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Two named to seven-county alliance

By David Hulse
April 2, 2014

HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Commissioners conducted some surprisingly important business during their 14-minute meeting of March 30.

Topping the agenda was their re-appointment of Northeast Pennsylvania (NEPA) Alliance members Craig Rickard and Mary Beth Woods.

The NEPA Alliance is a regional community and economic development agency, serving the seven counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania: Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne. It manages two important federal streams for local and regional projects.

Woods is executive director of WEDCO, the county’s economic development agency, and the current first vice chair of the alliance’s 47-member board. She is expected to be elected as its new chair this year.

Rickard is the newly promoted county chief of planning.

Commissioner Jonathan Fritz, who is also an alliance board member, said that important alliance financial duties to local and county governments are its oversight of grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA).

As the designated local development district for the ARC Program in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the alliance provides varied services to businesses, community organizations, local and county governments and non-profit organizations. NEPA Alliance also evaluates and ranks projects for ARC funding consideration and provides technical assistance in the development of grant applications.

Similarly, for the EDA, the alliance prepares the comprehensive economic development strategy for the seven counties; identifies and ranks projects seeking EDA investment assistance; and provides technical assistance in the grant application process.

The commissioners also approved a new American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union contract for 17 employees in county court-related clerical positions. Chief Clerk Vicky Botjer said the new contract follows the same basic terms as for their county employees.

In their correspondence, the commissioners were copied on a PA Department of Environmental Protection approval letter for a new pet crematory in Lake Township. The permit was granted to Mark James of Northeast Pennsylvania Pet Cremation Services, Inc., of Hawley.