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December 03, 2016
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Polls relocation gets opposition

The Wayne County Commissioners joined supervisors and dispatch staff of the county’s 911 center as center staff was honored. Each member of the dispatch staff received the commissioners’ certificate stating, “your calm and reassuring voice on the other end of the phone and your competency in connecting those in crisis with needed emergency services has provided invaluable services to our families within Wayne County. On behalf of so many residents, we thank you.”
TRR photo by David Hulse

HONESDALE, PA — A county plan to relocate the polling site in Mount Pleasant Township is not being well received, township resident Bill Woodward told the Wayne County Commissioners on April 17.

“I’ve heard a lot of public concerns. People don’t want it moved. I’ve gotten lots of phone calls,” Woodward said.

Woodward chairs the board of the community center, which is the current polling place. Reporting in March that the center is lacking adequate handicapped access, Director of Elections Cindy Furman recommended moving the polling place about one mile away to a new township supervisors’ meeting room.

Commissioner Wendell Kay responded to Woodward, saying that no decision for a change has been made and that the commissioners would be attending the township’s June 2 meeting, where they would be conducting a public hearing to listen to concerns about the proposed change.

The county is planning to have posters at the polls for the May primary election to alert the voters to proposed change.

911 awards

Wayne 911 Center Manager Jim Lehman distributed commissioners’ certificates of appreciation to seven members of the center staff who were on hand for the ceremony.

Among them, dispatcher Matt Kronko was recognized as “Dispatcher of the Year.”

Commissioners Chair Brian Smith credited the dispatchers “critical link” between those in need and emergency services. Commissioner Jonathan Fritz said the work they do requires “a special kind of person.”

Commending the dispatchers, Commissioner Wendell Kay quoted Rudyard Kipling’s line, “if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs….”

“Not everyone can do your work,” he said. “A lot of other competent people in county government would have no interest. You are able to go from boring time to five minutes of critical time in others’ lives.”

Dam funding

The commissioners ratified submission of a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant application for maintenance of two flood control dams in Berlin Township. Funding will be applied to the Martin and Garrett dams.

Smith said he was very grateful for the opportunity to access this kind of money for long-needed maintenance. “Wayne County has 11 of these dams and we have done our best to keep up them, but it’s a big nut,” he said of the money required for upkeep.

In other business, the commissioners approved: (1) a letter of support and $6,500 in county share funding for a $50,000 USDA Rural Business Development Grants being sought by the Wayne Economic Development Authority for Wayne Business Technology Center improvements to the county’s Park Street Center at the former Stourbridge School; and (2) a Wayne County District Attorney’s grant application to the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) for an “intermediate punishment” program for those convicted of non-violent drug and substance abuse crimes.