed to construct the project, including a water quality certification and other wetlands permits under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act for the New Jersey portion of the Project. Accordingly, PennEast has ceased all further development of the Project,” the company wrote.

Gov. Wolf vetoes unvetted concealed carry legislation

HARRISBURG, PA — On December 2, Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed Senate Bill 565, legislation that would allow anyone who wished to carry concealed guns to do so without a background check or a permit. Wolf stated that “This legislation, which eliminates the requirement for individuals to obtain a license before carrying a concealed firearm, will only exacerbate gun violence and jeopardize the safety of all Pennsylvanians.”

This veto is not a move to restrict rights of lawful gun owners, as they can still conceal-carry when they apply for a permit and successfully pass a background check. So far in 2021, nearly 360,000 license-to-carry background checks were completed and nearly 11,000 were denied.

Skinners Falls Bridge, purpose and need statement, Nancy Buck, delinquent taxes, Assistance to Firefighters Grants, United States Department of Agriculture, broadband funding, PennEast Pipeline, concealed carry, gun control legislation


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