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December 07, 2016
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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.

At the UDC Project Review Committee meeting of August 23, it was estimated that it would take 30 to 90 days before any response was received from the Court of Common Pleas.

Separately, the UDC sent a letter to Lackawaxen attorney Anthony Waldron requesting a clarification of certain provisions of the written decision. In his response, Waldron gave no clarification, but noted that the conditional use decision had already been made and cannot be amended unless directed by the court, or by the unanimous decision to all six parties at the conditional use hearing.

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released an inspection report finding violations on the property, including that the maximum allowable acreage had been exceeded. It issued one compliance order and two notices of violation. A remediation deadline of September 26 has been set.

Lutfy cleared of Hatch Act complaint

MILFORD, PA — The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has cleared Pam Lutfy, candidate for Pike County Commissioner, of any wrongdoing under the Hatch Act. Following an investigation, OSC wrote that there is “insufficient evidence” to conclude any violations occurred. The investigation was based on complaints the office received earlier this year from undisclosed individuals.

The Hatch Act prevents covered employees of state or local executive agencies from participating in certain political activities, such as using their official authority to influence an election. As a teacher at the Sunshine Station Early Leaning Center, which received federal Head Start funds, Lutfy was found not to have violated any of these provisions.

“It is unfortunate that some people will go to extreme lengths to ensure that the status quo of politics is preserved in Pike County by making baseless complaints and attempting to keep me off the ballot,” said Lutfy. “I am excited to continue my campaign to provide fresh, independent leadership—so that we can get beyond this kind of petty politics and start focusing on solving local problems.”

North Branch fights post office closing

NORTH BRANCH, NY — North Branch residents have organized a fight to save the North Branch Post Office, threatened with closure as part of a national cost-cutting effort. Located in a historical house with a quaint porch, the post office is a local meeting place. Residents say that the postal service is obligated to provide a maximum degree of effective and regular postal service to rural areas and communities where post offices are not self-sustaining.

The North Branch post office is a two-room rental in the home of Mae Poley and her daughter Amy. The Poleys have owned the house for 73 years, and at times have even subsidized the post office when they didn’t pay enough rent to cover the heating bill. In letters to federal officials, the committee of residents fighting for the facility asks about the question of economic savings, and asks why this action that would trample
on the rights of postal customers is necessary.

Residents who would like to join the fight should write a letter describing what this action means to them and send it to the Planning Council, PO Box 65, North Branch, NY 12766, or call 845/482-3446.

Scenic Byway resolution urges ban of some truck traffic

NARROWSBURG, NY — 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.

The resolution would at the same time support the continuation of traditional forms of truck usage on New York State Route 97, such as the use of vehicles for agriculture, lumbering, bluestone mining and transport of canoes. The resolution suggests placing the burden “on all non-traditional forms of heavy industrial and mining uses to disallow any activities that will detract from the inherent scenic qualities that were the basis for the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway’s designation.”

In the “whereas” section, the resolution proposes the Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks as an alternative for transporting heavy industrial equipment and material, noting, “The railroad has been the traditional form by which industrial equipment and materials have been moved through the Upper Delaware River Valley since it was constructed in the 1850’s as part of the old Erie mainline from Hoboken, NJ to Chicago, IL